November 29, 2012

NOTD: Sally Hansen Salon Effects (Cry Baby)

My first attempt at nail wraps. I bought this Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Cry Baby and it came with everything in the above image. It was easy to find 10 wraps that fit my nails. The result was super shiny even without a top coat. The neon pink color was also brighter than traditional polishes due to a white base beneath. I made it to three days without tip-wear, but a top coat would probably made it last longer.

Finger prints will show initially during application, but will disappear after smoothing it out with the cuticle stick. The wraps are sticky on both sides, so give a minute for one hand to set before starting on the other. I would recommend applying to the dominant hand first and to fold the excess material over the edge of the nail before removing it. Unfortunately, since the wraps are made out of nail polish, it inevitably still smelled awful. Comparing to regular polish, these took me much longer to apply on this first try.

Shiny right?

November 24, 2012

Steve Madden Inklet Flat

This is a pair of suede, slightly pointy-toe flats with a pyramid of studs on the back. I love the contrasting black exterior and goldish-silver interior. It slips on easily and is quite comfortable. My only reservation is the narrowness of the toe box. Although it's not quite the right season for flats, it goes so well with tights.

November 23, 2012

Review: The Body Shop Shea Body Butter vs. Dove Limited Edition Winter Care Nourishing Body Lotion


Scent: Both the body butter and the lotion smell of vanilla and shea butter. The distinguishing factor is the narrower radius and shorter duration of the body butter's scent. Despite a stronger scent, Dove's lotion is nowhere near overwhelmingly sweet.

Texture: From its appearance in the container, I had expected the body butter to be fluffy and light. Totally contrary, the body butter scooped out like a paste, but does easily blend into the skin. Dove's lotion squeezed out of the bottle a lot lighter, and is similarly smooth and fast absorbent.

Hydration: The body butter is advertised for "Very Dry Skin" while the lotion is for all skin types. I found both equally moisturizing, but Dove's lotion leaves my skin much more silkier.

Price: The body butter is 200mL vs Dove's 250mL, but since the body butter is rather dense, it would probably last as long as Dove's lotion. I got the body butter for free at a L'Oreal event and bought the Dove's lotion on sale at 50% off. Regularly, the body butter retails for £13.00 vs. Dove's lotion for about £3.

Recommendation: Dove's lotion wins on price, texture and scent to be the better deal. I would continue to use the body butter for spot treatments, but Dove everywhere else. So if you already love Body Shop's Shea Body Butter, then Dove's Winter Care lotion would definitely step up as a bargain alternative.

Update (Jan 12, 2013): I used up the Dove Winter Care, after using it almost daily, minus the two week vacation I took over the holidays. The 250mL lasts about 5 weeks of use.

Update (May 30, 2013): Updated impressions for the Body Shop Shea Body Butter in my May Empties.

November 15, 2012

NOTD: Color Club Wild and Willing

Purchased by Me
"Wild and Willing" from Color Club's "Wild at Heart" Collection is a gorgeous duochrome with a foil finish.
The formula is thin, but even after 4 coats, did not feel too thick.
It's the perfect for the fall and the festival season. Pumpkin spice anyone?

With Indoor Lighting:

With Natural Lighting:

November 11, 2012

Review: Vaseline Lip Therapy: Pink Bubbly (Limited Edition)

Purchased by Me

I picked up this tin of the Pink Bubbly Vaseline Lip Therapy a week ago in dear hope that it would shield my lips from the winter dryness. This limited edition is absolutely adorable in its strawberry and dark chocolate colored tin, but at £3.49, it also cost 75% more than a regular Vaseline lip therapy of the same size.

The jelly glides on almost clear and shiny. It has a subtle sweet scent and tastes quite true to what its name suggests as a champagne. The wear time is around 4-5 hours, by then the shine disappears and leaves my lips with a matte soft glow. After a week of use, my lips have gotten visibly smoother. Love this!

November 5, 2012

Fireworks at the Midsummer Common

Just got back from the fireworks, wishing I had a tripod. Please click to view full-size

Any tips for fireworks photography?

November 3, 2012

Red Cups are HERE!

One of my favorite things about the holiday season are the festival drinks by various cafes. This Toffee Nut Latte should keep my happy and productive for the rest of the day.

November 1, 2012

Ely, Cambridgeshire

At 10am on Oct. 20th, I boarded a train to Ely for £2.80 round-trip fare. The main attraction is, of course, the Ely Cathedral.

After a brief walk in the morning fog, I arrived at the West Door, opening up to this amazing view:

View from the West Door

I bought the "Total Experience" ticket (£14.50), which included Cathedral admission, a tour up the Octagon Tower, and entrance to the adjacent Stained Glass Museum.

My tour was led by a gentleman named John, so I, along with a couple in their 50s, went along the history-enriched tour. This Norman-designed Cathedral that was restored in the Victorian era, is truly a marvelous sight.

The lantern shaped octagon tower was built after one of the four original pillars of the building collapsed. This lantern design optimizes natural daylight filtering into the building.

Here's the view from the floor level...

View of the Octagon Tower from the Floor Level

After going through the tower entrance at the side of Lady Chapel, up ~170 steps of super narrow, low-ceiling, cobwebs-filled staircase, I arrived at the following view:

View from the Top of the Octagon Tower

For a more in-depth look of the interior design:

Model of the Octagon Tower
Supporting Structure in the Octagon Tower

It was actually quite chilly on the tower roof. So after the swift descent, I went for some lunch and tea at the cafe before a visit to the Stained Glass Museum. Fresh-out-of-the oven sausage roll for £2.50 and a complementary tea.

Lunch at the Cafe

Following a visit to the Apple Festival and to the Oliver Cromwell House (which now houses the Tourist Information Center), I strolled across town to the riverside for a distant photo of the Ely Cathedral.

The West Tower and the Octagon Tower

Here I ended my trip to board a train back home