Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cult Nails Various Swatches

The sun finally decided to peek its shiny little head across Georgia today! Seriously, clear skies and everything. It's wonderful. I've also found that I only get a few hours of sunlight a day in my apartment. The rest of the day it's indirect sunlight... which sucks for taking swatches. Oh well... I guess I'll have to fill the rest of my day with more productive activities. *sigh*
Before we get to the pictures, I'd like to apologize about my cuticles. I'm still trying to fix them after two and a half years of working in a restaurant. It will take time, and I don't have the patience to wait until they're 'perfect' to take pictures. Avert your eyes!
If you guys would like, though, I can post about my nail care routine! Let me know if that's something you'd enjoy.
Anyways, here are some swatches from my most recent Cult Nails haul!

First off we have Disciplined. This is a sheer polish if you use one coat, but it builds very easily. This is 3 coats, which was all I wanted, but I could easily have gone for a fourth for full coverage.
Disciplined is a very light grey/blue base with duochrome glitter in it. The main glitter shifts between blue and purple, but there's a slight amount of glitter that gleams red/orange. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't capture that secondary duochrome in picture form. Eh, oh well.
Formula on this one was decent. It takes a while to fully dry, so unless you're using a quick dry top coat or are very very very careful about your nails in between coats and during dry time, you're going to end up with some dents and scrapes and bald spots from trying to push back down the polish that you swore you could make look like new... oops.
Next up we have Time Traveler. I really like this color. A very, very deep blue. From the pictures on the website I'd hoped that this would be a jelly, but it's unfortunately not. I still love it, besides one teensy little issue with my particular brush that I need to fix.
See that stray hair? That's the culprit to  the crappy application above. I was going to clean it up initially, but thought I would keep it in so I could point this out. Now this isn't the norm for Cult Nails, and it's as simple as getting some scissors and slicing that baby down, but do you see above why it's so important for brushes to be even? That's why I have issues with other brands like Sinful Colors and Wet N Wild. They may come up with awesome colors, but I'm not one for cleanup after their crappy application. I want to rely exclusively on my application skills, but all the skills in the world can't compensate for a wonky brush.
But I digress. Pictured is two coats and I really don't think you need any more, if you apply an even second coat. This dried really fast and I had no issues with it while applying.
On to Devious Nature. Okay... now this one I'm very surprised about. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a fan of pink. At least I wasn't for the longest time. In recent years I've gotten better about my feelings on pink colors, but it's still not often that I'll reach for that color. With this.... ohhh my goodness. Though, to be fair, this isn't quite pink. More berry pink with just a hint of purple.
This picture shows the color more accurately, on the nail. Application was a dream. There was no pooling, and the color itself was very opaque. Pictured is two coats. It almost seems to self level, as demonstrated in the first picture, and it's so shiny on its own! I was pleasantly surprised by this one.
Wanna Be is one of Cult Nails more recent polishes, from their I'm Not Gone, Girl I'm Here! collection. First off I have to say I did not remember anything I'd read about this polish when I saw the bottle pic on the website. I assumed I would get a typical frosty brown with added shimmer. Let me say, that is not the case.
The pinky nail here accurately depicts the base color. A subdued pink/red. The shimmer is a gold/brown shimmer that looks... I don't know how to put it... multidimensional? Is that too cheesy? Well, dammit, that's the word that comes to mind.
Pictured above is two coats and I had no issues with application.
Next up I have some polishes leftover from the 2012 Deceptive Top Coat collection. I decided to do some swatches on a nail wheel as I was running out of sunlight to take pictures with. As this is a topcoat, I figured a darker base color would be acceptable. What a perfect opportunity to show off another one of the colors from my recent haul?
While painting the nails with Blackout, I noticed a couple things. 1) You can 'see' the pigment, as demonstrated above. It's not a solid color... more like you can see little specks that take several layers to completely cover the nail. 2) There's some pink/red in this. You can see it on the right nail pictured above. Interesting, but not necessarily a deal breaker for me. I got this intending to use it as a layering polish anyway, and 3-4 coats will hide all of this completely.
At the very top of the picture, we have the golden sheen of Alter Ego.
In the middle, we have Deception
On bottom, we have Two Timer.
These are some gorgeous layering colors. I really need a creative push - I can't think of anything besides black/grey to layer this over. I remember wanting to buy the entire collection when it first came out, but at that time I had just barely gotten my first job and I had no money to spend. Or money at all. Ah, simpler times.
I had no issues with any of these, and they are all one coat over 3 coats of Blackout.
If you still haven't gotten your hands on any Cult Nails or want to grab some final colors before they close up, never fear! They still haven't opened up for Liquidation, Round 2. On Instagram they stated that they're getting all the polishes pre-ready for shipping to improve the customer service experience this time around. The fact that it's taking so long makes me hopeful that they have some long-lost polishes that they're going to pull out of the vault to add to the store. One can hope, right?
Do you have any Cult Nails? What do you think of them? Will you be shopping with them one final time before they close up shop?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rosegirls - Strawberry Pancake Batter

Cold Sniff: 4/5 This wax is a year and a half old, but I still love the smell as much as I did the first time I sniffed it. Sweet, bready strawberries.
Warm Sniff: 4/5 There were no surprises when melting this.
Scent Strength: 1/3 This is a very pleasant background-type scent. I enjoyed it very much.
Scent Throw: 4/5 The only room this failed to extend to was the bedroom. That's okay with me, because while I was melting it I was in the kitchen and living room area unpacking boxes.
Melting Power: ?/3 I melted this for 3 hours before I noticed the smell had completely vanished. This was the first thing I melted with the new warmer, so I'm not sure how much of it was the fact that I have a different type of warmer (bulb) and how much is due to the wax just being old.
Repurchase: Yes, though I'm currently on a rather strict no-buy as we're trying to use up a lot of things we have so we don't have to throw out as much when we move.
"But Liz," you ask, "I thought you just moved!" Why yes, yes I did! M joined the military last year, and if any of you know how the military works, it's a lot of moving. In May he will finish some training and we will most likely be stationed overseas, and there are very uptight restrictions on what can and cannot be brought with us. That includes a very low overall weight limit which we are currently over. I'm concerned about all of my nail polishes. I don't wanna leave them in the States for 3+ years! T__T

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cult Nails Liquidation Sale

 Cult Nails recently announced that they are liquidating and closing up shop. I'm sad to see them go, as I've read Maria's blog since before her Cult Nails days, but I took the opportunity to pick up some new and interesting colors at 60% off - or about $4.80 each. With shipping I spent a little under $40 on 7 these 7 polishes.
 When the polishes arrived I had a moment of sadness for one of the last times I'm going to see these polish burritos.
The polish burritos Cult Nails fans have come to know and love.
There was one casualty during the shipping process.

Devious Nature has a little crack in the lid, but I've examined the top and it doesn't appear to affect anything besides the cosmetic feel of the bottle. That's fine with me, so long as my polish doesn't dry up!
The polishes I got left to right: Time Traveler, Devious Nature, Deception, Alter Ego, Two Timer, Wanna Be, and Disciplined.
When the sun decides to make an appearance I'll take swatches of these. 
If you missed out on their sale, never fear! They're taking this time to do a full inventory and get prepared for a second round of their liquidation sale. I know I plan to go back and pick up more polishes I may not have and want... maybe if they have any more of their Wicked Fast topcoats I'll pick one up, as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review: BBW Body Soufflé

Hello! Today I'm reviewing a sometimes product of Bath and Body Works. Why, you ask, do I say sometimes product? Because from my understanding a certain number of a certain scent is made, and once it's sold out BBW doesn't make any more. It's like being Limited Edition without calling it that.
Now what is this product, you ask? Or maybe you don't ask, since you've read the title of this post and you can clearly see the picture right in front of your lovely face? Okay, okay I'll stop fooling around.
As some may recall, I did a not so eloquent review of one of their body soufflés back in May. While I was sifting through my posts, I decided I need to rewrite this to 1) include another scent, and 2) actually talk more about the product.
For a condensed bullet form of the pros and cons, skip to the bottom of this post. I don't blame you if you do this; I suck at elongated eloquence.
Enter this beauty. While shopping with a friend at our local BBW, I noticed a huge display, titled the Provence Collection. It had four different scents, the main one being Lavender and Honey. There were samples of each product in each scent, and the sales representative kept trying to push the products onto my friend and I. Initially the only thing that caught my eye was the French Lavender & Honey fine fragrance mist. After walking around the store several times (and picking up a plethora of items since it was my birthday) I somehow decided I would try out the body soufflé.
I went into this adventure with low expectations. I've never liked any of BBW's lotions or body creams. Ever. They always left my skin feeling oily and greasy, and I really, really don't like that. On top of that, they never seemed to capture the scent they were supposed to smell like. If they did smell remotely like their named scent, the scent itself wasn't strong enough to mask the generic lotion smell. I understand that scents don't stay the same across products, but this was far beyond 'a little.' Overall, I viewed their body creams and lotions as a waste of money.
The first thing I noticed when dipping the little sampler spatula tool into the jar was it felt smooth. That, of course, made me want to immediately wash my hands before applying the product because I'd grown to associate smooth with greasy. I'd picked up a very small amount though, so I decided to go ahead and apply it.
This is about how much I had on my finger (don't mind the little fuzzy, I didn't even notice it until I added this picture) and that completely covered both of my hands. That's my pointer finger, by the way. So this is a very spreadable product.
My first impression in a few words: Soft. Smelly. No grease!
By smelly I simply mean highly scented, but those were my exact thoughts as I rubbed this into my skin. It absorbed quickly and left behind a pleasant soft feeling as well as a very noticeable scent that was almost exactly like the fine fragrance version. This fragrance translated very well into a body soufflé.
Pictured above is the product after about a month's usage. Over the course of that month I used this after every shower. Over my entire body. I kid you not. Including my face, which is very sensitive and breaks out easily. Safe to say I not only like this product, but it goes a long way.
Bonus pic of Wild Madagascar Vanilla's top. I love the designs used for the tops of these!
9 months later, my Lavender & Honey is just a little under half full and I've picked up a second soufflé in a different scent.
I took this opportunity to show how full the product was before I started using it. There's actually a 1cm layer on the bottom of the lid, attached to the plastic covering that ended up getting stuck to the lid, which took 3 full body uses to deplete.
Do you get the message that I really like this product?
Overall I very much love this product. It gives long lasting moisture and scent (think 12+ hours. I've put this on before a shift at work that went 11:30 am until midnight and still got comments on it as I left work) and a little goes a long way, at least on my skin. For reference, I have dry, sensitive skin that breaks out very easily. This product did not break me out and it is gentle enough to use on my face.

Now for my cons.
As I've said, this is a very highly scented product. If you apply too much, you will be that person that smells like a walking perfume bottle. This also means you are committed to this scent for the entire day, unless you are a connoisseur of perfumes and can skillfully layer other scent(s) over whichever scent of soufflé you're wearing. The two scents I own are very sweet, so if I'm looking for something more mature or musky I cannot wear these at all.
Another thing is the price. $14.50. I almost feel silly for saying I think $14.50 is expensive but to me it is. I'm cheap. I want my money to go as far as possible. At Bath and Body Works you only have to wait for the right combination of coupons and sales (B3G3 + 50% off select items + 30% off entire purchase for example) and you can get a really good deal on virtually anything. In an upcoming post I'll give a breakdown of my 'buying logic.'
Finally: availability. If you see this product in a scent you like, you have to pick it up before stock runs out. I tried looking into buying the other soufflés that were available at the same time as the Lavender & Honey one, and to buy a single soufflé from the Provence Collection nowadays I would have to spend at least $20 per item, not including shipping. No thank you.
The most bitter thing? I'd made an order from BBW online in late April, and I'd considered picking up the other body soufflés. I dismissed that notion, not realizing at the time that they were limited stock.
So that's my super lengthy, really wordy review of this product. If you read this I'd give you a cookie, but I ate them all. :(

Scent Descriptions (pulled from the Bath and Body Works website)
French Lavender & Honey: 
  • Top Notes: Mandarin, Melon de Cavaillon, Blackberries, Violet Leaves
  • Mid Notes: French Lavender, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Nectarine de Provence
  • Dry Notes: Honey, White Oak Musk
Wild Madagascar Vanilla:
  • Top Notes: African Pear, Sparkling Clementine, Ruby Apple
  • Mid Notes: Wild Jasmine, Wild Gardenia, Heliotrope Petals, Golden Plumeria
  • Dry Notes: Madagascar Vanilla, White Sandalwood, Creamy Musk

 - very moisturizing
 - long lasting
 - highly scented
 - doesn't leave a greasy feeling
 - absorbs quickly
 - very spreadable

 - highly scented
 - price
 - availability

Tripping Over My Shoes Ep. 2: Weather Y U Do Dis?

Seriously. I've been trying to take pictures and start putting together posts, and this is the weather I've been dealing with for the past few days. Don't get me wrong, I love rain, but not when I'm trying to take pictures of my nails/polish. Color accuracy/sunlit pictures are important for this!
I've settled for working on regular bath and body/wax pictures and posts for the foreseeable future. The good thing is I have a lot of stuff to catch up on! 
I'm currently fighting allergy-like symptoms while my body gets acclimated to living in a whole new environment. Working out helps, but all of my at-home workout supplies are still in transit and I don't care for working out at the 'club house' this apartment complex offers. I've always been self conscious when it comes to athletic activities in front of people, which is ironic because I grew up playing all sorts of sports... in front of people. Would that be ironic or a contradiction? I'm gonna go with irony.
Side note: it's very hard to clean and organize when you have nowhere to put your stuff. Our stuff stayed in Texas due to the weather and is a week later than we were originally told it would arrive. That wouldn't be a problem if we hadn't packed for 3 days as opposed to 13. Sigh.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Wax Rating System 2.0

Time to revamp my wax rating system. While going through old posts I realized that while a 3 point system was good for the rear house I'd lived in, the following apartment, house, and now apartment again don't cut it. Not to mention as of one week ago I'm living in an entirely different state with a different climate from before.

Cold Sniff: 1-5. Anything 3 or higher means I at least liked the scent.
Warm Sniff: 1-5. Again, anything 3 or higher means I at least liked the scent.
Scent Strength: I've decided to keep this on a 1-3 scale, since there are really only 3 levels of strength (to me). This just rates how strong the scent is. Is it a background, light type scent, or is it an in-your-face obnoxious type scent? A 1 doesn't necessarily mean bad here; it just means that scent isn't very heavy on the nose.
Scent Throw: 1-5 I decided to extend the scale of this since I found most of my previous melts got a 2 on the previous scale even though they were still unimpressive. Since we're living in a one bedroom apartment, it's relatively easy to fulfill my throw needs. I still don't use more than one warmer, so I want my one tart to fill the entire apartment from one location. Right now I'm thinking it'll be on the counter above the sink, as it's a pretty central area to the apartment. Note to self: Take pictures of the apartment before all of our stuff arrives.
1/5 means this tart sucked ass frankly. There was no throw whatsoever. 1 means I'm not buying the scent from the vendor again, because it sucks that horribly. At no point over the course of melting this tart did I ever smell it anywhere but 3 inches from the warmer.
2/5 means this tart filled the immediate area around the warmer extending no more than 3 or 4 feet from it. This is another horrible rating. This tart wouldn't even fill my bathroom if I put it in there.
3/5 The scent filled most of the kitchen and part of the living room. Decent enough, but it didn't extend very far.
4/5 This tart's scent extended to most of the apartment. It gets a 4 if it doesn't quite reach one or two areas of the apartment, such as the dining area or the bedroom.
5/5 Every room of the apartment was filled with this scent. I don't reasonably expect every single tart I buy to reach every room, as air currents/closed doors can affect how far it reaches, but a 5 is my 'holy grail'. It reaches all of my apartment.
>5/5 This tart extended beyond the doors of the apartment. To me this says I just need to melt less of the tart next time so I don't push my melts into other people's living areas. Since I live in an apartment complex I  need to think of other people and try to be considerate. This also means that this is an exceptionally strong tart and the same weight in wax will go further than other waxes. So overall, this is a fantastic rating.
Melting Power: 1-5 How long did the scent last while melting? 0-3 hours is 1, 3-6 hours is 2, 6-9 hours is 3, 9-24 hours is 4, and anything above 24 hours is a 5. I typically want a 4 in this category just because I grow bored of scents after melting them anything longer than 24 hours.

After this I'll do a little blurb on whether I'd repurchase this particular tart again. Really self explanatory.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tripping Over My Shoes: A New Beginning

I meant to post more. Be more consistent. I really did. I still have those posts I meant to put up. Every time I look at them, though, I'm taken back to the past year, and I get upset. I start blaming myself for what happened. It's silly, and the logical part of me knows there was nothing I could do. But depression works in funny ways. You find yourself beating your already downtrodden psyche into a spiral of self hatred.
The past 9 months have been exceptionally hard on me. I want to write more about it, but first I have to distance myself from what happened. I'm sorry I'm being so vague -I hate it when other bloggers do this very same thing- but I promise I will open up about it eventually. Just not right now. The pain is still too near.
I've had a lot of time to think about my priorities and passions, and this blog is still high on that list. I've always had plans for this little corner of mine. Now I can follow through with them. I will follow through with them.
First I must start fresh. You'll notice that all of my previous posts have been removed. They're not gone forever. I'll sift through them and pick out what posts I want to keep, but a lot of it is stuff I want to leave behind.
The content of this blog will remain the same, I just want to start anew. All as a step in moving on.