A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

Archive for September, 2012

How to remove glitter nail polish – the easy way!

I have a love hate relationship with glitter nail polish.  I love them because they are sparkly, fun and downright beautiful.  Glitter nail polishes are great for spicing up a mani that is a couple of days old and they also act as a great top coat to make your mani really last.  BUT I hate them because they can be absolutely impossible to get off.  You end up slaving away trying to get rid of these beautiful, little, pain in the ass sparkles – shredding cotton ball after cotton ball and seemingly getting no closer to your goal – it drives me nuts!  It drives me so nuts, that I actually go out of my way not to use them, simply because I find myself dreading the removal stage.

I mean really, look at what this ONE COAT of Mermaid Tale by Orly is doing to my cosmetic pad.

tired of glitter nail polish?

It is a constant battle, with every finger.

tips for getting off glitter nail polish easily

Just imagine if this was a full manicure of glitter polish…I would literally be at this all day.  So, I’ve been one to use glitter nail polish sparingly, or at least I was..before I stumbled across this useful tip…

Cotton balls, tin foil and polish remover!

how to remove glitter nail polish

You will need one cotton ball for each finger and a fairly small strip of tin foil.

Doing one finger at a time, apply some nail polish remover to the cotton ball, in a large enough circle to cover your entire nail.

tutorial for removing glitter nail polish

Press it down onto your nail and wrap your finger tip in tin foil to hold it in place.

how to easily remove your glitter nail polish

Repeat for all your fingers.

how to easily remove glitter nail polish from your nails

Wait about 5 minutes and simply pull off your little alien finger tips.  Any glitter or colour remaining on your nail is just floating on the surface and comes off with a simple, single swipe of a cotton ball.

how to easily remove glitter nail polish

This method is SO fast and allows you to do all of your fingers at the same time…with no frustration and no headache!  So wear those glittery polishes without fear and enjoy them!

Do you have a secret method for removing glittery nail polishes?  If so, please share below – the more tips the better!

Thanks for reading everyone and GLITTER UP!



Nails fit for a mermaid

I was playing around with some polishes on the weekend and wanted to do something fairly bright, seeing as summer is practically over.  😦   I’m in denial and am trying to get used to the fact that I’m going to have to get used to more muted, darker shades soon for the course of fall and winter.   I also wanted to use a couple of new shades that I haven’t tried out yet.

green glitter nail polish, baby blue/aqua nail polish

Club Prive is a baby blue (with an aqua tint) from L’Oreal and is a part of their permanent collection.  It is sheer but milky and I found that it required about 3 coats to be perfectly opaque.

Club Prive Nail Lacquer by L'Oreal - swatch

I used Club Prive as my base and then layered on a generous coat of Mermaid Tale, by Orly, from their Flash Glam FX Collection.

Mermaid Tale nail polish overtop of Club Prive

Click me – so you can REALLY see my glitter!

Mermaid Tale is a full on glitter polish with a clear base.  It is made up of both small and medium sized glitters in a variety of green and blue shades.  

mermaid tale nail polish over a blue polish

I had a lot of fun with this manicure and am really looking forward to trying out “Mermaid Tale” in a Jelly Sandwich!

Tell me, are you still clinging on to summer colours?  Or have you already made the transition into fall?



mermaid nails

They’re Real! by benefit – the World’s #1 Mascara?

before and after pictures using They're Real! mascara by benefit cosmetics

They’re Real! mascara by benefit is quickly becoming  a cult favourite and it is in no way news to the blogging community, but I still wanted to share my experience with it nonetheless.  I actually purchased it quite a while ago but was waiting for a time when I could photograph my first application of it for all of you!  I’ve always thought the best way to review a product is to simply show you real pictures and my experiences.  Then it is up to you to decide how you feel about them.  🙂

But first, a little bit of background.

What’s its claim?

They’re Real! mascara lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts & separates beyond belief.  The jet black, long-wearing formula is smudge-proof & budge-proof…and the specifically designed brush reveals lashes you never knew you had!

They're Real! Mascara by benefit cosmetics

Value pack of They're Real! Mascara by Benefit

As you can see, right on the front of the box, it claims “WORLD’s #1 MASCARA”.   I’m not sure how they have substantiated that, if at all – it seems like too bold of a statement for any mascara if you ask me.  It is benefit’s best selling mascara though and has received a great deal of rave reviews on-line.

How to Apply:

Wiggle wand from base to top for maximum volume, length & lift.  Hold wand vertically & stroke upward to curl & separate.

mascara review of "They're Real!"

close up of They're Real mascara wand by benefit cosmetics

My Before and After Pictures:

before and after mascara pictures

before and after pictures - mascara review

before and after pictures featuring They're Real! mascara

before and after pictures using They're Real! mascara by benefit cosmetics

Where to buy:

You can of course get this at Sephora if you are a Canadian or US resident.

The full size retails for $29.00 CAD or $23.00 US.  If that is your plan though, I recommend you grab it online because they have the full size that comes with the bonus mini for the same price as the full size sold alone (I didn’t see the duo in the Sephora store when I went).

They're! Real mascara by benefit, review complete with before and after pictures

The mini is also sold individually if you would like to try it out for yourself and see if it lives up to the hype – $12.00 CAD or $10.00 US.

You will also be able to find this anywhere benefit cosmetics are sold.  That means Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada and Ulta in the US are also options.  They will have the same prices as Sephora though, so my recommendation is just to go where ever is most convenient.

My Pros:

  • Extremely long lasting, no smudging or fall out below your eyes after a long day.
  • The wand truly finds lashes I didn’t know I had.  It gets right into your inner eye and finds them all, without making a mess.
  • Great mascara if you only have time for one coat!
  • Fantastic value if you purchase the duo and receive the travel size mascara for free!

My Cons:

  • Currently only available in black, so for those of you ladies that prefer a brown mascara, you are out of luck for right now.
  • Its “waterproof-like” formula can make removing it a bit of a pain.  It will take more work than other non-waterproof brands to get it all off.
  • No actual waterproof version available yet.

Note: I’ve found after trying this mascara for the past couple of weeks that this mascara will clump if you apply more than 2 coats.  So I recommend you stick with 1 or 2!

With full make-up:

bright summer eye makeup  - passionate, coral and orange eyeshadow

They're Real! mascara by Benefit

My verdict:

I think this is a fantastic mascara, and good value if you are able to pick up the duo.  Do I plan to stop trying other mascaras though and only use this one?  Definitely not.  It will however get more use than the other mascaras I have hanging around on my vanity right now.  The no fall-out under my eyes is a quality that  I haven’t experienced with any other non-waterproof mascara – and shouldn’t be overlooked!  Will I buy again?  Probably.

For other before and after pictures with various brands of mascara, please check out my Ultimate Mascara Review featuring mascaras by Urban Decay, Stila, Too Faced, MUFE, Tarte and many more.

For those of you that have given this one a try, I would love to know what you think in the comments below!  And tell me, what is your favourite mascara?

Thanks for reading!



bright summer makeup, funky makeup, dramatic makeup

Magnetix II: a new collection from China Glaze

China Glaze Magnetix 3-in-1 magnet, magnetic nail designs, green magnetic nail polish

China Glaze is back at it this fall with “Magnetix II”, a whole new collection of Magnetic Nail Polishes and another 3-in-1 Magnet with all new designs.

Fall 2012 Magnetix Collection by China Glaze

This magnet has a bullseye/circle design, a striped design (straight vertical lines this time) and a square patchwork design.circle, square and straight line magnet by China Glaze

circle, square and striped magnetic nail designs by China Glaze (Magnetix II fall collection 2012)

As for the nail lacquers, this collection is much brighter and more vibrant than the original Magnetix Collection which was quite muted.  What I love about Magnetix II is that is has a great variety of shades, some are darker where some are super vibrant and rich.  So whether you are wanting some fresh new fall shades, or are clinging on to the last moments of summer this collection likely has something for you.

Take a look at these swatches from China Glaze:

Gold Fusion

Positively In Love


Get Charged

Sparks Will Fly


You can currently pick up these polishes in store at a Sally Beauty Supply location, at your local salon, or on-line at Ebay.  At Sally Beauty Supply, they are $6.99 CAD (magnet sold separately at the same price).  Today, I grabbed Bond-Tastic and Con-Fused? but I must tell you that in store I had a super hard time deciding which shades to pick.  They are ALL so pretty.  And remember, they don’t need to be used with the magnet, so it is always good to pick up a shade you see yourself wearing by itself too.

magnetic nail polishes in green and orange

Con-Fused? is a rich emerald green shimmer polish and when used with the magnet a deeper darker shade of green is brought out creating a very cool 3D effect.

green magnetic nail polish by China Glaze

China Glaze Magnetix 3-in-1 magnet, magnetic nail designs, green magnetic nail polish

Whereas Bond-Tastic is a rusty brown/burnt orange shimmer polish with steel grey undertones (this is actually a hard colour to find as a regular nail polish, so this one will be performing double duty for me).  The magnet brings out the lighter orange/steel undertones found in the polish.

orange magnetic nail polish by China Glaze

For a full tutorial on how to create these magnetic designs, please click here.

What I like:

  • Always creates a fun and unique look, the magnets can be twisted and turned to create different patterns every time.
  • The colours in this collection are so pretty, I’d be happy wearing them with or without the magnet.
  • If you screwed up a nail or aren’t crazy about how the pattern turned out, throw on another coat of polish and try again, it isn’t necessary to start from scratch.
  • These polishes are much more opaque than the ones in the previous Magnetix collection.   While the instructions have always said to do one coat of polish and then immediately apply the magnet, the original Magnetix Collection was too sheer to get nice results.  With Magnetix II though, one coat is all you need.
  • I absolutely love the bullseye design and I found I had the most consistent results with this design.

What I don’t like:

  • The natural curvature of my nails result in only the centre of the nail changing under the magnet.  The pattern generally doesn’t reach the edges of my nails (unless I angle the magnet more to one side than other, but then the other side won’t get any design).
  • It takes some messing around to get the patterns to come out nice and clear.  I had a hard time getting the patterns to come through as prominent as they show in pictures.  You have to hold the magnet as close as possible to the nail, without touching it.  I wish the magnets were stronger (which I’ve heard is the case with some other brands).

Important Tip: Be fast getting the magnet over your wet nail.  If you take too long, no pattern will appear at all on your nail, or it will be very faint.

How do you feel about magnetic nail polishes?  Are you a fan?  I want to hear about your experiences!

Thanks for reading!


Con-fused? and Bond-Tastic magnetic nail polishes with new 3-in-1 magnet, by China Glaze

Flexi Rods (a no-heat, no-hairspray way to curl your hair)

how to get curls with no heat

I think after my “How to get a full head of crimped hair (in 10 minutes or less)” and “Headband curls (my first attempt and my failure)” posts, I illustrated how much I prefer having crimped or curly hair to my everyday straight and boring hair.  In response to those posts, a fellow blogger, Fancieland, mentioned that I should give Flexi Rods a try.  I immediately started doing a bit of research and was certain I had seen them at Sally Beauty Supply, but didn’t know anyone who had used them.  So, the next time I went into Sally’s I decided to grab a pack and give it a go.

What are they?

Flexi Rods or Super Rollers are a no-heat method for curling your hair…and who doesn’t love that?!  They are soft flexible foam rods that are easily mould-able and can hold your hair in place, which over time create curls without the use of heat.

I purchased the Super Rollers Gray 11/16″ by HairArt, you get 10 in a package.

Super Rollers - 11/16" thick

The website shows them at $8.49 US and I’m pretty sure I paid $11.99 CAD in store.

They do offer other sizes as well if you want an even tighter curl.  At first I was skeptical, but I figured for the price, if it worked out, I would be thrilled.  To be safe, I decided I should also pick up some setting lotion while I was there, as that was recommended in the research I did.  You can grab something like this Lottabody Olive Oil Setting Lotion at Sally Beauty Supply, if you are close by, but if not, Wal-Mart and drug stores also carry different brands that should work for you.

Setting Lotion for using flexi rods

This particular brand (I can’t speak for others as this is the first I’ve ever had) is a concentrated formula and requires that you mix it with water.  So I followed the directions for normal hair and did 3 parts water to 1 part Lottabody.  It states that you should use 5 parts water to 1 part Lottabody for color treated hair.  The best thing I found for this is to just mix it straight in a spritz water bottle.  To measure the parts I actually used the cap to ensure I was using a consistent amount each time of both Lottabody and water.

So assuming you have your mixture already made, I would allow about 6-7 minutes to put them in.  You want to start with dry or slightly damp hair.  The first time I tried to use these my hair was too wet and didn’t dry completely throughout the night, it didn’t work out too well!  This time, my hair was 100% dry when I started.

flexi rod tutorial

Next, you want to grab a section of hair.  You need quite a lot as you only have 10 rollers in a pack.  I was actually worried about one pack (10 rods) being enough, considering my hair is quite long and thick.  But to my surprise, it was more than enough.  As I was doing this, I just tried to imagine my hair in 10 sections, 4 on each side and two in the back.  Once you have your section of hair, spritz it once or twice (depending on how thick your hair is) with your mixture of setting lotion and water.  Take a brush or comb and brush it through that section of hair so it is evenly lightly damp.  Wrap your hair around the centre of the flexi rod and roll it all the way up tight against your head.  Then, simply fold the ends in to hold it in place.

how to put flexi rods in your hair

Repeat all over your head until you look something like this:

flexi rod tutorial

As you can see, I went to bed with mine in, but you can of course do this while you are milling around the house as well.  You just need to leave them in until your hair is completely dry…so depending on length, thickness and size of rod, that will be dependent on the person and the situation.

So the next morning when I woke up, it only took about 2 minutes to remove the flexi rods and I had giant ringlets everywhere there had been a rod.

how to get curls with no heat

So all I did was gently run my fingers through the curls breaking them up and my hair looked like this:

how to get curls by using super rollers from Sally Beauty Supply

I didn’t put any product in my hair at this time and I didn’t use any hair spray at all.  I wanted to see how the curls lasted throughout the day on their own.

curls with flexi rods/super rollers

By the time I got home from work (9 hours later) the curls were much more relaxed, but they were still very evident and added a great deal of body and shape to my hair.

I wish I’d taken pictures for day 2…but I woke up the next day with curls still (much like the 9 hour picture above), brushed them out and enjoyed a nice wavy look for an additional day.

The verdict:

  • Incredible results
  • Quick and easy
  • Inexpensive
  • Much less effort than using hot rollers, a straightner, curling iron or rod to curl your hair
  • Less damaging than using other more common methods containing heat
  • You don’t need hairspray to hold the curls, so your hair doesn’t need to be crunchy all day

The only possible draw back I see:

  • For me, the most convenient time to use these is overnight while I am sleeping…I love being able to wake up the next day for work and having my hair look great without taking me any time at all.  But that means, you have to be able to sleep with these in your hair.  They are a bit uncomfortable obviously, but I found it easy to get used to them and have had no problems sleeping with them.  I have seen some peoples reviews saying they can’t sleep with them.  So keep that in mind when deciding if this product is right for you.

Do I recommend Flexi Rods/Super Rollers?  

Absolutely.  For me, they are a fabulous no-heat and no-hairspray method for getting gorgeous curls.  I see myself using these on a regular basis, once a week.

Tell me, have you tried these already?  What do you think?  Do you have any problem sleeping with them in?

Thanks for reading!



Madonna: MDNA World Tour

Madonna outdoor concert

Madonna has been a hot ticket this summer world wide.  When I heard she was coming to Ottawa, I was excited and really wanted to get my hands on some tickets for a girls night out.  Unfortunately, the tickets went on sale and we couldn’t get through on the phone lines or on-line…the show sold out in just a few minutes, the Scotiabank Centre was packed, with no room for us.

Madonna 2012 world tour

My girlfriend Suzie and I weren’t quite ready to give up though, so the following week when tickets were going on sale for her show in Quebec City, we said “It’s only a 5 hour drive – this could be fun!”.  We got ourselves tickets to the outdoor show that was to be held in the Plains D’ Abraham, the home of a very famous battle from the Seven Years’ War over 250 years ago.  From the very beginning this particular event inspired controversy across Quebec.  The Plains d’ Abraham have always upheld a strict policy when it comes to what activities they allow and the circumstances surrounding such events.  Paul McCartney’s 2008 performance for Quebec City’s 400th anniversary was free to the public, and stars like Elton John played for non-profit festivals that demanded no direct entry fee.  Never before has there been a for profit commercial concert held on the grounds, until September 1st, 2012 when Madonna wanted to host a giant dance party.  What made this even more controversial was that the parks commission didn’t even charge her for the use of the park or a take a cut of each ticket (a practice very common with various parks commissions to go towards the upkeep of the park).  So not only did they break their own written policy outlined in the National Battlefields Commission, but they gave it up to the Queen of Pop for free.  You can imagine that not everyone was behind this plan.

I have no doubt that the concert brought a massive amount of economic benefits to the city however.  A week before the show, it was near impossible to find a hotel for under $200/night  and everywhere we went the streets were bustling for the long weekend.  The concert in Quebec City ended up hosting over 72,000 people.  All tickets sold were general admission, but there were 3 different areas sectioned off.  Suzie and I were in the largest mass of people, packed in like sardines for several hours before the show was set to start.

Looking forward to the stage waiting for the opening act:

Madonna outdoor concert

Looking behind us at the crowd – take a look at the people all the way up the hill:

Madonna outdoor concert in Quebec City

It had been a long hot day and when it was finally time for the DJ Paul Oakenfold to take stage…he was late.  And when he finished, it was at least another hour before Madonna decided to join us all.  The concert was slated to start at 8pm.  She made her appearance at 10:30pm.  After having been standing for several hours…herded like cattle with thousands of other people and then sitting down on the cement for several more hours to hold our place…I was not impressed that she couldn’t even be on time.  I would’ve BOO’ed her, had I known how to BOO in French.

In case you are wondering if she played your favourite Madonna song, take a look at her set list for the 2012 MDNA Tour:

  1. Opening Prayer /Girl Gone Wild
  2. Revolver
  3. Gang Bang
  4. Papa Don’t Preach
  5. Hung Up
  6. I Don’t Give A
  7. Best Friend / Heartbeat (Interlude)
  8. Express Yourself / Born This Way
  9. Turn up the radio
  10. Give Me All Your Luvin’
  11. Open Your Heart
  12. Masterpiece
  13. Justify My Love (Interlude)
  14. Vogue
  15. Candy Shop
  16. Human Nature / Erotica
  17. Like A Virgin
  18. Nobody Knows Me (Interlude)
  19. I’m Addicted
  20. I’m A Sinner
  21. Like A Prayer
  22. Celebration (encore)

I was lucky, she did play my favourite “Like A Prayer” in her 90 minute show even though there was a heavy focus on her new album MDNA (her 12th studio release).

The only intelligible part of any of my videos is the small portion that was a cappella with the crowd singing…the rest of the time there was so much bass my recordings are a total mess, but I thought this might be fun for some.

I think I would’ve enjoyed the actual show a lot more without the ordeal of a general admission outdoor concert.  If I had a seat, in a stadium somewhere, it wouldn’t have been nearly as infuriating that she was extremely late…because we would’ve arrived at 8pm, not 3:30pm.  (Even worse for other people who arrived at 10am when the gates to the waiting area opened).  And after it was all over, I’m sure you can imagine over 72,000 people all trying to make their way out of a park and to the street at the exact same time.  Wading through ankle deep garbage was less than ideal…by the time Suzie and I made our way back to our hotel we were completely and utterly exhausted and drained, with aching feet and blisters. The process of it all was just too much.  If I could do it all over again…well I wouldn’t, not under the same circumstances anyway.

The content of the show itself was violent at times and always overtly sexual, mixed with impressive choreography and visual displays.  The 90 minute set worked its way from darkness to light.  Having just turned 54, Madonna still moves really well and strives to entertain.  The New York Times wrote, “Madonna and her team do know how to dazzle.”   While New York Daily News called the show “an idea-intensive, message-packed riddle wrapped in an enigma that must be seen to be believed,” arguing that the show’s risky artistry “deserves praise.”

Madonna world tour - outdoor concert in Quebec city (MDNA tour)

So if you are holding a hot ticket for one of the many cities she has left…here is my advice:

  • Be open minded and be ready for anything (she is a wild one and always has been)
  • Prepare yourself for lots of leather, push up bras, a strip tease and a whole lot of pelvic thrusting.  Not young child appropriate.
  • Don’t expect her to be on time, you will likely be disappointed
  • Wear some fun make-up, after all, it is Madonna!

mermaid makeup

What was the best concert you’ve ever been to?  Who/what band would you go through all of this for???

If you saw Madonna on the MDNA tour, I’d love to hear what you thought below!



White and Green Shimmer Gradient Nails

A few months back I did a tutorial on how to create the gradient nail effect.  For that tutorial I used a neon pink and purple by China Glaze and wanted to see how the technique held up with glitter/shimmer polishes.  (For gradient manicures I like to use two contrasting colours to create a more dramatic effect, but of course you can use similar shades for a more subtle effect.)

I started with Orly’s Winter Wonderland polish, a white shimmer polish, heavy with tiny silver glitter.

Orly's Winter Wonderland nail polish

Then, using a cosmetic sponge, I lightly dabbed on “Watermelon Rind” by China Glaze on the upper half/two-thirds of the nail. gradient nail tutorial

Then, I began adding a second coat of Watermelon Rind, but this time, starting further up the nail.  (Leaving the lightest part of green untouched where it meets the white)

how to create gradient nails

Repeat with a third coat, starting even further up the nail this time, focusing on the tips of each nail.  At this point, you should really notice the gradient effect.  (Don’t worry about it getting all over your skin, that is normal!)

how to get gradient nails

Then, you simply take a q-tip with nail polish remover and clean up the skin around the nails.

Watermelon Rind Nail Polish - gradient nails

A gradient manicure like this is really fast and easy to do.  And because the coats of polish you are applying are so thin, it dries very quickly.   gradient nails with Watermelon Rind and Winter Wonderland nail polishes

Have you tried out gradient nails yet?  Do you have a favourite colour combination?  Or a different method you prefer?