Thursday, February 28, 2013

My First Blog-iversary!

One year ago today, I decided to start my own blog. I needed a way to document the polishes I had worn and a way to feel productive after four and a half months of being a stay at home mom. But it’s become more than that for me. This is my place to talk about my two favorite hobbies, makeup and nail polish but it’s also become a hobby in its own right. I enjoy the process of preparing each post. I’ve gotten much better at being consistent with my posting and it gives me a fantastic sense of accomplishment. Blogging has been a way to connect with my sister Jenn and friend Sam, both of who live far away from me. And it’s given me something to really do for myself.
My goals for year two are pretty simple. I want to continue consistently posting, the same way I have been for a couple of months. I hope to develop my writing voice a bit more. It’s gotten better but it could definitely use some work. I’d like to improve the blog’s appearance and functionality but that’s definitely going to take most of the year.
I appreciate every single person who reads my posts. It’s nice to know I’m not sending my thoughts out into the abyss. I hope you stick with me through year two.

Happy first birthday, MonkeyToes and Manicures!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Project Pan February Update

Project Pan
It's that time again. I would love to say that February has just flown by and I've hardly noticed that I'm not buying anything new but that would be a complete lie. I do have some progress to share so let's just get right into it.

First, I've used up my ELF Hypershine Gloss in Bubblegum. I realize it looks like there is more product in there but no matter how much I twist the end, nothing else comes out. At first I wasn't impressed with this but I grew to like it. It lasted a while on my lips and was actually a little hydrating. It did have a funky smell but I got over it. I also didn't like the brush applicator because it got really gross looking really quickly but it was easy to wipe off. For $1 it was pretty good but I probably won't repurchase.

Replacing it is ELF's Duo Eye Shadow Cream in Mocha Swirl. I promise I don't have anything against ELF that I want it all out of my collection. It's just that a lot of my ELF products have been with me the longest. Anyways, these are not fantastic cream shadows. They are sticky and have a lot of slip to them. They can be a pain to work with but I've had this for a long time and it's time to use it up and get rid of it.

That's the progress I've made in a month on this powder! It's a combo of now I can see just how much I'm using and a tiny bit of crumbling. Either way I'm pretty happy and I'll keep trying to use this up. It's not horrible but it's nothing special. I wouldn't recommend it because there are a lot other powders out there that are inexpensive and leaps and bounds better in quality.
So that's it for February! I did manage to go the whole month without buying any makeup and I only had one slip up for nail polish. I got one bottle but in my defense, it's definitely limited edition. I'm not making any promises for March as I might decided to buy a few spring polishes I want but I'm going to try to stick to my makeup no buy!
Anyone else make progress with their project pan? Let me know, I love reading these posts!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Influenster Sweetheart Voxbox Unboxing

Have you heard of Influenster? Influenster is a review based community. You participate and use social media to talk about products. At least once a month they pick people to receive vox boxes. You get lots of products to test and play with and you provide honest feedback about the things you receive. This is my third vox box and it's the one I've been the most excited about!

This is the Sweetheart vox box! Inside was Olay Fresh Effects Va Va Vivid! Powered Contour Cleansing System (which is a cleansing brush and Shine Shine Go Away cleanser), Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response antiperspirant, Not Your Mother's She's A Tease Volumizing Hairspray and Skinnygirl Daily On The Go Bar in Greek Yogurt Blueberry Crisp.
I'm so excited for all of these products! I'll be testing them over the next couple of weeks and I'll share some reviews on them soon.
If you are interested in joining Influenster, send me a message and I'll be happy to send you an invite.

I did receive these products for free from Influenster for reviewing purposes. I will always give my honest opinion when I talk about them.

Monday, February 25, 2013

China Glaze Starboard

Continuing on with Anchors Away, this is Starboard. Starboard is a grassy green. I really really love this color but I don't know how to describe why I love it so much. It's bright but not in your face and feels so springy and Easter-y. This was two coats, but I probably should've done three. It looks fine but three would look awesome. It's not a jelly but the cream finish with a glossy top coat looks like jellybeans to me. This would be a great polish if you are looking to show a little Michigan State spirit. I also struggled with this one on drying. I use a fast dry top coat because I'm impatient but it seems with these patience is necessary. I'll try to give myself plenty of dry time on the next one and let you know how that goes.
Anyone else as impatient as I am when it comes to polish drying? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

China Glaze Pelican Gray

Today I have for you China Glaze Pelican Gray! This polish is from one of my all time favorite collections, Anchors Away Spring 2011. It's just really hits the nautical nail on the head and I just love it. Pelican Gray is a pale gray with extremely subtle white shimmer. As in so subtle I have to really really stare at my nails to notice it. The formula on this was not fantastic. It was runny and as you can probably see from the pic, I got  a ton of indents in it because it didn't want to dry, even with a fast dry top coat. Still, this is a great color that does feel very February/early spring to me. It feels like I'm wearing a pastel. This color definitely has a special place in my heart.
Anyone have a favorite winter/spring transition shade? And please tell me your all time favorite nail polish collections!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Neutrogena Health Skin Liquid Makeup

 Besides nail polish, one of my very favorite beauty products is foundation. Today I have one of my favorites to show you. Let's talk about Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup.

The good:
This foundation is a semi matte, very natural looking finish. Coverage is medium but buildable. My redness peeks through pretty much every foundation so it should cover more normal levels of redness and discoloration. It's not drying and doesn't cling to dry patches. For me, wear time is average. It doesn't wear away unevenly and I always think it looks pretty good at the end of the day. If you don't struggle with oily skin or need it to last 12 hours, you could easily skip any setting powders. This dries down pretty quickly but you definitely have plenty of time to blend it out. I usually apply with a brush, either a Sigma F80 or a MAC 187.

 The bad:
The packaging on this is just a really poor design. It's a glass bottle without a pump so it can be a huge mess when you try to pour some out and it's not really safe to travel with. I also find that this can be tricky to apply with fingers or a sponge. I find those methods make it go on a little too thick, at least for me. This is also a little pricey for drugstore foundation.

Final verdict?
With the right application techniques, Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation is a great every day liquid foundation for most skin types. At $10-13 in most drugstores, it's on the expensive side of drugstore foundation but if you buy it from a store with a nice return policy, I'd give it a shot.
Anyone else try Healthy Skin out? What did you think?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Butter London No More Waity, Katie

The first non OPI polish of 2013! This is the only other Butter London polish I own, besides Lovely Jubbly. Honestly, I wanted it mostly for the name because I do so love Wills and Kate but the color is actually really interesting. NMWK is a sheer gray base with lavender glitter. This is three coats and you can see that it's still not perfectly even. The formula on this was nice, no dragging like I had expected. I did use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri and it wasn't as top coat hungry as some polishes tend to be but it definitely has some grit to it. It's also not wearing very well. I'm on day two and I've already got some tip wear. Even with a sheer formula and tip wear, I definitely recommend this polish! I honestly can't think of any that are similar.
Any requests for things you'd like to see?

Monday, February 18, 2013

My MAC Eyeshadow Palette

A year and a half ago, I bought my first MAC products. They were three eye shadows. Ever since I've been hooked. I don't know what it is about MAC that I love, but it has quickly become one of my favorite brands. I love my eyeshadows so much that I actually got three more plus a palette when Sam and I went to the MAC store. Well it's taken me six months but I finally depotted my remaining shadows and put them in my palette. I'm obsessed!

The thing that makes this palette so appealing to me is that it looks like my own custom palette. Which, technically, it is. There are no excuses for having duds in my MAC palette. I can swatch to my heart's content at the counter and pick up just the right colors for me.

Top to bottom, left to right - Shroom, All That Glitters, Mulch, Jest, Copperplate, Motif, Woodwinked
I've grouped my shadows by the way I wear them. The three on the left make a super easy everyday look. Jest and Copperplate make a very sweet neutral look that's still somewhat out of the ordinary.

 Left to right - Woodwinked, Motif, Copperplate, Jest, Mulch, All That Glitters, Shroom
MAC shadows are fantastic quality, regardless of the quality of my swatches. They are soft and buttery and blend really nicely. These swatches are on bare skin so they definitely become more vibrant over a primer or paint pot.
I definitely have a few more on my wishlist but I haven't been out to the counter recently to play with them. I'm thinking Satin Taupe, Sable and Naked Lunch. If you have a favorite MAC shade, do share! I'm definitely looking forward to adding more to my neutral palette in the near future!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

OPI Casino Royale

My very last James Bond polish! This is OPI Casino Royale. The color really freaked my camera out but this is pretty close to color accurate. It's slightly darker in real life but Casino Royale is a plummy, vampy, raspberry tinged red. It looks almost brown in artificial light. The formula on this was pretty bad. Kind of gluey and thick if you tried to do thin coats but difficult to keep from flooding my cuticles when I did thicker coats. I did three coats but it really didn't NEED the third coat. A lovely color, not one of my favorites but still really nice.
Speaking of favorites, I figured now that I've worn all the Bond polishes that I have I figured now would be a good time to tell you my top picks from this collection. This collection was a fairly even mix of love, like, meh and hate for me. My loves from this collection, in no particular order:

clockwise from top left:

Yay! What were your top picks for the Bond collection? Honestly, if you had asked me my predictions from the press release, I'm sure only one of those would've made the cut. Isn't that how it always goes though!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Essential Brushes

I have a confession to make. You may already know that I'm obsessed with nail polish and blushes. What you probably don't know is that I love makeup brushes! I'm very good about being in control of it because I seriously don't need any more. In fact, there are a few I use every day and I rarely use the others, as much as I love them. If all my brushes disappeared, these are the ones I would repurchase without a second thought.

Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki - If I'm going to use a brush for foundation, this is what I reach for. It just buffs everything flawlessly and it's perfect. I've considered others from this line, but for now, I'm happy with just my F80.
Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour - I've tried all manner of other blush brushes but I've used this one the most since I got it two years ago. It's perfect for the way I apply blush. It's super soft, not too big, and very easy to clean. The shape just makes me feel like I have a lot of control with this brush.
ELF Studio Powder Brush - I know others compare this to the F80 and in my opinion, there is no comparison. They have very different jobs. This brush buffs powder in amazingly well. I'd never dream of using it for a liquid foundation but for powder, it's perfect.

Sigma E55 Eye Shading Brush - I tend to be picky with my shader brushes. I need something soft and dense but not too dense. It can't be super big or super small either. The Sigma E55 fits the bill nicely. It is $10 but I think that's totally worth it for this brush.
ELF Essential Eye Crease Brush - I know many prefer a fluffier brush for crease work, but this one just fits better for me and the way I do my eyeshadow. It's very small, like a pencil brush but rounder and a little less dense than a pencil brush. It's not super soft but for a $1 brush, it's held up surprisingly well.
Sigma E25 Blending Brush - When I do need something bigger and softer for my crease or just something to blend, I love this E25 brush. I have the travel size and I really should pick up a full size. It's not too big and it's very soft. I don't tend to be a great judge of when things are properly blended but I find this does a great job without a ton of effort on my part.
ELF Studio Angled Contour Brush - Stay with me here. I use this brush for highlights. Yes, I did just say that. It's a great size for highlighting my brow or my inner corner and the angle makes it so easy. It's just a swipe across my brow and a couple of taps around my tear duct and it's perfect. I honestly don't use anything else for highlights.
ELF Essentials Eyelash and Brow Wand - It's a spoolie. Everyone needs a spoolie. And as long as you aren't looking for a rubber bristled mascara wand instead, all spoolies are the same. So this $1 spoolie works just fine and is super cheap, which is nice because I feel like this is one brush you should replace regularly if you use it on your lashes. I honestly can't live without a spoolie. (Plus spoolie is an awesome word.)

Obviously, there are many brushes (that I use and love) that got left out. These are just my everyday absolutely necessary brushes. And because I was curious, it would cost me $62 to replace all of these brushes. I think that's totally worth it and definitely a good price for a set of brushes I use every time I do my makeup.
What are your favorite brushes? Is there anything I'm missing out on as far as brushes go?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

OPI Die Another Day

My second to last Bond polish! And honestly, I kind of hate this one. I'm not much of a red girl to start with but orange reds? Ugh, no. Die Another Day has this metallic, glowy, burning amber quality to it. Indoors, it looks a little more jewel toned. This is two coats but really only because I was being lazy. It could probably benefit from a third. Formula wasn't crap but it wasn't impressive either. Overall, I'm just meh on this polish and it would be among the first to go if I ever weed out my stash.
Just one more Bond polish! I'm really ready to move onto something else. I don't have any immediate plans for new spring collection purchases but maybe I'll swatch an older spring or summer collection. I'm just so ready to be out of winter!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nail Rehab

Every once in a while, after I've been wearing a lot of polish without any breaks or if I've been particularly hard on my nails, I'll take a few days to let my nails recover. Everyone has a different method of getting their nails back to healthy and pretty but this is mine:

I start by trimming my nails down to basically nothing. Moving put a lot of stress on my nails so they were soft and cracking. Removing all the damage is really the only way for me to keep my nails from cracking even more. Next, I do one coat of Essie's Grow Stronger. I don't know what's in this stuff but it really hardens my nails and prevents cracking and splitting. Some people will remove it and do a fresh coat every couple of days but I don't think it's necessary. I just leave it on for a day or two, remove, add a fresh coat and then manicure. Another essential product for me is Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. Honestly, I dislike the scent and the texture but it does the job and I can live with it if I put it in overnight.
I usually give myself about 3 days for this. I like to have a little length because the initial trim is a little short for my taste. I also like to take the time between the first and second coat of Grow Stronger to give my cuticles a little care. I never let my nails get to the point where I feel like taking a lot more time off from polish would be necessary. With the right amount of care as I go, they never get that bad.
I hope this helps you! I find that it seems like a lot of nail bloggers just swatchswatchswatch and I always wonder if their nails actually look nice under all that polish.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

OPI The World Is Not Enough

We are getting so close to the end of the Bond polishes! This is The World Is Not Enough. OPI describes it as a "rosy silver". It's so much more than that. It can look coppery, almost purple, silvery bronze and of course more of a "rosy silver" depending on the light. It's a very pretty color that definitely fits in well with my collection. This was three coats and while it did look opaque at two, it need the third to really give it depth. It wasn't too gritty feeling but I did use a thick top coat (Insta-Dri). Probably not a must have from the Skyfall collection unless you favor metallics. I'm just finding that I lose any subtle nuances when I wear most metallics and they tend to just look and feel very similar to me. Anyways, just two Bond polishes left!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beauty Bag Reviews

I know I can't give you full reviews on these products, but if you're interested, here are my first impressions on the items that came in the Fall 2012 Target Beauty Bag!

Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy shampoo and conditioner - So impressed! I tried this twice, once when I was letting my hair dry naturally and once when I was blowdrying my hair. Both times, my hair felt soft and smooth and was so shiny. Blowdrying, my hair didn't turn out as nice as it usually does. It was a little flat and lacked some of the definition between layers that I like. But I think that's fixable. I also suffer from psoriasis on my scalp and I did notice that I didn't have any symptoms after using this. I purchased a full size shampoo and plan on purchasing a full size conditioner.
Fekkai Shea Butter shampoo and conditioner - Again, I used this once when I was air drying my hair and once when I was blow drying it. I usually like to use my more moisturizing products when air drying but this didn't really work when I did that. My air dried hair was frizzy and over moisturized. It wasn't weighed down and my ends felt nice but still, not a great look. When I blow dried my hair, it was slightly flatter than I'm used to but it felt soft and silk and stayed looking nice all day long. I don't usually have that, when my hair looks nice at the end of the day, so that was awesome. My only gripe about this is the smell. It smelled like the cheap shampoo you might get at a nicer hotel. A nice set but for the price, it didn't wow me enough to make me cool with purchasing a full size.

Jergens Daily Moisture lotion - I absolutely love this lotion! I'm not very big on lotion at all but this was so nice and hydrating. It wasn't as hydrating as I needed but that's ok because even when I did two layers of it, I didn't feel greasy at all. I really enjoyed the scent, it was light and clean and lasted a long time. I'm not currently looking for a new lotion as I have several that I need to use up but I would definitely consider purchasing this. 
Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer - The texture of this is exactly what I was looking for in a primer. It's not silky or silicone feeling. It's like a thin moisturizer. Then I looked at my hands and it looked like I had rubbed High Beam all over. My face did have an opalescent sheen to it that was NOT good in any way. But once I put all my other makeup on top, I was really happy with the way it looked. It was not flawless but my pores were invisible and my skin looked really nice. I am definitely considering purchasing this.

L'Oreal EverCreme shampoo and conditioner - I only had to use this once to know it's not for me but I had suspected before that sulfate free shampoo and conditioner wouldn't work for me. To it's credit it lathered up a lot more than I thought it would and the shampoo felt nice and moisturizing. Oddly enough, the condioner did not feel like it added any extra moisture to my hair. The scent wasn't horrible but it wasn't really for me. The thing that made me hate this though was that less than 12 hours later, my hair felt greasy and disgusting. It was like I hadn't washed my hair in a week. Yeah, I definitely won't be purchasing either.
L'Oreal EverCreme Deep Nourishing Masque - It felt nice when it was in my hair and after I rinsed it out but when my hair dried, it didn't feel any more moisturized or nourished than it did before. And again, just not a fan of the scent of these products, which is a huge factor for me. I won't purchase this.

I hope this was a helpful post! I'm considering doing more sample reviews because I have so many I want to use up. Would anyone be interested in seeing more posts like this in the future?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

OPI The Spy Who Loved Me

The picture isn't very color accurate but this is OPI's The Spy Who Loved Me. This color is reading much much more red in real life but I think the red shimmer in this freaks my camera out. The Spy Who Loved Me is a very pretty red with red and gold shimmer. If you've ever used a China Glaze glass fleck polish, this looks very similar to that. It's still slightly sheer after two coats but it's even so, I'm ok with VNL. The formula on this was incredible. So easy to use, not too thick or too thin. Seriously, every polish needs to be this amazing. I'm surprised I love this as much as I do, since I'm not really into red. I definitely recommend finding it if you like a good glass fleck or red.
It's been a long week for me. I hope everyone is having a great day!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Recent Purchases

I hesitate to call this a haul because it's a few new things I accumulated over the course of January. I did mention that I struggled to jump back into restricting my spending but I feel like it is worth showing what I've picked up.
I kept seeing the display for the Maybelline Color Whispers and I admit I was sucked in! I got Pin Up Peach and I've worn it just a couple times. I love it so far but like most lip products I feel like I need a lip balm before application. I loved the original Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser for dark circles so I had to pick up the one for dark spots. I like it but I've only used it once so I can't really give it a full review. Everyone talks about how awesome the Maybelline Color Tattoos are (geez, Maybelline got a lot of love this month) and Temptalia gave it an A+ rating, so I had to pick it up. Then Zoya had their three free promo so I got Mimi (which I'm hoping is everything I wanted Sally Hansen Loves Me Not to be), Zuza and Aurora. Meijer had a ton of polish on sale and this Sally Hansen Gem Crush polish in Lady Luck was just calling out to me. Finally, Jenn had one of these and let me try it and I had to get all three with Bath and Body Work's buy two get one free promo. These are the C.O. Bigelow Organics Moisturizing Lip Shines. They smell (and taste) AMAZING! They are super moisturizing too. The apple jelly one is such a nostalgic scent for me. If you've ever been to one of those little cider mills that sells donuts and fresh cider, that's what this smells like. It's a little sugary donut and a little fresh apple cider.
So not a whole lot this month. I'm definitely feeling a lot better about jumping back on the no buy wagon for February. I'm definitely thinking March I'll pick up another Color Whisper, anyone have any favorite shades?