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This year I was lucky enough to attend PBA Beauty Week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here’s a little bit about why I was there:

As an esthiology student at Aveda Institute Charlotte, I applied to become a Beacon winner, which is an annual nationwide contest for cosmetology and esthiology students focused on the business and marketing side of the industry. Though Beacon, NAHA, and Cosmoprof have much more to do with hair than make-up, I applied anyway. I had to do 3 before and after pictures and create a marketing piece for myself, in addition to submitting a professional resume. I was thrilled to find out in May that I was one of 100 winners nationwide, and the amazing company that owns my school, Beauty Basics, paid for my flight and hotel in Las Vegas for the weekend of July 30 so I could attend! I’m hugely grateful to them for sending me over to get a taste of Beauty Week. Thank you BB!

As Beacon winners we were set up with a unique schedule of seminars and parties that allowed us to hear from motivational speakers, manufacturers, distributors, stylists, and salon owners, including some of the industry legends. As I said, most of this was directed toward hair stylists, but I still took a lot away from all the speakers and their advice. We got to attend exclusive parties and mingle with tons of people, and we also got to attend the North American Hairstyling Awards. If you didn’t know, NAHA is like the Oscars of hair. It was a fun night hosted by Miss Tabatha Coffey herself.. I’ll post pictures of that soon!

I stayed in the Luxor, which is connected to Mandalay Bay, where all of the Beacon, NAHA, and Cosmoprof events were held. I got to meet a bunch of other Beacon winners from schools that Beauty Basics owns; my roommate for the weekend had just graduated from Aveda Institute Dallas.

I met a lot of great people and took away a lot of really solid advice from the various speakers we heard from. Stedman Graham (yep, Oprah’s boyfriend!) was the opening speaker, just to give you an idea! He’s actually a great entrepreneur and motivational speaker in addition to his famous relationship. ;)

For now, here are the before and after pictures I sent in which won me a place in Vegas. I will list some of the products I used if I can remember what I used… it was done way back in March!


Katelyn’s wearing a custom-mixed lip color, Sable and Twinks eyeshadows, and Stud for her brows.


Amber’s wearing MAC Faux lipstick, Macroviolet fluidline, and Top Hat eyeshadow in the crease.


Nicole’s wearing MAC Hollywood Nights lipstick, Coygirl blush, and Feline eye kohl.

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Yay, I had a lot of fun doing this manicure! I was inspired by a picture of someone’s manicure that I found on tumblr. The “roses” are very easy to make, just lots of semi-circles in varying tints and shades of a couple colors. I chose to do roses only on my ring and thumb nails for this manicure, while the rest just had the striped pattern.

Before I post the pictures, an apology for the state of my nails in these photos. My nails (and hands) take a lot of abuse from me right now, as I am giving 2-3 facials a day, and constantly washing my hands to keep sanitary. I get thirsty just looking at my poor dehydrated skin!

USED:
Color Club High Society
Color Club Who Are You Wearing?
Color Club Ms. Socialite
Color Club She’s Sooo Glam
OPI Who the Shrek Are You?
Seche Vite Top Coat

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Just thought I’d mention that I tried water marbling for the first time today. It was sort of a failure :P, but I’ll post pictures soon!

Ever since product pictures were revealed for MAC’s Venomous Villians/Maleficent nail polishes, the beauty community has suspected that two of the polishes from Orly’s CosmicFX collection, Galaxy Girl and Space Cadet, were dupes for MAC’s Formidable! and Mean & Green. I wanted to post some comparison swatches of the four polishes along with my thoughts.

To get it out of the way, you definitely don’t need all 4 polishes. Space Cadet and Mean & Green, and Galaxy Girl and Formidable! are so similar to one another that unless you’re an avid collector of some sort, it’s be redundant to add them all to your collection.

Pictures are below. I’ve posted several because getting the same light on each finger while photographing proved to be impossible. Please forgive the messiness!

USED: (no base or top coat)
Orly Galaxy Girl (index finger): 2 coats
MAC Formidable! (middle finger): 3 coats
Orly Space Cadet (ring finger): 3 coats
MAC Mean & Green: 4 coats

Reviews

MAC Formidable! is beautiful, but is exactly the same as Orly Galaxy Girl. (Full review here.) I have seen people say that Formidable! has more of the blue sparkle than Galaxy Girl, but this was not my experience at all. Formidable! was perhaps slightly more sheer, but when coated to opacity (I used 2 coats Galaxy Girl and 3 coats Formidable!), they look exactly the same.

Mean & Green was EXTREMELY sheer in one coat. And although Mean & Green and Space Cadet contain the same colors and the same multichrome, Space Cadet appeared to be much more “sparkly” than Mean & Green. Space Cadet (full review here) is, for lack of a better description, all bling-bling all the time. Even in low light, the pink sparkle is beautiful and stands out against the olive/emerald green base. Mean & Green, disappointingly, did not exhibit as much of this pink sparkle as I would have liked. That being said, these are pretty much the same polishes. If you have one or the other, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

So what’s the bottom line? Here we go: Orly raised their prices with the CosmicFX collection for the first time, so Galaxy Girl and Space Cadet go for around $10 online. Formidable! and Mean & Green, on the other hand, cost $13 at MAC. What’s more, all of the MAC polishes are sold out online and likely at every counter and store you’ll find. Case in point, MAC is amazing at marketing limited edition collections. You may still have a chance to find the Orly polishes at Sally’s and on online retailers. In addition to being cheaper, the Orly polishes have a more consistent formula which means quick drying time, beautiful sparkle finish, and long-wearing quality polish. Also, I’ve seen at least a dozen complaints online about some of the MAC polish brushes being wonky. (If you received a polish with a wonky brush, you should be able to contact customer service to get a replacement cap.)

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Wow, so before I start, another disclaimer about my nail shape: I was experimenting and went for this sort-of-rounded-but-really-just-effed-up-looking shape. Also? For the past two or so weeks, I’ve been trying to live life with cuticles for the first time in, oh, 12 years? I’ve been addicted to snipping, but looking back at these pictures makes me realize how much happier I am with well-kept, moisturized cuticles! It looks ten times better. More on that soon. ;)

As I predicted during my review of Orly Space Cadet from the CosmicFX Collection, I had to go out and get Galaxy Girl.

Galaxy Girl is another gorgeous color-shifting polishes from Orly. This time we’ve got a deep red-purple base with shimmer throughout that changes from fuchsia to blue. It’s beautiful, looks different in every light, but is always sparkling.

Color

Like most nail enthusiasts it seems, I looove duo- and multichrome polishes–polishes that shift colors, especially in sunlight. I love it when I’m wearing a polish so unique it catches my own eye during the day at the times when I least expect it. Galaxy Girl was certainly no exception. Initially it reminded me of MAC’s Blue Brown pigment, one of the first MAC products I owned and a long-time favorite. And it’s similar, but definitely not Blue-Brown-in-a-bottle. The base leans much more deep red/purple, and the blue shimmer shifts in the light to a striking fuchsia with an eggplant base. Until MAC’s Formidable! launched with Venomous Villians, Galaxy Girl was truly unique. And even now, it’s gorgeous (and cheaper!).

Formula

The formula for Galaxy Girl was good, just like for Space Cadet. Not too thin, not too thick, really just perfect. Drying time was average, even on the quick side. I was so excited to put this on I forgot a base coat, and it didn’t bubble or stain my nails at all. One coat is sort of sheer, so upwards of 2 coats is necessary for opacity.

Final Recommendations

Go scour your Sally’s for the remaining Cosmic FX colors, and definitely pick this one up if you haven’t already. I will mention that Orly decided to charge a bit more for this collection, raising their middle-of-the-road prices to $8.50 (at Sally’s) and $10 (online at OrlyBeauty.com). I think the general consensus online was that this was lame of the company, but since the colors are so awesome there haven’t been any boycotts so far as I know. :P

Base: Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Topcoat
Layer 1: Orly Galaxy Girl
Top: Sally Hansen Mega-Shine Topcoat

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I am so excited to bring you swatches of 3 new colors from China Glaze’s Fall 2010 collection, Vintage Vixens. This looks to be an amazing collection with beautiful warm, Fall colors like you’d expect as well as more trendy colors like Classic Camel, Swing Baby, and Ingrid. I love the mix of the familiar with the different, and it seems like each of the polishes are pretty unique. My love affair with China Glaze continues…


direct sunlight


flash indoors


no flash indoors


multicolor microglitter in direct sunlight

Bogie is a deep plum with multicolored microglitter. Of the three I swatched, this is the least sheer in one coat. I used two and it was perfectly opaque. Formula was perfect. This polish definitely is the biggest hit in the sunlight. The silver/multi-color sparkles are unreal.


direct sunlight


flash indoors


no flash indoors


copper sparkles in direct sunlight

Foxy is surprisingly red–in the bottle it looks much more coppery brown, but on the nail it is definitely a burgundy red base with copper microglitter. The copper sparkles are no where near as intense in Foxy as they are in Bogie or Midnight Mission.. definitely more of a traditional frost. Formula is pretty good–I found mine a bit thin, but not impossible to work with. One coat was patchy and sheer, but two coats turned out to be smooth and totally opaque. I was expecting this to look more brown on the nail, but it’s still not a true red, so this is definitely unique to my collection!


direct sunlight


flash indoors


no flash indoors


silver microglitter indoors with no flash

Midnight Mission is a gorgeous navy with silver glitter that really shines through the dark base. This has been on my wishlist since, oh, the moment I saw a swatch of it. The navy base was surprisingly sheer, so two coats was a must. Again, this color really is amazing in the sunlight, but even in low light settings it’s a gorgeous night-sky blue. I love love love this color.

This a huge collection with 13 different colors. Here are ones that I haven’t yet been able to see and swatch:

Riveter Rouge – Deep red shimmer
Goin’ My Way – Deep copper shimmer
Classic Camel – Khaki creme with gold micro glitter
Swing Baby – Taupe with silver micro glitter
Ingrid – “Greige” creme with copper micro glitter
Hey Doll – Deep rose shimmer
First Class Ticket – Deep purple shimmer
Emerald Fitzgerald – Turquoise shimmer
Jitterbug – Grey chrome with silver micro glitter

I also think I must have Classic Camel, Ingrid, and Emerald Fitzgerald… and maybe Jitterbug too. Darn it.

Per FTC regulations I must disclose that product(s) in this post were sent to me by a brand or PR firm for consideration for review on my website. I guarantee honesty above all. For more information, please see my full disclosure policy.

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A few weeks ago I stayed with my friend Amber in Charleston and we went out for a night downtown. Being back in Myrtle Beach for the time being, I miss Charleston desperately, so I decided to go out despite not feeling very well. I shaped her eyebrows and did both her makeup and my own!


USED on Amber:
MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer
Mineralize Skinfinish Natural
Golden Bronzer
Painterly Paint Pot
Blanc Type Eyeshadow
Era Eyeshadow
Soft Brown Eyeshadow
Amber’s own eyeliner
Amber’s own mascara
Dirty Blonde Impeccable Brow Pencil
Brick lip pencil (filled in entire lip)
Clear lipglass


USED on myself:
Studio Fix Fluid
Mineralize Skinfinish Natural
Northern Light Mineralize Skinfinish
Painterly Paint Pot
Chromagraphic Pencil NW25/NC30
Soft Force Eyeshadow
Era Eyeshadow
Aquadisiac Eyeshadow
Big T Eyeshadow
Haunting Eyeshadow
Blacktrack Fluidline
#7 lashes
Taupe Impeccable Brow Pencil
Whirl Lipliner
Lazy Day Lipstick
VIVA Glam V Lipstick

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