Monday, December 31, 2012

Year of Firsts' Wrap Up


Can you believe that today is the last day of 2012?!?!  I know I can't!  It's gone so fast!  I know a lot of beauty bloggers and YouTubers are doing posts of their top favorite things/posts from the year but I wanted to be different.  I thought I would do a wrap up of the things I did (or brands I bought) for the first time this year.

Let's get started with makeup/beauty brands I purchased for the first time this year:
source, then cropped

Stores I found or visited for the first time this year:

Nail polish brands I purchased for the first time this year:
  • Zoya
  • China Glaze
  • Color Club
  • Magnetic polish (various brands)

Things/techniques I tried for the first time this year:
  • False lashes
  • nail art - gradients, stamping, tape

Miscellaneous things:
  • Ordered from (before this year, I didn't even know about it)
  • Registered with 
  • Participated in a Zoya flash sale (no easy task)

This is not nearly a complete list of firsts for me for this year, just the more notable ones.  Apparently I had quite a good year for new things.  I sure hope 2013 will be just as good to me, or even more so!

What things did you do/buy/go to for the first time this year?

**my opinions are my own
**not affiliated/sponsored

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Influenster / Kiss Brand Challenge Winner Prize


I've got a brief post today that is related to Influenster.  A while back, I received an email telling me that I had won a brand challenge for Kiss.  To do this, I had to complete several tasks, including writing a review on the Kiss lashes I had received in my Beauty Blogger VoxBox.  Well, I waited and waited for my prize to arrive.  It finally did after about a month! I figured it was coming from Influenster, but it showed up with a mailing label from Kiss Products itself.

So what were my prizes?
 Kiss Nail Dress nail strips with a crazy peacock feather design
 Kiss Perfect Application Premium Eyelashes in 05
 Back of eyelash package
back of nail dress package

I've never tried the nail sticker/strip thing, so this will be a new experience when I finally put these on.  In some ways, these look like they'd be more appropriate for spring or summer because of the kind of neon color scheme.  And I've seen the perfect application lashes on YouTube (and not all super great reviews), so we'll see how these go whenever I actually have the occasion to wear false lashes (which is rare).  

Since I won these as an actual prize, an immediate review probably won't happen.  I also happened to win a couple other brand challenges from the Beauty Blogger VoxBox, so those prizes will be coming up (after I eventually receive year?).

Have you tried Kiss's nail strips?  Like them or not so much?  How about the false lashes with the strings?  Do strings help or hurt the application?

**products received as prize
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My First Sephora Haul and Experience!


I'm working my way through the posts that I definitely wanted to get up before the end of the month/year.   So that means that today I'll be sharing what I got a couple weeks ago when I went to Sephora for the first time!  Since I had registered with Sephora a few days before going, I had a $15 off $50 purchase that I redeemed.  I definitely could have purchased more but I did manage to exercise some restraint.  You all are probably thinking that all I do is go shopping, never finish anything...but I do other things! Promise! And I do finish things up! You'll see in a few days just how many things for November & December, and a final tally for the year.

First up, the samples:
On top is Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Original Formula Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel
Bottom is Origins Clear Improvement Mask, Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and 
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15 (in Ivory)

I've used the foundation sample and really like it (except it doesn't hold up for the claimed 12 hours...maybe 6-7); it gets bonus points because the Mister likes the way it looks on (a.k.a. doesn't look like paint like he says some other foundations have).  I've also used the Origins Mask, which I also really like.  I want to finish up some prescriptions before I ventured into the the other 2 skincare samples.  While I was there, the skincare adviser/expert also strongly recommended getting the Clarisonic Mia Acne system, as well as looking into treating my acne with natural oils (I'm still doing research on the oil thing).
Tarina Tarantino Sparkle Powder in Sparklicity Pure Opal (on sale!)

So pretty!  The color of the sparkles look different depending on what you've put it over.  I've put it with teal and it looked gorgeous for Christmas Eve, but when I just swatched it on my hand, it had a pretty pink/opal look.  When I used it, I sprayed a small stiffer brush with some Urban Decay All-Nighter then dipped the brush into the sparkle powder and applied.

My largest purchase of the day:  Sephora's Disney Cinderella Collection Storylook Eyeshadow Palette
 The palette itself pulls out of the cover and also lifts out of the black tray
The colors photographed slightly brighter than they are in real life (ever so slightly)
 Shade names (back of box)

It has a nice range of shadow finishes and colors.  I've used it a couple times and loved it.  I just wish that it opened more like a book than a pull-out drawer.  By the way, on an insert in the package, it states that this is the first of the Disney Reigning Beauties collections.  I wonder what the future ones will look like....

 And my free Birthday Gift:
 Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Duo
includes Sugar Lip Treatment and Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment

I have to say that all the employees of the location (Summit Mall in Akron) I went to were wonderful!  Definitely ready to help get you samples and advise you to what skincare products could work for your needs.  It was also the first time a makeup artist has been able to match me for foundation with no hesitation or difficulties!  I felt pretty while I was there and left a happy customer.  The experience I had was definitely worth the hour-long drive to get there.  I can't wait to go back and get the Clarisonic Mia system, and I also really want to get the Origins mask. This is the first mask I've used in a long time that I felt it actually doing something, other than just making me look like a scary monster while it's on.  I do want to try a couple other foundations first before purchasing the Tarte one, and I'm sure I'll get samples of other things as well - concealer, setting powder (I saw a clay-based one on Sephora's website that looks promising)....  

What kind of experiences have you had when you went to Sephora (if you've been)?  What's your favorite thing to purchase from there?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Friday, December 28, 2012

Urban Decay Vice Palette Haul!


I'm still working on the new purchase posts that I definitely wanted to share this year, and this needed to be up before my idea for the last couple days of December can go up.  So, as the title implies, I got another Urban Decay palette.  I got this one toward the end of October.  (I really hope that next year - can't believe that's next week! - I'll be able to stay on top of things better.)

So I ordered the Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush:
This brush quickly replaced what I was using for foundation (the ELF Studio Powder Brush that's flat-topped).  I now alternate between this and the Real Techniques brush I showed here.  It washes easily and dries fairly quickly (much faster than the ELF) and I haven't had any bristles shed.  Lately after stippling then buffing on my foundation, I'll go back over and stipple on either more foundation or a little full-coverage concealer on the really red scars and it works wonderfully to cover them.

And I ordered the Vice Palette.  I was going back and forth between which palette I wanted and decided to get the one with all new shades:
Outside of packaging box with shade names & about the palette
 Outside of the palette - pretty jeweled letters & funky feeling box
 Inside of the palette - the colors are fairly accurate
The palette lid stays open so this palette is actually a pretty good all-in-one -- mirror (I still need to peel the film off), both neutrals and colors, mixture of finishes, as well as a double-ended brush.  This might be just the thing to take when traveling (especially if you can't park yourself in front of a mirror and/or need better light like by the window).

I've used several of the colors in here to create various eye looks, but I'm still not entirely sure what to do with that bright blue (Chaos) and bright pink (Noise).
 Double ended eyeshadow brush that came inside the palette

My order also came with the typical Primer Potion foil packet card sample thing (clearly I have no idea what to call it) as well as the "Thank You" UD sticker and discount card for a future purchase.  

Have you purchased the Vice palette?  Love it or not so much?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Thursday, December 27, 2012

CVS Clearance Sale Haul!


I've been wanting to get this post up, but I didn't really feel like editing the pictures.  But today I made myself do it.  So...thanks to reading about the semi-annual clearance sale at CVS on Nouveau Cheap's blog, I took a little drive and went to a couple of CVS locations.  I went before the sale "actually" started, but thanks to the list, I was able to get some of the things I've been wanting and just hadn't picked up yet, as well as some other stuff.  This post is featuring 3 different transactions from a couple different days.  Everything I bought was on clearance - either 50% off or 75% off.

So, what did I get at my first stop?  Let's see:
Milani Lip Flash Jumbo Pencils in (left to right): 
05 Hot Flash, 01 Lip Flash, 07 In A Flash, 08 Star Flash, 06 Flashy, 
04 Photo Flash, 03 Flash Light, and 02 News Flash

I'm always on the search for lip products that will show up on my well-pigmented lips, so after a quick search while I was in the store, I decided to buy 1 of each from the entire line.  I did try one already, but the next day my lip was all chapped so I'm not sure if it's just the colder weather taking it's toll on my lips or if it was something about the product.  I haven't revisited it yet to see.
 Milani Nail Lacquer 3D Holographic polishes in (top down):
513 Digital, 509 HD and 514 Hi-Res
 510 3D and 511 Hi-Tech

The Milani Holographic polishes were all on my "wanted list" for quite a while so I'm happy that I managed to get them all (except the blue one which I already had) on sale!
Nicole by OPI Smile for the Glam-era (Kardashian collection) 

I went to another CVS the same day and that location was already working on getting the stickers on the products:
 Maybelline ColorSensational lipstick in 805 Pink Freeze
Physicians' Formula Cashmere Wear Ultra-Smoothing Blush in 
Rose 7549 and Natural 7548
Physicians' Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Lipstick in I <3 Rose

I've already used one of the blushes and I really love the way it goes on!

And then about a week later, I went back to the first CVS I visited to see what was stickered:
Rimmel Moisture Renew glosses in (left to right): 
245 Berry Bliss, 355 Purple Rescue and 125 Mauve Renew
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in 04

All of the Rimmel Moisture Renew Glosses were on sale, but I restricted myself to the 3 that looked the most pigmented/would show up on naturally well-pigmented lips.  And I really like the formula on the Rimmel by Kate lipsticks so I got what was on clearance (at least at that location).

And that's it for my Winter 2012 CVS Clearance haul.  I haven't been back to see if anything's been added - and it does seem like some of the items on Nouveau Cheap's master list do vary by location.  I was hoping to score more Revlon Lip Butters and Kissable Balm Stains on clearance (according to the list) but they weren't on sale where I went.  

Have you had any luck at the CVS clearance sale (if you have a CVS near/somewhat near to you?  What did you get?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Physicians Formula Pretty


I'm trying to be in a happy mood, but it's just not happening today. :-(  The Mister is back on his rant on how my skin should look perfect after 1 week of new prescriptions with neither of them being for treating the scarring from about a decade of acne.  And of course, does the dermatologist actually know what she's doing?, etc....Real mood killer, isn't he? I'll end my little mini-rant there....

Anyway, I thought that today I would show what I used my little CVS coupons on about a week and half ago.  I had some CVS extrabucks earned, plus since it was my birthday I got an email with some additional money off any purchase.  So by combining those CVS "coupons," I paid less than $4 for a newly released Physicians' Formula eyeshadow palette!
I decided to get the Classic Nude Eyes Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner
I haven't used it yet, so I'm not sure how it will perform yet.

Did you pick up any of the newly released Physicians' Formula eyeshadow palettes or liners?  How did you like it?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Nails!


Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas holiday (if you celebrate Christmas), otherwise hope you are having a wonderful day!

Let's see what's on my nails for the holiday:

Over my usual base coat, I have 3 coats of Wet 'n Wild's MegaLast (old formula) in Caught Red Handed.  This must be a jelly finish because even after 3 coats on some of my nails I can still see my nail line.    I followed this up with a coat of Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Diamond Flash top coat since I wanted to move quickly on to the next step.
Caught Red Handed is so shiny!  If you don't have it, I noticed that Sinful Colors GoGo Girl is pretty much identical, and I'm sure there are lots more red creme polishes out there.

After that was dry, I used China Glaze's Glitter All the Way from the holiday 2012 collection as a gradient coming down from the tops of my nails.  So pretty!  My nails look like they could be Christmas ornaments.
Glitter All the Way has several colors of glitter in 2 sizes all in a clear base.  The 2 dominant glitter colors are gold and green, with some purple and red thrown in for more glittery goodness.  This pretty worked perfectly for applying a gradient with the brush - no special sponge or technique needed.  I don't remember if I saw this polish layered over a red or not, but I do know that I love it over red.  And gradients and glitter gradients seem to be quite the thing now, and I can see why.  So easy and so pretty and festive without a whole lot of skill involved.

What other colors would you layer Glitter All the Way over?  Or would you build it up to wear on its own?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not affiliated/sponsored

Monday, December 24, 2012

December Rite Aid Makeup Haul!


Merry Christmas Eve!  I thought today would be a good day to show the makeup that I purchased from Rite Aid during December.  I got this makeup so I would look pretty for all those holiday photos (if any get taken, that is...).

I was watching redheadphd's I <3 Drugstore Makeup Tag video recently, and she discussed some of the Prestige eyeshadows being dupes for Mac & Urban Decay shades.  Well, Prestige fits in my budget a whole lot better than those 2 and Prestige was on sale that week.  So I went shopping.  Looking through what I got and the couple she listed, I missed one of the dupes, oops, and just got a bunch of pretty colors.
left: Ink 
top row: Oasis and Comet (UD Sin dupe)
bottom row: Flushed and Golden Retriever

These particular Prestige eyeshadows can be used both wet and dry.  I also have Blanc which I bought quite a while ago - Blanc is what I use to set my liner when I use a white pencil in the waterline.  My picture is not doing any of the shadows justice.  Ink has gorgeous multi-colored glittery shimmer and Oasis has a beautiful silver-y glittery shimmer.

Foundation is necessary for perfected holiday photos so let's get to that topic.  If you read my post on my foundation quest, you might remember that I am searching for a new foundation to love.  I also asked for some advice on the Beauty Broadcast Facebook page.  So now I'm showing what items I've purchased so far based on the recommendations I received.
 I bought the Neutrogena Shine Control Primer from Walmart, but it is available from Rite Aid (for a higher price tag)
 Neutrogena in Classic Ivory 10
Bought from Rite Aid since I wasn't sure if the shade was correct and I'm not sure what Walmart's return policy on open cosmetics is...

I've already used this foundation, and it is my shade...and the Mister actually likes the way it looks on!

Revlon Colorstay Whipped in 110 Ivory
Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder in 010 Fair

I was going to buy the ColorStay Whipped from Walmart, but there wasn't even a spot for my shade.  So today I made a quick run to Rite Aid where I had seen the new Revlon Nearly Naked foundation and powder and made my purchase there.  It helps that Revlon is on sale this week, plus I had some +Up rewards that needed redeemed.  I basically got the powder for free after the sale and redeeming the rewards, and earned new rewards in the process.  I've seen some pretty good reviews of the powder so I knew I wanted to try it, and I've used the Whipped foundation before and really liked it so it's back in my stash (just in a different shade from before).

What's your favorite drugstore foundation and setting powder?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mini-Sized Sally Beauty Haul!


I've got a brief little haul I wanted to share today.  This little Sally's Beauty Supply visit happened around the beginning of the month.

So what did I get?  Just a couple of things:
6.5" Professional Shears

A couple of months ago, the Mister and I decided I needed to purchase a pair of hair-cutting scissors so that his cut could look a little better.  It's tricky for someone not trained to do everything using just clippers.  So I finally got around to purchasing a pair...and I used them already...just not on him.  I had some seriously dry damaged ends in one little section that missed getting trimmed off at my last hair cut, so I figured I'd do it - very carefully.  These worked so much better than safety scissors. lol
And I got Orly's Miss Conduct from the 2012 Naughty or Nice holiday collection to go with Angel Eyes and Halo that I showed in this recent haul post.  After I bought the first 2, I saw better pictures of this one and decided I wanted it too.

Do you ever have to go back in and trim a spot just after you get a hair cut?  If you do, what scissors/shears do you use?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zoya Aurora


Today I've got a nail post!  This is Zoya Aurora from the Ornate holiday 2012 collection.
I used my usual ridge-filling base coat - it's rare that I don't use it.  Then I did 2 coats of Aurora.  I did not put top coat on these at all and I got I think 2 or 3 days wear out of them, which for me is a long time.

Aurora is a gorgeous purple-magenta loaded with holographic shimmer, which is of course super hard to capture well on camera.  I did the best I could.  This color, as with most Zoyas that I've used, went on very easily with little to no clean up needed.  Love the formula and love the brush. :-)
Little bit of a different angle captured a different color in the holo shimmers

Was Aurora one of your must-haves from Zoya's holiday 2012 collection?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday 2012 Polish Haul!


The year is quickly running out and I just realized that I hadn't yet shared what all holiday polishes I picked up.  I picked up quite a few from various collections and brands, so let's dive right in!  These are strictly from beauty supply stores during October through the middle of November (that's enough for one post).

First up, way back in October I picked up the 3 Zoyas from the Ornate Holiday 2012 collection that I wanted.  I also picked up a couple of clearanced Zoyas that are from the Mod Mattes collection in Summer 2011.  This was from North Coast Beauty Supply.
Top row: Aurora, Storm, Blaze
bottom: Mitzi, Phoebe

After that little trip, I behaved myself for a little while - avoided the beauty supply stores, but then I started seeing promos for Orly's Naughty or Nice holiday 2012 collection and fell in love with a couple of them, so off to Sally's I went:
Orly Angel Eyes and Halo

About a week and a half later, I went to Sally's Beauty Supply to see what was out for Finger Paints in the Holiday of Wonders collection:
Finger Paints in Santa's Magic and Sally Girl in Sparkle

Back to North Coast a few days later for a bit of the China Glaze Holiday Joy collection.  I also picked up the 3 that I wanted most from the new Cirque du Soleil collection:
Top row: China Glaze Whirled Away, Get Carried Away and It's A Trap-Eze!
Bottom: OPI William Tell Me About OPI (clearanced), Seche Collage Overlay and China Glaze Glistening Snow
Even though I went in the day after a promo for the Seche Overlay ended, by the looks of my receipt I still got the deal, so Yay!  I was going to get more of the Holiday collection but talked myself out of them (for that particular day).

And then a couple days later, I went to a different Sally's since I had seen pictures of another Finger Paints that I really liked, and I wanted to pick up a couple more China Glaze holiday polishes too that I had decided I wanted after seeing swatches online.
China Glaze Glitter All the Way and Pizzazz
Finger Paints Sparkle Top Coat

That's quite a lot of polishes!  I have worn a few of them, and put links to the post that they appear for the ones that got shared.  As I'm working on this, I'm trying to decide which one to wear next....

I've decided that if the various polish companies didn't put out so many new glitters that aren't dupes of each other, I wouldn't spend nearly as much money.  It's the glitter that gets me, every time!

What all polishes have you picked up from the various holiday collections?  Any you got that I didn't? Or any of these catching your eye?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My 1st Zoya Hot Lips Balm


I've got a brief post today since I'm really not feeling that well, but I'm still trying to get things done.  One thing I started today - finally put up the Christmas tree - got abandoned after it was assembled since I got discouraged from almost half the lights on the pre-lit tree are not working.  I did manage to get a few more sections working so it looks a little better, just no pretties on it yet. The Mister decided it doesn't look probably tomorrow if I don't go anywhere I'll add the pretties.

Anyway, I earlier in the month, Zoya was doing various flash giveaways and I did manage to snag one.  For once, it was in my benefit to be up at about 3:30 in the morning.  The giveaway in that particular offer was for a free Hot Lips Glossy Lip Balm in any color of your choice and shipping was free too (no purchase necessary either).  It got here pretty quick, so I was happy knowing it arrived...and then proceeded to procrastinate in opening and seeing what it's like.  Oh, well.  The balm came wrapped really well in some thick felt-type material which was all inside a bubble mailer.  I wonder if that's how Zoya packages polishes that get shipped out?...

So, what color did I pick?  Let's have a look:
Zoya Hot Lips Glossy Lip Balm in Starlet

Super pretty raspberry pink/red with some pretty shimmer to it.  I did squeeze a little out onto my hand...super thick stuff.  And then I spread it some with my finger - sticky, really sticky.  Maybe on the lips it won't feel too bad, but right now I'm not sure about it.  I haven't actually worn it yet since my bottom lip has been really chapped lately so I didn't want to aggravate that point with shimmer.  I'm happy that I received this, but based on how sticky it is, I'm glad I didn't pay for it.  Once my lip heals up (if it ever does since it seems that Winter temperatures are starting to set in), I'll definitely try this out and see if my initial first impression changes.

Did you manage to score any of Zoya's flash giveaways?  Have you used the Hot Lips Balm before?  What did you think of it?

**product received in giveaway
**all opinions are my own

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Urban Decay Haul!


Today I'm sharing my most recent order from Urban Decay!  I normally don't order very much at a time, but this order was an exception.  This time, I stuck 3 things in my cart and one of those was composed of several mystery samples...and then of course, the normal sample that comes with orders.  Links to each product on Urban Decay's website are somewhere around the appropriate pictures...
~~~~PIC HEAVY!!!!~~~~~
So, the first thing that I ordered was Urban Decay's Naked Basics Palette.  This is the first palette I have from that particular line - yes, you read correctly.  I do not own the original Naked palette, nor do I own the Naked 2 palette.  Maybe someday, but right now, no.  I wanted to get this one since matte eyeshadow formulas are not the easiest thing to come across in drugstore lines.  (If you don't want to order online, Sephora & Ulta should be getting this in soon if it isn't already there.)
Front and back of the cardboard box
Venus, Foxy, Walk of Shame (W.O.S.), Naked 2, Faint, Crave
The only thing I'm not crazy about is how hard it is to open...

The next thing that I wanted to get was the "mystery bag" that was advertised as having approximately $45 worth of samples for $16.  The bag came with 2 new-to-me items along with some other things that I already have sample sizes of from previous orders.  P.S. the bag is a nice sturdy reusable material that is currently residing with extra makeup bags for the rare occasion I travel.
Primer Potion sample card and the pictures on the right are the front and back of the actual bag's insert 
Mini bottle of All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
Mini U.D. Supercurl Curling Mascara
Mini U.D. 24/7 Glide On Shadow Pencil in Rehab (1st time getting)
~FULL size~ U.D. Lip Junkie in Naked (1st time getting)  The pic is deceiving but it is full-sized

By the time that I added these 2 items to the shopping cart, I was within a few dollars of getting free shipping so I figured that I might as well add one more thing and pay for an item rather than shipping.  First I was just going to get an eyeshadow single that was in the sale section, but then I applied a $5 off coupon that they send with every order it seems, so I was still going to have to pay shipping.  So I decided that instead of the single, I would add another palette - Deluxe Shadow Box - and get all of the deluxe shadows for around the price of 2 of them.  (As of posting this, this particular palette is still available in the sale section.)
That silver-y mesh stuff is an interesting thing to touch - it moves!
Deluxe Shadow Box
Fishnet, Honey, Ransom
Graffiti, Zero, Peace
Shag, Scratch, Underground

And for the little freebie sample that's included with all orders, I got a yet-to-be-released sample of Urban Decay's new BB cream.
I like that there was lots of information included with this little sample.  It actually states on the cardboard: "For best results, apply Naked Skin Beauty Balm first and let dry.  Then buff on Naked Skin Liquid Makeup..."  It states the "universal shade glides on and dries down to a translucent, demi-matte finish that works on most skin tones."

Lots of new goodies to play with!

What's your favorite product from Urban Decay?  Are you looking forward to trying U.D.'s version of BB cream?

**all products purchased by me
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated