Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Nails!


I thought I'd hop on the blog quickly today to wish everyone a Merry Christmas Eve (for those who celebrate, of course)!  If you don't celebrate, then Happy Thursday!

I just finished doing my nails in preparation for the festivities tonight - my mom's side of the family celebrates on the Eve - so I thought I'd share what I did.

 Apparently, it took a small army of polishes:
Zoya Verushka (matte velvet - previous 2014 collection)
China Glaze Winter Holly (2012 Holiday Joy collection)
Zoya Amal (matte velvet - new 2015 collection)
Zoya Iris (matte velvet - new 2015 collection)
Northern Lights Hologram topcoat - 2014 "holiday gold" version and regular Gold

I did 2 coats of Zoya Verushka by on my ring fingers, topped with the "holiday gold" version of Northern Lights (I have a patch on one ring finger that I didn't want the glitter removal to impact).  The rest of my nails have 1 coat of Verushka followed with one generous coat of China Glaze Winter Holly.  Then I used my largest dotting tool and did "ornaments" with Zoya Amal and Iris.  Once that all dried down, I did a layer of Northern Lights Gold to give my "ornaments" some sparkle.

I was inspired by this post on the Adventures in Acetone blog.  Hers are more colorful, and a bit neater than mine, but I'm still happy with my outcome.  As I was pulling polishes, I realized that I either picked up the newest green Zoya matte velvet on Black Friday and it's still in the bag, or I forgot to pick it up entirely.  I'm still hesitating on the blue since I've heard it does stain...

Are you doing anything Christmas-y for your nails for the holiday season?  Do share!

Happy Holidays!

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Project "Finish This Stuff" Update - Part 42, May 2015

**purchased / samples

Wow, long time no blog again.  I'm pretty sure that this is the busiest year I've experienced in ages.  It's been rare that I get time to sit in front of the computer, but I really do think that things are going to be calming down now.  I hope.  I've got lots of "empties" to get through, as well as random and Black Friday etc. shopping to share.  It's time to dust of my review hat, carve out my blogging time and get to work.

To start this all of, I've got my May empties, which includes items for the "Trashed but Not Finished" category.  May was a sample-finishing heavy month, but I did manage to finish up some full sized items as well.

Let's get started with skincare, shall we?
Tarte Fresh Eyes Maracuja Waterproof eye makeup remover wipes - purchased from Ulta.  These are the first pre-moistened eye makeup remover wipes I've ever tried, and I have to say, I was impressed.  They took off all my eye makeup (although right now I don't remember if I had worn any waterproof mascara while I had these) and I had no eye irritation.  My eyes didn't feel cloudy or anything even if I didn't wash my face immediately after.  One wipe is large enough that I was able to clean both eyes of makeup and then, since I was traveling and packed light, I also used this to break up my face makeup before cleansing as well.  I enjoyed these well enough that next time we are packing for a trip requiring flying, I'll be repurchasing this to save room in my liquids bag since I won't need a bi-phase eye makeup remover nor a separate liquid makeup remover for my face.
Murad Clarifying Wipes, sample.  I've had random samples of these wipes over the last couple of years and I do like them.  They take off light makeup and don't leave my skin feeling uncomfortable.  Right now, my skin is in a fairly stable stage that I don't have many breakouts anymore (even hormonal ones are very minimal) so I don't feel the need to purchase a clarifying wipe.  But if it happens to act up again, then I'll pick up a pack of these.  Might purchase if the need arises.
Cetaphil Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion for Dry, Sensitive Skin.  This bottle took forever!! to finish.  If you use this on your face, as I did when I first purchased this, a little goes a long way.  I'm talking the size of pea will do your face and neck - although, my skin was more combo-oily whereas now it's been normal, slightly combo.  I ended up using this after shaving my legs since it was taking so long to finish.  It did not cause any stinging that some lotions can do, whether used on sensitive skin on the face or freshly shaved legs.  I might repurchase sometime in the future once I get through my massive stash of overly-scented lotions.
Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 | pa++, sample from a Sephora kit.  I enjoyed using this sample.  It provided just enough moisture that my skin needed at the time, while at the same time "normalizing" my skin enough that it didn't produce nearly as much oil.  If this had a higher SPF, then I would consider repurchasing.

Serum City!

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Advanced Anti-Aging Serum (2 foil packets).  I have to say, my skin absolutely LOVED this serum!  Even the esthetician that does my microdermabrasion noticed how quickly my skin improved while I was using the Advanced serum.  My skin tone and texture rapidly improved and a lot of the left over scarring from acne lightened up remarkably quickly.  If money were no object, I would not hesitate to purchase this, but seeing as it's well over $100 a bottle, I'll enjoy what samples I can get my hands on.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum, sample bottle.  Again, my skin loved this serum!  While not quite as intensive as the Advanced version, my skin still got better each time I used this.  This formula isn't quite as budget-busting as the advanced version, and even though I did see results fairly quickly, I'm not ready to make that kind of splurge, especially when there are more affordable serums that I do see results from (just not as quickly).  Again, I'll enjoy the samples I can get my hands on while resisting the purchase.
Prevage Anti-Aging Moisture Lotion SPF 30, sample bottle.  While I did like the Moisture Lotion sample, I didn't see anything that made it stand out in comparison to other SPF lotions.  Probably won't purchase.
Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate (sample bottle and foil packet).  I've gone through several small bottles, foil packets, and even a couple of large bottles of this serum over the last couple of years.  After I finished these particular samples, I've been giving my skin a rest from it as I felt that I wasn't seeing any results from it after using it consistently for so long.  I have repurchased, but I haven't cracked it open yet as I'm finishing other samples before returning to it.  I suppose I did consider it H.G. status, but I'm not sure about that anymore.  Hopefully, after such a long break I'll be seeing results once I get back to it.
Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Serum (foil packet).  I didn't notice anything immediate in the change of my skin after using this, but for the most part (exception is noted above) it takes weeks to see improvements in the skin and a single foil packet just wasn't enough to make a good judgement.  Won't purchase.

Complexion products:
Ponds Luminous Finish BB-Cream, light shade.  This was an ok product, but I don't remember anything outstanding about it...although it is hard to tell based on 1 foil packet.  The SPF is not high enough for me to consider purchasing as I prefer a minimum 25.  Won't purchase.
Ole Henriksen Perfect Truth CC Cream, light.  Again, it's hard to tell bases off of 1 foil packet.  I believe I liked this CC cream better than the Ponds, but I would prefer to get another sample to really see if the shade is right and get a better feel for it.  The SPF is high enough that I would consider purchasing after obtaining another sample from Sephora.
Benefit Big Easy Liquid to Powder "Bigger than BB" cream, shade 01.  While the shade match was pretty good, I did not enjoy the way that this sat on my face.  I felt like it accentuated pores, clung to dry spots and had an uneven appearance.  At least the SPF is a good solid 35.  Won't purchase.
Maybelline Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer, shade Ivory.  At first I didn't like it, but I think I was trying to use it just as a concealer over my really dark under eye circles.  Once I changed the way I did things by using this to top off another concealer for a brighter effect, I enjoyed using it as more of an under eye highlighter and was kind of sad when I ran out.  I probably won't repurchase, as I feel like the Maybelline "eraser" style is working even better by both providing more coverage and brightening.
CoverGirl Naturluxe Liquid Silk Foundation, shade 320 Aspen.  I don't really remember exactly how I felt about this foundation, but it seems like it had a light-medium coverage and looked fairly lightweight on the skin.  I don't remember how well it matched me or wore, or if I had oil breaking through in the T-zone.  There wasn't enough of the sample to see if it caused any irritation over an extended period.  I believe this line has been discontinued so can't purchase.
E.L.F. High Definition Undereye Setting Powder.  Need I say anymore other than I've lost track of how many of these I've purchased?  I love this powder - it's a Holy Grail status in my collection and I'm always replenishing my stock.
Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Beauty Balm.  This is another BB cream that I want to get another sample of to test out more.  I have another BB cream from the brand (Black Label Detox, SPF 25) that I've thoroughly enjoyed...I just wish it had the higher SPF like this Premium version has (SPF 45).  Would consider purchasing after obtaining another sample from Sephora.

Hair time!
Paul Mitchell Ultimate Color Repair (with quinoa) Conditioner, sample from my hair stylist.  This is the first salon hair conditioner that I've enjoyed in a very long time.  Years ago, I swore off salon brands as overpriced and not that impressive.  Well, things are slowly changing in my world.  I thought this conditioner was ultra nourishing without being too heavy and hard to rinse out.  This left all of my hair, from the simple colored sections to the bleached highlights, feeling super healthy and silky again.  I would actually consider purchasing this (the matching shampoo as well).  I had 2 tubes of this and took one on our September cruise, and even after all of the ocean salt water, sea air exposure and daily washings (I normally wash twice a week on average) my hair felt super healthy and nourished. Count that as impressive.
Garnier Fructis Color Shield shampoo (bottle and packet) and conditioner (packet).  It's been quite a while since I finished these, but I remember saying at one point this year after finishing a shampoo/conditioner that I was no longer happy with the results and was done with the brand.  It may have been this brand I was talking about.  I'm going to say that I won't repurchase as there are other brands of shampoos I like better (I've been cleaning out back stock from my cabinet again).
Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo. I only use this twice over each 6 week period between when I go to the salon. This shampoo works perfectly for ridding my hair of excess product buildup, especially if I've been using more styling products than normal.  I do follow this up with a nice rich conditioner as it can leave my hair feeling dried out.  I would consider repurchasing, although last time I went to purchase it, it was out of stock so I got another brand which I like just as well, if not more.

This last picture is showing things that were "Trashed, but Not Finished."
Revlon ColorStay Whipped Foundation - I used up most of this, but decided that I'd had it so long that it was time to go rather than completely finish it.  I don't see myself repurchasing this foundation as I no longer feel the need for a more full-coverage foundation.  When I did need medium-full coverage, I liked using this and felt it had more coverage than the liquid version while not causing as much potential breakout issues.
(2) E.L.F. Little Black Beauty Books - gloss/lipstick sections.  I absolutely abhor using lipstick/gloss that comes in a palette so I decided that I should attempt to detach the sides that had eyeshadows and get rid of the messy side.  Well, it worked - on both the warm and cool collection books.  Also, these were on the several year old side so...double yuck.  I tucked the eyeshadow palettes inside another palette that had extra storage room.  Won't repurchase (this or anything with a gloss/lipstick palette).
Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector - I bought this years ago in the hope that it would help lessen the severity of my under eye circles.  The only thing it did was cause milia that took several weeks to clear up.  I wish I had returned this but I poked around long enough that the return period ran out.  I realize that Clinique is supposedly hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested.... but I've only liked 2 items from their skincare line - the eye makeup remover and a cleanser that got discontinued.  Won't repurchase.

Do you have a favorite, Holy Grail skin serum that targets tone/texture/scarring?  Do you like salon-brand hair care products or are drugstore products just fine for you?

**all items purchased by me / requested samples
**my opinions are my own
**not sponsored/affiliated