Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Zoya Matte Velvet Collection for Winter 2015 - Swatches & Review

Items in this post were provided for review.

Hello everyone! Happy holidays! The busiest, most magical time of the year has descended upon us - I can't believe it's already December! 2015 has really flown by for me, and I am already starting to set my goals for 2016. Today I have the Zoya Matte Velvet Collection for Winter 2015. I've had this collection for a couple of weeks as I've been testing out the finish's wear time as well as potential staining issues. This is a collection of six beautiful new Matte Velvet polishes - one of Zoya's most popular finishes. This finish dries matte, but has lots of sparkle running throughout to give it a truly velvety finish and is a bit more multi-dimensional than most matte polishes. 

On to the swatches!

I had a favorite right off the bat with Zoya Amal. This is described as a classic crimson with a ruby red pearl fleck. The Matte Velvet finish lets the sparkle still shine through, but I've put top coat on my middle two fingers so you can see the difference. Matte Velvet polishes are so beautiful both matte and with topcoat - Amal is no exception. This was two thin coats, no topcoat on my pointer & pinkie fingers. 

I was a little apprehensive about trying Zoya Aspen because historically, white polishes don't work for me. I really love the look of this beautiful arctic white with a diamond-like pearl fleck. This was two thin coats. Again, I put topcoat on my middle two fingers so you can see the kind of shine that Aspen has when it is topcoated. I had some self-leveling issues with this one, but that can be remedied by using really thin coats. This one was beautiful, but not one of my favorites of the collection. It's not glaringly, searingly white, more of a soft winter white. My photo is pulling a bit more yellow than it actually is, I'm sorry!

When I put on Zoya Honor, I had a sharp little inhale. This. This is one of the most perfect emerald green polishes I've ever had the privilege of swatching. I know that sounds a little over-the-top, but at the same time, the formula on this one was like butter, and I found that this one self-leveled a bit better than some of the other ones (Lookin' at you, Aspen). When I put the topcoat on my middle two fingers, I was even more in love. Look at that SPARKLE, y'all. I also love what it looks like matte, with the green flecks peeking out from the murky emerald matte finish. So beautiful. This one was a little bit of a stainer, it wasn't as bad as Yves, but it stained a tiny bit nonetheless. 

I was pleasantly surprised by Zoya Iris when I put her on. The polish in its regular matte finish was pretty standard for me, nothing too crazy, but when I topcoated my middle two fingers, this one was really a stunner. Iris is described as a deep amethyst with a fuchsia pearl fleck, and you could really see the brightness of the fuchsia come through on those fingers with the top coat on them. Two coats.

Zoya Sue was another total stunner. This is a soft, soft champagne gold and it has a multicolored "oyster shell" shimmer in it. I'd say that's true, as my eyes were catching gold, silver, maybe a bit of pink shift as well in there. This was two coats and it was absolutely beautiful. Another one that had me breathing funny! I did topcoat the middle two fingers, even if it is hard to tell. This one was so smooth and easy to apply, and it looked really beautiful and festive either top coated or non-top coated.

And finally, last but not least, there's Zoya Yves. I can honestly say I'm all about Yves, it was my #1 favorite from the entire collection! But I'm admittedly kind of a sucker for blue nail polish, so....haha!  This is a deep sapphire base with a beautiful blue pearl running throughout it. I found this one a bit dark and mysterious matte, but with topcoat, it was just so stunning. It is a bit deeper than any of my other shimmery blues, so I can say that I truly have nothing quite like it. This is ONE COAT y'all. This one was a bit of a stainer - I swatched these with no base coat to get the most matte finish, and my nails are looking the tiniest bit smurf-ified. You can mitigate that by using base coat before applying this one. 

Well, there you have it! Short, sweet and to the point! I really loved the Zoya Matte Velvet Collection for Winter 2015. I spent a lot of time with these polishes before showing them to you because I did want to test the wear of the finish. I found that I actually got more wear out of these than I was expecting! I can usually get 2 good days of wear from most normal polishes with base coat and top coat. With the Matte Velvets, I was getting amazing wear - 3 and 4 days, sometimes more! These perform really well for me and the finish is just so beautiful. The formula is always smooth, easy to apply, and the perfect balance of viscosity. 

My top three picks for this collection are definitely Yves, Honor, and Amal. I do love that there's a red, white, and green in this collection - it's perfect for Christmas! I feel like the other colors really encompass the full holiday season as well. What will you be picking up from the collection? 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fresh New LUSH for Fall 2015

Hi everyone! I've got some goodies for you from LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics that I've been trying for the last few weeks to give you a good review on. LUSH was lovely enough to send me quite a few pieces from their new products collection that just launched. There were three shower jellies, four shower gels, and two shower scrubs that just launched. In addition, some hand and foot products and shaving products launched as well! I am featuring the shower gels, jellies, and scrubs for you here today. Without further ado - let's jump into it! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Favorites!

Hi everyone! I hope you've been having a great week. I can't believe it's October already. This month will always be hard for me - October 3 is the anniversary of my mother's death. I can't believe it's been a year already. It feels like less time has passed, but also that more time has passed. I haven't gone a day this past year without thinking of her, and I still find myself overcome with emotion from time to time. It's like a pain that is always there, just under the surface, no matter how hard I pretend it isn't there. 

I think later this month I will do a reflections post, but for now I wanted to bring you my monthly favorites for September 2015!

1. LUSH Ultrabland. I have been wearing more makeup since I've had more time to do so. LUSH Ultrabland has been a saving grace for me! I put this on my face at the end of the night and then wipe off the cleanser with a hot washcloth. It softens my skin and melts away even the most budge-proof liner and mascara. It was nice getting to revisit Ultrabland this month, as it is one of my favorite products of all time.

2. tarte Gifted mascara gave me some amazing lashes. It lengthened, thickened, and held a curl, all while staying nice and soft and being easy to wash off. Really nice formula that leaves me looking awake.

3. Supergoop CC Cream (in the tiny white tube). I received a sample of this from Birchbox forever ago and got around to using it this month. There were quite a few uses in the tube, and I just finished it today. It gives great coverage, cancels a bit of my redness with the color correction formula, and leaves me with a natural finish. My freckles still peek through, but my skin looks brighter and more awake. I am going to be purchasing the large tube of this - $32 on Birchbox's website. 

4. Equate Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover Pads. I picked these up at Walmart while on my vacation in August and used them a lot in the last month! They're felt pads soaked with remover, so they help scrub away at pesky glitter. The non-acetone formula keeps my nails and skin from drying out. These are great to have on-hand to remove polish once it chips for me (because once one nail chips, that's when I usually pick at the rest of them and peel all my polish off).

5. Journal + Pilot Varsity fountain pen. Lately I've made a lot more time for journaling and processing my thoughts. It's a great form of cheap therapy. I posted on my instagram about the Pilot Varsity fountain pen. I picked up a 7-pack of them on Amazon for cheap, and I have been loving them. It's a medium-nib fountain pen, so it's a bit more bold, but I'm ok with that. I have really begun to enjoy the art of handwriting again.

6. Amazon Kindle Fire HD6. I picked this up on a whim in August because it was dead cheap - It's usually $99.99, but it was on sale for $69.99 and I used a $30.00 gift card. This has been great because I don't have to lug around my 15" MacBook Pro into bed to watch Netflix, and I don't have to  hold my iPhone 6 either. I really still want to get an iPad, but this has been great for Netflix watching, random surfing, and TONS of ebook reading in the past month. The display is really crisp.

There you have it, my monthly favorites for September! What were your favorite products for the month?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

HARE Polish: Stir Crazy S/S 2015 Swatches & Review

(Polishes received at a discount for review purposes)
Hi everyone, I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I had a lovely weekend away and I've just gotten back into town. I was going through some of my swatch photos on my computer and realized I had a backlog of swatches to show you guys! 

First up are a couple selections from the HARE Polish Stir Crazy S/S 2015 collection. I was only able to get two of the five polishes and have been trying to get my grubby paws on the other three ever since! Nikole, the creator of HARE Polish and general genius of color combinations, made this collection to encapsule the stir crazy feeling after winter. The collection does a great job of bringing warmth and sparkle in to the crazy transition between seasons. Without further ado - here are the swatches! 

First up is Born to Roam, which is a soft mint green with large metallic silver flakies, gold flakies, and silver shimmer. I used three coats for the photos below. This had HARE's amazing jelly formula, which is always smooth, perfectly translucent, and dries perfectly jellyish/bouncy. I actually wore this going into my vacation that I recently returned from! 

Next up is Desperately Seeking Blue Skies, which Nikole describes as a slightly dusty robin's egg blue with ultra chrome flakies that reflect pink, purple, blue and green, along with golden iridescent glitter and gold shimmer. This one is unspeakably awesome, and so shiny and perfect that I can't EVEN. This reflects so many different colors, and the gold iridescent shimmer and gold glitter is such a perfect compliment to the ultra chrome flakies. This is a really multifaceted shade and I've found myself reaching for it more than once.

Again it has the perfect HARE polish jelly formula. These photos are two coats with topcoat.

I can't wait to get the rest of this collection - I'm really hoping Nikole has them soon in her HARE Polish Etsy shop! Nikole has recently hired a lovely assistant, Elaine, to help her out while Nikole is out with some health issues! Get well soon, Nikole! 

Did you pick up anything from this lovely collection? 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

LUSH Haul | 9.24.15

Hi everyone! I visited my local LUSH shop a couple of times in the last couple of days, and I was so excited about the things I've gotten that I wanted to share them here on the blog! It's no secret that LUSH has been doing some major innovating and reinventing lately. They did away with some unpopular products in their range and it appears they're replacing them with even more awesome things. This post is a bit of the new goodness intermixed with what appears to be a soft launch of the Halloween range.

First off, I had to grab two Lord of Misrule bath bombs ($6.95 each). These are my #1 favorite LUSH bath bomb of all time and I am so glad they're back - my stash was running low! Lord of Misrule is a truly distinctive fragrance of Fair Trade vanilla absolute paired with the warm earthiness of black pepper and patchouli. The bath bomb is beautiful - it's green outside but has a red core. You look like you're bathing in wine, and there's popping candy in the bath bomb that sounds like a crackling fire. I fell in love with this fragrance when LUSH released it a couple of years ago, and it is so popular they've started making other products in the scent. 

Included in the Lord of Misrule scent range is Aliens and Monsters FUN ($6.95). It includes three colors of FUN (green, purple, and magenta). FUN is a really interesting product. It's marketed as a 4-in-1 product that you can use as a shampoo, soap, bubble bath, and to play with! FUN is made with a cornstarch base and is incredibly softening on the skin while still being nice and cleansing. 

Both of these products are here for Halloween and are limited edition. 

In the tin is a Lord of Misrule-scented addition to the permanent line, The Rough With the Smooth body scrub ($9.95). This is a solid scrub made with granulated sugar to exfoliate and murumuru butter to soften the skin. I just used this in my shower and it was such a treat! It has that gorgeous and complex Lord of Misrule fragrance and my skin was SO soft after rubbing it over some of my rough areas and rinsing. 

To the left of The Rough With the Smooth is Don't Look at Me fresh face mask ($10.95). I actually got this for free for trading in 5 clean black LUSH product pots! This mask is BRIGHT blue and gives a bit of a Smurf effect! It's got ground rice to exfoliate, lemon to brighten, and murumuru butter to soften the skin. I popped this on for about ten minutes prior to my shower and when I rinsed, my face was so smooth and soft, and much brighter! I love LUSH's fresh face masks, but you have to be close to a shop to get them since they are refrigerated. 

The final product I've picked up lately is the Rub Rub Rub shower scrub ($9.95), which is the blue square with the beautiful flowers pressed into it. I'm a big fan of LUSH's potted Rub Rub Rub shower scrub - it's the perfect mix of soapy and scrubby! It's got a gorgeous mimosa fragrance that I've always loved. This particular scrub is salt-based, with illipe and cupuacu butters to soften the skin. This smells JUST like the potted product I know and love, and I love that they've come out with a packaging-free version. 

The above three products are permanent additions to the LUSH range with much more to come!
I also love the backdrop for this photo - it's one of the new knot wraps that's come to the LUSH shops! There are a bunch of new designs and the coolest thing about these is that they're made with recycled LUSH bottles. They're beautiful as scarves or accessories, and perfect given as gifts. 

That's my LUSH haul for today! I'm sure I'll be showing you some more new goodies soon ;)
Have you picked up anything new from the new LUSH range or Halloween range?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Zoya Flair Collection for Fall 2015 - Swatches & Review

[press samples]

Hello! As promised, I have the second half of Zoya's fall collection, called Flair. This one is all metallics and shimmery goodness. (If you missed the first half of the collection, Focus, click here to read my post.) Zoya's fall collections always end up being my favorites, and as I said in the last post, this one is no exception! On to the swatches...

First up is Zoya Aggie - this is one that I was totally drooling over from the promotional photos shown in the press release. I love duochromes and multichromes, so I was excited to see that this collection may include one. This is a green to bronze/gold shift that is evident on the bottle and evident on the nail in low lighting. First photo is direct sunlight, second photo is indirect light in my apartment. You can definitely see the shift on this one, just know that duochromes like this perform well in low light. This had a nice formula, finished a tiny bit brushstroke-y, but not too bad. Two coats with no topcoat.

Zoya Cinnamon is another one that I was really looking forward to from the promotional shots in the press release. This is a rich bronzey brown, the color of an older penny. So gorgeous! This one had a thicker formula, and this was less brushstroke-y than Aggie. This is two easy coats with no topcoat.

When I saw Zoya Ember I knew it would be a favorite for me. I always love these glowy, lit-from-within colors. This is a beautiful warm red with one of the smoothest, easiest formulas I've ever dealt with! This was two coats, so smooth, nary a brushstroke in sight. One of my favorites of the collection!

Next up is Zoya Estelle and as you may know, I'm a fan of blues so this one had my heart right away. This is a "blue on blue" sort of metallic shimmer polish that just glows. As you can see in the sun it's pretty bling, but that vibrant blue in the shade is what gets me! This was two coats, no topcoat. Thin formula, so work carefully and be sure to try to minimize brushstrokes.

Zoya Giada is such a stunner! This is a beautiful warm purple with a red shimmer that is reminiscent of what I wanted Chanel Taboo to be. This is obviously brighter and not as vampy as Taboo, but it's got the same kind of shimmer combination. This had an utterly perfect formula. This was a one-coater for me and I've shown only one coat in the photos! If I was pickier I would have done two, but this was so gorgeous and vibrant on ONE COAT that I went with that. No topcoat. LOOOVE.

The final piece of the Zoya Flair collection for Fall 2015 is Zoya Tris. This is a metallic graphite color that reminded me a lot of Chanel Graphite. Absolutely beautiful and shimmery, but still understated enough to be able to wear to work. This was a bit sheer on the first coat, but covered well in two coats. No topcoat. 

What a gorgeous two-piece collection from Zoya! If I had to choose a top 3 of this half of the collection, they would be Ember, Giada, and Cinnamon. Which ones would you choose?

The Focus & Flair collections can both be found for $9 a bottle on Zoya's website. They've got a 50% off promotion running right now - which ones are you going to grab?

Zoya Focus Collection for Fall 2015 - Review & Swatches

[press samples]

Hi everyone! I hope you've been enjoying your weekends. Today I've got something new and exciting for you - the Zoya Focus Collection for Fall 2015. Zoya's fall collections are always my favorite as it seems they always release two side-by-side collections of amazingness. This year is no different. Focus is the cremes and Flair is the shimmers/metallics. On to the swatches of Focus 2015!

First up is Zoya Charli, which is a slate/concrete grey with just the slightest hint of sage green. This is one of those beautiful in-between colors that leaves you with a chic but understated look. Polishes like this always find their way into my stash as they're flattering on my skin tone and neutral enough to go with most of my wardrobe. Charli had a beautiful formula, and it was very smooth. This is two coats without topcoat. 

Zoya Desiree is a medium chocolate brown - it looked like I was painting my nails with hot cocoa! This color is so very fall for me and I really enjoyed this shade more than I thought I would. It's not too vampy to be not safe for work, but still really encompasses that chic fall shade we're all searching for. This is two very easy coats with no topcoat. 

And then there's Zoya Hannah. This was a surprise favorite for me! I love my staple red, Zoya Sooki, so much that I really don't pay attention to other reds. This one was an attention-grabber for me and the formula made it even more of a favorite for me. This is right up there with my beloved Sooki! This is more neutral/warm than Sooki and I found it to have kind of a "crelly" formula, a squishy, juicy-looking hybrid between jelly and creme. This is such a classic red, it would be great any time of the year. Even though this had a squishier formula, I found that it covered in two easy coats. No topcoat. 

Hannah's more berryish cousin was Zoya Janel. Janel had a beautiful raspberry shade, and a medium thick formula. This was gorgeous but as you can see I got a bit of cuticle staining with this one when cleaning up. Two coats, no topcoat. 

When I pulled Zoya Lidia out of the box, I knew it was going to be love. Lidia is the vampy eggplant purple you've always been looking for. A little bit warm-toned, this was still neutral enough to go well with my relatively cool skin tone. Apparently the sun decided to hide when I was swatching this one, haha! This had a thinner formula, but it flowed well over the nail. Seemed a bit sheer on the first coat, but the second coat evened it out and covered any issues. Very regal. 2 coats, no topcoat. 

The final piece in Zoya's fall Focus collection was Zoya Sia. Sia, Sia, Sia. I am such a sucker for blue nail polishes even though blue isn't my favorite color. Sia is an ultramarine sort of cobalt blue akin to Nails Inc Baker Street or Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, without the dusty undertone. Not something I would look at for fall, but it just fits in with the other rich jewel tones in this collection. Zoya warns to double up on base coat for this one as the pigments are so concentrated they may stain. I used one coat of base coat and found that staining was mild to nonexistent for me. Such a beautiful color.

My top three out of the connection were Lidia, Hannah, and Sia. Desiree is tied for second place. The whole collection is really well thought-out and I was so glad to see some rich jewel tones for fall! I have the next half of the collection, Flair, coming up, so stay tuned! 

All of the above polishes are available for $9 each on Zoya's website. Naturally, they all have Zoya's great 5-free, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free formula. Are you going to be picking anything up from this collection?