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NOTD: Zoya Pandora

February 13, 2012

I did go with Zoya’s Pandora for my nails today. I remembered it being more pink but it’s definitely a nude with pink and shimmery tones. I still love it, though! I really like Zoya polishes a lot. The application is consistently good and they have so many colors.

Zoya Pandora

Since it’s not very pink, I might put a coat of ChG Ruby Pumps on top tomorrow, just because. And my Birchbox is scheduled to arrive this afternoon, so hopefully I remember to take pics and do a post. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Review/Update: Julep Nail Polish

February 12, 2012

I posted about my Julep Maven subscription last week, and I wanted to give a brief update on the polish itself. It wore pretty well and was completely chip-free for almost exactly a week. The first chips showed up after a rough day of dishwashing followed by picking out horse hooves, so I think that’s completely reasonable. Two fingers chipped pretty badly while the rest were fine.

It was a little difficult to remove (using acetone) for a non-glitter polish, but not unbearably so. I have to say, I liked the staying power enough that I do plan to keep my subscription to the Julep Maven program for at least another month. I’m still hoping the cuticle oil pops up again so I can grab it. I still like Zoya at least as much, but with shipping, the Maven program is a decent deal, too.

Next up, I think, is Zoya’s Pandora: Pink for Valentine’s Day.

Subscription Review: Julep Maven

February 6, 2012

I adore the idea of monthly beauty and fashion subscriptions. I’m signed up on almost every site, from JewelMint to Shoedazzle to Birchbox, although Birchbox was (until last week) my only active subscription. I want to try them all, but I’m on a somewhat limited budget at the moment, so I haven’t had much of a chance. Oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever written a review of Birchbox, which is a disaster that needs to be remedied. I’m going to wait until I get my February box so I can take pictures and stuff, though. I love getting stuff in the mail, and actual products are way better than magazines.

Last week, I found a discount code for the Julep Maven program and decided to give it a shot, especially since I was near a Weight Watchers goal (this seems to be my excuse for every purchase lately). In case you haven’t heard of it, Julep Maven is a (duh) monthly nail polish subscription. As is typical, you take a style quiz and they match you up with one of several box types. You can log on to the site and see your box before it ships; you can also choose a different one if yours doesn’t appeal, send it to a friend, or skip the month altogether. There’s a fairly narrow window to do so — you have to log in between the 20th and 24th of the month.

I have a very small nail polish addiction (I only have about 30, which I think is eminently reasonable) and I like taking quizzes online, so I enjoyed the sign up process even if half of my answers were nonsense because I didn’t actually like any of the options. I ended up getting “Classic with a Twist,” which seemed close enough and was actually the box I liked most for February anyway. I placed my order and received the box three days later — from the West Coast, no less. A+ for shipping speed, Julep!

Here’s what it looked like when it arrived:

the shipping box

The shipping box is nice and sturdy, and reasonably attractive — it reminds me of Smashbox and MAC’s packaging. Inside, the first thing I saw was a little card detailing the contents as well as a welcome letter and some information about the program.

paper stuff

Underneath that was some fun red and gold paper packaging stuff, a chocolate Oscar statue thing (I think that’s what it’s meant to be), and the bag containing the products all tied up with a red ribbon.

chocolate oscar

I haven’t eaten the chocolate yet (and no, I have no idea how this has happened), so I can’t tell you anything about it. And finally we get to my actual box contents for the month.

meryl, oscar, and top coat for hair

On the left is Meryl, a grey creme polish. This is the main reason I went with the Classic with a Twist box, because somehow I forgot I already have a grey creme polish and was really excited about it. In the middle is Oscar, a gold glitter that looks super sparkly in the bottle. And on the right is Top Coat, which I think is a shine spray for hair. I was kind of meh about that one, since I already have (and like) a Redken spray for that purpose. (Thanks, Birchbox!)

Since I was most excited about Meryl, I used it to paint my nails yesterday. You’ll forgive the sloppiness as usual, I hope.

julep meryl

I like the polish but I’m not in love with it. This is two coats; the first coat was streaky and uneven, as creme polishes can be. I’d heard such rave reviews, though, that I was a little disappointed. This color, at least, is definitely not opaque in one coat. (To be fair, Julep recommends two coats, so it does work as advertised.) It’s a nice enough color but I think I prefer Zoya Dove, which I know is not the same. I think I’d have liked Meryl better had I gotten it in, say, December, when I still felt wintery. With spring coming on I don’t see myself wearing it a lot. I’ve been wearing this for about 24 hours now and no chips (with my usual Sally Hansen base coat and Seche Vite top coat), but I haven’t been doing a whole lot with my hands either.

I haven’t tried Oscar yet, but I’m hoping I feel a little more wowed by it. I’ll probably try the Top Coat next time I go out, even if it’s just to the grocery store, to see how I feel about it.

On reflection, I wish I’d gone with the American Beauty box, because I am always in need of cuticle oil and theirs comes in a handy-looking roller bottle. I didn’t think I wanted the berry red Glenn polish but I’d probably have liked it more than the grey, and it’s not a color I already have. Oh well.

So, will I keep my subscription? At $19.99/month, I’m not sure. I know their polishes are pricey so it does represent a decent value if you’re going to buy Julep anyway. Compared to China Glaze or Zoya, though, it’s not all that great. Also, the bottle itself drives me kind of nuts. I can’t seem to get the cap back on exactly square, and the tall shape made me afraid I was going to knock it over every time I dipped the brush. Still, I think I’ll see what the March box looks like and make a decision then.

Curl Up and Dye

February 4, 2012

Yeah, worst title ever, I know. It’s the name of a salon somewhere in town (and I’m sure in your town, too), and it just fit, so there.

I’ve lost 10.5lb on Weight Watchers so far, and I’ve decided to reward myself along the way so I stick with it. An aside on that: I do believe in health at every size and don’t think everyone needs to lose weight. I do, though. I’m not healthy but I’m working on it, and weight loss is part of that, for me.

Anyway, I decided yesterday that I was bored to death with my hair. It hasn’t been cut since July; I’m thinking I’d like to grow it out again and see how I feel about it long. I can’t do much with it right now since it’s about shoulder length. I hadn’t dyed it since July, either, and it felt like it was about time. I’d also seen a tutorial on YouTube for bendy rollers, and since all my other hair curling experiments have resulted in major fail, I thought I’d give it a try.

So I hit up the Sally Beauty Supply with my 15% off coupon and picked up some dyeing supplies and the aforementioned bendy rollers. I got the same color I used last time, which is Ion Color Brilliance (or something) in 5R. I got the liquid this time, as last time I found it a pain in the rear to get the creme and developer to mix.

The Goods

The Goods

Don’t you love my horrible dresser? Anyway. Here’s what I started with:

Before

I mixed up the color and tried (I really did try) to part my hair into sections and apply it properly with the brush and everything. I’d forgotten to get gloves, so I was working with a Ziploc bag on one hand. Anyway, it got overwhelming and confusing and despite my best efforts, I still can’t see/work with the hair on the back of my head, so I gave up and did my usual routine of just treating it basically like shampoo. I didn’t work it all the way down to the ends since that part was already lighter. I left it for half an hour then worked it into the ends, waited another fifteen minutes, and shampooed it out.

At this point I realized I wasn’t going to get to actually see the color right away, because the rollers need to go in damp hair. Alas. I’ve used the same color before, though, so I thought it would probably be fine. I’m also going to post a review of the Ion color and some information about home hair dyeing for the inept, but briefly: I like it.

I rolled up my hair, which was surprisingly easy with these bendy rollers. You just start at the bottom and roll towards your head. I found it easier to place the roller about 1/3 of the way up, wrap the bottom part of the hair around, and then finish rolling. That way I wasn’t losing pieces since I have layers in my hair. End result: Medusa.

Rawr.

Totally hot, right? I decided I was going to leave them in overnight, so I wrapped a scarf around my head and went about my evening. They weren’t too uncomfortable to sleep in, honestly, and they stayed really well thanks to the scarf. And now you can see how scary I look when I wake up (PUFFY!), because this is what happened when I took them out:

Elizabeth Bennet gone awry

But I knew they’d fall out as the day went on, which indeed they did. I also squished them a bit as I went about my errands and such (needed a hat), and I didn’t spray them at all. Here’s what they looked like 9 hours later:

Kinda curly

Definitely just slightly curly and wavy, and the very ends of some of the pieces had basically gone straight and look funny. Overall, though, I’m really happy with how it worked out, and with the color. I’ll definitely be playing with the rollers some more and doing more to style the curls.

So maybe I’ll start blogging here again…

January 11, 2012

I’m not really sure. I tend to start out and then stop because I can’t keep up with posting or don’t have anything interesting to say. However, in 2012, I’m trying to focus a bit more on myself, so I might have something to say.

I sort of gave up on the fashion experiment. I do have a few outfits but I rarely even put on makeup anymore and most of the time when I go out, it’s to the barn in breeches and paddock boots. I did wear makeup on Monday night and my riding instructor was like, “Do you have makeup on? You look really… nice or something today.” So maybe I’ll start putting forth the effort again.

As I near 33, my skin is starting to look a bit older. I still have breakouts and blackheads and giant dark circles under my eyes and redness, and just ugh. So one of my top priorities is to get that taken care of. I think I’m going to go with Dermalogica. I started using their MediBac line late last year and while I like it, I don’t think it’s the right thing for me. I didn’t have their Skin Mapping analysis done, just a recommendation from an Ulta associate. So I’m going to do the mapping this month when they offer it and see what comes up.

I’ve also decided 2012 is the year of Nice Unders. After lots of recommendations from a friend, I finally bit the bullet and bought a bunch from Aerie, and I love them. Even at about a size 20, the XXL boy briefs fit about perfectly. And they’re cute. I was so sick of not-cute underwear.

Finally, I’ve joined Weight Watchers again. I had success with it about 8 years ago, and I’d like to lose weight to be able to ride better, and scuba dive better, and get my tall boots to zip. This is my first week, day four, and so far I’ve managed to stick to it. That’s more than I can say for any of my more recent attempts. I think I’m just more convinced this time.

So, anyway, hi again, and all that.

Shiny and New

January 13, 2010

So I had ExtraBucks from CVS, and a few coupons to use. I picked up the new L’Oreal Go 360 face wash with “Scrublet” (this cracks me up) as well as the (omg) Revlon PhotoReady foundation.

Thus far I’ve used each once. I got the Sensitive Skin version of the face wash, partly because it’s got a blue bottle and scrublet but mostly because I have sensitive skin. It felt surprisingly delightful to use, and hours later my face still feels nice and clean without being dry (I did use my toner and lotion as well, of course). I’ll post a real review after I’ve used the stuff for a week or two, though. Cross your fingers for no new milia.

The PhotoReady foundation is awesomesauce. Seriously. I love it. I thought I loved my ColorStay, but it turns out I didn’t. I haven’t yet noticed the sparkle in it — a few reviewers have pointed out that it looks almost glittery, but maybe my lighting just isn’t right to notice that? It doesn’t look as matte as the CS, which I like, especially in the dry-skin winter. I’m going to keep using it to see how it feels throughout the day and do a real review after a few more days.

Neanderthals Just Wanna Look Good Too!

January 12, 2010

No really! This is an interesting article about archaeologists finding really old cosmetic artifacts. Bet THAT mascara needs to be replaced, hm?