Monday, August 31, 2009

Essie Love, Beverly Hills

This is a lovely, albeit overpriced shade that Essie released earlier this year. It's a fairly bright red, infused with tiny gold shimmer that covered very nicely in 2 coats. The formula was just right, so don't blame that for the mess I made on my middle finger's cuticle. This is a Limited Edition polish, so maybe that's why I felt the need to add it to my collection. The description on the box (yes, that price even includes a box...such a deal) says "An opulent red infused with pure 24k gold." I do love red polishes that have a 'glow' to them and especially when you can see the gold veining in the bottle. There are plenty of other polishes out there that are similar to this without the high price, however. Color Club's Velvet Rope is one that comes to mind. Essie's seems a notch above the rest though, even if it is more expensive. The gold appears almost as a faint glaze over the nail, rather than actually in the polish. Maybe the 24k gold floats to the top of the surface. The longer I had it on, the prettier I thought it was and I'm happy I have it. This is probably as close to Beverly Hills as I'm ever going to get!

Product Review: Organic Apoteke Skin Care & A Giveaway!

Above & Below: The photo above are some of the products I've been using and loving from Organic Apoteke. They are offering my readers a chance to win a travel sized bottle of Rasayana Rejuvenating Serum.
In closing out our Organic & Natural Beauty month, today I'll be reviewing a luxurious, certified organic range of facial skin care lines from Organic Apoteke. Their products are pure and natural and are touted as 'science and nature working together'. In addition to their targeted facial skin care line, they also offer a body line which includes a Body Cleanse Gel, Body Hydrate Oil and Body Cream.

I am currently using their Active Line (Balance & Clarify), which is fruit enzyme based. Some of the other ingredients include Neem extract, Tea Tree Oil and Arginine. The Active Face Cleanse Gel is a refreshing, lemon scented gel that is gentle, yet very effective at cleansing my face without leaving it dry. I've also been using the Rejuvenating Eye Cream, which has really helped alleviate fine lines and more importantly to me, it has greatly decreased the dark circles beneath my eyes due to my 4-5 hours of sleep I get every night. I then follow with the Active Herbal Toner, which contains Rose Wax and smells lightly of rose fragrance. It feels very soothing to my skin and seems to balance out any oily areas nicely. After using the Active Hydrate Gel (I also mix a drop of Rasayana Rejuvenating Serum into this), my face feels soft and supple, and my skin looks polished and has a dewy look to it, without feeling greasy or oily. Their tag line is 'Use It Because It's Pure, Love It Because It Works", and I can attest to the the fact that it does work very well. It may seem a bit expensive but a little of this product goes a long way, so I doubt I'll need to replace it at the same rate I was replacing my usual skin care products. I added up all of the various products I normally use, and this is about 20% more expensive, but considering it will last longer, it's probably a fairly even exchange.

The other products I'm using from this line are items I use just once a week, but thoroughly enjoy the experience and the outcome. Those are the Detox Face Mask followed by the Rejuvenating Face Mask. The Detox Face Mask is designed to draw out impurities from the skin, as well as exfoliate it at the same time. The Rejuvenating Face Mask is a mask designed to hydrate, firm, tone and stimulate the skin. The process to use the masks is about 30-45 minutes total, as I use one right after the other. It is a very relaxing home spa facial experience and my skin radiates a healthy look for several days after using these.

Their website is filled with valuable information about their products and the scientific research behind them. I am always interested in finding out why something works and I found the reading to be very informative. Scientifically speaking, what makes these products unique is their ability to deliver targeted nutrients down to the deepest layers of the skin. During this process, micro capillaries are stimulated & “exercised”, yielding increased circulation & improved skin health. These products are available worldwide both in stores and online. Click here for their worldwide store locator. There is a 15% discount code available to all Body & Soul readers, including International, valid through December 31, 2009. Just use the code ORGANICBEAUTY when ordering online.

Organic Apoteke is offering my readers a chance to win a travel sized Rasayana Rejuvenating Serum just for signing up to receive their newsletter on their website. Also, when you sign up for their newsletter, you'll be automatically entered on their site to win a Rejuvenating Face Mask, so you could end up winning 2 fantastic products from them! To enter for the Rasayana Rejuvenating Serum, leave your e-mail in the comments section below. I'll draw a name using for all entries received by midnight September 4, 2009. The winner will be announced on September 5, 2009.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

China Glaze Meteor Shower Glitter

Above & Below: China Glaze Meteor Shower, shown outdoors under partly cloudy skies, no flash.

Below: Because matte is where it's at, Essie's Matte About You gives you yet another unique look when used over Meteor Shower. It reminds me of a formica counter top in an old diner, but in a retro, good way! The matte finish also seems to smooth out the surface.

Today we have another one of the new glitters hitting the market from China Glaze. There are something like 50 polishes in this series which also includes a much smaller percentage of shimmers. I don't know that these are considered an actual collection, but from what I understand, many of these have already been released in Japan as some sort of Japanese exclusive collection. I doubt I'll be getting any more of the glitters, although I am planning on getting a few of the shimmers when they come out. Victoria Nail Supply has received some of theirs in, and Sally Beauty is also receiving some, although it appears that each of these stores has a different selection of shades available at this point. I also noticed that VNS is now carrying Northern Lights, a holographic type top coat, in both the gold and the silver. I love my silver one so now I feel the need to have the gold one!

Meteor Shower is a deep navy blue polish filled with small multi-colored glitter. I don't know why, but both of the darker shades I bought in this group (the other being Cosmic) are rather chunky and leave a rough surface on the nail. It isn't a problem, just an observation. The formula seems much thicker on the darker ones also. This is shown in two coats and it does dry relatively fast. These polishes have a base that contain a great deal of pigment, so although the first coat may seem a little streaky, the second coat gives you just what you need in terms of opaqueness. The chunkiness and roughness aside, because it is not noticeable to anyone but you, this shade is a glittery galaxy of prettiness that because of it's beauty, any issues that I mentioned about the finish become completely acceptable.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Color Club Wonderland Holiday Mini Set

Above & Below: Wonderland, a delightful silver sparkle shade from the Wonderland Mini Set.
Below: The green shade is Under the Mistletoe and the red shade is Yule Love It.

Below: Do you wonder why Under the Mistletoe is my favorite? Look at that glitter detail!
Below: The boxed set.
Color Club will soon be releasing the Wonderland mini set for the holiday season. This set includes 3 mega-glitter shades and 1 clear top coat. The sparkles in these shades are intense, and one of the things Color Club does best, is sparkle and glitter. Wonderland is a bright silver sparkle, Yule Love It is a reddish pink tone, and my favorite, Under the Mistletoe, is a bright lime green or chartreuse shade. I used 3 coats to achieve the look shown in the pictures, although 2 would have looked fine, if you don't mind a little bit of the visible nail line showing through. These polishes do have a base color, rather than just a clear base with colored glitter. The glitter is densely packed and the size of the glitter is on the smaller side...not tiny, but definitely not chunky and large.The packaging is cute, decorated with snowflakes, making it a perfect stocking stuffer.

Friday, August 28, 2009

China Glaze Carnival Lights Glitter

Above & Below: The above pictures are indoors with and flash and outdoors with a flash. The pictures below are with one coat of Essie Matte About You, and although you can't tell in the pictures, the matte coat causes the polish to have a foil-like finish, which looks really unique.

I couldn't wait any longer for sunshine, so I swatched another one. Please be aware that these are much more sparkly than my pictures are indicating, simply because of the lack of sun. Indoors, the glitter catches the light like no other I've ever seen. The finish on this one was much smoother than the Cosmic that I showed you yesterday, for some reason. This is a medium shade of carnation pink with multi-colored glitter. I added a coat of Essie Matte About You, and it gave the finish a foil-like look. Although the matte coat seriously impairs the glitter's ability to catch and reflect light, it is still very evident and reminds me of pink cake frosting with confetti sprinkles.

From the Vault: Misa Dirty Sexy Money & Confection Section

The heavy cloud cover and rain continue today, so rather than showing you one of the new China Glaze Glitters, I'm reaching into the vault for some older pictures. Misa's Dirty Sexy Money is probably my favorite shade from this brand. I love teals and greens, but the dusty or muted look this one has is what I really like about it. The coverage is always perfect after two coats, and I think Misa offers one of the best formulas available. Confection Section is a clearish, yet slightly milky polish filled with tiny pieces of glitter that don't look terribly colorful in the bottle, but come to life once applied over a darker shade. Confection Section is from their Sugar Sugar collection, which contains 6 colors, and Dirty Sexy Money is not only my favorite shade, but it's also from my favorite collection from Misa, Living on the Fast Lane.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

China Glaze Cosmic Glitter

These are not the best pictures, because we're trapped in a never-ending band of rain and clouds, but I couldn't just leave these new glitters sitting in their box! The first one is called Cosmic, a black base with multi-colored glitter. This is shown with two coats and although it was a bit thick, it didn't cause any problems. The removal was typical of glitters, but I guess that's the price you pay to have such beautiful sparkliness on your nails. The glitter is a bit on the chunky side, leaving a less than smooth finish. It looks fine though, and unless someone is caressing your nails for some reason, no one else would notice. Victoria Nail Supply has 6 of these shades in stock and is expecting many more over the next couple of weeks. I called Sally Beauty and they told me that their's are due in next month in my geographic area, although she did say that some of their stores have already received their delivery of them.

Color Club Dark Romance The Matte Collection Mini's

Above & Below: 2 of the shades from Color Club's Dark Romance The Matte Collection. I used the m57 Konad plate for the stamping. All photos are with flash, as it's raining once again.

Above & Below: The finish on Smoke is matte and textured. Below is the mini set in the lower left corner, displayed against the print ad for this set. I love the artwork for this one.
Color Club recently released this collection of mini's and their take on the matte craze. This set includes 3 shades, a white (Alabaster), black (Dark Romance), and a textured silver (Smoke). Also included is a Matte Top Coat. The box/packaging is a whimsical, artistic design, and although I've never been a fan of mini's, this little set has changed my mind. The polishes themselves give you more than enough product, and are easy to handle during application. I just love the cute packaging on these and think they'll make a nice addition to my collection. I think most of you will agree, we don't just love nail polish, but many of us also collect it.

The white and black covered nicely in two coats when I used them, although I don't have a picture of the white one on my nails. The silver is my favorite one, because it has such a unique finish. It reminds me of anodized aluminum or the back side of a piece of foil. I tried out the matte top coat yesterday, and with the exception of Smoke (silver), I would say that the top coat and the black and white shades are more of an eggshell or satin finish. Not entirely flat or matte, but rather a slight bit of sheen. The Smoke is much more of a matte finish when used on it's own. It is raining sheets outside, so I really couldn't get an accurate picture of finishes because the flash kept going off. Victoria Nail Supply does carry many of Color Club's mini sets, and I believe she'll be carrying this one as well. They may be available at other e-tailers, but never having wanted any mini's...until now, I've never looked for them elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Small VNS Haul, Including China Glaze Glitters

Above & Below: The 6 polishes that are currently available at VNS from China Glaze's new Glitter collection. L-R: Carnival Lights, Bad Kitty, Preppy Pink, Ginger, Cosmic, Meteor Shower.
I would recommend clicking on the picture because these are beautiful glitters.
Below: Just a few other things that I didn't need but I thought as long as I was paying for shipping, I should get a couple more things! Essie's Judith Ripka Collection, Essie Love, Beverly Hills, Ba-Boo Nail Hardener with Diamond Powder, and some little extras, Essie mini treatments and OPI toe separators.
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for all of your entries in the Color Club & Barielle Giveaway. I'm going to need to hire someone to sort all of these entries~ha-ha! I'll pay you in nail polish, so send me your resume! If you missed the post, scroll down to the previous one and you can read more about the details.

I received a small haul from Victoria Nails tonight and it included the China Glaze Glitters that she has in stock. She's expecting the rest of them shortly, along with several other new collections by various companies. I haven't swatched them yet because it's raining and getting dark out, and I really want to see these in sunlight hopefully, but based on the weather forecast for the next couple of days, I may just have to settle for daylight pictures with no sun. VNS does have this entire collection posted on their site if you'd like to take a look at the shades, but only these 6 are available for purchase at the moment. Don't forget to mention Body & Soul if you place an order and you can have your choice of 3 pair of OPI Toe Separators or 1 bottle of Color Club's Milky White Base Coat.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

3 Giveaways! New Color Clubs & New Barielles

Above: Color Club's Dark Romance The Matte Collection 4 piece boxed mini set is pictured in the left corner. Behind it is the promotional ad. Click on the picture to read details of the set.
Above: Color Club's Wild at Heart boxed set includes 6 shades and a bottle of '0-60 Top Coat'.
Below: The complete set of Barielle's All Lacquered Up Collection. These are mine and the winner will receive their set directly from Barielle.
I'm very happy and excited to be offering you 3 separate Giveaways, thanks to Color Club & Barielle. One is for a complete boxed set of Color Club's Wild at Heart Collection, which I previewed earlier this month on my blog. Another is for Color Club's Dark Romance Matte Mini Collection, which I'll be previewing in the next day or two, and last, but certainly not least, is the entire 12 piece set of Barielle's All Lacquered Up Collection that I shared with you this past weekend.


***You can enter any or all of the Giveaways, but please enter only one time for each one. The Color Club prizes are open to both US and International followers, the Barielle prize in open to US followers only. These giveaways are for FOLLOWERS ONLY. I am limiting these giveaways to followers because I offer a number of Giveaways that are open to anyone. However, some of my Giveaways I like to reserve for my loyal followers. I truly appreciate the time you take out of your day to check my blog, leave comments and e-mail me. Loyalty is very important to me in my life outside of this blog, and sometimes I just like to offer you something that lets you know how touched I am by your loyalty. You can still add as a follower using the box in the right hand column if you'd like, or you can follow me via Twitter or several other methods. Let me know in your entry how you follow me.

***Entries will be accepted until Midnight on August 31. The winners will be announced on September 1.

***Send me an e-mail and please mention the name of the specific collection (abbreviations are fine) in the subject line to help me keep them sorted correctly. If you are entering for more than one Giveaway, please send a separate e-mail for each one. Include your e-mail address and how you follow me in the body of the e-mail.


QRS + NFU + Essie Matte About You = WOW!

Above & Below: QRS Deep Denim, outdoors with no flash. The picture below is reflecting the natural lighting strips in the patio roof and I thought it looked kind of interesting.
Below: Let the fun begin...NFU-Oh 40 over QRS Deep Denim.

Below: And yet more fun! Essie Matte About You is added to the experiment.

First things first...our winner in the Shikai Giveaway was Elaine from the fabulous Lacquer Laine blog! Check out her blog and congratulate her on winning. Thanks to everyone who entered.

I started out intending to show you QRS Deep Denim, and then things got carried away with my experimentation of various 'toppings' just to see what they would look like. Before I forget, I'd like to mention the Jamie from QRS informed me today that they are now set up to take International orders, so if you're planning an order, don't forget to use the $3.00 Body & Soul code over in the right hand column. Deep Denim looks to be a dark purple shimmer in the bottle, but the name suddenly made more sense to me once I applied 2 coats of this lovely shade. It is a bright but dark shimmer, somewhere between a navy and a royal blue. The first coat was thin, but a second coat finished the look nicely.

Nfu-Oh 40 was looking on as I was applying the Deep Denim, so I thought I'd let him join in the fun. Deep Denim is a very rich, very beautiful shade on it's own, but topped with this NFU, the party began. I only needed one coat for this play land of glowing glitter to emerge. Thinking I should tone them down a bit, I applied a coat of Essie's Matte About You and they quieted down. Still quite colorful, but the matte finish gives it a more subtle appearance. If you don't own a matte top coat, I highly suggest that you get one, because the possibilities are not only very entertaining (at least to me!), but they seem to be endless.