Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nail MADNESS: Gorramit!

If you don't know that I love NerdLacquer by now, clearly we don't know each other and you're a weirdo.  Recently, Amanda, the genius mixologist there came out with a Firefly set of polishes.  I had to get Gorramit, a gorgeous yellow with red hex glitter and fine gold and black glitter.  My boss said it reminded her of Chinese New Year colors, and I totally agree.

Photo from NerdLacquer site
See?  That is just gorgeous.  So while I was on lunch break today and waiting for some bubble tea, I took photos while there was still some natural light.

I love this color, and I think I might keep it on forever.  It's not just a keeper, it's a clinger.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nail MADNESS: Carrie in the Asylum

Sorry I haven't posted more lately - my internet exploded (not literally), so I was 'netless at home.  But here are some gimpy pictures of my gimpy mani that I actually really really like.  It's Julep's Carrie, which they say is cotton candy pink but I say is Pepto pink.

Photo from

To make it more interesting, I put Finger Paints Asylum over it - it's a red and blue flakie, though in this combo I see more gold and yellow.  All of these photos were taken in crummy natural light.

Yes, that's a cat.  Every post needs a cat.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Nail MADNESS - Matte Magnetic

I'm pretty sure magnetic nail polish is going to become the new crackle polish - something everyone loves, rocks the shit out of hard for a year or so, and then gets sick of all at the same time.  But that's totally okay with me, I love crackle still (always did, I'm a child of the eighties) and I love magnetic polish too.  

What is magnetic polish?  It's nail polish with a higher iron content, so I'm lead to believe, so when you put a magnet just above your nail during the second coat, particles in the polish move and leave you with patterns.  China Glaze is supposed to be coming out with some magnetics later this year, and there's lots of foreign ones, but the one I'm most familiar with is at Sephora, by Nails Inc.  I own both Trafalgar Square and Houses of Parliment, but Trafalgar owns my heart.  I love me some silver.

That is my velociraptor hand from earlier in the year wearing said Trafalgar (also with some lazy ass Konading).  See the pretty sheen?  See how it looks almost like moving liquid?  The silver would be gorgeous even without the silvery magnet effect.  But I wondered to myself - what would it look like matte?  And as luck would have it, I own a bottle of Matte-astrophe by Manglaze, which is my favorite matte topcoat, to hell with you Essie!  So, I magnet'd up my polish, slapped on a topcoat, then slapped on a matte coat.  And what I got is gorgeous, gun metal looking pewter goodness.

Pictures don't really do this justice, it's just so three-dimensional and textural and a whole bunch of other words that end in -al that I can't think of right now because it's late and I'm tired and still fighting off an URI which is why I haven't posted in a while.  But yes!  Nails Inc. is a fantastic company with some great formulas, as is ManGlaze.  If you want mattes, get ManGlaze.

Here's hoping I'll remember to swatch some stuff on Sunday when I'm off work.  Until then!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nail MADNESS - Julep Gloria + Essie Shine of the Times

So, I got a manipedi yesterday.  Normally I'm all about the dark colors, or maybe something puncy with some glitter on it.  But I had a bunch of polishes from Christmastime that I hadn't used yet, and one of those was a color my roommate got in her Julep Box of Mystery that she knew would look terrible on her.  It was one of last Spring's colors, Gloria, which is alas, no longer on their website.  In the bottle, it looked like a pretty coral creme, but on me was a punchy tangerine.  But then I decided to jump up the ante and do a statement nail with Essie's Shine of the Times on top (from their LuxeEffects collection) because flakies are the shit.  And well, I loved it so much this happened.

I am madly, passionately in love with this.  It's actually sort of grey and wintery around here in Houston which makes my heart happy (oh my gosh, it's supposed to freeze tonight and I'm so stoked) but this adds a dose of gleeful to my days.  Plus, I tend to wear all black - I'm the Office Goth/Metalhead/Daria - and it makes it pop even more.

All photos taken inside my workplace.  One coat of manicurist basecoat, two coats of Julep Gloria, one coat of manicurist topcoat, one coat of Essie Shine of the Times, one coat of Julep Fastdry topcoat.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's In My Bag?

I am a snoop.  I rubberneck at car crashes, if I hear people talking loudly through the shared wall in my apartment I put my ear to it, and I love celebrity gossip.  I try to rein it in so it's appropriate, but I admit - I love "what's in my bag?" posts from anyone and anyone and I felt like I should do one myself.

This is my bag.  It's a customized Eula Messenger from Timbuk2.  Timbuk2 makes bags that you really have to work hard at destroying, and this is just the perfect purse size.  You get to pick your fabric - there's solid colors as well as a few different patterns you can choose from.  This is one of the pattern options, obviously, and the fabric is apparently limited, so it cost a bit more, but the whole bag itself set me back about 85 USD.  That's not too bad for something that will last me a couple of decades.  (I know this because I have one of their larger messenger bags that I got in 2001 that looks brand-spanking new.  It lasted me through about twenty boyfriends, and I expect it's what I'll use to tote my shit during the zombie apocalypse.)

She's roomier than she looks!

 But less about the bag, and more about her delicious innards, yes?

LtR: On the left, that purple thing you can barely see is my OG Kindle (I think it's literally the first edition, though it could be the second) with my journal on top.  The white tube to the right of those is my sample of Age Defying Hand Brightener I got from my Julep box of mystery.  To the right of that is my prescription of pharmacy strength naoproxen sodium (migraine/cramp maintenance - I take it twice daily no matter what).  To the right of that is my change purse.  Why yes, it's made from an old Sailor Moon pillowcase.  Below that are my car keys, which leaves further evidence that I love Sailor Mars way too much.  She's a bit of a role model, what can I say.  That black thing to the left of her is my iPod.  I'm still rocking an 80G last gen model, but that iPod case is also by Timbuk2, and it's also from 2001.  And it's waterproof!  That paiselyish thing is my beloved clutch wallet from Target, much beaten up but I refuse to get rid of it.  Just above that is my EpiPen, as anaphylaxis is not sexy or fun.  And in the middle is my makeup bag, and what I assume you're interested in.  The bag itself is the bag that went out with the debut month of my MyGlam.

And it's surprisingly roomy!  LtR: "Hello Flawless" powder by Benefit in "cute as a bunny" Honey, Red Velvet Cake perfume oil by BodyLuminosity, Baby Lips by Maybelline in Grape Vine, Baby Lips by Maybelline in Peach Kiss, MAC lipstick (lustre) in Marquise d', Revlon Lip Butter in Cotton Candy, Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee, a crystal nail file by Julep, Julep Pout Popper in Arousal, Smashbox Hybrid 2 in 1 Color and Shine Lipgloss in Pink Lily, and Mai Coture blotting papers.  Now, onto swatches and reviews!

I didn't swatch the Hello Flawless - if you want me to, just drop a comment.  This is my go-to powder for everyday use.  I use BB cream to cover up most of my imperfections, then maybe a dollop of concealer afterward if I need to, but I always, always set everything with this powder.  It covers way more than you'd expect a powder to, and as someone with acne prone skin, it doesn't cause me to break out or look like I have acne prone skin.  This is my fourth compact of the stuff, so it's doing something right.  I've yet to find better.

Onto Baby Lips.  This is a lip balm, don't get it twisted.  The color payoff from this is not going to be huge.  But it does have some color, and it will be noticable on your mouth.  It's less waxy than Chapstick and a bit more watery than your usual balm, but I do notice when I don't wear it in a while.  After a few days, my lips get a bit cracked and grumpy and then I remember to do less lipgloss and more Baby Lips.

Grape Vine

Peach Kiss

Grape Vine on the left, Peach Kiss on the right.
  Next is the Smashbox Hybrid 2 in 1 Color and Shine Lipgloss.  This has some glitter to it, but it's fantastically fine glitter -  which really makes some nice multifaceted depth on the mouth.  It's got one of those fuzzy tip applicators that I love - it lets you blend it in like a wand, but you get the benefits of the squeezy tube.  I don't think you can get this from Sephora or Smashbox directly anymore, but there's loads of them up on eBay and Amazon now for hella cheap - I'm talking I saw some for 3.99 on eBay cheap.

Pink Lily

Fuzzy tiiiip~

 Augh, you see that shimmer?  It friggin' slays me.  I wear this on dates or whenever I want to feel Extra Special pretty.  It's goopy, like most lipglosses are, but it's a lipgloss.  Non goopy ones are confusing.

Now, onto something I'm sure you've heard about already or own a million of, that's how much hype it got.  Revlon Lip Butters.  I think the hype is deserving, if only because it filled a niche that wasn't quite out there.  What if someone wants some hydrating protection on their lips, and color?  Before, I used to wear balm on my lips, then layer on some lipgloss.  Now I don't have to.  I can just wear my lip butter.

Cotton Candy

Creme Brulee

L: Cotton Candy, R: Creme Brulee

 It's a subtle color, don't get me wrong, but it's more noticeable to me than Baby Lips, or any other colored balm I've tried.  I also love the shimmer in it.  These are my two favorites, as I've tried some of the darker ones and don't like them much.  Creme Brulee is a "my lips but better" color, and Cotton Candy is just two steps lighter.

Now, I don't wear a lot of lipstick, but when I do, it's by MAC.  I just like their formulation.  It's the least drying and annoying on my mouth, and their lustre formula is >< that close to being a gloss on its own.  However, and I say this while on my knees and crying to the gods - why must everything be LE?  Why!  We're going to buy it anyway, MAC, you know we will! 

Marquise d'

Like this adorable beauty, from the Wonder Woman collection.  Check that cute ass packaging!  You didn't have to make it LE!  I'd have bought it anyway!  I'd buy two more right now if you still made it, you selfish color overlords!  And no, knowing someone who works there doesn't help, I've tried that.  It's like adorably packaged crack.  Just knowing a guy isn't enough, unless you know someone who makes it.

Next is the Julep Pout Popper.  While unfortunately named (seriously, Julep, fucking stop that), it's a product I've really come to like.  I hate the scent - it reminds me of an elderly person who's just trying way too hard - but it fades quickly enough where I'm not too mad at it.  It does plump a little bit, but my lips are already pretty large, so it's not too noticeable.  I do like that it's thick like a gloss, but smooth on the mouth - you won't get that one random string of gloss between your lips that makes you look like a sludge mosnter.

Arousal (no, seriously, Julep, fucking stop it)


L: Marquise D', R: Arousal

So, that does it for what's in my bag.  But lastly, I want to give a shoutout to my shoes.  They're the most adorable, comfortable heels I've ever owned, and they're by friggin' Tom's.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a Tom's hater.  I think their flats are adorable.  But I didn't think they'd be able to make cute heels.  I'd like to be the first to admit that I stand corrected.

Fucks to the yes houndstooth!  They're about three inches, super easy to move in, and I've already gotten loads of compliments on them.  They've sold me, and now I've got to hold myself bax when I get paid from getting the glitter wedges, just because the words 'glitter' and 'wedge' go so well together.

Got anything you have questions about?  Want new swatches?  Have questions about my cats?  Want the meaning of life?  Ask.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Nail MADNESS: NerdLacquer - All of Time and Space

My beloved NerdLacquer is back!  Yee!  I'm going to put an order in for at least one of the Firefly polishes after I get paid this week, so there will be that to look forward to.  But for the last four days, I've been wearing what is (thus far) my favorite of her stuff: All of Time and Space.  I love Doctor Who, and I love this polish.  It's starting to have some tip wear which I'm sure you can see in these photos, but it's so stunning - do you blame me for not taking it off?

NerdLacquer's own photo.
You see how pretty that is in the bottle?  It's ridiculous!  I was nervous about putting it on, because I didn't know if it would hold up on my nails.  There's nothing worse than the unfufilled promise of a gorgeous in-bottle polish looking like a hot streaky glitter clump on one's nails.  Fortunately, this polish delivers.

Why yes, that's my family in the background.  Don't plan on stalking, that photo's about fifteen years old.

You can see why I went a little picture happy.  It's a gorgeous light teal creme with silver and purple microglitter, and then just for fun some purple and silver hex glitter of various sizes.  To get this level of opacity, I used three coats on top of China Glaze Strong Adhesion Basecoat with a coat of Julep Fast Dry topcoat.  (My Seche Vite has gone to goopytown, alas.)

I'm getting a manipedi on Wednesday, so I'm sure you'll see a new nail post soon.  Along with some sore cuticles; the ladies there apparently think my fingers are terrible and should be punished.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Shower Regimen - Bare Bones Beauty

I'm a quick and dirty kind of girl.  I like most things fast and easy.  In MMORPGs, I prefer questing to hour long raids.  I'd rather have a quickie in a car than some all night shagfest.  And when it comes to showers, I'm in and out in fifteen minutes.  I really don't understand people that spend an hour in there.  (Plus, my shower doesn't drain well, and after about ten minutes the dirty water starts to pool around my shins.  It's so icky.)  That's why I have a get in, get out philosophy when it comes to showers.  Here's some broad strokes on the crap that makes that happen. 

Hair Products
I'm half Mexican (I'm sure you've guessed that by now!) and half Irish.  So my hair is curly, frizzy, wavy, and generally confused.  I also have an angry scalp.  So I have to use an anti-dandruff shampoo, all while trying to find products that keep my hair from looking like the angriest little puffball.  I have a three pronged approach to this that after a long time searching, actually seems to work for me.

For dandruff control, I've been using Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff: Intense Clean.  This actually has little exfoliating beads in it (that you'll end up having to clean out of the shower after you get out).  But it feels awesome, and within a day or two, I stopped itching my head randomly.  Seriously, it was starting to seem like I had scabies, or mange.  My dandruff was never visible, it just made me miserable.  I'm not the kind of person who can just stop itching.  I'm the kind of person who will try to rip the skin off with her fingernails.  No skin, no itching!  But this stuff cleared that problem up within two washes.  I'm a devotee, and sort of alarmed that I'm starting to see it in fewer and fewer stores.  I picked it up in a Walgreens because it was on clearance, and I should've grabbed more.

After that wash and rinse, I use another shampoo.  I know people say not to do that, but I really don't like how the dandruff shampoo cleans my hair.  It does a fine job on my scalp, but if it's the only one I use, I notice my hair gets limp and greasy and starts to look like Ally Sheedy's hair did in the Breakfast Club.  Not cute.  So I follow up with this little number:

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Fortifying Shampoo.  It's the hippiest of hippie shampoo, and it smells like heaven.  That's why I have such brand loyalty to Garnier - the stuff smells bomb.  This is for normal hair, and even though my hair tends to be on the dry side, anything more in terms of moisture makes my scalp cry.  It's a terrible cycle.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking that I use a conditioner.  And for years?  I did.  But one day I just forgot.  And my hair looked gorgeous.  I just shampooed.  It was like my hair was happier to be alive than it ever had been before.  So I just stopped.  My hair is happy and healthy and I haven't conditioned in months. 

This last hair step is one I do right after I get out of the shower.  I dry off so I don't break my ass in the bathroom, then scrunch my hair dry.  Then I put a dime size drop of Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum in one palm, rub my hands together, and scrunch it through my wet hair.

Picture taken from
Oh.  My.  God.  This stuff smells the way I think cruise ships should smell - citrusy, with a tiny bit of floral behind it - and it makes my hair behave.  I have my natural curls and waves, but without the tiny flyaways that were tamed only by hats.  It doesn't weigh my hair down, and it makes my hair so damned soft, I caught one of my cats kneading my head the other day.  That's fucking soft.

It should also be noted that I do not blowdry my hair.  This saves on a lot of heat damage and breakage.  I also very seldom heat style.  I let my hair be naturally wavy and just do what it wants to.  This is probably why I can sneak by with just washing and argoning. 

Body Cleanup
Oh, soap.  How I love you.  And don't get me started on that body wash crap, you take up too much room.  No, I'm an old school soap girl through and through.  But it can't be too drying.  You've read how I've got dry skin in my argan oil post.  Why would I want to exacerbate the issue?  Ivory doesn't do squat down here.  So I shopped around for loads of different soaps, and spent years in a dry skin'd wilderness of flakiness and weird smells.  And who would've thought it - I found my favorite soap maker on Etsy.  BodyLuminosity makes a whole host of tonics and lotions, but my favorite products of theirs are their handmilled soaps.  I annually buy at least two of their Candy Corn scented soaps ever autumn, and then proceed to purr while I bathe.  But when that's not available, I get their Coconut Dream Pie soap. 

BodyLuminosity's own photo
It smells just how it looks, but not overwhelmingly so.  You'll be okay to put on perfume later without having to worry about your soap clashing with your scent.  But while you're in the shower, scrubbing your butt, you will be so happy you found these girls.  Mmmph.  I want to go home and bathe.

You know what sucks?  Sensitive skin.  You know what else sucks?  Getting bumps on your legs every time you shave.  I don't care how many blades my razor has (as long as the blade is new).  You could have 456 on there, and my legs would still look like I was stung by fire ants when I was done.  The only thing that saves me and keeps me shaving as often as I do is Bikini Zone.

Yes, you can use it for said obvious bikini zone.  I have, and I will.  But I use it most often on my legs.  It seems to make my shaves last longer, and it's the only way to keep them from looking like a general itchy plague area.  Which brings me to the last bit of my ritual ...

Facial Cleansing

I hate my face.  Well, that's not true at all, I love my face, I just hate the skin that covers it most of the time.  I have a hormonal disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and one of the symptoms is facial skin being just breaky outy all the damn time.  As I've gotten older, it's evened out a bit, but I still have to work hard to keep it clear.  This isn't just a vanity concern; the pimples I do get are the deep cystic ones that hurt if you move your face (and I move my face constantly, I overexpress without thinking) or rub it while putting on a shirt.  The ones where if you sneeze, you're in a world of pain.  But again, I try to be fairly low-maintenance (most of my makeup is for fun, I will totally run out of the house bare skinned if I'm just running to the grocery).  So here's what I've whittled the regimen down to.

This is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control, 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment.  Aside from having the longest name in the world, it really does the tric when it comes to my periodic acne.  It's got 2% Salicylic Acid, so if that's something that upsets your skin, you'll want to steer clear of it.  But for me, that's the perfect twice daily dose to keep most things in check.  I use it with my Clarisonic Mia, which I got for Christmas, and already have a deep love affair with.  (I'll go more in depth on it in another entry, when I've got three or so months of use under my belt.)  But obviously, the trick to any skin care regimen is consistency, so I don't care if you put it on with your elbow, just put it on.

Once I'm out of the shower, I use the Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifiying Lotion as a toner, and then once that's absorbed in for about five minutes, I use the Clinique clearing moisturizer from the same line.  Now, nine times out of ten, this is enough to keep my pimples in control, but if I have a spot that won't listen to reason, I bust out my Zeno.

This thingie heats up in a minute to what is allegedly the Optimum Heat for murdering acne germs.  And it must be; if I feel a dangerous spot lurking beneath the surface, within two or three cycles (twice a day) of this thing, it dies.  That may seem like a long time, but some of my worse cystic pimples don't come to a head until they've lurked for seven days or so, and then they don't clear out fully for another seven.  I'll take two days over fourteen.

And there you have it!  My long winded diatribe on something that takes maybe twenty minutes, tops, and that's only if I'm having issues.  Granted, most of the products change every two or three months because I'm a product junkie, but this is where I'm at right now.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Nail of the Moment - Butter London and YSL Mashup

So, when I'm bored, I do my nails.  It's not a thing I schedule - I don't have a grandiose "mani day" like I see some bloggers do.  It's more of a 'welp, my nails are kinda jacked up, so I'mma redo them while I watch this terrible Investigation Discovery show' thing.  And I usually do them in the 10PM to 11PM period where I'm off work and fed and vaguely relaxed.  So it never turns out super awesome, but hell, it makes me happy.  This is the point of doing anything, in my humble opinion.  Much like this blog!  (See that segway there?  That segway was fantastic.)

For Christmas, I got the Butter London Dressing Table set, which makes me totally late to the party, I know, but if you're like me and even later, I think you can still snag it at Ulta or Amazon.  It's got two really pretty glitters in it.  Tart With a Heart is the lighter champagne one with some silver and gold shimmer in it, but if you know me, you know that I'm a dark girl who loves her black polishes.  So I wanted The Black Knight like burning.  The sad thing was, when I got it, I wasn't floored.  It was more like a black jelly with glitter innit.  Now, I love the colors they chose for the glitter - there's some purple and teal and hot pink, which are my other favorite colors - but at the same time, I was expecting more of a black creme as the base.  I can't be too mad at them for the fact that it applies like goop.  What glitter polish that is super dense with glitter doesn't?  (I normally hate glitter, which I think I've said here before, and will likely say again.)

Well, I wasn't mad about the polish, and I had some Scotch tape and a big ol' plastic tub filled with my other polish, so what did I do?  I put some tape on the bottom of my stubby little nails and did me some ghetto tips.  I used YSL polish (which I don't use too often as I find it has the shortest wear time of any polish I own) in what I think is 35 but will double check on when I get home.  Here are the results, three days after I did 'em:

For something I halfassed, and for someone with super short nails, I think it turned out hella cute.  (And no, there's no way I can grow my nails out - I'm a gamer, and a girl who types over 100 words a minute at work every day.  I kind of need my fingers.)  At the very least, I think the tips add some interest and some texture, which I always like in my manicures.  And it's giving me something to do with that damn YSL polish.