Monday, November 21, 2016

Alchemy III by Formula X for Sephora

purchased by me

Hey, it's been a minute, but look!  A nail polish post!  Just in case anyone is looking for a little something to add to their bag during Sephora's Black Friday event, here's a gorgeous polish.  The Sephora description is "iridescent rose shimmer" and mine is "addictive rose foil".  Alchemy III is a lovely combination of minute gold and rose shimmer particles that add up to a polish that is both subtle and shimmery at the same time.  The pale color makes it work-safe, and the beauty of it garners compliments!  It's also one of those polishes where you can't see any VNL, even when the polish is technically sheer, because of its reflective nature.  My swatch is two coats and no top coat.

Last year's Alchemy II was $14.00, this year's is $15.00 and it's available now at Sephora.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lush Halloween products mini reviews

purchased by me

I splurged on a few goodies from Lush when the Halloween stuff came out, and they're all still available, so if you're considering any of these, the mini-reviews are after the jump.

Goth Fairy:

Monsters's Ball, Pumpkin, Autumn Leaf:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A little hometown pride

Even if you ignore sports, you have to know that the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA playoffs and brought home the city's first major sports trophy in 64 years.  Cleveland had partying in the streets on Sunday, more partying when the players came home on Monday, and a parade on Tuesday.

I work in Akron, which is LeBron James's hometown, and we got to wear Cavs gear on Wednesday and today, and tonight Akron is throwing its most famous local boy a party.  I did up my nails and my eyes in honor of the Cavs.

The gold is Color Club Cherubic, the wine is Nabi 3-D Rainbow Effect in Wine and the navy is Darling Diva Queen of the Night

The gold is Milani ShadowEyez in Golden Bronze, the wine is ColourPop Porter and the navy is the darkest shade from Inglot Rainbow shadow #110.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Incoco Vintage Charm

purchased by me

Spring has finally sprung, but because the building in which I work is so cold, I've not been able to wear most of my spring clothes.  So I'm sporting spring on my nails--mint and silver stripes with black and pink floral bands.

Vintage Charm polish strips are available at Incoco for $8.99 + shipping.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Incoco Lavender Fields

purchased by me

I was so excited to see these as part of the Incoco spring collection because lavender is my favorite flower.  When I got my hands on these strips and these strips on my hands, they lived up to my expectations!  Beautiful, detailed sprigs of lavender on a silver background.

You can find the Lavender Fields nail polish strips for $8.99 + shipping at the Incoco website.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Deborah Lippman Marrakech Express

purchased by me

I'm back!  Did you miss me?  If you want to know where I've been, check out Curmudgeonette. :-D

Anyway, today is all about Marrakech Express.  I love this polish so much!  It's been a longtime lemming for me, and when I finally grabbed it from HSN, it did not disappoint.  It's a red-copper foil with gold flakes, the formula was easy and it was opaque in two coats.

It's available at the Lippman website for $20 or at HSN for $21 with a free mini bottle of top coat.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Formula X for Sephora: Dazed

purchased by me

Dazed is a pale pink-lavender shimmer.  It's very shimmery but doesn't show brush strokes.  However, this particular polish is thin enough that even when it's at bottle color (2 coats) it still shows every. single. ridge.  Dazed is also discontinued.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Formula X for Sephora: Groovy

purchased by me

Groovy is part of the Technicolor Silks collection from Formula X.  It's an insanely shiny orange-toned red with a pink flash.  The formula is good, thin but opaque and fast-drying, but I mostly love it for the color. :-)  Swatch is two coats, no top coat.

Groovy and the other Technicolor Silks can be found at Sephora for $12.50 each + tax and shipping.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Formula X for Sephora: Destiny

purchased by me

Destiny is one of 12 matte polishes in the Brushed Metallics collection, and it's a soft blue with pink shimmer.  It's a true matte, drying very quickly, so your brush strokes need to be precise.  There's not much self-leveling here! Still, I love matte polishes, and this is a very pretty one.

 Destiny is also very pretty with top coat:

Destiny and the other 11 Brushed Metallics are available at Sephora for $12.50 each + shipping and applicable sales tax.

And this polish name makes me think of this:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Taj-ma-haul

purchased by me

Taj-ma-haul is a mid-toned orange crème with a nice formula that covered easily in two coats.  It's not my favorite color, but it's a good version of a spring staple.

Taj-ma-haul and the rest of the Going Guru collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Nama-Stay-the-Night

purchased by me

Silly name aside, I pretty much knew going into this collection that Nama-Stay-the-Night was going to be my favorite.  It's a cobalt blue crème with a flawless formula that was opaque in one coat and didn't stain.  That's my idea of a perfect blue!

Nama-Stay-the-Night and the rest of the Going Guru collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Scent of the Day: Ask the Nearest Hippie

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

Ask the Nearest Hippie (The Collected Poetic Works of Antonin Scalia, 2015)  

Obergefell vs Hodges
Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.

An olfactory guide, created to assist you in locating nearby hippies: patchouli, hemp, smoky vanilla bean, and cannabis accord.

On first sniff this smells relatively unthreatening:  a bit of vanilla, a bit of green, nothing too pungent or unwashed.  Wet on my skin, it starts off foody vanilla but quickly turns toward patchouli with a spiky green note in it.  Haha, I think some of the vanilla in this has aged into gentility; it was much more vanilla when it was fresh.  It still reminds me of Banshee Beat, though. 

It dries down more explicitly smoky, with stronger green notes among the patchouli; the vanilla is still there but it's a fairly deep note, more a sort of absolute than the creamy or foody type.  Ask the Nearest Hippie smells much more hippie-ish than it did when it was fresh, and that suits me just fine.

This scents in this limited edition group debuted in the summer of 2015 as a charitable effort benefiting the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Trevor Project, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.  The scents are still live as of this writing. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Going Guru

purchased by me

Going Guru is a medium yellow-green crème.  The formula is very good, smooth and opaque in two easy coats (I didn't see the bubble until I got this post ready, and I'm pretty sure it's a bit of cotton ball and not the polish!).  It's definitely a sweet and hopeful spring color.

Going Guru and the rest of the collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Essie Going Guru collection: Delhi Dance

purchased by me

Essie Delhi Dance is a vibrant pink crème, the color of the pressed-sugar wintergreen lozenges my grandparents used to have in a dish on their coffee table.  The formula is lovely, well-behaved, nice viscosity, and quick-drying.  It wasn't quite opaque in two coats (still a bit streaky) but that's not visible at conversational distance.

Dehli Dance and the rest of the Going Guru collection are available at Head 2 Toe Beauty and Ulta, but the only place I've seen the set of 4 mini polishes is at Ulta.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Formula X Photoelectric

purchased by me

Photoelectric is described as "purple + blue micro glitter in sheer bright blue".  On my nails it's a blue-toned turquoise glassfleck.  It's not quite opaque at two coats, but it's so very sparkly the VNL is not really visible at conversational distance.

Photoelectric is limited edition and available for $12.50 + shipping and tax at the Sephora website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Formula X Alchemy II

purchased by me

Alchemy II is described as "a champagne rosé shimmer".  It's a stunning rose gold foil that was opaque in two easy coats.

Alchemy II is limited edition and available for $14.00 + shipping and tax at the Sephora website.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Essie Sequin Sash

purchased by me

In addition to Starry Starry Night, I also grabbed a bottle of Sequin Stash from the Essie Retro Revival collection.  It's described as "sheer glittery bronze" but to me it lacks the greenish tones of a bronze and feels more like a sheer, glittery peach.  It's quite pretty, behaves well, dries quickly but is still sheer at three coats.

Sequin Stash and the rest of the Retro Revival collection are available at Head2Toe Beauty for $8.00 each + shipping.  I got mine at, where they're currently out of stock.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Testing Day: Blood Moon

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

Blood Moon Full Lunar Eclipse (A Little Lunacy, September 2015) -- Impenetrable, blood-spattered, Martial red musk, fiery pomegranate and black pepper, the splintered woods of uncountable wooden arrow shafts and shields, sharp frankincense and morose myrrh, all smothering the gentler impulses of the moon.

Dead Leaves Frankincense and Copal (Pile of Leaves, Hallowe'enies 2015) -- no description given.

Le Clerc's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) -- Assyrian cypress and cedar with cinnamon, black cardamom, cassia, Egyptian balsam, acanthus leaves, and frankincense.

Palmyra (UNHCR benefit scent, 2015) -- Golden amber and galbanum with frankincense, myrrh, Balm of Gilead, vanilla-infused sandalwood, sand-smoothed leather, and Ceylon cinnamon.


Blood Moon Full Lunar Eclipse is a very dark oil, signaling the presence of red musk.  In the vial it is all fruity red musk and resin.   Wet on my skin, it turns even more fruity.  Pomegranate is a good note for me, and this is a happy version of it.  As always, the red musk takes a while to develop.  Meanwhile, there is a sharpish note in it that I can't decide about; I think it is wood but it might be pepper.  On drydown it is still pomegranate first, then red musk a distant second with wood coming in third.  It stays that way through maturity, with not a lot of sillage but a lot of staying power.  I'm fond of red musk plus pomegranate, and this is a well-behaved example of it although I never really got the resins.

Dead Leaves Frankincense and Copal is a deep, slightly tart, resinous leaf note on first sniff.  Wet on my skin, it's a slightly sweet, young green leaf.  It dried down somewhat different:  a light, soft, slightly powdery unidentifiable resin with a leafy overtone.  At maturity it became a very light, soft, slightly sweet woodlike scent.  This one I think would make a good scent for a bath product, in a sugar scrub or an addition to a lotion or bath oil; it's a little unfocused to wear as a perfume.  Very pretty, though, and it gave me the illusion of being thirty years younger for a while there.

Le Clerc's Phoenix is mostly cinnamon/cassia at first sniff, but fresh and green rather than astringent or hurty.  There's some balsam in this that softens and rounds it.  Wet on my skin it turns more toward cassia and wood.  I expected this not to work on me because I'm not good with cassia; I was pinning my hopes to the balsam.  As it dries down the cassia softens but turns more woody, overwhelming the balsam.  Mature, it's a very soft light woody cassia.

Palmyra is dark and deep but smooth in the bottle; I get vanillic amber, something woody, and a touch of leather.  Wet on my skin, the leather bites a little bit and there is a woody/cinnamon note.  This scent could go either way on me, and it went the way I didn't want to.  At drydown the leather had turned a bit tannic and and a dark resin, perhaps the galbanum, moved to the fore.  It's more rooty, or maybe it's more gritty, than frankincense or myrrh.  The vanillic elements are mostly gone now, and so is the cinnamon.  At maturity, it becomes light leather and wood touched with smoke and cinnamon.  It almost has a tobacco tannic element to it, also.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Scent of the Day: The Ragged Wood (Lupercalia 2008)

                                                                                                                                           purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth
                                                                                                                                           written January 28, 2016

Lily of the Valley, star jasmine, benzoin, vanilla, plumeria, bergamot, Terebinth pine, juniper berry, and tea rose.

I'm wearing this scent today In honor of its re-release in the 2016 Lupers as well as Yeats' yahrzeit which is today.

At first sniff, this scent is cool and dark green, more a smooth evergreen than anything else although florals are definitely present.  It's more juniper than terebinth, but not by much.  Wet on my skin, it's evergreen-aquatic with floral sweetness beneath.  As it dries down the vanilla warms it up a bit and the florals begin to develop.  They're not very easy to distinguish save for the lily of the valley, which goes a little soapy.  It reminds me of The Illustrated Woman at this phase, although without the more robust tobacco and patchouli of that scent. 

Although I always expect this one to turn tropical when I'm reading the notes, it never really does.  At maturity it's a very soft floral, more plumeria than anything else, blended with a breath of vanilla.  (The vanilla used to be more prominent than it is now; aging has muted it a bit.)  The soapy evergreen impression is relegated to the background.  Overall it is complex, slightly aquatic, and dim, with one of the most wearable plumeria notes I've found in the catalogue.

The longer this one stays on my skin, the more fond of it I am despite the way it fades.  For me it succeeds in capturing the emotion behind the Yeats poem that inspires it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Essie Virgin Snow

purchased by me

Virgin Snow is a white-based pastel blue crème.  The formula is smooth, opaque in two coats and surprisingly non-streaky and non-chalky for such a pale color.  It does show off the flaws in my nails, but it's still very icy and pretty.

Indoors with flash:

In the sun:

Virgin Snow was part of the holiday 2015 collection, but it's still available at Ulta, Head 2 Toe Beauty and other e-tailers.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Essie Starry Starry Night

purchased by me

The last time did a 20% off coupon I stocked up on Essie nail polish, because that stuff never goes on sale.  So of course the first thing I put in my cart was Starry Starry Night.  What a lovely polish!  I've read that it's not identical to the original, but it was pigmented, deep blue and loaded with silver mini-flakes, so I'm a happy camper.  Starry Starry Night took only 2 coats for opacity and dried quickly.  It was a teensy bit gritty, but top coat fixed that.

In the sun:

With flash:

I'm happy with this pretty polish, and it is available right now on for $8.50 + shipping.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Testing Day: Anniversary Phoenices!

purchased and reviewed by ThoraSTooth

Aelian's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) --  Golden amber and patchouli with fiery peppercorn, cocoa, white cedar, neroli, vanilla pod, and frankincense.

Claudian's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) --  red patchouli, sweet frankincense, and the figs and pomegranates of the seven mouths of the dark Nile.

Clement I's Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) -- A sepulchre of frankincense and caramelized myrrh.

Statius' Phoenix (Anniversaries 2015) -- Pomegranate root, honey, white cedar, and frankincense.

Aelian's Phoenix reminds me very much of Gelt at first sniff, with the same cocoa and golden amber yet much more complete and nuanced.  Wet on my skin I get mostly golden amber (which smells vanillic) with some cocoa and neroli.  It is complex, sweet-ish, full but not rich.  On drydown it's a classic BPAL vanilla-resin scent, more amber than frankincense but with some of both.  The vanilla is noticeable, but the cocoa isn't.  (My skin kills chocolate scents pretty quickly.)  The neroli is just barely present, and there's just enough patchouli to hold it all together.  But at maturity it's all vanillic golden amber, warm and foody with little of the previous complexity.

Claudian's Phoenix is a very rich and well-blended patchouli, frankincense, and pomegranate.  I cold-bought this bottle since it's so full of notes I love.  But like most red patchouli scents, it takes a while to develop properly.  Wet the patchouli note goes a little sharp, and the fig note comes up to thicken and soften the pomegranate.  On drydown it's mostly a patchouli scent but it seems to have gone off in an unexpected herbal direction rather than the fruity one I anticipated.  At maturity it's patchouli and pomegranate, another in the long line of fruity-patchouli scents I love so much; this one is less fruity and more resinous than some, and still with that unexpected herbal overtone.  I am happy with my purchase and will love wearing this new phoenix.

Clement I's Phoenix has a particularly delicious frankincense note similar to the one I love in Hermes Trismegistus, Anne Bonny, and The Blasphemare Reliquary.  Wet on my skin the caramelized myrrh develops; it smells thickish but not dark or heavy, adding depth to the resin blend.  On drydown it is a warm, cosy, and slightly sweet myrrh-frankincense blend.  It matures slowly, without much change, as is typical for myrrh scents on me.  If I didn't have Sunbird and a couple of other delicious myrrh-forward scents already to hand, I'd very likely buy this one in quantity because it is  lovely:  less sharp and clear than Priala, less robust than Minotaur, not as sweet as Sunbird, softer and warmer than some of the GC myrrh scents I love.

Statius' Phoenix smells of slightly foody honey and pomegranate until it hits my skin, at which point a splendid but perplexing fruity cherry note develops.  The base seems buttery like the pleasant type of orris (not the bitter rooty aspect nor the high blue floral one that gives me instant headaches).  There is something just a bit astringent and mouth-watering in it that keeps it from cloying.  That impression is sustained on drydown, kind of reminding me of Chokecherry Honey which, oddly, smelled of red currant on me.  This could easily be classified as a red currant/honey scent.  It doesn't change much at maturity; the floral aspect of the honey ripens a bit, is all.

Monday, January 11, 2016

OPI Say Hello Kitty!

purchased by me

Part of the OPI + Hello Kitty collection, Say Hello Kitty! is a bright pink glassfleck polish that comes with two rhinestone "bows".  It's very pretty, very sparkly and very pink.  The formula was smooth, self-leveled beautifully and was opaque in two coats.

And the bottle has little Hello Kitties on it!  Okay, it's a bit over-priced at $19.50, but it's LE and cute, so I don't regret grabbing it at Ulta.