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9 of My Must-Have Illamasqua Nail Varnishes

9 of My Must-Have Illamasqua Nail Varnishes

I love, love, LOVE!! Illamasqua’s Nail Varnish formula. For me, it’s one of the best (possibly, the best) formulas; long-wearing, great range of colors, nice consistency, and innovative. You can check out the shades I’ve reviewed in gallery format here. My all-time favorite shade is Raindrops, which was discontinued (go figure!).

What’s your favorite Illamasqua Nail Varnish? Or what shade would you love to try first?

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philosophy holiday 2012 collection + gift sets


philosophy holiday 2012 collection + offerings

philosophy’s 2012 holiday collection was inspired by classic celebrations, featuring nostalgic imagery, retro patterns and a vintage feel. classic celebrations are the perfect blend of togetherness and traditions. it’s a time to gather with loved ones, exchange joyful wishes, share quality time, and celebrate life and the holidays.

our collection celebrates the season in true philosophy fashion with classic holiday scents, philosophy vault and fan favorites, signature fragrances and glorious skin care to bring you a classic holiday experience.

Hot Salt Body Scrub ($25.00)

  • The Gingerbread Man
  • Candy Cane

Holiday Shower Gels ($16.00)

  • philosophy’s Old Fashioned Eggnog
  • The Gingerbread Man
  • Have a Cherry Christmas
  • Snow Angel
  • Candy Cane
  • Christmas Cookie
  • Homemade Pumpkin Pie
  • Italian Tiramisu (Sephora Exclusive)

Lip Shines ($10.00)

  • Candy Cane
  • philosophy’s Old Fashioned Eggnog
  • Have a Cherry Christmas
  • Sweet Creamy Frosting
  • Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa (Sephora Exclusive)

Sugar Plum Fairy Set ($20.00)

Includes Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz.) and Lip Shine (0.5 oz.)

Snow Angel Set ($22.00)

Includes Sweetly Fallen Snow Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath and Body Lotion (8 oz. each)

Christmas Morning Set ($24.00)

Barely Glazed Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (4 oz.), Barely Glazed Body Lotion (2 oz.), Sugar Sprinkles Funnel Cake Lip Shine (0.5 oz.)

Body Lotions ($16.00)

  • Sweet Creamy Frosting
  • Fresh Cream

The Bake Shoppe ($22.00)

Christmas Cookie Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz.) and Creamy Frosting Body Lotion (8 oz.)

The Cookbook ($30.00)

philosophy’s Old Fashioned Eggnog, Peppermint Bark, Hot Buttered Rum, Cinnamon Buns Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (4 oz. each)

Amazing Grace Set ($49.50) ($77 value)

Includes Amazing Grace Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz.), Spray Fragrance (2 oz.), Perfumed Body Butter (2 oz.)

Love Sweet Love ($49.50) ($77.00 value)

Includes Love Sweet Love Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz.), Spray Fragrance (2 oz.), Perfumed Body Butter (2 oz.)

Think Beautiful Thoughts ($45.00) ($80.50 value)

Includes Purity Made Simple Cleanser (3 oz.), Hope in a Jar Original (1 oz.), The Microdelivery Peel Pad (1), Eye Hope Eye Cream (0.25 oz.), When Hope is Not Enough Serum (0.375 oz.)

Ornaments ($10.00)

  • Purity Made Simple Cleanser (3 oz.)
  • Hands of Hope Hand and Cuticle Cream (1 oz.)

Warm Winter Wishes ($25.00) (Sephora Exclusive)

Includes Spiced Pumpkin Latte, Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (6 oz. each), Fresh Cream Body Lotion (2 oz.)

Welcome Home ($20.00) (Sephora Exclusive)

Hot Buttered Rum Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz.), Lip Shine (0.5 oz.)

Toasty Cabin ($25.00) (Sephora Exclusive)

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa, Whipped Vanilla Topping, Spiced Pumpkin latte Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (6 oz. each)

Holiday Kisses ($25.00) ($40.00 value) (Sephora Exclusive)

Lip Shines in Red Velvet Cake, Frosted Cookie, Bubbly, and Candy Cane (0.5 oz. each)

Snow Village ($20.00) (Sephora Exclusive)

Holiday Cheer, Snow Angel, Candy Cane hand lotions (1 oz. each)

Strawberry Angel Food Cake ($20.00) (Nordstrom Exclusive)

Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz.) and Lip Shine (0.5 oz.)

Frosted Treats ($22.00) (Nordstrom Exclusive)

Sweet Fluffy Cupcake Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz.), Sweet Creamy Frosting Body Lotion (8 oz.)

A Few Good Men ($25.00) (Nordstrom Exclusive)

The Muffin Man, The Gingerbread Man, The Ice Cream Man Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (6 oz. each)

The Recipe Box ($22.00) (Nordstrom Exclusive)

White Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath and Body Lotion (8 oz. each)

Holiday Greetings ($22.00) (Nordstrom Exclusive)

Caramel Candies and Butterscotch Candy Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (8 oz. each)

‘Twas the Night Before ($25.00) (Macy’s Exclusive)

Snickerdoodle, Frosted Cookie, Fresh Cream Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (6 oz. each)

Homebaked Holiday ($22.00) (Macy’s Exclusive)

Cherry Berry Crisp Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath and Body Lotion (8 oz. each)

Peace on Earth ($34.00) (QVC Exclusive)

Tranquil Orchid Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath and Body Lotion (16 oz. each)

Deliciuos Duo ($30.00) (QVC Exclusive)

Frosted Hazelnut Biscotti and Sweet Cinnamon Icing Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath (16 oz. each)

Holiday Cheer ($40.00) (QVC Exclusive)

Spiced Cider Hand Wash, Room Spray, and Hand Lotion (8 oz. each)

To Believe Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath ($20.00)

to have a world without poverty and hunger is philosophy’s vision. the brand proudly partners with WhyHunger, who makes ending hunger their mission. together with singer Jackie Evancho, we’re inspiring people to give back this holiday season with the launch of a charity shower gel that gives gift giving new reason. this new partnership includes the launch of to believe cranberry currant shower gel, featuring original Jackie Evancho song lyrics with 100% of philosophy’s net proceeds benefiting WhyHunger. Available November 2012.

Availability: October 2012 @ Nordstrom, Sephora, philosophy.com

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Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis

Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis
Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis

Nails the Color of Hollywood Red

Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis ($26.00 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is a rich, medium red cream with mostly neutral undertones. If pressed, I’d say blue-based but it’s very, very neutral. There’s a very fine ruby shimmer that’s really not visible in most lighting conditions. Frankly, I didn’t even know it existed until I was editing photos. Cult Nails Evil Queen is a smidgen lighter. China Glaze Poinsettia is not as rich. Chanel Rouge Carat is darker, bluer-based, and has more noticeable shimmer. Zoya Sooki is similar. Zoya Tamsen is very comparable. Butter London Pillar Box Red is a smidgen darker. MAC Touch of Red is lighter and warmer.

The formula is thin but not watery, and while the color looks opaque in two coats, under brighter lighting (like flash), it’s not quite–there is a shadow of visible nail line.  Because of the thinner formula, three coats is do-able and doesn’t feel too thick or take forever to dry.  It even dries down to a nice, shiny finish that doesn’t have to have a top coat, but it does look a little better with one.  I typically get a week of wear with Dior’s polishes with no chipping and only minor tip wear.

P.S. — I know a few readers asked for brush photos, so, the ever-lovely Musings of a Muse has some! 🙂

Dior Diorific Vernis Marilyn
Marilyn

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NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo

NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo
NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo

Beautiful Combination, Less Lovely Execution

NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “shimmering amethyst” and “black with red pearl.” This duo was launched to celebrate Fashion’s Night Out this year.

The shade on the left is a grayish-mauve with a satiny sheen. The color payoff is so-so to good; it seemed to have more color when applied to the lid, but it wasn’t quite fully pigmented. The texture, however, was very soft and finely-milled. NARS Flower 1 is a bit less plum, more purple. Giorgio Armani #27 is more metallic and darker. MAC Universal Appeal is warmer, pinker. NARS Charade is darker and more matte. MAC Hypnotizing is a smidgen grayer. Tarina Tarantino Fantastical is very similar. NARS Lhasa is darker. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar.

The shade on the right is a blackened burgundy with red sparkle. The base color has a matte finish, and the sparkles get lost between the pan, your brush, and your eye for the most part. It has a slightly dry, stiff texture that doesn’t make blending effortless–it takes some work, but it’s doable–and the color tends to look browner the more you blend it out. Tarina Tarantino Saw Dust Heart is quite similar when applied. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar. Giorgio Armani #2 has a similar composition, but it has a lot more shimmer.

It’s saddening that both shades were somewhat problematic (but the darker one was more so), because they look stunning together in the compact. There’s a lot of contrast but still common threads between both shades, so they would work well for a plummy smoky eye.  It’s decent but not the best duo by NARS.  I wore both shades together, and I had minor fading with the darker shade after eight hours without a primer (but the lighter shade was fine).  When I used a primer, both shades wore without fading or creasing for eight hours.

NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo

B
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8
Longevity
4
Application
86%
Total

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette
Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette

Take Flight with These Fairy Golds

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a limited edition palette for the holidays that consists of five shades of eyeshadow. It will be available in October.

The first shade (on the upper left) is a pale pink-tinged beige with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft and finely-milled. Urban Decay Sellout is similar. Milani Champagne Toast is a bit warmer, darker. MAC Summer haze is browner. Urban Decay Booty Call has more of a matte finish.

The next shade (on the upper right) is a dirty champagne with a sparkly, almost glittery, finish and a metallic sheen. It was fairly true-to-pan in color and payoff. Despite its glitter-content, it applied well enough (could have been a little smoother) and didn’t have much fall out during application, and I only saw one or two stray particles after eight hours of wear. Urban Decay Echo is darker. Giorgoi Armani #1 Madreperla is more muted, less metallic. MAC Retrospeck is similar.

The center shade is a pink-tinged white with a bright, metallic finish and some larger shimmer/glitter particles. It had decent to good pigmentation and applied smoothly. This shade has less glitter compared to the golden shade. I did not experience any fall out with it. Dior Garden Roses is a less metallic variation. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk is darker, pinker. MAC Fresh Ice is a bit darker. Giorgio Armani #11 is very comparable.

The fourth shade (on the bottom left) is a lightened, pink-mauve with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff and applied easily. Urban Decay Provocateur is darker, glittery. MAC Invincible Light is pinker. MAC Star Crystal is very similar. Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy

The last shade (on the bottom right) is a medium-dark brown with red-orange undertones and a pearly finish. It had excellent pigmentation, and it was soft and finely-milled. Urban Decay Lost is a bit darker. MAC Havana is warmer but very close. Benefit Dandy Brandy is just a touch lighter. MAC Roasted Chestnut is similar but frosted. MAC Buckwheat is very comparable.

I was surprised to find this palette rather warm-toned, as the other holiday palette was very warm-toned as well. This isn’t cool-toned at all, though it’s not as warm as Night Golds. However, it is frostier, because it has two sparkly/glitter shades. I think it could benefit from having one matte or near-matte finish in it. When I tested the wear, I had no fading or creasing after eight hours (both with and without primer), and there were only a couple of stray particles from the glittery shades below my lid.

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette

A-
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
4.5
Application
90%
Total

Tarte Holiday 2012 Collection


Tarte Holiday 2012 Collection

Carried Away Collector’s Set ($54.00) ($512 value) (Limited Edition) (Sephora Exclusive)

Travel beautifully with this impressive collection of tarte essentials. The all-inclusive set features six eye shadow quads for a show-stopping palette of bold, high-payoff shades in both shimmering and matte formulas. The deluxe maracuja glosses will perk up any pout with a mix of neutral and stunning shades, ranging from pale petal pink to deep crimson. The kit also includes an Amazonian clay 12-hour blush and complementary domed brush to brighten complexions, finishing powder to balance skin, and dramatic mascara for voluptuous, attention-getting lashes.

6-Piece SmolderEYES and Skinny SmolderEYES Collector’s Set ($39.00) ($144 value) (Limited Edition)

These pure, powerful, and always-pretty smolderEYES™ liners glide on like butter and impart a precise line for a sleek look. Use the built-in smudger to go sultry and smoldering and enjoy the completely waterproof finish. Amazonian clay ensures longer wear, while nourishing lids, reducing surface oil, and improving overall texture. No matter how you wear these versatile shades, the rich pigments boast true, bold color.

Picture perfect Curler & Deluxe Lights, Camera, lashes 4-in-1 Mascara (Limited Edition)

This eyelash curler is dressed to the nines with an exclusive print silk-screened around the handles for a bold, colorful pop— the ultimate collector’s piece for any vanity. The curved angle and wide mouth suits all eye shapes and promises not to painfully pinch or crimp. The four-in-one mascara lengthens, curls, volumizes, and conditions for dramatic, attention-getting lashes.

Fantastic Foursome 4-Piece Amazonian Clay Blush Enthusiast Set ($35.00) ($60.00 value) (Limited Edition)

4 x 0.1 oz Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Angelic (shimmering champagne), Fantastic (soft fuchsia), Magic (pink coral), Stellar (shimmering nude)

5-Piece LipSurgence Collector’s Set ($34.00) ($120.00 value) (Limited Edition)

5 x 0.1 oz LipSurgence™ Lip Luster Natural Matte Lip Tint in Escape, Enchanted, Exposed, Sweet, Elite

The Stand Outs Besters Kit ($25.00) ($58.00 value) (Limited Edition)

Discover this set of Tarte favorites for beautiful lips and eyes. The full-size lip luster delivers a surge of moisture for a naturally plump appearance, while peppermint adds a refreshing burst of flavor to each application. Line and define eyes with the full-size Amazonian clay waterproof liner for precise, high-definition or use as a smoky, sultry shadow. Apply this creamy formula with its counterpart, a double-ended liner brush, that makes the process easy and effective. Complete the look with the all-in-one mascara for dramatic, thick lashes.

For the Love of Lipgloss 15-Piece Maracuja Lipgloss Collector’s Set ($32.00) ($120.00 value) (Limited Edition)

Contains 15 shades of maracuja lipgloss, exclusively at Ulta.

The Big Thrill Color Collection ($48.00) ($435.00 value) (Limited Edition)

16 eyeshadows, 4 blushes, 3 glosses. Exclusively at Ulta.

Availability: ULTA, Sephora

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