Shattered Dreams

Shattered Dreams Main Photo

Oof, these busted bath and beauty items are giving me nuthin’ but shattered dreams (shattered dreams!) – unfortunate victims of a sudden drop and a short stop, both. ūüė¶ And yes, I know being crushed all to bits impacts the functioning of this Luxury Lush Pud bath bomb and Unicorn Horn bubble bar not a whit, but for blogging purposes, I always prefer to have these things looking their finest.

But shattered or not, I can’t say really say my dreams with regard to these items were all that grand – I’ve been a bit off Lush as of late. ¬†Or perhaps I was never actually “on” Lush to begin with – I’ve never really cottoned to their scent blends or company aesthetic. Then a string of expensive, dudderiffic bath bombs kind of sealed the deal on my whole informal Lush embargo, at least until I’ve used up the few items I already have in storage.

Which is where this Luxury Lush Pud and Unicorn Horn come in – might as well use up that which is busted all to crap, as no saying I know of goes. ¬†Anyhow, my Pud wasn’t too badly damaged in its swan dive off the counter, so it performed nicely, throwing off first pastel – and then ultra vibrant – swirls of pink, turquoise and yellow bubbles.

Shattered Dreams Pud

And the Unicorn Horn, jaundiced devil that he is (there’s seriously so much yellow in that Horn), provided mounds of creamy, lavender-scented bubbles beneath which to sink. ¬†A very relaxing and daintily-hued bath, broken bits or not.

Shattered Dreams Bath Art

Where the Sand Meets the Sky

MayJune 2017 Collage

With this duo of angry thunderhead and sparkling sand-hued lacquers, Enchanted Polish seems to be going back to nature with its mystery releases for May and June 2017. Thankfully, the au natural look suits them well; much as I love my not-of-a-colour-found-in-nature glitter bombs, there’s something soothingly refined about less artificially-hued shades. ¬†I also can’t overstate the importance of finding a beautiful, unique polish you can wear to work, cocktail night¬†and your grandparents’ anniversary dinner.

I’ve complained a bit in the past about how Enchanted’s mystery polishes don’t always correlate to the months in which they’re released. ¬†Sure, you’ve got the requisite fir-green polish for December and red for February. But you’ve also got a shade best described as “holographic dishwater” for July and an inexplicable – if pretty! – primary blue for May. Back in 2015, the inspiration for these polishes seemed to be all over the place.

But this year’s crop of mystery polishes has so far been an absolute delight. ¬†Inspired by some of Enchanted’s retro best-sellers, the polishes have also corresponded nicely to their month of release, particularly these two stunners, stormy May and sandy June. Let’s take a closer look at both, shall we?

May 2017 Collage

May 2017 reads a tad more blue in these photos than it does in real life, where it’s the same dark and dusky hue as loaded thunderhead clouds above a sandy beach. ¬†The holo in this polish is not hugely pronounced, but no mind, this is one of those ones I actually prefer in the shade – lower lighting brings out its fine silver shimmer. These photos show two coats, and as always, it applied like a dream about smooth, streak-free things. ¬†Never doubt Enchanted’s formulation – it’s across-the-board rock solid.

June 2017 Collage

At the halfway mark of the year we have June 2017, a beautiful sandy holo shot through with fine red shimmer. I think this polish looks like that sand I talked about beneath the thunderheads of May 2017, although it also looks like tanned skin after a day spent out in the sun – bronzed and slightly flushed. ¬†This is another polish that is lovely in the sun, but positively gorgeous in the shade, where you can really see that shimmery pink glow. ¬†An immensely flattering three-coater that’s workplace (and churchplace) appropriate. ¬†A surprise favourite that will undoubtedly see a lot of nail art action.

Holo Package Shot

And because Enchanted’s stunning holographic boxes make my paper product-loving heart sing, or at least begin spouting impromptu slam poetry, I’ve included a shot of one of those, too. ¬†I particularly like the way it appears as though the blue/green haze of the holo rainbow is climbing up the side of the castle in this photograph – let’s give it up for some decent iPhone photography, yes? ūüėČ ¬†Total fluke, I assure you!

Bummer time: Short of finding these mystery releases on, say, Ebay or via some other re-seller, May and June 2017 are one-and-done polishes. ¬†But there’s still six months left in the year, so six more opportunities to nab fantastic polishes like these. ¬†So if you’re interested, sign up for Enchanted’s newsletter here to stay up to date on all new releases.

Summer Solstice Scents

Summer Solstice Main

While the rest of North America swelters under a record-breaking heatwave (no climate change to see here, nosiree!) here in Ontario it’s pretty much summer business as usual. That means it rains a lot, especially on important milestone holidays (can’t wait to see the hurricane that will accompany Canada’s upcoming 150th) alternating with periods of crap heat and brutal humidity. ¬†It’s absolutely nothing compared to the conditions that Phoenix is experiencing today, but then again, what is?

So I feel quite fortunate that the heat and humidity in my neck of the global woods is not so oppressive that I can’t enjoy this recently-acquired quartet of Solstice Scents fragrances – and on the Summer Solstice, no less. ūüėČ ¬†No finer time to delightfully delve into a handful of beautiful bakeries, fine florals and one apple-jacked pick for Fall.

As it was with my first Solstice order, I had zero issues with this purchase Рit was remarkable only in its unremarkableness.  Oh!  Except that Solstice quite generously refunded nearly $9.00 in shipping overages, a lovely little treat I discovered only after noticing that a refund had gone through my account; I had had no idea one was coming to me in the first place.  It would have been pretty easy for Solstice to not inform me of a potential refund or to simply not issue one at all.  But they did, and in the most low-key, efficient and friendliest manner possible.  Customer for life with that kind of service, really.

Also?  This is a nice little personalized thank-you, and beside it, a thoughtful compendium of perfume-sampling tips (such as the important reminder to let your perfume sit a bit before passing final judgement; like a great stew or a fantastic soup, perfumes need a bit of time to settle and develop after bottling and shipping.)

Summer Solstice Cards

I picked up four 5 ml perfume oils this time around, with each blue cobalt rollerball retailing for $15.00 US.

Summer Solstice Main Up Close

And while my heart truly belongs to that most cherished of peppermint-vanillas, Snowmint Mallow, I think I can find a little room in there for these lovely and light summer scents, and that one autumnal outlier.

Summer Solstice Collage

Starting with the Fall favourite, Corvin’s Apple Fest is a scent I chose so I could layer it with another Solstice fragrance I own, Vanilla Pipe Tobacco. ¬†By itself, Vanilla Pipe Tobacco is a sweet and sticky herbal fragrance – heady, like steamy night air rising from a sun-warmed cornfield. ¬†I bought it because my grandfather smoked a pipe, and he always smelled a bit like the pouches of pipe tobacco he kept rolled up in the pockets of his Arnold Palmers. ¬†Being a farmer, he also often smelled like sweet corn.

But my grandfather smoked highly aromatic cherry tobacco, and what Vanilla Pipe Tobacco was missing was the tart and tangy element only a touch of fruit could provide. So I picked up Corvin’s Apple Fest with the hopes that it would be lovely both on its own and as a blender, and indeed, it’s both of those things. ¬†This is a really beautiful apple fragrance – fresh and sweet and juicy, with the barest hint of something tarty, cobbler-y or crisp-y. ¬†A great season-jumping addition to my fragrance collection.

Corvin's Apple Fest

An unexpected favourite was Lemon Ginger Creams, a tart and tangy hit of lightly-spiced citrus. ¬†This smells exactly like a lemon-glazed gingersnap, if there is such a thing, and if there isn’t, there should be one now! Like, right here with me right now, on a plate, waiting to be eaten.

Lemon Ginger Creams

A more traditional pick for my scent palette was Chantilly Cream, a sumptuous blend of fuzzy peaches, juicy mandarins, lightly-spiced vanilla and whipped cream. ¬†This is a gorgeous gourmand fragrance that effortlessly tows the line between lip-smacking dessert and sweet scent, a lovely choice for those not spun by anything with “cake” in its title. ¬†Ooh, I love this fragrance – soft and mild and sweet, perfect for those sultry summer evenings.

Chantilly Cream

And finally – as according to the tenants of Beauty Retail Law, there must be at least one per order – we come to the fragrance I am the least jazzed about, Blossom Jam Tea Cakes. ¬†Oh, how I wanted to love this scent! ¬†It was the first one into my basket, and I also seriously debated picking up a burnishing glace in the same fragrance. ¬†But as always, I’m glad I ultimately held off, as there’s just a¬†little something here in this lilac-tinged, lemon tea-and-cake blend that, to my nose, errs awfully close to something approaching powdery baby wipes.

Oddly, though, I don’t dislike this scent. ¬†In fact, I find myself returning to my wrists to sniff it time and time again, marveling with each pull at the ever-changing kaleidoscope of fruity, floral and barely bakery notes. ¬†It’s kind of delicious, and in hindsight, I might sort of love it. ¬†I clearly have some conflicted feelings on the subject of this perfume.

But given that I’m so deeply undecided on Blossom Jam Tea Cakes, I’m going to take Solstice’s fragrance-testing advice and tuck it away for a bit, see how its scent develops in a few months’ time. ¬†Provided I don’t, you know, drain the bottle this summer taking undecided whiffs off my wrists (reminder to self: don’t do this in public, it’s weird!)

Blossom Jam Tea Cakes

Once again, just a beautiful, beautiful order from Solstice Scents. ¬†It wasn’t my first and it shan’t be my last. Shan’t! ¬†I’m just so impressed with their scent offerings and presentation, and their customer service is second to none. ¬†A very happy – and deliciously-scented – camper, indeed.

Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic Palette

Alchemy Palette Collage

For those days when you just feel like twinkling like an opalescent unicorn.

Regular readers may recall that I purchased this stunning makeup palette – the Alchemist Holographic Palette from Kat Von D – whilst under the influence of, in hindsight, an ill-advised quantity of cold medication. Apparently going batcrap loopy on cold meds turned me into some sort of mega magpie, because this twinkly palette went into my shopping cart with great haste, along with a number of its sparkly friends. ¬†I mean, I think it was with great haste, as I actually don’t remember sitting down at the computer and placing this order at all. ¬†Seriously, cold-med responsibly, friends! ¬†It could be so much worse than just an overabundance of unicorn makeup!

But however it came to me, I’m delighted to now own this beautiful, fun and playful little makeup palette. What a charming delight! ¬†First, the palette case itself. ¬†It’s GORGEOUS – an iridescent, opalescent, rainbow-tossing wonder. ¬†I love the packaging, and I’m smitten with the soft opal hues of both the triangular palette AND the box it came in. ¬†There’s a bit on the Sephora website about how Kat Von D herself spent the last X-unreasonable number of months fine-tuning this creation. ¬†And while I certainly can’t speak to her schedule, I’d say it was worth it; this makeup palette features some truly stunning and eye-catching design work.

Alchemist Palette Packaging.png

Palette Opalescent

But one ought not judge a book solely by its attractive, iridescent cover, so let’s take a closer look at the makeup housed within. ¬†There’s four shades contained in the Alchemist Holographic Palette, which looks a bit like a pointy mirrored weapon when it’s fully deployed, green Emerald, ultra-violet Amethyst, pink Opal and blue Saphyre.

Open Palette

Being of very pale Celtic descent, the shades – softly pressed powders flecked with holographic shimmer – all but disappear as against my freckled hide. ¬†For this next photo, I ramped up the contrast whilst editing so you could actually see the colours and not just wonder to yourself, “Huh, I had NO idea a skin tone could be classified as “ultra-violet.”

Alchemist Palette Bare Skin

Next, I ran a test on the opposite end of the spectrum, layering the four shades over a shimmery black creme lipstick, Hard Candy’s Black Diamond. ¬†It was a pretty terrible lipstick (it stained, badly) but the effects created by combining the two were undeniably dope. ¬†I’m looking forward to trying out some fun lipstick stenciling work, and these powders will make nifty cool highlighters.

Alchemist Palette Black Lipstick

The Alchemist Holographic Palette, when it’s in stock (it’s frequently out of stock) is sold through Sephora (online and in-store) and retails for $44 Canadian. ¬†Perfect for all your unicorn cosplay needs or just, you know, ’cause it’s a Tuesday. ¬†Twinkle on, fabulous friends. ūüôā

Hello Cuteness!

Hello Cuteness

Classic Hello Kitty nails, featuring a couple of the Kitty-themed gifts I received from my husband this Christmas (there’s delightfully always a few!) – a much-coveted nail art tutorial book to provide the inspiration, and actual Hello Kitty polishes to colour in Kitty’s world. ¬†Tangential, but for reals, my husband is the master of Hello Kitty Christmas gifts; I even have some not-a-joke HK jewelry that completely rocks my polka dotted socks.

The book, one of those hard-to-get-your-hands-on items by Masako Kojima, is chock full of fun and very doable Hello Kitty (and Friends) designs.

HK Book

The detailed and easy-to-follow tutorials that accompany every manicure are clear and well laid out; I’d say based on the results of this manicure, the first I encountered in the book, its approach to instruction is very successful. ¬†But I would, because these are my nails, I did this manicure and I think it turned out so well! ¬†So not super unbiased or anything. ūüėČ ¬†This cute little book also includes a sheet of over 125 nail stickers tucked inside the front cover, for all your Kitty and My Melody and Chococat needs. ¬†Love that saucy black cat.

HK Book Pages

And then just to kill it with the over, I did this manicure using four of the five mini polishes included in the Hello Kitty (by OPI) nail polish set I also received this Christmas. Oh, AND, I painted these nails using the double-ended detail brush/dotting tool that came with the polish set!  So basically a total Hello Kitty overload. Just the way Sanrio and nature intended!

OPI Kitty Collage

I See Your True (Water)colours

Brilliant Blaze Collage

These Incoco nail strips in Brilliant Burst, a “Hey, I didn’t know I had these!” find, look just like a delicate, pastel watercolour. ¬†It’s a very pretty look for what’s shaping up to be a warm Victoria Day long weekend.

But nail strips are a funny animal – a product I was really super into when I first started dabbling about in this nail art business. ¬†Incoco’s nail appliques were a particular favourite – criminally easy to apply, made from real nail polish and available in an absolute ton of fun shades and finishes. ¬†But as I started getting handier with a detail brush, I began phasing out the nail strips. ¬†Why buy that which I can probably create better myself?

But for newbies, hesitant amateurs or anyone else who just doesn’t want to spend two hours on a single nail art design? ¬†You can’t beat ’em. ¬†Nail strips are available from all sorts of companies, but I really like Incoco’s – the quality is excellent (they adhere to your nails very well without pulling up too much at the edges) and the design choices are thoughtful and current without being needlessly trendy. ¬†If you’re interested in a truly no-fuss, set-it-and-forget-it mani, I’d try Incoco’s fun offerings – and you can find them here. ūüôā

Brilliant Blaze Angled

Chick ‘N’ Mix: A Mini Lush Review

Chick 'N' Mix Collage

Everybody sing it with me now: “Chicken, chicken, you can’t cluck too much for me…chicken, chicken, why don’t you come down off of that tree?” ¬†No, not familiar with that one? ¬†I suppose that’s not too surprising – I didn’t know about the Chicken song either, a children’s ditty by a singer named Nancy Cassidy, until it was featured in one of Orange is the New Black’s first season episodes, “The Chickening” (that’s the one where the residents of the Litch, starved for decent food, exercise and mental stimulation, embark on a crazed poultry hunt for a wee chicken that appears in the yard one day.)

This chicken, a Chick ‘N’ Mix bath bomb from Lush’s Easter collection, is a little less revered than OITNB’s prized poultry, although I’ve no doubt some of those ladies would shank their own grandmother for an unsupervised bubble bath. ¬†Separated into three parts – chick, shell and adorable little concealed bunny bomb – this gigantic bath ballistic cost a whopping $10.95 Canadian and is really intended for multiple uses, although I just threw total caution to the wind and chucked the whole thing in my tub en masse.

Like just about every other bath bomb I’ve purchased and used this year, the Chick ‘N’ Mix fizzed out in just a little under 30 seconds. ¬†I didn’t have time to fire off a single photo of the bath art either, because there was none – both halves sunk straight to the bottom of the tub and dissolved quite neatly. ¬†Dejected, I tossed the little orange bunny bomb into the mix and thought about how that’s $11.00 I’m never getting back.

This is the part where I try to justify another dud of a Lush purchase by noting that the Chick ‘N’ Mix bath bomb did provide me with some Easter weekend nail art inspiration. But I’m growing tired of limited use items that don’t behave as promised, don’t smell as described, AND put a neat dent in my pocketbook in the process. ¬†That’s not the kind of inspiration I need! ¬†I mean, it’s inspiring me not to want to purchase any more Lush bath bombs, but I’m fairly certain that’s not the inspiration¬†Lush needs now, is it?

Also, this bath bomb was pure nightmare fuel. ¬†Ahhhh, KILL IT! ¬†KILL IT WITH FIRE! Beware the rabid chicken bath bomb, friends, as you really ought not to share your tubby time with critters frothing green gunge at the mouth. ¬†Sage life advice, from me to you. ūüėČ

Chick 'N' Mix Kill it With Fire Pic