Friday, March 22, 2013

Aaaaand TTYL

No, it's not China Glaze TTYL, sadly.  As this posts I'll be just landing in Cleveland and I'll be staying until the very beginning of April.  I basically feel like this about it:

I won't be around to talk at you guys during my spring break.  I'm taking a break from everything and clearing my mind as best I can because I have some big decisions to make in the coming weeks.

So I hope the end of March treats you all well and that it does indeed go out like a lamb.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Essie Come Here!

The other day I was wandering around Duane Reade while I was on the phone with Ben, and even though I was telling him about something really important, I stopped talking for a second when I spotted the Essie resort collection for 2013.  My brain tried to reason with me:
Brain:  Those colors don't look that special.  You don't need any.
Me:  But...pretty.  Want.
Brain:  I mean, they all probably have dupes.  You don't need any.
Me:  But!
Brain:  Okay.  Just one.
So, accordingly, I chose the one that probably has the greatest number of dupes.  But I couldn't resist it. I just couldn't.

Such trouble photographing this one.  The quality of the pictures below is terrible because the only way I could get the color to show up in a semi-decent way was to use extremely low light.

Looks like it leans pretty pink.
And this is how it turned out in natural light.  Looks like it leans pretty orange.  Waaaaaaaay too orange.  It doesn't really look like this in reality, but it gives you an idea of how bright it is.

In reality Come Here! leans both orange and pink depending on the light source, but I would call the top three photos the most color accurate.  It's a super bright, saturated, in-your-face coral.  It just screamed to me, "please take me home!"  I'm pretty sure that it also has neon pigment in it.  The formula, which was very thick and goopy, seemed to have some neon qualities.  I used two coats.  But this polish isn't truly a neon and it also dries shiny, not matte.  The color actually reminds me a lot of China Glaze Sneakerhead (one of my favorites) and the newer China Glaze Igniting Love (another favorite).  According to this blog post, Come Here! also has two near-dupes in Essie's own lineup, Ole Caliente and Flirt.

I really.  really.  love this polish.  After I bought it I couldn't wait to put it on.  Yesterday I got so many compliments.  A random lady on the subway asked me if it was a gel color, and if so where I got it done.  Once I told her it was Essie and that I got it for $8 at a drug store, she said, "Who would spend $8 for nail polish?"  Oh random subway lady, you have no idea.

Do I have too many reds?  Do I own possible dupes for this color?  Was I even aware of that when I bought the color?  Yes.  But...

The sweet siren song of semi-neon coral called to me and I was powerless against it.  Regrets?  None.

Monday, March 18, 2013

China Glaze Pink-ie Promise

I had the hardest time photographing this one.  I used my fancy digital camera and the photos turned out really poorly.  The best one was one I snapped with my iPhone camera.

I really wanted to be able to have the shimmer in the polish show up in the pictures, but that first one up there is the best I could do.  This polish is sort of hard to describe.  I mean, on a base level it's pink.  But do an image search in Google for it and you'll see swatches of it that make it appear to be both bright baby pink and a more toned-down mauve.  Really, it's both.  In low light it definitely looks like something Molly Ringwald would have worn in the 80s; namely, more of a mauve with lavender undertones.  Then in brighter light the pink shimmer comes out and definitely makes it look lighter and more saturated.  Either way, it's a light and happy-looking pink.  The formula on it was fine, but a little thick.  And as you can see, it really decided it would be a great idea to settle in and highlight all the ridges in my nails, which is really weird.  Regardless, I used two coats and NYC GCS.  I'll probably wear this until it chips, but it's definitely not my favorite color.  It's just okay.  I did put it on my toes, though, because I like light neutral-ish colors there.  It looks cute.

This past weekend I couldn't find the motivation in me to do anything.  I decided that on Saturday while I did my laundry I would allow myself to do nothing.  No homework, no reading, etc.  Which was nice.  Once my laundry was done I did German for a few hours.  Then I just couldn't...focus.  I went out to H&M to cheer myself.  It worked for a little while.  Sunday was pretty much also a wash, academically.  I have a German test today so I really should have been practicing for that, but I just couldn't.  Spring break is four days away.  Right now my flight is scheduled for Friday evening, but Ben and I are going to try to move it to Friday morning so we can have an extra day together.

To conclude:  I'm not super excited about this pink nail polish and Mondays are the absolute worst.  I'm going to end with this picture...

...of a tabby kitten snuggling a yellow stuffed bunny.  Because, why the hell not?

Oh, and here's a bunny eating some yellow flowers.

You're welcome.

Friday, March 15, 2013

OPI Lights of Emerald City (aka OMG UNICORNS!!!!)

I never liked The Wizard of Oz as a kid.  Frankly, it scared me.  There was a green lady with flying monkeys, and I was all, I'm out.  But I do love Wicked.  Anyway, this is the second tie-in product I've picked up for the new Oz movie that just came out (which I heard was not good), the first one being the Urban Decay Glinda palette.  Last week during my Duane Reade couponing extravaganza I noticed the new OPI Oz collection.  So I wandered over and decided to give the white glitter, Lights of Emerald City, a try.

If I had been charged with the task of naming this polish I would have called it OMG UNICORNS!!!!  Because there is nothing about this that doesn't remind me of like...Lisa Frank.  And girly-ness.  And, well, unicorns.  This is one coat-ish of Lights of Emerald City over three coats of Wet n Wild Sugar Coat.  So many things went wrong with this manicure.  First, I forgot that Sugar Coat is a streaky-ass mess.  It took three pretty thick coats to even it out, so the polish on my nail was already pretty substantial.  Then the glitter.  Oh, the glitter.  I mean, I wouldn't call this glitter super difficult to work with, but you do have to finagle the pieces to sit where you want them on the nail.  The white pieces, of course, have the tendency to move to the edge of the nail as you drag the brush across its surface.  So my coat of Lights of Emerald City ended up being thick too.  And then I think I should have used Seche on this one to really amp up the dry time, but I used NYC GCS.  Which didn't really play nicely with quick-drying-needs this severe.  So a couple nails got dented because this took FOR-EV-ER to dry fully.  


I mean, look at it.  It's pretty great.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this glitter would probably look amazing over something vampy.  But I really wanted to try it over something light and airy first (ha--Sugar Coat was not a good option).  I do love the way this came out.  And I got a ton of compliments ranging from, "is that...are those dots?" to "is that glitter?" to "do you actually do your nails yourself?!" So, people really liked this one.  And I'm not ready to give up on it just because it's a pain to work with.  It's too pretty.

I came home on Monday to find a package from Ben waiting for me.

Behold, China Glaze Avant Garden!  Monday was the day I had my midterm, which went pretty poorly, I think.  And then I had a two-hour German class directly after that.  And then I got caught up talking to someone for another 30 minutes.  So I didn't get home until like 10.  That is why I look like a nightmare in the above photos.  It was really nice to see something from Ben that day.  And it was even nicer that it was A WHOLE SHITLOAD OF NAIL POLISH.  I couldn't decide what I wanted from the collection so he bought them all for me as a gift.  Super excited about them!  Ben is the best at cheering me up.  

That's all for today.  Anyone pick up anything from the OPI Oz collection?  The sheers this year seem to have got nothing on the NYC Ballet ones from last year, amirite?

Monday, March 11, 2013

OPI My Vampire Is Buff (With Slight Embellishment)

I'm just going to come right out and say it:  OPI Euro Centrale is a super snooze.  There are some pretty colors in there, sure.  Anna blogged Eurso Euro last week and I liked it a lot.  But it probably has about a dozen dupes.  I'm also drawn to My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours...but it definitely has about a hundred dupes (OPI On Collins Ave. comes immediately to mind).  I had a hard time finding a unique color in that bunch.  In short, and in my personal-and-perhaps-slightly-bitchy opinion, this is really not a collector's collection.  I think it's for people who are trying to fill holes in their stashes and might need something like a beautiful navy, sky blue, or vampy purple.  There is nothing wrong with the shades, they just don't excite me.  Finally I saw them in person...and was just as underwhelmed.  Until I picked up My Vampire Is Buff and really looked at it.  I don't think I have any similar colors in my stash (but I do wonder how OPI Have A Tempura Tan-trum compares).  Even though it's a lovely nude, I thought it was screaming for a little somethin'-somethin' extra, so here's what happened.

So this is love, la da da da.  Anyway.  My Vampire Is Buff is sort of an ivory/bone color.  It has a drop of pink in it, too, which is much more evident in the shade than in the sun.  The result is that the color is utterly wearable, even for a relatively stark nude creme.  The formula was a little finicky.  I definitely needed the three coats I used in order to even out the color.  

The black glitter I used to create the effect of tiny and inconsistent polka dots is Wet n Wild Tangled In My Web, which came out with a Halloween-themed collection this past autumn.  I really love how this turned out.  Tangled In My Web is one of my more difficult glitters to work with.  It's hard to actually get the little hex glitter to come off onto the nail without removing ones with the brush that you've already placed.  It takes patience, which I sort of had forgotten, and I got a little frustrated by the time I was finished with all ten fingers.  But, worth it.  My camera also hates focusing on the hex glitter for some reason.

Also, is the name of this polish a Twilight reference or something?  Because, no thanks.  I was chatting with Rach last week and told her that I will be vehemently imagining that it is instead a Buffy reference.
God, I love how awkward that picture is.  Xander is giving weird caricature-smile-face, Willow is all HERE'S MUH TUMMY, Giles is without his glasses and signature tweed, Spike looks like he belongs in Notre Dame ringing a bell, Riley is just...there for some reason (no thanks again), and JOSS WHEDON is like oh hey guys.  I made this show, and I also think it's a good idea to wear this purple shirt.  Regardless, Buffy is probably my favorite show of all time, so if I can twist the name of this polish to have EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT, then I'm happy.

I have one more thing to babble on about today.  This weekend a confluence of toiletry events occurred wherein I needed a new deodorant, a new pressed powder, and I had a Duane Reade coupon (if I spent some amount of money I got $10).  So I headed over there and got a couple new things.  This is one of them.

Makeup really has the stupidest names sometimes.  But anyway, this is a Milani Shadow Eyez cream eyeshadow pencil in Champagne Toast.  I was sort of dubious about them because I haven't had the best of luck with Milani.  But I kind of spend my drug store makeup pilgrimages looking for dupes for Urban Decay Sin, which is my Favorite Eyeshadow of All Time.  I live in fear of running out of it and having to pay like $18 for another single shadow.  I saw this pencil and thought I'd give it a go.

On the left is the Milani in Champagne Toast and on the right is Sin (in regular powder shadow, not cream pencil, form)

They're...pretty close.  The Milani is clearly a bit darker and a little bit more metallic and has more of a coppery tone to it, but they're pretty close.  Not quite dupes, but I'm satisfied.  If you too are interested in a good drugstore dupe of Sin, then there's a decent one in the Wet n Wild Walking On Eggshells trio (it's the bottom "eyelid" color).  Anyway, I tried out the Milani pencil yesterday and I give it a ringing endorsement.  The color goes on and is very saturated, it doesn't tug on your lids, it dries and won't smudge, and IT DOESN'T CREASE AT ALL (over primer).

These pictures came out a bit blurrier than I hoped, but they'll do.  Here I used Champagne Toast on the inner third of the lid and very quickly applied Urban Decay Sidecar (Naked palette) to the outer two thirds and blended them together.  You have to work fast with these if you want any blending action to go on because they do dry pretty quickly on the lid.  I blended Sidecar up into the crease and then used a teeny tiny bit of Half Baked in the crease (Half Baked can be found in about a million UD palettes; mine came from my Naked palette).  I also used Champagne Toast on my lower waterline and it actually held up pretty nicely.  I threw on some liner and mascara and I was good to go.  This is a very easy everyday I'm-wearing-makeup-but-not-that-much-and-still-look-great kind of eyeshadow.

The Milani pencils go for between $7-8.  Mine was $7.49.

As this post goes up I'll be freaking the hell out about a midterm that's happening around 4pm.  I'm going to be so happy when today is over, you all have no idea.  So, happy Monday.  I can't wait to crawl into bed and for it to be Tuesday.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Tess Collection: SH Xtreme Wear Teeny Greeny Bikini

The Tess Collection is a series of posts featuring my grandmother, Tess', nail polishes.

It's been almost two months since my grandma died.  I can't believe the time has gone so quickly and yet has seemed to crawl at the same time.  It seems like yesterday that I was rushing off to the hospital to show her pictures of my wedding dress or that she was trying to convince me to eat half of her hospital dinner because she didn't want the food to go to waste.  I think about her every single day, and more often than not I shed tears.  I miss her so much.  I wish more than anything I could hold her hand again.  But I do have these little gems of hers that I can share with you all.  And like I said in my last Tess Collection post, you might be a little surprised by this one (which I thought was March-appropriate).

The weather in New York has been absolutely beautiful this week.  So sunny.  However...I have been trapped inside every single day and unable to take photos.  So this is under artificial light, sans bottle.  But I did sub in my iPod Nano.  Or whatever that thing is.  I'm never sure which iPod is which.  Mini?  Nano?  Itty-bitty?  I dunno.  Okay, anyway, this polish.  I can totally see my grandma wearing one coat of this on her nails as just a little shimmer.  I think this one came out in either spring or summer 2011 as a limited edition shade.  I wasn't familiar with it.  I also wasn't sure how I would like it because it's such a weird shade of silvery green.  But as it turns out, I think it's a really nice, shimmery sort of glass fleck foil, in the vein of China Glaze.  I had no problems with application (I used three coats to build up opacity), and the wear time has been great.  Today is day four and it's still hanging in there (with NYC GCS, holla).

Back in August or so I had several long phone conversations with my grandma about how difficult I was finding the adjustment to living in a new place.  She told me she was lonely too.  I told her not to hesitate to call me if she ever wanted to talk about anything.  Anything at all.  Because chances were that if she was sitting there feeling lonely, I was doing the same thing on the east coast.  When I went back for a visit in September I went over to see her.  It was right after Ben had proposed to me, so we talked about that.  We talked about how she was feeling.  We talked about how neither of us was looking forward to winter.  That day I had actually asked Ben if he could just drop me off and leave me with her so she and I could have some time together by ourselves.  Now I'm glad I did that.  But as we were pulling out of the driveway after I had said goodbye, she came to the screen door and yelled, "STEFFIE!"  I panicked because I had no idea why she'd be yelling and waving her arm, so I got out of the car and trotted back up to the house.  She handed me this little craft that she had made at the senior center, a tiny vase she had decorated with tiny artificial flowers inside, and she said, "This is for you, so you'll always remember me when you're alone."  At the time it just seemed like a sweet little thing that was related to our conversations about loneliness.  Now it feels so poignant.

I put it right on my bookcase, which is the first thing I see when I walk in the door to my place, as soon as I got back to the city.  It has been there ever since.  I have a few other encouraging little things on top of the bookcase; there's my mom and dad and Ben and me from just this past Christmastime and also a framed little John Singer Sargent.  I look at my family and know that I will always have support.  I look at the painting and know that there really is beauty in the world.  And I look at that little vase of flowers and know that my grandmother is always going to be with me when I'm lonely.

This was one of her favorite pictures of herself.  I really need to frame this one and have it right there on my shelf next to her vase.  Because when I look at this, I'm reminded that a little sassiness is a good thing.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Sephora by OPI I Only Shop Vintage

A few months ago I got a couple polishes at Sephora.  One of them I absolutely hated.  I hated it enough that I didn't want to blog it and I'm 100% sure I'll never wear it again (it's called Chamomile-ion to One; there was nothing wrong with the polish itself, I just really didn't like the the bottle it looked like a lovely light pink with gold shimmer, but on the nail it was this really weird frosty gold with a pink tint.  it was bad).  After that I was sort of gun shy and I put off trying the other polish I bought.  But I finally did.

I really like this color.  It reminds me of a couple things, namely China Glaze Fast Track (which I love so, so much) and also China Glaze Golden Spurs (which I blogged about almost exactly two years ago to the day!).  I also found this great comparison, which justifies my owning both $OPI I Only Shop Vintage and Fast Track.  They actually are pretty different when you see them side-by-side, with the $OPI being way, way warmer.  I Only Shop Vintage is a lovely sort caramel/light brown/taupe/toffee-colored (godiwantcaramelandtoffee) base color just packed with gold shimmer.

If you were to ask me what my favorite brand of nail polish is I would say China Glaze every time.  But I always forget about $OPI.  Their formulas are always spot on and easy to apply, I love their brush, and every single polish I own from them only needs two coats.  They also last forever on me, which is a minor miracle with my body chemistry that just rejects every nail polish outright, sometimes after only 36 hours or so.  For the photos above I used two coats.  The only thing that $OPI has against it is its price.  It's more expensive than regular OPI polishes which is super annoying.  I can get China Glaze for like $4 online so it still has an edge over this idiosyncratic brand.  

Something is different about this manicure, too.  For a while I have been seeing my two pals Rach and Anna blog that they're using NYC Grand Central Station as a topcoat.  I did some research and found enough positive reviews to convince me that if it was good enough for Rach and Anna it would be good enough for me.  I went over to Duane Reade one day and picked up a bottle for $1.99.  I should probably wear it more than once before I give you my opinion, but I wore it for the first time over I Only Shop Vintage, and this manicure...actually hasn't chipped yet as I type this.  I've been wearing it for...let's see...five or six days.  $OPIs tend to do well on me anyway, but this, as I mentioned, is still a miracle.  NYC GCS also dried pretty quickly.  Not as quickly as Seche (but what does?), but after I watched an episode of The West Wing my nails were totally dry.  I also love the consistency of GCS, which is...very thin.  Nothing like Seche, and pretty easy to work with.  I am tentatively saying that due to price, wear time, availability and ease of use that NYC GCS is an epic win.  But I'll report back as I continue to use it.  

I have one funny story to tell you about from last week, and if you're friends with me on Facebook you already know the gist.  But, I was on the subway, wearing my bitchface as per usual, and this guy kept looking at me.  For a couple stops he was just...looking at me.  I got a little creeped out.  Then he got up, came over, and handed me a business card.  He was one of those slash people, guys.  Like, artist/dj/blogger/whatever.  But he told me he is an artist and that he has a tumblr of photos of New Yorkers.  And then he asked very, very nicely if he could take my photo.  I have a soft spot for "artists," so I agreed.  He did it really quickly once the subway stopped, told me that the photo would be up this afternoon, and then hopped off the train.  It was odd.  But, sure enough, I'm up there.
he labeled me as "high fidelity girl," pretty great
you can find this tumblr at, and find me in the February archive.  I'm the last photo of last month

This is funny for a lot of reasons.  First, he picked me out as "a New Yorker," which, no.  Second, I was TOO COOL to take off my shades.  Next, I have a stupid Puma backpack next to me like I'm in grade school because I have to lug around books everywhere with me and my Longchamp bag just wasn't cutting it.  I'm still holding his business card here.  I asked him, "What should I do?"  He said, "Just be yourself."  So I gave him THIS FACE.  Oh, PS, I'm wearing the Urban Decay Super Saturated Lip Pencil in Glinda, which came in my Glinda palette (but it's also a dupe for Naked, which is a permanent color in the regular line) and I love it.  It is a perfect lip color for me (and I imagine for a lot of other skin tones as well).  Anyway, it was just a funny and sort of surreal experience.  But I really like the photo.  Every picture of me that has been taken in the past like three months features me wearing this coat, which is from ModCloth and is hands-down my favorite garment.

Okay, that's all.  Today is going to tiring.  I'm going to the Jewish Theological Seminary for my Jerusalem in the Middle Ages seminar (which usually meets Fridays), then I have another class directly followed by ANOTHER CLASS.  Busy Mondays are the worst.