Friday, October 19, 2012

Unboxing Topbox October 2012

I was just about to post this month's box (or tube, it really is confusing what I should call it!) when I realized belatedly that I had (once again) forgotten to post the last month's! And to think I was so excited to write about it because it was my first Topbox. Life just got in the way and it kept getting pushed back to the point where I'm posting it mid-October. Nonetheless, at least you get two posts in one day out of it! Now, I had pretty high hopes for this month's box because I had filled out the beauty profile and even took the survey that is sent at the end of each month. I was hoping that my answers would be taken into consideration with respect to the kind of samples I'd be getting. Not that last month's was a bust. Anyway, let's see how I fared this month, shall we?

I chose the eco-friendly option which gave me this bare tube (and the option to decorate it myself if I wanted to!).

I wonder what goodies await underneath the purple tissue?


Right out of the box!

(Finally) Unboxing Topbox September 2012

I've been on the waiting list for the Topbox sample subscription service for several months now when I finally get the email that says I'm getting my first box! The subscription service is much like how Loose Button originally started: $10CAD ($11.30CAD with taxes) gets you a monthly box of four samples from various beauty brands tailor fit to your beauty profile. Except, instead of a box, you get a tube container in your mailbox. Everything else is pretty similar. As far as I know, Topbox is one of the cheaper subscription services out there. That in itself might make it appeal to a wider audience. Now, I've read mixed reviews of the service but I'd like to reserve judgement until I've actually enjoyed the monthly boxes--er, tubes. Anyway, I didn't realize I hadn't posted my first Topbox yet, so here's the September one for your perusal. (The post with the October one should go live after this.)

Oooh, exciting!

How pretty! I can definitely see myself reusing this for gifts or storage in general.

The white end with the lip is the part that opens.

Suspense, much?

What do we have here?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Mummy Nails for Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching, I decided to finally jump on the bandwagon with some Halloween-themed nail art. While brainstorming, I remembered this faux copper patina tutorial on one of my favorite geek girl blogs, Epbot, that I've had bookmarked for the longest time. I haven't had the chance to try it out yet on an actual piece (I had seen a pretty seahorse at Winners but I got vetoed by Mr. J, boo), but I wondered if I could employ the same aging trick with acrylic paint on my nails. I already knew I wanted to do mummy nails using the slim line design since I first attempted it in one of my past twin posts with the always awesome Marta as I figured the texture would be perfect to mimic wrapped linen. It seemed like a good idea in my head so I knew I had to try it. And guess what? It came out even better than I could've ever hoped:

Beware the mummy (nails)!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Indulgent Intermission: Why I Went M.I.A. and the Fiery Red of Mother Nature

I apologize for going M.I.A., but one thing lead to the other and I found myself simply unable to get back to the groove of writing. Before I try to placate you some more, let me explain exactly what happened.

First off, my trip to Vancouver was a blast. It's an awesome city and I was very happy to catch up and spend time with my brother (who, wouldn't you know, actually bulked up with them muscles in the few years I haven't seen him). Sushi heaven at Tojo's, belugas with love handles at the Vancouver Aquarium, seeing Storybrooke from Once Upon A Time in person, high tea at the Fairmont Empress, smelling the roses at the Butchart Gardens...all in all, it certainly was worth every penny of the round trip airfare! Unfortunately, by my second day there, I was already feeling that scratchiness in your throat that I know almost always means I'm coming down with a cold. I suppose it didn't help either that to maximize our stay, we usually had pretty early mornings and very late nights. So, it's no surprise that I finally did get a cold. I developed the runny yet congested nose while in flight and let me tell you, descending from high altitudes when your ear just can't seem to pop hurts. A lot. Not even chewing gum helped. Suffice to say, I was glad to be home but unhappy about being sick.

Now, I only had a couple days to recuperate because the weekend promised to be a busy one, what with all the birthday celebrations AND Thanksgiving going on. I loaded up on lozenges, fluids and vitamin C but by the second day, I was coughing like mad, ran a fever and was spewing what honestly looked like slime. Off to the doctor I went and got my much needed antibiotics. I certainly didn't want to be passing this off to anyone else! By the weekend, I got my coughing somewhat under control with extra strength lozenges (the kind that numbs your throat is just divine at this). I also kept sanitizing and washing my hands, because, well, better safe than sorry, right? Dining in the dark at O Noir was a very interesting experience. Cosmic bowling was surprisingly fun (especially when you're not the lowest scorer, hurrah!), too. The Cutie Pie turned two with a Dora the Explorer themed party (with matching pinata!) and Mr. J turned officially old. The festivities probably took more out from me than I thought, so I ended up vegging out and catching up on sleep for the rest of the week.

And THAT is why I went M.I.A. I'm feeling loads better now (though still coughing a bit) and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who sent warm thoughts my way on Twitter and Instagram. You guys really are awesome, you know that? Anyway, I kind of went a bit overboard with swatching yesterday that I wasn't able to do a post. That said, this will be the "I'm back on the proverbial horse" post while I work on the actual posts that do involve what we're all here for: nails and nail polish. I've got some festive nails I sported for the celebrations I talked about earlier (thankfully, I had the foresight to photograph them before I took them off) and I'm really excited about the first Halloween themed nail art I'll be showing you tomorrow (they came out so well!). So definitely stay tuned for those in the next few days!

And because this post became one gigantic wall of text, here are some photographs I took yesterday (when it was horribly overcast and windy) of my favorite tree in our backyard. The wind was blowing so hard and I feared I wouldn't be able to get photos of when all the leaves finally turned red. Last year, I waited too long and most were blown off by then. Maybe in a few more days I'll have a fully red tree shot (if the wind cooperates).

Thanks for sticking it out with us and keeping Hammie company while I've been away! We hope your week is turning out to be a great one!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Autumn Elegance with Essence Gorgeous Bling Bling

I never quite understood when people say that a certain shade of nail polish is something they wouldn't wear alone. Sure, I understand that there are people who need to sport nail art as an expression of their creative freedom. Or simply because it's a whole bunch of fun. What I didn't get was how a certain color can be labeled okay with nail art but not without. It wasn't until I met Essence Gorgeous Bling Bling (quite possibly one of the more ridiculous nail polish names ever) that I finally got it.

We met at a local Shoppers Drug Mart not too long ago and I was excited to see it. I knew it would be a unique color in my collection but more than that, it screamed fall to me. It brought to mind pumpkin spice lattes, huge leaf piles and pumpkin pie. I've had great experience with Essence polishes so I knew it had to come home with me. But the moment I put it on, it was just...gah. I wasn't even sure if I liked it. Now, don't get me wrong, it's a pretty color, just not on me. In an effort to salvage the mani, I took to my stamping plates and finally did what I planned to in one of my twin posts with Stephanie from last August (if not for Mr. J's interference):

Surprisingly elegant autumn-inspired nails!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A (Indie) Dark Purple Comparison: Cult Nails Vicious vs. AEngland Elaine

There are those unavoidable instances when you don't have any recourse but to purchase a bottle of nail polish online. I try to refrain from doing so just to make sure I get exactly the color that I want. But when availability (or lack of, in store) is thrown into the mix, sometimes, it's just the more convenient way of getting your fix around to it. That's where Google image search and my trusted bloggers come to the rescue. I realize that photographs aren't the best way to judge color. The settings on your monitor/laptop screen/mobile phone/tablet aren't always going to show you the most accurate color. And sometimes, the two nail polishes you'd like to see side by side can look exactly the same in various photographs and lighting. So what's a girl to do? Well, you take your chances. Today's comparison is actually borne out of my own recent dilemma.

See, AEngland had a sale a little while back. And as always, it was free shipping with no minimum. Pretty hard to resist, plus, it was the perfect excuse to snag the other colors I wanted. I had my eye on Elaine but I already have Vicious. I don't like having duplicates of the same color, as much as possible, so I wanted to know how these two vampy purples compared. But as far as Google was concerned, they looked exactly the same depending on the lighting. Huh. Well, AEngland had a fantastic formula so I figured that if they were dupes, I wouldn't really mind. Besides, what are the chances that two indie brands would dupe each other? Highly unlikely, is what I thought. So for anyone else who wanted to know, here's the two side by side:

Friday, September 28, 2012

China Glaze On Safari Native Collection for Fall 2012: Jungle Queen and Exotic Encounters

And so we end this series with the last two of the set that I was quite happy to get. These were the other two colors, apart from Man Hunt, that I was eying. Now, before I got sucked down the rabbit hole that is nail polish hoarding collecting, I missed quite a lot of those kick @$$ colors that they just don't do anymore. One of the oldie but goodies that I've been drooling over was Chanel Paradoxal. Sadly, I also missed out on the Revlon dupe called Perplex so it was a happy day when it was re-released as part of the core collection and renamed Naughty. Sure, it was nice, but the formula wasn't the best. So when I heard of another possible China Glaze dupe from the On Safari collection, getting the Native set became a no-brainer.

Ending the series with a bang: a pretty teal and a Paradoxal dupe (?).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Playing with Born Pretty Store Silver Holographic Rhombus Loose Glitter

Some time ago, I won a giveaway at Chit Chat Nails and managed to snag some of these fantastic loose glitters from the Born Pretty Store. I grabbed a couple of the usual hexagon shaped ones (and you've seen the gold one in action in my effervescent nails here) but just couldn't resist the pull of these holographic gold and silver rhombus shaped glitter. They came in a set of one each and were surprisingly cheaper than the hexagonal ones. I can't pass up a great deal either so they made their way into my checkout basket. Now, I've been waiting for the temperatures to drop a bit so I can finally wear my darker shades. When it finally did, I happily pulled out OPI DS Extravagance (I luckily have two bottles, both gifts from two of favorite nail buddies, Marisa from Polish Obsession, and Mary from Swatch and Learn) and knew exactly what would be perfect to jazz it up some:

Not that it needed more bling.

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