Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Keurig 2.0 K400 from Influenster

For those of you keeping up with my life outside of the nail game, you'll know that I've had a big month this December. For those who don't know, well, you will in a sec. On Monday, December 8, I closed on my first (and hopefully last) new home. I also got engaged! Needless to say, it's been a CRAZY few weeks. 

Another crazy thing that happened - I was chosen for the Keurig VoxBox from Influenster! I'd previously been chosen for the Lancôme Grandiose, which I looooved, but this was big - this was a Keurig!


It took a while for this beautiful machine to come into my possession, because of my own stupidness with giving my new address to the Influenster pre-survey instead of a stable address but after weeks of worrying and beating myself up over it, my fiancé performed a miracle and found where it was being held hostage. 

So. The 2.0. What's so great about it? So many things.



This machine is a thing of beauty. It's sleek and modern looking. It fits my black-white-and stainless steel kitchen perfectly. It also has a coloured and customizable display. It's very easy to use. I used to be so intimidated by these machines but the 2.0 is literally a push of a button! There's a 3 minute preheat before you can begin to brew - which, when you're running late in the morning trying to catch a train, is forever - BUT you can actually program it to start preheating at a certain time in the morning so that it's ready for you to start brewing right away. 

It saves me so so much on coffee money. The pods I'm buying equal to about 50 cents a cup! 


The 2.0 also comes with a carafe - which is basically a fancy named coffee pot - and fills 4 cups of coffee if ever you are entertaining guests or just want more than one cup at a time.

One con is that my travel mug is too tall for it, and I actually have to brew into a mug and then pour into the travel mug, but I'm in the process of looking for a k-cup under storage to give the machine a bit of height. Another is the temperature - I find it doesn't heat my coffee as hot as I would like it to. It's by no means warm, but just not as hot as I prefer. 

All in all I'm quite pleased with my keurig and I do recommend it to anyone who is looking into single serve machines. 

Full disclosure: I received this product complementary from Influenster for testing and review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Review: INM - Granite

Sometimes a swatch says more than nail art. 

This is INM Granite. It's a beautiful light grey that's opaque in two thin coats. This is a gorgeous fall colour that is a legit grey - it doesn't ring taupey at all unlike some greys like Essie's Chinchilla which has a brown undertone. Nope, this is true to its name and is a granite grey. I love this. Seriously.


Application was smooth as INM is a salon-brand professional polish so they really know their stuff when it comes to handle length and brush size. This has no topcoat, could you tell? 

This is the base for my next few designs so I really hope you like it as much as I do! Head on over to http://inmnails.com to grab yours today!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Trust Fund Beauty - High Society

 
Bougie tings! Here's High Society by Trust Fund Beauty. You may have seen my sneak peak post on this bran, or my previous review on the beautiful Do U Know Who My Father Is? This is a gorgeous, creamy, yummy-looking peach! This was opaque with 3 thin coats and is pretty beautiful. It's light and elegant and I can see this being a year-round colour. It's bright and fun enough for summer, but light and pale enough for winter, fall, and spring! 
Here I used a simple quatrefoil design (inspired by ChristabellNails!) because this pattern is simple and elegant, just like the colour.

Take a look at it again, sans design. It's kind of perfect, isn't it? Isn't it? 

Go check out Trust Fund Beauty and cop this colour, now! 

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Lancôme Grandiôse

Okay, so here's something a little different - not nails?! I know, I'm quirky like that. I signed up for Influenster a couple of months ago, and last week, I was chosen for my very first campaign!

This beauty on the left is the new Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara. It's one of the most anticipated beauty product launches of the year and many  are touting it as revolutionary and ground-breaking in the field of eye products. 

I'm pretty much concurring. I've gone through three different mascaras this year, one from Julep and two from Avon, and Grandiose trumps them all.  


What's so different? It's this design - the swan neck - which is trademarked, apparently! It helps a lot with application and is very intuitive. The unique bend in the arm helps you access all parts of the eyelash easily, without awkwardly twisting your arm like a pretzel, or poking yourself in the eye by accident! I do that far too often. The small brush is key. I was surprised at how small it was, considering how grand the bottle it came from was, but being small really does work to its advantage. It allows you to do your lashes in sections, and do each section properly, rather than having a longer brush pull your lashes all in the same direction. This way, you really can fan your lashes out the way you want them to fan out. 



 In the photo to the left, you can see the difference between my natural lashes and one coat of Grandiose. You can see that with just one coat, the lashes on the right eye are thicker, longer, and fanned out - retaining the natural half-moon lash shape, rather than having all of the lashes direct towards the centre of the eye.






Here's a shot of my face and eyes before and after applying Grandiose. I don't have the thickest or longest lashes to begin with, but you can see that with the picture on the right, the eyelashes are very clearly noticeable. I did not use a curler for this - I actually never do! But I have to say, even from this shot, I am quite impressed with how noticeable my lashes are after one application. Is it just me or can you practically count the lashes? No? Well, check out the next close-up shot of this same picture. 

Count 'em now, bitches! This is seriously just a close up shot of the previous picture, and you have to admit - there are way more lashes now, aren't there? So that's actually one of the reasons why I love this mascara - it's not clumpy; it fans out, gives you length and volume without making your eyes look like spider legs! I have seen some terrifying spider-leg-eyelashes, and some things just cannot be unseen. Anyway - at first I thought this was too luxurious for me, but it's actually a solid every day mascara. Now. Will I purchase it? I just don't know.  Retailing at $32 CAD, I just cannot justify spending this amount of money on mascara - a product which is notorious for beginning to spoil as soon as it's opened. Mascaras have a shelf life of about 3 months, and as pretty and awesome as this product is, I think I can live with "really pretty" eyelashes instead of "amazing" eyelashes.  

Do not get me wrong. This is a fabulous product, and I am proud to stand behind it and recommend it to those who can afford it. But me? I'm just not a $32 mascara type of girl. 

Update: It's August 24 and okay, fine... this has converted me. After wearing it consistently for a week, I can say that I am totally willing to spend $30+ on this mascara every 3 months or so. It's a lot, but it's totally worth it. 

Disclosure: This product was provided to me by Influenster for review. View my full disclosure policy here.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review: PPN - He Always Comes Back

Nothing mellow about this yellow! This is He Always Comes Back by Pink Princess Cosmetics. It's a super fun, super bright yellow. This is two coats over one coat white - Divinely Made by PPN (what else!?) It applied beautifully and smoothly with no streaking as one often finds with yellows! Look how bright this is! It's a perfect summer colour and I wish I had worn it more often this summer. Alas, I did not, and now there are two weeks left of summer... but hell, I guess I can break some rules by wearing a bright summer colour in the fall! 


Here, I did simple ruffian florals on my accent nail, inspired by a good friend of mine over at ShayStylista! I chose a simple and clean white accent and yellow florals to highlight the beauty and brightness of the yellow - this isn't a hard yellow by any means - it's bright and fun! 

Check out Pink Princess Cosmetics to grab this colour!


Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: PPN - Love You To The Moon

This is the mother of all blurples! Pink Prinkcess Nails' Love You To The Moon is a gorgeous midnight blue with a pearlescent purple tone. It's pretty. Seriously so pretty. Application was a breeze. I used two thin coats to achieve full opacity and this little beauty did not stain on removal. With a blue as dark as this, not staining is a lot to ask for, but PPN delivers. I tried really hard to capture the purple in this bottle shot... did it work? You can see it in the bottle more so than on the nail... but in real life - it's there. 















Here's a little paisley/floral nail art on the accent nail. The silver is a perfect pairing for this gorgeous navy blue metallic polish. It's a little too deep and dark for summer, but this is a perfect fall and winter colour even on its own, without the accent nail. 















Check out Pink Princess Nails for details on how you can grab this colour for yourself!

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Review: Trust Fund Beauty - Do U Know Who My Father Is?

You've read my sneak peak post on Trust Fund Beauty, and now I've been able to swatch and fully review them both. Bro - I'm in love. Seriously. 

First off, let's look at the brand that is Trust Fund Beauty. What sets them apart from other indie brands? These girls got balls. They're feisty, fierce, and fresh. This brand takes advantage of the obsession we have over wealth and celebrity culture. It's honest, brilliant, and deliciously witty. Just take a look at their polish names!


First up is Do U Know Who My Father Is? Because, you know, I would throw my father's name around if it meant better service in a bougie restaurant, too! Look at how frickin' gorgeous this pink is. Seriously. It's a creamy light pink and application was a breeze due to the fabulous formula. It was opaque within two coats. Because, fab formula. Oh. And this has no topcoat. Seriously. 

Here are more pictures in case you need further reassurance. 

















If you haven't clicked on the link to Trust Fund Beauty yet to grab your own bottle, well, I haven't done my job. Go grab this as soon as you finish reading. Oh, and get ready for my next review on Trust Fund Beauty's High Society - a gorgeous peach that reminds me of a creamsicle. (Now I want a creamsicle...)

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Review: PPN - Sunsets In Miami

This stunner is Sunsets in Miami by Pink Princess Nails. It's a bright, coral orange that applied flawlessly in two coats. 

I live in Toronto, Canada and we see summer 2 to 4 months a year and I crave those months so I can (appropriately) begin wearing bright summer colours again. I mean, yeah, I could wear it in the winter too, but it just doesn't work the same, you know?  

Appropriately named Sunsets in Miami, here is a beautiful summer colour, perfect for the last and hottest month of the season. Can't you just see strutting along the beach with perfectly manicured nails in a shade called Sunsets in Miami? It is totally a beach colour. 

Here it's paired with a little tribal gold to keep with the warm (okay, hot) theme of the colour. 

Check out Pink Princess Nails for details on how to grab this colour for yourself before the heat of the summer ends! Unless you live in a naturally hot climate where I hope one day to be able to live or "winter." I can dream, right? 

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here. 


Review: PPN - You Give Me Butterflies

I love nudes but I hate if it takes a zillion coats to be fully opaque, don't you? Generally when I wear nudes, it's probably because I need my nails toned down and it needs to be able to stand out on its own. Enter You Give Me Butterflies by PPN. It's a two coater, which is perfect because then I don't need to use 4-5 coats to opacity! And, it's a beautiful creamy polish. I could totally rock this on its own.  




Because this is a swatch, I do like including some nail art to give you an idea of what more can be done with a colour, and I thought simple roses would perfectly complement the delicateness of this colour. What I like most is that this colour is a creamy light brown. Many nudes tend towards grey or pink, or are sheer, and, as established - I just cannot deal with light colours being so sheer that I need more than 3 coats. But this is a brown, and as much as I love colour, nudes are classic and look fantastic and appropriate pretty much 99% of the time. Yes I did make that statistic up, but you know what I mean! 

Like the previous PPN polishes I have tried, the formula on this is impressive, smooth, and really does rival known brands like Essie and OPI. Colour-wise, this is comparable to Essie's Spin The Bottle, albeit a tad darker. Spin the Bottle is more beige than brown, and definitely more sheer.  

Disclaimer: This polish was provided to me for sample and review by Pink Princess Cosmetics; however, the thoughts and opinions I expressed in this post are my own and have not been influenced or paid for by the sample provider. Visit my disclosure policy to learn more.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sneak Peak: Trust Fund Beauty - High Society & Do U Know Who My Father Is?


New polish maker Trust Fund Beauty sent me some delicious-looking, cheekily named polishes to try out! These 5-free, cruelty-free, vegan polishes hail from Montreal, Quebec, and is quickly making headway in the polish game. How can't it with its beautiful and vast colour and finish selection, and its cheek-in-tongue naming convention? I received two bottles, both packaged in their own individual boxes, and extra protected by crinkly paper, to ensure it gets to its new home undamaged.

This peachy/orangey beauty is High Society.




This baby pink is Do U Know Who My Father Is?









I used both colours and sponged them on a white base to get the pastel mix of peachy orange and pink. I paired it with some black acrylic paint to frame them, and added some tribal triangles on the accent to juxtapose the hard black and tribal design against the soft pastel.




Here's a daylight shot of this design and these colours. I wore these nails to Day One of Drake's OVO Festival, featuring Outkast. They were a little more Veld/Coachella than OVO, but still a definite eye-turner.
Full review will be up in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Check out Trust Fund Beauty for more colours and to purchase these beauties for yourself!

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: PPN - Pretty Girl Swag

Uhm. Yes. Please. With a name like "Pretty Girl Swag" I just had to do something funky. I had no idea where I was going with this one but I really love how it turned out! White, black, highlighter yellow. How perf!?

Pretty Girl Swag is a BRIGHT highlighter yellow, which is shown here over a coat of white. It popped right away after one application. What I like most about it is the consistency of the formula. I have used highlighter yellows before that separated in the bottle, became chunky, looked streaky or ended up dull on the nail, even with a base coat. This doesn't have that problem at all. Seriously, I am so impressed with PPN!


My swatches and reviews generally have just one accent nail so I can fully show off the colour but I honestly just could not resist doing art on each finger... And yes, that's all free handed. This colour is so bold and energetic so it deserved a bold and energetic design!

Check out Pink Princess Nails to grab yours today!

Also used in this post:
PPN - Divinely Made
Black acrylic paint

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for sample and review. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by external/third parties. View my full disclosure policy here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trend Talk: The Accent Nail


It's a trend that's taken over nail art for a few years and has definitely hit the mainstream public headstrong in the last year. They're everywhere! If you don't know what I'm talking about, you might have stumbled upon the wrong blog, but for clarity's sake, the accent nail is the one or two nails painted differently from the rest of your nails. It's usually one of the three "inside" fingers - index, middle or ring finger. My personal preference is the ring finger for pure aesthetics. I feel that the middle is too centered, the index is too close to the thumb, but the ring finger is just right, being just off-centre. When photographing, I follow the rule of thirds and the ring finger accent nail perfectly complements this.

"Why is that nail different from the other nails?!"

"Because WHY NOT?"


This trend has sparked a little debate online but personally I love this style. It lets you cut from the monotony of a solid polish to add a little flavour without being too overbearing. There is not ONE way to rock an accent nail, so I'll take you through some of the most common styles you'll see. 

TWO COLOUR ACCENT
Looking through my archives, I don't actually rock this look too often. A two colour accent is your very basic accent nail mani! Essentially all fingers are painted one colour while one finger (usually the ring, middle, or index) is painted another colour. The colours should always work together and not be independent of each other, otherwise your nails will just look super confused.

GLITTER
Some girls will tell you that you can never have enough glitter while others just want that extra pizzaz. The glitter accent nail is perfect for those in either camp! You can have solid colours and just a touch of glam with the glitter accent nail and removal of two glitterfied nails is SO MUCH EASIER than removal of 10 glitterfied nails!

DESIGN
I love a good design but being in an office environment, I don't like to have super flashy nails. Having a design on one accent nail can really push your manicure to the next level without being too overbearing. Here I used a herringbone design with complementary colours and a little gold to spice it up and draw a little more attention to the design. It's so easy for a colour choice to be overbearing or a complete mismatch, that you or your aesthetician must really have a good sense of colour coordination.

CONTRAST & COMPLEMENT 
Some colours were meant to be together! Black and white, orange and blue, purple and yellow. Why? They're complementary colours on the colour wheel. If you've never checked out a colour wheel, do it when planning your next accent nail mani. But don't limit yourself. Find two colours that are different (contrast) but still look good together (complement.) Here I used black and yellow, which have always gone well together, but the contrast is in the design. Yellow is a brighter, happier colour, but with the black and the design, it turned it a little edgier and totally works.

When combined with a design, an accent nail will work to bring the theme of your design together rather than seem out of place. In conjunction with contrasting and complementing above, a designed accent nail can feature the opposite or complementary colours from the rest of the nails. Here I used the same design on all four nails, but I used the opposite colours on the middle finger accent nails. It works to draw attention to the nail and design, and best of all, you already know the colours will work well together because you've used them on all the other fingers.

TWO FINGER ACCENT
Sometimes one accent nail just isn't enough! Most commonly done on the ring and middle fingers, the two finger accent nail is designed to attract a little more attention to your nails than just a single accent finger. Here I used contrasting but complementing colours of blue and orange (actually a little more coral IRL) with a simple chevron design and it works.  So. Well. It's simple and clean and really shows off the chevrons.



The surrounding nails can be solid or have small embellishments but should not overshadow the accent nails. They should be simple so as to draw attention to the design itself.

Here I used simple silver studs to jazz up the solid colours a little more but the attention is still drawn to the two accent nails of roses.





THE THUMB
What do you do with your thumb!? Why is it never in the picture!? Okay. Relax. It's because it just looks AWKWARD. Aesthetically, I think my pose and overall pictures look way better sans thumb than avec. For those who have never taken French, that means "without" and "with," respectively. But in all seriousness... your thumb is (hopefully) your biggest canvas, so do what you want!! You can paint it solid or do whatever you did to the accent nail to your thumb - it will still look awesome. Here I used black and gold for an elegant rose manicure and as you can see, my thumb is the same as my accent nail. I wore these nails for a wedding and thought that the black was too much and needed the help of more gold to bring the look together. But again - it's all up to you, and pretty much anything will work on the thumb. 

Obviously there's more than one way to skin a cat (gross!) but I hope you were able to take some pointers away from this post! What do you think about the accent nail trend? What's your fave accent style? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tutorial! Elephant & Balloon Heart.


This is a Pinterest-inspired design. The watermark was so blurry all I could see was "tech" (I think!) so if any of you can tell me who created this, please let me know so I can attribute this.

I decided to create a tutorial for this adorable look!







First paint your base coat. I chose a blue. Draw the bottom of the elephant by drawing an upside down "U" with gray paint or polish. Draw the trunk by connecting an "L" shape to the left side of the elephant's body. Extend the top a little towards the trunk for more of a head shape. Over on the other side, give your elephant a little but of a tail by making a point close to where the elephant's bum would be. 🙊 Outline your elephant in black paint. Next draw a little squiggle for the ear, and use a dotting tool for an eye. Colour the ear in pink! 




For the heart, plop down two dots to represent the top of the heart. With a brush, start from the bottom centre of where your heart's point should be and draw up towards the too of the heart, on both sides. Fill this in. Outline the heart! Then, draw the string by making a loop-de-loop towards the side of your nail, towards the elephant.

Topcoat, and tada!







UPDATE: I've found the original creator! Head on over to http://tina-tech.com/im-ready-spring/ to see her original design!