Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Nails

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream nail art
Marc Jacobs Daisy and its various iterations have been around since 2007, yet can you believe I've never bothered to sample one until Daisy Dream? Maybe it was the pretty white-on-cornflower-blue look, but I ended up taking a sample home and getting a little nail art inspiration too.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream nail art
I used some of my favourite nail polish staples for art: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Blue-Away, OPI Alpine Snow, and Orly Luxe. The signature "daisy" is super easy to do: just take a large-ended dotting tool (or use the round end of a bobby pin) and make 5 dots in a small circle, slightly overlapping each other. Let that dry fully and complete with a dot in the center matching your base colour or in gold. Repeat as many times as you like :> If you find there's not enough definition between your "petals", go back in between the dots with a very fine brush dipped in the base colour.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream nail art
Floral fruity is one of my favourite types of fragrance, so I do like Daisy Dream. It's a little sweet from raspberry and lychee notes, but clean and not overly young. I'll finish my sample spritzer but it's not a very unique scent--there is definitely a "been there, smelled that" vibe, so I'm skipping on buying a bottle.

What fragrances have you tried lately? I spritzed on Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde and loved the bright burst of citrus.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in Lilac Love

Almay Color + Care Lip Balm in Lilac Love
Hello! It's been a while since I've reviewed a lip product due to my finicky eczema, but it's been behaving just well enough for me to test and photograph Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in Lilac Love. This product promises to provide the hydration of a balm with the sheen and colour of a gloss in one cute little tube. I was impressed with the ingredients list that seemed to back up their lip balm-esque moisturizing claims, which included skin-conditioning agents such as avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, beeswax, and cholesterol (not as glamorous but still a legit skin-conditioner!)

Almay Color + Care Lip Balm in Lilac Love comparison swatches
Comparison swatches: Almay C+C Liquid Lip Balm in Lilac Love, Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Raspberry, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Smitten, Annabelle TwistUp in Plump It Up
Don't let the deep plummy mauve scare you (or overly excite you, depending on your preference!), because Lilac Love swatches much lighter and pinker than the tube would suggest. Out of my stash, it's closest in colour to Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Smitten, but milky and in sheerer lip gloss form. Lilac Love also has iridescent shimmer running throughout the gloss, although it's not very noticeable on the lips.

Almay Color + Care Lip Balm in Lilac Love swatches
The sturdy plastic tube contains the standard doefoot applicator to distribute the gloss. Lighter lip colours like this tend to "fight" with the discoloration and dark spots on my lips, with rather unflattering results. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Lilac Love actually looks pretty good on me! Although it's too sheer to fully cover my dark spots, it is pigmented enough to give a glossy pink look. In terms of overall feel, this "liquid lip balm" was not super sticky and also definitely lived up to its name--my sensitive lips felt comfortable and hydrated.

Final notes: yes, there is petrolatum in it, so if this is an ingredient you are avoiding then this product may not be for you. Personally, I use petrolatum-based products as part of my eczema care regimen because of its excellent occlusive properties. That means it creates a barrier to prevent water loss in your skin, which means it certainly has a place in a product that is designed to hydrate and provide "care" to your lips. Another thing to note is that the gloss has a super sweet vanilla fragrance to it that reminds me a lot of the marshmallows in Lucky Charms. I'm not usually a fan of that kind of scent, so luckily it doesn't hang around for long after application.

Almay Color + Care Lip Balm in Lilac Love swatches
Overall, I think Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in Lilac Love lives up to its claims and provided a good combination of hydration and colour. It was comfortable to wear but was pigmented enough that you are definitely wearing a lip colour product. I do love deep, vampy lip looks, so I'm a bit disappointed that the actual colour is more pink than plum though.

Ingredients: Polybutene, Petrolatum, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tribehenin, C10-30 Cholesterol, Lanosterol Esters, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Calcium aluminum Borosilicate, Palmitic Acid, Synthetic Wax, Aroma (Flavor), Benzoic Acid, BHT.

Available at London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart: ~$9.99 CAD / 0.24 fl. oz

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

OPI DS Extravagance tape manicure

OPI DS Extravagance / Nails Inc Basil Street - natural light (panels of the patio roof are making the light wonky)
For the past several weeks, I kept coming back again and again to the same display of OPI DS polishes at a certain beauty supply store. The OPI DS (Designer Series) polishes feature a special silver cap and are formulated with diamond dust, which might explain the bumped-up pricetag. They all have a scattered holographic look to them and are incredibly mesmerizing (wonder if that's the diamond dust talking?), which made me keep coming back to the display despite my better judgment. Finally I couldn't resist and took my pick of the bunch, DS Extravagance, home with me. Although I absolutely loved the duochrome in DS Magic (see it here on Nail Polish Canada), I had to resist adding another blue to the stash.

OPI DS Extravagance / Nails Inc Basil Street - artificial light
DS Extravagance is a deep, rich, magenta bordering on oxblood territory. I wanted to do something fun and graphic with them, so I settled with a tape manicure with Nails Inc Basil Street as the base. Not sure if it's just me, but the result gives me a vague sci-fi vibe. But honestly I have mixed feelings about the look because it just doesn't do justice to the gorgeous holo effect; I think I'll wear it plain next time.

Nails Inc Basil Street - natural light
A little about Nails Inc Basil Street: I freaking love it. I picked it up some time ago randomly during a Shoppers Drug Mart points redemption spree and ended up finding my perfect nude. It's a beautiful, slightly warm beige with that milkiness to it that tends to make me weak to Essie polishes. I used it previously in my LUSH Sign of Love nails but didn't name it at the time to focus on the message of Sign of Love campaign.

Speaking of nail polish, if you are in the Greater Vancouver area, I hope you're coming to Shopping Night Out at Metropolis at Metrotown tomorrow! For one night only, many retailers will be offering special discounts and GWPs. I will be in the Atrium (by the Samsung and Purdy's stores) with Winnie and Denise offering express manis at the Pop-Up Nail Bar, so come by and say hi! :D

What's a product that took you a few visits to the store before you decided to buy it?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer adventures: Celebration of Light 2014

Although the weather is still gorgeous here in Vancouver, I can't help but feel that summer is already over. This year, I was able to have a lot of new experiences and create great memories with people I love-- though I wish I had more time/opportunities to cram even more stuff in! Anyway, I'll be sharing my summer adventures with you guys through a few posts over the next 1-2 weeks. My first "summer adventure" post happened over a series of nights during Vancouver's annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival.

After buying the Sony NEX-6 (our first kinda-serious/non-point-and-shoot camera together), bf and I have always wanted to try photographing fireworks since this camera allows you to set long exposure times (up to 30 seconds). We didn't get a chance to do it last year, but took full advantage this year and went to all three shows.

July 26 - USA
Sorry for the obnoxious-ass watermarks! I've had my photos stolen before and I'm especially proud of these, so I'm extra protective of them.

Celebration of Light is apparently "the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world" and is a huge event in Vancouver, drawing thousands and thousands of people to Vancouver's shorelines. The three competing countries vary from year to year, but the fireworks displays, which are set to music, are always dazzling.

USA was the first night, so we were still figuring things out and learned a lot that night through experimenting. The photo above is pretty neat because we caught a firework flying up and getting ready to go off (the small orange ball).

July 26 - USA
I don't know what this type of crackly firework is called and usually describe it by wiggling my fingers furiously, but it sure photographed cool.

July 30 - France
We just barely made it in time to catch France's show. This time, we went to the Granville Bridge, which is a bit far away but provides the opportunity to snap very picturesque photos with the Burrard Bridge in the foreground. There were tons of people with super pro photography gear lined up along here. They must have some amazing stabilization equipment, because many of our pictures turned out blurry due to the vibration of the cars speeding along the bridge. As a result, we don't have many pictures I love, but this one is one of my favourites--the bridge is blurry but the fireworks are curiously crisp.

Next is my favourite display of all--

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pineapples & polka dots

I had so much fun doing my summer watermelon nails that I've developed a slight fixation on fruity nail art. Even though summer is basically over (it's quite rainy in Vancouver right now), I still have lots of ideas for fruit-inspired nail art and will be painting away! Today's post is pineapple nail art look with white polka dots against punchy, tropical base colours.

Pineapples & polka dots nail art
Direct natural light
Honestly, these freaking pineapples took me forever, but I'm very pleased with the results. Here's the breakdown of the polishes used:

Clinique 70° and Sunny provided the bright, happy yellow for my pineapples and yellow polka dot base. Isn't it just perfect? The brush on Clinique polishes have a good firmness to it, which made it possible for me to paint on the basic oval shape for the pineapples without using a separate nail art brush.

Clinique Hula Skirt is a grassy, yellow-leaning green that is spot-on for my pineapple leaves (spikes? stem?), painted on with a very fine brush. I also used it for my little finger.

I used my new favourite white creme, OPI Alpine Snow, for the polka dots and as the background for my pineapples. Lastly, I painted on the criss-crossed lines on the pineapples with Nails Inc Basil Street (see this post for swatches). I think Basil Street was the right choice colour-wise, but it was a complete pain because the polish itself is a bit sheer. As my little blob of polish started to dry on my palette, the polish got goopier and darker, resulting in some variations in colour and line thickness between some pineapples.

Pineapples & polka dots nail art
Indirect light
I can totally understand why some nail artists choose to work mainly with acrylic paints. By design, nail polishes dry quickly, so the blobs I'm working with get goopy and unworkable very quickly (wasted product), and I'm constantly going back and forth dabbing new blobs on to my palette. Maybe it's just my stubbornness, but I'm still trying to use nail polishes whenever possible; I think it's neat to see polish translated into tiny little paintings.

Secret: I am so lazy about doing nail art on my left (dominant hand); sometimes my right hand is totally done up and I leave my left hand plain with just base colour. I figure I should get better at using both hands, so here's a bonus photo to show my attempts. Way messier than the right, but kinda better than I expected.

How was your Labour Day weekend? What fruits/foods should I take on next?

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