Monday, December 22, 2014

SpaRitual Fall In Love - Swatches & Review

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Marsala was announced as the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2015, described as, "a naturally robust and earthy red wine." To celebrate this fashion-forward hue, SpaRitual came out with a Marsala-inspired polish called Fall In Love for this winter season. This is a metallic brick red shimmer with micro glitter that almost gives off a green and orange duochrome effect. It was a challenging shade to photograph as it appears a lot more orange in these pictures than in real life. Fall In Love is actually more of a subdued, dusty warm orange-y red. 

The formulation on the polish itself was a bit thicker than OPI, comparable to a thicker China Glaze or Orly. These swatches were done with 3 coats to achieve maximum opacity. You could definitely get away with 2, but I just wanted to see how the colour would build up with another layer. It didn't make much of a difference other than introducing more of the duochrome effect (and therefore more visible brushstrokes). 

Fall In Love is available on SpaRitual's website and retail's for $12. Overall, I think this is a very trendy shade and is quite unique to any other shades that I have in my collection. Definitely a welcome addition! 

Thanks for reading,

Mandy
xoxo

Products in this post were generously sent for review.

The First of Winter

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Exam season is finally over and I'm glad to be home for Christmas break! My apologies for the hiatus I took to focus on academics, but I'm back and have so many posts lined up for you. I didn't think you would want to see a whole month of sweatpants and study-friendly attire anyway!

Today marks the first day of Winter. This surprisingly mild day called for a classic turtleneck, pencil skirt, and a light duster coat. To keep with the season, I threw on some gorgeous bordeaux knee-high boots to add a festive pop of colour. 

As for accessories, I kept things simple with my go-to Michael Kors Mini Blair, Sutton satchel and double pearl earrings. I love that this outfit combines so many classic pieces to give an overall silhouette of sophistication -- the perfect pairings for a crisp winter day. 

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Top: H&M (similar here) | Skirt: H&M (similar here) | Jacket: Topshop (here) | Earrings: Aldo (similar here) | Watch: Michael Kors Mini Blair Watch (here) | Purse: Michael Kors Sutton satchel (here)| Boots: Aldo (similar here)


Are you ready for a swatch frenzy? Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Mandy
xoxo

Friday, November 21, 2014

Holiday Glam - eShakti Dress Review

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'Tis the season to go glam for the holidays! I've teamed up with eShakti to share with you a festive look to try this Christmas season. This is my favourite time of year as the snow begins to fall and the decorations start to line the streets. Seeing Christmas trees and lights go up makes me so excited to be back home for the holidays. Not to mention the parties and festivities too!

eShakti is an online, custom-fit retailer that focuses on fast turnover and a unique shopping experience. When I was first contacted by them, I had no idea who they were or if it was even a reputable company. After I did a little research, I found mixed reviews on their products as well as customer service. Majority of the problems I had read about consisted of ill-fitting garments even with custom measurements. However, I still decided to give eShakti a fair shot and wanted to come to a conclusion based on my own experience.  Keep reading to see how it turned out!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tweed Nail Art feat. Gwen Stefani for OPI Holiday 2014

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Hey guys! Today I want to share with you a super easy nail art design that did not require any tools other than two polishes and some gold pyramid studs. I wanted to incorporate a polish from the Gwen Stefani for OPI Holiday collection that I just swatched (check it out here), so I chose to work with Christmas Gone Plaid as my base colour. This design would work excellently with any base colour, but I chose this forest green instead of my usual black or white bases. 

I started off with 2 coats of Christmas Gone Plaid for a nice opaque base colour. Once that was dry, I took Sally Hansen Color Foil in Liquid Gold and wiped down the brush as much as possible on the sides of the bottle. I then swiped the brush across my nail in both horizontal and vertical motions to create the pseudo-tweed design. I know that real tweed utilizes more thread colours, but I wanted to keep things simple with this design. Lately, I've been trying to create designs that can be done in 15 minutes or less from start to finish. I don't have a lot of time to spend on nail art with school being so hectic, so that's why I like designs like these because they look like they require a lot of effort, but are actually really efficient!

Finishing off, I wanted to add a little something special to the look with gold pyramid studs on my ring finger. What brands of nail glues would you recommend for studs and hardware? I only ever use topcoat, but I end up losing pieces after a day of wear. I would love to hear what you guys use to secure your embellishments! 

Thanks for reading,

Mandy
xoxo

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gwen Stefani for OPI Holiday 2014 - Swatches & Review

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What a pleasant surprise it was to see that Gwen Stefani partnered with OPI again for their holiday launches this year! With 18 different cremes, shimmers, and glitter topcoats, this is one of the biggest collections I've seen in a while! Many of the shades are reds and your usual Christmas-y colours, but there were a few unique ones that I did not expect. That's the great thing about OPI - they are always on top of their trends and aren't afraid to try new things. Today I have 3 polishes to show you that I think are absolutely PERFECT for the holiday season. 

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Just Be-Claus | This is a gorgeous raspberry creme shade that glides on like butter and is the perfect berry shade. I don't actually have many berry-toned reds and pinks, so this was a nice one to add to the stash. The photographs are a little bit misleading as I found this to be a tad darker and more blue-toned than the camera picked up. This was fully opaque in 2 coats.

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Christmas Gone Plaid | I am a sucker for dark green polishes! Dark green is one of my go-to shades for winter. Christmas Gone Plaid is a blue-toned forest green creme that is simple yet so elegant at the same time. It's nice because it's not dark enough to look black so you can definitely tell it is green. What I love about this one is that it has a creme finish rather than the typical metallic finish (like Nicole by OPI Faux Fir or Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Emerald City). I don't have anything like this in my collection so I was really happy when I received this. Once again, formulation was great and this was opaque with 2 coats. 

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Just Be-Claus +  I'll Tinsel You In | I'll Tinsel You In is a black and white glitter topcoat suspended in clear jelly base composed of white bar, square and micro-glitter, as well as black hexagonal and micro-glitter. This reminds me of Hard Candy's Black Tie Optional without the large black hexagonal glitter. I found this an interesting polish to have in a holiday collection as it quite honestly doesn't scream holiday to me.. but I love it nonetheless! I think it adds some neat dimension to a pre-existing base colour. The glitter was very dense and only required one coat to achieve a nicely spaced out orientation. It was not goopy or thick, which is always a plus.

Pros:
 - Excellent formulation
 - Beautiful holiday shades

Cons:
 - None!

You can find the Gwen Stefani for OPI Holiday 2014 collection at your local beauty supply stores and salons. I'm really interested in I Carol About You, Sleigh Parking Only and Comet in the Sky and am wondering if I should go pick up a few more from the collection. Stay tuned for swatches and reviews of OPI's holiday gift sets! 

Thanks for reading,

Mandy
xoxo

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

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Dress: H&M | Tights: Aerie | Booties: Jessica Simpson | Belt: H&M

Happy Halloween!

I've always been the kid that faithfully dresses up full tilt for Halloween. Being the girly girl that I am, I was always so excited to transform myself with makeup and clothing into a new character each and every year. These were the sort of things that I lived for as a child, and I've got to say.. I haven't changed one bit. 

As I get older, wearing a full costume to school is a little bit of a daunting task. I for one do not have as much courage as my 10-year-old self once did. Plus, I can always count on my two hands the number of people that actually wear costumes around campus. Thus, I try to put together pieces from my wardrobe to make it seem like I dressed up. You know, that whole "looks like you didn't try but you really did" kind of thing. It leaves people guessing, and there's nothing I like more than a little mystery.

In today's outfit, I'm wearing a black ruffle-front dress with sheer tights and lace-up booties. I kept accessories to a minimum because the real focus was actually my dramatic makeup. Halloween is the one day that I get to experiment with eyeshadows and my signature bold lip. 

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Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear | Black Out

As for my nail art, I decided to keep things simple and sharp with this black chevron design. This is a modern-day twist on the classic French tip. I started off with a nude base and used black polish to create two swipes across the tip of my nails. I rounded them ever so slightly, but you could also make the lines really sharp with tape or guides. I finished off with a generous coat of Seche Vite and voila! Super simple manicure that can be worn anytime, not just Halloween. I prefer this design with longer nails, but as you can see I broke my pointer fingernail and it still looks great on nubbins!

Hope you enjoyed this full outfit and mani post! Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Mandy
xoxo

Monday, October 27, 2014

White Marble Nail Art

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Sally Hansen | White On, Black Out

I can't get enough of marble print! I've been seeing it everywhere from phone cases to laptop skins to clothing. I decided to give it a try on my nails because I think marble print is starting to make a big statement and I thought it would be a very fashion-forward, unique design to try. 

This was my first time using the "watercolour" method with acetone and polish. First, I painted a base of opaque white with one coat of Seche Vite to speed up the drying process. This additional clear layer prevents the acetone from soaking through the white base too quickly and leaving bald patches. I then applied spots of black polish randomly on the nail and took a nail art brush dipped in nail polish remover to dab over the black. Depending on how much black polish you apply, you may need to go back with more acetone to fade out the lines. I wanted white to be the dominant colour in this manicure and therefore applied the black polish very sparingly. However, this is just personal preference and I think this design would also look amazing with a black base and white crevices. 

I also tried doing a marbling effect with plastic wrap, but found that it turned the base muddy and grey instead of a distinct marble pattern. I haven't had much luck with the plastic wrap technique, but practice does make perfect so I'll be testing that method with some future designs. 

I decided to seal in my designs with Seche Vite for a shiny finish, but this would probably look even more realistic with matte topcoat. Overall, I'm very happy with the design and how easy it was to create. 

Happy Monday loves!

Mandy
xoxo

P.S. Does anyone know where to get affordable marble phone cases?