Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mail Time: April Julep Maven Box

This month's theme is "Turn on the Brights" which is ironic because it's been raining and dreary here in Northeast Florida for two days. I usually love this kind of weather, but lately it's just bleh to me. I'm really feeling Spring colors this season and the gray skies are a bummer! But at least I get to break out my zebra-striped umbrella, so it's not a complete hardship. Accessories make all the difference, right?

My style profile is Classic with a Twist, and I ended up sticking to it this time. I love the colors, but I'm most excited about the Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum! I'll have more information about the serum after we take a quick look at the box...

How gorgeous and fun are these colors?

The goodies inside

Information about Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum from the Julep site:

"Kapow! Peptides – super-charged amino acids that build keratin (for your nails) and collagen (for your cuticles) – are our Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum's secret weapon to transform dry and damaged cuticles almost overnight. Plus, get visibly stronger, smoother nails with fewer ridges and less splitting and brittleness in only 2-3 weeks.
To use: Apply to cuticle area twice daily for two weeks, then once a week for maintenance. This serum is so powerful, you only need one half-turn per hand. Can be used on bare or polished nails. Allow serum to dry completely before applying polish."

It sounds like just the thing I need for my sad cuticles! I'll test this bad boy out for a couple weeks and let you all know what I think. Until then, bright sunshine-y days to all of you out there! 

PS: Can someone pass me a towel? 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: Ecotools 6 Piece Day to Night Brush Set

The past three years have been a beauty revelation for me. Before I became obsessed with YouTube beauty channels I thought I knew what I needed to know about all things beauty. Man, was I wrong! I still have so much to learn, yet it amazes me how far I've already come. I didn't even own brushes until about three years ago! Can you believe it?

The Ecotools Alicia Silverstone collection was one of the very first set of brushes I've ever owned, and I still reach for most of my Ecotools brushes over my three lonely MAC brushes. If that sounds suspiciously like a paid "opinion" let me clear the air first by saying that I've never had any contact with either company, have never received press samples or compensation, and I will never be one of those gurus who sell out and dupe their readers for a quick buck or a nice lipstick. It completely goes against everything I believe in and what the blogging community is supposed to stand for.

Okay, stepping down from my (charmingly vintage) soapbox...

The fact is, I love these brushes. I feel like some of the eye brushes might be ever-so-slightly large for my eyes, but my eyes are droopy and annoying, so a lot of things pertaining to the eyes require tweaking for me. C'est la vie. What I love about them is how incredibly soft they are, how pampering it feels to use them. They pack powdered products very well and distribute them evenly. I don't use them for liquid products on a regular basis, but I have used them a couple times for liquid blush and the same quality remained.

For the Day to Night set, I have to give it the same thumbs up I give all my Ecotools brushes. I haven't found anything in the drugstore to rival the brand and I get daily use out of most of the brushes included.

So. Pictures!

The closed case.


The case itself has a hard exterior and is pretty compact. It works well for travel -- you can even fit a few more thinner-handled brushes (nothing like a blush or foundation brush with fat handles) inside. 

This set includes:
  • Round Powder Brush
  • Detailed Lip Liner Brush
  • Pointed Concealer Brush
  • Stay-There Shadow Brush
  • Smudge Brush
  • Zippered Clutch
My two favorites are the Stay-There Shadow Brush with its pointed end, which is great for getting into the crease, and the Round Powder Brush, which I love to use for blush or loose setting powders. They feel so soft and gentle on the face and eye areas and do the job very well. I haven't used the Detailed Lip Liner Brush because I have an aversion to using brushes for my lipstick. It's an illness called laziness, and I have it in spades. Give me a bullet and I'm a happy gal. The lip brush can be used for other things, of course. 

In my opinion, this is a great set that includes everything a beginner needs for the eyes with the bonus of a handy case and powder brush, and all for a reasonable price. I got mine at Walgreens for $16.99.

Physician's Formula Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Blush Swatch and Review

Again with the huge names! Yer killing me, Physician's Formula! But you make up for it with the cutest packaging ever, so all is forgiven.

Let's get down to business. I have this blush in Blush Rose, which looks like this:

Back view with mirror and brush.

Front view

The heel in the middle is coated with a silver overspray, which goes away after the first use. It's unfortunate that they didn't just go with another shade of pink for the heel that goes through to the pan, because with the current design you unavoidably ruin the heel design the moment you use the product. Not a deal breaker for most, but it was a bit of a bummer for me.
Sorry it's so blurry! You still get the idea though.

And finally, a swatch:

The above swatch was applied with a blush brush on bare skin. No primers or foundations were used. It was also applied with a very heavy hand and I'm pretty fair-skinned, if that gives you any indication as to how pigmented the product is.

Physician's Formula site description:

Irresistibly Sexy Blushing Glow: Wear this perfect blend of shimmery blushing tones like lingerie for your face for an instant sexy boost with an alluring blushing glow.
Sexy Boosting Formula: infused with the scent of warm vanilla, "afterglow" illumination and pheromone-mimicking ingredients including clinically tested Androstadienone, Cocoa Extract (aka "the Love Chemical") and ancient aphrodisiac Horny Goatweed to enhance your sexy side.

My overall thoughts:
The blush applied smoothly, but was very sheer and shimmery. Like the Sexy Glow Glossy Stain, it has a sweet, odd sort of floral scent that I have trouble describing. I've seen some bloggers pin down vanilla notes, but for me it's a scent I don't recall smelling anywhere else. Unfortunately, it's not a smell I really liked and it lingered on my face and on my brush. Shame on me for not cleaning my brush immediately, because it lingered for days. I also didn't get much wear time out of this product, which I suspect is because of its sheer nature. Personally, I prefer a bit more pigmentation and less shimmer on my cheeks.

You can find this and other Sexy Booster products at most drugstores, Target, Walmart, K-mart, and some grocery stores for $11.95.

Physician's Formula Sexy Glow Glossy Stain Review and Swatches

This product's full name is quite a mouthful -- it's the Physician's Formula Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Glossy Stain in hot pink. Sometimes I think cosmetics companies are just messing with us!

The Sexy Booster line has only been out for a couple of months and claims to contain pheromones that make you completely irresistible. So is this the makeup equivalent of Axe body spray? I'm gonna go ahead and say no to that one. (And how silly are the Axe commercials? Seriously.) The pheromone claims seem gimmicky to me, but I'm guessing that much is obvious to just about everyone. What really drew me to this product was the color of the glossy stain and the awesome packaging. I'm a packaging junkie -- what can I say?

The color is hot pink, and I'd say the name is pretty accurate. It's sort of a pinky raspberry shade that makes me think of Summertime.

Description from the Physician's Formula site:
Irresistable Sexy Color & Shine.
Innovative gloss+stain hybrid formula delivers richly pigmented color in an intensly glossy finish combined with our Sexy Boost Blend for the ultimate pout-enhancing effect. The result is full, voluptuous, SEXY lips!
Seductive scent and delectable flavor makes it irresistable to apply!
Kiss-Proof Performance: High-impact color takes long-wear to a sexy new level, lasts up to 12 hours (tested under controlled conditions).
Sexy Boosting Formula: infused with the scent of warm vanilla, "afterglow" illumination and pheromone-mimicking ingredients including clinically tested Androstadienone, Cocoa Extract (aka "the Love Chemical") and ancient aphrodisiac Horny Goatweed to enhance your sexy side.

My thoughts...

The formula is kind of interesting. It feels really thin while applying, but dries quickly with only the slightest amount of stickiness. 

It has a sort of sweet floral-y scent that I can't pin down, but I can tell you it's the exact same scent the Sexy Booster blushes have. Thankfully the scent goes away after a couple minutes because I'm not a fan. 

How does it wear?
I had pretty good wear time with this product. It isn't like the other stains I own, though, in that it doesn't seem to "set" and can transfer onto your glass or anything else you may touch with your lips. The upside is that it isn't drying like my other stains. The color is very opaque and it doesn't feel heavy on the lips.

Overall I think this is a great product. The price is pretty steep at $9.95, but you can usually catch good sales at drugstores. I stacked a BOGO 1/2 off sale at CVS with a $3 off coupon and ended up getting mine for a little over $2.00, which is very reasonable. The savings are out there, if you're patient!

Plus, the packaging. The adorable high heel charm! The fishnet around the tube! How could anyone resist?

The Balm Haul and Swatches

I'm playing catch up with some swatches and reviews, so prepare for a lot of information to come your way! This time around I have a haul from The Balm that I got from Mary-Lou Manizer, What's Your Type (Bodybuilder) Mascara, and The Balm Girls lipsticks in Mai Billsbepaid and Foxxy Pout.


Mary-Lou Manizer:
Adorable packaging!

And a swatch:

Back of packaging

Mary-Lou Manizer is a pretty popular highlighting product, and in my opinion it's worth the hype. It has a smooth application, blends easily, and definitely adds illumination to the skin. However, if you're looking for a very subtle sheen, this product is not for you; this baby packs some serious shine.

The Balm Girls lipsticks:

More adorable packaging. Don't you just love The Balm?

Left: Foxxy Pout   Right: Mai Billsbepaid

Mai Billsbepaid is a nice nude color while Foxxy Pout is a shimmery bronze. Both had average application and wear time for me.

I haven't pictured the mascara in detail here and I won't go into a lot of detail because mascara is so subjective from one person to the next. I got The Bodybuilder as a sample in a Glam Bag and loved the wand and formula. For me it really pumps up the volume in my lashes and works well when I layer a lengthening mascara on top of it. Your mileage may vary, of course. Mascara is a fickle beast!

Overall, I'm loving everything I got in this haul. I haven't found a dud from this brand yet and the packaging is right up my alley! Everything has a lot of personality. The Balm Girls lipsticks are obviously based on James Bond and the sleek silver tubes remind me of bullets, which is apropos. 

If you're reading this today, The Balm is revamping their site and they're having a 50% off sale on everything for today (April 1st) only.  Go get you some goodies!  

Beautifully Disney Collection

I don't have detailed information on this brand-new line by Disney, but this new makeup line was in my email today and I just had to share! A few months back Disney was promoting all their Villains and they had some makeup out at their store. It looked promising and had great packaging, but I didn't grab it and it was gone in a flash. I couldn't even find anything about it on the internet! It was a sad, sad day for little ol' me. So as you can imagine, I'm super excited about this line!

Click here for the Beautifully Disney Collection page.

Being a big Disney fan with an equal soft spot for the villains and the princesses, I'm hopeful that this line will continue to grow to include a lot of variety.

Did anyone grab up on the Villains collection while it was available? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the products!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Polka-Dot Mani and Seche Vite First Impressions

Let me officially go on the record here by saying I am most definitely NOT a nail guru and I'll never claim to know much about that end of beauty. But I do love color very much and I have fun trying simple nail art. Plus I have an obsession with polka dots.

With all of this in mind, this is my Hello Spring! manicure. Pay no attention to my horrible cuticles. I know they need some TLC.

Base color: Sally Hanson Insta-Dri in Fast Fuchsia
Dots: Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez Collection in Hit the Lights

Psst, deal alert! I got both of these polishes this week for $1 each! The Insta-Dri was at The Dollar Tree and the Nicole was on clearance at Walmart with the rest of the Selena Gomez line and lots of other polishes for a buck. Some of the other polishes were 50 and 75 cents! All together I spent $4 on polishes, base, and top coat. More on the base and topcoat later.

Some "creative" shots. Blurry buggers though they are...

These are all on day 2 of the manicure. Man, look at those cuticles! Anyway, moving on. I used Seche Vite top coat and base coat for the first time here and as you can see, there's already tip wear. I was really surprised since it seems most bloggers prefer Seche Vite. In fact, blogger opinion was why I decided to try the brand. I had a $5 off coupon to Sally Beauty Supply and it just so happened they were running a special -- buy the base coat, get the top coat free. So for $2 I got to try both. Score! I was so excited to test them out. Both base coat and top coat applied as usual, with great drying time. 

I don't have a full review for you all just yet, but I can tell you that five hours after I did my nails I had considerable chipping on my dominant hand and tip wear on the other. This was after 1 coat of base, 2 coats of the main color, dotting, and one coat of top coat, which I wrapped. I did one load of pre-washed dishes with a dish wand, so my hands weren't fully submerged. Nothing else was out of the ordinary. I do my nails the same all the time, lately with the Colorstay Gel-Smooth base coat, 2 coats of polish, and either Sally Hanson Insta-Dri top coat or Orly Glosser top coat. I use the same wrapping method with those top coats as I did with the Seche Vite and it usually lasts about three days before I start to see wear at all, and a few more days before I have to remove everything. But with Seche Vite I get less than 5 hours? 

Anyone have any thoughts on this? If I'd done anything different besides changing brands, I'd say I've done something wrong. I'll give the brand another test run and update when I have more thorough results.

Same blog, new name

Hey everyone! Just wanted to quickly update you about a small change with the blog which I'm sure you've already noticed. I decided to change the name of the blog for a couple of reasons from Swag, Baby! to It's Pink Wednesday. I had this semi-layered idea of what swag, baby! meant, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that no one else would have the same associations. In my mind it meant style with a retro vibe as well as loot (as in hauls). Everyone else would associate it with the slang version of "swag" rather than the classic sense. In the end, it all just seemed like it didn't fit for anyone but me.

I wanted a simple Pink Wednesday, but that seems to be taken all over the interwebs, so now we have It's Pink Wednesday. Most of you already know this is a Mean Girls reference, which to me evokes a sense of style and fun girly-ness. Plus it has a personal double meaning to me -- I'm a bit like Wednesday Addams on the inside and an anything pink addict, girly girl on the outside. But of course that only makes sense to me!

In other news, I'm working on a YouTube channel and lining up all my social media to correspond with the blog. I'll post another update when all that is complete. So excited about the changes!

And by the way, you can sit with us even if you forget to wear pink. :D

PS: I've decided to leave all old posts up with the Swag, Baby! watermarked pictures, but of course they're all still my work. Just wanted to point this out in case they turn up again in future posts for any reason.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spotted at Walgreens: Revlon Chroma Chameleon and Nail Rock Nail Caviar

Spotted these displays today!

I haven't found swatches of these yet and I'm dying to know if they have the duo-chromey goodness I've been looking for! I'm on a bit of a polish no-buy for now, but these polishes are seriously testing my resolve. If Revlon goes BOGO 50% off next week, I will crack. I'm already >thisclose< to breaking down. Yer killing me, Revlon! 

And the Nail Caviar display:

I'd love to hear from someone who has used this brand of nail caviar already. And I'm especially interested  to know if those chrome polishes are worth cramping up my over-flowing polish collection!

Tanzanite and Amethyst, you will be mine.

Miscellaneous Nail Storage

Just a quickie here. I've been on a major reorganizing and decluttering kick lately and I've been thinking about how to reorganize every aspect of my life. I thought I had a passable solution for all my nail stuff in this Steralite tote...

I had sort of an organized chaos thing going on. I had thinner, removers, cuticle oils, various nail art tools, buffers, nail files, manicure bowls, and even a few stripers. Lotsa stuff happening in that little tote, but I had it separated with smaller containers and it was working okay.

Yep, all of this.

But then today I was at Hobby Lobby, checking out their storage bins (why do those things have to cost a small fortune? Why???) when I came across a three-level container. I spazzed and forgot to photograph the container by itself, but here is how I divided  the three levels:

Left: nail art supplies; Middle: Tools; Right: Polish removers, cotton rounds, cuticle removers, and cuticle oils. 


The final result! I put the nail dryer and stripers in with my polishes and the manicure bowls didn't fit, which is a bummer. But overall, I'm pretty happy with the separation of my stuff. And best of all, it takes up less space than the Steralite container -- saving any amount of space a major plus when you live in a tiny house. I'm not stressing the bowls too much anyway, since I only break them out when I want to do some major pampering. With this new container I have everything I use on a regular basis and it's super portable. 

Oh, I almost forgot! This was also 40% off of $7.99 today, so I only paid $4.79. Don't you love a good deal? I found it around all the Spring-themed plastic items. All of their Spring Shop collection is 40% off.

Do you have any great storage solutions? I'm especially curious about how people organize their makeup and polish. Can't get enough of those types of YouTube videos!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Emerald City Nails!

Not only is it the Pantone color of the year, but it's also the color of the most fantastical city in all of Oz. I'm talking about emerald, of course!

In a couple hours I'm going with some friends to see Oz the Great and Powerful and I thought I'd do something fun with my nails.

Please excuse the bad glitter clean-up. That stuff is stubborn! 

I started with my Colorstay Gel-Smooth Base Coat, then applied one coat of Wild Cactus by Color Club. After that dried I used Sinful Colors Call You Later from the Almost Famous collection all over and let that mostly dry. I then dabbed Milani One Coat Glitter in Gold Glitz onto the tips and faded it down toward the middle, applied top coat, and voila! Emerald City nails!

This would also be appropriate for St. Paddy's Day. Now I have to go finish getting ready. Talk to you soon!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Archie's Girls in the Florida Mall

As I mentioned before, I was in Orlando about three weeks ago for a little staycation. We only live about 2 1/2 hours away, but it's like a completely different world down there! For one thing, the shopping is amazing. A lot of the stores most people take for granted are places my behind have never been. I'm looking at you, Ikea, Macy's, LUSH, Bloomingdales, Urban Outfitters, etc. I'm so deprived.

Among all the things that I don't have in my town is MAC. We're super fortunate enough to have a Cosmetics Company Outlet, but the nearest store is almost an hour away. I know my wallet thanks me for the modest amount of stores convenient to me! But having no MAC, Sephora, or Ulta means more than missing out on sales and blissful browsing when the mood strikes; It also means I miss out on all the events!

So imagine my excitement when I saw MAC setting up in the middle of the mall, across from their store, for an Archie's Girls event. I squeed. I clapped. I made a doof of myself to my husband. "Mr. Swag!" I squealed. "I can't believe my luck!" That I so happened to be in the right place, at the right time... Well, it was too awesome! It was too perfect!

It was too good to be true.

Yep, as I watched to see when the event was supposed to start I began to notice something very, very wrong. They were only adjusting the lights, right? Repositioning them? There was just no way fate was that cruel. They couldn't be taking everything down -- right? And the ladies weren't really packing their makeup and tools away -- were they?

So it was with a sad heart that I realized I'd missed the first and only exciting makeup event I would likely see in a very long time. Insert a quartet of tiny violins here.

It wasn't a total bust though. I did manage to get some pictures with some of the props they'd left behind. I'll get to a makeup event someday! I may even get to IMATS. Woah. That would be A-mazing! In the meantime, hope you enjoy my consolation pics!

With my baby sister! 

Swatches: Wet n Wild Toppings Collection

When I was in Orlando about three weeks back I ran into a Walgreens and saw these polishes and thought, "Oh, how cute!"

Colors in the collection:
Chip on Your Shoulder
Frosted Over
Confections of a Bake-aholic
Gimme Some Suga'
Sprinkled with Love
Icing Backup

I was in a hurry and grabbed what I thought was one of each color, but it turns out there are 6 colors in the collection instead of the 4 I originally thought. That just goes to show how similar some of the shades seemed in real life. The ones I bought are Chip on Your Shoulder, Confections of a Bake-aholic, Gimme Some Suga', and Frosted Over. 

Taken in sunlight:
Left to Right: Frosted Over, Gimme Some Suga', Chip on Your Shoulder, Confections of a Bake-aholic.

Same order as above.

L - R: Frosted Over, Gimme Some Suga', Chip on Your Shoulder, Confections of a Bake-aholic


All four polishes contain small, multi-colored circle glitter. It's the bases that differentiate one from another.

Frosted Over: Purple/Teal duo-chrome base.

Gimme Some Suga': Golden green base.

Chip on Your Shoulder: Pink base.

Confections of a Bake-oholic: Silver base.

Now for the unique bottles. I've read concerns about the top being too awkward to paint your nails with any precision, but personally I haven't found that to be the case. To me it feels just as natural as holding a pencil or a makeup brush. For me the worst thing about the "sticks" is the PITA they're going to be to store. For anyone out there with organizing OCD, you know what I mean!

The long "lollipop stick" is all in one piece and doesn't purposely detach for easier storage or use. BUT! Like every polish I've ever seen the handle is pushed down onto a smaller, clear screw-top. You can detach the "sticks" if you wiggle and pull enough. Just please be careful when doing so! I don't want anyone hurting themselves or unintentionally breaking their nail polish. I'd feel awful!

Next to a Sinful Colors bottle, for size comparison.

Final thoughts: The polishes themselves are nice, but I'd recommend wearing them over other colors if you want to get the full effect. Otherwise they just look too similar to warrant buying more than one or two, in my opinion. I can see where the packaging can be a dealbreaker for some. I love the lollipop concept, but feel like the execution wasn't well thought-out. The bottles are awkward to store and the very different tops might scare people off. Also the label tags are only upright when in the store display; once you get home you have to flip the bottle in order to see the color name. This would be no biggie at all, except surprise! There is no other label on the bottle! Your options are to tape the obnoxious label down and deal with the bottom piece still being in your way, cutting it off and never remembering the name of your polish again, or leaving it on and dealing with it, which almost guarantees the label will come slapping down on your nails as you're painting them. 

Why, Wet n Wild? Whyyyy??? 

My opinion of the brand is almost flawless (with exceptions for the Flora and Fauna palettes), but this time I think they missed the mark completely. They've created nice polishes, but put them in novelty packaging that ensures a lot of people will never reach for them again and may not keep them long in the first place. I love the idea of creative packaging and I do hope they try again and again to bring us something different. I just think that in this case they completely forgot about function.

Have you picked any of these up? What are your thoughts?