Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Surratt Blushes - Se Pomponner and Ponceau

Work has been crazy busy again lately. After a particularly bad weekend of work, I went to Barneys and picked up these two Surratt blushes. They aren't dupes for anything in my collection, which makes me happy :) The two shades I picked up have a nice, smooth texture and the colours are clear and bright. The only downside is the flimsy plastic packaging and not being able to stick them in magnetic freestyle palettes (plastic pans). The empty palette you can purchase requires you stick the pans down with the double-side tape label, which is not appealing to me at all.

I ended up sticking two square metal Z-palette stickers to the back (near the top and bottom, so the shade name is still visible) and storing them in my MUFE palette :)

Surratt Se Pomponner and Ponceau

Pan comparisons: NARS Gaiety, Surratt Se Pomponner, Burberry Hydrangea Pink (also a recent acquisition), Sleek Flamingo (just about falling apart, but a big love)

Pan comparisons: RBR Orpheline, Surratt Ponceau, NARS Gilda

Arm swatches (sponge tips, 2 swipes each)

Also, check out the labeling snafu: the outer box says 0.14oz/4g, but the sticker label on the product itself says 0.2oz/6g! The blushes are quite small, so I'd say the 0.14oz/4g size is correct.

Hope the helps someone! I'm not sure any of the colours in the range interest me, but I will reserve the right to change my mind later :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

OPI GelColor Taupe-less Beach and Comparison

Hello lovelies! I have a nail post today! I just started getting into doing my own soak-off gel (SOG) manis, so there may be a few posts like this in the future. I'm working on a post about the initial set-up in case you are interested in doing your own SOG manis, so look out for that post if you're interested.

I've decided to begin my SOG mani adventure with the OPI GelColor system. One of the colours I purchased was Taupe-less Beach from the recent Brazil collection. This colour is also available in the regular nail polish line, but as far as how close the regular and gel versions are, I cannot comment on that. I know sometimes gel polishes are not exact dupes for their regular counterparts, so keep that in mind.

OPI GelColor Taupe-less Beach (3 coats)

I was hoping this OPI would be a slightly warmer dupe for Essie Chinchilly (one of my all time favourite work-appropriate shades). However, due to my very yellow undertones, the OPI leans VERY mauve/purple on me compared to other swatches I've seen.

Comparison: Essie Chinchilly, OPI GelColor Taupe-less Beach, Orly Country Club Khaki (regular, not gel), SH CSM Fedora

In some lights, I am very pleased with this OPI colour. In others, I am very angry it is so mauve. I think this one is going into the purge box, unfortunately! Definitely a beautiful colour, but I know there are better shades out there for me!

Hope you guys have a good weekend! Orange is the New Black Season 2 is up on Netflix now, so I am pretty sure I know how my weekend is going to go. AWESOMELY.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Needle Felted Wedding Favours (picture heavy post)

I had a small wedding (about 35 guests), and decided to make personalized wedding favours with needle felting, a new hobby I picked up late last year. Half way through, I was seriously doubting my judgment in this decision, as these little guys take a lot longer to make than you might think!! Some were "quick", at around 2 hours, others took me maybe 8 hours spread over a weekend. Yikes! But when I was halfway through, I figured I might as well persevere and stab my way to the end.

I finished my last favour the weekend before my wedding, and I was working on my cake topper until 2 days before we flew out!

After I took these pictures, I tied tags with each guest's name and their table number, so they doubled as table escorts :) They were a big hit with our guests!

Kero-chan from Card Captor Sakura - one of my old college roommates loves Kero-chan, and I had made her an amigurumi version years ago (when that was my hobby du jour).

Mandora - friend above's SO is obsessed with a game with this as its main character. He was thrilled with it as well.

Doraemon - a friend's favourite childhood cartoon character. This friend actually had to cancel last minute, so I just popped this in the mail for her.

Daria - a friend's fave cartoon character

Mario with an overly long torso. Should've made him into Luigi!

Gromit also with an overly long torso.

Boo - one of my friends is obsessed w/ Boo the Dog. This is one of my favourites, so cute! She loved it so much!

Colossal Titan head (Attack on Titan) - this didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but I think it still looks cool. It's for DH's youngest brother, who loves anime, and was most recently obsessed with AoT.

Pooh - DH's mom loves Winnie the Pooh!

Hawaiian Pig - inside joke w/ one of my childhood friends. This one took me quite a long time to make.

Brian - SIL's favourite cartoon character. I think this one turned out really well :D

Carlton the Bear (Leafs mascot) - a friend's SO's favourite hockey team... even though they didn't even make the playoffs this year!

TARDIS - for DH's friend's wife who recommended we hunker through the first few super corny episodes of Doctor Who (new series)

The Doctor in beaver form (goes with the TARDIS) - I had made an amigurumi beaver for DH's friend back in college (he hung it from his rearview mirror), and decided to make a miniature Doctor version :)

Totoros - for a couple of Ghibli studio fans amongst our guests. She told us that our photographer borrowed them to take our ring pictures! We haven't gotten our photos back yet, though, but am looking forward to seeing this picture!

Chibi Batman - a huge Batman lover - I couldn't make a realistic looking one, so I made this sorta "cute" version

Happy Feet penguins - They ended up in the guest's jacket pocket like a pocket square - SO CUTE.

Wolf that turned out better than expected, but still pretty awful - for one of our old college roommates whose last name is spelled something like Wolf

Starship Enterprise - My older brother's fave show (from what I can remember). This didn't turn out great, but I saw him playing with it at his table with his son, LOL.

Rubik's Cube - one of DH's friend is really into it.. competitions and what not) - this one took FOREVER for some reason. I'm really happy with it though! I used a template from online for a real solveable cube design. He said he could tell I made it solveable.

Brown lab - DH's cousin loves brown labs. She said this one was much better behaved than her dog, LOL.

Bull - DH's father is really into the stock market. I felted on a pair of bulls balls, and he got a kick out of that (it's not like I could leave them out, right?!).

Koala bear - one of my friend's said her and her SO's spirit animals were a koala bear and pig, but she wouldn't tell me whose was whose, lol

Pig 1 - to go w/ the koala bear

Mouse - my mom was born in the year of the mouse

Pig 2 - my dad was born in the year of the pig

Calico cat

Black cat - DH's aunt got a new black kitty! this is not a great representation of it, though. I didn't have the right colour of dark gray wool, unfortunately.

One of DH's aunt's cats - I am very happy with this one! The spots are all in the right places!

One of DH's grandma's cats - One of the first cats I made, so not looking great, but she loved it.

Big Ted - a friend's childhood bear. They christianed him "mini ted"

Bears - some extras for last minute guests

Narwhal for my 4 year old nephew (I posted this before the wedding). He kept bending the horn, but loved it, and asked me to make him a shark, a manta ray, and two Transformers (Bumblebee and Optimus Prime). I said "sure" and hope he forgets he asked me.

Finally, the last two I made were for our wedding cake topper! I asked my dress designer for some scraps of lace for the veil (even though I am not wearing a veil lol). I fixed the cat's feet a little bit after I took this picture (extended and flattened a bit) as well, but haven't taken an updated picture yet.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Soak-off Gel wear update!

Back from my wedding! It was very nice, but I'm happy to get back to "real life" again.

Today marks exactly 14 days since my first gel manicure (OPI GelColor in You're Such a Budapest), so I thought I would post a quick update on my experience with wear time.

I didn't get any chips until today (just a tiny one on my right index finger), otherwise no chips or lifting. There were some hairline cracks along the free edge of my longer nails (not visible in pics), but I experience that with regular nail polish as well (if I've been wearing it for about a week).

Here's what my left hand nails look like with 2 weeks of wear, including travel (my nails usually chip handling my luggage, so I am impressed these held up so well!) You can see the re-growth is very obvious, but the glossy finish has held up well (minus a few scuffs).

I just removed it, and it was quite an ordeal! I probably soaked my nails (using pure acetone & glycerin mix) using the foil method (and applying a microwave heat pack on the nails) and it took me about 2 hours (on and off) to get all the gel off!! I didn't even get all of the base coat off, but decided to just live with it. LOL. From what I've read online, it should only take 10-15 minutes to soak off. I'm going to try and get some of those silicone finger cots next time I need to remove a gel mani, though.

I guess there is a trade-off for the excellent wear time, huh?

Overall, I was very satisfied with the gel mani. And I'll even make an admission... I ordered the OPI GelColor LED light, base coat, top coat, and a few GelColors the other day >.> Since the mani cost me $40, I thought I might as well "invest" in the system so I can do it myself on future vacations. I'm going on a quick trip in August for a friend's wedding, then honeymoon is in September, then trip back to Canada over the Christmas holidays. So I figure by some time next year, I should "break even" (given the mani cost me $40 including tip at the salon). SO I SAY.

Here's a close-up of the needle felted Doraemon I'm holding in the pic (also a wedding favour):

Anyone else into Soak Off Gels? Am I totally late to the party (I think so, since my MIL told me she had Shellac done for the wedding, and it sounded like it was not her first time LOL)

I'm glad it's a long weekend here in the States! I plan to thoroughly enjoy NOT PLANNING MY WEDDING ANYMORE!!! :) :) Have a great one!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

OPI You're Such a Budapest (gel color)

Got my first professional manicure today :O!!

My wedding is next Saturday, and I figured it would just be easier to get a gel manicure now and not have to worry about painting my nails the night before (plus, now I don't have to bring all my manicure stuff with me to Napa!)

The colour selection was kind of dinky, but I settled on OPI You're Such a Budapest, even though it was on the nail wheel labeled "Gelish" (*side eye*). It's a hair more purple than Essence Forget Me Not:

Originally, I wanted to wear Essie Cocktail Bling, but this will do.

The right hand nails turned out well, but the left hand index finger has a big ol' bubble :/ The left hand pinky has two little bubbles too... oh well, it was quite humid today, so I'll give the nail tech the benefit of the doubt.

FYI, I'm holding a needle felted narwhal, since I don't have the bottle.

Here's the narwhal in all its glory (a wedding favour! I'll post all of them when I get back)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kiko now Stateside! :O

Last week, I was shopping online for a necklace for my wedding. My comprehensive search of the internet included a search of all the jewelry stores at my two local shopping malls, one of which is Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ. Upon landing on the site's splash page, I saw they were promoting a new wing of the mall (I guess someone decided the mall was not big or crowded enough already... /dripping sarcasm) which included a Kiko store!! WUT WUT?? After my trip last April to London/Paris/Berlin was canceled, I had dejectly put my Kiko wishlist on the backburner. Apparently, the mall announced this wing and the list of stores back in December, and I guess no one in the beauty community noticed.

Anyway, they opened this past Thursday, and I forced DF to take me to the mall today. I had been looking forward to today very much, as the last two weeks of work have been incredibly hellish. Here's a picture of the facade I took before going in (and before DF went to Starbucks and then parked his butt outside the store waiting for me).

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any photos of the inside, as their store policy does not permit pictures inside. The store is very large (much larger than the Inglot and MUFE Boutique stores also at this glorious mall) and well organized. The permanent line flanks the left side of the store, the nail polishes on the right, and the stands on the floor display repeats of the permanent line as well as limited edition collections. The SAs were very nice, helpful, but not pushy. They all had great makeup, of course! I was very tempted to get the blue mascara that one was sporting, but I had to restrain myself since I would never, ever, get any wear out of it.

My very modest haul:

The infamous eyeshadow sticks which have been compared to the By Terry Ombre Star eyeshadow sticks ($43 USD... uhhhhh... ) and are $12 USD each, but were on offer for $7.90. I'm not sure what Kiko's sales strategy is (i.e., will these effectively always be on promotion?), but this pricing is consistent with the UK pricing (retail 6.90 GBP, currently on sale for 4.90 GBP. At today's exchange rate, this is equivalent to $11.38 and $8.08, respectively).

I picked up the following four shades:

The entire permanent line of eyeshadow sticks were there (black tubes), but I didn't see any of the white or silver packaging ones indicating LE. Since I suck at swatches, here are the some blogs with great swatches of the eyeshadow sticks: Drivel About Frivol, Cassandra Makeup Artist, Susielfa.

My crappy swatches, taken with bounce flash. One swipe each, guys. Now, I'm pretty sure these are going to crease on me (even with primer), but I couldn't resist getting these ones.

Taupe comparison... too many taupes, what am I doing with my life

I picked up 36 because it reminded me of Shiseido Beach Grass trio. Check out this love sandwich:

The nail polishes were $6 for the regular line, and $7 for their quick-dry line. I picked up the minty green shade, as I'm always looking for a dupe of American Apparel Office. Here are the bottles side by side, along with the last "dupe" I tried, Essie Fashion Playground.

My cuticles are in bad shape, so just swatch sticks comparison: 3 coats of the Essie and AA, 2 coats of the Kiko. The Kiko is pretty close to AA, but lighter and slightly less blue.

I chatted with the Assistant Manager while I was checking out, and I inquired about whether they will be taking phone orders: as of now, they don't, but they plan to launch their US site for online shopping in the near future. They are also planning on opening more locations in the US in the coming months (she mentioned another mall here in NJ and a NYC location). Apparently this is on the DL, but I figure if she told me, it must not be that top secret :P

Anyway, my trip to the mall was pretty successful. Picked up some seamless panties and a clutch for my wedding. We also went into every jewelry store to look for a necklace and earrings for the wedding, and I gotta say, jewelry SAs are 100x more invasive than beauty SAs. *autoplay* "No, I'm just looking." I did try on a very nice estate Y-necklace for $890 (all plat), but the chain was very short... DF said it was probably once upon a time for a rich little girl. LOL. I'll need to write-up a post for my wedding accessories, I think! :)

Have a great weekend!