Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bite Beauty Lush Lip Trio

I didn't participate in Black Friday this year, so I was shocked when a family member returned from shopping with this Bite lip gloss trio, one of Sephora's $10 Black Friday specials.  She saw the Bite lip pencils in my vanity and thought I probably would've purchased this for myself had I been with them. (Guilty as charged).  Since it's a special and I'm not sure if it's still available in stores, I'm just doing a mini-post here.

The Bite Lush Lip trio consists of three mini lip glosses that weigh in at 0.06oz each.  The shades are, L-R: Honey, Garnet, Strawberry.

I'm not sure why these photos are so dark, but it's dark out now so they'd look worse if I retook them. Sorry.

Here's Garnet-Strawberry-Honey.  And then I swatched them:



Of the three, only Honey is shimmery; both Garnet and Strawberry are creme glosses without shimmer.  I think this is a great value at $10, so if you see them at the store, grab them!

Quick Five- Beauty Gifts Under $25

In honor of the  holiday shopping season, I’ll be offering up a series of Quick Fives this week with my best holiday beauty gift ideas, grouped by price.  Hopefully these will give you some ideas on what to buy the beauty lover in your life. Happy Shopping!

Quick Five- Best Beauty Gifts $25 and under

1.     Bite Beauty Best Bite ($25)

I’ve previously raved about this gift set here.  These are beautiful pencils and an amazing deal.  Perfect for the high-end lippie lover on your list, or really anyone.

They can be found via Sephora.

2. Christian Dior Crème Abricot Nail Cream ($24.50)

I’ve previously admitted that this was my nail secret and that I can’t live without it. (Read my original review here).  It’s a product that will last the recipient forever, and they’ll be thinking of you every time they use it.  It’s a classic that nobody should be without.

It can be found at all of your local Dior counters.

3. Philosophy 3-in-1 Shower Gels ($7.50-16)

These are a classic choice for gifting. Period.

4. 21 Drops Quick Fix Gift Set, $15

 I'm just starting my journey with this brand, but have enjoyed the two essential oils I've sampled thus far.  This is a great value, and anyone would enjoy it. It's available via Sephora.

5. L'Occitaine Shea Irresistible Treats Set ($16)

 I adore L'Occitaine's Shea products, and haven't found anyone who doesn't.  At $16, this is a reasonably-priced gift that will be appreciated by the recipient all winter. This is available via Sephora.

The System by Formula X: A Second Look

I previously lamented about my experiences with the new Formula X and The System here.  In the month since, I picked up a set of my own during the VIB Sale (haul here).  I've been wearing it with every mani since, and have some new observations about The System that make it worth revisiting after just one month.

Just a quick word of warning- if this is incoherent at all, I haven't been able to have anything but clear liquids for almost 36 hours and I'm a bit shaky.

To review, The System consists of four Steps.

Step 1: Cleanse (blue liquid)
Step 2: Primer (pink base coat)
Step 3: Color
Step 4: Shine (top coat)

I purchased this because I enjoy matching polish with top/base coat.  As it turns out, Formula X can be used with any number of polishes.

Test #1: Formula X

I documented my woes in this post. I found The System lasted less than one day without a chip.

Test #2: Burberry

I'll save my full review of Burberry polish until later, but The System lasted two days for me with this formula.

Test #3: Dior

I tried it on two different polishes; I got the same result. About 2-3 days without chips with The System.

Test #4: Tom Ford

This had the best result, but I'm not sure if it's the nail lacquer or The System.  I got 5+ days wear.  I haven't tried other top coats, but got great wear time with The System and won't be trying others any time soon.

Overall, now that I've looked at The System for a full month, I find it a great value and would recommend it for anyone.  At $32 for three steps plus a bottle of colored lacquer, it's a deal.  Even though my wear times varied wildly, it's the best that I've found (aside from Deborah Lippmann's Gel Lab paired with Deborah Lippmann polishes) on the market.

NOTD: Essie Parka Perfect

Today's NOTD is Essie Parka Perfect, from the Holiday 2013 collection.  This lovely greyed light blue has some very fine silver glitter which is almost invisible on the nail but adds a sheen.

This was my only selection from Essie's holiday collection.

This blue makes me think of winter blue sweaters and winter pastels.  Bring them on!

Friday, November 29, 2013

NOTD: Clinique Fizzy

Today's NOTD is Clinique A Different Nail Enamel #03 Fizzy.  I really enjoy the formula on these.

Three coats, no top coat.  This might be that perfect neutral nail I've been in search of.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

NOTD: Ulta Candy Coated

Today's NOTD is Ulta Candy Coated.  This color just makes me think of Thanksgiving!

This rich brown metallic shade is a welcome addition to my stash. I have few browns, and love the richness of this shade.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my US-based readers- and use this time with your loved ones to recharge for tomorrow's shopping marathon!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Your MIA Quirky Beauty

Where's your QBB these days?  I'm sorry to say, life has put a pause on my blogging (other than the pre-queued NOTDs).  Which is terribly sad, because I have some fabulous things to blog about.

First, I'm hosting Thanksgiving (or not, as it turns out).  That has meant a lot of cleaning and shopping over the past week- and guests arrived Tuesday.  Unfortunately, I also got food poisoning at the same time.  So, Thanksgiving may be delayed a day- but until I'm on my feet again, it's just going to be NOTDs from me.

I can't wait to share some of my recent acquisitions with you though.

Dior Creme Abricot

Today I'm going to share with you one of my beauty secrets.  I keep my cuticles and nails in good shape despite changing polish frequently with Dior Creme Abricot.  I've tried many nail products and keep coming back to my beloved Dior.

Dior's Creme Abricot is advertised as a nail cream.  I can attest that it nourishes nails as well as cuticles. I always rub this into my bare nails and cuticles.

One of the keys is the amount that you need.  The cream on the lid is more than enough for both hands, possibly twice each.  Price per use is pennies, and the benefit is stunning. I can't remember what my hands were like before I started using it.

Bottom Line: A container lasts forever. This is a splurge that any beauty lover would love for the holidays, or for a treat at any point.  It's worth every penny.

Pricing/Availability: $24.50, via Dior retailers or their website

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NOTD: Julep Autumn

Today is the final NOTD from Julep's November 2013 collection.  Hooray!

Julep Autumn is a glitter topcoat in a shade that I don't have in my collection.

I tried something different on each nail:

Index: 2 coats of Autumn
Middle: 1 coat of Autumn
Ring: 1 coat of Brielle, 1 coat of Autumn (it got lost! I figured it would be a lovely combo)
Pinky: 1 coat Julep Faye, 1 coat Autumn

Monday, November 25, 2013

NOTD: Julep Nic

Today's NOTD is (you guessed it) still from Julep's November 2013 collection.

Nic is described as "black crimson creme."  It's difficult to see the depths of this color.  It's very nice, but I've got many similar shades.

Two coats, no top coat.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NOTD: Julep Lola

Today's NOTD is (you guessed it) part of Julep's November 2013 collection.  Lola is one of the outliers of the collection.  Last month, the outlier was Cleopatra, a latex finish.  This month features Lola, a navy polish with satin finish.

I like it- but I'd have to get used to not wearing a top coat (I'd likely destroy it in one day!).  Swatches are with two coats.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NOTD: Julep Brielle

Guess where this NOTD is from?  If you guessed Julep's November 2013 Right at Home Collection, you're correct.

Brielle is described as "deep autumn orange creme."  I find this to be a perfectly appropriate fall nail color, and it reminds me of some of the foliage.  I would've liked to have gotten this back in October when the leaves were this color, but it's still beautiful.

Swatches are two coats, no top coat.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow- Black Stream

Today I bring you the Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow stick that has brought me the most trouble trying to figure it out: Black Stream.

Black Stream is a rich, pigmented, shimmering black appropriate as a liner or as part of a very smoky eye.


Inside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:


NOTD: Julep Sheila

Today's NOTD is another selection from Julep's November 2013 collection. I'm going to deviate from the post for 2 sentences and mention that this is one of my complaints with Julep.  Sheila is a beautiful red released under the "classic with a twist" profile.  Every month, there's a red under CWaT.  One of the dangers of releasing that many new shades each year is repetition.  I'm starting to feel like I've seen most of the colors before.  That said, I enjoy being a Maven.

Back to the actual shade- this is "cherry pie red creme", and I agree.  Sheila is beautiful, and looks like a perfect holiday shade.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow- Pink Lagoon

Today, I'm featuring another one of the LE Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow sticks released for Summer 2013.  At last check, I did find this available online.  Hence, I feel ok posting this mini review. If I'd been blogging this past summer, I would've given quite the lengthy review. Instead, this is a quick wrap-up.

27 Pink Lagoon was my least-used shade until recently, when I discovered that pink is a great contouring color for me.

Here are some quick swatches:

Inside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:


Bottom Line: It's a lovely pink, and I highly recommend this formula, if you can track it down.

NOTD: Julep Aisha

Today's NOTD is Julep Aisha, another selection from the November 2013 collection.  Julep describes this as a "Wildberry purple creme."  I find it to be a warm pink/purple.

Swatches are with two coats, no top coat.  It's a lovely color, but not one of my favorites.  If I were to go back through my Julep polishes, I could probably find several similar shades released this year.

Sorry about the pictures, but it's already dark when I get home from work this time of year!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quick Five: Q + A with your Quirky Beauty

I'm not sure if anyone else is enjoying these, but I'm having a lot of fun writing them.  So, time for another round of Q +A!

1.  Is there any beauty item that you've coveted for a long time and couldn't bring yourself to purchase?

Yes, of course!  I can mention something that I picked up today on my way home from work.  Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Dominatrix.  I've been coveting that color since it was released but couldn't get my mind around the price point.  Spoiler alert: I picked up the shade that's being promoted for Holiday since I'm on a total neutral kick.  And since I'd broken that mental barrier, why not also nab the color I've looked at online for over a year?

2. Do you have any limited edition/discontinued items that you hoard or parcel out in tiny amounts?

You bet.  I have three that come to mind immediately. First, if I had the power to bring back any beauty product, it would be MAC Pearlglide Eyeliner in Wolf.  It's the perfect color.  Google it, I don't even like to swatch it.  Second, I managed to nab two bottles of Lush Snowcake perfume from a forum fragrance party a few years ago.  It comes out for the holiday. Mmm... snowcake.  Third, I have kept refrigerated constantly for more years than I'd like to admit Snowcake shower gel.  It's important to abide by Lush's expiration dates, but if you keep something in the fridge, it will last longer.

3. What's your current pedicure?

Marc Jacobs Le Charm, no top coat.  I'm testing it for durability.

4. Where do you do most of your beauty shopping?

Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom.  I prefer to buy in-person because I'm a visual person and impatient.  I also hit Macys, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Lord and Taylor and Bloomingdales counters in my area if I'm in hot pursuit of something.

5.  Do you ebay? You can save money there.

Not if I can avoid it. I'm a bit of a germaphobe. However, it's the only way to get some of the discontinued Chanel nail polishes.

That's it for this lightning round!  Please remember to submit your questions- you may see them in an upcoming post.

Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow- Blue Bay

I'm somewhat breaking my promise about limited edition products by showing you these Stylo sticks. However, they're still available via Chanel, Nordstrom, and others.

Originally released with the Summer 2013 collection, Chanel's Stylo Eyeshadow Sticks are Chanel's first forray into eyeshadow sticks.  And they're a home run.  They're rich in pigment, shimmer, and act like mini gel packs when you apply them (due to the cooling effect).

Blue Bay is a mid-toned blue.  It's quite lovely.

Here it is, swatched:

Inside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:


Bottom Line: I adore these Stylo eyeshadows.  If you can track one down, I highly recommend it.  I use this less frequently due to the color, but it's a great blue.

NOTD: Julep Chloe

Today's NOTD is another polish from Julep's November 2013 collection.  Notice a trend? I have some other new arrivals to show you, but I'm trying to show you all of the Juleps within the month I receive them.

Chloe is another of my favorites from this collection.  Julep describes it as a "warm cocoa frost."  I'd agree with this- it's a warm brown with distinct red undertones.  I believe I've noted on this blog before that I don't have many browns (something I've worked at remedying rather quickly!).  I can see myself reaching for this all fall and winter.

Swatches are two coats, no top coat.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quick Five: Essential Mani Tools

Today's Quick Five is a bit different- here are my essential mani tools.  Although most of my nail looks are swapped within a day, I do try for longevity from time to time.  Here are my top picks:

1. Nail Files: I love my Sephora glass file in combination with this plain pink nail file I bought at Harmon when I lived in the NYC area.  I love them so much that I buy a handful of these every time I'm back in the area.

2. Buffer: I use a Revlon Crazy Shine buffer that I picked up at Ulta.

3. Tools: My nail clipper is Sally Hansen, from the drugstore, and I use Sally Hansen nail nippers.

4. Hand Cream: What's a mani without a hand massage? I've been using Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream lately.

5. Cuticle Cream: Dior Creme Abricot is the OG for a reason.  I'll type out a review of it one of these days, but it's the only thing that has kept my cuticles healthy.

NOTD: Julep Winter

Today's NOTD is another selection from the November 2013 Julep collection.  Winter is a unique color in my collection.  This is an almost blue-grey but with some yellow undertones. It's hard to explain unless you see the bottle in person.  This is more yellow than Zoya Dove.  I would've liked to have contrasted this with Deborah Lippmann Chasing Pavements- but I don't have it.

Swatches are with two coats, no top coat.  I love this one and can see myself finishing this bottle.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quick Five with the Quirky Beauty

Even though I came up with the questions, I rather enjoyed the quick five with a Q+A.  Here's another edition for your reading pleasure.

1. What's the last product you repurchased? What will be your next?

Excluding items like cotton, makeup removing wipes, nail polish remover, etc- my last repurchase was NARS Pro-Prime Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Primer. Love it and use it daily. The next item will either be Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer or Diorshow Lash Plumping Formula- I'm not sure which is going first.

2. You've got a NOTD every day. How many bottles of nail polish do you have?

I'm not exactly sure- I stopped counting once I exceeded 500.  I keep a spreadsheet to keep me organized, and I have swatch sticks so I can visually find just the right color in my collection when I'm selecting a nail look.

3. How often do you change your nails? Do they actually match the NOTD?

It varies and sometimes.  I tend to wear polish for 1-2 days because chips drive me insane.  I'm on a computer all day at work and type at night, so I'm incredibly hard on polish.  I don't always match the NOTD because of my photography restrictions (on the weekends if I want an outside shot), but sometimes I do. I tend to swatch 10-15 looks back to back.

4. Isn't that hard on your nails?

Yes, but I use Zoya Remove+ (I find it conditions better than anything else) and Dior Apricot Nail Cream. It helps a lot.

5. Do you buy everything you review?

Yes, for the most part.  I've won a couple of items at events such as the Nordstrom Beauty Trend Shows, but carefully note that in the post.  I don't receive PR samples (although I'm open to that, PR reps- just email me!), so I have to buy where it's the best value.

5b. Then how do you afford it? Are you rich? Or do you have huge credit card bills?

Nope, not rich by any stretch of the imagination. I have a good career that keeps a roof comfortably over my head, but you wouldn't call me rich at all.  No, I don't have huge credit card bills. All beauty purchases are made in cash, debit, or with gift cards I redeemed with rewards points.  How do I actually do it?  Makeup and beauty products are a hobby to me.  I budget for them and allow for a certain level of spending- like another form of entertainment. I'm frugal in other way to compensate.

That's it for this time!  Please remember to submit your own questions!

Calvin Klein CK One Color Pure Color Lipstick- Miss Me?

Today, I bring you a selection from the Calvin Klein CK One color collection re-launched exclusively at Ulta.

This is the CK One Color Pure Color Lipstick.  It's somewhat of a satin finish- not super glossy, but not totally matte either.

It's a lovely berry shade:

It's bold and very pigmented. This showed up well in swatches:

Inside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:


I had an utterly terrible time photographing this on my lips.  This is the only shot I was able to get (outside):

Overall, I think it's a nice lipstick.  Nothing overly fancy, but also something I could see being a reliable go-to.  I haven't worn it as much as I thought I would after buying it back in September.  Staying power is reasonable- 2-3 hours without drinking.  That may seem short to most, but that's average wear on my lips.

Bottom Line: It's a reasonably priced line with a creamy formula that's worth checking out.

Pricing/Availability: $16, exclusively at Ulta.

NOTD: Julep Alexandra

Today's NOTD is another polish from Julep's November 2013 collection.  Alexandra is an off-white/light yellow that's just not my cup of tea.  I found it streaky and hard to work with.

These swatches are with three coats, no top coat.  I suspect this is the only time I'll have this on my nails alone- this one might be better suited for darker complexions.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Dreaming

Sorry for the delayed Sunday Dreaming post!  Believe it or not, I'm working on some NOTD posts.  I was able to take advantage of the approximate 2 hours of sunlight to swatch a few shades.  Although I technically am plenty ahead, I'd rather show you some of the newer acquisitions first!

Beauty and Fragrance:

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Showstopper Holiday Set- $98

I'm a huge fan of two of the products I have from Marc Jacobs Beauty (my Magic Marc'er and the Genius Gel Foundation (review to come)).  I'm changing my opinion on the nail lacquers, especially since my Le Charm pedi without topcoat is going strong well into week #2. This holiday set seems like a great way to try a series of products.  Available at Sephora.

Fresh Sugar Treasures- $50

I'm a hopeless addict to Fresh's Sugar Lip Balm.  I've been dying to try some of the other shades, but at $22.50 each, it's a bit of an investment.  In case you're curious, it's the Cherry that's got my eye right now. This set looks like a great way to try a number of the shades.  Available at Sephora.

Drybar The Morning After Kit- $35

I've loved both products from Drybar that I've tried (review on brush #2 coming this week). I'd love to try their dry shampoo, and I've been needing a good shower cap anyhow.  This set looks like a good way to do both.  Available at Sephora.

Caudalie Nourishing Body Lotion- $36

I've been wanting this lotion for months, but can't pull the trigger due to the price point.  It's not an ultra-moisturizing cream.  it's just a lovely lotion though. It has the Caudalie grape leaves smell.  Available at Sephora.

I'm on the hunt for a beautiful black tweed skirt.  I fell in love with this Jones New York skirt online:

I love that fabric. However, when I went to the store to try it on, I discovered that it looked dreadful on me.  I love my curves, but that particular A-line skirt looked like a straight-up triangle on me.  Not exactly a flattering look for anyone above a size 0.  A colleague wore a beautiful black tweed skirt this past week, too.  Now I'm on the hunt...


Le Creuset Signature 9" Iron Handle Skillet- $120

I've been doing more cooking that requires a skillet lately.  I've been really wishing that I had a better skillet (mine are cheap and 10 years old).  Slowly, I've been buying better kitchen tools.  I may be asking for this for Christmas (I know I'm asking for a French Oven!).  Available at Le Creuset.

That's some of the things I've been looking at this week. But to be honest, I'm pretty content with all of my recent beauty purchases.