The Blue Mind

Recently I was made aware of a human-proposed phenomenon called “The Blue Mind.”  It’s the name of a book by Wallace J. Nichols which I haven’t read yet, but it sounds intriguing.  The lengthy subtitle of the book is “The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.”  Whew, that’s a mouthful!

The Amazon blurb says, “Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In BLUE MIND, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, he shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.”

I’m a skeptical of so many grand claims and would boil it down to something much simpler:  We as humans tend to love being around, next to, looking at, and in water.  It’s often calming and just plain makes us feel better.  Think about it — we take vacations by the seaside, paint our bedrooms blue, add water features to our properties if we aren’t lucky enough to live on a river or lake or pond, and sometimes listen to recordings of ocean waves and babbling brooks to relax and fall asleep.  No one says, “Well, I think this year we’ll spend our week’s vacation next to the train tracks.”

We like looking at water and the sky, at least I do.  While I live in land-locked state now, I have fond childhood memories of Sunday afternoons spent on Carolina beaches, and currently go to lakes and rivers whenever I can — to walk, to sit, just to gaze.  I’ve also always loved lying on my back outdoors and staring at blue sky, finding shapes in the clouds or merely daydreaming.  It never gets old.

We’re currently fixing up an old house (c. 1916) we bought a few months ago, and the wide front porch was in desperate need of some love.  All the elements — walls, trim, floor, posts, ceiling — had been sloppily painted white at some point and were dirty and covered in cobwebs and various stages of insect life.  Once it was all cleaned up and we started painting, the first thing Mr. Silver Nail did was to paint the porch ceiling a lovely shade of sky blue that I chose.  I’ve always wanted a porch with a light blue ceiling!  Where I grew up, old-fashioned porches often had that and it was called “Haint Blue,” the reasoning being that it keeps the ghosts away.  I’m cool with that.  And if it helps keep bugs away that’s great too.

So spend more time near the colors and things you love, whether it’s blue or pink or water or mountains or whatever.  Find your bliss.

And to segue into a blue polish, here’s one from Zoya with an ocean vibe called Marina.  It’s a dusty or smoky blue with silver and blue shimmer, reminiscent of perhaps a storm over the water.  Marina was part of the Fall 2011 collection of shimmers called Mirrors and also contained Yara, Jem, Neeka, Tao, and Nimue, all of which are still available.

The formula of Marina was somewhat sheer so I was pleasantly surprised that two coats covered well.  Under indirect bright outdoor light with no top coat:

Marina

What a lovely color for fall or winter.  It’s more gray than Zoya’s blue Skylar which I swatched years ago.

It’s good to be bad

Bad as in sinful…. but only if you’re talking about nail polish.

Presenting Color Club’s fall collection, Seven Deadly Sins.  On CC’s web site, we find this dagger-clawed vixen:

CC 7 banner

Color Club shows these pictures as inspiration for the collection, but note there are only six, so one sin got shortchanged.

CC 7 inspiration

The short description reads, “Color Club® Seven Deadly Sins contains 7 matte, textured glitters. Each of the deep, sexy hues was created to bring out the bad girl in all of us. Being sinful never seemed so glamorous.

Ooh, matte textures!  Just when I think I’ve tired of this fad/fashion, I see some new shades I’d like.  (Click on  the picture for a larger view.)

CC 7 collection

And now let’s look at them up close and sinfully personal.

Dirty Money

CC 7 dirty money

Fierce

CC 7 fierce

Friends with Benefits

CC 7 friends with benefits

Indulge Me

CC 7 indulge me

Obsessed

CC 7 obsessed

Under Your Spell

CC 7 under your spell

You’re So Vain

CC 7 youre so vain

Wow, I think I’d love to have the fall-looking Indulge Me and Fierce.  And Dirty Money.  And You’re So Vain.

These are $8.50  each directly from Color Club, but one of my favorite e-tailers, Head2ToeBeauty, has them for $3.25 each, not counting shipping & handling.

So what are the real seven deadly sins?  You may have seen the Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman/Kevin Spacey movie “Se7en” from 1995, which uses the sins as a theme.  Creeeeeeepy.  Not for the faint of heart.

The big seven are:

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride

I’d match them up with the polishes this way:

  1. Lust  —  Friends with Benefits
  2. Gluttony  —  Indulge Me
  3. Greed  —  Dirty Money
  4. Sloth  —  Under Your Spell (this one is a reach)
  5. Wrath  —  Fierce
  6. Envy  —  Obsessed
  7. Pride  —  You’re So Vain

What do you think of these colors?  Do you Lust after them and feel perhaps a bit of Greed?  I do, and normally I’m nothing but Sloth.  ;-)

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Edit:  Found some lovely swatches of four of the colors, the ones that are included in a mini-kit:  Under Your Spell, You’re So Vain, Dirty Money, and Friends with Benefits.  Look here at LiveLoveGlittr !

Also, Veni Vidi Varnished (love that blog name!) has four colors too, but not the mini-kit.  She shows Dirty Money and Friends with Benefits as well, but also shows the GORGEOUS Fierce and Indulge Me.  Now I want those latter two more than ever.  They’re great matte but magical with the clear top coat.

Little Halloween treats

Did you check out the Sinful Colors polish at Walgreens’ 99-cent sale this week?  I didn’t need any more basic colors but drifted over to the new Halloween display to see what was, well, new.

I don’t like to spend much money on “costume”-type polish that I may only wear once or twice a year, but at 99 cents, a little bling is quite do-able.  Heck, you can’t even buy much of a candy bar or cup of coffee for that price any more.

I picked up two glitter/shard top coats, the alliterative Splatter Spell and Mystery Moonshine.

Splatter Spell is a clear base with various sizes of black hex glitter and copper-orange shards.  Mystery Moonshine is a clear base with copper-orange, blue-purple, and green shards or metallic shreds of various sizes.   I used two coats of each over two coats of the bright yellow Darcy from Zoya, so that all the particles would show up.  Then because it was a little scratchy I used a clear shiny top coat.

The outdoor light today is very gloomy and did not lead to good photos:

Splatter Spell

Mystery Moonshine

Sharper with the flash:

Splatter Spell flash

Mystery Moonshine flash

Both are OK, nothing amazing.  Fun for Halloween, and they could even be Mardi Gras toppers too.

New Ultra PixieDust from Zoya — the review

Disclosure:  These polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

More PixieDusts from Zoya, this three-polish set called Ultra, not Magical like the last two sets, which I reviewed here and here.

So why “Ultra” and not “Magical”?  These three new polishes do not contain holographic (holo) glitter like the Magical PixieDusts.  But they do contain hex and micro glitter, which makes them different from plain PixieDusts such as the ones reviewed here.

Got the difference?  Exxxxxxcellent.

zoya ultra pd banner

zoya ultra pd spills

The Ultra PDs are Oswin, Arianna, and Noir.

Ultra PD bottles

Zoya describes Oswin as true red, Arianna as wine red, and Noir as deep plum.

I applied two coats of each polish and took the photos under indirect outdoor light.  First all the pictures then my impressions.

Oswin:

Ultra PD Oswin

Arianna:

Ultra PD Arianna

Noir:

Ultra PD Noir

I found that none of them, especially Arianna, dried to a true matte finish.  Part of that reason is that I think glitter and matte are sort of contradictory.  I think the colors are pretty but found Arianna to be more of a pinkish-red than what I’d call a wine red.

Then I tried each color with two different top coats.  I put a clear shiny one on my little finger and a matte one on my ring finger.  Same lighting, same order of colors:

Ultra PD Oswin w top coats

Ultra PD Arianna w top coats

Ultra PD Noir top coats

So here’s what I think.  All three colors are pretty and glamorous yet I’m surprised they’re all so similar, especially Oswin and Arianna.  I think a dark green or a dark blue would have spiced up the set, but hey, it’s not my company.  Despite following Zoya’s tips for applying PDs (see below), the polishes on their own never dried completely matte and had something of an “unfinished” look to them, like they’d be sticky, although they weren’t.

My favorite look by far was with the clear shiny top coat.  Ooh, aah.  ULTRA glamour!  I liked them with the matte top coat too.  Color-wise, I like Oswin and Noir best.  Arianna is very close to Oswin so I don’t know why it doesn’t appeal to me more.

This set actually reminded me of two of the three polishes in an old discontinued glitter set from Zoya called the Mini-Glam Trio.

Zoya Glitters trio

I reviewed them here and they were just meh except that I did like Nova, the darkest one.  However, these three new Ultra PixieDusts are much better polishes — better formula, better coverage, better sparkle.

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Tips from Zoya:

Please view the following Zoya Video on how to correctly apply Ultra PixieDust by Zoya. Following the steps outlined in the video will provide optimal results for your new Zoya Ultra PixieDust color. Polish should have a matte finish with sparkle.

For best results: Prep nail with Zoya Remove Nail Polish Remover and Prep. Apply 1-3 (for full coverage) thin coats of Zoya PixieDust polish. Allow product to dry completely between each coat for full effect. Do not use a base coat or top coat.

If polish base does not dry down to a matte finish this may be due to not enough wait time between coats or because the color was not applied to a perfectly clean surface that is free of base coat (note: some basecoats may prevent the color from drying properly).

If the embed doesn’t work, here’s the link:  http://youtu.be/Sm5ZTEtYZmI

Each polish is $10 (US) at Zoya.com and as always, Zoya polishes are 5-free — free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and camphor.

Disclosure:  These polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

Brand new! Too Faced La Belle Carousel swatches and review

A makeup review from me two days in a row?  Get out!  But it’s true, and today I’ve got something so new it’s not even on the manufacturer’s web site or Facebook page yet.

It’s a holiday/Christmas set from Too Faced called La Belle Carousel, and when I read on some other blogs/news sites last week that Macy’s had this and other Too Faced gift sets, I pounced.  I had some mad money, and yes, it’s frivolous, but no more so than a pair of shoes I’d rarely wear.

La Belle Carousel (LBC) retails for $49 which might seem like a lot.  Too Faced is a higher-end cosmetics company but it’s all relative — higher than Maybelline, lower than Chanel.  LBC contains twelve eye shadows in three four-shadow palettes, two blushes, two bronzers, and a mascara.  It’s brightly packaged for gift-giving and you can break up the set for stocking stuffers or party favors if you so choose.

Let’s look at the packaging.  The outer container is thin cardboard and clear plastic and looks very festive.  (Click on this or any of my photos for a larger view.)

TFLBC outer pkg

The back shows pictures of all the shades included.

TFLBC outer pkg back

The inner packaging is bright, too.  Glittery, even!

TFLBC inner pkg

This inner package is about six inches high and you could, I suppose, hang it like an ornament but I wouldn’t recommend it without some tape or other reinforcement, as the top could easily pop off from the weight of the products.

LBC has six narrow cardboard pieces with a booklet in the center with suggested looks and application diagrams.

TFLBC palettes

TFLBC palettes back

TFLBC booklet a

TFLBC booklet b

The eye shadow and blush/bronzer palettes close magnetically but not super-securely, but as you can see you could slip one or two into a stocking, and they have “To/From” spaces on the back to write names.

The shadows are mostly shimmery/glittery with two mattes.  The first palette is silver/green/black, the second is brown/neutral, and the third is mostly pink/purple.  Two views without the flash:

TFLBC palettes open

TFLBC palettes open2

With the flash:

TFLBC palettes open flash

And now, quick swatches.  These are on my bare skin, no primer.

First row, left to right:  Frost, Tin Soldier, Christmas Tree, Santa’s Boots

Second row, left to right:  Tufted Suede, Angel Hair, Haute Chocolate (a re-promote shade from Too Faced’s very popular Chocolate Bar palette), Yule Log

Third row, left to right:  Nutcracker, Nude Beach, Boxes & Bows, Sugar Plum Fairy (Nude Beach doesn’t seem to belong as a holiday name, but maybe their holidays are a lot more exciting than mine)

Under indirect outdoor light and then under indoor light:

TFLBC eye swatches outd light

TFLBC eye swatches ind light

Now the bronzers and blushes, under same two lighting conditions.

First row, left to right:  Chocolate Soleil (which really does smell like chocolate), Who’s Your Poppy?

Second row, left to right:  Sun Bunny Dark, Luminous Peach

TFLBC blbr outd light

TFLBC blbr ind light

What do you think of the shades?  Here are my impressions.

Of the eye shadows, I think some of them could be more pigmented but am impressed with others.  Plus I suspect that if I used eye primer the colors might be more intense.  I was really disappointed in Christmas Tree which I expected to be a dark forest green.  The three lightest shades, the top one in each palette, didn’t show up well on my skin although Frost is very, um, frosty.  I love the purple Sugar Plum Fairy, the pink Boxes & Bows, and the browns.  Santa’s Boots is quite the sooty color and could be used as a liner.  On younger, non-crinkly skin, go hog wild with the colors!

I like the blushes and bronzers more than I expected and the sizes are generous.  The two blushes have a little shimmer but are not overpowering, and of the bronzers, one is matte and one is slightly shimmery.  I honestly don’t know much about using bronzer but plan to learn — goodness knows my dull skin could use a slight pick-me-up yet I don’t want to look overdone.

Also included in La Belle Carousel is a 0.17 oz/4.8 g travel or sample size of Too Faced’s “Better Than Sex” mascara.  [Insert joke about the mascara's name and my post-menopausal state.]  I haven’t tried the mascara yet but have read a lot of positive things about it.

Is this a silly set for a 55-year-old woman to buy for herself?  Yes.  No.  Maybe.  Who cares?  I think I’ll have fun with it.  I know that if I was decades younger and interested in makeup this would be a fantastic holiday gift.  Do be aware of the mascara’s name if the gift is for a younger girl, if you care about things like that.

Get thee to a Walgreens

Although they just had a 99-cent sale on Sinful Colors polish a month ago, Walgreens is having another one, starting today.  I’ve mentioned many times how much I love Sinful Colors as a budget brand and think its quality rivals many polishes that cost four or five times as much.  It usually retails for $1.99 for a full-sized 0.5 oz/15 ml bottle, which is still thrifty, but at half price it’s a steal.  My latest fave from SC was the silver-green foil Vintage.

In other Walgreens “gimmes,” I recently picked up two Wet n Wild neutral eye shadow palettes.  These are limited edition, and from what I’ve read they’re selling (and selling out!) fast.

Wet n Wild is a low-cost drugstore brand that in my experience tends to have eye shadows with better pigmentation than many other budget brands.  I swatched a Cover Girl palette a while ago and after trying some other companies’ products I realized how poor the pigmentation in the Cover Girl one really was, so I tossed it.  Hey, I used it for a long time and got my money’s worth.

These new WnW palettes are #34418 Smoke and Melrose and #34419 Melrose at Night.  They retail for $3.99 per palette, and each contains five shadows.  Sometimes WnW products are half-price at Walgreens, but not this week.

Here are the two palettes, sealed and unopened, both with and without the flash:

WnW Melrose flash

WnW Melrose no flash

If you’re thinking, “Hey, if I had these I’d have most of the neutral shadows I’d ever need,” then you and I are on the same page.

In each palette, the shadows don’t have individual names but are labeled Browbone, Base, Definer, Eyelid, and Crease.  On the back is a simple diagram showing one way to wear them.

So how do they look in action, so to speak?  I swatched them with no primer on the inside skin of my lower arm, and numbered them thusly:

WnW Melrose flash numbered

First, the palette on the left, Smoke and Melrose:

WnW smoke melrose swatches

And then the one on the right, Melrose at Night:

WnW melrose night swatches

Oddly, although I took the photos in the same place and under the same lighting just a few minutes apart, my skin looks obviously lighter and pinker in the second picture.  Hmmm.  At any rate, both palettes seem to have a mix of neutral, cool, and warm shades.  There’s also a mix of matte and shimmery shades.  The #5 (Crease) shade in each palette is the most shimmery, almost glittery.

Even if you don’t love every single color, I think these are great neutral palettes.  In fact, some people think many of the colors are comparable to those in Urban Decay’s wildly popular (and expensive, SRP $54) Naked 3 palette, which contains twelve shadows.  You can see comparisons here from several people via awesome blog Nouveau Cheap.

Wet n Wild cosmetics can also be found at Kmart, CVS Pharmacy, and other stores.

Winter 2014 Collection from Essie — preview

Winter news?  Believe it.  Although it’s still officially summer and some places in the U.S. have a definite fall feel in the air, fashion news marches ahead.

Just read about Essie’s Winter Collection, a 6-polish set with the silly name “Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low.”  Sigh.  It’s also worth noting in my grammar police mindset that it seems they should have either said High/Low or Hi/Lo.  But is it an exciting set?  Let’s peek.

Essie winter 2014 display

Essie winter 2014 colors

Meh.  Color me less than impressed, although I do like the silvery gold title shade.

The set is up for preorder at e-tailer Nails Ave., which is where I first heard the news.  They’re really on top of things.

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Some of you have enjoyed the funny law enforcement reports I’ve posted since my move to Small Town, USA, here and here.  Yesterday’s newspaper had a surprising reference to the Classics:

An honest citizen found an envelope containing $597 in cash under a table at a local restaurant and turned it into the Whitefish Police Department on Monday.  Take note, ye cynics and followers of Diogenes!

;-)

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