Sunday, December 19, 2010

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

This is quite possibly my most favorite holiday nail art of all time.
To start, I gathered all the polishes I needed - Use whatever colors you like. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures or make mental notes of the exact names of what I used. Basically, I used a white (from Sally Hansen), red (ORLY Monroe's Red), black (striping polish), green (Funky Fingers Blitzen), gold (Milani holographic), silver (Milani holographic), blue (from Funky Fingers), and a brown (OPI You Don't Know Jacques).

I started out with my usual base coat of Sally Hansen's Insta-Grip. I applied two coats of white polish, and put a fast-drying top coat on the top.

Next, I took the black striping polish and made some wavy lines across my nails. Try to make it look like the line goes across all the nails. Add some lightbulb-looking shapes on each of the nails. I did two to three lightbulbs in different colors.
After I took care of the string of lights, I went to work on the thumbnails. I used the green polish and a fine-tipped brush to make a Christmas tree shape. Then, I took the gold polish to make a star, red polish for ornaments, and brown polish for a trunk. Here's the end result:
And here is the completed look! I've been getting a lot of compliments on it. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I love the holiday season, for reals. I could go on and on about why I love it, but I'm sure you all would rather not read my nostalgic musings about hot cocoa, snow, and Christmas movies.

One thing I adore about the winter, though, is the excuse to wear glitter nail polish. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I feel like I can only get away with straight-up glitter in the winter. Maybe it's the frigid sunbeams glinting off the snow? I don't know, and I don't care. I love me some glitter.

Here is a nail design I did that involves my love of glitter and all things holiday. The first step is to apply a base coat. I used Sally Hansen's Insta-Grip Fast Dry Base Coat. Once that dried, I painted on Funky Fingers polish in Wonderland. I could have gotten away with three coats for full opacity, but I put on a fourth coat, just for good measure.

I applied Poshe's quick-dry top coat, and once that was dry (about 5 to 10 minutes), I started my design. I kept the design to just the ring fingers and thumbs, because I feel that it's more unexpected. I like having the design on my ring fingers because, as a somewhat-newly engaged gal I'm always flashing the bling. I thought I'd change things up and put the design on my thumbs, too, because I can stare at it while I text/Tweet/Facebook/whatever. Feel free to put the design on all (or some) of your nails -- it's up to you!

To start, take a dark green polish (I used a couple of coats of Funky Fingers polish in Blitzen, because it was the only green I had) and a fine-tipped paintbrush. Use the brush to paint two holly leaves on your nail, making sure that the base of the leaves meet.

One you've done that, take another fine-tipped paintbrush or a dotting tool, and apply one dot of red nail polish to the join of the holly leaves. I used ORLY's Monroe's Red.

Apply a top coat, and you're done!

...Unless you're like me, and studying for finals, and want an excuse for a longer study break. If that's the case, you can do what I did. Use Milani's holographic polish in 3D and another fine-tipped brush to paint a bell on your thumbnails. Outline the bell with a black striper to ensure that the gold stands out against the silver.

NOW, you're finished!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Are your lashes millionized?

So I ventured out to my local Target to see if I could get my hand on L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes. I've seen it for as much as $9, but my Target had it for $7.49. There was a surprise when I got to the register, though! I didn't look at the back of the package, since the shade (blackest black) was on the front. Happily, there was a coupon on the back for a couple of bucks off. I have to look at the receipt, but I'm pretty sure it was for $2, meaning I walked outta there paying only $5.49 -- nearly half of what Walgreens was charging.

On to the review. I'm sure you've all seen the gold-tone tube by now. But in case you haven't, here's a picture of it:

It's a little bulky for my liking, but I can let that slide, since it's so easily found in my stash! The wand is one of those newfangled rubberized wands that people seem to love or hate. I love them for separation, but not so much for volume. As advertised, there is a little device-thingy in the tube that scrapes most of the mascara off the wand. I love this -- it saves me the trouble (and mascara!) of wiping excess product off on a paper towel. The one design flaw is that, as you can see below, the wiper do-dad leaves a huge glob of product on the end of the wand. I invariably get this all over my eye area, so I find that I have to wipe this goop off. :/

As for the product itself, it's pretty decent. I've been switching off among Maybelline's Lash Stiletto, Maybelline's Colossal Volum'Express (I hate that name, by the way), and L'Oreal Clean Definition Telescopic. Voluminous Million Lashes (or VML) seems to be closer to the Telescopic than the other two. My lashes are naturally long (thanks, Dad!), but very blonde at the tips. See?

I found out that this mascara is pretty good. I get good length, and the color itself is very black. However, it's really not buildable. If you don't get the desired result in one coat (MAYBE two, if you're lucky), then you're screwed. Here's a picture of what three coats look like. Brace yourselves! (By the way, I didn't let it dry between coats)
AAAHHHH! Spider lashes!!!

I think I'll use this mascara mostly for daytime looks. I'm still on the hunt for a good drugstore mascara that will give me va-va-voom volume for amped up lashes. Here's a picture of what one coat looks like:
MUCH better. As you can see, there's a lot of length, but not as much volume as I would like. I don't have any eyeliner on in this picture, so that may help give the illusion of fuller lashes. Overall, I like this, but it's not my favorite. If you're looking for length, but don't need much volume, this may be for you. If you don't like rubberized wands, stay away. This bad boy is pretty spiky. If you're going to try it, I HIGHLY recommend waiting for a BOGO or coupon. Don't pay full price for this. If you give it a go, let me know what you think! Remember that everyone's lashes are different -- this may become your "holy grail" mascara, and it may make your lashes look like they belong on Tammy Faye Bakker.

And with that image in your mind, I leave you...for today.

Expect a nail tutorial that involves holly and glitter (LOTS of glitter) in the next few days. I'm wearing the design now, and have the pictures and everything all ready to go, but I really have to hit the books. Five final exams don't leave much time for fun. :/

As always, leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter @HonestReviewer if you have questions or just want to say hi.

Philosophy Candy Cane Set

I know I should be studying for final exams right now, but I just feel so Christmasy! I'm burning Christmas-scented candles, drinking hot chocolate, and freaking about because there was actually snow on the ground this morning when I woke up! I'm also watching 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family. Who could resist a movie where Leslie Neilsen plays Santa with amnesia? :)

Anyway, last night a friend and I did our Christmas gift exchange. She got me this awesome limited edition gift set from Philosophy. (If you're interested in buying it for you or someone else, it retails from Sephora for $22)

Inside the too-adorable-for-words package, there is a Lip Shine (0.5 oz), Foaming Bubble Bath and Shower Gel (4 oz), and Body Lotion (2 oz). I haven't had the chance to try out the shower gel yet, but I see a bubble bath in my near future!

The scent of this stuff is incredible. It's crisp and pepperminty and oh-so-wintry, but there's a sweetness there that really makes this candy cane, instead of straight-up peppermint. I really, really like it.

The lotion is nice. It's not anything too special -- it's just, ya know, a body lotion. It's moisturizing and absorbs quickly. It smells so freaking good, though! SUCH a perfect winter scent.

The gloss is definitely my favorite part of this set. It's thick and slippery without being goopy, sticky, or messy. It's shiny without being "BAM! I'm lip gloss!" It has an average gloss wear time of two to four hours, depending on how much talking, eating, or drinking I'm doing. Speaking of eating, I really don't make a point of licking off my lip gloss (or licking my lips in general -- saliva actually dries out your lips), but this tastes so great. It tastes just like it candy canes! I like the slant tip applicator, but I find the hole to be a bit too large. I often get too much gloss on my lips, which isn't a great look. But I'm willing to deal with that if it means having this stuff on my lips. Seriously. I plan on buying a backup of this.

In case I didn't make it clear, it's a clear gloss. This is what it looks like on its own.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter @HonestReviewer.

Friday, December 3, 2010

First video EVAAARRR

I uploaded my first ever video to YouTube. It's a winter nail design, and I did it for beautiefreak92's OPI contest. I think it's pretty cute, and I hope she does too. :)

Here's the video. Let me know if you like it and want to see more. I'm ALWAYS doing my nails and would like an excuse to do more nail art.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sorry for the lack of posts!

I'm sorry I've been MIA lately -- things have been cray-cray between school and running a half-marathon. Oh, and my birthday/Thanksgiving! :) This year, my birthday was on Black Friday, and the best part was that I was with my huge extended family. My parents and brother got me a signed copy of The Great Typo Hunt!!! I'm such a word nerd, and I've been following the story of these guys for a while. I'm so thrilled to have a copy of this book, and even more thrilled that it's signed!!! :D My fiance got some friends to chip in and get me a certificate to go skydiving! I've wanted to go skydiving for as long as I can remember, so I'm absolutely thrilled. THRILLED, I tell you!
I have some fun reviews coming up for you all -- some E.L.F., Bath & Body Works, and maybe even a recipe or two. I do so love the holidays, and I'm always in a baking mood during December.

What else would you like to see from me? I'd love to hear from you. The best way to get in touch with me is to leave a comment here or send me a message on Twitter @HonestReviewer


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

H2O+ Review and Coupon Code

Today I am going to review the new Sea Pure line from H2O+. I do have some pictures for you, but, unfortunately, iPhoto is being a biaaatch and won't let me do anything. :/ I'll upload them later, but I did include links for each product. The links take you to the product's page on the H2O+ site, and I don't make any money for sending you there (wouldn't that be nice, though?).

When I got the package, I was expecting samples of the line, not the ginormous-size bottles I received! I did get these products for free, as I am a BeautyStat blogger (click the link I've placed on the bottom of my blog -- it's a great website). However, this has no influence on my opinions of this line of products. I also received three samples of other H2O+ products, and will review those at a later date.

On to the review. This is probably going to be pretty long -- if there's something you aren't interested in reading about, just skip over it. I won't be mad...promise! :)

Let's start with the cleanser, shall we? The Creamy Facial Cleanser claims to minimize the appearance of fine lines and stimulate healthy cell growth, hydrate the skin, improve skin resiliency, and remove makeup/surface debris/environmental impurities. The scent of this is fine -- not great, not unpleasant. It's kind of a combination of citrus and salty ocean air, only...Lemon Pledge-ier? It's hard to describe. If you're sensitive to fragrance, maybe skip over this one. It doesn't bother me, though. The cleanser does its thing by combining "cell-renewing amino acids" with apple amino acids and sea moss. To be perfectly honest, it's only been about a week since I've gotten this product, so I can't say if those ingredients have drastically improved my skin. I will say that this does a great job of cleansing my skin...maybe a little too well? It doesn't make my face feel uncomfortable, but it definitely gives it that "squeaky clean feeling." This cleanser does a good job of removing my concealer and any powder that I am wearing, but I cannot speak to its eye makeup removing abilities. This is partly because I use an oil-based remover to get rid of mascara and partly because this cleanser stung my eyes like a mother! Granted, I wear contacts and have somewhat sensitive eyes, but I do not recommend this for removing eye makeup. I will say that I used this after a 5-mile run today. I normally use one cleanser, then follow it up with something like St. Ives Apricot Scrub to get rid of the sweat, salt, or dirt (ewww!) , but this cleanser did the trick with no need for a second cleanse!

Now, on to the exfoliator. I have only used the Gentle Refining Polish a couple of times, as I have somewhat dry skin and I don't want to make it drier. I imagine you could use this every day if you have oily skin. When I do exfoliate (about once a week, twice if I've been running or working out), I generally prefer something grainer (like the St. Ives). This isn't grainy and is very gentle, so if you're into that, I think you'll really like this! It, like the cleanser, has cell-renewing amino acids and sea moss. Instead of the cleanser's apple amino acids, the polish has bamboo extract to remove "dull skin cells to reveal visibly brighter, smoother-looking skin." This polish has the same smell as the cleanser. Again, I don't mind it, but those sensitive to fragrance might. I like the way this made my skin feel. Even though it wasn't as grainy as I usually prefer, I felt that it got the job done, and was gentle while still doing its job. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this.

The Renewing Prep Tonic was the product I was most excited to try. I love toners. I love how they make my skin feel, how they remove any last traces of makeup or dirt, and how refreshing they are (especially in the dry winter months). This toner does all of that, by using (again) the cell-renewing amino acids and sea moss in its ingredients. It also contains lactic acid, which claims to refine and retexturize the skin for a brighter complexion. When I read that it contained lactic acid, I was expecting it to sting just a touch. It didn't! This toner is so refreshing, yet effective. I really like this product, you guys! The only downside I see to this bad boy was the pump. I love when toners have a pump, because I don't like the screw top openings -- I always end up spilling the toner when I'm trying to soak a cotton pad. However, the pump didn't work! It spits out the tiniest amount of product onto my cotton ball. I lost track of how many pumps it took for me to get any product onto the cotton ball. I eventually gave up and just unscrewed the cap. I love the product inside, and I love the packaging in theory, but in practice, it didn't work. Maybe I got a defective one?

The Deep Moisture Cream is, sadly, not my favorite. It's super-moisturizing, and I like it for nighttime. However, it feels like it never sinks into my skin! I've used all sorts of varying amounts, and it either isn't moisturizing enough (thus causing me to add more) or feels like it just sits on top of my face. I tried to just let it sit on for an hour or so, and then rub it in more, but it just would not sink in! I'm hoping that I can give this another go in December or January, when my skin gets even drier. I still use it for nighttime, but my face still feels sticky and tacky, which isn't a comfortable feeling. The cream contains those same cell-renewing amino acids, as well as jojoba seed extract and Atlantic Sea flora. The jojoba claims to minimize fine lines, fight free radicals, and deeply moisturize. The sea flora is said to smooth the look of surface lines and refresh tired, lackluster skin.

The Perfecting Eye Cream is kind of the same story for me as the moisturizer. Not surprising, when you consider that the "Key Elements" are the same for both products. I love this for that little space between my eyebrow, nose, and eye -- that area tends to get really dry on me. However, it's the exact same story -- super moisturizing, but never feels like it sinks in. Like I said, I wear contact lenses, but I wear glasses at night. This eye cream caused my glasses to annoyingly slide down the bridge of my nose every two seconds.

Overall, I like this range. Would I repurchase it? I think it's too soon to tell for sure, but so far, I'd have to say no. I have a few fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes, and I'd like to see if this line helps them improve. I'll update you all later on for that. So far, I don't think this has broken me out. I say "think" because, while using this line, I had a breakout on my chin that started to go away, then came back with a vengeance. I'm not sure if it was because of this or *ahem* hormones. Though I like all of these products (some more than others), none have become "holy grail" products. However, my fiance did tell me for the first time that my skin looked "so pretty!" I will say that if you have very dry skin, give the moisturizer and eye cream a shot. They'll probably work beautifully with you.

Also, take a look at the H2O+ website. They have a really neat section where you can get a skin care analysis or use a concern guide to find out what products are great for you.

And finally, a little treat for those of you who read this all the way too the end. Thanks for sticking with me! Get $10 off your entire H2O+ purchase of $30 or more by entering promo code 100275 at checkout. (Heads up: They have a sale section where you can get up to 50% off some of their products!!!)

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me. You can leave a comment here, e-mail me at, or Tweet me at HonestReviewer.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Alzheimer's Awareness Month

I just want to take a minute to let you know that November is National Alzheimer's Awareness Month. This is such a devastating disease, and it really hits home for me. I had a close relative (he was a great-uncle, but we were close) die after suffering with this disease for several years. It was so sad to see his decline from a brilliant man to someone who didn't know who his sons were.
I sincerely hope that we will soon find a cure for this heartbreaking illness.

On to happier news...
I received my H2O Plus skincare package the other day. I've tried it out twice, and so far, so good. My fiance even said "Your skin looks so pretty!"
However, I'll wait and do a full review after a couple of weeks. I just want to make sure that my review is comprehensive. Keep an eye out for that!


Friday, October 29, 2010

I Love Candles!!!

I love candles. I am a candle addict. I belong in Candle Lover's Anonymous.

Admitting it is the first step to recovery, right?

Scratch that. I don't want to recover! :) I have candles burning daily -- they help energize me, relax me and just plain smell nice!

Now, I know this isn't a beauty review, but that's ok by me. Feel free to skip over this post if you'd rather read about beauty products.

My latest favorite is Febreze's Pumpkin Harvest & Fall. My nose mostly picks up a creamy, vanilla, pumpkin scent. There is just enough cinnamon and spice in here to keep the cloying nature of desserts away. While I adore eating dessert, I do not want to smell it all day long (the exception here is apple pie). It just makes me hungry, and then gives me a stomachache. It's the same thing with body lotion and perfume -- I just do not like smelling like a bakery!!! (I suffer from migraines, and overly sweet scents just seem to trigger them. Strangely, actual desserts baking don't usually bother me.)

That being said, this scent is the perfect balance of "outdoor pumpkin patch," pumpkin pie, and spice. It's not too sweet, and it's not too "outdoorsy" (for those who love those bakery scents). I love outdoorsy, homey, comforting scents, and this candle captures all of that. Plus, it has that nifty Febreze core that absorbs yucky odors while emitting a yummy punkin scent. Double plus, my fiance loves this too! He wasn't such a fan of the last candle I had burning (it was a Jasmine and Bamboo, Cotton Blossom, and Hinoki Bonsai tiered candle I got at Kohl's, and I loved it).

I'm dying to try some candles by Candles by Victoria. Right now, I can't afford to buy any more candles and am resorting to burning my way through my stash. But as soon as this broke college girl lands a job, she's buying herself the $45.00 9 oz. sampler!!! I've heard so many wonderful things on YouTube about Victoria (and her candles), so I really can't wait to try. Maybe I'll compile a wish list and slip it to my fiance! :) Did you know that Victoria currently carries 600 fragrances? 600!!! That's pretty bangin', if I do say so myself.

My next blog post will be a review on the Sea Pure line of H2O Plus -- keep an eye out for the review. There will be a surprise in there for my readers!

Thanks for reading, and I'll type to you soon!


*I purchased all of the products mentioned -- I will be sure to clearly state when I receive something free for review purposes.*

Friday, October 22, 2010

My first "official" review!

It's officially fall. I have my Halloween costume ready, my Halloween nails all done, and I'm drinking hot apple cider by the gallon. Holla at your girl, Ziegler's!

Now, on to the review...

Le sigh...

Soap & Glory, why do you love me and then leave me?

As most of you know, Target will no longer be selling Soap & Glory products. However, S&G's website does state that they will be partnering with a new retailer soon. Until then, whatever S&G products you see in Target are all you're getting...for now.

My current love from the S&G line is the Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser.

This cleanser claims that "It cleans, it smooths, it melts away makeup!" It contains panthenol, sweet almond, orange oil, and lavender oil. The directions say to "squeeze out a generous splodge," and massage it into your face and neck for at least one minute. (I like to concentrate on my trouble areas -- my nose and chin) Let the cleanser sit for one full minute. If I'm in the shower, I fill this time by rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. If I'm not, I fill the time by flossing (this is actually a great way to remember to floss!) Then use the included muslin cloth and warm water to wipe off the cleanser. This step not only removes the cleanser, it also gives your skin a great, yet gentle, exfoliation.

The cleanser claims to remove makeup as well as cleanse your skin. I don't wear a whole lot of face makeup on a daily basis, but this definitely gets rid of my concealer and powder. The back of the box says that it will remove eye makeup -- including mascara -- but that you have to be very careful about rinsing it off. I can't really speak to how this removes eye makeup, because my contact lens-wearing peepers are pretty sensitive, and the essential oils don't get along with my eyes. I imagine it would work if your eyes aren't sensitive.

I have to say, this stuff is incredible. My skin absolutely loves it. My face looks clearer, feels smoother, and just seems happier and healthier! I have never bought a backup of a cleanser before -- I'm always on the hunt for the next "holy grail" product. Ladies, I have three tubes of this stuff in my bathroom closet.

Your local Target may have a couple tubes left, and if you can find one, I highly suggest picking it up. At my Target, Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser was originally $14.29, but I've seen it reduced for at little as $7.14. Be sure you check the box, though -- my latest backup purchase was missing a muslin cloth (why do people steal something like this? Seriously?) Be warned, though -- Target may not accept returns or exchanges with this product, because they are trying to get rid of their remaining stock.

If your Target is plumb out of Soap & Glory products, sign up for the S&G newsletter. Their website states that this is how they will announce their new U.S. retail partner.

I give this product an A.

Questions? E-mail me at or check me out on Twitter at HonestReviewer.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Someone Catch Me...

...because I am about to faint.

OK, so most of us know that Justin Bieber is getting his own collection of nail polish from Nicole by O.P.I. I couldn't care less about Bieber or his fever, and the colors really just don't excite me. But here's something I am excited about: Katy Perry. I try not to like her music, but it's always in my head because it's so damn catchy! What I really love about her is her personality and fashion sense, and I'm really excited about her collection.

Here's what Teen Vogue has to say about the fabulous Ms. Perry's collection, which is set to release in January 2011:
"The Katy Perry Collection by OPI will include four glamorous shades: Teenage Dream (a dreamy pink glitter), Not Like the Movies (a sultry silver), Last Friday Night (a fierce glittery blue), and The One That Got Away (an amazing deep berry). But the breakout hit of the collection is sure to be Black Shatter, a revolutionary topcoat that creates a cracked/leopard pattern when applied over dried nail lacquer. "

(picture from

I have to say, I am most excited for Black Shatter. I missed out on the CoverGirl Crackle Polishes (I was too young to buy them when they came out), so I can't wait to pick it up. I'm not sure how "revolutionary" it is, but one thing is for will be mine! I'm also excited for The One That Got Away. I know a lot of people are bored by berry shades, but they really complement my fair skin.

Gah! I just can't get over Black Shatter. I can't wait to see some swatches.

Are there any new nail polish collections you're excited for?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Welcome to the first installment of my beauty blog. My name is Kerry, and I love all things beauty-related. I named this blog “Honest Beauty Reviews” because I intend for this to be a review-oriented site. There may be occasional Nail of the Days or Face of the Days (and maybe even a nail tutorial!) but I really want to concentrate on reviewing.

I am an honest person. I will try to find the good – and the bad – in every product I review. I will hold fast to this policy of honesty regardless of brand, price, or where I get the product.

If there is anything else you think you want to see from me, let me know. I am open to suggestions, comments, and constructive criticism. I’d love to hear from you!