Friday, March 28, 2014

Previous Polish Progressions Part 2 of 3 (2012 Edition) featuring Konad Nail Art Stamps

This is the second part of my recordings of nail polishes photographed in 2012.

The nail looks were made by using any standard nail polish as a base, and the Konad Stamping nail art kit my parents gave me from their trip to Las Vegas. From what I know, Konad isn't readily available here in Canada, though I did bump into a merchant once at the summer carnival here in Alberta (K-Days). They didn't come back the year after though. =/ is a Canadian online store that sells Konad. I haven't bought from them yet so I can't really vouch how the shipping and handling is. The Official Konad site is here, and the company is based in Korea.

Nail art stamping kits aren't exclusive just from Konad. There are different companies that readily have these kits available. This is just the only kit I have and can review.
My parents got me the B set stamping kit. My mom says she picked it up at the Las Vegas Premium Outlet on the North side for about the original price at $45(USD). It was available at a random kiosk. We don't know if it's still there now. It was about 3 years ago, so apologies on outdated information. The Konad site has it listed at $31.45(USD) right now, but it's out of stock at the moment. There are others too so have a gander.

Konad Set B comes with 3 Special Nail Polishes, 4 image plates, a stamper, and a scraper. Konad does have their own line of regular nail polishes. The ones with the kit are "special," because there is something about the formula that lets you clean them off your plates easily and without staining.

To use the kit, lay out your desired plate/pattern, and dab a drop on a  your pattern. You don't really need a lot of product, and I can't emphasize that enough - it will help you save more product. The scraper is used to wipe the nail polish over the pattern. Then take your stamper, roll to grab your pattern, and then roll over your desire position on the nail. The rolling parts are important because it will pick up your pattern and lay them down on your nail with the most success. It is time consuming and messy, so use some newspaper, or scrap paper for your "work area." Use a top coat when the pattern has dried so it doesn't streak.
These are the image plates and the scraper in the smaller square packaging. You can see I did do the mistake of staining some of the images when using a regular polish. The scrapper's handle isn't very cleanable by acetone(nail polish remover), since acetone is corrosive to plastic, so it ended up looking like this (=_=;;). The scraper isn't anything special except that the metal part is stainless steel. For me, I'm completely content using a standard hard plastic card, like a library card or a coffee card, as my scraper. They're actually easier to clean and are reusable. Reduce, reuse, recycle folks!

Also the bottom two plates were from that merchant at the summer carnival I mentioned. I like that the patterns aren't just standalone art, but patterns and nail tip patterns are available too. The plates have a HUGE range of patterns available, and with the mention of other companies that sell nail art stamping kits, I'm sure there are endless amounts of combinations.

Now, some of the look-backs! Again apologies for the quality of the photos. They were taken with a spoon of a phone camera back then.
Here are two butterfly designs are from the plates, m15 and m21 - the ones with the B set kit. They are stamped white on #170 Deep Purple by Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails' Xtreme Wear. This is just a lovely way to get into stamping. The detail you get is definitely worth the time. And that purple shade is something I love to keep going back to.
BAM! Here's to all my paintball players. Pardon the messy white background. This splatter was a lot of fun to utilize. You can switch it around with different colours for a paint splatter look, or even different red shades on a dark background for a gorier look. =P
This cute pattern was used in the spring time. It easily resembles an Easter egg. It is stamped on #205 Pink Blink by Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri series.
This was something I sported in October for obvious reasons. The middle finger is stamped white then black for that drop shadow effect.

So these are just a few ways of using your stamp nail art kit. I hope you liked this post. Please recommend it if you think it'll be a great read.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nicole by OPI's On What Grounds?

If you're subscribed to Ipsy's Glam Bag, you might have received this polish in your March Glam Bag. For those of you who don't know what Glam Bags are... Ipsy is one of many subscription-based companies that distribute beauty bags of 4-5 random beauty products every month, or every so often for some. I may make a blog series on subscription beauty boxes. We'll see. =P

I actually didn't get this nail polish in my bag. My sister, though, generously gifted me hers from her glam bag since she's not using nail polishes at the moment.

Nicole by OPI's new collection is called Roughles. They feature these unique texture polishes in pastel colours. This one is called On What Grounds? and is a pastel turquoise colour.
They are comparable to OPI's line of Liquid Sands Polishes, and have a thick glittery texture. With Liquid Sands, I can get an opaque application with two coats. This polish was opaque with one coat. I applied it over Avon's Nail Strengthening Basecoat. This one is specifically extra grainy when dried. When first applied, they have a bit of a shine that offsets the grit a bit. It does feel and look like coloured dirt... I really don't know how to explain that, but that's impression on this one. On What Grounds? has big sand particles in the formula that appear brown and dark teal. As with a few of these liquid sands, it does feel like your nails are wearing individual hats (like you're wearing too much polish).
The texture is fun, but it doesn't last very long. This is after a few hours of wear. The polish looks even grittier than when first applied. The shine is completely gone, leaving a matte and unflattering look. It's like coloured cement. I didn't leave it on for very long after.

Simply put... fun, but not for long.

Thanks guys!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Divergent + Sephora Collection

Just a disclaimer, I bought this collection mostly on the basis of the packaging. I don't know anything about the new film, or the novels for that matter, but I have heard good things. I have not read any of the novels, and anything related is probably just based off my knowledge of reading and watching ads for the movie. So I apologize if anyone who has read the novels is offended that I'm not a fan of the series, yet.
The kit is available exclusively at Sephora online. It's called the Divergent Multi-Piece Collector's Kit under Divergent Cosmetics, which is the promotional name of the makeup line. The retail price for the Collector's Kit is $71 (CAD). It's pretty big, just over 12 inches across by 9 inches wide, and 2 inches tall.

I happened to click by this collection while "window" shopping online at Sephora. It was one of those, "Hmm... Never seen this bef -- OMG It's beautiful!"

So yes, I kind of snatched it up before it was sold out the first time 'round. On another note, it was only available to Sephora VIB Rouge members when I purchased it at the time. This kit is currently out of stock, but I'm sure they will be available again on the site soon, and to everyone else. For now, Sephora has posted up a customer service number as this kit is so popular. So if you're wanting to grab one, give them a call to see if it's at a Sephora near you.
Sephora also has a 7-piece Nail Art Set and a smaller separate Palette Set available. They are retailing for $33 and $39 (CAD), respectively.
As I mentioned before, the "transformer" shades are swappable with the other eye shadow palettes, and they can be applied wet or dry. My advice is, if you're going for a more subtle look, to apply the transformers dry. Applied with a dampened brush, they are more vibrant and definitely have more presence. Choose just seems to have more sparkle.The mossy olive colour in Diverge (middle) has more body when applied wet as well. The only uneven shade is Transform (right most swatch).

The main attraction, for me, was the gorgeous lit-up Ferris wheel featured on the front/lid (top) of the packaging. The wheel's spokes and vertical supports have a holographic finish which kind of has that extra glowing effect on the dark background. The Ferris wheel is depicted on the inner lid too in a reverse gloss print. Very illuminating and just well put-together, in my opinion. So well, in fact, that I may just go see a movie that I would have otherwise waited until showings were out of theaters. 
The box is physically large, and you could stand it on its side, but the makeup inside will shift if you do. When I first opened the box, the lip glosses were strewn everywhere, so I would recommend storing it flat. The plastic insert seems reliable only for the palettes and brush.
Yes, I fell for the ARTISTIC packaging. It's a gift and a curse I tell you ...loving packaging as much as this, but loooook... the palettes inside piece together the entire Ferris wheel. It's geniuuusss!
The three eye shadow transformer shades on the ends can be swapped out by sliding the single eye shadow down along the silver "Divergent" decal.
The inside of the lid has an envelope with three different looks based on each of the eye palettes. They're nicely detailed with an illustrated gal, and a step-by-step process of styling your makeup.

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for... Makeup and swatches! Personally, I'm going to say I love the quality of these shadows. Sephora does not disappoint. All of these colours adhere to the skin very nicely, and pigment is out of this world. Some of the shadows feel more creamier than others. Fallout isn't too much of a problem here if you handle the product nicely. =D
From top to bottom, we have the Divergent Cheek Palette, the Erudite Eye Palette, the Dauntless Eye Palette, and the Abnegation Eye Palette.

Divergent Cheek Palette
We have two blushers, a highlighter, and a bronzer. Applied with a brush, the pigments can be sheered out to give you a natural glow. Obscure Coral is a warm flush with a light golden shimmer which makes for a dynamic cheek colour. Misty Rose is a cooler toned mauve colour, and the only cheek shade that is matte in the palette. Gleaming Pearl is spot on with it's name. It has a cooler, light golden shimmer which, I think, compliments Obscure Coral very well. Intelligent Bronze is a soft tan for a bronzer. Personally, I think this shade too close to my tone as a bronzer, and would work better as a complimenting eye shadow.

Erudite Eye Palette
The eye palettes all have very great quality for shadows. 
The Erudite Eye Palette has a light pink toned sparkle base called Choose as the "transformer" shade. Burnt Mahogany has very subtle peach shimmer particles in a dark sepia base. Radiant Initiation is the only matte shade, and is a pebble grey that appears more like a greyish latte in the pan. Peaceful Shimmer is my favourite shade in this palette as a peachy glistening colour. And Humble Sheen is a pearly shimmer with a very subtle pink tone.

Dauntless Eye Palette
The Dauntless Eye Palette has a more dramatic feel to it. The transformer shade is called Diverge, which appears as a dark olive shade is actually a dark base with darker gold glitter particles. Dauntless Ink is the darkest shade with a subdued shimmer. Applied, it looks more matte, and is the only shade that has uneven application. Abnegation Stone is the most mauvy taupe shimmer shade I will enjoy from this collection (sooo faved!). Erudite Sapphire is a darkened greyish blue with finer blue shimmer particles. Aaaand Serene Vanilla is the lightest colour in the collection as a whited out creme. You can't have darkness without the light. ;)

Abnegation Eye Palette
The Abnegation Eye Palette starts with a snowier transformer shade. Transform appears very close to Choose but as a silver glitter shadow. Applied dry, it's not very impressionable. Bold Espresso is your trademark dark coffee (Mmm... Yes please!). 
Intrepid Moss is more taupe-y than mossy, and has a nice complimenting golden shimmer. Golden Honesty is a shimmery light gold. And Altruistic Almond is a very light, matte beige colour.

These are the transformer shades applied dry, and then wet (with water). From left to right, we have Choose, Diverge, and Transform. They definitely have a more vibrant presence when applied with a wet or damp brush.

Divergent High Shine Lip Glosses
And here, we have 'em Divergent High Shine Lip Glosses. They look nice in the packaging, but they were the most disappointing of the Kit, in my opinion (>.>).
From left to right we have Fear Not, Natural Virtue, Supreme Ritual, and Temptation's Choice.
The glosses all have small doe-foot applicators. I find them a little inconvenient since you have to dip the wand in a few times to get enough product for application.
These are all very wearable glosses. Though with that said, the glosses all don't have very much pigment when applied, so they're not very exciting. Layering will give you more colour, but then it gets a l'il more gooey on the lips, and they aren't very long wearing. They might have more potential for fairer skin toned customers though. The glosses all have some kind of shimmer, mostly light pink, but all different. They aren't sticky, which is a plus one in my book when it comes to lip glosses. They all have a minty scent, and with it, tingly plump action. The scent isn't too overbearing, and the tingling isn't unpleasant, but if that's not your thing, then you can always use your own alternative nude gloss to complement the rest of the kit.
The quality is comparable to Buxom lip gloss products (which I looooove!). The packaging is adapted from Hourglass, and I think that is who Sephora teamed up with to make the kit. The labels on the back are very similar.

Double Ended Eye and Cheek Brush
And here we are with the one tool included with the Collector's Kit. The brushes are actually great quality. The bristles are synthetic, but also very soft. They're not as fine, but they get the job done nicely. 
The angled face brush is dense, but comfortable against the skin. And the eye brush side is more suited as a fluffy blending brush. 
The logo is reverse printed (glossy on matte) on the handle, much like the inner lid of the box. Very fitting.

Overall, the kit is a nice purchase. The box is bulky but stores neatly. The design and quality of the palettes were consistent throughout. I think one more brush might have a good addition. There are just a lot of eye shadows to make use of, and if they added another double ended brush with a standard, stiffer brush and an angled brush maybe, for example, I think it would tie in well.

The only disappointing feature were the lip glosses. I would have enjoyed more pigmented colours, maybe a brighter pink or a berry. They are good on-the-go types of lip glosses. Not everyone is fond of the menthol ingredient in glosses too. While I don't mind the tingling that much, I know a lot of gloss-lovers who would stray away from the product.

I know I will use everything here. I think my money was well spent, and I would recommend the collection to anyone who is fond of makeup and the novels/film. Thanks a lot for checking in. It is a lot to go through, but I think everyone would like to know what they're getting.

Now to find someone to take me to go see the film... =P


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Previous Polish Progressions Part 1 of 3 (2012 Edition)

These are some outdated photos of when I had a lot more time. It's a collection of various nail art and nail polish swatches I did back in 2012. They are in no particular order really, except by what kind of nail art (sort of). There are some nail polishes that I don't have anymore and/or were borrowed, so I can't exactly list all the names, but I will try my best. Also, I apologize for the quality of the photos and the "unruliness" of my nails. My camera phone wasn't exactly topnotch, and a lot of these were done before I made use of a nail buffer properly. =P

Nail Art Stickers
Here is the first of the series; nail stickers. They are the easiest way to decorate your nails with graphics. It does help for them to adhere better when your nails are buffed and a base coat is applied. A top coat after does help them last longer too. So easy and convenient.
Sephora by OPI's Trend Tips in Birds
I may have to hunt another pair of these stickers down. They are really one of a kind.
Sephora by OPI's Trend Tips in Lace
I really love these. They're so steampunk and styling. A Clockwork Orange, anyone? ;)

These are some of your standard shades and styles. =P
Essie's A Splash of Grenadine, topped with Sally Hansen - Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Strobe Light.
This is one of the first Essie polishes I've ever owned. It is probably one of my favourites too. The Sally Hansen glitter polish is nice, though I have a problem with how SH polishes age. They don't have a very long shelf life since they tend to dry out too fast. They are pretty though...
Sally Hansen's Mint Sorbet
Apologies for the blurriness on this one. I was also wearing a lot of colours this day, with my poison mushroom buckle - one of my faves. This shade I don't have anymore, because the polish was too dried out and goopey. it is a nice minty colour though.

Thanks for reading and viewing these polishes. I hope you enjoyed the first part in this series.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Expansion Anticipation

For anyone who is interested, Diablo III is a stand alone game. You don't HAVE to play the previous Diablo games in order to understand this one. There is some shared lore, but the story and characters are pretty solid, in my opinion. =)

Diablo III is coming out with it's first expansion, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls on March 25th. This is one game that I actually played when it was originally released in 2012, but the previous account with Blizzard was not my own.
From the Blizzard Diablo3 media site.
So, during the past month or so, I have rebuilt my Demon Hunter from scratch, and it was definitely a helluva lot easier with the Community Event Buff (*PLUS* +50% more bonus experience). I believe the buff has been maxed to +100% more EXP for THIS WEEKEND ONLY. It is available only up until the day before the release of the expansion, and available only for PC and Mac. So you have until March 24th to level up your characters as much as you want. Three more days.  And apologies to my dearest console friends.
Concept art of Diablo's face, also from the Blizzard site.
I think we can expect the newly added character will definitely be popular to players who have been at this game for a long while, and to players who have missed the Paladin from Diablo 2. For those who don't know Diablo III well, you initially have the options to play Barbarians, Demon Hunters, Shamans, Wizards, and Monks. You don't get to choose their basic features, but you do get the option to pick the gender of your character. Personally, and I can vouch for my brothers too, I am definitely looking forward to creating the newly added Crusader. From what the D3 Wiki says, they already remind me of the days filled with Dungeons and Dragons, and my Lawful Good Cleric kicking butt. ;)

With the expansion, the level cap will be topped off at 70, whereas it was at 60.  Much like the expansions on the MMORPG, World of Warcraft, the caps have been extended a few more levels. I'm not sure that really helps with Blizzards' continuing love for making players level grind. Though with that said, I don't mind it with this game much since it's a fast-paced hack and slash game.

Another thing I am gleefully clapping my hands for, are additions to the Followers back stories. There were a lot of questions on my part that included Lyndon the Scoundrel's and Eirena the Enchantress' back stories, so I'm hoping Blizzard doesn't disappoint. Yeah, yeah, you can put Kormac the Templar in there somewhere too.

Tyrael, though, is by far my favourite character of the game. He is just so badass. I picked up this Pop! Games (Funko) figurine at a local EB Games. He was $9.99 (CAD). I just couldn't resist those little blue wings.

Lastly, I think we can all say we're looking forward to new loots. Since the Auction House has been shut down (as of Mar 18, 2014), I'm wondering how that will affect trading between players. Though I already think the Loot 2.0 version far outclasses the old system. Yay for less junk! 
I have noticed a few items meant for crusaders only, so it's just adding to my geeky anticipation.
Wings of Valor equipped in-game.
Yes, there is a huge plethora of new updates and shinies. I've only touched on a few things I'm looking forward to. You can check out all that new jazz right here. And, If you grab that pre-order BEFORE the release, you're going to get some pre-orderly loots (3 DAYS!). My screenshot doesn't really do the Wings of Valor much justice though. The long golden feathers flow and move like wiry waves, taking on the unique style of wings featured throughout the game.
No Wings equipped in-game. =(
My Demon Hunter decked out in Royal Dyed armor.
Anyway, thanks for tuning into my first video game post. If you guys are interested in the game, I recommend grabbing a copy to enjoy the Hells out of it. Cheers, and happy gaming!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Hourglass Blushes

These new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes have been out in stores for about a month now, and I went and treated myself to two of the shades, Luminous Flush and Mood Exposure.
One of the reasons I purchased these were because they are free of parabens, talc, fragrance, nanoparticles, and gluten. Yep, that's right. It's on the box.

These blushes are so comfortable and light to wear. They are silky and the finish is just gorgeous. I find them to be sheer when applied, but the colour is buildable if desired. There is a very slight shimmer, but since the powder is so fine, it comes off very natural. Their packaging states, "A truly multidimensional blush that enhances cheeks with seamless, soft-focus color, and a natural radiant finish." They definitely hit their mark. These blushes do not disappoint.

They are available at Sephora for $41.00(CAD) each.

Because of my darker medium tone skin, I felt these shades were the best accommodating. The pigment is just so vivid. Below is Luminous Flush and Mood Exposure, respectively. Luminous Flush is a rosy pink colour, and Mood Exposure is a thirsty plum colour.
These two are on the brighter spectrum of the shades available, and Mood Exposure is the deepest shade. When applied the marbleized hues mix to create the unique colour payoff you see in the swatches.
The compact is smaller than Hourglass' original Ambient Lighting Powders. At 4.2g(0.15oz), they sit easily in the hand. Though smaller, I don't think I would recommend travelling with them. Even the packaging states the blushes are fragile and require care when handled. The marbleized appearance is lovely, but when you start using the product, the powder mixes easily.

I think that's all I can say and show about these fabulous products. Thanks for reading!


Sunday, March 09, 2014

L'Occitane en Provence Must Haves

Just an opening disclaimer: this post is not sponsored. I purchased these products with my own money, and this is my own opinion and experience with using L'Occitane products.
I have been using A LOT of L'Occitane en Provence's Shea butter hand cream lately, and I am loving it. I have a huge history with eczema-ridden hands due to very dry weather, and dry office environments don't exactly help my case. Anyone from the Alberta, Canada can relate to this.

This winter has been yet another difficult interval, and who doesn't suffer from weather that is dry, and cold, and dry? Layering up just doesn't cut it. For me, my hands will split, crack, and flake easily a lot during the season.

I survived the winter with L'Occitane's Shea Butter hand cream in my bag. I started out with the 30 ml (0.1 oz) mini tube. I think it was a godsend when I first used this cream. I find that my hands are looking and FEELING the best they have ever been in my entire life. I didn't think it was possible with my history with eczema. After the tube was out, I went and got a 150 ml (5.2 oz) tube for home, and even one for the office.

Retail prices are as follows:

150ml (5.2oz) Hand Cream Tube - $30 CAD
30ml (0.1oz) Hand Cream Tube - $12 CAD
150ml (5.2oz) Pure Shea Butter Tin - $45 CAD

While the Shea Butter is only available at the L'Occitane store, the hand cream is available at both L'Occitane stores and Sephora stores. Online shopping is applicable too. ;)
The cream is a richer formula that is non-greasy. It does have a light scent, but it isn't overbearing at all. What I love about it is that there is no oily "after-feel" when applied. It sinks into the skin like no other moisturizer I have ever come across. I find that my hands are a lot more comfortable than they have been in a very long (looooooong!) time.

There are a few things I would like to mention about their packaging. The mini tubes are light weight, made of plastic, and are great for taking them on the go. It is recommended that you recycle all the plastic/paper parts. The bigger sized tube is made of metal, and is not meant for recycling (just for clearing that up). The lid for the metal tube is plastic too! A bonus to the large size products is that the packaging actually includes braille. I know it's not a requirement for brands to do this, but when they do, I find their integrity to sell a product just goes the extra mile.
I am also a big fan of their pure Shea Butter tin. They add vitamin E which makes a great combination to healing chapped skin.

Apparently it's L'Occitane's 20th year on the market and even as a new subscriber, I find their deals are pretty sweet. Just yesterday I picked up a free redeemable hand cream trio (all 10 ml or 0.3 oz) that comes in a small knitted pouch that resembles a bad Christmas sweater. Seriously! This was free with the code in your email. No purchase required or necessary. There are minis to the mini tube. No more needs to be said.
Thanks guys!