The Arsenal: My frequently used products

One thing everyone should know about me... I have very short, thin nails. My nails seem to fare a lot better when I keep my hands and cuticles hydrated and happy, which I have to do multiple times a day due to my job. I work at a big box home improvement store and I am always lifting heavy things, moving product around, and just generally being very rough on my hands and nails. When I first started at my job about 3 1/2 years ago, I never EVER wore gloves or put lotion on. My cuticles were cracked and dry to the point of bleeding from all the dirt and dust that I encountered on a daily basis. I tried a lot of different products over the course of a few months until I found my holy grail of nail care items: Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme.

I started using it every morning before I went to work, while I was at work, and before I went to bed at night. I saw results in about a week. My cuticles weren't as sore and cracked as they were before, and they seemed completely healed after about a month. The smell was a little off-putting to me at first, but I quickly got used to it. The creme itself is more balmy than creamy; it feels a little greasy at first but sinks in after rubbing it in. The greasiness doesn't bother me once I put my gloves on at work, the product really sinks in after that. I can't tell you how many tins of this cream I have gone through! You can see in the photo that my current tin is quite loved! It spends a lot of time getting roughed around in my apron at work.

This year I had heard a lot about Lemony Flutter from Lush. A lot of people on Makeup Alley's Nail Care message board had great things about it, so I decided to pick some up. It is priced fairly higher ($12.95) than the Burt's Bees cuticle treatment I normally use, but the price difference was worth it, in my opinion.

I bought this tub about 8 months ago, and I use it twice a day in conjunction with the Burt's Bees. I consider Lemony Flutter well worth the price tag, especially since the product itself is fantastic and lasts a long time! It has a lemony scent, it sinks in immediately as you apply it to your cuticles, and has great effect on other dry patches of skin (I've used it on my elbows with awesome results). Love, love, love! I actually put a bit of Lemony Flutter into a sample container I got from Lush and I keep it with me in my purse! Moisture on-the-go!

When I use hand lotion, I have a few requirements: It has to absorb quickly, smell good, and work well. I don't like thick lotion that sticks around on your hands all slimy-like. Back when I was having my cracked cuticle problem I was trying ton of different lotions. The Burt's Bees cuticle creme came with a small sample of their Shea Butter Hand Repair Creme, which I immediately tried. I have been using this lotion ever since then.

This lotion has a very strong herbal lavender scent, which is pretty refreshing. A glance at the ingredients list shows that this creme is JAM-PACKED with natural ingredients (sunflower oil, shea butter, rose water, and beeswax to name a few) and is actually labeled as "98% Natural" on the front of the tube. I like that Burt's uses a lot of natural ingredients in their products! The lotion is wonderful... it is smooth and cooling, and moisturizes wonderfully. I love how quickly it absorbs and it makes my skin feel so soft. The only downside is that when I use it at work some of my coworkers think it smells too medicinal... these same coworkers said Lemony Flutter smelled too strong, as well. I am a big fan of anything herbal or aromatherapy-related, so the scent does not translate to medicinal to me.

What are your favorite moisturizing products?


Haul photos, long overdue!

I apologize for taking so long to post these photos! I have been so tired from working early mornings since coming back from vacation... I haven't even had the energy to do my nails or take any swatch pictures!

So, I hauled like crazy while I was on vacation. We went to a mall down in North Carolina and I couldn't restrain myself from picking out a few polishes... especially since I had some belated birthday gift money from my boyfriend's father to spend. I went to Claire's, Trade Secret, Sephora, and the little salon in JCPenney in search solely of nail polish. That's all I wanted to spend my birthday cash on!

I found some pretty awesome things at Claire's. First I picked out Chunky Purple which is a purple jelly packed full of silver hex and purple microglitter, then I spotted Glam. Glam is really unique! The polish is a clear base with dense green and blue microglitter. I can't wait to swatch it!

I looked around some more and I found a bunch of the mood changing polishes. I have been wanting some of these ever since I first saw them swatched online, and I really couldn't restrain myself. I purchased all but one color... I forget the name, but it was the lighter pink color. My nails aren't really long enough for these to get the totally awesome two-color effect, so I'd only get to see the color change when I wash my hands. Oh well, I'm still glad I bought them!

My next stop was Trade Secret to see if they had the OPI Summer Flutter collection. They had an empty display, which was a bummer! My spirits were lifted when I saw a huge shopping basket full of clearance polish. I managed to snag No Room For The Blues and Russian Navy Suede out of the mess of mostly dark reds and browns with no labels. Big win for me, since I have been wanting both colors! I went to the JCP Salon after that and found OPI Catch Me In Your Net, which was the color I wanted most from Summer Flutter. Win! I stopped into Sephora on a whim and ended up not being able to leave without Teal We Meet Again. This color is GORGEOUS! It is also my very first Sephora by OPI polish!

I stopped into a little independent beauty shop on our way back home and I found NYX Jungle, Graffiti, and Sapphire. I have had Jungle on my wishlist for a long time, so it was nice to finally find it! Graffiti looked too amazing to pass up... it kinda reminds me of Maybelline Vanishing Venus. My only complaint is that I didn't notice that half of it was used/evaporated before I bought it... but a little thinner fixed that and I can't complain for $1. Sapphire is a stunning deep shimmery blue color.

I was so excited to find two swap packages waiting at home for me... one with China Glaze 2NITE and Zoya Kotori, and the other package with OPI Lincoln Park After Dark Suede. Three wishlist polishes all in one week!

I'd like to thank Mary at Body and Soul Beauty for giving me the chance to win one of her awesome Friday Follower Freebie giveaways. She put together an awesome giveaway with Maybelline Blackened Teal, Blackened Maroon, Shooting Stars, Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure and an assortment of skincare products from Reviva Labs (not pictured). Thanks again, Mary!

I haven't hauled like this in a long time. I have to tighten my purse strings a little bit, since there are a ton of new polishes I need to add to my wishlist. Some of the upcoming collections for fall and winter are KILLER! I gotta start saving now!


Back from vacation... an update is in order!

Wow, what an awesome time we had in North Carolina! My boyfriend Damon and I enjoyed some much-needed relaxation, and we both have had quite a hard time getting back into the swing of normal everyday post-vacation routine. Who wants to go back to work after having an awesome break? We've been home since Tuesday and I haven't felt like doing anything.

While I don't have any NOTD photos to attach to this entry, I do promise some photos of my HUGE vacation haul by the end of the weekend! I haven't hauled in months, and I really made up for that while we were down south. Bigtime. This is probably one of my biggest hauls, and I can't wait to post pics!


Vacation, Vacation, Vacation!

Greetings from Wilmington, North Carolina!

I won't be making any swatch posts for a couple days, so I'm just gonna leave you with a photo of my vacation pedicure (which I took while enjoying my time on the beach!).

 I am wearing FingerPaints Artistic Azure with two coats of OPI Absolutely Alice on top. I wanted to wear Orly Royal Navy as my vacation pedi, but Absolutely Alice was just calling my name. I thought it would look nice sparkling on the beach!


Orly - Royal Navy

One of my favorite colors this summer is Orly's Royal Navy. I believe it is a new color for Summer 2010, as I had never seen it before I picked it up at Sally Beauty Supply about a month ago. It is quickly becoming one of my most-used colors of the season.

 Two coats in full sun.

Royal Navy is a vivid blue with tons of beautiful greenish-blue microglitter packed into it. The formula is like heaven to me... I am a huge fan of Orly polishes. I haven't used a bad Orly polish yet! Every single one I own goes on smoothly with no problems, and Royal Navy is no exception! I had excellent coverage with two coats!

I personally think that Orly polishes offer a great value... you get a little more product than other brands offer, the color range is pretty nice, and the quality is awesome. I get long wear out of them, as well.

Two coats in the shade.

I am actually dying to use this on my toes. I think I'm going to use it as my vacation pedi color, but I haven't decided yet! I know I definitely want to wear blue on my toes!

This will probably be my last post for a couple days... my boyfriend and I are going to North Carolina on Wednesday for a much-needed week-long vacation!


Zoya - Nicole (with a fauxnad stamp!)

I have been wanting to add some Zoya nail polish to my collection for quite some time, and it wasn't until I started swapping recently that I got some to try. My first two Zoyas were Charla and Ivanka, which are nothing short of absolutely amazing. My second set of Zoyas just came from a very generous lady... I had arranged for Ki and she threw in Nicole as a surprise to go along with it! I couldn't wait to try Nicole, as it is such an awesome summery-looking color. It is a pinky-orange with very fine golden microglitter that pops in the sun.

Photo taken in the shade with no flash.

A little over a month ago I ordered a set of Bundle Monster nail image plates, and I haven't really used them much. I was looking at them today and on a whim I decided to use plate BM13 to dress up my mani a little bit. I naturally went for the cobweb, since spooky was what I was feeling at the moment! I love the little spider design, so I had to throw him on, too.

Photo taken in full sunlight.

Overall I am very impressed with Zoya so far. This mani was perfect with two coats, but I went with three for good measure. The color had a very smooth application, with no bald spots on the second coat. Nicole has worn well over the past day, and my topcoat of choice (Seche Vite) did not give me any problems with dry time or shrinkage. I can't wait to try more Zoya colors!