Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Zoya Paradise Sun Collection for Summer 2015: Review & Photos

(provided for review)

Hello! I'm back with the second half of Zoya's summer collection - Paradise Sun. These are all glass fleck/shimmer polishes, while the Island Fun half was all cremes. These still embody the beautiful jewel tones of the first batch while adding a ton of sparkle. On to the swatches...

I was a little apprehensive about Zoya Genesis at first, because I had heard of some bloggers having issues with the formula being a little streaky. I had no issues with the formula, and I found that it covered well in three thin coats. This is a beautiful, squishy white polish with a rainbow of glass fleck particles mixed in. You can see icy blue/purple in the first photo. A polish like this usually comes off as understated and classy - either way, still pretty! 

Now, you know I'm excited if the polish I'm watching has more pictures included of it than the other pictures do. :) This is Zoya Aphrodite, which is a vibrant poppy red jelly with orange undertones. It also includes this fiery spark of red/gold/orange glass fleck shimmer. Combined with the jelly base, this has depth and shine that the other ones don't come close to. This is hands down my favorite of both collections - it's so gorgeous! This is two coats, no topcoat. 

Zoya Mae is up next, and this one also surprised me with how complex it was. I thought in the bottle that it would be some sort of streaky metallic, but it wasn't. This is a more warm-toned pink with a beautiful glass fleck shimmer throughout. The glass flecks are larger - almost reminiscent of a flakie polish, but not quite. Vibrant and gorgeous - and covered well in two coats. 

Please forgive any skin color weirdness here - I wanted to show the polish's best color because it's a little bit of a chameleon for my camera! This is Zoya Isa, a deep blue-based purple shimmer with a bunch of blue/red/purple shimmer. This was an absolute stunner, and I gasped a little bit when I started painting my nails with it. It covered completely in 2 coats, and while it isn't a jelly like Aphrodite, it still had an amazing depth to it. 

Next up is Zoya Selene. Selene is a teal with a metallic pearl finish. This one could get a little brushstroke-y, so be careful when applying. Otherwise, this was an absolutely beautiful shade and another surprise stunner for me. See in the first picture, along the bottom edge of the bottle where there are sort of rainbow colors going on? I saw that playing just the tiniest bit on my nails. Not over the top, very very subtle, but still there. This one was so shimmery. Two perfect coats. 

Finally, we round out this year's summer collection with Zoya Oceane. A fitting name for such a lovely blue polish! If you know me, you know I'm a sucker for blues - and this is no exception. My camera deceives you a bit here - Oceane has the slightest hint of green in it to make it more of a turquoise ocean-waters kind of feel. This had the same kind of shimmer as Selene, so be careful when applying that you don't get brush strokes. Two lovely coats!

All in all, I feel the Zoya Summer 2015 collections were really solid! They were jewel-toned colors that really embodied the heat of summer for me - and I loved that all of them were in the Zoya formulas that I've come to know and love. If I were to choose just three of them, I'd definitely pick Aphrodite, Mae, and Isa. Which ones will you be picking up?

Awesomely enough, there is a promotion going on at Zoya right now! They're doing 3 colors for FREE with $15 shipping. 3 Zoyas for $15 is a great deal, so head on over there now and use code KICK when checking out to get the deal! This promotion ends 6/14 at 11:59 PM ET. Let me know what you're picking up! 

Zoya Island Fun Collection for Summer 2015: Review & Photos

(provided for review)

Hi everyone! Today I have the Zoya Island Fun collection for Summer 2015. Zoya encompassed summer heat in this collection of 6 dreamy cremes! All swatches are two coats with NO topcoat. I always look at cremes and feel bored about them until I get them on my nails - this collection was no exception. These are really fun colors for summer and they make me think about hot weather for sure. On to the swatches! 

Zoya Demetria was a surprise favorite for me right from the beginning! Demetria is a beautiful poppy creme. Almost a bright, tomato-ish red. this was so flattering on my forever-pale skintone and I thought it was a really classic color. This doesn't beat out my beloved Zoya Sooki for all-time favorite red, but it's certainly up there. 

Zoya Nana is a "deep summer fuchsia." This was certainly a sort of raspberry on my skin tone, but I definitely see that it could be described as a deep fuchsia. This one had a wonderful smooth formula, but I feel like this color is easily duplicated. Very pretty nonetheless. 

Now I apologize that this looks like two different polishes, but Zoya Serenity was definitely hard to photograph! I find that blue-based purples like this one tend to photograph strangely like this. Serenity is very close to the first photo, with the blue undertones of the second photo, if that makes any sense. This reminds me of Zoya Mira, but they could possibly be cousins, not twins. This is a beautiful vibrant purple! 

Next up is Zoya Jace, which was surprising for me - I loved it way more than I thought I would! Jace is a "modern tropical green" when described by the Zoya site, but in my eyes it's a beautiful, grassy green with just the slightest hint of yellow in the undertones. This was beautiful and springy and looks like it would be a great base for nail art, if not a marbling/stamping polish! This one had a formula that was a tiny bit thinner than the others, but it still covered in two smooth, shiny coats. 

Next up is Zoya Cecilia, which is just a beautiful classic green-leaning teal. I can't get enough of these types of shades and I have lots of them collected throughout my tenure as a nail polish enthusiast. This is such a gorgeous jewel-toned shade. Try to double up on the base coat for this polish - it was so pigmented that I had some slight staining when I removed it. 

Last but not least, there is Zoya Talia. Zoya describes this as a true turquoise, and I'd say this is pretty spot on. A beautiful, deep turquoise that just leaves you kind of staring at how shiny and beautiful it is! This one also stained - worse than Cecilia did - and I had it on for a shorter amount of time. Extra base coat is necessary with this one, loves! 

Overall I was really impressed with this part of Zoya's summer collection. I was so excited about some of the shimmers in the next part of the collection (Paradise Sun - you'll be seeing swatches of those in the next post!) that I overlooked how much I really love cremes. If I were to pick three favorites, the would have to be Demetria, Jace, and Cecilia.

The Island Fun collection can be found on the Zoya website and wherever else Zoya is sold for $9 a bottle. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

faces lately.

Hi all. I'm alive and well and hope you are too. This has been a busy season for me with work, and things are finally falling into a place where I can take some time to show you what I've been up to lately. And I've got lots of great things to share with you this week, including some great new Zoya collections! First I want to share kind of a photodump of FOTDs that I've had lately. It's Makeup Monday, after all!

I've really been feeling neutral eye + bold lip lately and you'll see that showing up in quite a few of these. My eyes here are from the Tarte Be Your Own Tarteist palette that came out in the QVC TSV set from February, I believe. I used the 3 colors on the right-hand side of the palette. I also used NYX Tame & Frame brow pomade, Benefit Roller Lash mascara, and Colour Pop lippie stix in Fancy. Wore this for a date night out with the boyfriend + some of our friends.

Another neutral eye + bold lip. Same Tarte palette used here, just a lighter hand, and this is Colour Pop Rocket lippie stix. I was feeling the porcelain look I had going here!

Then I decided to go a bit avant-garde and actually wear a look like this out of the house! This was the same Tarte palette (man, I've been loving that one lately, hmm?) but I used the more intense shadows on the left side of the palette. I used a hydrating primer under my foundation so my skin would look pretty dewy. The lipstick is a brave new world for me: Lime Crime's Velvetine lipstick in the color Cashmere! This is a greyed neutral, and I was really worried about leaving the house with it on. But I got a LOT of compliments on this dramatic neutral look - even my boss commented and he is the least attentive of all the menfolk. I really liked this look. 

Finally we have an FOTD from late last week - we had some special guests coming into the office and I decided to make my face look more awake than it normally would. The eyeshadows here are from a Wet 'N' Wild six-pan neutral palette. The eyeliner and brows are elf products. Foundation is Maybelline Fit Me Dewy & Smooth, and the blush is a Tarte bronzer blush from last year's QVC shipments. The lips were my new favorite - OCC lip tar in Memento. I received a tiny tube of this, and I think I'm going to have to buy a full-size tube. It wore well and felt really comfortable. Plus: MINTY.

What do you think of my looks lately? What have you been wearing?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Raising the Bar: New LUSH Solid Shampoos!

Hello everyone and happy Saturday! I wanted to show you all the new shampoo bars from LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. I've had these for awhile - over a month - and I wanted to take my time with this post because I wanted to try every single one of these shampoos for at least a week to give you the best possible review I can. 

LUSH Shampoo Bars are very interesting inventions. I'd never seen a solid shampoo before until I stepped into LUSH and wondered aloud what the colorful hockey pucks might do. Solid shampoos are great because they're unpreserved, fresh, and free of packaging. They are very concentrated, so each bar lasts about 80-100 washes for me (even with my long hair), and I'm told they are the equivalent of about three bottles of LUSH shampoo. 

Braziliant (orange shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) is reportedly great for curly hair with nourishing and conditioning andiroba oil. The oil is balancing and doesn't leave the hair with a greasy or oily feeling. In addition, Braziliant is made with whole oranges, which cleanses the hair and makes it shiny. I found that this one gave a nice amount of shine to my fine, wavy long hair. I absolutely love the way this one smells - like fresh orange juice! I did find that the andiroba oil wasn't too heavy on my fine locks, as well. 

Montalbano (yellow shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) is great for giving hair shine and great strength. It has green olives to improve hair's tensile strength and rosemary to cleanse and balance. All of the lemon in it makes the hair unbelievably shiny by smoothing the hair's cuticle. This one has an interesting name and I did a little bit of extra research on it. The shampoo is named after Inspector Montalbano from a series of famous Italian detective novels. I really loved this one, and it was one of my favorites. It's got a bright juicy scent reminiscent of LUSH's The Sicilian bath bomb - heavy on the lemon with a little bit of a green undertone. This made my hair SO shiny and manageable. Highly recommend.

Honey I Washed My Hair (white shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) was one that I was looking forward to when I first heard rumors of this release. I absolutely love the LUSH Honey I Washed The Kids scent. The honey and toffee is so comforting and familiar for me and I always buy all of their products that have the scent, like the soap, the It's Raining Men shower gel, etc. So you can bet I was excited about this one! This one has honey in it to soften the hair - honey is a great humectant and keeps the hair and skin from drying out. It smells JUST like the Honey I Washed the Kids soap. I was a little hesitant to try it because super-moisturizing shampoos can weigh my hair down, but this left it feeling soft and balanced. The honey and toffee scent stayed with me all day. Yesssssss.

Lullaby (pink shampoo bar, $9.95, found here) has a beautiful, herbal lavender scent that is meant to calm and soothe sore scalps. This one is also reportedly good for younger scalps. This has a heavy amount of ground almonds in it, so when it gets wet it makes sort of an almond milk lather. This also has lavender to soothe and jojoba to balance. It's definitely different from any other shampoo bar - it's nowhere near as sudsy. I really loved the fragrance, but found that my hair didn't really care about this one, one way or the other. I did find that it was a really balancing sort of shampoo and I didn't feel too oily or dry after using it. 

Copperhead (brown shampoo bar, $11.95, found here) is another one that I was really excited for because it has the Dear John fragrance, which is an old LUSH scent I've always loved - coffee and chocolate with a little bit of zest. Kind of smoky and masculine and so multifaceted. This has ground coffee in it to invigorate, as well as some henna to condition the hair. Don't worry, this henna won't dye your locks but this is great for darker and red tones. The henna and cocoa butter also give flyaways some weight and shine. This also has lemon for shine. I absolutely love this one, but be warned: the coffee grounds will collect in the bottom of your shower and your shower may appear "dirty" after using this shampoo. This gives me great shine and body, and it's been a daily shampoo for me! 

I really love the formula of these new shampoo bars, and the fragrances are great. Bonuses for them being packaging-free, cruelty-free, and sustainably sourced. My clear favorites are Copperhead, Honey I Washed My Hair, and Montalbano. There's also a 6th shampoo bar called Jason and the Argan Oil (found here), which was released a little late. It has the Rose Jam scent. I haven't been in my local LUSH to try it yet, but I will provide you with a full report when I do!

What did you think of the new shampoo bars? Are any standing out that you'd like to try?

Note: The products in this post were sent by the company for review consideration. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Zoya Delight: Spring 2015 Review and Swatches

Hi there everyone! Today I have the Zoya Delight collection for Spring 2015. I actually took these photos a few weeks ago, things have been crazy for me in my real-world life and I had to step away for a bit. Without further ado, on with the swatches and review! 

First up is Zoya Daisy. Daisy is a lemon yellow with a micro shimmer that flashes turquoise. Very interesting color combination! I feel like the shimmer made the formula better, as this was only two coats and yellows are notorious in the polish world for having awful formulas. This was nice and smooth and covered completely in two coats. Not a color I'd normally gravitate towards, but I really liked this one once it was on. 

Zoya Eden is a classic bright pink, not very bubblegum but more fuchsia-leaning. Think OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips, etc. Classic pink for springtime, and I always seem to love these pinks. This one was no exception, and the formula was buttery-smooth, almost a one-coater, but this was two coats. 

I was excited to put on Zoya Leslie, a lilac purple with more of that beautiful turquoise shimmer that Daisy had. This one had a great formula and covered well in two coats. I love these shimmers, I think they are a perfect base for nail art, stamping, or glitters. This one really wowed me with that green/blue shimmery flash. 

I wasn't sure how much I would like Zoya Lilian as I'm not much of a fan of pastel blues - but give me a deep or shimmery blue and I'm all over it. However, this one had an AMAZING formula, and again covered well with two coats, though you could probably get away with one coat if you're careful. 

Naturally since I said I'm usually a deeper or more shimmery blue lover, Zoya Rayne was right up my alley. I ooh'ed and aah'ed when I took this one out of the box, it is so gorgeous. The turquoise shimmer gives it so much depth! This is so springy and dewy and it's everything I love. Like I said, these shimmers have so much depth, especially this one, and they'd be a great base for nail art or glitter. This is two easy coats. 

Finally, we have Zoya Tiana.  Tina is sort of a pastel pistachio green creme and the formula on this one was pretty stellar. Just two coats. I didn't expect to love this one as I don't love pastels, but I found myself really digging this one. 

Which polishes did you like from the collection? Did you pick any up? I'd have to say my favorites were Rayne, Leslie, Tiana, and Eden. Thanks for checking out the post! I've got more up my sleeve! 

Polishes in this post were provided by the company for review consideration. All opinions in this post are my own. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Preview: The Roosevelt Coffeehouse - Columbus, OH

Today I had the opportunity to visit Columbus' newest coffee joint, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse, during some open house hours that they were holding. I was seriously impressed and wanted to share the story about this local gem.

The Roosevelt Coffehouse, located at 300 East Long Street in Columbus, Ohio, is a brand new coffeehouse opening up in Columbus within the month (hopefully by April 1). I was able to tour the facility as well as enjoy some great coffee today during their open house. They have a beautiful, airy space in downtown Columbus with some beautiful design details.

I absolutely love the wood tables and surfaces - owner Kenny Sipes tells me they are all made from reclaimed bowling alley lanes. 

They had Stumptown Roasters Hair Bender espresso blend available for us to try, and might I say this is one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had. Clean and smooth, a bit fruity and sweet, with a caramelly finish. I absolutely loved this and I'm glad Roosevelt will be showcasing Stumptown coffees. I purchased one of their travel mugs, which benefits providing clean water to those who do not have it, and my coffee was served in a handy plastic keeper cup (think the Starbucks $1 cups, but a little sturdier) with the Roosevelt logo. 

While enjoying the coffee, I got to chat with owner Kenny Sipes about his vision for the coffeehouse. The Roosevelt Coffeehouse is all about benefiting three key social justice topics: fighting hunger, providing clean water, and bringing an end to human trafficking. Roosevelt accepts donations for the charities they work with that do great work in their communities in these three key areas. Roosevelt also plans on donating barista tips and, after profits are made, possibly portions of the month's profit towards working in those three key areas. Roosevelt has already made some headway in the community - they're located right next to a men's shelter, and Roosevelt bought Thanksgiving dinner for as many patrons as they could there during the Thanksgiving holiday. Roosevelt plans to work with agencies both locally and internationally to provide aid for the hungry, for the thirsty, and for those victims of slavery and human trafficking. 

It's very interesting that an Ohio coffeeshop would be interested in human trafficking. However, it's not surprising, because Ohio is one of the states most known for its illicit human trafficking trade. We have multiple intersecting interstates and Ohio has in recent years become a hotbed for human trafficking activity. Roosevelt hopes to raise awareness and benefit local and international victims. I think the Ohio capital is a great place to do it. 

I'm really excited for this place and can't wait for it to be open. What's your favorite coffee spot?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Give A Little Love With LUSH Valentine's Day

Today I've got a treat for you - some of the goodies from the LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Valentine's Day collection! This collection is consistently one of my favorites year after year, and I was so excited to be able to try some of this year's goodies straight from LUSH. 

The products in the range this year are colorful, beautifully scented, and altogether romantic and whimsical. This is one of my favorite Valentine's ranges in years, easily! LUSH is one of my favorite brands. They are fighting animal testing through and through - their products aren't tested on animals and that's down to even the ingredients in each product. I've watched some LUSH sourcing and buying videos and it looks like they go to the ends of the earth to make sure the beautiful ingredients in each product are sustainably and ethically sourced. LUSH has ethics I can get behind, and their products? They rock. That's why I keep coming back time and time again.

Prince Charming Shower Gel is something I was excited to see come back after last year! I loved this one so much I bought a giant bottle of it. Prince Charming is back and he's better than ever, with his gorgeous, zingy and juicy fragrance thanks to the grapefruit, sandalwood, and geranium fragrance. The marshmallow root, vanilla, and pomegranate juice in this baby are great for softening the skin. This is a shower gel that just lingers with me all day - and that's what I am looking for in a shower gel! 

Heart Throb Bubbleroon (above picture, second from right) is new to the range this year. This Bubbleroon is beautiful - big and heart shaped. It shares its fragrance with LUSH's best selling African Paradise body conditioner. It's a smoky, spicy floral - geranium, frangipani, ylang ylang, and Fair Trade vanilla absolute. I love the body conditioner, so I was definitely a fan of this bubbleroon. The best part? You can pull the halves apart and get two baths out of one bubbleroon. Just half of it was enough to make a long-lasting mound of awesome bubbles in my tub, with beautiful red water. 

First up is Unicorn Horn, which is one of the most beautiful bubble bars I've seen from LUSH in a very long time. It's simply magical. It's got candy stars and sparkling lustre to make your bath shimmery, colorful, and whimsical. This has a lavender, ylang ylang, and neroli fragrance that I found both calming and uplifting. I'm told by some friends that this is the Noriko fragrance from a couple of years ago. Either way, it's absolutely beautiful and pairs well with pretty much ANY bath bomb I cocktail it with. I went to my local store and bought three of them upon seeing them!

The Kiss Lip Scrub was one of the products I was looking forward to most this year. I've loved The Kiss vegan lipgloss faithfully for the past two years, stocking up every time it comes out! I have really gotten into LUSH's lip scrubs in the past year or so, so I was very excited for this. It's a castor sugar scrub, like the rest of LUSH lip scrubs, but this one is pink and shimmery, and has sea salt, edible red heart confetti, and sprinkles! How fun is that! And might I add, this is delicious. It's like Fruity Pebbles with just a hint of salty goodness. This left me with a shimmery pink pout. I'm lamenting the fact that this one is limited edition.

Oh, look! Love Locket bath bomb came back this year - I was hoping it would! This bath bomb is MASSIVE - you can crack it in half for two baths, and there's another small bath bomb inside of it! Three baths out of one bath bomb, that is awesome. The smaller bath bomb is full of agar hearts, which float out on your bathwater, creating a romantic experience without leaving your skin covered in heart glitter. I can dig it. This is vanilla, jasmine, and neroli scented. It vaguely reminds me of sex bomb, likely because of the jasmine in it, but it's a little bit different. I really enjoyed this one last year, so I was glad to see it come back. 

Last but not least, Cupid's Love soap is uplifting and fruity! This has a bergamot and rosewood fragrance, with fig seeds, passion fruit juice, and soy yogurt. This is a little bit different than the Neon Love soap of last year, I'm told. This also has cinnamon in it, and the cinnamon really warms up that fruity punchy smell. This is a really lovely soap. I find, however, that LUSH soaps tend to be a bit drying on me in the winter, and while this one didn't dry me out as much as usual ones do, I'll stick with my shower gel. This is lovely for washing hands, though, and I have it by my sink.

There you have it, everyone! My selections from this year's amazing Valentine's Day range from LUSH. All of these would make perfect gifts for your sweetie, or even add-ons to what you may have already gotten them. Besides, what's better than being soft and smelling sweetly for Valentine's Day? ;) 

What are you grabbing from the LUSH Valentine's Day range? Be sure to get your goodies before it's too late! 

Note: A few of the products in this post were sent for review consideration. All opinions in this post are my own.