Urban Decay Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Palette

palette-collage

Kicking off the weekend with something a little different today, namely this bloody gorgeous Full Spectrum eyeshadow palette from Urban Decay that I received as a lovely and generous Christmas present (told you Santa was good to me!)

Retailing for $80.00 Canadian, this 21-strong eyeshadow palette is no lightweight from a cost perspective, but if you’d like to sample a wide array of some pretty out-there hues, or you’re interested in eyeshadow art (yes, that’s a thing) or you just want to mess about with some fantastically beautiful makeup, I’d recommend grabbing one of these palettes, because they’re just stunning.  And not for nothing, but Urban Decay are no slouches when it comes to these kind of super vibrant, high pigmentation cosmetics – these are superb eyeshadows, period.

We’ll take a closer look at the actual shades in a just moment, but first, let’s admire a packaging and design job very well done, from the matte-on-black finish of the embossed lid to the almost geometric placement of the eyeshadow pans.  This palette also features a whisper soft front closure, a large mirror inset into the lid, a dual-ended shadow brush tucked into the base, and a nice amount of heft to keep the whole works from toppling over.  So, so beautiful, but I am a sucker for gorgeous presentation.

palette-photo

Good looks aside, how did the eyeshadows perform?  Splendidly!  I admittedly haven’t given this palette much of a workout, save the swatches below, but I have no problems to report with skin sensitivity, and the shadows applied beautifully, blending softly and smoothly.  And the colours…a high intensity rainbow in three gorgeous tonal variations. There’s a little something here for everyone, no matter your cosmetic style or skin tone, and plenty of hues to challenge those looking to play outside the makeup box.

eyeshadows-up-close

Nestled in their glossy black case, this assortment of precisely inlaid rainbow shadows can’t help but be anything other than eye-catching.  I’m drawn, like a magpie!  But how do they look on actual, you know, skin? Allow my pale pink hide to answer that question (having said that, how sad is it that my skin tone can best be described as a shade called “Iced”?  More like “Iced, with Freckles.”)

labelled-swatch-collage

All told, I love this eyeshadow palette, and I’m so delighted it made an appearance under my tree this holiday – I’m a lucky beauty blogger, indeed. 🙂

Ice Cream Jelly Sandwich

ice-cream-jelly-sandwich

It occurred to me today that I haven’t done a jelly sandwich manicure in ages.  So I rectified that odd little blank spot in my nail art endeavors, creating a jelly sandwich – that’s glitter polish sandwiched between layers of a sheer jelly polish – before topping the whole works with a couple of ice cream nail charms.  Et voila, a creamy, sprinkled, ice cream jelly sandwich! That’s also some quality nail art word association, no? 🙂

Choking Hazard

jawbreaker-fingers

While I was looking up photos of jawbreaker candies for this sweet manicure, it struck me just how much of a safety hazard these candies really are.  All of them start out life tooth-breakingly hard, but when you add in the sheer size of some of them – about the size of a child’s fist – I don’t know how they’re not sent off to the same prison as Kinder Eggs for choking hazard crimes.  They’re basically dental work-destroying, candied ball gags.

But cute?  So cute!  And at the end of the day, still candy, so ignore all that prior talk of busted teeth and blocked trachea, huh?  Also a great excuse to use the so, so messy splatter technique for this manicure, which involves blowing nail polish out the end of a straw and onto your nails (always blow, never suck; these nails just look edible!)

Brains & Boo-ty

brains-boo-ty-bottle

Hey look, just in time for Winterween, the cold weather Halloween holiday I just made up, here’s a festive lacquer from Painted Polish to keep your nails looking their spookiest. This is Brains & Boo-ty, and it presumably belongs to last year’s Halloween collection, although it caught my eye this Christmas.

This is actually the third Painted Polish lacquer I received this holiday, and just like its gift mates, Aurora and Chasing Rainbows, Brains & Boo-ty is fantastically fun, super well made and easy to apply.  It’s the trifecta of polish awesomeness!  But really, I’m terrifically impressed with Painted Polish’s offerings, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for more fabulous lacquers going forward.

brains-boo-ty-fingers-shade

Brains & Boo-ty’s neat-o mix of purple, orange and lime green holographic glitter (which applied so nicely in just three lump-free coats) was just begging for the macro treatment, which I happily obliged.  Winterween looks pretty great up close and personal, doesn’t it?

brains-boo-ty-macro

Finger Candy Claus outsourced the acquisition of these Painted Polish lacquers to Harlow & Co., should you feel moved enough by the Winterween spirit to also covet this gorgeous polish. 😉

Winter Solstice

framed-main-solstice-collage

Before I do the show-and-tell thing with this beautiful order I received from indie parfumerie Solstice Scents, allow me to share with you one of those odd little serendipitous moments that makes you feel at one with the universe.  Or mildly creeped out.  Depends on your world perspective, I suppose. 😉

Anyhow, after choosing a title for this post – Winter Solstice, because it’s winter, and this is an order from Solstice Scents – I thought to myself, “Huh, IS there such a thing as a winter solstice?”  Turns out there is! 2016’s winter solstice – you may know it as the shortest day of the year – was December 21st, which is the day I received this order.  Dun dun duuuuuunnnnnnnnn.  Really nothing more than a coincidence (Alanis would probably call it irony) but a cool little blip amid the atrocious randomness of the universe nonetheless.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that heavy stuff out of the way, let’s move on to the perfume! It’s been ages since I’ve been this excited about a new vendor, and even longer since I’ve worn perfume (I worked for many years in close-quarters courtrooms, pretty well the last place you should be doused, or even lightly spritzed, in anything.)  So when this tiny, potent pack of goodies arrived a handful of days before Christmas, I was in *just* the right festive mood to dive back into the world of olfactory delights, and delight in discovering a new vendor.

framed-solstice-cards-pic

First, the basics.  I placed my order on December 13th, Solstice shipped it from their Florida location on December 14th, and I received it here in Ontario a week later on the 21st.  That lightning fast turnaround time allowed me to sample some of the fragrances over the holidays, where I discovered a fabulous new favourite that smells just like me.  It’s the best thing I’ve smelled in forever!  My items (four 5 ml rollerball perfume oils, two 2.5 ml spray samples and six sampler vials) came neatly packed in a tiny box filled with the most gorgeous dark green tissue paper adorned with a festive sprig of evergreen – a lovely little touch.  Lovelier still were the postcards – including a handwritten thank you – depicting some of Solstice’s fragrances, as well as maps and bulletins from the Town of Foxcroft, inspiration for a number of their perfumes.

framed-solstice-cards-collage

Thoughtful aesthetic touches aside, let’s take a closer look at the contents of my order, shall we? First, I purchased four perfume oils in these cute little blue glass rollerballs. Each bottle was $15.00 US.

framed-solstice-rollerball-collage

Owing to what I’m assuming are infuriatingly random trade rules, Solstice is unable to ship sizes greater than the 5 ml perfume oils internationally.  So I’m stuck with these baby bottles until such time as I can ask an American friend for a fragranced favour, because I’m in LOVE with one of the scents I chose, Snowmint Mallow, and would very much like it in a larger size.  This is the fragrance I described some weeks ago as smelling like a beloved perfume I wore in high school, a refreshing, creamy and comforting blend of peppermint, cake, cookies, coconut and marshmallow cream.  Holy lord is it fabulous, and not remotely as heavy or gooey-smelling as you’d imagine from that description.

Of the other three perfume oils, I like Blackburn’s Parlor the best.  It’s another sundae-scented fragrance in that it literally smells like a banana split – sugary, buttery waffle cones, creamy chocolate and vanilla soft serve and the barest hint of fresh banana.  This is another one that somehow doesn’t come across as tooth-achingly sweet; rather, it’s a light gourmand scent softened with custardy cream.

I regrettably don’t care much for either Halloween Night or Blackburn Farmstead, the latter being a musky blackberry scent that simply doesn’t tickle my fancy.  Dark berry blends never have, though, something I should have remembered when placing this wildcard pick in my basket.  But I’ve no doubt I’ll be able to find Blackburn Farmstead a good home with someone who can appreciate its lush amber berries.  Halloween Night is…intriguing. Smells a bit like assorted candies rattling around the bottom of a plastic trick-or-treat pumpkin.  I can actually picture myself wearing this Halloween night.

Next, I ordered an assortment of fragrances in smaller sizes I wasn’t too sure about based on their descriptions.

I purchased two 2.5 ml eau de parfum spray samples in Owl Creek Aleworks, a rich, toffee and stout-infused butter bomb, and Foxcroft Fairgrounds, a light confection of a fragrance scented like sweetly spun sugar. Lovely, both.  Each spray bottle was $8.00 US.

framed-solstice-2-5-ml-pic

Finally, I purchased five fragrances (plus one freebie) in a beautifully presented sampler pack for $15.00 US.  I haven’t yet explored these scents in any meaningful way, but here I went kind of buck wild with my choices, swinging from sugary gourmand fragrances like Kitchen and Sycamore Sugarworks, to lively fruity fragrances like Heat of the Night, whose succulent mango notes I can already tell you I like very much.

framed-solstice-samples-2-collage

Overall, I’m tremendously pleased with my first – but certainly not last – Solstice Scents order.  Everything about this was a positive experience, from the no-fuss ordering system and super speedy delivery, to the beautiful presentation and gorgeously-crafted fragrances.  A definite winner.  Can’t wait to see what other fantastic scents are awaiting my discovery.

ETA: It has been brought to my attention by the very kind and complimentary folks at Solstice that there are actually a couple of vendors that deal in their beautiful perfumes internationally, Pretty Indulgent (they also carry a number of other niche lines) and The Rhinestone Housewife (same), who offers Solstice’s eau de parfums in 60 ml bottles that should hopefully slay my scent lust for all things Snowmint Mallow!

Grin and Gerbera It

grin-and-gerbera-it-bottle

It’s not very often that I feature a straight-up nail polish on this blog.  It’s almost like I have something against gorgeously hued, well made, regular polishes, such is my affection for lacquers that glow in the dark or contain more glitter than the aftermath of a Pride parade.

Sometimes, though, I like the palette-cleansing nature of a not-so-basic basic polish, like this beautiful lacquer, KB Shimmer’s Grin and Gerbera It.  Regrettably, raspberry red is one of those shades that never translates particularly well in photographs (indeed, these photos lean a touch more coral than this polish’s actual berry pink) so you’re not getting the full, gorgeous picture here, but oh my, this polish is stupendous. Slight issues in colour presentation aside, this is a deep, sensual pink – very sexy, very grown-up, and a scampy, playful alternative to vampy reds.  It’s so, so pretty and tremendously flattering.

As always, KB Shimmer’s polishes are fantastic.  I’ve actually yet to encounter one that’s not at the very least just a really, really great polish.  But KB’s cremes are next level lacquers – deep and rich, beautifully glossy and super easy to apply.  I love to wear them as everyday polishes, but they’re also fantastic for use in nail art detail work.  I’d recommend checking them – along with Grin and Gerbera – out.  I nabbed my bottle from Harlow & Co., as I have all of my KB Shimmer lovelies.

grin-and-gerbera-it-fingers

What a Wonder: A Mini Lush Review

golden-wonder-collage

Okay, so I never particularly care for the scent of, well, any of these, and I always have a bit of a hard time watching $7.00 to $11.00 literally dissolve into glittery nothingness in my bathtub in less than a minute, but ding dang, Lush’s bath bombs – fizzy little orbs of multi-coloured sodium bicarbonate tenuously held together with good-for-your-skin essential oils – are just plain fun.  Far preferable to regular old water (although much like dosing your drinking water with flavoured extracts, you really ought to give plain eau de tap a go every now and then; the pigmentation in these things cannot be good for your delicate bits if you’re using them every day.)

But pretty!  And glittery, and colourful, and…okay, so I won’t comment on the smell.  They all smell like powdered (insert approximation of whatever the heck Lush thinks X smells like.)  Weirdly, though, I really like the smell of this pretty little bath bomb, Lush’s Golden Wonder.  Lush’s website tells me its scent notes and active ingredients include lime oil and bourbon extract, which…maybe?  Smells like citrus to me, which I quite enjoy.

Actually, I really enjoyed everything about this bath bomb, from its buttery yellow hue, to its dusting of gold mica, to its secret green and purple core.  I even loved the weird little ghost creature that popped up right toward the end of the bomb’s life cycle, eking out one final, bubbly gasp before dissolving into the glittery gloom.  Really, look at this odd little guy!  I think he looks like one of those swooping ghost baddies from the Super Mario games.  Or Mr. Boo Berry without his hat.  He don’t look like nothin’ now, though, because I sat on his face (in a completely non-sexual way, of course.) 😉

ghost-bubbles

The one thing I didn’t love about this bath bomb was that it, like so many Lush bath bombs I’ve purchased recently, dissolved totally in about 30 seconds flat.  And while I recognize that there’s more to bath bombs than the wow factor (this one was super moisturizing and turned my bathwater the coolest shade of glittery moss green) their main job is to put on a big show.  And when you’ve barely had time to whip out your camera, not drop it in the tub and fire off just a smattering of photos before everything’s said and done, well, that’s not very good value for your money (in this case $6.95 Canadian.)  All the same, the Golden Wonder bath bomb is one I would definitely buy again, should Lush bring it back next holiday season, with or without the little interloping ghost man!

golden-wonder-in-bath-collage