Tag Archives: favorite products

Orly Rage and OPI Spark de Triomphe

5 Sep

Happy Labor Day, readers! I hope you’re hardly working today, though I know students and employees of my alma mater are busy despite the holiday.

I’m sharing a manicure that I did this weekend, another one of my top ten favorite nail polishes, Orly‘s Rage. Orly Rage is a absolutely beautiful rose gold foil polish. As I’ve said in the past, these foil polishes are just too great to not have as part of your collection – they go on smoothly without obvious brushstrokes, only need two coats to be opaque, and are such showstoppers that you don’t need jewelry!

I am one, however, to gild the lily.

Orly Rage with OPI Spark de Triomphe

Orly Rage with OPI Spark de Triomphe Nail Polish

Look how ridiculous and fierce this would have been without the blinged-out ring finger! But I just can’t help myself, you should know that by now. I added a nice, thick coat of OPI‘s Spark de Triomphe on top of just that nail. Spark de Triomphe, which was one of the Serena Williams polishes that came with a shatter/crackle, is a pretty unique glitter shade. It has silver and gold microglitter in a clear base, but also has larger pieces of silver and gold glitter scattered through the polish. Very, very sparkly.

Orly Rage nail polish with OPI Spark de Triomphe on ring finger

Orly Rage nail polish with OPI Spark de Triomphe on ring finger

I did this manicure as kind of a Beyoncé birthday tribute. (Put a ring on it? Fierce?) I feel like she’d wear this, don’t you? I’m happy with how it turned out, but I’m wondering if I should have added a coat of black crackle on top, because that looks awesome over this shade. I’ll share with you that I was honestly a hair away from adding rhinestones.

It’s nice to know that I do have self control when it comes to my nails. Somewhere very deep down.

I bought my bottle of Orly Rage here from beauty.com. Check OPI‘s website to find your local OPI retailer!

Do any of you have these polishes? (You should!!!) Do you think this is a (Sasha) fierce enough tribute to Beyoncé? Are you excited for the Jayoncé baby like I am? I can’t even think of another child that will be or has been pressured to accomplish greatness as much as theirs. What do you think?


Product Spotlight: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

26 Aug

Hey readers! It’s Friday! I actually kind of feel like it’s Saturday; I was out late last night with a friend of mine from middle school and we had a great time!

I have middle school on the brain right now – did you guys hate that time as much as I did? – so I thought I’d do a Product Spotlight on an item I used a lot in middle school and high school. It’s a rather well-known skincare product and I’d recommend it to most people with the occasional pimple.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, picture courtesy of mariobadescu.com

Mario Badescu‘s Drying Lotion is pretty cool. The way you see it in the picture above is how you use it – no shaking! Best used before bedtime, you dip a Q-tip into the pink sediment at the bottom of the bottle (which is predominantly made up of calamine), take it out, and apply to any blemishes on your face. (This won’t work for blackheads, just anything red and inflamed.) The product residue dries pimples out, leaving you to wake up with a significantly smaller spot (or even nothing left there at all)! It might take Mario Badescu Drying Lotion more than one night to work on a really persistent blemish, but it’s better for your skin than having you pick at it. I’m a big fan – I went through perhaps three bottles of this stuff over the course of six years, and it’s extremely rare for me to both use something up and repurchase it.

You can find Mario Badescu Drying Lotion from several retailers, including Nordstrom and CVS, or you can just buy it from Mario Badescu‘s website.

Product Spotlight: DDF Mattifying Oil Control UV Moisturizer with SPF 15

25 Aug

Guys, I am really upset today.

I’m going to continue this post, but I’ve just found out that it seems as if a true love of mine is just never coming back to me.

I’m talking about DDF Mattifying Oil Control UV Moisturizer with SPF 15. I’ve mentioned on the blog that it’s been a struggle for me to find an everyday moisturizer that I really like. I lied – but just a little bit.

DDF Mattifying Oil Control UV Moisturizer with SPF 15

DDF Mattifying Oil Control UV Moisturizer with SPF 15, picture courtesy of Nordstrom

I’ve had really strong feelings for this moisturizer. I think we’ve all been there. You find something new, maybe you met through a mutual friend (in my case, Condé Nast). You think it’s perfect for you – DDF Mattifying Oil Control UV Moisturizer with SPF absorbs quickly, leaves the skin with a smooth and matte finish, and doesn’t smell you’ve emptied a bottle of Coppertone on your face – and you wonder where it’s been your whole life. But after a while, you notice some flaws. You decide to put up with them – less than two ounces for $42, not as much sun protection as I’d like – because, after all, it has some really redeeming qualities. It may not be perfect, but if you were to give up on it, would you even find anything better? Then you stop talking about it entirely because you’re second-guessing whether it’s right for you and you don’t want anyone to know about your nagging doubts.

And then it leaves you before you even get the chance to leave it.

What the hell, DDF?! Have you straight-up discontinued our relationship? DDF Mattifying Oil Control UV Moisturizer with SPF 15 used to be available – recently! – at many retailers, including Sephora, Nordstrom, and DDF‘s official site. But you’re no longer available…and I’m both confused and hurt.

But you know what? I know there’s something better out there. Something that can handle me and my sensitivity to sun, my desire for a decent value, and be a good foundation for the rest of my makeup.

And I’m going to find it!

Who out there has some suggestions? I need support from you guys now more than ever!

Product Spotlight: Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner

24 Aug

Short of sunscreen, I’ve been pretty lax in taking care of my skin for the past few months. You can chalk it up to laziness, stress, or forgetfulness (all of the above would be the correct answer), but I just haven’t been moisturizing my face regularly or doing any time-consuming treatments. For the most part, I’ve been blessed with great skin, but I looked into the mirror the other day and was kind of surprised. I could see WAY too many pores and I had more blackheads on my nose than usual. Ew!

This simply would not do. I opened up the bathroom cabinet and broke out my (no-longer) secret weapon, Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner, picture from salonskincare.co.uk

I got Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner from the beauty closet at a magazine I once interned. I had griped about my skin within earshot of the health and beauty assistant and she said, “you need to try Vacuum Cleaner. It’s a miracle worker.” I’ve been battling blackheads since middle school with little success, so I was eager to try anything new – and recommended by a Condé Nast employee.

My supervisor wasn’t kidding. This stuff is awesome – not only does it do a great job of dissolving blackheads and sucking away the oil, it helps minimize the appearance of pores! You use it like a mask – spread on a thin layer of the gel, wait for it to turn from clear to white, and then rinse off. It’s a great product. I have an older bottle of Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner. It still works great, but the old packaging presented major issues as the product was too thick to properly get out of a pump. Now that they make it in a squeeze bottle, the only problem that I have with it is the price – $45 for an ounce. As I said, though, I’ve tried a lot of different things and seen no results from any of them except this one.

You can buy Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner from the official Dr. Brandt website or here at Sephora’s website.

Have any of you guys tried Vacuum Cleaner? Do you have any blackhead removal tricks? Have you found an effective and inexpensive alternative? I’m always looking for more! Let me know in the comments!

That Girl Is So Dangerous – MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

11 Aug

Good afternoon, gang! It feels like Friday to me today for some odd reason – just one more day!

After yesterday’s post featuring red lipstick, I thought I’d tell you about the one I wore yesterday – MAC Lady Danger.

MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

As I’ve explained, I really enjoy bright, unusual, and eye-catching shades of lipstick. If you’re looking for showstopping red lips, this is a great option! Of all my lipstick shades, I would say that this is in my top five of the being asked “what lipstick are you wearing?” category. I know in the picture that it appears orange, but I promise it is not (I have other options for you). MAC describes it as  “a vivid bright coral-red,” which I would not agree with. If you’ve seen beads made out of cinnabar, that would be a serious match, but if you’re unfamiliar, think of a nearly ripe tomato. If you’re looking to get into the orange lipstick trend that has been oh-so-popular, this is a great way to ease yourself into it if you’re not ready to paint your lips the color of a traffic cone. There is nothing subtle about this lipstick, which is exactly why I like it.

Pros: Great, heavy pigmentation. It’s a matte shade (no shimmer or glossy appearance), which is one of my favorites. And just because matte has historically been a drying finish doesn’t mean this one will dry you out – I’ve found that MAC produces mattes that apply smoothly – like buttah! A few other brands I’ve tried have matte lipsticks that are so devoid of moisture that it’s like putting chalk on your lips. Gross. I’ve also found that it generally wears evenly, even through eating.

Cons: Like most matte reds, once it’s on, it’s staying on. Most people look for that in a lipstick, which is totally reasonable, but that also means that if you apply a little crookedly, it’s going to take a lot more than a tissue to fix your error. (Tip: remove as much as you can and then apply a concealer over it with a concealer brush or q-tip.) My only other complaint is that this color is not that innovative. If you’re all about red lipstick and hoard them like I hoard all beauty products – sigh – then you might have something comparable in your collection. Double check!

Lady Danger looks great all year round, but I especially love her in the summer. (P.S. This lipstick looks great with Nantucket Red shorts!) However, she’ll carry over well into autumn as well – red lipstick is a major trend for fall. Check her out here on MAC‘s official website.

Me Wearing MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

Me wearing MAC Lady Danger lipstick

Do you have MAC Lady Danger? Is it one of your must-haves? Or do you have a dupe for it in your own lipstick stash? Tell me in the comments!

Product Spotlight: Urban Decay Naked Palette

5 Aug Urban Decay Naked Palette

Good morning, friends! How are you faring on this lovely Friday? Are you ready to get naked?

Wait. Sorry. I mean, you SHOULD get naked.

Okay, I’m really not doing this right. I really recommend that you purchase Naked. Better?

Though I haven’t taken and posted pictures of my stash for all of you yet, perhaps it is already clear that I purchase a great deal of beauty products annually. So when I say that this is one of the best products I’ve purchased in the last year, it’s kind of a big deal. Urban Decay’s Naked palette has a lot going for it. The shadows are housed in a sassy, chocolate-colored flocked palette with a mirror on the inside, and “NAKED” stamped across the inside and front, and looks really, REALLY nice in a makeup bag/on a vanity/in your purse/everywhere. (When he first saw it, my dad asked hopefully if it was a fancy chocolate bar.) It has an awesome assortment of twelve neutral colors and comes with a mini of their best-selling eyeshadow primer, Urban Decay Primer Potion (which is my second favorite primer after MAC Painterly). Mine also came with a double-ended 24/7 liner in Zero and Whiskey, a dark, creamy brown. (The newer edition of this palette is exactly the same, except it comes with a brush instead of liner.) Meet the Urban Decay Naked Palette!

Urban Decay Naked Palette

Urban Decay Naked Palette

The number of looks you can do with this palette is pretty obscene. From brunch with your grandparents to “I’m busting out the pleather leggings this weekend,” the Naked Palette gets the job done. There are two mattes, nine shimmers, and one glitter shadow. To be honest, I don’t use the glitter shadow. (Urban Decay junkies can rejoice in that the glitter shade is not any variant of Midnight Cowboy – I must have that shade in at LEAST five formats by now!) Even though I have my tricks to keep glitter fallout at bay, I’d rather not deal with it – though it is a lovely shade. The colors are well pigmented and blend very nicely. But you don’t have to use the shadows just on your eyes! I like to use the matte shades for contouring – Naked, the lighter of the two, is great for shading the sides of my nose, and Buck, the darker shade, is what I use for hollowing out my cheeks. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use them both, in addition to Virgin (a fair shimmery color), to create the illusion of cleavage where I don’t have much.

Eye with Urban Decay Naked Palette

My eye wearing the Urban Decay Naked Palette

(My sincerest apologies for my eyebrow in this picture. Yikes.) But let me tell you, my eyes are quite brown – and look at that sucker! Looks pretty green to me. (I did this right after my palette arrived in the mail and sent this picture to everyone I knew, saying “LOOK AT THAT EYESHADOW!!!”) This kind of look is so easily and quickly accomplished with the Naked palette due to its versatility and quality. Just slap on some mascara and your eyes will be the envy of all.

The only downfall to this palette? The price is kind of steep at $48. But I’d pay it again in a heartbeat – and if you don’t have many eyeshadows, or are new to Urban Decay, this is a GREAT collection to own. If I’m traveling or know that I’m going out, this bad boy is in my bag.

There you have it…if it’s not immediately apparent somehow, I’m totally obsessed with this thing. It can be hard to get in stores, as a lot of people have caught on to its absurdly awesomeness, but try online at Sephora or Urban Decay‘s own website.

Do you have Urban Decay’s Naked Palette? Do you absolutely love it? Or do you *cue gasp* hate it? Please let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: I purchased this myself, and holy COW am I glad I did!

Top Ten: Nail Polishes

4 Aug OPI Black Shatter over Orly Rage Nail Polish

I must admit, this is a VERY difficult topic for me. (Though lipsticks would be even harder, which is why I’m waiting that one out!) I have close to 300 bottles of polish at this point – a very small number in comparison to Scrangie or All Lacquered Up! – which makes it frustrating to pick my favorites. But if you are a nail polish newcomer and are looking for a jump-off point, I HIGHLY suggest the following ten shades. They’re some of the best nail polishes out there, especially as they’re versatile (you can use them during any season)!

1. Essie Merino Cool and 2. Essie Sew Psyched

These are featured together because they’re from the same collection – which was a slam dunk, by the way! I think they’re a great twist on neutral. I like to wear them most in fall and in spring. Merino Cool in particular goes with everything, but these two shades look great with any outfit, from khakis and linen to tweed and classic black.

Essie Merino Cool and Sew Psyched

Essie Merino Cool (L) and Sew Psyched (R) Nail Polishes

3. OPI Ski Teal We Drop

Super creamy application and slightly unexpected on the nail, you’ll become as obsessed with this one as I am. A great fall to winter shade, but very fabulous in summer as well. And can we just talk about the brush? OPI’s nail brush makes for extreme ease of application – it hugs the nail, especially those on smaller hands – meaning you won’t need to keep applying polish to the same nail (this causes bubbles and slows down your dry time).

OPI Ski Teal We Drop Nail Polish

OPI Ski Teal We Drop Nail Polish

4. Orly Foils: Luxe, Shine, and Rage

I know I said only ten, but you can pick your favorite amongst the three. If you love gold, go with Luxe, if you’re a silver gal, go with Shine, but my favorite might be the rose gold, Rage. I consider them all to be one entity. AMAZING reflective finish, like wearing foil on your nails, and looks exceptional with a crackle polish or a glitter layered on top. You’ll wear them all year round (not just during the holiday season, which is when they’ll really shine), because they are too fabulous to not wear. They apply so smoothly, too! You can find them in Sally Beauty stores and Ulta, but also at some drugstores.

Orly Foil Nail Polish, Luxe, Shine and Rage

Orly Luxe (L) Shine (C) and Rage (R) Nail Polishes

Check it out – Orly Rage under OPI Black Shatter! How FIERCE is that?!?!

OPI Black Shatter over Orly Rage Nail Polish

OPI Black Shatter over Orly Rage Nail Polish

5. Essie Jelly Apple

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a jelly formula in this top ten. Très chic all year round, especially with a crisp white button-down (ugh, can you tell I’m missing cooler weather?), and applies smoothly and FAST. I like to do three coats, but if you prefer it sheerer, then go for two! (Due to how sunny it was when I took the picture, it showed up a little orange, but this is a true red shade. If you’re looking for a warmer red, try Essie‘s Clambake. Same finish, same ease in application, just more orange in hue.)

Essie Jelly Apple Nail Polish

Essie Jelly Apple Nail Polish

6. OPI Bubble Bath

Again, another Kardashian-suggested product, and for good reason. (I can’t WAIT for the Nicole for OPI Kardashian Kollection to come out!) If you’re looking for a French manicure-ish pink (though I strongly advise against getting French manicures or pedicures unless they’re super funky shades), this is it. Again, if you like sheer polishes, go for two coats of this and you will be head-over-heels.

OPI Bubble Bath Nail Polish

OPI Bubble Bath Nail Polish

7. Essie Lovey Dovey

This is a very Barbie-esque shade, so if you’re not into ultra-girly colors, skip this one. It’s a little too feminine for me to use in a manicure (anyone who knows me will say that’s ridiculous, but it’s true), and I think it toes the line between trashy and adorable – which is why I absolutely LOVE it on my toes! Great pedicure shade.

Essie Lovey Dovey Nail Polish

Essie Lovey Dovey Nail Polish

8. Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday

You already know how much I like this shade. There’s someone in my family who likes to put glitter confetti in birthday cards – this reminds me of that, but way less messy. Super flashy! I recommend putting it over a foil, white, or black, but it’s up to you! I also advise at least two thick coats of Seche Vite on top so the nail surface feels smooth to the touch. I usually buy mine at Nordstrom, but you can get Deborah Lippmann polishes on her website, at Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor, and bluemercury.

Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday Nail Polish

Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday Nail Polish

9. OPI Siberian Nights

Another über-chic shade, Siberian Nights is stunning against skin of all shades. While black will always be the new black, this super-dark purple is a way more fabulous polish option. While I am pretty rigid with my pedicures (almost only red and pink), this is a wonderful and unexpected choice for toes.

OPI Siberian Nights Nail Polish

OPI Siberian Nights Nail Polish

10. China Glaze For Audrey

China Glaze is amazing across the board, so I was torn picking a color. I don’t think China Glaze gets enough credit – they have awesome seasonal shades and a terrific permanent collection. My only complaint is that they’re harder for me to find. I get mine at Sally Beauty (luckily I have a new one of those stores!) and Ulta. Their distribution should be as widespread as Essie and OPI! Anyway, For Audrey is a great spring and summer shade, considering how turquoise seems to be trendy every year. Smooth application, though the brush is a little floppy for my taste. Looks great with white or silver anything layered on top, if that’s how you roll (Tiffany’s certainly knew what they were doing when they paired turquoise and white)! This is very close in color to a Tiffany & Co. box, but not an exact match as that color is trademarked by the jewelery company.

China Glaze For Audrey Nail Polish

China Glaze For Audrey Nail Polish

There you have it, everyone – my top ten nail polishes! Do you think that they’re worthy, or did I miss an opportunity to share an awesome polish on this list?

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