Monday, December 31, 2012

December Manicures

I can't believe how quickly December went - but it's already time for another monthly manicure wrap-up!

Working two retail jobs over the Christmas season was extremely busy, so my nails stayed the same for longer than usual, and there were a few that I neglected to photograph. The week prior to Christmas, I also did silver nails and then added on little red and green Christmas lights on a string on each nail - it was super fun and easy! I just used a dotting tool for the red and green lights and a black striping polish for the cord that connected them. I'm sad I didn't get photos of it, but I could post photos of the trial run I did on my nail wheel if anyone would like to see! For Christmas day, I just red and green on alternating nails.

Now that shopping has calmed down a bit, I should have more time to make January's manicures more interesting! Especially since I've added some polishes to my collection over the past month that haven't gotten a chance to get used yet!

For larger photos of each manicure and the polishes used, keep reading!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Secret Santa Haul - More Photos & Swatches

In case you missed yesterday's post, these are the items I received from my Secret Santa! If you want to see closer photos of the products and some swatches, keep reading!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Secret Santa Haul!

I am so, so, so excited about this!! Although it's been a few weeks since I received it, I opened my secret Santa package yesterday! I have never tried any of these products before, and some of them are impossible/difficult to get in the US. I can't wait to start using them! I'll definitely post swatch posts soon.


Thank you, thank you, thank you to my lovely secret Santa!!! I am seriously so excited to start using these!

Friday, December 7, 2012

November Empties

It's time again for one of my favorite features on this blog! The monthly empties! I am especially excited for this month's edition. Using up products always feels like an accomplishment to me, and for the past few months I've really been trying to use up the many hair and body care products I'd accumulated the past two years living in my apartment.

I finally used up all of the shower gels and Lush soaps and my bottles of shampoo and I'm still working on various small lotions...but as of the end of November I'm DONE with all the shampoo samples I'd accumulated! I had to buy shampoo for the first time in MONTHS and I must say it was pretty exciting!

I like shampoo samples, though - it's a great way to determine whether or not you'll like a product without having to get an entire bottle. I wish samples were easily accessible for every product - that'd probably eliminate a lot of my product clutter!
Out of all of the samples I had, the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean was definitely my least favorite. John Freida Full Repair was my favorite - and what I ended up purchasing when all the samples were gone! I always have liked the L'Oreal Sulfate Free line and would definitely consider going back to one of them eventually, especially if I color my hair again. The others were all just so-so. Nothing terrible about them, but nothing that convinced me to get a full-size bottle either.

In addition to the packet sample of Clear, I also had a little bottle of the shampoo. I did like it, but not quite as well as the John Freida or the L'Oreal sulfate free shampoos I've used in the past. It's a great size bottle though. I really wish more brands had samples like this - more than a packet to get a better idea of how it works at a fraction of the price & product of a whole bottle!

I also finally got a new hair brush. This one I'd had since I was ten years old...and most of the little protective tips on the bristles had come off and were poking my head every time I used it! It was time for it to go. It served me well for the past twelve years, though! 
For face products this month, I used up Pond's Bio-Hydratante Makeup Remover and another jar of Garnier's Moisture Rescue Gel Creme. I'm currently working on samples of other products in these categories. I liked the makeup remover, but didn't love the scent, so I'll probably either try a new one or go back to Sonia Kashuk next time. I plan to repurchase the Garnier once my samples are used up.

The makeup products I finished this month were Revlon Colorstay foundation and under eye concealer, Milani Minerals compact makeup, L'Oreal Voluminous False Lashes mascara, and my Prestige Brow Perfection pencil. I will absolutely get the Colorstay foundation again in the future - it remains a favorite after my second bottle of it. Unless I see it on a major sale, I'll probably just use my other foundations for awhile, though.

I liked the concealer well enough to use up, but not sure if I'll repurchase it. It was a great texture for under the eyes, but in an ideal situation I'd have just one concealer for everything, and this just didn't cut it for concealing on the face.

I loved the texture of the powder but the color was wrong for me - a bit too dark and much too yellow. I'm hoping to try the Multitasker powder from them next - it seems to come in a lighter, pinker shade than this one did.

I really did love this mascara. I always like trying new ones, though, so I'm not sure I'd get it again. The brow pencil was good too - It seemed to last a really long time, and I love that it had a spoolie on the end! Again, I like trying new ones so I probably won't repurchase it.

The final sample I used up this month was Marc Jacobs' Lola perfume. I really like this perfume, but given the choice I think I'd get Oh Lola! for myself instead. 
































































































If you have any questions on these products, let me know!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

November Manicures

OPI You Only Live Twice (Skyfall)












Zoya - Pinta

Revlon Colorstay - Cayenne

Illamasqua - Noble

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year 2012 Nail Lacquer Set

Maybelline Color Show - Twilight Rays

Sonia Kashuk - Two Cent
Sonia Kashuk - Two Cent, OPI - The Living Daylights (Skyfall)


Sonia Kashuk - Two Cent, OPI - The Living Daylights (Skyfall), Butter LONDON Matte Finish Topcoat

Pixi - Paradise Pink, L'Oreal - The Bigger The Better (Diamond Collection)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

No Repeat November - Thoughts

Since November is over, my few-weeks trial of "No Repeat November" is too. I'm really glad I did it! It got me using some products I'd been ignoring, and by having assigned products to use daily until they were gone, I successfully finished quite a few products.

I learned some things about my collection during this challenge. There are many products I have that I really, really do not need! For example, multiple black eyeliners, quite a few blushes that are almost identical, and more lipsticks than I even got close to getting through during these weeks.

There were products that I did not include as daily products initially, but after trying to rotate others in, I realized they were necessary, such as my MAC Painterly paint pot. At first, I tried rotating in some other cream products and eye primers, but most of them failed to prevent my shadow from creasing as well as Painterly does, so after awhile I added Painterly to my daily products so I wouldn't look like such a hot mess halfway through the day!

I also discovered a few products that I'll be eliminating from my collection:

Jordana Best Lash Extreme, Jordana Best Lash, Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume
NYX Cream Blush - Boho Chic, NYX Concealer in a Jar, ELF Studio Blush - Pink Passion




























Although I never realized it before, I guess I'm pretty picky about mascaras. I just did not enjoy the days I used these. Personally, I don't like the look of very thick lashes, as I don't find it flattering at all. The Clinique and the Jordana Best Lash Extreme had that effect. I liked the Jordana Best Lash better, but not enough that I find myself reaching for it over any of my other mascaras.

The NYX concealer is one I've had a very long time, and it simply has gotten too dry to work well anymore. I used to love it, but the texture no longer works.

The NYX cream blush in Boho Chic and the ELF Studio blush in Pink Passion were the only blushes that remained unused. Although I love the color of Boho Chic, it has a sheen to it that I couldn't see in the pan at all, but once applied it made my skin look like it was extremely oily. Pink Passion used to be a very vibrant, almost neon, cool pink - but it seems to have gotten paler and more powdery over time and no longer shows up the same.

Final Thoughts:
I'm really glad I chose to participate in this challenge for a few weeks. Although I'm not going to continue it in the same way, I am going to use the idea of rotating products more in order to determine which I like and which I don't. I have quite a few perfume samples to work through still, as well as some samples of face primers and some lotion and skincare samples. I would definitely consider doing a similar challenge in the future, perhaps limited to lip products or eyeshadows, in order to choose which to keep and to keep myself from ignoring certain products. If you're in a rut or find yourself only using a few certain things, I'd recommend giving this project a try!

See also:
If you want to see my Face of the Day and the products I used each day during this challenge, visit the photo album on my Facebook page!
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