Friday, December 28, 2012

Literary Lacquers Midsummer Night's Dream Polish Collection

Good morning, dear readers!  I hope you have all been enjoying the holiday season and were able to spend quality time with those that you love!  The hubby and I stayed at home by ourselves this year, and it's so hard to believe that next holiday season, we'll have a little one in the house to spoil!  With the holidays winding down, I'm looking forward to having more time to focus on my blogging once again. I wanted to share with you today some swatches of an older collection by Literary Lacquers, and I hope you enjoy them!  This collection is based on one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and these polishes are absolutely beautiful.

Midsummer Night's Dream
I used three coats of polish, one coat of Gelous, and one coat of top coat for these photos.  I'm not sure that the Gelous was truly needed, but the large blue glitter hexes seemed to not lie perfectly against the nail.  One coat top coat probably would have been fine if I didn't have the large blue hexes on my nails.  This stunning blue polish is packed with blue, gold, and black glitters of various sizes, and no digging was necessary to get them out of the bottle.  The larger blue glitters are a little more sparse than the other glitters so I had to hunt a little for them, but it only required a few extra dips of the brush in the bottle.  They were very evenly dispersed throughout the polish and I didn't have any issues with them sinking.  This polish is beautiful, and I think it captures the fairy dream world perfectly.

Love in Idleness
I used two coats of polish for these photos, and there is still some visible nail line present.  A third coat should cover it completely or you can plan to layer this over another polish.  It does have a bit of glitter and feels pretty textured on its own, so I followed up with one coat of Gelous and then one coat of top coat.  This is a gorgeous sheer lilac polish with lots of sparkle: square and hex shaped glitters in shades of purples and iridescent pinks.  There is also bar glitter, but the bars are very fine (both thin and short) and don't require any work for placement like the traditional bar glitter you're more used to seeing.  No digging for glitters was needed, and they dispersed surprisingly nicely.  I expected to have more issues with it because there are so many glitters, but that certainly was not the case when it came to this polish.  Love-in-Idleness is alluring and delicate, and my favorite of the set.  I generally shy away from purples, but this one is simply captivating, and it was definitely love at first stroke!

What Fools These Mortals Be

This one was surprisingly hard for me to swatch- I couldn't decide what to use for underwear for days!  I was tempted to use a purple, but I was afraid the purple glitters would just disappear, so I wanted to think outside the normal colour choices.  I decided to use Zoya Tracie as the underwear (two coats), and I then dabbed on about two coats What Fools These Mortals Be.  I also used one coat of Gelous and then one coat of top coat in these pictures.  I had no issues getting the glitters out of the bottle whatsoever, but it definitely took a little bit of finagling to get them spread nicely on my nails.  Fear not- it's still rather workable- but be prepared to send a little extra time with this one.  This one is a real stunner, especially in full sunlight!  Wow!

Final Thoughts
I loved all these polishes, and Literary Lacquers has quickly become one of my top three indie brands!  Amy, the creator, is such a sweetheart, and I love that she has such a wide range of finishes to choose from.  She has put so much thought into designing her polishes, and I cannot wait to see what she has coming up next!  I'm a big Shakespeare fan, so I hope to see another Shakespeare inspired polish collection in the future.  Macbeth anyone?  

Links and Other Additional Information
Starting today, Literary Lacquers is having a New Years sale!  Full sized bottles are now 20% off, and if you spend $50, shipping is free for domestic orders with code NEWYEAR.  The sale is scheduled through January 4th and includes all collections.
Literary Lacquers Etsy Shop

Keep an eye on the Literary Lacquers Facebook page for stock updates and previews of upcoming collections!
Literary Lacquers Facebook Page

Have a great day, dear readers, and enjoy the weekend!

XOXO, Jen



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dear Santa, I have been NAUGHTY this year!

I purchased these cute lip balms from For Goodness Grape to review for my blog for the holidays, and of course they arrived in the mail the day after the shop closed for the holidays!  Just my luck!  As a result, I've been on the fence about reviewing them because the names are definitely geared towards the holidays.  In the end, I decided to proceed with this review because you can still view the products at the main shop, and you can still purchase gift certificates that are delivered via email within 24 hours of purchase.
In honor of the holidays, I just had to purchase Naughty and Nice.  Naughty is flavored to taste like devils food cake, and of course, Nice is angel food cake- flavored.  I was quite happy with the quality of these lip balms!  The flavor is nice, and they applied very smoothly.  I was able to get up to three hours of wear from one application, and I was pleased about that.  I live in a very dry climate and I'm constantly having to drink water, not to mention having a hubby and a dog that both like to occasionally steal kisses, so three hours is a long time for lip products to last on me.

If you're in the market for a last minute gift for someone and don't want to venture outdoors due to the weather or crowds, a gift card from For Goodness Grape would be a welcomed gift for many people!  The etsy shop currently has gift certificates available in $25, $50, and $100 increments, but if you purchase from the main shop, you can select the value between $1 and $1,000 (now that's a lot of lip balm)!

Links

Just a friendly reminder that the shop is CLOSED for the holidays to purchase lip balms and the other items made by Lisa, but you can still purchase gift certificates that are delivered to you by email within 24 hours of purchase.  The shop is tentatively scheduled to reopen January 10th, but keep your eye on the Facebook page for any changes.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, dear readers!

XOXO, Jen

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Softlips Holiday Season Flavors: The Perfect Stocking Stuffers and Gift Tags!


Good afternoon, dear readers!  I am really excited to be bringing you my review of the new Softlips® seasonal lip protectants!  I have been wearing the Softlips® brand for several years since I first spied the cute, thin tubes at a Target checkout and just HAD to get one to try.  I have been hooked ever since, and it is definitely my favorite brand of lip protectants.  I have several open tubes scattered around my house in addition to a few in my purse, so I never have to go far to get one.  You might go so far as to say I am addicted to them!  

I promise I have not been living under a rock, but it has only recently come to my attention that Softlips® creates seasonal flavors in addition to their core line of vanilla, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, mint (with a hint of vanilla), and wildberry.  Softlips® has released six new products this year just in time for the holidays.  They include the following packages and flavors:



  • Softlips®  Jack Frosting (duo pack)
  • Softlips®  Peppermint Stick with bonus Pearl
  • Softlips®  Vanilla with bonus Softlips®  Winter Mint
  • Softlips® Vanilla with bonus Softlips® Sugar & Spice
  • Softlips® Raspberry with bonus Softlips® Sugar Cookie
  • Softlips® Raspberry with bonus Softlips® Sugar Plum Berry


Onto the details!  For the purpose of this review, I'm going to be focusing solely on the new flavors and not the Pearl, Vanilla, or Raspberry in the core line that are also included in some of these packages.

Softlips®  Jack Frosting
Jack Frosting was selected by Facebook Fans, and I can certainly see why- the flavor is buttercream frosting!  Who wouldn't want this to be a flavor?  I was a little unsure of this flavor at first if only because Softlips® lip protectants contain menthol, and I didn't know how well they would play together.  I'm happy to report that I was quite pleased with the combination.  The cooling menthol tingle was present, but I didn't find it too distracting from the buttercream frosting flavor. 

Softlips®  Peppermint Stick with bonus Pearl
This one is definitely peppermint as you might expect!  While I'm not a big peppermint fan the rest of the year, peppermint is one of those flavors and scents I can't seem to get enough of over the holidays.  This Limited Edition flavor is one of my favorites of the seasonal flavors available.  

Softlips®  Vanilla with bonus Softlips®  Winter Mint
First of all, check out the cute holiday gift tag packaging!  It is absolutely perfect for gift giving, and I see this as a fun way to tag your gifts in addition to serving as another bonus gift to a recipient.  Just don't forget to include one for yourself.  ;)  As for the flavor, Winter Mint is the perfect flavor for those that prefer spearmint over peppermint.  After the holidays, I tend to be drawn towards spearmint, so this is the flavor I can see myself grabbing by the middle of January.  That being said, if you absolutely despise the flavor of peppermint, you would not be particularly thrilled with Winter Mint.  The menthol used in the Softlips®  lip protectants has a touch of peppermint flavor that I notice even with the Winter Mint flavoring.  


Softlips® Vanilla with bonus Softlips® Sugar & Spice

Sugar & Spice is my favorite of all the seasonal flavors!  I would describe the flavor as a blend between snickerdoodle cookies and chai tea, and it is perfect for me!  Even though it has been released for the holidays, I could see myself wearing this in the fall as well.  It would be the perfect accompaniment to warm apple cider as the days start to shorten and get colder.  I'm currently wearing Sugar & Spice while sipping hot chocolate and writing this post.  Sounds divine, doesn't it?

Softlips® Raspberry with bonus Softlips® Sugar Cookie
Cookies!  One of my favorite things about this time of year is the cookies, and I don't know if I prefer to bake them or eat them.  The beauty about the Sugar Cookie lip protectant is you can get the sweet light flavor of the dessert without the extra calories.  The only negative thing I have to say about this particular flavor is that the flavor does become a little lost due to the menthol.      

Softlips® Raspberry with bonus Softlips® Sugar Plum Berry
Sugar Plum Berry was the only flavor that didn't appeal to me upon application, and I ended up removing it within minutes of testing.  This is a little disappointing to me because it was the flavor I was probably the most excited about, but I'm sure it will appeal to many other people.  The scent and flavor was dead on- it was lightly sweet with berries, but once the menthol kicked in, I did not care for the combination.

Final Thoughts
Overall, I was very happy with the seasonal collection of Softlips® lip protectants.  The flavors are perfect for the holidays, although the menthol did overpower some of them a little.  They all applied like a dream in true Softlips® fashion.  The application was so smooth and light without any traces of waxiness, oiliness, or stickiness that often appears in lip products, and my lips felt soft instantaneously.  More importantly, these all contain SPF 20.  Many of us already know that in order to keep our skin healthy and to prevent skin cancer, we need to be wearing products with sunscreen.  It's added to so many moisturizers and cosmetics, but I usually find it lacking in lip products.  I'm thrilled that Softlips® makes a quality product that I can stand behind!  The packaging is nice, and they truly are the perfect little stocking stuffer under $5.00!

Availability
Softlips®  Jack Frosting (duo pack): available in the cough and cold aisle at Target stores nationwide

Softlips®  Peppermint Stick with bonus Pearl: Limited edition and available at select Target stores in the checkout lane

Softlips®  Vanilla with bonus Softlips®  Winter Mint: available at select Target stores in the holiday section 

Softlips® Vanilla with bonus Softlips® Sugar & Spice: available at Walgreens and Wegmans

Softlips® Raspberry with bonus Softlips® Sugar Cookie: available at select Target stores in the holiday section 

Softlips® Raspberry with bonus Softlips® Sugar Plum Berry: available at Walgreens and Wegmans

Links

Which flavors do you hope to see in your stocking this year?

Until next time, dear readers, stay good!  Santa is watching!  

XOXO,

Jen


Disclosure: Products were provided to me by Softlips® for the purposes of this review.  All opinions stated are my own, and I was not compensated for a positive review.  Because they are my own, readers may not agree with all my opinions.








Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Above the Curve Chronicles of Narnia-Inspired Collection

Good evening, dear readers!  I have a confession to make: I have never seen the Chronicles of Narnia movies!  I have read the books that inspired them, but I still have yet to see the films.  I'm a firm believer that books are always better than the movie,  but Ben Barnes, the actor that plays Prince Caspian, is rather cute so I might have to make an exception.  And to my husband who NEVER reads my blog posts, if this is the one you decide that you have to read: I love you, and you will always be the man of my dreams!  <3

I was really excited to be selected to review these polishes by Above the Curve Nail Polish (ATC), an indie nail polish brand created and operated by a fun husband and wife duo.  They've always been very pleasant to interact with, but I am even more thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them because of their mission to rise awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children and scoliosis.  For every bottle you purchase, $1 is donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.  It is a wonderful cause, and their mission speaks volumes about this team as people.  I am including a link below to the Shriners Hospitals, so please check it out when you have a moment.   Now, let's go check out some polish!

Aslan (sun and shade)
Aslan is a lovely golden holographic polish inspired by The Great Lion, and I used two coats of colour without any top coat for these photos.  While it looks beautiful, I have to admit Aslan gave me some trouble.  The first issue I had was even though the formula didn't seem too thick at all in the bottle or on the brush, it thickened up and started drying a little too quickly on me.  I had some problems where part of the polish was dry before I could finish with a single coat on a nail, and it started dragging.  Also, if you look closely at my middle nail or near the cuticle of my ring finger, you can see dark golden yellow pieces of "sand" on them.  I suspect that these grains are actually little bits of pigment that did not fully suspend in the polish.  They aren't quite so noticeable when you look at my nails outdoors in full sunlight, but it's noticeable when indoors or in the shade.  These photos were taken the second time I swatched this polish.  The first time around, I had the dragging issue and noticed the particles.  At first I thought I had random glitters in the bottle so I smudged the nails even more when I tried to remove them, but these particles were present both times I swatched from my bottle.

Caspian

Caspian is a gorgeous dark green polish with silver hex glitters, and it was inspired by Prince Caspian's armour.  I was in love with this colour before it even arrived, and ATC definitely nailed it on the head with their inspiration!  I used two coats of polish for this photo.  Unfortunately, Caspian also applied strangely on me.  I had a similar problem with it seemingly drying too quickly on me and dragging, and it did not apply evenly.  In a single brush stroke, some colour was deposited thinner in some areas than others in spite of even pressure of the brush on the nail.  The second coat of colour filled in the areas that were thin and needed more colour, but overall the polish finish (not the wet polish itself) seemed lumpy and off somehow.  I have to admit I was very disappointed with it as I was a little crazy about the colour when I first saw it.
Jadis

Jadis was inspired by The White Witch, and wow, is she stunning!  Jadis is a sheer polish, so it needs to be painted over something if you don't want any visible nail line.  I used two coats of Zoya Kristen as the base and then used 1+ coats of Jadis.  There was no digging necessary to retrieve any of the glitters, but occasionally the brush would come out of the bottle with more glitters than others.  The blue moon-shaped holographic glitters are a little sparse, but I didn't need to dig or hunt for the one on my middle finger, and it placed easily enough on the nail.  I did add one coat of top coat over this polish combination, and it smoothed it out nicely.

Final Thoughts
I had some issues with two of the three polishes from this collection, and to be honest, I'm not really sure what happened with them.  I don't know if it has anything to do with the fact that I live in Arizona and a warmer climate, or if they just don't play nicely with me because I kick out a lot of heat.  I am seriously a walking furnace, so I think that may be part of the problem.  Whatever the case, I am happy to report that the Above the Curve team have been contacted, and not only are they aware of the problems I am having, they are going to be investigating them further.  I know that this set was sent out to other bloggers for review and I am the only one reporting any issues, so I'm inclined to believe the issue has something to do with me.  Yay, me?  I truly hope they're able to figure out what is going on as these polishes are stunning!      

Links
Etsy shop
Facebook page
Shriners Hospitals for Children

Until next time, dear readers, stay good!  Santa is watching you.  ;)

XOXO, Jen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Prize Reveal for the Holly Jolly Advent Giveaway!

Good morning, dear readers!  I'm sure by now you're already familiar with the Holly Jolly Advent Giveaway being held by several bloggers and businesses.  In case you've missed it, check out my previous post with all the details and the Rafflecopter widget to enter!

I'm up ridiculously early this morning, so why not jump start the week by sharing my giveaway prize!  This is what I have for my winner:
Kleancolor Green Addicts minis
Winter Wonderland Hand Cream
Shower Gel "Ornaments"
Snowflake Foot Fizzie

I may have gotten a *little* excited with this giveaway and already wrapped everything up for my winner.  :D

Thank you so much for following me, and I hope you enjoy your week!  Good luck!

XOXO!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holly Jolly Advent Giveaway

Good morning, dear readers!  I have some exciting news to share with you today:  I'm taking part in another group giveaway!  There are 14 people taking part in this giveaway, and prizes are going to be revealed one day at a time, just like an advent calendar.  I think the easiest way for me to direct you to the corresponding blogger for the day is going to be including a link to their respective page on my Facebook page.  Be sure to "Like" my page and sign up for notifications so you don't miss out!    

Entering into this giveaway gives you the opportunity to potentially win any of the prizes from this giveaway, including those that have yet to be revealed!  Check out this handy dandy calendar to see who is going to be revealing a prize and when.  You may need to click on it to blow it up, not literally ;) 
RULES: Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form from today through December 22nd.  Because shipping regulations for overseas packages is changing yet again, this giveaway is only open for US and Canada participants.  Prize winners will be notified on December 23rd by email and will have 48 hours to respond.  Be sure to check those spam folders!  I'd hate for the winners to miss out on their prizes!  In the even any winners do not respond within the allotted 48 hours, new winners will be selected in their place.  

Good luck, and have a wonderful day!  XOXO!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 1, 2012

You're a Mean One, Mr Grinch!

Happy Saturday, dear readers!  It's so hard to believe that a week has just gone by and today is the first of December!  I am so excited for Christmas this year, and to be honest, I have no idea why.  There is nothing particularly unique about Christmas this year, but it will be the last one that will be spent with just my husband.  Next year I'll have a little one in the house to spoil, and I am so excited about that!

Indie creators have been busy creating new collections for the holidays, and I have such a fun holiday polish to share with you today!  I was really excited to discover that Jindie Nails had created a Grinch-inspired polish, and I totally squealed like a little kid when I pulled it out of my mailbox.  I have watched the animated television special "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" every year for as long as I can remember, and I'm looking forward to sharing the tradition with my little boy.  It's one of my mom's favorite holiday shows, and she did the same thing with me.  Check out this beautiful polish, and I'll follow up with more details about it:

Grinch is a sheer polish, and because I loathe visible nail line with such a passion, I decided to layer it over two coats of Sally Hansen Complete Manicure in Grass Slipper.  The Sally Hansen is the perfect underwear for Grinch because it is the same colour hue only a shade or two darker; I was able to keep the "Grinchy" colour without having to use numerous layers of Grinch.  Grinch is composed of red and white square glitters of various sizes and both red and white bar glitter.  I used approximately two coats of Grinch in this swatch, and I had to do a bit of dabbing and swishing of the brush to break up and place those bar glitters.  The squares didn't give me any troubles, thankfully, but bar glitter can sometimes be a little difficult to work with.  I didn't have too much trouble with it when it came to Grinch, but some patience is still needed.  I think the extra time is well worth the payout of Grinchy nails, and I absolutely adore these nails!  I followed up with a coat of top coat to smooth out my nails as well.

While I didn't see any as I was painting my nails, there are actually a few hearts mixed in this polish!  Each bottle of Grinch has a single black heart to represent the Grinch's evil-spirited attitude at the beginning of the story and a sparse scattering of red hearts to represent how his heart changed.  How cute is that!  I just inspected my bottle and was able to see one pressed against the bottom of the bottle so I can confirm there actually are red hearts in there!  I didn't have to do any digging whatsoever for the squares or bars, but you'll likely have the so some shaking and hunting to find your hearts.  I'm not a big heart fan, so I'm quite content with my squares and bars alone, but that's just my personal reference.

Links
Jindie Nails Etsy shop At the time of this posting, the shop is in vacation mode to catch up on holiday orders, but you can sign up for an email announcement when the shop is open once again.

Jindie Nails Facebook page Keep your eyes peeled here for shop announcement and news on latest collections!

The Grinch Song Ok, now I'm going to have that song in my head all day long!


Have a great day, dear readers, and don't forgot to pop open your Advent Calendars today!  I know I'm about to rescue my little piece of chocolate!  
XOXO!