February 29, 2012

Give me coffee and tv

Just got home from a nice dinner with Mom, Sean and Matt. The reason for going is because the restaurant was donating 15% of each check to the animal shelter in my town. By now you all know that animals hold a special place in my heart, even if they're not my own! Now I'm just chilling in my footie pajamas and watching tv. No really, footie pajamas.



I also found an awesome Leap Day deal which may interest my fellow fatshionistas. Eloquii (ie fat people Limited) has been doing a deal on a lot of their sweaters and tops for $9.99/ea. Today only, though, you can get them for $9.99/ea, BOGO and then take another 30% off with the coupon NATE30.  Ground shipping is free. I just bought 2 sweaters that would normally be $46.90/ea for $7.45 (total for both and that includes tax)

Anyway, let's talk TV. I watch soooo much...

Mondays: Adventure Time, 2 Broke Girls and RuPaul's Drag Race (Go Chad Michaels!) 
Tuesdays: Glee, New Girl, Raising Hope and Ink Master (Go Tommy!) (also Tabitha Takes Over, but usually I have to catch it On Demand) 
Wednesdays: The Challenge: Battle of the Exes (Go Mark and Robin... but really just Mark!) (and then CSI On Demand sometime later) 
Thursdays: Project Runway All Stars (Go Jerell or, as a backup, Michael!)
Fridays + Saturdays: Time to catch up on anything I missed such as NY Ink (I don't even know what day it comes on for real) and Shipping Wars
Sunday: The Amazing Race (don't know who I'm rooting for yet)

Tell me about what you watch and who your favorites to win are (if it's that kind of show)

February 25, 2012

And Stuff

I'm losing readers (yes, I'm a dork and look at my reader count) so maybe I need to post again before you all leave me. All I really have for you, though, is another photoganza extravaganza. No long stories, just pictures.


Shark Kisses!




I remember using Sugarpill's Paperdoll Chromalust, but that's about all.




So this is what I fishtail braid should look like. Only took me 3 tries...


And I leave you with Tubbers (who isn't so tubby any more)


Hope everyone is having a good weekend! Tomorrow I am going to visit my friend Kristen and maybe work on the hair hair pieces for our other friend's wedding. If anyone has any tips for me on how to be a good bridesmaid, I'm all ears. 


February 22, 2012

The Battle of Ascalon

Larie reminded me today, that I haven't shown you the A England polish I got a while back. I bought mine through Llarowe along with the Ludurana polish I showed you a couple of weeks ago. All links aside (and there were like a bajillion in those two sentences) I do want to send my thoughts to Leah Anne/Llarowe who posted on her Facebook that she had a mild heart attack a few days ago. She's on the mend and taking a break, but that's such a scary thing to think about.

The A England polish I picked was Ascalon which is a champagne-y grey with lots of holo. I started by applying on it's own just to get an idea of how the color and the holo would work on me. I have to say it's pretty awesome...



Unfortunately the amazing color was too good to be true, I already had some major major tip wear after only about 12 hours. It wasn't chipped, just worn. I didn't do anything too hard on my hands, so it was kind of a bummer. But then in stepped Laura with her half-moon mani idea and saved me from having to do a total do-over. 


I couldn't just stop there, though, and added glitter to the very tippy tips for some added... pizzaz? Flair? We'll got with flair. The polish I chose for the half-moons (shush, I know they're a little lopsided) was Mood Struck color changing polish in the blue/purple color. Or, as you can see, just blue. It never changes. Bummer again. Then for the glitter tips I used Funky Fingers glitter in Flashing Lights. It's kind of amazing and Five Below had the Funky Fingers 3 for $5, so super cheap!

So in the end I took a few polishes that may not have been my favorite on their own and turned them into something I really liked! Also, once I added the half-moon mani, my finished product held up something like a week and a half longer. 

Hope you're all having a good week. I just watched last night's Glee and balled my eyes out for a hot second. I won't spoil what happened, but a couple of the events hit home really hard and, as dorky as it sounds, it made me feel better to see such a huge show address something that has always made me feel so on my own.

February 19, 2012

What are solstices (solsti?) supposed to smell like?

I will never claim that my blog is on the cutting edge of anything. Most of the products I buy and show off are ones I've already seen other bloggers rave about. I don't come from money and I don't make much money. Mix that with a shopping problem and there isn't a lot of room to fit in products I don't feel like I'll absolutely love.


Most of the fragrances I have are either samples I've gotten from here and there or have been gifts for various holidays. I know I have said to several of you at some point or another that a fragrance you posted about sounds amazing, but I'm really not in the market for anything at the moment. Here is why:



You can only smell like so many things per day, you know? Mix that with a sensitive-nosed boyfriend and an office job - sometimes it will be weeks in between times I can wear a fragrance. That said, I can only take so much temptation before I have to give in to curiosity. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but I only have dogs and a ferret, so it's cool. 

My first sign of temptation came from Larie of Eye Heart It. She posted about Solstice Scents and a fragrance called Snowshoe Pass which she described as, "Wintery - but warm, as if I'm settled in my warm house with plenty of blankets and a hot beverage." It sounded wonderful, but I just didn't need another fragrance in my life. But then a new blog I'd started to read, Just Peachy, posted a "used it" which included two Solstice Scents items in Snowshoe Pass, both getting glowing reviews from her as well. Knowing it was a limited edition winter scent, it was really then or never if I wanted to find out more. On February 3rd, I placed my order for not only a sample of Snowshoe Pass fragrance, but a few other sample fragrance and a full size tub of Snowshoe Pass whipped soap (at this point I was basically convinced I would love the fragrance and just took a plunge) 

One of the owners of Solstice Scents, Angela, emailed me within what I swear was only a few minutes. She thanked me for my first order and let me know she would be shipping my items that afternoon. That is a super quick turn around for what seems to be a fairly small business! As promised, she did ship my items that afternoon and transit from Florida to me only took 3 days to arrive (found my items when I got home from work on the 6th) From there I have been trying everything out and have even asked a few people (we shall call them my mom and brother) to help me decipher what the scents smelled like (without using the scent guide on the site - that would be cheating)


(my shark helped hold the box in place while I photographed)



(colorful shred packaging, a business card and a couple of other promo cards)



(samples come in small vials and were secured in a little baggie)



(creme de la creme indeed!)



(I did kind of want to taste it)

Everything arrived safely and well labeled. The perfume vials have given me plenty of product to test a couple of times and still have a little leftover. Here are my thoughts on the scents:

Spellbound Woods:
They say - A soft, incensy blend of vanilla, sandalwood, cedar and amber 
I say - In the bottle I could smell vanilla and cedar for sure. Once on, it turned to more of an amber/vanilla and then dried down to mostly just the vanilla.

Cocoa Mallow:
They say - Devilish Dark Chocolate and Fluffy Sweet Marshmallows
I say - It smelled like amazing hot chocolate in the bottle and once on, the sweetness of the marshmallow was very apparent. Then it dried down and was oddly nutty. I don't know if anyone else has ever smelled LUSH's Nutts massage bar (which is discontinued now) but it smelled EXACTLY like that.

Lace Draped Spectre:
They say - Madagascar Vanilla, Baby's Breath, Pink Carnation and Green Pepper Essential Oil
I say - In the bottle and on, I smelled carnation the whole time. Did your school ever do the "secret Valentine" thing where you sent someone a carnation? Mine did (and I never got one), but you could smell them everywhere. This was totally like that, but without the rejection. I like it a lot.

Violet Truffle:
They say - Dark chocolate violet ganache truffles topped with a violet-vanilla infused sugar
I say - I honestly just smelled chocolate truffles in the bottle. It wasn't until I put this on that it immediately shifted to violet. As it dried down, it went back to a lighter version of the chocolate truffle that I smelled initially. 

Snowshoe Pass:
They say - White Amber, White Musk, Vanilla Accord, Peppermint Cream, Cold Winds
I say - I don't even know what I say on this one. It just smells like winter, like cozy pajamas, like my fireplace (before the squirrels crawled in and we couldn't use it any more) and like amazing. 

Cafe Mallowmel - 
They say -  Rich coffee flavored with decadent caramel and sweet marshmallow cream.
I say - This started out with a heavy coffee scent which, as a coffee addict, I am all about. Then for some reason, it turned nutty just like Cocoa Mallow. I think my body chemistry is weird and makes things with marshmallow turn nutty. I like the scent, but I just don't think it was supposed to do that.

My final thoughts on Solstice Scents in general is that I love them! I actually already ordered (and received) my second small order of more sample vials. I don't think I'll be doing another post of descriptions as I don't have a particularly keen nose and these ones were hard enough to review! I am definitely glad I was convinced to order, though, and will definitely be back (especially next winter for many more Snowshoe Pass items... oh how I hope they will be back)

The Mascara Chronicles (part 9)


For this edition, I actually headed to the drug store aisle. All of what I have been testing has come from places like Sephora and haven't been totally kind on the wallet. That isn't to say there aren't great options at your local CVS/Walgreens/Target, though. For example, I remember being in L-O-L-O-L-O-V-E with Cover Girl's Lash Blast a couple of years ago. It seemed too easy to pick that one for my first official drug store test, though, so I basically went into an aisle at the store, closed my eyes (yes I did), and pointed. Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Flared was my winner of my highly scientific selection lottery.

The Manufacturer Claims:

FALSE LASH GLAM IN A TUBE - NOW GOES FLARED!
300% MORE VISIBLE LASHES. Winged out & over the top, instantly!   

The Product:




I personally find the tube of this mascara very appealing. It's big, it's bright pink and it has obnoxious letting of various sizes and fonts. If I were a mascara tube, I could very possibly be this one. The brush is tapered and curved. It is also attached to the wand with this tiny little nub-thing. You can see it in the third picture. I mention it because this is a very very sensitive point. In fact I had to return my first tube of this stuff because when I opened it, the brush was broken off inside the tube and this little nub was the breaking point. Now I'm very very cautious every time I open my new tube. I'm not even sure what the purpose of this thing is (a tiny bit more flexibility?) but I don't want to go breaking it. 



Initial application wasn't bad (despite what looks like a smudge in the second picture, it's just a shadow) I  got good color, decent volume and good length. I'm not sure the whole "flared" thing happened as my longest lashes are in the middle which doesn't lend itself to a good winged look. I don't really want to blame the mascara, but it does make it seem like it will create flare, even if your natural lashes don't lend themselves to such things. I didn't expect it, but those easily swayed by god-awful mascara marketing (and it is terrible with all the actual false lashes used as computer enhancing) might be duped.



By the end of my day (about 8 hours later) I found this mascara really didn't hold up. The color faded and the formula was beginning to crumble off (you can crumblies under my eyes - I tried not to brush them all off but it was hard not to because I was at work all day and they were starting to look really gross)

My Conclusion:

Despite the low-price appeal of this mascara, it's really not worth the savings in my opinion. I'm not going to give up on my search for a great drugstore mascara, but this one is a pass for me. I did not receive my 300% more lashes (why do companies even say stupid things like this??) and there was no winging-out. Despite stupid claims, the initial application was't totally disappointing, it was the end results that let me down. It actually surprised me as I tend to gravitate towards Maybelline for other products (they make my current foundation of choice) Can't win them all I guess!

You can get this mascara on Wal-Mart's website for $5.94 and at a bajillion retail stores for what I would guess will be about the same price.


February 17, 2012

I Heartentine You

I've never been huge on Valentine's Day. It's not only because I was bitter about being alone, but I don't even like chocolate or those nasty little chalk hearts. Now I'm not saying I hate the holiday, either. It's just... meh. Even now that I have someone to spend it with, I don't have any desire to get all extravagant. We were just as happy to agree on a place for dinner (no surprises!) and then call it a night. Our waiter even asked us what fun plans we had for the night and I was like, "This IS the fun plan. Singular."

Just because it's not a big deal kind of holiday to me, that doesn't mean I pass up an opportunity to dress up, put on makeup and fix my hair real pretty (and meet me tonight in Atlantic City... wait no)








I actually think this time around I would have been better off without my enhancer contacts, but I'm trying not to wear either pair I have left out because they need to last me another 2 weeks until my eye doctor could fit me in. I also went really dramatic on the cheeks as I knew the restaurant we were going to is kept dark and "moody" so I wanted to be a little moody, too. Oh, and there were some flowers involved in all this. Matt might have gotten them for me. I'm not a flowers person per se, but he always picks out such good colors.


And then my brother did a great job arranging them in a vase for me as I was running out the door. Once in a while, he can be kind of awesome.


Even Jewel and Angel got into the Valentine's spirit just a little. My mom was able to procure some heart bandanas for them. I don't think they even minded them much even though they were kind of big and wound up looking a little like capes.





February 12, 2012

So a vegetarian walks into a steakhouse...

Some of my coworkers were talking about salads on Friday (they're all on diets, so they talk about salads most days really) and it made me crave a salad from one of my favorite places (which happens to be a steakhouse with some kick-butt creamy garlic house dressing) I mentioned it to my mom who not only said she wanted to go, but that she would buy dinner for both of us. Since my brother is in NY and Matt and I had plans Friday/Sunday, we decided on Saturday. Luckily the 6 inches of snow predicted for our area turned into about 6 snowflakes total for the whole day.

The place we went to is nicer than a chain restaurant, but doesn't have a dress code or anything. I decided to go with a skirt and shirt/cardigan to keep things classy but without too much effort. Then I decided I liked the outfit enough to attempt using my tripod again. I can't say it went well, but at least I have both a head and feet in the pictures...


(with my jacket which I honestly don't like much)


(it was really cold. really cold)


(necklace closeup - from F21)


(heart tights from Target - they're too small but get the job done)

Of course even if I kept my outfit kind of normal, I couldn't do the same with my makeup. Have to make a statement somehow, right?





(lipstick is MAC Pink Friday which was their Nicki Minaj release in 2010)


(my first ever attempt at a fishtail braid - I just wanted Katniss Everdeen hair)


Hope everyone else had a nice weekend! I'm already looking forward to next (not for any reason, just not ready for work)



February 9, 2012

Ulta.com, you are NOT my ultimate online store

My story begins the weekend before last when Matt and I went to Rhode Island. This means, for me, time for a stop in Ulta! I still had a $50 gift card from my birthday and figure after 4 months it might be time to let go. I wound up spending all but about $10 at the store and figured I would save the rest for next time we're in the area. Of course two days later I'm already browsing Ulta.com - so much for waiting! Online shopping is a cure-all for when I'm bored or sad or angry. I'm pretty sure my shopping experience started because I was bored, but has left me ultimately disappointed and somewhat angry.

My order consisted of 3 Nicole by OPI polishes. They are buy 2 get one free on the website and while there was only 1 that I was actually looking for, better to buy two and get something free out of it right? My choices were Disco Dolls (as always, thanks to Scrangie), A Million Sparkles (because it's obviously sparkly) and Have a Heart (which looked like it might be cute to use for Heartentines Day) I paid $7.99 for each of the non-free polishes + shipping + tax for a total of $19.61 (so more than my gift card) It was a decent deal, though, and the two polishes that I didn't plan to buy were cute enough.

Fast forward to the day my order shipped - I received an email that evening letting me know my order was on the way, but one of the items was actually sold out and cancelled from my order. They oversold on Have a Heart and do not do back orders, so this item would not be charged to my card. That's great and all, but it was FREE, so of course it wouldn't be charged to my card. I checked the rest of the confirmation and was indeed still billed $7.99/bottle for the other two + shipping + tax. That means all they were doing for me was cheating me out of my free polish. I immediately emailed them the following:

"Hello,

I just received the below email [the one regarding my shipment and the item being sold out] regarding my recent order. I am fine that one of my items was not in stock, but would like the opportunity to make another selection as the polishes ordered were buy two get one free and I am now not getting my free polish. Would this be possible for me to select another color to be sent to me?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Sincerely
Cassandra"


I did this in reply to the shipping confirmation which does not say "do not reply to this email" as some confirmations do (meaning they would go to an unmanned email address) The email that it went back to was service@ulta.com. As I sent it in the evening, I left the issue until late the next afternoon figuring someone had to come to the office, read it, research what to do and then answer me. When I had heard nothing by the next afternoon, I decided maybe the email WAS unmanned even though the shipment confirmation didn't indicate anything of the sort. I went on the Ulta.com contact page and sent the same email just about verbatim through their web contact form, again deciding to give some time for them to read and respond. I actually wound up getting busy and let 3 days pass until I realized I still had nothing and the package of 2 polishes was due to deliver soon. On the date of delivery I tried the service@ulta.com email address one more time:

"Hello again,

I have not heard back on the below email [I made sure to include my shipment confirmation and the original email I sent] nor the email I submitted through the Ulta.com contact form. I do understand that one of the polishes I ordered was out of stock, but it was part of a promotional deal and I would not have ordered 2 polishes if it weren't for the offer of the 3rd being free. Please let me know how I can go about getting a third free polish in replacement of the one that was cancelled from my order. I would even be happy with a store credit/gift card for the price of a polish that I could use next time I am shopping at an Ulta store.

Sincerely
Cassandra"

That afternoon my polishes did deliver and I opened the package just to verify what was inside. I had slight hopes that in leu of the sold out polish they just chucked any old color in there in place of it. It wouldn't have been ideal, but I don't own any other Nicole polishes, so I would at least be getting something I didn't have. Of course they did not do this, just the 2 polishes paid for were in the box. I believe this was about 4 days ago, so that means that in the span of a little over a week, Ulta has ignored me 3 times. As I work during the days and am not supposed to make personal calls, I haven't tried the 800-number. From searching reviews online, though, it sounds like most people don't have any more luck with the phone reps and have been talked down to and hung up on. Plus I shouldn't have to call them, I have used their online contact form which they should not have if they don't plan to utilize it. I work in mail order (as I have said before) and I know sometimes messages get blocked by a spam filer, but I'm seriously doubting that happened 3 times. At this point I am giving up on my free polish and will just be "happy" with what I was sent. I am not actually happy, though, and will NOT be returning to the ulta.com website for future purchases. I will continue to shop in their stores where the employees might be somewhat snooty all the time (is that part of the training?? I hear it from a lot of people) but at least it's not a surprise if something is sold out or not (either I can pick it up and buy it or it's not there) In the end it's up to all of you if you would like to shop at ulta.com or not, but I definitely suggest checking out online reviews before shopping, especially reviews relating to promotional items promised and not sent.

For those who have made it to the end, here are my two new sparkly polishes:


(left - A Million Sparkles, right - Disco Dolls)

If any of you have ever shopped ulta.com before, tell me about your own experiences (good or bad!)



February 7, 2012

Holo like whoa

Perhaps I'm just a girl of simple pleasures, but sparkly things will never cease to amaze and intrigue me. I like glitter and rhinestones all those "blingy" things (in moderation of course) That's why, after avoiding it for as long as I could, I finally gave into Llarowe and all of the wonderful shiny nail polishes she offers. So far I have ordered 3 different colors from 3 different brands (testing the waters I guess) The first I have tried out is Ludurana Aurora Boreal Magnifica which is a mid-blue with some purpley-pink shifts and tons of sparkle.


(with flash)


(natural light)


(flash again - but look at the sparkley!)

I took these pictures last Friday, though I painted my nails Thursday night. It's still going pretty strong today. My dominant hand has a couple of chips on one finger and both hands have a little tip wear. Not terrible, especially for me! I used 1 coat of Butter London Nail Foundation base coat, 2 coats Ludurana Aurora Boreal Magnifica and 1 coat of Sally Hansen Double Duty base/top coat (as a top coat) 

(this next part is nothing to do with makeup, so skip on if personal chat is not for you)

We lost another of our ferrets last night. Nikki was fine when we got home from work, he was running around and eating and was his normal happy self. My mom went to put him to bed and all of a sudden he just tensed and started drooling like crazy. He wasn't shaking like a seizure and he un-stiffened, but just wasn't doing well. He wasn't going to make it to the emergency vet for ferrets, he just got all limp during the car ride and kept drooling (not all vets treat "exotic" animals, the one we go to is about an hour's drive) We decided the best thing to do was to take him to the normal emergency vet and let him go before anything got worse. I know deep down that he wasn't going to pull though this one, he's a fighter and he wasn't fighting this time. It's still hard to have to make that decision, though. And the fact that he was literally fine one minute and 10 minutes later went into this stroke or shock or whatever it was. Anyway. The vet we got him to doesn't technically treat ferrets, but did give him a feel and thought he could feel a lump (maybe a tumor) In the end we'll never know for sure, but I'm going to miss his happy face prancing out of his cage every time he heard a bag of food being opened (he was such a little piggy)


(in case anyone is wondering, I'm not strangling him in this picture even though it looks like it)


February 4, 2012

Chatterbox Nicki

As those who follow MAC makeup will already know, this year's Viva Glam faces are Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin. Nicki's product is a lipstick (par for the course) and Ricky's is a lip conditioner (which is new to me, have they done non-lipstick before?) The products were just released for sale online a few days ago and of course I snatched up the Nicki lipstick because I am a sucker for bright pinks (and the money goes towards the MAC Aids Fund, so no one loses)

As the anticipation of release arrived, there were all kinds of posts online. It was hard to wade though swatches from all the bloggers with pre-release product (most seemed to be outside the US) as no one's swatches looked the same! I've seen everything from subtle pink to Barbie pink to almost coral. Something I saw a lot of, though, was a comparison of Nicki's lipstick to MAC's Chatterbox (which I do already have) When it finally came time to buy, I had no idea what I would be getting or if I'd be getting a dupe for something already in my stash.

My box from MAC arrived within just a couple of days, well packed as always. I also wound up buying Vex eyeshadow (because who doesn't love a good duochrome?)




Both the box and the tube have red replicas of Nicki's signature, just as Viva Glam Gaga and Viva Glam Cyndi did previously (and Ricky's lip conditioner does as well). I think those are the only to do this, though. Before Gaga/Cyndi VG had celebrity endorsers, but the product was not actually inspired by them (for instance there is no Viva Glam Dita Von Teese) 

Once I ooh'd and ahh'd over VG Nicki, I pulled out Chatterbox to see if the comparisons were true. Unfortunately my pictures didn't capture either color totally true to life, but here is what I came up with:


(Chatterbox on top, VG Nicki below)

This is actually my best comparison pic, you can see that Chatterbox is the same color family, but it's darker than VG Nicki. If you have Chatterbox, do you need VG Nicki? Yes, because the money goes towards a great cause. If you're a jerky face and don't care about other people, then still yes. Irl you will find Nicki to be much much more vibrant to Chatterbox. 

I tried to do the same thing I did back when Pink Friday lipstick came out and I compared it to Saint Germain by doing half lip swatches. While Pink Friday and Saint Germain are nearly identical and you couldn't tell the difference, you should be able to see a distinct difference between Chatterbox and VG Nicki. In my pictures, though, they look the same to me. So I apologize, I have failed you. In the below 3 photos, Chatterbox is to your right and VG Nicki is to your left. If anything, I think the pictures made VG Nicki look slightly darker, which it isn't.  




I think maybe this would have all gone better if I'd used natural light. Unfortunately there isn't much of that to be had for me. I'm leaving for work every day while the sun is still not fully up and it's already getting dark by the time I get home around 5. Stupid sun. Stupid Winter.