Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Review + Swatches

Hi hi pretty people :)

So today I wanted to do a quick review of the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Line. So what is Sally Hansen Miracle Gel? Basically this is their alternative to traditional gel or shellac manicures. It touts:
  • No LED light needed
  • No need to "prepare" the nail or roughen it
  • Up to 14 days of wear
  • Easy removal with normal nail polish remover
Where to buy:
Not going to lie. These suckers are HARD to hunt down. But find them at CVS or Target. CVS tends to have a better selection AND they're currently running a special: buy 2 get $5 "extra bucks" back.

The brush: Ahh, a critical part of the application process. I did enjoy the brush- nice and wide and sort of reminiscent of OPI.

The application: Okay okay, this is where it fell apart. Application is a painfully slow, finicky process that will make you want to tear your hair out. 4 coats later and still not opaque? You must be kidding me. And on top of that, the formula is thick and takes forever to dry. The "Miracle Gel" top coat is also a nightmare- thick, goopy and painfully dull for a top coat. Shouldn't top coats be glossy?

Wear: The redeeming factor. The miracle gel lives up to it's promise, and 6 days later still no noticeable chipping. I couldn't stand looking at "B Girl" any longer than 6 days, but I figure by then you'd be tired of the same.


L to R: Get Mod, B Girl, Creme de la Creme, All Chalked Up, Top Coat

So out of all the colors I got, here are my thoughts:

  • Get Mod: Your basic shiny white. 3 coats until opaque.
  • B Girl: A muted tiffany / aqua blue. Took 4 coats, still not opaque. Streaky but good wear.
  • Creme de la Creme: A pearlescent opal with pink tinge. 2 coats and fairly opaque.
  • All Chalked Up: A "dirty lavender".  About 3 coats until opaque.

So would I buy again? Probably- but only the colors I really, really like. I've been trying to hunt down "Sugar Fix" for some time but to no avail. I have to give them credit- these last a long time in the wear and tear department. They did promise good wear and NOT good application after all. But I just wish the application and finish was a bit more beautiful. However, removal was easy and 6 days no chips is indeed a "miracle" in my book.

And that's it ladies! What do you think? Will you be picking these up? :) Let me know in the comments below!


Saturday, September 06, 2014

New Place & a Mini Godiva Mooncake Review

Celebratory moving photo- via iPhone

So I did it. I finally moved. I've been dying to move ever since I first came to LA, but decided to wait  out my lease until the *perfect* apartment and space came along. I finally found it! And I'm now a happy resident of West LA. :) I'll be sure to give everyone a tour once I'm fully settled in.

On another note, apparently Monday is the annual Mooncake festival. Because I'm a terrible Chinese person, I didn't even know until my friends over at Godiva sent me some special LE Godiva mooncakes! You guys, I love Godiva. It's a real problem. I'm even opted in to their monthly "free bonbon" program that always suckers me in to buying a $8 chocolate strawberry when I'm at the store. But I digress.

Mooncakes are usually eaten during the annual Mid-Autmun festival, which is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar. They're not cake-y in the American sense. They're dense, very rich, and have no frosting or other bells and whistles. They're also really expensive- and you'll see families and business acquaintances giving them to each other as presents. Typically you'll find a dense red bean paste or lotus seed paste inside. Because they're so rich usually one mooncake is shared between many people, and washed down with a bit of hot tea.

One large "moocake" surrounded by many, smaller "mooncakes".

Mandarin Black Tea Mooncake with Dark Chocolate
Goji Berry Black Tea Mooncake with Milk Chocolate
Mango Green Tea Mooncake with White Chocolate

As far as taste, both I and the new roomie agreed the dark chocolate was the best flavor.  Our second favorite was the white chocolate, that was pleasantly light and had crunchy nougat bits inside. To be honest they don't remind me of mooncake at all- which makes me happy since I'd rather eat chocolate over mooncake any day. These could be a great twist on the traditional mooncake, and can be purchased over at Godiva stores and online.

I have to say- I'm pretty happy with how these photos turned out. Ever since I changed jobs and started working with some FANTASTICALLY talented bloggers, it's really inspired me to step my photography game up. Part of why I chose my new apartment is because it's flooded with light, thanks to a bevy of floor-to-ceiling windows. It's so much easier to take photos now, look at how wonderfully bright these are :)! Nothing beats "real" light.

Since moving to LA I've also become obsessed with the local farmer's market. Because I figured I needed a bit of greenery in my new space, I started planting herbs along my balcony outside. The first plant I had to buy, fully sprouted. It kind of feels like cheating. Mint is really easy to take care of (it's borderline invasive and needs a pot) but it's hard to get started. After some lengthy Googling I stumbled on to the chocolate mint plant. Yes guys, a real plant that smells/tastes like a chocolate Andes mint. AMAZING. This will probably make the best iced coffee ever. I picked it up for $3.99 at a local nursery.

So the leaves are a bit thicker and darker than a typical spearmint plant, which is the plant that's most commonly sold as "mint". I'm not a fan of how the runners are long and ivy-like so that they droop down, but I'm so excited to see how it tastes and turns out. I hope I don't kill it- I don't have much luck with plants :) or anything for that matter. I think I'll also get a normal spearmint plant since I like the aesthetics a bit better. 

In case you're wondering what's on the nails, it's Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel in "B Girl". I had to hunt this sucker down, on a journey that took me from Target, then another Target and finally to CVS. The application was terrible, but it seems to be holding up pretty well and I'll follow up with a review later.

Happy Mid-Autumn festival to everyone celebrating. How do you like mooncake? Let me know! :) 

FTC: Mooncakes gifted by Godiva Chocolates, I was not paid to make this post.