Thursday, April 25, 2013

Zoya Ciara

Zoya Ciara is among one of my first Zoyas I ordered as part of their three free polishes promotion, a process that involved agonizing over which three would make the cut. Then I get it and swatch it and--hey doesn't it kind of look like.. ? Crap.

If you couldn't tell, the colour on the ring finger is just slightly different from the others. That's because it's Violet Vixen from L'Oreal Colour Riche (as seen here).

I really, consciously try to avoid buying polishes that seem too close to ones I currently own--it's not the best use of my money and takes up room in a polish drawer that is getting just a bit tight. I am a bit disappointed because there were so many pretty Zoyas I could have bought instead, but let's just call it my sacrifice for science LOL.

Zoya Ciara is a deep berry creme, just on the edge of vampy. It's opaque in two coats with a formula that flows easily over the nail. L'Oreal Colour Riche Violet Vixen leans a teeny bit more purple and is slightly not as deep, but I swear the two are indistinguishable unless under bright light and close examination. I think it's safe to say we have a dupe on our hands, folks.

Here comes the next question--which one should I buy? Overall the brush on L'Oreal Colour Riche polishes are not my favourite and make the polish more challenging to apply, so I prefer Ciara for easier application and a more opaque formula (Colour Riches usually seem to need three coats). Zoya polishes are $8 USD while L'Oreal is $6-8 USD/CAD so the price difference is minimal unless you catch L'Oreal on sale. However, Zoya is harder to find in Canada (unless you buy online) so if you love the deep berry look, get Violet Vixen. It will still look great, you just need to get used to the brush.

Do you see the difference? Tell me what dupes you've found so I can avoid wasting money in the future.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sally Hansen Choco-Latte

You don't get up to the number of nail polishes I have without picking up a few duds along the way. I'm used to the ones that are too sheer or gloppy, or apply patchy/streaky but somehow I've wound up with a shade that's just sorta ugly. It's not that Sally Hansen's Choco-Latte is universally ugly, it just looks so damn unflattering on me that I'm surprised/confused at myself for picking it in the first place.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Choco-Latte / Orly Luxe
I thought the putty-like colour in the bottle would translate to a nude on me, but it has a pinky-orange-peach thing going on that I just didn't like. You can see in the photo here that the nail colour is not quite the same as the bottle colour. Something about my skin tone just brings out a mustard-iness in this polish that I don't like. I think this shade (apparently a past Allure Best of Beauty winner) would be much more flattering on someone with cooler-toned skin or a deeper skin tone; I'm probably going to try to find a friend that falls into one of these categories to give this away.

Although the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure line is advertised as being "5 steps in 1", I always use base coat and top coat to keep my nail colour chip-free as long as possible. I do like the wide, thick brush (similar to Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro or Sally Hansen Insta-Dri) that applies lacquer evenly.

Have you ever bought a nail polish that you thought looked unflattering on you?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Deep green gradient ft. OPI Live and Let Die

Here's another polish from the Skyfall minis set I received from Sarah. OPI Live and Let Die is a super blackened deep, deep green with very fine flecks of gold and green shimmer. I paired it in a gradient mani with foresty-green Essie Going Incognito to lighten the look. I know the whole thing basically looks black, but wait for it...

Throw in some bright sunlight and it's so pretty! I loved this mani under very bright light. My indoor/artificial light photos were really not doing this gradient justice, but some sunlight streaming through bf's huge bedroom window prompted me to take a few quick photos. It was unplanned and a few days after doing it, hence the tipwear.

Both greens come off a little blue in the natural light photos; in reality they are very much deep, true greens and the mani overall is quite dark like the first image. The gradient was created very simply by dabbing Live and Let Die on a base of Going Incognito with a makeup sponge.

Have you ever tried a gradient nail before? What's your favourite way to create it?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Zinio Digital Subscription Giveaway!

Hi all! Last week, I mentioned that I had a cool giveaway coming up, and here it is :D I'm happy to share that Zinio is offering me a chance to give away several digital magazine subscriptions to readers.

Zinio is a digital magazine subscription service that offers tons of titles across many genres including Elle, Allure, Popular Science, National Geographic, and Vogue, available to read on your computer, tablet, phone, or Kindle Fire. They also offer free articles/snippets from many of their magazines (check out the one of flawless Diane Kruger in Flare this month!), as well as daily, weekly, and monthly deals.

I chose to receive an issue of Digital Photographer magazine to check out the service for myself, and I was actually really impressed! I accessed my issue from my desktop computer, iPad, and Android phone and liked the easy-to-use interface (demo video here), which also allowed me to download the issue to my phone to read later so I don't use my data. I know a lot of people prefer to read from a physical book or magazine (I'm kind of one of them), but I realized there are some solid benefits to going digital:
  1. You don't have to find a place to store them on your overcrowded bookshelf (ahem.)
  2. You can access it whenever, as long as you have a computer/phone/tablet around. My friend mentioned he was thinking about buying a Canon EOS 60D DSLR, and coincidentally, my issue of Digital Photographer had a review for it. Instead of promising to bring him the magazine sometime and probably forgetting it again and again, I opened my Zinio app on my phone so he could read it right there.
  3. It's cheaper. Not only are you getting savings through print costs, but possibly postage too. If you're Canadian, you probably know how shocking the added shipping and handling is for a subscription to some American magazines. Sometimes the S&H costs more than the subscription itself! Digital Photographer is an UK-based magazine and is already kinda pricy due to the content, but it's an extra £28 (£80 total) for a Canadian.
As you can tell, I'm very pleased with my experience with Zinio so far and would buy subscriptions or single issues with them in the future.

Are you convinced yet? Here's how to win a free subscription from Zinio to any magazine in their inventory:
  • Check out Zinio's inventory of titles and comment telling me which magazine you are most interested in receiving (1 entry)
  • Tweet "I just entered to win a Zinio digital magazine subscription from @dowantmakeup" or some variation that includes this post link and mentions @dowantmakeup (1 entry)
  • Anybody that has previously commented (non-spammingly) on any post since I moved to Blogspot has automatically received one entry total as a thank you for reading!

I have ten nine (sorry everyone, I'm taking one for myself >:) ) subscriptions to give away to any readers out there. Any one person may only win one subscription maximum. This giveaway ends on April 26, 2013 and winners will be contacted shortly afterwards.

In the meantime, check out the April deals on Zinio here--50% off on over 50 titles :>

To be clear, I requested a trial and received two digital magazine issues because I did not want to offer a giveaway for a service I have not tried or would not personally use. I have ten subscriptions to give away but am choosing to keep one for myself. I am receiving no other compensation for this post and all the enthusiasm that comes across in this post is because I genuinely like using Zinio. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The view from Iona Beach

Hope you all had a great (long, if applicable) weekend! Things have been a little quiet lately due to working on some behind-the-scenes, boring blog-related stuff and also day job work stuff. In Vancouver we were enjoying some amazingly beautiful weather--not a cloud in the sky! The weather's gone back to normal northwest coast drizzliness; I thought I'd share some photographs I took at Iona Beach while I wait for the sun to come back.

Iona Beach is a regional park not too far away from Vancouver International Airport. Aside from plane-watching, what makes it such a cool place to visit is the huge sewage pipe (no wait keep reading). There is a gravel trail next to and on top of the pipe, which extends over 4km out into the ocean.

You get an amazing, unobstructed view of the sky, ocean, and mountains with the occasional plane flying close. I saw a lot of people there getting some ocean air, whether on foot, on a bike, or with dogs.
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