Monday, June 30, 2014

NOTD: OPI Skyfall

Today's NOTD is another selection from the Holiday 2012 OPI James Bond Collection.

Skyfall is a burgundy creme that's almost a one-coater.

Swatches are with 2 coats, no top coats.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Dreaming

It's time for one of my favorite posts of the week- Sunday Dreaming!  I have a distinct theme this week- items I've sampled (not in adequate quantity to review) but want to purchase in full.

1. Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment ($14-42)

photo via

I swear this hair mask is pure magic. I was devastated when I used up my two sample packets, because it allowed me to shower at night and still wear my hair down the following day. That's a net gain of about 45 minutes of sleep!  It's pricey, but worth it. I was suddenly sorry that I'd cashed in my Ulta rewards to buy essentials.

2. Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner ($34)

Photo via
Yes, another hair treatment.  I went on a bit of a "use it up" kick with hair samples and discovered a few treatments that may be worth investing in. This deep conditioner has two different substances that combine for one treatment.

3. Shiseido Refining Primer ($30)

Photo via Nordstrom

I recently received a deluxe mini of this with a Shiseido GWP. Short and sweet, I've fallen for it and want to get the full size so I can test this long enough to talk about it!

4.  Shiseido Lacquer Rouge RD311 ($25)

Photo via Nordstrom

This was used on me recently and RD311, Rubelite, is a lovely neutral shade. It's in the same color family as my beloved Lancome Lip Lover Beige Adage.

Those are my most-coveted items of the week.  What is everyone else dreaming of?

NOTD: OPI The Spy Who Loved Me

Today's NOTD is another selection from the Holiday 2012 OPI James Bond Collection.

The Spy Who Loved Me is a cheery red metallic packed with gold glitter. Swatches are with two coats, no top coat.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

NOTD: OPI Moonraker

Today's NOTD is a selection from the Holiday 2012 OPI James Bond Collection.

Moonraker is a beautiful blue metallic polish.  It's much darker than Sky Line.

Two coats, no top coat.

Friday, June 27, 2014

L'Occitane Honey Shea Hand Cream

I haven't blogged extensively about lotions in the past, but it shouldn't be a surprise that L'Occitane Shea Hand Creams are some of my favorites. For years, I've loved the unscented, traditional shea cream. Lately, I've been checking out some of the multitude of available scents.

Today, I'll be talking about the L'Occitane Honey Hand Cream ($12, 1.0oz at Nordstrom).

Honey is almost cloyingly sweet; it's overwhelming.  I was surprised at the scent, to be honest. I generally love L'Occitane's products and have tried other scents in the hand creams. I also generally love honey.  There's something about this particular product that isn't appealing to me, although I'm going to use it up. If honey is your favorite scent, I recommend trying this first. In terms of moisturizing, this performs just like the other products in the line.

NOTD: OPI Casino Royale

Today's NOTD is from the OPI Holiday 2012 James Bond Collection.

Casino Royale is a saturated berry creme.  These swatches are with two coats, no top coat.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Formula X Smooth Nail Ridge Filler Base Coat

As you may imagine, my nails aren't in fantastic shape due to the constant polish changes. So, I rely upon great base and top coats to disguise my brittle nails. Lately, I've been loving Formula X Smooth Nail Ridge Filler.

Formula X Smooth Ridge Filler ($14, 0.4oz) is a Sephora exclusive, and one of the priciest pieces in the Formula X collection. It's still significantly cheaper than ridge fillers from other brands found at Sephora like Deborah Lippmann or Dior. It's milky white in shade.

Please don't laugh at my awful nails from several months ago.  Here's a shot demonstrating how it looks on the nail:

Overall, this doesn't change the tone and you could still wear a mostly sheer polish.  I'm not sure how it would work with jelly polishes, but Smooth pairs nicely with most other ranges.

Although its only advertised as a ridge filler, I find that Smooth functions well as a base coat. It prevents nail staining and is a stable base for nail polish. I find that it significantly improves the appearance and performance of my manicures.  And at $14, it's a worthwhile investment, especially if you switch polishes frequently.

NOTD: OPI Die Another Day

Today's NOTD is another selection from the Holiday 2012 OPI James Bond Collection.

This is Die Another Day, a cheery red metallic polish.

Two coats, no top coat. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray

Today I'm going to take a moment to talk about a haircare staple I first was introduced to last spring with a Sephora perk.  Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray is expensive ($28/8oz), but I've been using the same bottle for at least ten months and have probably another year's worth of hairspray in it.

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray is described as a moderate-hold product.  I love that it's lightweight, non-aerosol, and combats humidity well. It takes very little of this formula to create the desired effect.  It lasts through most of the workday, and is non-sticky.

I used several 1-oz bottles prior to splurging on the full size.  I'd recommend doing the same.  This has been better than my prior favorite, Elnett.

You can find Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray at Sephora, Blue Mercury, or anywhere that has Bumble and Bumble products.

NOTD: OPI Tomorrow Never Dies

Today's NOTD is the first of a series from the Holiday 2012 OPI James Bond Collection.

Tomorrow Never Dies is a metallic blurple that almost glows.

Two coats, no top coat:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat

It turns out that I had quite the range of photos edited and stored!  Today I'm happy to share with you one of my favorite topcoats: Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat ($18, 0.27oz)

Julep touts their Freedom Polymer Top Coat as innovative and gel-like, providing a smudge-proof mani in 5 minutes. When one compares the ingredients to other topcoats, there appears to be additional polymers present.

I happen to enjoy this topcoat because it delivers in terms of shine and strength. I've never had a gel manicure, but prefer a super-shiny finish.  I frequently discard topcoats for not being shiny enough. This passes the test with flying colors.

I also find Julep's Freedom Polymer topcoat to be thicker and stronger than most. It certainly protects my nails and provides a tough layer that stands up to typing.

Overall, I highly recommend this.  Julep Mavens get 20% off, putting this topcoat into the affordable range.

NOTD: MAC Aloe Aloe

Today's NOTD is a polish I've had floating around in my stash since the 2003-6 era.  It's been discontinued, and I can't find much information on it online.

MAC Aloe Aloe is a green shimmer frost, and it's very buildable.  Swatches are with three coats, no top coat.

Monday, June 23, 2014

NARS Niagara Lipstick

I'm honestly shocked that I discovered these photos plus placeholder text in my drafts folder because NARS lipstick in Niagara ($26, 0.12oz) is such a lovely shade that I would've figured that I'd have posted about it by now.

NARS Niagara is described as "satin pinkish coral" by Sephora. I agree.  Niagara is the color that I think of when I think "grownup, work-appropriate coral." It has a lovely satin finish that borders on a matte.

NARS Niagara is one of those lovely shades that I believe to be universally flattering. In other words, it's like many of the shades in NARS' lipstick range.

To really appreciate this shade, let me show you some swatches first.

Outside, without flash:

Outside, with flash:

Inside, without flash:

Inside with flash:

Sadly, I didn't swatch this on my lips so I can't demonstrate the struggles I have with this shade. I bought it without trying in person (I actually seem to recall being enabled by Beauty Talk). This shade, like other softer lipsticks, gets lost on my highly pigmented lips. With the right base, this is a go-to for me.  I find NARS' lipsticks to be right in the middle in terms of moisture- not hydrating, but not drying. They generally wear for 4-5 hours before gracefully fading for me. NARS' satin formula leans more towards matte than glossy.

I think that Niagara is a classic shade, and I've actually purchased it for others as a gift. It just requires a bit more prep work to show up on pigmented lips.  Overall, it's a A+ color but C- execution without serious work.  If your lips usually handle lighter shades, I highly encourage you to check this shade out.

NOTD: Julep Faye

Today's NOTD is Julep Faye, described as "liquid bronze shimmer."  It's one of my favorites in this color family, especially since it's a one-coater!

Swatches are with one coat, no top coat.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Dreaming

Why yes, Sunday Dreaming is back! This is one of the posts that I can publish without all of my swatch photos, and do way ahead of time.  I've missed blogging more than I thought I would.

1. 13" MacBook Pro ($1199)

Photo via

This is by far and away my top beauty and everything else want. Plus, it's just appropriate with this blog lately to put this front and center!

2. Burberry Summer Showers Nail Collection ($21 each)
Photo via
I've been wanting to give Burberry nail polish yet another shot, and the Summer Showers Collection seems to be just right. There are three bright, saturated creme shades (Orange Poppy, Pink Peony (pictured), Pink Azalea) that seem perfect for summer.

3. Burberry Fresh Glow Blush ($38)

Photo via

The Burberry Summer Showers collection is just brilliant and innovative. Like other lines, Burberry has ventured into sheer, stick blushes.  Pink Peony (pictured) was my first inclination, but I suspect that Orange Poppy will also flatter my complexion.

4. Burberry Fresh Glow Lip Balm ($28)

Photo via

Confession: I purchased Orange Poppy as soon as it launched on Burberry, but I've been holding off on the other shades until I get my laptop. These are super sheer, but hydrating. I'm more interested in Pink Azalea than Pink Poppy (pictured), but will likely purchase the entire collection.

That's a very short list for Sunday Dreaming this week, but among the first items I'm likely to be purchasing soon.  With lots of new collections, what are you dreaming about?

NOTD: Dior Diva

Today's NOTD is a holiday release I never got a chance to feature last year. Dior Diva is a beautiful vampy glittery black.  I've got two coats plus Formula X topcoat on my nails here. It just feels special and ready for a party.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Blog Update

I have some great news to share with you, dear readers!

No, I didn't get my computer yet. However, I was able to borrow a non-public laptop for part of a day and I'm in the process of completing multiple posts that were in various stages of completion. Shockingly enough, I had enough previously-in-work posts to actually publish a NOTD and a topical post every day until my expected ETA of the new computer! In other words, I'm 50% back!

One of my frustrations has been the Blogger App. You can't modify a scheduled date, so if I had originally worked on a post in March, it would publish to March rather than the current day.

In the meantime, please check me out on Instagram at @quirkybusyandbeautiful for the latest- or drop me an email!

(I'm at 87 NOTD looks swatched and counting, by the way!)

NOTD: Chanel Particuliere

I managed to borrow a laptop and have logged into Blogger's actual website.  I have a few draft posts trapped that I could've shared with you. Enjoy!

Today's NOTD is another classic Chanel from my collection.

Particuliere is a mushroomy taupe creme perfect for a moody fall day.

Swatches are with two coats, no top coat.

Doesn't it just feel like fall?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Blog Gone Low-Tech?

If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen a version of this photo:

i miss you all like crazy! I've got notes for about 70 posts and counting. Until then, another plug for Instagram- @quirkybusyandbeautiful.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Today's NOTD is the classic cult favorite that has spawned a whole series of products: NARS Orgasm.  The nail polish is quite sheer and leaves VNL even after multiple coats.

There are three coats plus Butter London Hardware on my nails here.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

NOTD: Julep Nan

Today's NOTD is Julep Nan, a shade described as "Nantucket Red." This is one of the lovely and surprising shades I've received over time from Julep. I thought it would be awful, but Nan was one of my go-tos all of last summer. There's something lovely and summery about a burnt coppery red creme.

There are three thin coats plus Butter London Hardware on my nails here. This is one of only a few bottles that I actually bought a backup for myself.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Spotted: Incredible Beauty Deals

Now that I'm closing in on my final few completed NOTD posts, I'll start supplementing with a handful of posts that I miraculously had already edited and uploaded posts for. As I mentioned previously, it's not text that's an issue; the Blogger App  doesn't work well with embedded hyperlinks and I lack a photo editing program.  

I've been out and about more these past few days, and I have some insane deals to share with you.

It's my favorite sale (which won't be back until November, per associates I spoke to today in-store): Lord and Taylor Friends and Family. What makes L&T's sale so much better than Macy's F&F (also going on right now) is that on top of the 25% off on almost everything in the sale, it's 10% off all cosmetics.  You can buy online, or you can purchase in-store.  As for me, every time there's a L&T F&F, I have a single destination: Chanel.  Yes, you can even get 10% off Chanel. (And I purchased a few items, although my spending was very constrained since I'm saving for that laptop.)

As a result of the  L&T sale, Nordstrom is price-matching on their website. There are close to 2000 items currently listed at 10% off.  I'm not sure how much the stores are participating, but it's easy enough to use the buy online, pick up in store feature (and you can get ebates that way, too). This includes brands that I haven't seen in-store at L&T, like Nars.

Ulta has an insane in-store deal on selected Butter London polishes.  About 15 older shades are all priced at $8 each- totally worth the trip. And while you're there, the Philosophy GWP is awesome right now.

Don't forget your local drugstores for some insane deals. Rite Aid has a lot of 75% off clearance right now. I spotted some leftover colored Great Lash mascaras (great to see if pink works for me prior to investing in Dior at $1.99!).  Incredibly, I actually nabbed an Essie polish for $2.15.  It's worth your time.  CVS also has lots of beauty items at 50% off right now. I also noticed a fantastic trend- lots of trial-sized items. One of note that I picked up to try is the Jergens BB cream for body. For $2.99, I'll give it a shot!

Conversely, I stopped by Neiman Marcus today and wasn't impressed by the Camp Gorgeous tote. If you need $100 worth of product, it's a nice bonus.  However, I wouldn't go out of my way just to get the tote.

While I was out bargain shopping, I came to a conclusion about my computer plans. Instead of getting a cheap laptop to get back on the blog full-time today, I spent that money on something I'll love for far longer (dear Microsoft: My utter revulsion at Windows 8 helped to make this decision easy.): another Michael Kors Hamilton. My new tenative return to real blogging is three weeks from today.

That doesn't mean you have to go without your daily dose of QBB! I'm loving Instagram- follow me @quirkybusybeauty. I've been posting hauls, looks of the day, inspiration, and other photos. I'll be contuining my activity on there even after I get a new laptop.

NOTD: Lancome Vernis in Love Ultramarine Green

Today's NOTD is another recent Lancome outlet find. Vernis in Love Ultamarine Green (#521) was released with last year's summer collection.  It's called a green, but I think it's more of a standard blue.  Formula was pretty good, with no streaking.  These swatches are with three coats on my nails and Butter London Hardware topcoat.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Today's NOTD is NARS Schiap, a bright pink jelly-like shade that's part of NARS' permanent collection. This is a jelly; even with 3 coats, there's some VNL apparent in real life.

This is quite similar to any number of other hot pink shades I own, but this is just pure fun. It also makes me want the matching lipstick.

Photos are with three coats and Butter London Hardware topcoat.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

NOTD: Sephora Sky Diving

Today's NOTD is a shade that I would wager most people have wandered by several times. Sephora Sky Diving is a bright cornflower blue creme with exceptional formula. For those who aren't familiar with these polishes, they're tucked in with the regular Sephora Collection items and retail for $5/0.16fl oz.

Sky Diving didn't require a white base coat; there are 3 coat plus Butter London Hardware on my nails in this shot.  I find this line a great way to grab colors I have a one or two-time wish to try out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NOTD: Lancome Vernis in Love Rose Plumeti 300M

Today's NOTD is a very soft and pretty shade from Lancome that I discovered at the outlets recently.  Lancome Vernis in Love Rose Plumeti (#300M) is a soft, shimmering pink. It's frostier than most of my other soft pinks, but is very polished and work-appropriate. There are three coats plus Butter London Hardware on my nails in this photo.

Despite the metallic appearance, I didn't have much trouble with brush strokes with this shade. Much credit goes to Lancome for the formula.  Although I found mine at the outlet, this is a permanent shade still available at the usual locations.

Monday, June 2, 2014

NOTD: Sephora + Pantone Universe Cradle Pink

Today's NOTD is a sheer polish from the fall-winter 2012 Sephora + Pantone Universe collection.  Crade Pink is a sheer polish with pink undertones.

Swatches are with 3 coats, no topcoat.

The current state of my nails means I won't be pulling this out any time soon. Yep, it's another old swatch that I hadn't posted!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Dreaming

It's that time of week again- here are a few of the things catching my attention.  What's on your list this week?

1. Tom Ford Ginger Fire Nail Lacquer ($32)

Stock photo via Nordstrom
I keep side-eyeing this polish repeatedly, so I know I should just bite the bullet and purchase it. I tend to shy away from the brightest oranges, but I should just go with my instincts, right?

2. Kiehl's Sunflower Color Preserving Deep Recovery Pack ($25)

Stock photo via

I've been on the hunt for a deep conditioner, and it only makes sense to add the product that matches my current shampoo and conditioner.

3. Alterna Bamboo Color Hold+ Fade-Proof Fluide ($25)

Stock Photo via Nordstrom
With the start of summer, it's incredibly important to protect color-treated hair.  I've tried various glossing/SPF sprays and am eyeing Alterna's offering for this year.

Those are the top 3 things I'm thinking about this week (I purchased quite a few things over Memorial Day off of my wish list).  What are you dreaming of?

Get Social with QBB!

Since I'm probably about 4 weeks from having a functioning computer again, I think I've found a solution to keep sharing my quirky, busy, and beautiful thoughts with my loyal blog readers without spending extra money on a crap laptop to bridge the gap. (It turns out that I loathe Windows 8 with a passion and don't want it in my house. Period.)  QBB is going social!

While I can't edit photos on an iPad mini, I can certainly post to Instagram!  Check me out on Instagram, user name quirkybusyandbeautiful, for on-the-fly thoughts and photos.

Likewise, I created a QBB Pintrest account.  I'm admittedly a Pintrest novice, so bear with me.  I see that as more an insight into my muddled mind.

There are already posts/boards on both accounts, so please feel free to join the fun.  Your little QBB is going social!

Please note: I'll edit links into the post once I actually have the real Blogger editor again. There's no apparent way to embed links with the mobile app.

If anyone has figured out ways around the basic text editor in the Blogger app, please let me know!

NOTD: Lancome Vernis in Love Violette Coquette (419)

Today's NOTD is one of my favorite Lancome polishes. Vernis in Love Violette Coquette (#419) is a lovely red-based orchid/violet that's perfectly on trend right now.  This formula applies like a dream- these swatches are with two coats and Butter London Hardware as a topcoat.