Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blogger Secret Santa Gift

Monday night, the 19th, we were finally able to open out Secret Santa gifts. Thanks to Sheila who organized the Secret Santa exchange, she also organized a video chat on Google+ for us to open our gifts with each other. It was certainly a lot more fun doing it this way--a virtual Christmas party where we got to see each others expressions as we opened up our gifts. Unfortunately, my webcam wasn't syncing with Google+ for some reason and no one could see me. Actually, those of you in video chat were fortunate--haha!

The people who participated in this year's exchange were:

Ashley -
D -
Evie -
Jamilla -
Jian -
Kat (me)  -
Lulu -
Rosalia -
Sheila -
Vicky -
Yinnie -
Vonnie -

This year my Secret Santa was Vonnie! She said that I was hard to shop for! Sorry Vonnie. I thought that I made it easy since I actually did a wish list this year. Last year, I didn't do any wish list and drove my Secret Santa nuts!

My gift actually was in two parts. The first package that arrived was actually the 2nd part and the 2nd package that arrived was the 1st part. I opened the first package and TA DAAA!

A package full of yummy Lindt Chocolate Truffles! I love those candies! Also enclosed was a Christmas card with a note revealing that she was my Secret Santa.

I then opened up the 2nd package and was surprised by one of the items on my wish list! Tarte's The Starlet Limited-Edition Makeup Vanity! I had actually considered buying it when it got released but then decided not to because it was something that I didn't need. When Secret Santa came up, I decided to put it onto my wish list. It is a 3-layer palette which has 4 different color-themes.

This picture is from the Sephora website as I couldn't get a good picture of the case.
It has a metallic type of finish and the flash just reflects off of it .

The 1st two layers/drawers are eyeshadows and the bottom drawer is Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-hour blushes, bronzer and shimmering powder. Also in the 2nd drawer is a mascara and eyelash primer. You can click on the drawer pictures to bring up a bigger picture. Thank you so much Vonnie for this wonderful Secret Santa gift! I can't wait to try everything.

Thank you Sheila for organizing this exchange again this year. This year I was Secret Santa for Sheila, which was ironic because she was mine last year. It is through this exchange last year that I got to know Sheila much, much better and we are now good friends. For me, that is the most important aspect of joining an exchange like this. I've become better acquainted with bloggers and the friendships that I have formed are priceless.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Incoco, Take 3 NOTD

Ever since discovering Incoco Nail Polish Strips, I've been loving doing manicures. I know that I just posted my festive, Christmasy NOTD, which was okay but I felt was a little too busy and too much for my preference. I had to change out of it and decided to use what I think is one of the more popular designs as I can't find it in stock very often. This one is called Ballerina Princess.

I thought that it was pink when I first bought it but after looking at it better, there is a lavender hue to it. After applying it to my nails, it shows up much more and it's so pretty! There is a hint of fine micro glitter in it, which isn't visible in the picture but shows up really nicely especially in natural sunlight.

I thought Golden Lattice from my first post was my favorite but I believe that Ballerina Princess is my favorite. It is a beautiful pink-lavender shade with light gradation.

I did find that this set of nail polish strips seemed to be of a little different consistency from the other two that I used. It felt thinner, seemed more tacky and stretched more easily. Because it seemed to be more tacky, it adhered to the nails really quickly and firmly. Also because it stretched more easily, it was a little more difficult to use the other half of the strip on the other hand. I had some problem with it crinkling. It's good to make a mental note that if the strips seem to be of this type of consistency, it might be better to not try to use one strip on two nails.


Christmas Is In The Air

With the holidays fast approaching, it's beginning to feel more and more festive. Helping to add to that festive feeling is the blessings that I have received in the way of love packages and Christmas packages over the past couple of weeks. This is in addition to the Secret Santa packages that I received.

First of all was a love package from Yu Ming of Beauty-Box-Online. We follow each other on twitter and she remembered that I had once said that I was interested in trying out the MDB Earl Gray Tea & Macaron Masks and Chocolate Truffle Masks. She kindly offered to send me some since it hadn't worked out for her. Along with that, she included a few sample items. I can't wait to try all of the items out. Thank you so much Yu Ming!

Justine of Sakura Lovely and I also follow each other on twitter and we discovered that besides interest in makeup, we also share an interest in paper crafts and both fangirl cute, sexy and hot Johnny's entertainers. She sent me a lovely handmade card with an ornament that was designed and cutout using her new Cricut machine. It will definitely go on my tree when we finally put it up. I forgot to include them in the picture but she also sent me some lovely masks, one of which I can't wait to try--it's an eye mask. Thank you Justine for the beautiful card which was made with love.

I was really surprised today when I got a package from Mona of Make Me Blushhh. It was totally unexpected and she very quietly and sneakily sent it. All housed in a lovely zip pouch were some masks (we really can't have too many masks), nail polish, hand cream and a bag. I love bags and this one is a pretty pink and white print. The hand cream really intrigues me since it's a Vitamin + B12 hand cream. I can't wait to try this out. Thank you for the very lovely surprise Mona!

I also got two Christmas presents, which I opened up already because the two senders told me to open it. From Sheila of Maddy Loves, I got so many wonderful things! There's a bottle of Beauty So Clean that I had wanted to try. Each item included was neatly labeled with a note on it. I can't wait to try everything in there. One thing that I really wanted to highlight is that she made a beautiful necklace. On a sterling silver chain, there is a sterling silver shoe charm and a swarovski crystal bead in the color Clear AB. In the picture with all of the other items, it was taken with a flash so the crystal is showing up as blue so I also took a closeup picture of it with no flash so that you can see the beauty of clear crystal AB. It is my favorite color because it reflects different colors. Thank you so much Sheila for the heartfelt Christmas present. Thank you also for not keeping me in suspense and letting me open it early.

Lulu of Luluchinadoll is another blogger who I got to know very well through Twitter. She sent me a wonderful Christmas present as well. We are both Hello Kitty lovers and she sent me the cutest pair of Hello Kitty socks! I will wear this with my Hello Kitty PJs. I can't wait to try out the different makeup items that she included too. Thank you Lulu. I'm so glad that we've gotten to know each other through Twitter and blogging.

I also received another Christmas present from Tiffany of Rocketeer but I don't have any pictures yet because I haven't opened it yet. Thank you for thinking of me Tiffany. We discovered each other through blogging but found that we are bound together by something in common. Fate--life is interesting in that way, isn't it?


Monday, December 12, 2011

Blogger Secret Santa Exchange

A really quick post since I'm doing this at work...

Last year I joined in my very first Blogger Secret Santa Exchange that was hosted by Sheila of Maddy Loves and really enjoyed it. I was so happy when she announced that she was going to be hosting it again this year and I quickly signed up.

As per the "rules", we are to post a picture of our package after we receive it. I found out that there were two packages that were being sent separately and the 2nd package finally arrived.

As you can see, I have written on the packages in which order they are to be opened as I was instructed. I am not supposed to open these until Christmas Day. There is a possibility that we may do a video group chat to open our gifts together so whichever comes first is when I'm supposed to wait to open. I need to hide my packages so that I won't be tempted to open and find out who my Secret Santa is. Whoever you are, thank you and I can't wait!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Purchase Review: Naked 2 and EOTD

When I first heard a few months back about there being a Naked 2 that was going to be released, I wasn't excited about it as the rest of the beauty blogging world was. I have Naked 1 and it's a really lovely neutral palette but a palette in which most of the colors are a bit too warm for my liking. I am also not much of a neutral colors kind of person. However, after seeing some of the early reviews by beauty bloggers that received the palette before the release date, I changed my mind. The reason being that it's a palette in which the colors lean toward being on the cool-toned side.

As soon as the released dated arrived, I went to Urban Decay's website hopeful but not getting my hopes up because one of the disadvantages to living in Hawaii is being in the latest time zone in the States. I was sure that it had already sold out by the time I went on at 8:00 a.m. Hawaii time but already 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. in the rest of the States. To my surprise, I was able to order a palette and received a notification 5 hours later that my order had been shipped!

8 days later, my order arrived and included was a gold eyeliner pencil.

I'm sure you've all read about the new packaging and the included mini lipgloss and brush so I won't go into much details about it.

You can click on this picture to view it at a larger size

While I normally don't use the included applicators, this double-ended brush is nice and of nice quality so this is one applicator that I will be using.

The nice features about the palette is that it comes in a tin and has snap closures on each side. This ensures that the palette is securely closed and much easier to travel with, if you choose to.

In Naked 1 my favorite color is Half-Baked and that color in included in Naked 2. In Naked 2, I have to say that probably my favorite color is Pistol. I tend to favor silvers, grays, silver/grayish taupes, charcoals and blacks and those colors are what I consider to be my neutral colors.

For my EOTD, these are the products I used:

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Eden
Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette--Foxy, Verve, Pistol and Busted
K-Palette Real Lasting Eyeliner
Fairy Drops Mascara

My eyeshadow application is basically always using the same technique but using different colors. Primed my eyelid with Eden and lightly applied Foxy just under the eyebrow on the brow bone. Verve is in the inner 1/3 of eyelid and is blended upward just above the creaseline but not going into the contour/eye socket area. I also always like to blend it outward in that area above the creaseline so that the color fades out. Pistol is applied to the middle of the eyelid. Again, blending it upward and outward into the same area but at the outer 1/3 of the eye, I like to blend this color up onto the brow bone. I also blend well so that you can't tell where Verve ends and Pistol begins. Busted is applied to the outer 1/3 of the eye, blending upward to just above the crease line and fading out into the brow bone. Normally I like to smoke it out more and apply the same color or a charcoal or black to the outer "V" but I decided not to this time. Lined my upper lashline with K-Palette and the outer 1/3 of lower lashline.  I almost never completely line my lower lashline  because it tends to make my eye makeup look too harsh and can actually make my eyes appear smaller than they are. I lightly applied PIstol on top of K-Palette that has been applied to the lower lashline to soften it a bit. I have never mentioned this before but I usually do this with eyeshadow to soften the liner. I also try to fade the color inward toward the middle of the eye. I also applied Verve to the middle of lower lashline.

It is a good look for the day and for those who work in conservative offices. For the evening, you can "glam" it up by smoking the look. I came home and applied Blackout to the outer "V" area and blended it so there were no harsh lines.

This eye look is definitely more me. The first look is a little too soft for my preference and I actually was asked if I was feeling tired or coming down with a cold. I guess people who see me on a regular basis are used to me with a smoky eye look too.

Naked 2 is a nice addition to my growing eyeshadow collection. I can see myself using this palette much more than Naked 1.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Incoco NOTD

Since I mentioned in last night's post that I bought a Christmasy Incoco nail strip set, I thought that I would post about it today since I couldn't find it last night to take a picture of it. There were several different designs available, but I liked this one the best.

I applied the nail strips and about a half hour after I was done, I went to shower, washed my hair and dried and styled it. I then took this picture.

As you can see, it still looks freshly applied with no tip wear or chips. There's no way that I would have the same results if I used bottled nail polish. Sorry my middle nail is short because it tore off earlier today when I had no nail polish on. I now have festive nails, ready for the holiday season.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Purchase Review & Comparison: Incoco vs. Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips

Again, sorry for the lack of posts and slow responses to comments. I've been sick for about a week now but in actuality have not been myself for several months. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and while I don't have a sinus infection, I do have sinus congestion so he told me take a different decongestant and prescribed a nose spray. In just 24 hours, I feel great! I don't feel like I'm in a fog anymore, don't have a dull headache and can actually breathe in air unconstricted. I didn't realize that I wasn't breathing in much air before. I'm actually feeling a lot like my old self and have energy again.

As promised a few posts back, I am here today to do a comparison between the Incoco brand nail polish strips and Sally Hansen nail polish strips. It was in this post that I showcased my NOTD using Incoco. This is my manicure after nearly two weeks of wearing it.

As you can see, my nails had grown and actually were getting too long that they were bugging me. It was time to cut my nails and remove this manicure. I'm always amazed by how long lasting these polishes are because I normally chip my nails within the first 24 hours.

This is what the Incoco nail strip packet looks like.

The cost of the pack is $13.00 but if you buy 3 or more, the cost goes down to about $10.00 each. (There are two sets of the strips in the pack.)  Also included, but not pictured, is a mini cuticle stick, an emery board, nail polish remover packet and some sample nail strips. The sample nail strips come two strips to a pack. These are great for if you are first starting out with this system because it gives you a chance to play with it and not use your pack to do the trial.

Sally Hansen nail strips is in a box and is like this:

What is not pictured is the 2nd packet of nail strips. The cost of it is an average of $10.00 per box. It also includes a cuticle stick and an emery board.

My nails after applying Sally Hansen nail strips.

For Sally Hansen, when I was peeling the nail strip off of the backing, it didn't peel off cleanly. Part of the side of the strip stayed stuck on the backing. For me, that is no problem because I have really tiny nails but for those with wider nails, it might be a problem if it sticks like that. I don't know if this means that there is more sticking power to it than Incoco, but I didn't experience this problem with Incoco.

A blogger friend commented that she can't apply the Sally Hansen nail strips because it looks bumpy on her. I didn't have this problem either although I did find that I couldn't reposition the strips after it stuck to my nail. Again, it could be that it just has more sticking power to it than Incoco, which in some ways is good. With Incoco, I am able to put it on lightly and slowly and carefully manipulate it into position.

I'm not sure if it's my imagination or not but I also think that Sally Hansen is thicker or has a more plastic-y feel to it than Incoco. The length of each strip is the same for Incoco and Sally Hansen. If your nails are relatively short like mine, I find that I can use one strip for both hands' nails. For example, I can apply the pinky-sized strip to my right hand, flip it around and apply it to my left hand. This way, each pack will last for two manicures instead of one. You can view Incoco's "how to apply" instructions here. While it does take some practice to apply it easily, for me it is so much better than spending time painting my nails and waiting for it to dry completely. I always end up smudging it or ruining it somehow. I also have problems waiting for each layer to dry properly so that's probably why it chips so easily.

My own personal opinion is that I prefer Incoco over Sally Hansen. Somehow, it just feels like it's a better quality nail strip. I think that Incoco's collection of designs and colors, are much more elegant than Sally Hansen's. Sally Hansen has glittery strips that are really glittery or design prints that are actually quite busy, like the one that I applied. Both wore well on me and lasted nearly two weeks before any chipping or peeling occurred. That is a miracle for me because I use my hands a lot and am really rough on my nails.

In Hawaii, there is an Incoco kiosk at Ala Moana Shopping Center, which is where I first discovered this nail polish concept. A kiosk just opened at the mall which is close to me, which is a good and bad thing. I just purchased a Christmas design, which will be my new manicure. Unfortunately, I don't know where I put it so I can't take a picture of it right now.

Have you tried either or both? What are your thoughts about it?