Thursday, July 31, 2014

NOTD: Square Hue Collins Avenue

Today's NOTD is one of the few Square Hue polishes that I received during my few months of subscription last year.

Square Hue Collins Avenue is a neon orange that was released in June 2013. It's a semi-matte neon orange with silver glitter. Formula is ok, and there are three coats plus topcoat on my nails in this shot.

Monday, July 21, 2014

NOTD: OPI Where Did Suzi's Man-Go?

Today's NOTD was my only selection from the Spring 2014 OPI Rio Collection.  Where Did Suzi's Man-Go? is much lighter in person than it photographs. I'd really call it a white-based juicy peach shade.  Formula and coverage are superior. There are only 2 coats, no top coat on my nails here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

NOTD: Chanel Coromandel

Today's NOTD is Chanel Coromandel, one of the few Chanel polishes currently at counters that I didn't own until recently (the others, in case you're wondering, are Accessoire, Ballerina, Beige, Cinema, Frisson, Holiday, Lilis, Mysterious, Rose Exuberant, and Suspicious).  It wasn't that I didn't plan to buy it eventually; this cheery tomato-orangey red is perfect for summer.

Formula, like always with Chanel, is flawless. I've got 3 coats on my nails, plus Butter London Hardware as a topcoat. It's glorious in the summer sun.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

NOTD: Yves Saint Laurent Corail Divin

Today's NOTD is one of my awesome outlet scores: Yves Saint Laurent Corail Divin.

For those that don't know, there are two major cosmetics outlets that you'll find at the local outlet mall: CCO (Cosmetics Company Outlet- Estee Lauder and brands) and Lancome. If you look carefully, you can often find a major bargain on YSL products at the Lancome outlet, including current ones. Enter Corail Divin.

In person, it's a lot lighter than it photographed, but I didn't want to mess with the photo too much. Corail Divin is a saturated light hot coral with a distinctive neon orange undertone. I have three coats plus topcoat on my nails here.

I wish I could rave about the formula, but I can't. With so many other easy formulas with similar hues, I can't seriously recommend the polish. However, it's always worth a good trip to the outlets!

Friday, July 18, 2014

NOTD: Square Hue Happy Creme

Today's NOTD is one of the few Square Hue polishes that I received during my few months of subscription last year.

Square Hue Happy Creme was released as a part of the May 2013 collection.  It is a cool pink that's similar to Chanel May, but with a whiter base.  There are three coats on my nail, no topcoat.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

NOTD: OPI I Can't Find My Czechbook

I loved today's NOTD so much that I actually photographed it twice. Whoops.

Here is OPI I Can't Find My Czechbook, a lovely electric blue creme.  Formula is perfect, with it nearly being a one-coat wonder. There are two coats plus topcoat on my nails here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NOTD: Ulta Flamingo

Today's NOTD is a huge surprise: Ulta Flamingo.

If you're anything like me, you always look at the giant Ulta brand display near the checkouts while waiting in a ridiculous line. Occasionally, something may grab your attention, but generally Ulta's in-house brand isn't one that calls out to me.

During one of the many sales, I purchased Flamingo, a vivid pink with distinctive silver shimmer in it for a whole $2. There are three coats and NO topcoat on my nails here to demonstrate the inherent shine.

I'm blown away. This $2 steal performs just as good- if not better- than many $20 polishes in my stash. I love the color, and it's been in heavy rotation ever since.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NOTD: Tom Ford Show Me the Pink

Today's NOTD is another stunner from Tom Ford.

First, let's just enjoy the peachy-pink nude gorgeousness in the early morning summer sun. This is what I would call the epitome of nude nail sophisticated chic.

Tom Ford Show Me the Pink was released in Fall 2013, but I only recently found it at a CCO. Yes, limited Tom Ford products do make it to CCO outlets. This beauty hadn't even made it onto the shelves when I nabbed it.

I have three coats plus topcoat on my nails here. It's quite similar to Chanel Emprise, which surprised me. Given the name, I would've pegged it as closer to Chanel Frisson, but it pulled incredibly peach on my hands. Still, I find this to be beautiful and a go-to when I wish to look "grown-up."

Monday, July 14, 2014

NOTD: OPI Hotter Than You Pink

Today's NOTD was my only selection from the OPI 2014 Neons Collection- Hotter than You Pink.  It's the most traditional hue of the collection, a pearly neon pink. I have three coats topping one coat of Butter London Cotton Buds (to pull out the true color) here, topped with topcoat. To me, this is a shade that screams summer vacation. Ah, a blogger can only dream, right?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

NOTD: Butter London Fruit Machine

Today's Butter London is what I consider the perfect spring shade: Butter London Fruit Machine.

This white-based cool pink creme has a fantastic formula. I have three coats plus Butter London Hardware on my nails here. It's not streaky, and it self-levels well. Although we're well past the cool spring pastels, this is a nice palette cleanser during the summer heat!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

NOTD: Deborah Lippmann On the Beach

Today's NOTD is the best nail bargain in my stash- Deborah Lippmann On the Beach.

On the Beach is a summertime blue creme. It's pretty thin, and required three coats (plus a topcoat) for the hue in this photo. Why is it the best bargain? I found it on clearance at my SiJCP for $3.99.  Why yes, I'm a happy camper.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

NOTD: Zoya Wendy

Today's NOTD is one of the most perfect coral cremes I've ever had the pleasure of putting on my nails: Zoya Wendy.

Wendy was my only selection from the Summer 2014 collection. It's a gorgeous coral creme with a perfect, non-streaky formula. I thought about drawing a heart over my hand here, but that would be overkill. I have 2 coats plus topcoat on my nails.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush- Dim Infusion

First, I'd like to give a giant apology. I hit the blogger limits over the weekend, so I couldn't work on anything but the NOTD posts that I'd queued. I think I've figured a way around that for the future, but it kept me from posting yesterday.

Today I bring you the final Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush that I purchased now that it's back in stock- Dim Infusion.  My prior reviews for Ethereal Glow, Diffused Heat, Mood Exposure, and Luminous Flush detail my love for the formula and consistently great experiences.

Since I've reviewed 4 other shades, I'll spare you the details that don't vary between the shades.  Dim Infusion is a "subdued coral blush with Dim Light" but really reads peachy on my very pale, pinkish skin. I'd call it in the same family as NARS Orgasm or the (soon-to-be-reviewed) Shiseido Face Trio in OR1.

I ordered mine online, so I didn't get to inspect the blush before it arrived. Although Hourglass has repeatedly said that these are ultimately 50/50 blush/powder, mine shows significantly more powder at the surface right now.  I don't mind, to be honest.

Here's another great shot, in the direct sun:

I originally passed on this shade because it swatched way too orange on me for the middle winter. Now that it's summer, it's perfect.  Even though I'm not self-tanning like I should be, I've been supplementing my base with something slightly darker for a tanned look.

Outside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:

Outside, in direct sun:

Although I've mentioned that these are pricey in the past ($35, 0.15oz), I think the subtle look that these blushes give is worth it. Out of all of them, I find Dim Infusion to be the most potentially dupeable. If you don't have a similar shade, I highly recommend it. If you do, I'd recommend one of the really unique shades like Mood Exposure instead.

NOTD: Butter London Primrose Hill Pink

Today's NOTD is Butter London Primrose Hill Pink, a saturated fuchsia creme.

The only thing I don't like about this polish is that the lettering is wearing off the bottle. The formula is great, and I've got three coats plus topcoat on my nails here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

NOTD: OPI Coca-Cola Red

Today's NOTD was a shade that literally stopped me in my tracks: OPI Coca-Cola Red.

I actually wore this on the 4th of July because it is, by my criteria, the perfect red creme.  It's a blue-based red (OPI Race Red looks downright orange next to it!). Formula-wise, it's nearly a one-coat wonder. There are two coats plus topcoat on my nails here.

I'm a sucker for a perfect red creme, but I was shocked that this was my only selection from the July 2014 OPI Coca-Cola Collection. I mulled both the mini 10-pack and a few of the shades, but I felt like I had close enough dupes for most. A classic red with a great formula, on the other hand, is always worth the investment.

Here's a comparison between Coca-Cola Red and Race Red. It's even more pronounced in real life.

 Overall, I think this is a can't miss.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dior Addict It Lash Mascara- It Blue

There's something about summer heat and cobalt mascaras that I can't resist.  Last year, I fell completely for Chanel's Inimitable Mascara in Blue Note.  When I spotted a new cobalt mascara released by Dior in the new It Lash formula ($26, Dior counters,, and Sephora), I knew it had to be mine.

Let's start by talking about the packaging for a moment. The new Dior Addict It Lash recalls the Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick dark packaging with silver accents- and one side has the iconic Dior:

In short, the packaging is classy and pure Dior. I'm also a huge fan of the large square cap, which allows for precision of application.

Just take a look at how large it is:

Now, let's talk about the wand. It Lash Mascara is a volumizer, but the wand itself isn't overly large. I prefer this, as it allows for careful application and using the mascara on both top and bottom lashes.

Overall, this wand and formula combination are one of the most flattering I've seen in awhile. I can use this mascara in a number of ways- everything from super dramatic to understated, boardroom chic. It's not waterproof, but I haven't had issues with it migrating, even when the heat index is well over 100.

Now that I've spoken to It Lash mascara as a whole, let's talk about It Blue.  I've been teasing you with shots of the hue, but they aren't totally representative. Let's turn on the flash to see how vibrant the shade really is:

Pure love.

I have two cobalt blue mascaras to use as direct comparison for this shade, Chanel Blue Note (LE) and Butter London Inky Six.

Since I'm such an advocate for healthy eyes and replacing mascara in a timely manner, I feel compelled to explain the following: I keep old colored mascaras merely for swatching purposes such as this. (I actually have a whole bin of makeup like this, not just mascara!).

I took this in the brilliant direct summer sun:

It Blue is more of a royal in comparison to Chanel Blue Note, and lacks the iridescence of Butter London Inky Six. In terms of formula, I actually prefer It Blue to Blue Note by a bit, and Inky Six lags far behind the other two.

Bottom Line: It always makes me sad that these colored mascaras are summer-only since they're so much fun.  I adore It Blue, and am considering a backup.

NOTD: Essie Urban Jungle

Today's NOTD is one of my favorite new releases in quite some time: Essie Urban Jungle.

Normally, I don't go for these off-white cremes. However, I love the formula on this (buildable, fast-drying), and it is a dream to work with. I have three coats plus topcoat on my nails in this photo.  I've reached for this polish many times already- it's an instant favorite!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dr. Jackson's Coconut Melt

I've been testing two different coconut oil products since March.  Here's my prior review of the rms beauty offering; today I'm finally ready to talk about Dr. Jackson's Coconut Melt.

I purchased Dr. Jackson's Coconut Melt directly from Net-a-Porter ($15/15ml).  That makes it more expensive than the rms beauty product per ounce.

While it's imported, this is certainly very pricey coconut oil.

I was intrigued by the texture of this coconut oil:

Although this is supposed to be ultra high-end coconut oil, it did about the same if not worse than the rms beauty version. I just can't see spending the extra money to get a designer brand when others are far more cost effective. The odd texture did melt away with body heat, but I'm still not sure what caused it- or if I want that on my skin.

Overall, yes, coconut oil is great for the skin. If you're looking for a tiny, travel-friendly container, this could be acceptable. I just have problems spending the extra money for the cute container. The rms beauty version is expensive as it is; the Dr. Jackson's version seems excessive.

NOTD: Chanel Atmosphere

Today's NOTD is my first (and only so far) selection from Chanel's Fall 2014 collection.

Atmosphere is a beautiful pearly duochrome. Like all other colors like this, it has a thin formula but it's buildable. It really looks like a pink pearl, and I can see myself wearing this frequently come fall. There are four thin coats plus Butter London Hardware on my nails in this photo, which was taken with direct sunlight hitting my hands.

To answer the unasked question, I do plan to pick up the other 2 shades in the Fall 2014 collection. However, I had a computer to buy first!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

OPI Ford Mustang Collection

I've somewhat shied away from reviewing nail collections in separate posts since I do a daily NOTD, but I'm happy to make an exception for the OPI Ford Mustang Collection.

I have a confession to make: I've always had a soft spot for Ford Mustangs. I can pinpoint when I fell in love with the classic American muscle car: when I was in high school. I grew up in a town with a university. When I was in high school, I worked at a local establishment part-time, and got to interact with the college students who seemed oh-so-cool to a 16-year-old.  One of the coolest of them all was a college guy (who could've been a male model) who owned a Ford Mustang. And there the infatuation with Mustangs began.  I've never owned (or even driven) one, but I do love the roar of a Mustang engine. When I ran into the collection at my local Ulta, I was forced into a quick decision. As you can see from the photo, they only received 2 of each shade. Thus, I bought the collection in one fell swoop. It feels right to review them all in one post.

The OPI Ford Mustang Collection ($9 each, 0.5oz, via Ulta and salons) is comprised of six shades: Girls Like Ponies, Race Red, 50 Years of Style, Sky's the Limit, Angel with a Leadfoot, and Queen of the Road.

This wheel is in direct sunshine.

Overall, this is an outstanding collection. I forgot just how wonderful OPI's formula is.  I'll get into each shade individually.

Girls Like Ponies

Girls Like Ponies is a saturated hot pink creme. Formula and pigmentation are outstanding; I have two coats plus Sally Hansen Triple Shine topcoat on my nails in this photo. This is probably a dupeable shade in most stashes, but I still find it to be lovely and perfect for summer.  I was inspired when I noticed my tree had bloomed:

Although hot pinks are the standard nail color for summer, I find this to be a lovely addition to my stash. It's almost a one-coater.

Race Red

When I first learned of this collection, I knew Race Red would be coming home with me. When I finally saw it in store, it was the first shade that I grabbed from the display.  There's something about the shade and its name that sent my heart aflutter. Race Red is the perfect summer red- a flawless tomato red creme that's almost a one-coater. I have two coats plus topcoat on my nails here. It's hard to tell in this photo, but it really is quite orange-leaning. I'll be able to show a better comparison vs Coca-Cola Red (coming soon).

50 Years of Style

50 Years of Style is a shiny metallic gold hue with surprisingly excellent formula. I did need three coats to achieve the desired effect, but brushstrokes were not an issue. For a metallic, this was a lovely surprise. I can see myself playing around with this since I instinctively reach for cremes by default.

Sky's the Limit

Sky's the Limit is a glitter-packed blue with (naturally) the trickiest formula of the bunch. It requires three coats to achieve the color in the bottle, and is a bit of a bear to remove. I initially thought about not purchasing it, but knew I'd be looking for it at a later date to round out the collection.

Angel with a Leadfoot

Call it a reaction to the sweltering heat lately, but I've been digging white nails the past few weeks.  Angel with a Leadfoot is a lovely white creme, with probably the best formula I've ever seen from a white. There are three coats plus topcoat on my nails in this photo, but it doesn't tell the story. This is buildable and has the best formula I've seen. It self-levels and dries quickly. I could've almost gotten away with two coats, which is unheard of for a white. I highly recommend this shade.

Queen of the Road

Queen of the Road is the shade meant to recall the classic Mustang black. It's not a true black, but rather an ultra-dark grey shimmer. It really looks like the finish on a new car. Like every other shade in the collection, formula was great, needing only two coats to achieve the perfect finish.

Overall, I highly recommend this collection. I've reached for three of the shades more than once already, and can see these classic shades being a part of my rotation for years to come.

Although I loved writing this collection up, I promise that tomorrow's feature will be something other than nails!

NOTD: Burberry Daffodill

Today's NOTD (the first of about 100 I swatched while computer-less) is one that I've been waiting to share for quite awhile.  Burberry Daffodill was part of the English Festival micro-collection; in Burberry boutiques last month.

I am so very happy that I picked up this shade.

There are three coats plus Butter London Hardware on my nails in this shot. The formula is the absolute best yellow creme that I've tried, and that includes Chanel and Butter London as direct comparison. Like all yellows, it was slightly streaky but leveled out flawlessly after three thin coats.  This shade restored my faith in Burberry nail polish.

Yellow is one of those nail shades I like in photos and in theory. I love that photo.  In person, I feel like it just doesn't look right on my hands. Still, for the faith it restored in me with this brand, it's so worthwhile.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hey, Look at This!


Why yes, that's a brand-new MacBook Pro sitting on my favorite blogging chair. I have to admit that it's been really hard going without a computer for about 7 weeks. However, there was a huge sense of accomplishment when I plunked down my debit card yesterday and left with a computer that's already paid in full.

Just to give you a sense of some of what I have ahead, check this out:

I have over 2GB of photographs to edit and corresponding posts to compose from my notes. So yes, your QBB is finally back- it'll just be a bit!

It feels great to be typing on my laptop. And I'm thrilled to be back with you all.

L'Occitane Mango Flower Shea Hand Cream

Unlike my prior experience with L'Occitane's Honey Shea Cream, I have nothing but raves about L'Occitaine Mango Flower Shea Hand Cream.

Just like the Honey version, Mango Flower Shea Cream also retails for $12 for 1 oz of lotion. Unlike the cloyingly sweet Honey, Mango Flower manages to be sweet but refreshing. I wouldn't hesitate to pull this out of my purse at work.

Mango Flower also manages to balance the sweet and fruity without smelling like it came from one of the other mass retailers (don't get me wrong, I buy plenty of products from those chains). That's key for something at this price point. At only 20% shea, it's obviously not quite the treat of the 100% shea butter cream that L'Occitane is famous for. It is more hydrating than most other hand creams that I've tried- and it tells me that there's a hand cream from this brand for everyone.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

NOTD: OPI Live and Let Die

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

Live and Let Die is a truly unique polish.  It's a gold-packed forest green.

These swatches are with two coats, and using flash to pull out the glitter.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

NOTD: OPI The World Is Not Enough

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

OPI The World is Not Enough is a brown-based metallic glitter sheer polish.  These swatches are with 3 coats, no top coat.