Monday, March 31, 2014

Urban Decay's Electric Nail Polish Trio Review+Swatches

I was checking out at Ulta the other day, and this little beauty caught my eye.  I had heard about the Electric Palette being released from UD, but I didn't know they were releasing nail polish in the same line.  These retail for $12, and although they are mini-size, I think that's a pretty good deal (full-size is $15 a pop). 

L to R: Deep End, Goldmine, Woodstock

Deep End: A peacock, green-blue metallic
Goldmine: A gold, glitter top-coat
Woodstock: A neon-pink creme
Deep End
Deep End was the color I was most attracted to in this set, and it mostly did not disappoint.  It was surprisingly sheer, and I had to use three coats to get to the opacity seen here.  It also took forever to dry, which was annoying.  Granted, I'm one of those people who needs to touch everything as soon as I finish painting my nails, but this polish still dented even about 10 minutes after I had finished (That includes me trying to 'dry' them under cold water).  Despite these faults, the color is absolutely gorgeous.  And depending on the lighting, it will look more blue or more green.  I didn't use a top-coat, because I like to see the natural finish and how long the polish will last without one.  This polish was so shiny, I don't think I would bother using a top-coat anyway, and it lasted 4 days before I started noticing any chipping.  If you don't mind working a little harder for your manicure, this is a great color, but if you're feeling a little more low-maintenance, you might not be too fond of this little guy. 

Deep End + Goldmine
I honestly didn't think I'd like the gold glitter paired with Deep End, but it pleasantly surprised me.  I've been enjoying glitter as an accent on my ring and pinky-fingers, so that's what I did here.  This glitter distributes pretty well, and is nicely build-able if you're a fan of some serious sparkle.  I like how it enhanced the peacock effect of Deep End on my nails. 

Woodstock behaved a lot better than Deep End.  It went on just as smoothly, but I only needed two coats to reach opacity.  It also dried a lot faster, so no annoying dents in this manicure!  Although it looks pretty shiny in the picture above, it actually dried to a demi-matte finish.  This finish reminded me of the Formula X for Sephora Neon formula, but looks much better than those do (I've tried the ones that come in their The Twenty-Two set).  This also lasted 4 days without a top-coat before it began to chip. 

Woodstock + Goldmine
I really like how the gold glitter pairs with Woodstock.  I think it's a pretty combo, and I'm pleased that the glitter pairs well with both colors that were included in this trio.

Overall, I'm pleased with this trio.  I don't think it's necessarily a must-have, but I also don't feel like I wasted my money.  I enjoy all three polishes, and I think this set is a nice way to try out some UD polishes if you're like me, and haven't given any of the full-sizes a go (Or if you're like me in that you enjoy hoarding mini nail-polishes).  Have you tried any polish from UD?  What did you think?  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How To: Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish in Wined Up $3 and Number Four Non-Aerosol Hairspray $30 (full size) 
It's been a while since I've had to deal with a nail-polish spill, especially on carpet, so when this happened the other day, I freaked out for a minute.  I hit the carpet with some nail-polish remover, but since my carpet is a light beige and the nail polish is wine-colored, there was a considerable amount of pink color left on the carpet.  I turned to Google, and found out that apparently hairspray is supposed to help remove nail polish from carpet.  I saturated the spill with some of Number Four's Non-Aerosol Hairspray (but I think any brand should work), let it sit for a minute, then scrubbed at it with an old toothbrush.  It was magic.  The color was completely gone.  To finish up the job, I just poured a little water over the area that I just hairsprayed, and blotted it with a towel.  Done.  I hope you never have to deal with the stress of spilt nail polish, but if you do, I hope this little tip helps prevent a freak-out like mine :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mini Taupe Shoe Haul

My name is Miki, and I am addicted to the color taupe.  Especially for shoes.  I've been noticing lately that every time I spot a pair of taupe shoes, I have to investigate.  Unfortunately, there have been two times in the past couple of months that I haven't been able to just say 'no'.  So today I bring you the manifestation of my obsession.

Audrey Brooke Barry Pump- DSW $70
 I don't know why I ever think I can just window-shop at DSW, but the last time I went, I saw these puppies and just had to have them.  Speaking of pups, Mina kept trying to be in the picture, but when I told her she couldn't be the star of this shoot, she settled for being in the background, daw:)  Anyway, these Mary Jane's have a suede upper and 3.25" stacked heel, and oh my are they comfy.  Miss Audrey really knows her way around a cute shoe.  This is my second pair from her, and the style and fit do not disappoint.  These are perfectly true-to-size, and the material around the toes has enough give that even with my bunion (sorry, TMI), these are still comfortable if I'm on my feet for hours at a time.  It's love.  
Lauren Conrad Ankle Booties- Kohl's $80 $32
These boots.  Yes, these boots.  These boots are the only reason I'm okay with summer not being here yet (Although I can't promise I'll stop wearing them just because it's flats and wedges season).  These have faux-leather panels on the back and toe, along with the belt-detail, and a canvas panel on the front.  The 3.5" stacked heels give nice height whilst still being extremely comfortable.  I've worn these on day-long shopping trips and my feet had no problems.  Again, these are true-to-size but with a sock-adjustment (I go up half a size for shoes that I wear with socks, so I got the Mary Jane's in a 6.5 and these in a 7).  The best part is that these are now on sale for only $32 (and Kohl's is always offering coupons for additional savings), so definitely snatch these up before they're gone!

Besides the color and comfort of these shoes, I also love how versatile they are.  These shoes can be paired with dressier, more feminine styles but also with super-casual ones.  Here, I've paired both pairs of shoes with a white, lacy skirt and my favorite distressed jeans.  And honestly, I can't even decide which way I like better.  What shoes have you been loving lately?   

Friday, March 21, 2014

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Review+Swatches

I got my first SMLC ($6) in Antwerp a couple years ago and was smitten.  It went on so smoothly, had great pigmentation, and lasted about 6 hours on me before I noticed any fading.  On top of that, it was pretty transfer-proof (hello, date-night lippie!)  For how much I love it, I don't know why it took me this long to go pick up some more, but I finally did, and wanted to share my thoughts. And don't forget to check out Part 2 for more colors!

Top to bottom: Antwerp, Amsterdam, Morocco, Zurich, Buenos Aires
 First off, when I swatched these on my hand, I knew right away which ones were going to give me a little more trouble.  Where I only needed one and two passes of Morocco and Zurich, respectively, to get these swatches, I had to build up Antwerp (although I'm pretty sure this is just be because I need a new tube), Amsterdam, and especially Buenos Aires.  However, when it came to the lips, the only one that ended up really being difficult to work with was Buenos Aires. 
Buenos Aires
 Because these lip creams are matte, any flakiness on the lips will be accentuated, and I found this especially to be the case with Buenos Aires.  This color is described by NYX as a soft coral, and is oddly sheer for a matte lip product.  It applied very streakily and this is after about four coats (I usually use two with these).  Easily my least-favorite of the bunch. 

 After Buenos Aires, applying Zurich was a relief.  This is what I remembered SMLC's being like!  A muted, dusty rose, this applied evenly, no streaks, only took two coats, and didn't show flakiness nearly as much as Buenos Aires.  This is a great everyday color.

 Ah, my beloved Antwerp.  Described as a mid-tone, yellow-toned pink, this color isn't translating quite as brightly as it actually is.  This one went on the same as Zurich, although I noticed it did feel a bit thinner.  Again, this could be that the formulation is actually just somewhere between Buenos Aires and Zurich but applies more like Zurich, or I am just nearing the end of my tube.  Either way, this remains one of my favorites.

 Talk about a statement lip.  Morocco is a bright, clean, red-orange and went on the smoothest and most opaquely of the bunch.  Sorry Antwerp, I think I have a new favorite.  Although I don't know the comparable wear time of these new ones, I have high hopes for their performance ability (I'll update this if I find later that the wear-time significantly differs from Antwerp).  As far as color and application though, Morocco is a must-have. Also--this is a dupe for MAC's Lady Danger! 

Amsterdam, a neutral red, applied very much like Antwerp.  It has that consistency somewhere between Buenos Aires and Zurich/Morocco.  Since this one followed Morocco, I wasn't blown out of the water by it, but it definitely a solid performer in the SMLC line.  

Of the five, Morocco, Zurich, and Antwerp (there's no ending our love-affair) are my must-haves.  Buenos Aires is the only one I wouldn't recommend, so I'm thinking/hoping its formulation is just a fluke in the line.  It definitely won't stop me from trying more colors!  Have you tried the SMLC's?  What are your favorites? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DIY Idea: Monogrammed Toms

I was asked by a couple friends to monogram some Toms, and while it's a little intricate, it actually wasn't as difficult as I originally imagined.  

What you'll need is: 
1. A printed monogram that fits the size of your shoe
2. A thumbtack
3. A thin paintbrush (think eyeliner brush)
4. Acrylic paint in the color of your choice

Then all you have to do is:
1. Using the thumbtack, poke holes through the monogram
2. Taking the paintbrush, dot the paint of your choice through the holes onto the shoe
3. Remove the paper and connect the dots! 
I haven't yet found the best acrylic sealer to apply to these, but unless you wear these in heavy rain, they will be fine.  The ones above are unsealed. 

These were sealed with a spray-on, acrylic sealer, and as you can see, there was some bleeding and a bit of a gray-cast that came along with it.  Therefore, I would recommend no sealer rather than a spray-on kind.  If you still prefer a sealer, definitely check out your local crafts store (Michael's, AC Moore, etc.), but test out the sealer before you commit it to your finished shoe (mine took about 45 minutes each to finish).

Of course, if you don't have Toms or don't want to purchase some just for this, the same trick can be applied to just about any surface--just change the size of your monogram (or other stencil) before printing to suit your surface!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Orly's Rage

When I can, I like to purchase nail polish in mini-form since I'm constantly trying new colors, and can never get through a full-size bottle.  However, as soon as I tried Orly's Rage, I realized that I probably could have gone full-size on this baby.
Here in small-size: $4 Original: $8.50

Rage is described by Orly as a rose-gold, foil, shimmer.  The foil-factor on this polish really is quite spectacular.  When you look closely, it appears as if there is super finely-milled rose-gold glitter suspended in a silver base. 

In addition to how beautiful it looks, it also glides on like a dream.  It is one of the smoothest polishes I have ever worked with, not at all streaky, mostly opaque with one coat and fully opaque with two, and dries almost instantaneously.  This truly is a no-fuss, out-the-door color if you ever find yourself in a pinch to get your nails done.  

Two coats

Because of how shiny it is, I don't use a top coat, and I still don't see any chipping for about 3-4 days (This is my third time using this polish).  I even went hiking/rock climbing on day 2 of this polish (today is day 3) and I still see zero chipping.  If you're a fan of rose-gold, this polish is easily my favorite, and I highly recommend it.
What colors and formulas have you been loving recently?

Current Favorite Neutral Lipstick Combo

 At the moment, every time I'm unsure of what I want to wear on my lips, I've been reaching for the same combo of lipsticks from MAC.  Both from the permanent line, Twig (satin) is a soft, rose-brown and Viva Glam V (lustre) is a sheer, shiny version of Twig with a pearl finish. 

Viva Glam V front, Twig back

Twig top, Viva Glam V bottom

When I want to wear this combo for a lighter look, I tap (rather than swipe) on Twig directly from the tube on both lips, and follow up by tapping Viva Glam V on the center of my bottom lip (By highlighting the center of the bottom lip, you can achieve fuller-looking lips.  To further enhance, you can also highlight your cupid's bow, and/or dust a little bronzer right below the fullest part of your lower lip.).  Of course, you can always amp up the look by swiping on the color rather than tapping, or by building up the tapped-on layers.  

Here, I've paired this neutral lip with neutral eyes, cheeks, and even sweater (lol).  I was having a very demure day.  However, this lip-look would also pair well with just about any eye-look, including smokey eyes or jewel-toned colors for a couple ideas.  
What are your favorite lip combos at the moment?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mina at the Beach!

Today was pup's first time at the beach!  Since it's pretty early in the year, it wasn't crowded so she was able to run and play all day.  I wanted to teach her to catch a frisbee, but I made the mistake of showing her I brought a tennis ball first.  

This dog is obsessed with tennis balls.  Even when she was lying in the sand out of fatigue, if someone so much as moved in the direction of where she left the tennis ball, she was up and offering tricks to get it thrown for her.  That's the funny thing about Mina--I ask her to do tricks for the tennis ball, but most of the time, she just does all the tricks in her repertoire as soon as I pick up the ball, hoping that she'll do the one I want faster so she can get the ball ASAP.   
Anyway, we had a blast, and I can't wait to take her back to the beach.  Hopefully next time, the local donut shop will be open.  Britt's is the end-all of donuts, and if you're in the Carolina area, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about ;).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Escada Cherry in the Air Perfume in a Candle

I don't know about you, but I get so many little perfume samples that, most of the time, I don't even know what I have.  When I finally get around to checking out my collection, I have found on occasion that I had fallen in love with a limited edition perfume that is no longer available (I'm looking at you, CK One Summer 2006).  While that isn't entirely the case with this one (there is a rollerball version available at Sephora that is currently being added to my shopping cart), I'm still kind of feeling like I missed out on Escada's Cherry in the Air that was released as limited edition for the spring/summer of 2013.  
(Notes: black cherry, raspberry, mandarin, marshmallow, gardenia, coconut, sandalwood, oakwood)

That's why, when I was sniffing around Bath and Body Works' 2/$22 candle sale and found Tokyo Petals, I felt like I was transported back to where I should have been when Escada released Cherry in the Air.  Needless to say, I snatched that bad boy right up, and burned him as soon as I got home.  
(Notes: Japanese iced sake, cherry blossoms, berries)

While the candle is a bit sweeter-smelling where the perfume is a bit muskier, unless I'm going back and forth trying to find differences in the scent, their smells are almost indistinguishable.  If you're like me and missed out on the full-size Escada perfume, or just love sweet and fruity scents with an edge, definitely check out Tokyo Petals before it too disappears.

Nail Looks

Here are some ideas for really simple nail color combinations.  Please excuse my cuticles and enjoy!

(Follow Me on Glitter Nicole by OPI)

I think for how this first look appears, it is super simple to do.  I only used one glitter polish, and while mine is silver, grey, and blue glitter suspended in clear polish, you can use any color as long as it has a clear base.  All I did was pat, not paint, the glitter on my nails.  I started at the tip to concentrate the glitter at the top, and worked my way down to the base of the nail.  Then just repeat this process, or continue to only pat color on the tip to increase the gradient.  I usually don't use a top coat over glitters because I like the gritty look, but if you want your glitter extra shiny, feel free to add a top coat!

(I Don't Bite Sephora by OPI-base, Justa' Pinch of Glitter Sephora by OPI-accent)

One of my favorite looks--I wear variations on this look all the time!  For this, I painted two coats of the purple color on all of my nails except the accent nail.  On the accent nail, I painted one coat of the purple color, and two coats of the glitter.  The glitter is silver in a translucent, black base.  Because it's not fully opaque, I like to have a base layer of the color that appears on the other nails.  I find that even if it seems as though you can't see the color peeking through, it actually makes a huge difference for making the accent nail match the others while also standing out.  Again, since I used a glitter here, I didn't use a top coat on any of my nails since I didn't want my non-glitter nails to be shinier than the accent nail.

(I'm Wired Sephora by OPI-base, Read My Palm Sephora by OPI-accent)

Get ready to see this aquamarine color a lot--it's one of my faves!  For this look I painted two coats of the coral color on all of my nails.  Once it was completely dried, I placed a piece of tape diagonally across the middle of my middle and ring fingers.  Leaving a small gap, I then placed a piece of striping tape parallel to the scotch tape (It's handy to put the tape on your hand before your nails to remove some of the tackiness so it doesn't disrupt the base color).  I then painted two coats of the aquamarine color.  This step I did pretty quickly so I could remove the tape before the polish could dry too much.  By removing the tape before the polish dries, it prevents cracking and otherwise unwanted color removal.  Then just apply your favorite top coat, and you're done!

(Read My Palm Sephora by OPI-base, Wild Cactus Color Club-accent, Only Gold for Me Sephora by OPI-glitter top coat)

This one is pretty straight-forward.  Two coats of the aquamarine color on all but the accent nail, and two coats of the dark-teal color on the accent nail.  Then, one coat of the glitter top-coat on all of the nails.  I first tried this look with the glitter only on the accent nail, but found applying it to all the nails really pulled the look together. 

(Break a Leg Warmer! Sephora by OPI-base, Read My Palm Sephora by OPI-accent, Matte About You Essie-top coat)

This is the last time you'll see Read My Palm from me, I promise!  Anyway, this one is pretty similar to the one above: two coats of the grey on the non-accent nails, two coats of the aquamarine on the accent nails, and one coat of the matte top-coat on all of the nails.  I've found that if I'm unsure whether or not to mattify my nails, I always prefer the way it looks matte with this simple type of look.