Sally Hansen gradient nail strips...

This mani is SO old! I found it lurking in my drafts folder and decided it was time for it to see the light!  So these are Sally Hansen Insta Gel strips. If you're not familiar with the InstaGel it's basically a tiny gel system with a very low wattage. So each little kit comes with the strips (or a polish depending on what you buy), a little orange stick and nail file, and a wipe to clean nails. They also come with the InstaGel base and top coat and while it's a tiny little bottle (only .14oz) it's a little ridiculous to put a bottle in EACH pack.  I have about ten years worth of the top/base coat now. Sometime in the future I plan to see how well it works to seal in regular polish but that's a whole other blog!  At any rate you clean nails and it suggests to push your cuticles back with the orange stick and buff with the buffer. I say, give yourself a nice mani and skip the buffing and you'll get better results. Especially since pushing back dry cuticles is bound to cause tears and we all know buffing nails is a no no if you want to keep them healthy. DO use the alcohol swab though. Then you choose the strip which is the right size for your nail (something I almost always have issues with) and stick it down. Then add top coat and cure it under the tiny lamp for 30 seconds. And that's it! They're meant to last two weeks. I have to say I was skeptical but I got these and the lamp (you have to buy it separate) on clearance for dead cheap so I figured why not.  They actually DO last quite a long time, although I'm not sure about two weeks. They're also tricky to get off just like typical gel polish. So overall they're a win from me. I don't do strips normally because I love to do my own art but if you're in a rush and need cute nails these will definitely solve the problem for you! :)

Zoya Sophisticates Fall 2017

Today I have a new Zoya collection to show you! This is the Sophisticates collection for Fall 2017.  I'll admit I was a little disappointed in this one. Most of the colors are creams and while they're lovely and I do love a good cream I just felt like it was a little boring. The formula on them is pretty amazing though, like all my Zoya polishes.  The creams were opaque in two coats (some in one) and they go on smooth and glossy. You can check out my Instagram videos for a close up of how they're formula is. I did have an issue with one but I'll explain that under the picture. Onward!

McKenna by Zoya can be best described as a refined pearl in a soft almond. This one has a hint of shimmer to it. The color is a nice neutral but it just didn't work on my fair skin.

Beth by Zoya can be best described as a soft, sandy, champagne metallic. I expected to dislike this one because it's really not my thing at all. It's slightly purple but not enough to really BE purple and it also leans just barely pink.  It turned out to be a lovely color on me though and it's just shimmery enough to be pretty and pearly.

Presley by Zoya can be best described as a smokey, mauve taupe cream. I'm meh on this one. The formula was great, as always. Check out that crazy shine (no topcoat)! Also please excuse the two little bumps. Polishing with a two month old is tricky! Anyway the color on this just doesn't wow me. 

Joni by Zoya can be best described as a deep, dusty plum cream. This one is lovely but again it just didn't excite me at all.

Hera by Zoya can be best described as a muted, red mauve cream.

Padma by Zoya can be best described as a deep, vermillion red cream.

Yvonne by Zoya can be best described as a rich, bordeaux red cream.

Mona by Zoya can be best described a deep, burgandy plum cream. Now we're getting into more exciting stuff. I don't know why because reds aren't my thing but I fell for this one hard. It's just TOO gorgeous. It was also very opaque in one coat. But this is two. ;)

Elaine by Zoya can be best described a dark, umber brown cream. This is another one that I HEART majorly. It's definitely dark brown but it's also just slightly reddish and warm and it's SO creamy.

Hadley by Zoya can be best described a smokey, midnight blue cream. This one is another favorite of mine. It's like a super dark teal. Another that was very opaque on the first coat.

Tabitha by Zoya can be best described a refined pearl in a deep hunter green. This one is another pearl finish and it's really pretty but not my favorite just because I don't love the color.  I think this one would be stellar matte but I forgot to try it out. It did take two coats too as the first is quite sheer.

Gal by Zoya can be best described a smokey, iridescent, peridot gold metallic. Now this one I wanted to love so badly. It was the one I was most excited about when I first saw promo's for this collection.  I thought it was going to be a rich gold color but it really is almost green. It has a gold shift to it but it's so sheer that it doesn't really look like much on your nails. Believe it or not this is TWO coats of this one. Just for comparison purposes I went ahead and did another two coats for a total of four coats...

...and it looks better but it's still rather sheer.  I didn't try layering it like a topcoat but you MIGHT be able to get away with that. Although it's going to tint whatever you put it over slightly green.  

Which Sophisticate is your favorite?

*These polishes were provided to me for my honest review. I have not been compensated for my opinion.*

So you were never a saint and I’ve loved in shades of wrong...

It's Sunday and that means it's time for some updates! As you can see from the above picture, the biggest update is that I'm medically cleared to return to yoga! Which would be awesome except that with an eight week old princess at home it's not so easy to squeeze yoga time in. But that being said, I promised myself that as soon as I was cleared to I would start my daily workouts again so even if I have to do the 30 minutes in 10 minute spurts I'm going to push through and get them done.

Today the princess was extra fussy so I let her do her tummy time while I finished up.  It actually worked out pretty well because following my yoga routine she fell asleep and we're going on two hours of naptime here. So that's a win!

I also found time to try out a new mask today.  I left a little hint about it on my Instagram page.  It's a clay mask which is not my favorite but I actually quite liked it. It went on smoothly, didn't burn or sting, removed easily and left my skin feeling clean and smooth.  I'm not sure how much it did for my pores though...

This is the mask I used. It was a sample in a Target beauty box awhile back I believe. The website describes it as so:
Vichy's first mineral face mask combining two ultra-fine white clays with Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water to help eliminate excess sebum and impurities for purified pores and softer skin.

So I guess it lived up to it's description. It did leave my face less oily but not dry, my skin is softer, and my pores look clean.  It has a bit of a scent though so if you're not into perfumed masks you'll want to skip this one. Also because I'm obsessive and hate to waste things, I decanted my packet into a jar.  The sample size has two packets which is meant to be enough for two masks...

The full size jar retails for $20.

But this is what was left of one packet after I did my full face. So I feel like you could do one full face and one T-zone with a packet or if you combine the packets you could get three full face masks out of it.  Win! Next week you'll start to see the fall Zoya's hit my Instagram and hopefully by the week after they'll be up here.  My twelve weeks with my little girl are almost up so things will get super hectic once I'm back at work!

What have you been up to this week?

Then I'd just fade into you...

I finally got some more time to do my nails this week!  I'm still out of Zoya White, although I had two bottles that were down to their last dregs that I thinned and combined the other day so that I could avoid using subpar whites. Not only is having to use a million coats time consuming (and a waste of product) but it also builds up on your nail causing the polish to lift and come off in sheets. My panda manicure was off in a few days since I'm washing my hands a ton and I had to use so much of the LOOK white polish to make a sort of even coat.

Looks way better after, huh? At any rate I have two new bottles on their way to me so I won't run out again.  The other color I used for this look is China Glaze For Audrey.  I haven't used that one in ages and it's always been one of my favorites. After I created the gradient I used my MoYou Minimal 05 plate and a dotting tool to create the design on top. The color is Barry M Gold Foil.  Next week I will hopefully have the new Zoya collection for fall to show you! So I'm pretty excited about that.  :)

Empties for July 2017

I'm a little behind on getting this up but here are my empties for the month of July.  I really didn't do so well last month but since I'm still on leave from work I really don't put on makeup much and honestly, I don't have a lot of time to put on beauty products of any kind.  That being said I think I did decently under the circumstances!  I really loved the PhotoHydra moisturizer.  I don't think it made my face look extra special like it claims it will but it was light and moisturizing and it didn't have a heavy scent.  I'm also super sad to be out of my Too Faced Born This Way foundation.  But it's too dark for the cooler months anyway (and this is the LIGHTEST color!) so it's not the worst thing in the world. Plus Influenster just sent me a YSL foundation to try out which I am LOVING so it's kind of a win/win. Other than that none of these products really wowed me.  I had high expectations for the Kate Somerville stuff since I love her but I really don't have any serious wrinkles and I didn't see any difference in them even using the eye cream and wrinkle serum religiously. Hopefully I'll do better for August!!

Have you used any of these items? What's your favorite?

Mascara Madness

This week the princess has given me a BIT more downtime which has allowed me to face the absolute magnitude of makeup I have at this point. It's gotten pretty riduculous frankly and unfortunately right now I usually don't bother with makeup (like I have time anyway) so I'm not even really going through what I have.  I decided to go through them today and purge what I no longer need/didn't like/have never even opened. While I'm going I thought it would be a nice time to share with you what my favorite mascara's are and which ones I found...well not so great.  This is not ALL the mascaras I've tried or even that I have but it's a healthy collection and covers a lot of price ranges so I think it's a good start.  On we go!!

We'll go left to right on these. I want to add a little disclaimer as well...I find that samples are sometimes better than the full size versions. I loved my sample of Too Faced Better Than Sex and when I bought the'll see. But in the interest of full disclosure, other than the Buxom lash mascara, I have not tried full size versions of the mini's you see here. Onward!

1.Lancome Hypnose Drama

Retail price: $27.50

I didn't love this one. The brush is shaped a little odd and even though I think it's supposed to help "grab" and extend lashes I found that it just made it difficult to cover all mine. It has a thicker formula which I do like and it wasn't clumpy but I just didn't see a lot of difference in my lashes and it's more expensive than my go to brand.

2. Smashbox XRated 

Retail price: $23

This one has a brush that I LOVE.  It's fat, fluffy, and not curved.  This mascara promises lots of volume and it delivers. I do think the brush has a lot to do with that though, and I found the formula slightly thin on this one. Overall it delivers on it's promise of volume, it doesn't flake, and it's super black so for the price point it's a good buy. I still prefer another brand but I could see using this one again.

3. It Cosmetics Superhero

Retail cost: $24

I got this one in my Sephora Play Box last month. Like the Smashbox one it also has a fluffy brush but it's slightly less fluffy and it's tapered at the end.  I actually really like this one. It made my lashes fuller and longer and the slight taper makes it easy to get all your tiny lashes covered. It's not waterproof which is lame but that may not be a deal breaker for everyone.  I also liked that it didn't make my lashes really hard.

4. Benefit They're Real!

Retail cost: $24

Not a fan of this one. Frankly, I don't love any of Benefit's mascaras which is sad because I love the brand in general. At any rate this one has a plastic brush with sparse bristles. The formula is thin.  It doesn't clump which is great and it's super pigmented which is also great but it just doesn't cover well for me. The bristles separate lashes but they don't make them look any fuller or longer. It's just not for me.

5. Neutrogena Healthy Volume

Retail cost: $7.50

Didn't love this one.  The brush is decent, it's a pretty standard fluffy brush.  It's actually quite similar to the Smashbox mascara brush but it's much thinner.  The formula on this one was what killed it for me.  It's clumpy and you need a few layers to get it really black.  It's a decent price but since you need to layer it up and then comb it out it's not the best value.  It's meant to nourish lashes and while I can't attest to any nourishment it also didn't make my lashes super crunchy, but it doesn't leave them as soft as other mascaras either.

6. Urban Decay Perversion

Retail cost: $24

So this one is one of my absolute favorite mascaras.  It has the fluffy brush that I love and it's slightly tapered so you can really get all your lashes. It's also as black as your soul. Literally it's SUPER SUPER dark and you don't need a lot of coats to get it that way.  It doesn't flake, it lasts all day, and it makes my lashes look fabulous.  It really lengthens and thickens without creating the dreaded "spider lash" effect.  It also leaves my lashes super soft and it's formula isn't super thin or thick. It's just right. This one is one of my top picks for mascara and because it works so well and you don't have to use a ton it's totally worth the price point.

 7. Buxom Lash

Retail cost: $20

This is my old favorite mascara.  It has a plastic brush which I typically don't love but the bristles are super short and compact so it really packs a punch.  It leaves lashes soft, defined, and longer but it's not AS volumizing as other brands.  Still it was my go to for YEARS and it's still one of my favorite brands. I find that it tends to work better the older it gets as the formula is a TOUCH thin in the beginning.

 8. MILK Makeup Ubame Mascara

Retail cost: $24

So...this one is weird. The package isn't a hard tube but rather is like a lip gloss tube.  The brush is...well it's odd. It's like a fluffy little black snowman.  Apparently the brush is supposed to make your lashes super fat but I had a hard time making it work for me.  It is really black and not super thin or thick so that's good I suppose but it's just not my favorite.  It is a nice formula and a lot of the ingredients are natural so there's that.

9. Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes (pictured is Lights, Camera, Flashes)

Retail cost: $23

So here is is guys, my holy grail mascara.  This is hands down my top of the bunch.  There are quite a few different versions of this.  My picture is actually Lights, Camera, Flashes which is the same formula but this one has a fancy two sided plastic brush. The original version has my favorite fluffy brush but its thinner and the bristles more defined than most of the ones with this type brush.  It also has a tapered end to grab your tiniest lashes.  I also love the waterproof version; Lights, Camera, Splashes.  At any rate whichever version you choose this one is a winner.  It's got a nice smooth formula that coats ALL your lashes and doesn't clump or flake.  It lengthens and plumps but it doesn't make you look unnatural.  It's my FAVORITE favorite one and I hope they never stop making it!

10.  Too Faced Better than Sex 

 Retail cost: $23

I forgot to include this one in my picture but I wanted to review it anyway since it's a highly popular mascara.  I really LOVED the samples of this I got from various boxes.  The brush is fat and soft and it has an interesting shape to it that allows you to plump up your lashes in double time.  It isn't GREAT for getting all your lashes covered easily but it really does ramp up the volume and length.  Unfortunately...when I purchased the full size version of this I found it to be clumpy and thick.  I'm not sure if maybe I got a bad batch or if it was because I purchased the waterproof one and the samples were the non-waterproof version but I ended up disappointed with it after purchasing. I'd be willing to give it another go though since the volume is unbeatable. 

What's your favorite mascara?  Have you tried any of these?

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