Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hiding in Sunshine Review

Today I have something a little different.  It isn't beauty related at all.  One of my other obsessions is reading so when I received notification that I was getting a book to review from Influenster as part of my Holiday VoxBox I was really excited.  I can often be found reading a book or curled up with my Kindle.  Since I paint my nails a lot, the Kindle is a little easier to manage with wet nails. 

Hiding in Sunshine by John Stuart & Caitlin Stuart

Now onto the book...Hiding in Sunshine by John and Caitlin Stuart was not typically a book I would have picked up.  I normally read science fiction and paranormal romances.  This book is soundly based in reality with not one otherworldly creature mentioned, which was actually quite refreshing.  Within the first 2 chapters I was immediately reminded of reading Dan Brown's Deception Point and Digital Fortress.  Both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  They were thrilling, suspenseful, and kept me wondering what was going to happen next.  Hiding in Sunshine delivered the same.  The pace was a little slower than I'm used to but it fit the story.  A faster pace wouldn't have made sense for the plot or fit well with the development of the characters.

Here is a description of the book:

Living lives of quiet affluence in a historic, suburban Boston town, Gavin and Lisa Brinkley had no idea how quickly and decisively their lives, and those of their two young daughters, could be upended. A series of events - a mysterious break-in at their home, some menacing tailgating on the highway from Boston, a startling visit from an F.B.I. agent warning of an imminent kidnapping attempt - leads to the family's abrupt uprooting from its comfortable existence into a terrifying new existence on the run, under new identities. This taut thriller by a father-daughter team follows the eleven-year odyssey of an American family on the run, in hiding through the mountain states of the American west, where survival skills and living off the grid are paramount, but so are friendship, cooperation, and resilience. The enemy, always lurking just out of sight, is a foreign cyber-criminal enterprise that launches breathtaking assaults on the American banking system and physical infrastructure, but the Brinkleys also know that the threat is deeply personal, reaching ever closer to them from the shadows of the past. At the same time, Gavin and Lisa discover the perils of wandering too close to the edges of the dark side, in the murky world of cyber-security. A compelling story of suspense and treachery, HIDING IN SUNSHINE is also a celebration of a family's abiding love and courage -- and a young girl's faith in the triumph of the truth.

Here is my review:

This book kept me engaged the whole time.  I very much enjoyed it and couldn't wait to find out what happened next.  Every time I put it down I couldn't wait to pick it back up again.  I was invested in the Brinkley family and their journey through various identities as they struggle to keep their family safe and stay alive.  They make a huge transition from a wealthy family with not a care in the world to roughing it in Montana in the wilderness with made up identities to protect themselves.  At every turn something was challenging their safety, yet they kept up hope that someday they would get their lives back.  Then ending provided a twist that I didn't see coming.  I was surprised and thrilled to see how things ended.  I also appreciate reading a story with issues that are real.  Cyber security and identity theft are very real threats that we face today.  The authors didn't choose to write about pop fiction like vampires and werewolves, they chose to write about something that made me think "some of this could actually happen" and "how much of this is happening now and I don't know about it".  I think John and Caitlin Stuart did a wonderful job and they should be very proud of their book.  You can tell they really put a lot of themselves into it. 

You can check out Hiding in Sunshine on Amazon or Goodreads.  I would recommend this book and look forward to seeing what the Stuarts come up with next.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nails Inc. Shaftesbury Avenue

This is my first foreign brand of polish.  It was a Christmas gift from my husband.  It was a brand of polish that I didn't already have, so I commend him on his shopping.  This is Shaftesbury Avenue by Nails Inc.  It is made in London and you can find it at Sephora in the US.  This is one of their magnetic polishes, and the first magnetic I've shown on the blog.

The star came out best on both thumbs
Its a lovely green color on its own without the magnetic effect but it does have some brushstrokes.  That's common I've found with the magnetic polishes.  I have some drugstore ones that I've used before I started blogging and some are better than others.  This one however applied very nicely.  Usually I have a hard time getting the magnetic effect to show up without several tries.  This polish worked very well and I only had to redo a few nails and that was because I smudged them not because the magnet/polish didn't work.  The magnetic cap has a guard on it but if you aren't paying attention to keeping it level over your nail you can     smudge the end of your nail which is what happened to me.

No effect on a nail wheel

What do you think of magnetics?  I've got a few others, and they are hit or miss.  I need to experiment with the magnet from this one to see if it is the polishes or the magnets that make the biggest difference in successful outcome.  I find that the image is really sharp when you first apply the magnet and then it gets fuzzy as the polish dries.  I'm happy with the outcome with this polish and it dried relatively quickly.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

OPI The Color to Watch

I've got an older OPI color for you today.  This is The Color to Watch.  It is from the Swiss Collection from 2010.  I actually have a few colors from this collection.  I picked this up right before Christmas.  Purple is my favorite polish color, and this one is a little bit unique.

 This polish is a bit of an enigma, it looks like it might be a duochrome, but it doesn't really shift.  It is shimmery, frosty, and pearly all at the same time.  The base is purple but is has microglitter particles of blue, silver, and pink/red.  Even with all the shimmer, I didn't have any issues with brush strokes.

This polish is pretty sheer, you'd think it would be opaque from the look of the bottle again its deceiving.  You are looking at atleast 3 coats for full coverage, but I recommend atleast 4, maybe even 5.  Other than being sheer, the formula applied nicely.  Dry time was pretty quick so it wasn't too bad to do so many coats.  Definitely have your quick try top coat handy.  I find that adding oil after the quick dry top coat is dry really helps speed things up too.  Wait about 5 minutes then add cuticle oil, its good for your cuticles and it helps dry the polish (keeps it from smudging too).

I purchased this with my own money and the opinions are my own.

OPI Skyfall

Today I have Skyfall, the namesake polish from the OPI Holiday 2012 collection inspired by James Bond.  I've picked up a few polished from the Skyfall Collection here and there.  Skyfall is a beautiful rich maroon color that I normally wouldn't go for, but for some reason it was calling my name.

Ox-blood colors have been really popular for the last few months and this one fits right in.  I think its a great neutral color that is work appropriate as it isn't an in your face red.  It has the great cream formula that OPI is known for.  In some lights it almost makes me think its a jelly polish, but it is definitely a cream.  It just has that jelly like shine to it in certain lights, but it is completely opaque.  At first I did 2 coats for full coverage but once it dried, I decided I needed a third since I had some streaks that I didn't notice until it was fully dry.

The formula applied smoothly and leveled nicely.   The brush is wider which I like.  I don't usually wear red polish, but I think Skyfall will be making repeat appearances.

I purchased this product with my own money and the opinions are my own.

Friday, January 18, 2013

EBOOST Pink Lemondade

I received a packet of EBOOST in my Influenster Holiday Voxbox to test.  This time I got the Pink Lemondade  flavor.

I like this one better than the orange, which I had in my Naturals box a few months ago.  Both are good but I like the lemonade better if I had to pick one over the other.  I've used similar supplements that tasted horrible, like you crushed up a multivitamin and added it to whatever you were drinking.  This didn't have the medicinal aftertaste.  It wasn't too fizzy either.  I have a cold this week and this came in handy.  I like that it uses Stevia instead of Aspartame or Saccharin as the sweetener.

The Natural Energy Booster with a tangy citrus burst and a lasting natural energy boost! This EBOOST formula is loaded with green tea, vitamins and super nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B-12 in an easy to mix effervescent packet. It's low calorie and sweetened with Stevia too.

EBOOST® Natural Energy

Additional information about E Boost from Influenster:

Americans are busier than ever but we’ve relied on bad energy to keep up…until now.

EBOOST is a boost that does more. It’s a mood boost, focus boost, immunity boost, natural boost, a no-crash boost.

EBOOST uses real ingredients, stuff you’ve heard of like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Green Tea, Vitamin B-12 and Folic Acid. And the stuff you might not have heard of: Quercetin, 5-HTP, Resveratrol, Huperzine-A — it’s all good too. What could be sweeter than that? Well, we even sweeten our product with Stevia, a plant, not a chemical.

What started as a celebrity secret for A-Listers like Madonna, Shakira, Oprah Winfrey and Amar’e Stoudemire is now a necessity for the multi-tasking generation. We took the time to formulate a multi-purpose product that really works so you don’t have to waste time with mediocre products that sort of work.

Get your boost with the convenience of a shot, or an easy-to-mix powder packet in four delicious flavors: Super Berry, Orange, Pink Lemonade and Acai Pomegranate. No matter how you boost, you’re sure to feel great. All day, every day.

You can find EBOOST at Whole Foods Market, Vitamin Shoppe, Duane Reade, Equinox, 24h Fitness, local gourmet stores and natural markets, and at www.eboost.com.

NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine

I received a tube of NYC Liquid Lipshine in my Influenster Holiday Voxbox.  The color I got was Nude York City.  It has just a hint of color and shimmer and I think would compliment any skin tone.

The thing I love about this lipgloss is that it doesn't get sticky or dry out like some lip glosses do.  This one isn't sticky at all.  It applies smoothly and shiny.  There is no hair sticking to your face because of your lipgloss with this product.  Other issues I have with lipgloss is its dries out and makes my lips feel waxy after it wears off, this doesn't do that.  It keeps my lips moisturized even after the color wears off.

I will be buying more of these in multiple colors.  I've seen it retailing at Target for $2-3.

Info from Influenster's site
Straight from the city that never sleeps, NYC New York Color offers products with uptown style at down-to-earth prices, from $.99 - $4.99. The energy, style, and color of New York City shines through the wide range of shades, textures and innovative products. NYC always delivers the most on-trend products & shades hot off the runway!

Have you heard the gossip? There’s a new gloss in town! NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine is getting headlines with seriously high-drama color at a seriously low price. Pure pigments give a 3-D effect that’s off-the-charts glossy. Tons of hot new shades, from preppy nudes to bold statement hues – all for less than your weekly fashion magazine.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sole Society Review

So one of the things I received in my Influenster Holiday Voxbox was a coupon code, INFLUENSTER25 (good until 1/31/13), for Sole Society.  The code was good for $25 off of your first purchase. 

I have been a member of Sole Society for months, but I've never bought anything.  I have been window shopping all the beautiful shoes for months.  I love shoes and have a ton.  I don't like ordering shoes online if I don't know the brand.  Sole Society makes it really easy to buy and return shoes if they don't fit.  I have tiny feet so shoe shopping is tough for me since retail stores don't carry a lot of stock of 5.5 shoes.

These are the shoes I bought, for 24.95.  They are called Alexis.  They fit perfectly as described on the website, and I can't wait for the warmer months to wear them.  I have the perfect black dress with nude trim to go with them.

Check out Sole Society here and get started building your virtual shoe closet.

Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+

I received a sample of Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ in my Holiday Voxbox from Influenster.  I received Cherry Pistachio.  I eat oatmeal for breakfast alot and I frequently add nuts and dried fruit to it.

Now I'm not a huge fan of cherry flavored products, and pistachios aren't my nut of choice.  I was determined to keep an open mind because Quaker typically puts out tasty stuff.  I was really surprised when I opened the container and found dried cherries as a opposed to cherry flavoring.  I like real cherries and sweetened dried cherries.  Things were already looking up.  I added hot water to the fill line following the instructions and waited the allotted time.  I removed the lid and was really excited, the oatmeal smelled like cookies.  The pistachios went really well with the cherry and spices in the oatmeal.  The package says to adjust water to preference, which is the only thing I would change.  I prefer my oatmeal I little thicker and it was a little thin for my preference filling it to the line in the container.  Depending on the texture you prefer you can adjust the amount of water to get the oatmeal the way you like it without affecting the flavor.

The Cherry Pistachio would be the least likely flavor for me to try, and it was delicious!  If the other flavors are as good as the Cherry, then this is a product that I'll be keeping on hand regularly.  I can't wait to try the Apple, Peach, and Berry. 

Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ (Quaker Website: http://bit.ly/SisCEf )

- The best oatmeal ever - made to-go
- Packed with wholesome multigrains and chunks of real fruits or nuts
- Portable single-serve cups

Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ is simply the best oatmeal ever – and you can enjoy it on the go! Whole grain oats, rye, barley and wheat are mixed with large chunks of real fruit & nuts in a convenient single-serve cup. Just add hot water or microwave and you can have a delicious breakfast anytime, anywhere. Enjoy all four delicious flavors – Apple Walnut, Cherry Pistachio, Peach Almond and Summer Berry.
Influenster Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal Product Page: http://bit.ly/U1EaIY

Goody QuikStyle Paddly Brush

One of the items I received in my Influenster Holiday Voxbox was the Goody QuikStyle Paddle Brush. It claims to remove 30% water for faster drying. I'm not sure what percent of water the brush removes, but I know my hair dries faster. I haven't noticed that the brush is wet after I dry my hair. I blow-dry then straighten my hair from its naturally unruly wavy state 3-4 times a week before I head to work, so I welcome anything that saves me time in the morning. I actually cut several inches off my hair so I wouldn't have to spend as much time on styling. My hair takes forever to dry, so I have to blow-dry before I straighten it. I wish I had this brush 2 months ago. I could have kept my length and done my hair in the same amount of time. I'm down to less than 15 minutes to dry and straighten my shoulder length hair.

I have also noticed that I don't have to use as much heat with my straightener which is a bonus.  The less heat to my hair the less damage.  My hair also stays straighter with the use of this brush which I love!!!  Normally after a blowout and straightening my hair, I get frizzy and wavy by the end of the day if there is any moisture in the air.  With winter upon us I would normally not even bother to do my hair.  Since I got this in my holiday box I decided to give it a try.  I've been doing my hair atleast 3 times a week, and I've noticed with the use of this brush and my normal styling products and routine I'm still straight at the end of the day and into the next day.

Here are some pictures of my hair routine from this morning.  My total styling time was less than 15 minutes. I wrap my hair in a towel after washing it.  After blow drying with the QuikStyle I straightened my hair with my straightening iron few minutes.

Towel Dried Hair

3 minutes with the Quikstyle and my hair dryer.  Totally dry hair

Still straight after a full day of work.  No styling products.  I wore my winter hat today too.
I really like this brush. I've always been a fan of Goody products. On the days I don't dry my hair straight you can usually find a Goody headband, hair tie, or spin pin in my hair. The spin pins are amazing but that's a post for another day. I think I might actually get the round version of this brush for those days I want to add some curl and volume, both brushes sell at Target for around $12. They also make a comb Target has them for around $6, but my store was sold out or I would have gotten one.

With this brush in my beauty drawer I now can have the length and style I want without spending an hour drying and styling it. 

Some info from Influenster's Page:
The Goody® brand is part of Newell Rubbermaid®’s Home Solutions Business Unit. More than 100 years of innovation has made Goody the most widely-recognized manufacturer of hair accessories and styling tools in the world. Through proprietary brands such as DoubleWear™, QuikStyle™, Simple Styles™, Slide-Proof™ and Ouchless®, Goody has introduced smart innovations like the exclusive Spin Pin and QuikStyle Brush. With products inspired by the latest designer trends and innovative solutions, Goody offers an inspiring range of hair accessories and styling tools. Goody and Newell Rubbermaid are headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

SPOTTED : $12.99 at Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Duane Reade

Some info from Goody's Product Page:

Go from wet to beautifully styled hair faster than ever!  Super absorbent microfiber bristles remove 30% of water as you style*. It's like a towel and a brush in one.
Absorbent microfiber bristles remove 30% of water for faster styling
Antimicrobial microfiber keeps the brush fresh
Side Vents for maximum air flow
Lightweight design to reduce hand fatigue while drying
Ergonomic handle is textured for extra grip

*In laboratory testing, the Goody QuikStyle brush removed an average 30% of water from hair across a variety of hair types. Results vary upon usage.

How to use: 
Use the paddle brush as you would use your usual brush.  To help speed your styling routine, the brush is designed for detangling wet hair, quick removal of excess water and styling with or without a hair dryer.

How to dry: 
The brush will air dry following use.  A blast of hot air from your hair dryer will speed the drying of the microfiber bristles.

How to clean: 
Gently run a wide tooth comb through the bristles to remove excess hair, then wash the bristles with warm water and shampoo.  To refresh the microfiber bristles, turn the brush over and tap the back with the palm of your hand.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Custom Indie Glitter

This is a new glitter that I got from Amy's Nail Boutique.  It is a custom polish that Amy made for a polish group I belong to.  I love it so much that I just had to share it.  She makes customs as well as has a fully stocked etsy shop which you can find here.  I really recommend checking her out, her polishes are beautiful and the quality is amazing.
This polish applied like a dream despite the fact that it is loaded with glitter of various shapes and sizes.  It has blue and purple squares, magenta pink circles, micro holo sparkles.   I put a coat of Gelous over it to smooth things out, but whatever top coat you like should do the trick if you have an errant glitter or two.  It was pretty smooth already and dries really fast.

My husband even noticed I had changed things up from original mani.  He actually said "Hey, that's pretty."  He usually never notices my nails, other than to say that nail polish and remover smell bad or that I have too much of it.  This is shown over Zoya Perrie, which you can see here



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Zoya Perrie

In honor of Zoya's promo that's going on right now, I thought I'd go with one of my favorites, Zoya Perrie.  Zoya is running a promotion where you get 3 free polishes of your choice through January 13th you just have to pay $10 shipping and processing.  See the info here.  The code is ZOYA2013.  I still haven't decided what I'm going to get yet.

Perrie is from the Flash Collection and I picked it up during the Earth Day Promo this year when I ordered the majority of my Zoya's.  I love Zoya's toxin free formula.  Zoya is one of my favorite brands.

The creme formula of Perrie is like butter and depending on the way you apply your polish could be a one coater.  I used 2 here because I missed some spots, but that is due to operator error not the polish.  The formula for Perrie leveled quickly and dry time was only a few minutes between coats.  I've found this to be the case with almost every Zoya I've used so far.

Zoya describes Perrie as:  A beautiful, soft and glossy lavender.  It is shiny, and I love purple.  Perrie leans a little towards the pink side, but that's ok because it is still purple.  I don't like pink but this is fun and girly.  You could do alot of with this as far as nail art or glitter topcoats go or just leave her be and let her shine on her own.  If you want a glittery version I'd try Rory from the Surf Collection.  I have the perfect glitter to pair with this and plan to post that next.  It is a custom indie that I just got.  Look for that in my next post.

I had never heard of Zoya before March 2012 and now I own about 30 of them and I always want their new collections.  The Zoya Fairies are always posting promos on their facebook page and blog.  Check out Zoya Perrie here and sign up for an account.  New accounts get a promo code for a coupon for a FREE Bottle of Zoya Nail Polish and it will automatically be placed in their account and can be used immediately on their current order. If you add another bottle to your cart you get free shipping.  The coupon will appear in the "My Coupons/Promos" section of their "My Account" Page.  Two Zoya's for $8 shipped is a steal.  They are always adding promos to your account and Share the Love points just because.  Their customer service is amazing too, one of the remaining companies I've come across where the customer actually matters.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Liquid Lacquer Sexy Secretary

I have been waiting to wear this polish since the day I got it.  It was Christmas time, so I was doing green and red holiday manicures.  Liquid Lacquer is one of the few indies I own and I love Melissa's polishes.  I've got a few more coming to me in the mail.  If you like jelly sandwiches you'll love Sexy Secretary.

Sexy Secretary is a beautiful taupe grey jelly base with copper colored hex and micro glitter.  There are also some holographic micro particles in there too for some added sparkle.  The minute I saw this in her shop I had to have it.  The contrast of the orange on the grey base is stunning.  It is

What you see here is 4 coats.  The first coat is fairly sheer but packed with glitter.  The formula applies smoothly with each coat and dry time is extremely fast which makes easy to build up to the desired opacity.  This polish built to full opacity after 3 coats but I did and additional coat for personal preference.  This polish is like a jelly sandwich in a bottle.   

Check out Liquid Lacquer on Facebook.  She will be posting info on her next restocks and creations there.


I purchased this polish with my own money and the opinions are my own

OPI Giftcards for Everyone

I had a hard time getting an accurate photo of this one.  Giftcards for Everyone was one of the 3 Ulta exclusives that OPI released for the holidays this past year.  This one is purple with blue glass flecks.  In all of my pictures it looks blue, but it is definitely more purple on the nail.


Application was great.  This polish has the normal OPI brush.  This is 3 coats.  Dry time was average.  This polish had really good wear time as well.  I wore it for several days before changing my polish.  It lasted through holiday baking, decorating, present wrapping, and other holiday festivities before showing signs of wear and tear.


I received this as a promotion with purchase,.  This was a free gift with purchase of two other OPI polishes at Ulta before Christmas.  I purchased 2 polishes as well as 2 others to get the green holiday polish Skip the Giftwrap.  I would have gotten Last Minute Shopper the magenta one too but they were sold out.  They are probably gone now but you might be able to snag these on clearance at Ulta or through a swap or blog sale.
The opinions are my own.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Kiss Nail Dress

I received a pack of Kiss Nail Dress in my Influenster Holiday box. The pattern I received was KDS15 Teddy, black based with a gold spiral design. The gold dots are slightly raised but they aren't terribly rough.

There are 28 strips in the box and a nail file. The strips can be used on finger or toes. I opted to used them on my fingers. These were much easier to apply than other polish strips that I've used. You can make minor adjustments before you file the strips down completely to fit your nail. These strips are thicker than other strips I've used which I prefer as well. Another benefit is there is no dry time with these. These took me about 10 minutes to apply.

Other strips I've used take a lot longer because they are so hard to apply smoothly. I applied a nail treatment prior to putting on the strips so some of them lifted shortly after I applied them. They are supposed to last 10 days instead of 10 minutes. I blame myself. Most of the strips were staying down really well but only a few were lifting. On the other hand removal was really easy. They came right off. No soaking or scrubbing with acetone or remover.

I really like the idea of these strips and the designs are unique. I would recommend these for someone who doesn't have a lot of time and wants some bling on their nails for a special event. If you are nail art challenged or don't want to deal with sequins or gems I would use these.   I would use these again.