Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holiday 2011: Stila Dream in Full Color v. Too Faced Only in Your Dreams

Okay, is it just me or did Stila and Too Faced manage to have strangely similar holiday 2011 collection and names? Stila announced their Dream in Full Color collection (click HERE for my overview of the collection) at the beginning of September, and I just received an email notification from Too Faced announcing their holiday 2011 collection, which happens to be Only in Your Dreams (click HERE for my overview of the collection)--reminds me of the 80s song Only  In My Dreams by Debbie Gibson ;) Was this coincidence a major blunder?

MAC's holiday 2011 collection Glitter and Ice (see Musings of a Muse's fabulous overview HERE and HERE) seemed more winter-relevant by far. I kind of get the whole "dream" for the holidays, but at the same time I don't. I don't feel that either collection is super magical or wintry (though it could just be me). When I look at holiday collections I want magical winter holiday hues or frosty winter colors--either will really do! Not only do the names of these two collection (Too Faced's and Stila's) fall flat, I feel like the collections themselves are pretty flat. What's up with all of the soft neutrals? Didn't we just do neutrals this past summer (Naked palette and a few other popular neutrals).

I just don't know what these companies are thinking, to be honest. If you're looking for some soft, subtle shades then I can certainly see how either the Stila or Too Faced collection could appeal to you, but I personally don't see anything special in either holiday collection.

Very excited for MAC's Glitter and Ice collection, on the other hand! Can't wait to find out the official release date and read/see more details on this collection.

What do you think about Stila's and Too Faced's collections? Are they dreamy or simply yawn-inducing?

Too Faced Only In Your Dreams Holiday 2011 Collection

Here's an overview of Too Faced's holiday 2011 collection--Only In Your Dreams...

In Your Dreams Palette - $39 retail

Glamour to Go: Dream Edition - $22 retail

Beautiful Dreamer Set - $46 retail

Final Thoughts
I don't see the holiday or winter connection, to be honest. If you're looking for softer shades in general you may be interested in these, but I can't get excited over this collection personally. 


Where to Buy
This is available now on the Too Faced website HERE.

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spotlight: Amazon Tablet Kindle Fire

I know this isn't exactly beauty related, but we do a lot of beauty purchasing online and the Kindle Fire gives you online and shopping access so there's some correlation, right? ;) I'm a bit of a geek and I've always enjoyed my electronics (palm, smartphone, computers, etc.). I was seriously thrilled when I started readering different rumors about Amazon's upcoming announcement about a potential new tablet. I've been following live blogs all day and wanted to update you on what Amazon is releasing!
Pulled from Amazon.com

Aside from some changes to the kindles we're already familiar with (things like a touch screen model), Amazon is releasing the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire is essentially a small tablet that packs a punch. It's like the Kindle in the sense that it supports electronic reading, but in addition it also offers many features/benefits.

Overview
  • An impressive color touchscreen
  • Super detailed color displays of magazines
  • User-friendly interface
  • Ultra-fast mobile browsing through Amazon's new Amazon Silk Browser in addition to Amazon Web Services cloud
  • FREE cloud storage! Meaning you don't have to rely on your device for all of your storage!
  • Super durable screen (a special material that's supposed to prevent some of the typical bumps and scratches)
  • Amazon Whispersync provides automatic backup of your data 
  • Email app that combines all of your accounts
  • Document support of documents including PDFs, new and older versions of Word, etc.
  • Free month of Amazon Prime (unlimited streaming of movies and videos as well as free 2-day shipping on qualified items--love this! I did a trial a few months ago and was impressed)
  • Access to 100,000 movies and tv shoes (not new, but a great feature)
  • A dual-core processor (so excited about this!)
  • Access to all of your favorite apps and games
  • Millions of electronic books (again, nothing new, but great all the same)
  • Children's e-books (nothing new, but great for families)
  • 17 million songs (impressive and a good iPad competitor)
Price
This goes for $199 with free shipping. It can be pre-ordered now and will begin to ship Nov 15th.

Where to Buy
This can only be purchased through Amazon! Pro-order HERE

Final Thoughts
I am definitely going to be purchasing one of these!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Votre Vu Eye Beauty Balm

I was recently given the opportunity to try Votre Vu Eye Beauty Balm--my first encounter with Votre Vu! As I grow closer to 30, I've noticed I'm  becoming increasingly concerned with the health of the skin on and around my eyes. I've been wearing eye makeup daily for at least 12 years and while I've tried to be careful, I know my eyes have taken a little bit of a beating.

At First Glance
Packaging: I strongly prefer glass jars over plastic for a number of different reasons (especially the fact that they don't leech chemicals into the products they hold), so I was really glad to see that this product came in a lovely glass jar!

Scent: This product has a very light fragrance that's a mixture of citrus and floral in my opinion.

Application: This balm glides right onto your skin and melts in like a dream! It didn't absorb completely into my lids, and did leave them feeling a bit slick. I have a very small bit of oiliness to my lids naturally, but not much at all and I'd consider my skin in general to be combination/normal.  Keep in mind, I wouldn't be able to apply this to my eyes and then put my eyeshadow on without it creasing. If you have drier skin it may actually absorb completely.

Ingredients: PARAFFIN, DECYL OLEATE, BEESWAX (CERA ALBA), LANOLIN, MICROCRYSTALLINE WAX (CERA MICROCRISTALLINA), CALENDULA OFFICINALIS FLOWER OIL, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) OIL, CHOLESTEROL, ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE, PROPYLPARABEN, BHT, CITRUS AURANTIUM DULCIS (ORANGE) FLOWER OIL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE.

Claim v. Reality
Claim (pulled from press materials for this product):  
"Rehabilitating mature aging skin around the delicate eye area, this corrective and emollient balm is a highly effective combination of luxe ingredients specifically formulated to counter the three prominent signs of aging – moisture loss, collagen breakdown, and free radical damage. Calendula oil, a natural anti-inflammatory, is added to reduce the appearance of under-eye puffiness while orange oil improves the appearance of the delicate skin around the eyes and helps correct age-related damage. Jojoba oil and Vitamin E protect the delicate skin from environmental stresses and support the restructuring of the tissue. A super anti-aging agent at your call – Lucky You!"

Here's the Reality: I was genuinely shocked by how improved my lids and skin around my eyes felt after just one night! This literally left my skin supple and dewy. I didn't realize how tired and "old" the skin felt before. I have rarely come across an eye cream, gel, lotion, etc. that's made a huge difference, and definitely not one that's made such a noticeable difference over night. I was impressed. 


Major Pros or Cons
  • Pro - Effective! This really made a huge difference on my lids and the skin around my eyes with just one application over night.
  • Pro -  Fabulous ingredients. This product has some of my favorite ingredients including beeswax, natural oils, and Calendula extract.
  • Pro - Versatile. Votre Vu Eye Beauty Balm can also be used to soften problem areas such as elbows, knees, and heels.
  • Pro/Con - Price. The price per jar is $49. This is more expensive than popular drugstore brands, but more affordable than many high-end products. It depends on your budget as to whether this price is a pro or con.
  • Con - This product, to my dismay, includes parabens. If you follow my blog, you know I try to avoid products with parabens, pthalates, silicone, etc. I do use some products that I can't seem to do without that include these products on occasion, but not regularly.
Overall Impression
Votre Vu Eye Beauty Balm is a probably one of the most effective eye products I've ever tried when it comes to moisturizing and revitalizing. I love so many of the ingredients, it makes me sad that this product includes parabens. 

Price
The price for a .24 fl oz jar is $49 retail. 

Where to Buy
You can purchase Votre Vu Eye Beauty Balm from their site HERE.  

Would I recommend it or use it again?
I may use it occasionally when I think my eyes need a special little boost, but because of the presence of parabens I personally wouldn't use it daily. I would definitely suggest this to a beauty fanatic looking for a great eye product that doesn't mind parabens. I would also suggest this to someone like myself that tries to avoid them, but makes exceptions on occasion with full disclosure that this product includes parabens. It's really a personal choice. Bottom line, this is a fantastically effective product and it's up to you whether or not one ingredient prevents you from trying it!

This product was provided for review by PR.  

  

Sale and Promo Alert! NYX Sale: Hautelook or Promo Code?

NYX is on Hautelook.com today for around 40% off. The sale is decent if you're looking to stock up on some of their shadows or lippies. I'm personally not a huge fan of a lot of their eye shadows, but some people definitely seem to love them. Now, if you've visited the sale (click HERE - affiliate link) and you're in love with everything that's awesome! Who doesn't love a deal?

But, if you find that the sets are full of only a few things you want or if things you wished were on sale aren't, you do have another opportunity to purchase NYX at a discount! NYX currently has a promo code (which I just tested) for 30% off. Now this isn't 40%, but if your shopping cart hits $50 or more before you apply the discount you get free shipping from NYX. I tried this and it worked in my cart.

Promo code: NYXLOVESBGG

Expiration: 9/30/11

Fine print: This code will not be applicable towards discounted items, sale items, Starter Kits, Train Cases, Makeup Chairs, Mirrors, or Beauty Bags. All other product including S sets and Makeup Artist Tool Belts will be available for purchase at a 30% discount. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spotlight: Concalma Bags - Eco-friendly, fair trade, and sensational!


Concalma is an amazing company that I recently became aware of that creates super fabulous totes, clutches, and messenger bags. While the term “tote” may leave you wondering why I’m dedicating an entire post to a company that produces such a common product, you’ll have to trust me that Concalma and the toes they produce are anything but common!

To begin, Concalma is the brainchild of Matilsha Marxuach, who wished to create a functionally stylish bag by using local resources and reused products, while focusing on practicality. Her bags are each made to suit a specific purpose and it’s clear they do so well. Matilsha, whose company is based in Puerto Rico, was kind enough to allow me to do a little Q&A with her via email regarding her company, mission, and totes!

Q&A
Me: What was the inspiration behind the tote designs?
Matilsha: My main inspiration was functionality as well as using local resources, reusing products, maintaining practicality, and last but not least maintaining style.

Me: Explain the setup of the women's industrial co-op that manufactures the totes.
Matilsha: The women’s co-op where Concalma manufactures its handbags is an industrial factory that opened when a group of women got together after losing their jobs when 2 apparel factories they worked in closed. We believe in seeking ways to remain self-sufficient as well as creating local jobs.

Me: How do you decide which fabric/strap combinations to produce?
Matilsha: I dream about them; I write about the combos; I think about them; and I take risks. This is my passion and it is my job as a designer. I may be inspired by a color or a pattern and play with juxtaposing it with another color to see what happens. I also get inspiration from nature during daily treks—the color of the ocean next to the different colors of the sand; the freeway as a clash of black and yellow.

Me: How often do the fabric/strap combinations remain available before you switch to another combination?
Matilsha: We do monthly collections and we never produce more than 25 of the same style and fabric/strap combination.

Me: Which fabric/strap combination has been your absolute favorite since you began designing them in 2005?
Matilsha: We began prototyping in 2005, then industrially manufacturing in 2006. I love so many of the bags past and present. At the moment I am using a Swiss Gold Dots Diario style with a Gold/Navy Gold strap. I really dig the Gold/Navy Gold combo, it goes great with blue and/or red.

I also love red and blue combos, I feel they are very classic. There is also one right now that has classic canvas color stripes with a navy/aqua strap that is fun! I really like combinations that have grey in them, whether in the strap or the fabric.

One that is particularly close to my heart is our Pac Man Collection, which has the yellow/royal blue yellow combo.

But I have to say, my all-time favorite is a white with pink lilies fabric with a royal yellow strap.

Price
Prices range from $40-$60 from what I can see.

Where to Buy
Bags can be purchased on Concalma’s website at www.shopconcalma.com

Final Thoughts
These bags are fabulous, the company is fabulous, and Concalma owner, Matilsha Marxuach, is fabulous!I purchased one through their sale on Fab.com and I'm anxious to see what they put out in October! I'm a big fan of modern colors like black and white, gray, or blue. We'll see!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Have I crossed the vintage line?!

I love Fab.com (affiliate link); I'm written about this fun sample sale site a few times in the past. But that's actually not the focus of this post. When I went on there to check out the new sales for the day, a store selling quirky printed tees and vintage items caught my eye. I clicked my way through and began scrolling through rows of fun stuff. Then something caught my eye.

A listing for "4 Vintage Kodak Camera" stood out to me. I love looking at vintage cameras, but something in the image seemed a little too familiar. I clicked on the image of the 4 cameras to get a closer look and sure enough, there was my childhood camera sitting right in front of me. When I was a kid I got a camera for either a birthday or Christmas. I was around 5 when I got it. I remember this because we had gone to Hawaii to visit my paternal relatives and I'd lost my purse (I have always been a purse lover) in a canoe we'd taken a ride on in the Polynesian Cultural Center. My purse had a few of my favorite things including my camera. When we got back I remember my parents replacing it with a different Kodak camera. This one was flat, rectangular, and purple with a small mickey mouse picture in one corner. It also had a hold in the top where a row of flash bulbs fit in (yes, flash bulbs). It took 100mm film and I loved it.

My point to all of this is that an adult model of the camera I owned was in a listing for vintage items!

According to Merriam Webster, Vintage is defined as:

1: of wine : of, relating to, or produced in a particular vintage
2: of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic
3a : dating from the past : old b : outmoded, old-fashioned
4: of the best and most characteristic —used with a proper noun <vintage Shaw: a wise and winning comedy — Time>

I remember being told that for collectors vintage refers to things that are under 100 years, which are then considered antique once they cross that threshold. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but either way ... OLD????

I didn't think I was old enough to have items similar to what I had as a young kid put on sale as "vintage" collectors' items!

Looking back, my kids and even younger siblings never saw a camera that used real film; and definitely not one that used real flash bulbs of any kind.

I did some digging to try to find this camera that I probably haven't thought about in at least 15-20 years and managed to find it! You can see it HERE.  

This really made me feel a bit old. I know that my kids, who are growing up with things like iPads, blueray players, etc., are a far different generation than the one I was born into ... but I can't help feeling as though I'm starting to cross the line of remembering "the way things were". Ok ... that made me want to watch "The Way We Were" with Barbra Streisand :) Love that movie, though unrelated to this post. See it if you haven't! Ugh, so good! I love movies from the last century, not just the last decade. I swear my younger siblings (significantly younger) think an old movie is something released in the 90s. Oy vey. Ok, taking my crotchety self off of here so that I can get back to work and spend some time with hubs and the boys :)

I know we're only as old as we feel/think ... but that made me feel as though they labeled me "old" before my time! I did have a quarter-life crisis at 19. So fun for my friends at the time ;) Oh well, c'est la vie!

Review & Swatches: China Glaze Haunting Halloween Collection 2011

As soon as I saw the China Glaze Haunting Halloween 2011 Collection I knew I had to have it! It's not every day you get a mix of crackle, glitter, and glowing polish all in one swoop ;)  I actually purchased 2 of the 4-piece sets that were released with this collection so that I could give 1 away in my Ghoulishly Glam Nail Polish Giveaway, which is going on right now! You can enter until September 30, 2011 HERE.

Anyway, I wanted to do a post on this set because it's so fun and perfect for Halloween or any day where you want a little something different on your nails! I'm going to break this set down by polish with a short review after to keep things organized.

It's Alive
It's Alive has a mostly sheer olive colored base (I wouldn't say it's very jelly-ish) with a mix of micro- and slightly chunkier glitter of a lighter olive color. It almost reminds me of a sparkly camo. 

Application:  It's Alive is a glitter polish. My first coat left me skeptical because it applied unevenly. It seemed to stick to my base coat for some reason even though it was completely dry. The 2nd coat, however, was perfection. It left my nail looking evenly coated in olive green glitter.

Feel: I find that glitter polish often bothers me. I hate when it feels gritty even under a top coat. This is definitely slightly course feeling, but with a top coat it seems to be slightly uneven but less scratchy.

2 Coats China Glaze It's Alive

Ghoulishly Glow
Ghoulishly Glow 1 Coat
Ghoulishly Glow is a glow-in-the-dark top coat! This isn't completely clear, there is a slight, light green milkiness. I don't know how this would affect other polishes, but I think it beautifully complements It's Alive. I was actually super pleased with the pairing of these two.

Application: Applying Ghoulishly Glow was super easy and seemed to go on evenly with each coat. The 1st coat slightly softened the overall look of the glitter polish. I thought this was nice.

The 2nd coat of Ghoulishly Glow was also easy to apply and went on evenly. This 2nd coat really softened the overall look and left it looking a bit more sophisticated in my opinion. I really, really liked the way this looked! 
Ghoulishly Glow 2 Coats

Glowing Effect: I wondered how much Ghoulishly Glow top coat would actually glow. I knew that it glowed in the bottle just from shutting my desk lamp off, but I'm always skeptical as to how things will compare from bottle to nail. You'll be happy to know that Ghoulishly Glow does glow on your nail! It did take 2 coats for it to be noticeable. A 3rd and maybe 4th coat might make it even stronger. If you follow my blog you know I have a 2-coat rule for any polish/top coat, etc. I would say that the glow on your nail lasts just a minute or two from my experience.

It was very hard to capture the "glow", but you can see it here. As you can sort of tell from the picture, with 2 coats you can see the glitter a bit through the glowing in the dark.


Bottle v. Nail Glow
The glow of this polish in the bottle is definitely stronger than it is on your nail, it also lasts longer. Again, if you want to try a 3rd and maybe 4th coat that may make a big difference.
Nail v. Bottle Glow. As you can see, the bottle is pretty nuts and the nail is more subtle.

Black Mesh Crackle
Black Mesh is China Glaze's black crackle polish. I've tried a few different black crackles and so far the ones I've tried have skewed between looking like black leather and dull black plastic. It doesn't bother me that the black has more of a flat than gloss finish, but I'm not a fan of the crackles that are super dull black. A semi-gloss or eggshell-like finish would be my preference.

Application: I haven't had as much trouble with crackles/shatters (*knock on wood*) as some other polish lovers I know and China Glaze's Black Mesh Crackle is great in my opinion! It dries quickly, so definitely apply it quickly. Also, I tend to be lighter-handed with my crackles, which sometimes works with different formulas. This one worked well with less polish on the brush as opposed to applying it thick.

Crackle Effect: I thought this resulted in a very obvious crackle effect that spread far enough apart that you could see the polish underneath fairly well!
I think that's a pretty great black crackle polish!

It's Alive + Ghoulishly Glow + Black Mesh
I wanted to capture how these polishes all look together. It was kind of challenging, but at least it gives you some idea. You can sort of see the Ghoulishly Glow peaking out from behind the Black Mesh in the dark.

 
The 4th polish included in this set is the Fast Forward Top Coat. I didn't use this for this post, but when I do I'll definitely post about how effective it is.

What do you think? I love it!

Price
I've seen this vary between $13-$20 depending on where you purchase it.

Where to Buy
You can purchase this from different beauty supply stores as well as from online stores like Amazon.com. You can view it on Amazon HERE.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Officially Fall EOTD


I know I haven't posted an EOTD In a while, between illnesses, hubs having oral surgery, and working a ton I haven't had much of a chance to post one! Friday was officially the first day of fall (my favorite season) so I wanted to create a look that celebrates some of the colors of fall. I'll probably do a few other fall-inspired looks over the next month or two because fall here is gorgeously colorful, but I really wanted to try some of my urban decay shadows from the Vegan Palette.  This look is super simple to replicate and great for every day wear in my opinion. Here it is...

Officially Fall EOTD using Urban Decay's Vegan Palette
For this look I did a take on one of Kevyn Aucoin's eyeshadow techniques. Here's what I used:
  • Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Zero (lined waterline above and below, then lined upper lashline and smudged it out)
  • Urban Decay Twice Baked eyeshadow (swiped along upper and lower lashlines and pulled out a bit)
  • Urban Decay Smog eyeshadow (patted over edge of Twice Baked and pulled out to crease on upper lid as well as along lower lid; patted into outer v;  blended edges)
  • Urban Decay Half Baked eyeshadow (patted along edge of Smog on upper and lower lids as well as in the inner corner; blended)
  • Too Faced Deluxe Lash Injection Extreme Thickening and Lengthening Mascara in Black waterproof formula (lower and upper lashes to build volume)
  • Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara in Very Black waterproof formula (lower and upper lashes to build length
I like this look, I think it gives you a nice sultry look without being super dark for anyone that isn't a huge fan of super smokey looks. What do you think?

Sale Alert! 100% Pure Cosmetics on LovingEco this week!

If you're a big fan of natural cosmetics you've probably heard of 100% Pure. It's actually really interested because they use a lot of fruits and vegetables to pigment their cosmetics! Products range from shadows to lip products; primer to mascara. Though they claim to be vegan, there is honey in some of the products, so if you're vegan it's best to check ingredients before purchasing.

100% Pure is currently on sale on LovingEco and I believe the sale has 1 day left. Discounts range from 50% to almost 70% off the regular prices!

No promo code is necessary.

Expiration: 9/25/11

LovingEco is a member's-only sample sale type site, so you will have to sign up for a membership before you can make a purchase. You can so do HERE (affiliate link).

You can view 100% Pure's full range of cosmetics on their site at www.100percentpure.com

Have you ever used 100% Pure cosmetics? What's your favorite product?

Friday, September 23, 2011

His Black Box September

If you're not familiar with Black Box, it's a men's subscription service similar to Birchbox. For $12 per month the man in your life can get 4-5 samples of high-end, fabulous men's products to test out. I signed hubs up and so far he loves it!

Check out what he got in his September Black Box HERE.


Have you entered my Ghoulishly Glam Nail Polish Giveaway yet? No? Get to it! ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sale Alert! Stila Friends & Family Sale Has Started!

Stila Cosmetics' friends and family sale is in full swing. Get 20% off of your purchase now!

Stila promo code: FRIENDS2011

Expiration date: 9/27/11

As an added bonus, get free shipping off of every order with no minimum purchase price! As far as I know you don't need a promo to get the free shipping. I love free shipping and am beyond thrilled that so many companies are offering this!

Have you been eyeing anything from Stila? I'm thinking of grabbing the 2011 holiday lip glaze collection and the limited edition Find Your Magic palette. I'm not sure why I like collecting their little palettes, but the ones that catch my eye end up finding their way into my shopping cart!

What do you want to pick up from Stila during this sale?

Also, my Ghoulishly Glam Nail Polish Giveaway is still going on! Enter HERE.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hautelook.com and Nordstrom?

Did you know that Nordstrom purchased Hautelook.com? Apparently the company announced this back in February and I managed to miss this little detail!

Nordstrom stated that Hautelook.com would run as a private entity and to be honest, I don't know if I've noticed much of a change. I actually wish Nordstrom would pull some strings and get some of my favorite brands that they carry but Hautelook doesn't seem to, to do flash sales on Hautelook.com.

Hmmmm I'm kind of surprised they only purchased it for 180 million. I'm not sure why I thought it would be more to be honest, because 180 million isn't a small sum, but still!

Anyway, just thought I'd share this shocking news that I just learned that was apparently announced 7 months ago ;)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sale Alert! Buy 1 Get 1 on butter LONDON on Ulta - SOLD OUT!

UPDATE (9/20 at 12:02 pm EST): butter LONDON on Ulta.com has officially sold out. If you tried to shop the sale early this morning like I did (6am EST) you probably had the same issues I did with the site not recognizing the 2-for-1 sale and still trying to charge you for both bottles. I tried for an hour to get it work while I got my kids ready to drop my son off for school and brings hubs in for oral surgery (poor guy isn't having an easy time right now, now that it's done). I went back on the site after hubs' appointment and it said every color of butter LONDON was sold out.  I called and spoke with a CSR who confirmed that there was a glitch in the morning and that the inventory was sold out. She said I should have gotten an email about the sold out status, which I didn't. This isn't the first time I've had issues with Ulta.com. I wish I had better experiences with Ulta in general, but so far it's been a major disappointment. After a long conversation she did agree to honor the sale by sending me a gift card, which is great, I just wish my experiences required less frustration and phone calls haha.

I love, love, love butter LONDON! They are 1 of my favorite polish companies of all time. Their formula is fabulous, the colors are lovely ... I love them!

As part of Ulta's 21 Days of Beauty, they are offering BOGO for butter LONDON. butter LONDON usually goes for $14 per bottle, but with the BOGO deal that brings the price per bottle down to $7 per bottle, which is great in my opinion! I'll definitely be adding to my butter LONDON collection today ;)

If you've been interested in giving them a try, now's the time!

Expiration: This sale is for today only!

Purchase HERE.

In other polish news, my Ghoulishly Glam Nail Polish Giveaway has started! Enter now!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ghoulishly Glam Nail Polish Giveaway - CLOSED!

This contest has closed and a winner has been chosen using Random.org. The winner is ...
 Ashley aka MissAshD!!!!  

CONGRATULATIONS! You will receive an email notification shortly ;) For everyone else that entered, thanks for being a part of this giveaway! Check back tonight because a his and hers holiday giveaway (1 prize for women and 1 prize for men) will go up to celebrate the 2011 holiday gift giving guide my husband and I will be doing this season! Every Saturday a new gift suggestion for a chick and a new gift suggestion for a guy will be featured and we have some really fabulous ideas! Thanks ;)


Surprise! I wanted to do a tiny giveaway to celebrate the coming of fall before I hold a large giveaway to celebrate the holiday shopping seasons and the launch of my 2011 holiday gift guide for men and women. Originally I wanted to start this giveaway on the first day of fall (the 23rd), but I've decided to launch it a few days early because hubs is going in for oral surgery tomorrow and I'm going to be crazy-busy for the rest of the week. The good news is, that means you makeup lovers get some extra time to enter! See this polish in my review HERE.

The Prize
This giveaway is for the 4-piece nail polish set that launched as part of the China Glaze Haunting collection for Halloween 2011! This includes:
  • It's Alive - Vibrant olive or army green glitter polish with sparkles of varying size.
  • Ghoulish Glow - Glow-in-the-dark top-coat that really works!
  • Black Mesh - Black crackle polish.
  • China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat
4-Piece Set from China Glaze's 2011 Haunting Collection
 I love this set, I think it's really fun and has some great polishes! I'm not big on dressing up in a costume anymore, but I'm all for doing some crazy nails and makeup while we take the boys around in their costumes!

Here are some additional shots so you can see exactly what you could win!

Left to Right: It's Alive, Ghoulish Glow
Left to Right: Black Mesh Crackle, Fast Forward Top Coat
Ghoulish Glow really does glow!
Giveaway Details

How many winners?
There will be 1 winner for this giveaway and that winner will receive the 4-piece China Glaze polish set described above. 

Dates to Enter: September 19 - September 30 at midnight EST

When will the winner be announced?
The winner will be announced on this blog on October 1st by 12pm EST. The winner will also be emailed directly using the email address provided through the form below. 

How to enter (super simple):
  • You must complete the form below
  • You must be a follower of Makeup Chic, Literary Geek beauty blog 
  • You must be a minimum of 18 years of age or have the permission of 1 of your parents (no exceptions)
  • You must live in the US (excluding Hawaii and Alaska). Sorry guys, nail polish is a pain when it comes to shipping! My large holiday giveaway starting at the beginning of October will be open to a much wider group of makeup lovers!
  •  You can only enter once.
*Note: Feel free to comment below, but remember that  you must fill out the form below to enter this giveaway ;)*

Still want to enter to win this fabulous China Glaze Halloween 4-piece nail polish set? Here you go...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spotlight: Honey Bee Holistics Lotion

I've been on the hunt for a fabulous, natural or organic lotion since fall is basically here in New England and the cool weather (which I love) dries out my skin like mad. I decided I wanted to look for some handmade products because I love supporting small businesses and find that often the ingredients are better quality, the products are more inspired, and customer service is far more personal. I contacted quite a few different sellers on Etsy, asking about ingredients, individual products, etc. Honey Bee Holistics is one Etsy shop that stood out to me from the beginning.

Honey Bee Holistics packaging
Purchasing & Packaging

To begin, the ingredients are phenomenal! You all know how much I love organic and natural ingredients and how much I despite things like silicone/silicon and "fragrance". Honey Bee Holistics has managed to create some absolutely lovely products without the use of any of this gunk! I messaged back and forth with the owner of Honey Bee Holistics, Melissa, a few times and she was absolutely lovely and quite helpful. I purchased smaller jars of 3 of the lotion scents she offered that I thought would appeal most to me. I purchased on September 10th and received my order today! That's pretty fast!

After removing the shipping packaging, I was really impressed with how branded everything was. I love when smaller companies put forth the extra effort to really make their packaging their own. The lotions were packaged in a slim cardboard box, which I realized after opening was actually a recycled and re-folded box from something else! Points for being eco-friendly! It was stamped with the company's logo--love it.

This little packet was attached to the box.
This was inside the little packet - a handwritten note, business cards, sample of lime lip balm (how did she know I adore lime?), and a little bundle of other suggested companies' business cards. I think it's great that Melissa promotes other small businesses as well!

First Impression

 Each cute little jar was wrapped in a wax bag stamped with the company's logo. I love little things like that!

It's the little things!
These are the 3 Honey Bee Holistics lotions I purchased - Organic Coconut, Organic Sugar Cookie, and Organic Lemon Creme.

 I tried them out as soon as I got them and had to share these products with you. I have to admit, I am super, super picky about scents so keep this in mind as you read my review ;) Also, I made sure to clear my nose of the scent of each lotion I smelled before moving on to the next with some handy coffee beans at my side. This is an old trick I learned from a friend that worked at a boutique candle store years ago!


The Lotions

Organic Coconut Lotion
I chose the Organic Coconut Lotion because I absolutely love coconut, but real coconut, not synthetic. If you're like me, this is to die for!

Scent
The scent is the perfect fresh coconut smell, not chemically or synthetic smelling. It is lovely and one you put it on it's not super overpowering, but the smell of fresh coconut definitely lingers, which I love!

Consistency
This lotion is thick and luxurious, spreads beautifully, and melts into your skin perfectly! I was delighted by how fabulous this lotion felt going on.

Organic Coconut Lotion - Look how fabulous luxe that looks!

Ingredients
The ingredients are fabulous from beginning to end! I'm not sure they could get any better ;)

Organic Coconut Lotion ingredients

Hydrating Factor
I would rate this a 5/5 when it comes to hydrating. My skin was instantly softer right after application.  


Organic Lemon Creme Lotion
The second lotion I chose was the Organic Lemon Creme. I love, love, love lemon. It is one of my favorite scents. When I was pregnant with both of my sons I had (among a whole slew of other medical issues) hyperemesis gravidarum and the only thing that gave me the slightest relief from the nausea (other than my meds) was the scent of real lemons. I guess my love for lemon has increased by a million as a result!

Scent
The lemon scent in this lotion is very pleasant and not super overpowering. It actually almost reminds me of fresh lemonade because I smell a tiny hint of sweetness mingled with the citrus, which I think is lovely and fresh. If you're a fan of lemon or citrus in general this is a great smell!

Consistency
The consistency of the Organic Lemon Creme lotion was identical to the Organic Coconut lotion--super silky, thick, and wonderfully softening.

Organic Lemon Creme lotion - So lovely and lemony!

Ingredients
Like the Organic Coconut lotion the ingredients of the Organic Lemon Creme lotion were just as fabulously natural and healthy!

Organic Lemon Creme ingredients

Hydrating Factor
This was just as beautifully moisturizing. I can't say enough. Instantly softening! Definitely a 5/5!


Organic Sugar Cookie Lotion
I don't know why, but I love lotions that smell like yummy foods! Sugar cookies remind me of the holidays so I scooped this one up as soon as I saw it.

Scent
The scent of the Organic Sugar Cookie lotion has a subtle sugar cookie smell. I would say there's a touch of vanilla and something else that really does make it smell a bit like a sugar cookie. The scent is subtle, though. If you're depending on this lotion to be your fragrance for the day, this might not be strong enough. I personally appreciate the fact that the vanilla isn't overpowering because I tend to have a love/hate relationship with vanilla, but natural vanilla is always a welcome smell to me. This is definitely more subtly scented than the Organic Coconut lotion and Organic Lemon Creme lotion.

Consistency
This lotion was just as lovely as the other two. I still can't get over how well it smooths right in, my skin soaked it right up!

Organic Sugar Cookie Lotion - Doesn't that look like sugar cookie dough?! Almost good enough to eat!
Ingredients
This lotion, like the other 2, has fabulously natural ingredients, no dyes, no silicone/silicon, etc. Love it!

Organic Sugar Cookie Ingredients

Hydrating Factor
This one was just as wonderful as the others. So amazing! Another 5/5!


Prices
There are a few different sizes offers by Honey Bee Holistics. The sizes and prices are as follows:

small 1.5oz - $2.75
medium 3oz - $4.50
large 8oz - $10.75
 

Final Thoughts
Overall, I am smitten! I can't say enough about the performance, ingredients, etc. They are all amazing! Definitely a moisturizing staple this fall and winter. Needless to say, I am incredibly impressed!

Honey Bee Holistics offers a number of other scents and products on Etsy as well as their website, which is www.honeybeeholistics.com

Melissa, from one work-at-home mom to another, keep up the good work!

These products were purchased by me for review. All opinions stated above are based on my personal experience.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spotlight: Fyrinnae Swatches (Picture Heavy)

It's no secret I love Fyrinnae! The last time the site went up I quickly snatched up a few of the shadows I'd sampled in the past along with some new ones I'd been dying to get my hands on. My kids have been sick and I've got a touch of whatever they have, but I wanted to get this up for you guys because Fyrinnae's site says it'll be back up after September 20th! Just in case you're interested in purchasing from Fyrinnae, you can see some of the ones I purchased that I love.

I'm not going to get into the performance of each individual one as I love every single one mentioned here and find they all function similarly, with the exception of a couple of them. I tend to use a wet brush to foil them and not use a sticky base, but I've used several loose shadow glues in the past as well with the same success. The reason I tend not to use sticky shadow "glues" is that they often have a form of silicone/silicon in them, which I try to stay away from.

You can click on any of the images in this post to get a closer view!

Group Shadow Shots

Here's my order all wrapped up!
Here are all of the shades I purchased (yes I am a total dork and forgot to turn the labels all in the same direction after I unwrapped them). I purchased 2 samples of Faerie Glamour for a special purchase ;)
First and Second Rows. Top row (left to right): Otherworld, Pumpkinfire, Marshmallow Puffs. Second row (left to right): Fyre & Ice, Druid Werewolf, Winter Again
Third and Fourth Rows. Top row (left to right): We're All Mad Here, Nijiro, Sleepy Hollow. Second row (left to right): Banana Mochi, Faerie Glamour, Curioser and Curioser.
Fifth Row (left to right): Madame & Eve, Faerie Glamour, Dark Magik.


Here are all of the shadows I purchased in the same order but with a view from the top while open.
First and Second Rows Open View. First row (left to right): Otherworld, Pumpkinfire, Marshmallow Puffs. Second row (left to right): Fyre & Ice, Druid Werewolf, Winter Again.
Third and Fourth Rows Open View. Top row (left to right): We're All Mad Here, Nijiro, Sleepy Hollow. Bottom row (left to right): Banana Mochi, Faerie Glamour, Curiouser and Curiouser.
Fifth Row Open View (left to right): Dark Magik, Faerie Glamour, Madame & Eve.


Individual Fyrinnae Shadow Views & Descriptions


Otherworld - A lovely minty green with a frosty flash.
Pumpkinfire - A black base with fiery sparkle. Love it and definitely a great fall shadow in my opinion!
Marshmallow Puffs - Pure white, this shadow is not shimmery, but has the slightest pearl finish.
Fyre & Ice - Black base with pretty pink, purple, and green glitter. I think the sparkles give it a feminine twist.
Druid Werewolf - A lovely golden light brown, this is a great neutral!
Winter Again - A white duochrome with a frosty, light blue flash. I love this and have used it in EOTDs before!
We're All Mad Here - A shimmery acid green. Love it!
Nijiro - A super light, neutral beige (almost ivory) with flecks of multi-colored glitter. I absolutely love this shadow because it is the perfect neutral for someone that wants a little something extra!
Sleepy Hollow - This slightly darker blue chock full of green sparkles. I used this in my Flash Mermaid EOTD.
Banana Mochi - A medium yellow with a dash of gold glitter. I couldn't capture the gold in my pictures, it is very subtle. This is definitely not a super bright yellow, but definitely a nice creamy, pigmented yellow.
Faerie Glamour - Lavender with an aqua shimmer.
Curiouser and Curiouser - This is a bright mid-tone blue with flashy light green shimmer. This shadow is definitely lighter than Sleep Hollow, but both are gorgeous and worth owning!
Dark Magik - A lovely wine color with blue glitter. It was very hard to catch the blue, but this color is seriously lovely and perfect for fall!
Madame & Eve - The base is kind of a slate gray with an explosion of multi-colored sparkle. This is so darn fabulous I couldn't even capture how amazing it is!
Final Thoughts
If you haven't tried Fyrinnae yet and you're not opposed to loose shadows, you have got to purchase at least a couple! Fyrinnae offers both full-size and sample size. This order mainly consisted of full-size shadows, but Fyrinnae will allow you to purchase up to 20 samples at one time. Samples typically cost $2 a piece. I suggest purchasing a bunch of samples if you're interested in colors and full-sizes if you fall in love. Fyrinnae does discontinue some of their shadows occasionally so if you're in love with a color you don't want to risk never being able to grab it again.

Fyrinnae shadows perform best if they're foiled or patted onto a sticky shadow base made for loose, glittery shadows. Fyrinnae shadows should not be swiped on, always patted! They are blendable in my opinion, but I think it takes a little practice if you don't typically wear loose shadows.

The average cost of full-size shadows ranges from $6.35 (Arcane Magic shadows) to $5.90.  You can purchase Fyrinnae shadows on their site at www.fyrinnae.com, but the site currently says the store is closed through the 20th of September. If you're interested in purchasing from Fyrinnae you have to watch the site constantly. It goes up and down in the blink of an eye because they're so flooded with orders every time they're back up. Do yourself a favor and create an account now, create a wishlist, the purchase from it the second the site goes back up. Trust me, it's one of the only ways to order from Fyrinnae sometimes ;) 

In short, I love Fyrinnae and if you love vibrant, bold, craziness when it comes to shadows you will, too!