Monday, September 30, 2019

KBShimmer's Take on Urban Legends for the October Polish Pickup

September has flown by in the blink of an eye- we're already facing the beginning of a new month tomorrow! Last week was a bit of a haze as I was dealing with a very sick cat and ultimately had to make the painful decision to put down my fur baby. It's never easy to say goodbye to a beloved member of the family, but a weekend spent with the hubby and kids has me feeling recharged and in a much better headspace this week. Thankfully, this means I can finally focus on writing and getting posts up on my blog. Speaking on which, let me cut out the rambling and get into today's post!

A new month means another Polish Pickup is upon us! Open the first Friday through Monday of the month, the Polish Pickup is a great way to purchase nail polishes and other handcrafted items the are designed to fit within a designated monthly theme. The October theme is "Urban Legends", and there will be some fantastic offerings this month! Indie brand KBShimmer has created both a nail polish and a sugar scrub this month, and you're going to want to add both to your carts this weekend! Let's check them out!

Press Sample

Because my blog started out with nail polish, let's start off with the same. This beauty is Hidden Agenda.

There are many urban legends that persist in pop culture, but none more than Area 51. This military area has spawned rumors of hidden aliens and spaceship sightings for years. Area 51 has been featured on the Simpsons and is so ingrained in our culture that there was even an event planned earlier this month for thousands of people to storm the area to find out the truth. While something like 2 million people originally claimed to be interested in storming Area 51, in the end it turned into more of a much smaller social gathering and no actual "storming" took place.

 Area 51 and all of its mysteries is the inspiration for out Urban Legend polish, Hidden Agenda.

Hidden Agenda is a thermal nail polish that starts off with a muted slate blue in a cooler state. When warmed, it morphs into a soft dusky pink hue, mimicking the sky at dusk. A green shimmer flashes against the background, possibly showing signs of alien life.

The proceeding photos show Hidden Agenda with two coats plus Clearly on Top top coat, also from KBShimmer. As each coat was drying on my nails, I noticed  it drying down to a satin finish. I really loved it like this and opted to add a matte top coat for photos.

Warm state

Cold State

I have a love/hate relationship with thermal nail polishes as I love the idea, but I hate that I rarely get to enjoy them in both states. My husband says I'm a little furnace, as I throw out a lot of heat, and it is uncommon for me to see the cold state except for the very tips when my nails are much longer than they are at the moment. I was very pleasantly surprised by Hidden Agenda as I observed both stages without having to dip my hands in ice water, even with my current shorties!

Application was easy, and I only needed two coats for full coverage.

Hidden Agenda has one more secret- it glows in the dark! Of course I was the nitwit that never snapped a photo of it glowing while it was on my nails, but in my defense, I've been slightly distracted with things at home. I did get this cute glowing shot to share with you though!

Retail: $10
No limit to the number of bottles available for purchase

Pumpkin Patch Sugar Scrub

The chill in the air, the crunch of the leaves, and seeing the Peanuts on TV really let me know that fall has officially arrived. It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was a childhood favorite of mine, and one of my earliest memories of hearing about an urban legend. Linus believed that The Great Pumpkin would fly around and visit children, and leave toys for children who believed. Though waiting in the pumpkin patch only brought him disappointment, Linus still chose to believe. While it's just an urban legend within a cartoon, The Great Pumpkin still holds a special place in my heart, an our Pumpkin Patch Sugar Scrub is a nod to this classic children's story.

Pumpkin Patch starts with sweet notes of baked pumpkin and is accented with spicy clove and warm vanilla. Cinnamon and nutmeg combine with deeper woody notes and hints of incense. This is not your standard pumpkin! This complex blend is deep and warm, giving you a unique autumn scent that will have you dreaming of the season, no matter what time of year you use it!

If autumnal scents are typically your jam, you're going to want a jar or five of these! To say that I am obsessed with this fragrance is a major understatement! The balance of sweetness and spiciness is true perfection: it is not too much of either. The amount of vanilla is just right as well, at least for my taste. It is present, but doesn't leave me thinking of baked goods. As much as I enjoy cupcakes and cookies, I don't particularly want to smell like one! The fragrance level is really nice as well; it's not too strong and I can enjoy using this as a full body scrub in the shower.

Retail: $10
No limit to the number of jars available for purchase

Hidden Agenda nail polish and Pumpkin Patch Sugar Scrub were created exclusively for the October Polish Pickup. Both will be available for purchase this Friday, October 4th through Monday, October 7th as a preorder. The nail polish can be found here and the sugar scrub can be found here. Be sure to mark the calendars as this is the only time you'll be able to snag these babies! As always, please allow three weeks for items to ship out to you.

Will you be picking up either of these this weekend? How do you prefer this thermal polish: warm or cold? Glossy or matte? Do you enjoy autumnal scents? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Area 51 and The Great Pumpkin urban legends!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

ellagee visits the San Antonio Ghost Tracks for the October Polish Pickup

Now that fall has come around, the weather here has taken a turn towards grey, cloudy skies and a fair bit of rain. While it is a little unusual for us, I have have been enjoying watching the storms blow in, and now I have the most perfect nail polish to match!

Press Sample

I'm not saying Laura from ellagee Polish is in control of the weather, but her timing with her latest Polish Pickup shade is impeccable! The October theme for Polish Pickup is Urban Legends, and ellagee has introduced me to a pretty cool one I had never heard before. In San Antonio, Texas, where ellagee Polish is based, legend says ghost children will push your car to safety if it is left on the San Antonio Railroad Tracks. The story is based on a historical collision between a bus and a train where the children on the bus died. The story itself never actually took place in San Antonio, but the incident did, in fact, occur in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nevertheless, the optical illusion of the San Antonio Railroad Tracks was real, as the tracks were on a slight slope, cause your car to roll forward when left in neutral. Upon dusting the back of the car with baby powder, handprints of the "children" would appear, although the baby powder would just pick up on prints that were already present. The crossing has since been regraded, so vehicles no longer roll forward, but it is a legend that lives on in San Antonio lore. To honor the legend, Laura has selected this legend for her specific inspiration for her nail lacquer shade, Ghost Tracks.

Ghost Tracks is described as a stormy grey sparkling nail polish, filled with holographic and iridescent shifting flakes, shimmers, and microglitters.

In spite of all the sparkling goodness, the application was smooth and easy to my nails. Two quick coats later and I had no signs of visible nail line. I'm currently sporting some short nails, and I might have gotten away with a single carefully placed slightly thicker coat. I prefer thinner coats in general, so I stuck with my usual two, but those that do like thicker coats might be able to get away with one. I think two coats would have been enough at my usual slightly longer nail length. I did add a final layer of shiny top coat to seal in the nail polish.

Ghost Tracks is such a pretty shade! I'm particularly fond of the flashes of lavender from the flakes!

Ghost Tracks was created exclusively for the October Polish Pickup and will be found here. The October Polish Pickup will be open from Friday, October 4th through Monday, October 7th ONLY, so be sure to mark down your calendars so you don't miss out! Also, please keep in mind orders to the Polish Pickup are submitted as a pre-order; allow three weeks for items to be shipped to you.

Retail: $12
No cap on bottles made available for purchase

Have you been to San Antonio? Did you have the opportunity to experience the ghost children when you had the chance? What are your local urban legends? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Transformed into a Goddess with Ella+Mila: I'm one Dreamy Ultra Goddess!

With the weather dropping this week to just under triple digits and remaining so for the next ten days, it appears as though fall is finally in the air here in Arizona! We may not be getting much by way of changing leaves and wind-chilled days throughout the season itself: I find it to feel more like fall around here late in December, but that doesn't mean I don't relish in the traditional autumnal hues. Warm reds, burnt oranges, and rich plums catch my fancy. I may not be seeing much of them in my environment outside, but I will happily bring them into my makeup routine! For today's blog post, I wanted to share two products I am currently obsessing over and show that these colours truly can be wearable for day to day life. Ready? Let's jump on in!

Press Sample

Ella+Mila is not new to the blog as I've shared posts on some of their lipsticks and nail lacquers before throughout the past couple of years. I've watched the brand progress from being focused on nail polish only, to branching out to lipsticks, and now to adding in even more cosmetics and body products. Named for the adorable twin daughters of one of the founders, this brand is a must try! The brand is cruelty-free and utilizes more environmentally friendly ingredients, not to mention avoiding some of the nasty chemicals we should be staying away from as much as possible. I have been obsessing over the Ella+Mila Ultra Goddess Palette and Creamy Lips in the shade Dreamy recently, and I think many of you will fall in love with them as well!

The Ultra Goddess Palette is geared towards those that enjoy warm tones. It consists of six eyeshadows, a blush, and a highligher, making it a great palette to carry while traveling. I may own a lot of makeup, but I do not like to schlep around multiple tubes and enclosures while flying. Having a palette that can do a lot for me as well as be multi-purpose is a must for me. The pans for the blush (Sweet Peach) and highlighter (Glow Up) are larger so you know they aren't technically eyeshadows, but that doesn't mean you can't use them as such. Alternately, the eyeshadow in Fire makes for a glorious blush if you want something more intense while Bold will make for an incredible highlighter on darker skin tones.

I have a couple looks to share with you, but since I wore the lipstick in both of them, let me share that quickly first.

As I've already mentioned, I've reviewed some of the Ella+Mila lipsticks previously, but Dreamy is a new one for me. This particular shade comes in the "Creamy Lips" formula with a delicious Dulce de Leche scent. It applies with a doe foot applicator to a smooth and creamy finish, as implied by the name. It does not dry down on the lips and transfers while kissing, eating, or drinking. This will have to be reapplied throughout the day if you want to sport this gorgeous shade on your lips.

I snapped this photo outside on a sunny afternoon, so the sun is skewing my skin and this shade a little more pink than usual. Due to the nature of the formula, it isn't exactly a buildable lipstick, but the colour payout is lovely, and just look at that shine!

Dreamy generally pulls more peach with a subtle pink undertone on me, although those with a different skintone may observe more of the pink on them. To say I am obsessed with this lipstick is a major understatement. You know those memes about having a ridiculous number of a single type of product but always grabbing for one? That has been me with this lipstick lately. The formula is comfortable on my lips, and this shade is just so wearable! It is extremely rare for me to replace lipstick shades when I empty them, but I suspect this will be one of those times.

Now let's get to some fall-ready looks!

Hi! It's me!

Shades used:

Not Basic
Glow Up

I used both Sweet Peach (very light application) and Glow Up as my blush and highlighter respectively. I also wore Dreamy on my lips.

The Ultra Goddess Palette is a little biased towards your warm red and copper shades, but that doesn't mean you HAVE to create a look with them on your eyes. Check out the following look.

Shades used:

Not Basic
Glow Up

I wanted my lips to be a little more nude in this look so I started off with a light tan lipstick first before lightly topping off with Dreamy to add back in a subtle touch of colour.

Again, I used Sweet Peach blush, this time with a heavier hand, before using Glow Up as my highlighter.


This was my first experience with the palettes from Ella+Mila, and I am a fan already! The colours are pigmented nicely without being "too much", build up nicely when wanted, and blend out well. I haven't had any issues with the shades fading throughout the day- my makeup looks good all day long! The Ultra Goddess palette retails for $29 and can be picked up here.

While the Creamy Lips formula isn't new for me, the shade Dreamy is, and I found the colour to be the perfect fit for the name! It has found its place at my makeup prep station, alternating with my purse,  as it is the perfect colour for day-to-day wear. I definitely need to pick up a second tube so I can have one in both locations at all times! It retails for $14 and can be found here.

Ella+Mila can be found in many Target stores (not my closest ones, boo hiss!), although I have only seen their nail polishes in stores where I have come across the brand. Anyone else like to visit Target while traveling, or is that just me? I may have a problem! If you happen to see any of their cosmetics items in store, please let me know!

Are you a fan of warm-hued palettes? Does your makeup taste change with the season, or do you wear whatever you want, whenever you want? Have you tried any Ella+Mila products before? If so, what were your favorites? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day and enjoy the weekend!

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I'm Celebrating National Cheeseburger Day with Glamlite Cosmetics!

Today is National Cheeseburger Day, and as a big burger fan, I just knew I had to celebrate. Normally when it comes to themes, I have to think a little bit about how to interpret it, but that was definitely not the case when it came to today. As soon as I realized what today was, I knew I had to whip out my Glamlite Cosmetics Burger Palette!

I had purchased this palette over the summer, and it has been sitting and waiting for the perfect time for me to jump up and take a bite give it some love. For all my vegetarian and vegans readers, rest assured this post is strictly about makeup and there are no actual burgers, cheese or otherwise, in this post. Let's jump in and take a peek at my look!

I feel like I've been wearing a lot of reds and oranges lately, so I wanted to pull in greens and yellows in today's look. I blended in the shades Onion Rings and Avocado into my crease. I then placed Mustard on my lid and followed up with a patting of Cheddar for some sparkle. I then blended in Spinach on the outer corner of my eyes. On my lower lash line, which you'll see much more in the following photo, I rounded the outer corner with Spinach and finished the blend with Caramalized [sic] Onions. On a side note, have you ever seen spinach on a burger? I've eaten a lot of burgers, and I don't think I have ever seen that as a topping before.

I don't wear false lashes often, but today warrants them when you have.....Burger Lashes, also by Glamlite Cosmetics! Like pretty much all false lashes I have ever used, they were too long for my eyes out of the package, but that was easily fixed by chopping out a portion of the outer edges. Thankfully this style can handle the cut well without altering the overall look of the lashes. I haven't come across too many that really need the outer corners, and it's much more common with Halloween lashes with adorable floofy accents on the ends.

Other products used:

L'Oréal Paris Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Foundation - custom blend
Nudestix Nudies Tinted Blur - Deep 9
Makeup Obsession Isn't It Peachy Blush Palette
Wet n Wild MegaGlow Highlighting Bar - Air
Profusion Cosmetics Matte Lip Liner - Matte Bare
Pat McGrath Labs LuxeTrance blend - LaBeija and Sorry Not Sorry

Are you planning on eating a cheeseburger in honor of National Cheeseburger Day? What toppings do you like on your burgers? If you have a favorite veggie burger recipe, please share- we enjoy them but I haven't found a recipe I love yet!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Testing Out Dot & Key Hair Sunscreen and Face Serum

Press Sample

I love when I have the opportunity to test out new-to-me brands, and I especially love getting to try out brands based in other countries. I was excited when I had the chance to test out these serums from India-based Dot & Key. The brand has recently branched into selling on, making it even easier to get these products in the US. Dot & Key has formulated their products with botanicals to keep them as natural as possible, and avoid as many nasty chemicals as possible like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. The brand is certified by PETA to be cruelty-free.

Dot & Key offers products that focus on four specific areas: sun care, swim care, skin care, and pigmentation. I have received two items in the sun care and skin care categories; keep following along to hear about my thoughts and if I would recommend them!

The first thing you notice with any product is the packaging, and I could not let this go unmentioned in this post. Each of these products come enclosed in their own box. I absolutely love the way these are packaged!

 This sun care product for the hair promises to be a 3-in-1 nourishing serum that protects from the sun, heat, and pollution. It includes both Green Tea and Mandarin extracts for a delicious light citrusy scent. Unlike other hair sunscreens that are in either powder or spray format, this comes in a pump style format.

The Hair Sunscreen + Softening Serum is very watery when pumped out of the container. Meant to be applied to either damp or dry hair, I found application to be a little awkward and not quite even on dry hair. I personally preferred to use this when my hair was still damp so I could use my comb to help disperse this better.

Would I recommend this product?

No. While I like the idea of using a sunscreen on my hair, this particular one had two major drawbacks for me. Let's start off with the sunscreen aspect.

While I do appreciate sunscreens in my hair to help prevent drying and colour fading by UV rays, my main reason for wanting to use one is for application that will protect my scalp. The sunscreen this product uses is Octyl Methoxycinnamate, or Octinoxate. This organic compound offers protection against USB rays, but it doesn't help when it comes to the UVA rays. I prefer to stick with broad spectrum sunscreens that block both, but this is not my major issue with this sunscreen. Octinoxate is rapidly absorbed into the skin and has been found in human urine, blood and breast milk. It is actually not very stable when exposed to UV rays and degrades, making it less effective at protecting you from the sun. It is a known endocrine disruptor and has been given a score of 6 by the EWG. Needless to say, this isn't a great sunscreen to begin with. If that wasn't bad enough, it has been documented as a direct cause to coral bleaching.

The sunscreen issue is enough for me to not want to use this product, but I opted to set those feelings aside and put it to the test. The first ingredient is a blend of the silicones Cyclopentasiloxane and Dimethiconol. This blend gives a slippy feel to the product and helps with the absorption of other ingredients (such as Vitamin E in the case of this hair serum). While this is great for making your hair feel silky, and certainly will help with the appearance of split ends, these silicones have one major drawback- they are water insoluble. They will not evaporate quickly like some other silicones, which is good for keeping your hair silky all day long, but bad because it will continue to buildup up if you use this day after day between washings. As they are non-water soluble, you need to use a shampoo that contains sulfates or a sulfate-free shampoo with very strong surfactants in order to remove this from your hair. Based on my experience for the past six weeks, unless I have this serum in my hair, my hair now feels very dry, frizzy, and brittle.

Retail: $15.00

This moisturizing serum is claimed to be an energizing wakeup for fatigues skin as it contains Vitamin C. It also contains both Lavender essential oil to soothe and Peppermint essential oil to rejuvenate the skin. This serum uses the same pump-type format as the hair sunscreen discussed above.

With one pump from the dispenser, a small amount of product is pumped out. I've tested a variety of serums, and I was expecting this product to have a thinner formula than this. I certainly don't mind it, but as I said, it just wasn't exactly what I was expecting based on the product name alone. Instead, I find it to be somewhere in between a serum and a moisturizer. It contains your lavender oil for soothing purposes while the peppermint oil helps to balance out natural oils, so it does serve a purpose beyond moisturizing the skin. Lightweight, it absorbs very quickly and gives a temporary cooling effect thanks to the peppermint and added methanol. That being said, it does contain grain wax, argan oil, and shea butter, giving it the properties of a moisturizer. These ingredients fall in the middle of the ingredients list, which is why the final product is more of an ultra lightweight moisturizer.

Would I recommend this product?

Yes, but with reservations. I have been testing this moisturizing serum for the past six weeks, so I have had some time to see how it would behave with my skin. Before I get into that, let me start with my reservations when it comes to ingredients.

The second ingredient in this serum is Cyclopentasiloxane and ingredient number four is Dimethicone. Silicones in skincare products are a bit iffy for me as not only to they keep in moisture by forming a barrier to the skin, they can also trap in dirt, sweat, bacteria, serum, and whatever other gross things get between it and your skin. While they do not themselves clog the pores, this other stuff can, and this is why many can experience acne when using a silicone-based skincare product. Some people are highly sensitive when it comes to these products on their skin, but thankfully I am not one of them. If your skin normally is fine when layered with a silicone product, this will likely be fine for you.

While low in the ingredients list (third from the bottom, to be exact), this product does contain menthol. You get a double whammy as it also contains peppermint oil (menthol is derived from mints such as peppermint or spearmint) as the last ingredient. Lavender oil comes in at the second to last ingredient. All three of these are known to irritate those with sensitive skin, so those that know they are allergic or sensitive should avoid this product. I'm not bothered by any of these although I do not care for the tingling effect caused by menthol and peppermint oil. Because these are in such low qualities, I found the effect to be more of a subtle cooling effect that only lasted about two minutes if I'm really focused on how my skin feels after use.

How well this product works for you will also be determined by your skin type and what other products you like to use in combination with it. I have combination normal to slightly oily skin, and while it works well with my skin, it doesn't offer enough of a moisturizing effect for me to stop using a true moisturizer in addition to this serum. I have recently been trying out a very lightweight moisturizer, and the combination of the two is perfect for me. Those that have very oily skin may find this moisturizing serum is enough for them. Those with drier skin likely will find this serum not moisturizing enough if this is all you use. While this will help to moisturize your skin, I would just plan to use this as the first step in your routine. Just be sure to apply to a clean face with clean fingers as you don't want dirt trapped between this and your skin.

Retail: $17.99

While I had some reservations about one of the products, I have really enjoyed trying out the Dot & Key brand and learning more about what they have to offer. They have a decent selection on their Amazon storefront, and I would love to see more of their product offerings made available for purchase. The biggest drawback to the brand is the complete ingredients list isn't available on either Amazon's or Dot & Key's website. This would be helpful in determining whether or not a product contains ingredients I would prefer to avoid, like the octinoxate as sunscreen in the hair serum at the beginning of this post.

Have you tried any products by Dot & Key? Are you mindful of the specific sunscreens used in your products? Do you have any sensitivities to silicones or natural essential oils? I'd love to hear about your preferences!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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