Fall releases, some new Zoyas

July is barely over, but pre-fall and fall collections are already starting to be released. Does time fly or what?

While I love fall colors and fall clothing and everything about fall, it does make me a little bummed out. Instead of looking ahead to a long summer we're now looking ahead to Labor Day and everything that comes with it. To this day, when I see a back-to-school shopping commercial on television I get a little twinge of anxiety, even though it's been years since I had to worry about any of that.

Anyway. There are three shades that I have my eye on from OPI's Touring America Collection, but I can pretty safely say that I don't feel compelled to buy anything from Essie, Misa or Finger Paints, and I never buy anything from China Glaze so that's a non-issue. I liked some of BB Couture's recent release, but I'm not positive that I'm sold on their formula and wear; I also skipped Cult Nails' fall colors and missed out utterly on Lynderella.

Thus far I've picked up two from Chanel's fall release (Peridot and Graphite, which I've shown you), two from Zoya's Smoke and Mirrors collection (Neeka and Yara; it's possible I may get Jem at some point) and I pre-ordered Piu Mosso from Rescue Beauty Lounge.

This could of course all change when I start seeing the colors crop up on more blogs and in more pictures on MUA. With nail polish, the decision not to buy is always Subject To Change.

Since it's not a post without pictures, here are the fall Zoyas I purchased during the pre-order.

Yara and Neeka. These are both heavily pigmented creamy polishes with what has been described as "brocade shimmer" - it looks like little threads of embroidered gold running through fabric.



These polishes feel very rich and very "fall" to me. The base colors feel very autumnal. I love them! I'd like Zoya to put out a collection of this type of shimmer in every color.




Crazily, crazily pigmented. Pretty nearly opaque in one coat.


Yara. A gorgeous olive-y green.

If you have tried Zoya's formula in the past and didn't like it, these may be worth another go. I absolutely loved them! One thing to remember with Zoya, though, is that they generally don't play nice with Seche Vite. I've had much more success with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in the red bottle. You can also use Zoya's Color Lock system, though I've never tried it. I use Palladio Fuse bonding base coat and it works fine.

What are you getting for fall? Are there any releases you're really excited about?


Glitter Gal Deep Green Sparkle

In my continuing quest to seek out polishes from all across the globe, I ordered Glitter Gal Deep Green Sparkle sometime early this month. There was a slight delay in shipping (due to the supplier and not the US stockist) but my polish finally arrived last week!

Deep Green Sparkle is a scattered holo glitter in a dark green jellyish base. While the base is very dark it is indeed very definitely green, almost a very deep teal.
My photos of this are not the best I've ever done, I really should take some more in the sunlight. These were done pretty late at night, with dry cuticles because I had just removed my previous manicure (Chanel Graphite!). Forgive me.
The polish itself was pretty thick and tended to drag, so I stuck to thin coats and let the first coat dry quite a bit before doing the second, which worked great. Two coats were sufficient. I might thin the polish just a tiny bit, but not too much because it was very easy to control and I don't want it running all over the place.

The only "drawback" of Glitter Gal polishes is that they are small - 0.3 oz to be precise (OPI bottles contain 0.5 oz). It's so small that you might consider it a mini. This in itself isn't so bad, but they do cost $15 per bottle, making Glitter Gal one of the more expensive brands. However...consider the payoff...these are pretty unique!

This being said, I will not hesitate to buy a couple more of them. I like the quality and the US seller I went through (she is on eBay) was excellent so I am happy to give her my business. I heard that Overall Beauty will also be carrying Glitter Gal soon, too. I plan on pre-ordering the upcoming green and white (!!!) linear holos (!!!).

Lastly, a request: I am eagerly seeking some Rivka polishes from Brazil. If any of you have any advice/ideas on how I can purchase some, please let me know!


Topkapi madness!

A long time ago I started a new job and was immediately tasked with clearing out the desk of the person who used it prior. Mostly I was just files and stuff, but there was a drawer full of more personal items, like instant oatmeal packets and some change. I also found a bag from the Chanel counter at Saks, which contained (sadly) no left-behind makeup, but a receipt for something like $160. I was surprised at how few items were listed on the receipt!

Anyway, I never bought anything but nail polish from Chanel until last year, when I could no longer resist Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle (favorite!!). I've always wanted some of their eyeshadow, and late last week I finally lost my mind with regards to the Topkapi eyeshadow quad and I ordered it. I had some eBay and blog sale proceeds burning a hole in my pocket, most of it earmarked for the Urban Decay 15th anniversary palette. That product is sold out for the moment so I decided to pull the trigger on Chanel.

I'm kind of hopeless in the face of Chanel limited edition items anymore, primarily nail polish. I do have some Chanel perfume and the lipstick, which I really love (believe me you'd have to love it, for $30). Occasionally I buy this stuff because...I don't know, life is short? I like nice things. I like cheap things too but sometimes it's fun to splash out.

Anyway my Topkapi quad arrived yesterday.

I shipped it to myself as a gift, complete with note!
Again...life is short. (And Chanel gift packaging is free. Frankly it should be for $10 shipping.)

Chanel really has it nailed when it comes to packaging. Here's the little flocked pouch the compact comes in.

And the compact:

Yes it's plastic but it feels...serious. The lipstick I have (Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle) is the same way. Closes with a satisfying *click*. Weighty and sturdy feeling. Even the little plastic cover used to protect the shadows in transit was well made...and, of course, embossed with the interlocked Cs. (Naturally I seem to have lost track of that, but I don't really need it, it was just kinda neat.)

What really sealed the deal for me with this quad was the colors.

They're all colors I'll wear. I have lots of taupes and browns (I mean, this basically describes the UD Naked palette) so I know these will get use. What's better than something luxurious that you can use all the time?

I should also mention that while I was on the Chanel website, I made myself a big ol' wishlist of stuff that I want. I may or may not do something really insane and buy a lot of it for myself on my birthday. It's kind of fun to buy yourself something ridiculous on your own birthday.


Elf mineral eyeshadow & brushes

Earlier this month, I (painfully) took advantage of the Elf anniversary sale. Everything on the site was 70% off for 70 minutes. This would be a bargain on any site, but Elf's prices are already super low, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get myself some new makeup brushes and try a couple of Elf's mineral eyeshadows.

I only say that it was painful because the crush of traffic to the site meant it took the entire 70 minutes for me to put together an order and check out. However, that's a small price to pay for a discount that hefty. The $3 brushes and $3 eyeshadows I ordered were $.90 each.

Now I should say that I cannot recommend the Elf eyeshadow that's sold at Target - perhaps it's from the Essentials line? I bought some after work once when I was in a rush before an event and didn't have time to go home. It was awful in every way - barely pigmented, too frosty, no staying power. So basically, a $.90 price tag was the only way I was going to give another Elf cosmetic product a try.

First though let's look at the brushes, because I do like Elf's brushes and have used them for a while now.

I chose the Elf Studio line brushes, normally $3 each. In the past I've used brushes from the Essentials line, but because of the sale I decided to upgrade! I chose the complexion brush, blush brush, small angled brush, angled contour brush, C brush and small smudge brush. They are nice looking and seem to do the job just fine.
I saved some of the cards from the packaging because I'm not what you'd call a "natural talent" with eye makeup. For instance...what does this even mean?
(I actually figured it out later and it did indeed help me create a smoky eye! Glory hallelujah!)

Anyway, the shadows. I chose Socialite, Temptress and Smoldering.
Socialite and Smoldering are shimmers, and Temptress is a matte shade. I'm very interested in matte shades lately...sometimes I just don't want the sparkle. So I've been collecting a couple of these in subtle colors.

I swatched these on my arm but the pictures weren't anything to write home about. I do like Temptress, which is a medium rose terra cotta shade, but Socialite is the most interesting of these colors. It's a metallic, plummy dark gray with tiny multi-colored shimmer. Smoldering is a fairly typical shimmery metallic-leaning charcoal.

Here's a closeup of Socialite on the brush, in an attempt to show you all the different-colored particles.
I just kind of slapped on a quick look with Socialite and Temptress, and it seems to be wearing okay. I should note I didn't use any primer, which I expect would improve the wear a great deal.

I have another post (or two) about eyeshadow brewing, per one of your requests!


Cult Nails My Kind of Cool Aid

First off, I need to tell you briefly about my trip to CVS yesterday or I'll explode. No one else really cares, though my boyfriend bore witness to the whole thing and was duly impressed. Anyway, I didn't really buy anything fun (light bulbs, batteries, new toothbrushes, Q-tips, that kind of thing) but I ended up saving $26.50 on a $50 total (and I got $7 in ExtraBucks back). HOORAY FOR EXTRA BUCKS AND COUPONS.

What's really nice is that the CVS sale circular will even tell you what products have coupons in the Sunday paper so it's kind of a no-brainer. The only issue is that if you are really against buying stuff from P&G you are kind of out of luck.

Okay back to the fun stuff!

I mentioned a while ago that I was waiting on an order from Cult Nails, and I just now realized I haven't posted about it yet!
Cult Nails,bottle pic,Living Water,green,glitter,jelly,My Kind of Cool Aid,shimmer,lavender,taupe

My Kind of Cool Aid, Living Water.

Cult Nails,bottle pic,My Kind of Cool Aid,shimmer,lavender,taupe

Silver shimmer.

Cult Nails,bottle pic,My Kind of Cool Aid,shimmer,lavender,taupe,Sally Hansen,Mystic Lilac,comparison

Comparison with Sally Hansen Mystic Lilac, in case you were curious.

Cult Nails,bottle pic,Living Water,green,glitter,jelly

Living Water looks amazeballoons, in my opinion. I need to get some Gelous before I wear it, though. If it's lumpy I'll cry and throw a fit and no one wants that.

Here's My Kind of Cool Aid on the nail.
Cult Nails,My Kind of Cool Aid,purple,shimmer

My application is uneven here but you can see the silver shimmer. It's VERY subtle.
Cult Nails,My Kind of Cool Aid,purple,shimmer

Cult Nails,My Kind of Cool Aid,purple,shimmer

I can happily report that the Cult Nails formula is lovely. The brush was great, too. This was a curious color...my boyfriend went out of his way to compliment it. I don't really see my greens and glitters as all that "out there" anymore but I forget that other people do. He really noticed the subtlety of this one (if in fact that makes sense...noticing subtlety...anyway).

For me personally I'm kind of on the fence about this one. I love the polish but I have other similar colors that I also love, so this one is in the blog sale for someone else to love!

Barry M giveaway winner

I used Random.org to pick a number at random from the comments:
So the winner is comment #3, Ana!

I've emailed you, Ana, so just send me your address and I'll mail you your bottle of Barry M Blue Moon!

Thank you for the suggestions you all left in your comments...I made a list and plan to use all of them for post ideas.


Deals and Steals: How To

One of my most important rules for buying nail polish and make up is to try very hard to never ever ever pay retail. It's really pretty easy, depending on what you are trying to buy. It doesn't work with everything - there's no way (that I know of, anyway) to avoid paying full retail on Chanel, for instance, without a gift card or stealing (haha...don't steal). Some things just don't go on sale.

Then there are the sales that are hardly worth having. Some brands will make a sale announcement and it winds up being for 10% off or, worse, something like $15 off a purchase of $100 or more. Sorry but that doesn't cut it for me. We can start talking turkey at around 20% off. And free shipping! Tell me a way to get free shipping, and don't make it for something assy like orders of $100 or more, CHANEL. (It would be pretty easy to spend $100 at Chanel.com, though I have never done it.)

To the untrained eye it may seem as though I am constantly splashing out on nail polish and makeup, but in reality there is a good deal of plotting that goes into most purchases. I try to spend as little as possible, which I realize is something that everyone thinks they are doing, but with a little research and a high threshold for things like annoying email updates, you can save a lot more.

Here are some things you can do to get great deals on cosmetics.

1. Sign up for email updates.
Yes, this is annoying, but you can always create another email address for stuff like this, or set up a filter on your email client. If I wasn't on the Urban Decay email list, I wouldn't know that it's their friends and family sale right now, which is pretty good (25% off). Sephora also does a F&F sale, and you need to be on their email list for that.

2. Engage with brands on social media.
Also annoying. You will have to decide which brands are worth the annoyance. Zoya does a lot of promos through Facebook and Twitter, and I've noticed several brands doing flash sales and spreading the word through Twitter. Some will just not be worth the effort, but it's easy enough to unfollow or unlike a page.

3. Join an online community.
Granted, this is not the most efficient way to find out about sales, but it is interactive. With the right forum, you can rest assured there will always be someone somewhere in the world talking about blush or nail polish or conditioner or whatever it is that you love and obsess about. This is how I discovered the 40% Aveyou flash sale and the 70% off ELF sale, though that one almost make me go crazy as I waited for the entire 70 minute duration for my order to process. However, for 70% off my preferred makeup brush? WORTH IT.

4. Join customer loyalty or bonus bucks programs.
I am speaking specifically about CVS in this case. Walgreens in this area does not have their rewards program yet, and I don't have anything all that great to say about the Rite Aid Wellness Plus program. I am totally crazy for CVS ExtraBucks however.

This is where your planning and strategic buying will come into play. I know it seems like a lot of trouble to save a couple of bucks, but this afternoon I am going to CVS with a $4 off $20 coupon, $10 in EB and a coupon for a free candy bar. (The candy bar is kind of irrelevant, but hey...free candy.) If I buy $20 worth of products, I'll only pay $6 for them. And if the products I buy earn me ExtraBucks...it just keeps things rolling along.

There are a few things you can do to maximize your ExtraBucks savings. One is to combine CVS sales or rewards with manufacturer's coupons - so buy the Sunday paper or, again, rely on joining email lists. The other is to buy coupons, which sounds counterintuitive, but it works very well if you plan well. I buy $4 off $20 CVS coupons on eBay. They are very cheap and more than pay for themselves in savings.

Another type of customer loyalty program is like what you might find at Sephora or Ulta. I personally don't find Ulta's rewards program all that rewarding - it's depressing to see that you've spent something like $150 and that it entitles you to ... one free Ulta-brand nail polish or something. (Ulta does have good sales and coupons, however.) Sephora's rewards program is a bit different, and can pay off nicely. At a minimum you'll get a $15 "gift card" around the holidays and the opportunity to save 15% or 20% during F&F sales.

5. Sign up for a service like CouponMom.
These things can be a bit cryptic, but I just pay attention to the stores where I like to shop and go from there. These sites will help you match up coupon savings to sales and rewards programs to maximize your spending.

6. Shop clearance.
This seems obvious, I'm sure. Drugstores have great clearance sales but you will need to do a little picking in order to find the clearance stuff sometimes. I try to stick to products I know I like and will use - otherwise it's really not a savings - but I've bought just loads of $2 mascara over the past year or so. If you combine clearance pricing with coupons and rewards bucks, you'll actually find yourself paying pennies for cosmetics that usually cost $6, $8, $10.

By deploying these tactics carefully, you can save a lot - not just on makeup and fun stuff but on things you need around the house, cleaning products, etc. Of course, the thriftiest thing is to not buy in the first place, but if you're going to buy, don't pay retail!


Barry M polishes and a wee giveaway

Last week before I went on my nail polish diet (which has been going really well, ha ha ha) I ordered some Barry Ms during a 20% off sale. I didn't get a ship notice but they showed up at my door today so hooray!

I got my first Barry M, Block Orange, in a UK swap.
barry m,orange,jelly,swatch

I liked the formula a lot and the color is squishy and delightful. So when I got the email about the discount code I jumped on the chance to acquire a few colors I've been wanting for a while now.

Blue Moon, Racing Green, Mint Green. I've been eyeing Racing Green since...oh since I first started frequenting MUA, I guess.

Blue Moon is a soft blue with a hint of shimmer - similar to Hard Candy Sky and a distant relative of Chanel Riva. I'm hoping the formula is better than Hard Candy Sky, though.

Also, because I am a dunderhead and accidentally somehow ordered two bottles of Blue Moon, I'm going to give one away! To win it, just leave me a comment telling me something you'd like to see here on Nail Polish Nonsense. A swatch, a comparison, stash pics...whatever! Just anything.

Leave your comment before Thursday, July 7 at 6pm EST.

I'll select a winner at random using Random.org.

Note: Comments closed at deadline! I'll announce the winner tomorrow.


Blabbing About Makeup

First let me say that I admire all you ladies who take pictures of your eye makeup looks, because I tried to take one the other day and LOL. First off I am not yet comfortable with that level of macro and second of all, it turns out my makeup is just not all that interesting on camera.

A day or so after I tried that, I read Kerry's post about solving her wedding makeup dilemma. I too would be very wary about putting myself in the hands of an unknown makeup artist for an occasion where I would a) want to look my best; b) feel comfortable and confident; and c) be photographed a lot. And therein lies the problem, because there is a great, yawning ocean of difference between what looks good to the eye and what looks good in a picture.

Back in my Fancy Job days I had a professional head shot taken, and I was excited that hair and makeup would be part of the deal. The pictures turned out all right, but when I got home after the photo session I was horrified by the way my face looked in the ordinary lighting of my bathroom mirror: tire treads of blush, cakey powder, white circles under my eyes and lips that looked like giant slabs of liver. The best part? I had gone out in public like that. Thank goodness it was at night.

I've gone through no-makeup periods, where I got by without anything other than mascara and some lipstick. I essentially gave up on foundation until I discovered mineral makeup, and I've stuck with that ever since. I'm also back to doing full eye makeup most days - to be completely honest, it makes me look more awake. I have to be careful, though, because I'm not overly skilled at application. I've found the most important thing is to change things up every now and then - to switch out the products I'm using as I...uh, age, and to keep the colors, finishes and application of the products from looking dated.

Last year I realized that a lot of my makeup was indeed dated and didn't really work well together. Luckily, I read enough nail polish and beauty blogs that it was hard to avoid learning about new products, and so it came to pass that I purchased the Urban Decay Naked palette at some point last fall. It was an almost shocking amount for me to spend on eye makeup after years of chucking Revlon quads and singles in my basket at Walgreens, but it's been 150% worth it and I would absolutely buy it again. (Except that now it's $4 more than it was when I bought it, and it comes with an applicator brush instead of two UD 24/7 eyeliners. I find this annoying because UD eyeliners are the best, and I can get a brush any old place.)

I took some quick snapshots of my stuff, they're pretty terrible but you'll get the idea.

The Naked palette is perfect for you if you ever resisted a palette because there were shadows in it you could never imagine wearing. For instance, I got the UD Preen palette on sale, and I love it - particularly Mildew (the kind of camo green) and Flash (the purple) - but check out that blue.

I've worn it before and it's super fun, but...I'm never going to wear it to work or whatever, it's just too Cherie Currie. But I can wear all the colors in the Naked palette. If I'm going somewhere overnight I pack the palette and a mascara and I'm all set for eyes.

Reading makeup and beauty blogs also introduced me to eyeshadow primer. I use UD's - a sample size came with the Naked palette and I've since bought the full size.

I can really tell the difference when I forget to put this on - my eyeshadow doesn't fall off in clumps or anything but it does fade and lose its "pop" much more quickly. The primer helps it to stay looking freshly applied longer.

Lastly, I mentioned that I love love love looooove UD's 24/7 eyeliners. They are seriously the best.

My favorite is 1999. I have the travel size and I know I'll eventually buy the big-girl size, too. I'm also a big fan of the Whiskey liner that came with the Naked palette. My main issue with eyeliner was that it would end up halfway down my face by mid-morning. Because I do not enjoy looking hungover at work, I ended up wiping it away several times a day, which of course is a huge pain; plus it wipes away all the concealer and anything else I took the trouble to apply. But UD's eyeliners stay put all day and they go on super easy. No scraping or pulling.

I tell you all this because UD's friends and family sale is coming up, so if you think you might want to try anything you should sign up for their email newsletter and get the sale code. (I am just passing this along because I truly love the products...and because I love sales.)

Do you have a favorite UD product?