Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My DVF Dress Update

After discussing with reader MH over Twitter the status of my DVF Dress Disaster, I realized that she and some of you may be wondering what happened. Well, here's the story.

I DID Contact DVF Directly
DVF's service was phenomenal in my opinion and this should not go unrecognized. This dress and issue was not their problem, really. The problem was Rue-la-la's and my own. DFV Customer Service acknowledged that they had indeed had a few customers complain about the zipper in the Jori dress - I was not alone! They urged me to talk with Rue-la-la (which I had) but DVF CS went a step further. While their website was out of stock, they searched and found me a store that carried the Jori dress in Black in a size 14, should I want to purchase it. The price would have been higher than what I paid for my dress from Rue-la-la, therefore at this point I have not contacted the store with the dress and size in stock. But I give DVF full marks for trying to please me over an issue with one of their products purchased through a secondary source! Way to go DVF! You made this would-be customer happy.

I DID Get A Second Opinion - My Mother
Over the holiday weekend I tried the dress on for my mom, who was just as excited about my DVF dress as I was (maybe even more so). We were able to snap the dress fixture closed, but once again the zipper did not budge. I took the dress off, and once again , the zipper too several tries before I was able to zip it closed. My mother pronounced the zipper "DEFECTIVE" and in her wisdom advised me to send it back.

My Decision - Send it Back
I did have the option of taking it to the tailor and get a new zipper added in to the dress. But considering it didn't quite fit, I didn't feel comfortable doing this. Truthfully, even before my mother looked at the dress I had decided that it needed to go back to Rue-La-La. The second I decided that I wanted it out of the house. So my mom almost didn't get to see the luscious DVF.

Lesson To Be Learned
No matter what, if the dress doesn't work for whatever reason remember this: There will ALWAYS be another dress.

Someday I will own and proudly wear a DVF. But it will not be this Jori.

BeautyBloggers.org Auction! Live now through December 20th

Awesome news! A charity auction has been arranged by some of my fellow beauty bloggers and favorite brands. I learned about it recently and really wanted to let you know about it. I am not participating int eh form of donating this year - I found out about it too late. But I did want to show them my support by publicizing what they are doing. You will want to check this out!

BeautyBloggers.org Charity Auction Details
  • Who: Over 50 Beauty Bloggers and Brands looking to make a difference in the world. And they all want YOU to get involved!
  • What:  A charity auction to raise money in the spirit of the holidays for  Doctors Without Borders
  • When: Now through December 20th at 5 pm CST. 
  • Where:  BeautyBloggers.org
  • How: You will have to register before bidding. Money will go directly to Doctors Without Borders.  Money will be collected through a special Doctors Without Borders website and they take credit cards. International bidders will have to pay through PayPal. If you win a bid you will be contacted with more information.
All of the Lovely Bloggers and Brands who are Participating:

Go check it out and give these lovelies a hand for making a difference!

Rescue Beauty Lounge - Under The Stars

I believe I promised reader Jackie that I would wear this polish from my Rescue Beauty Lounge Sale order first... (I actually did wear it first - but my Concrete Jungle post yesterday slipped out before this one for some reason).

I have been wanting this polish for a long time. Every time Rescue Beauty Lounge would have a sale, I would either talk myself out of this polish ("It'll just look black on my nails!") or it would be out of stock. The Out of Stock was the most occurring scenario - it used to take quite a lot of persuasion to talk me out of a polish (not so much anymore).

Blackened base with blue glitter. We've seen polishes like this from other polish companies, so it might not be unique anymore.

There is something about an RBL polish that makes me want to take a ton of care in applying the polish. I'm not always successful at flawless application (clearly) but this baby was nearly opaque in one coat. I put two on just to be sure. Smooth as butter.

Sadly, this polish began to chip on me almost immediately. I suspect with a different base (I was using Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator) I could have better results.

Bottom Line
I would have regretted not getting this polish, but ultimately I should have listened to the voice that said "It'll just look black on my nails!" because it was right. Wait for another sale to purchase if you want it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rescue Beauty Lounge - Concrete Jungle

Yeah, this Rescue Beauty Lounge color wasn't quite what I was expecting it to be...

That may actually be a good thing. There have been a lot of gray polishes that have come out in the last couple of years and I've picked up a few of them. None of them quite look like this one due to the cool undertones it has.

Decidedly NOT concrete gray. This is a blue-gray. It makes me want to pick up RBL Stormy and compare it because this color is what I picture when I think of storm clouds overhead. If you're looking for a true neutral color, this is not the color for you. There is blue here, no doubt about it.

Like most of my other experiences with RBL cream polishes, this polish applied opaque at one coat but I wore two just to make sure.

Pretty darn good over Qtica nail growth stimulator and topped with Seche Vite. The only thing bad I can really say is that because it is such a light color, if you bump up against something darker or you have some stray polish left on your top coat brush (like I tend to) it will show up on this polish.

Bottom Line
If you're looking for a blue based gray cream, then this is a great color to pick up.

Pehaligon's - Last Call for Movember Pics!

As you may remember, Penhaligon's is hosting a "Movember" contest. The last day for entries is tomorrow, so get your entries up on their facebook page.

Our Entry? Well, Mike grew a Movember 'Stache (which turned into a bit more) in honor of his father.

Oberon and Cicero also decided to show their support.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quest For My Pretty - Weekly Weight Loss Report

It's that time of week again! I must admit I have been snacking a lot. I'm just hungry all of the time. But the good news is that I still seem to be on the right track. The sad news is still that darn DVF dress. That has me so bummed. But as I head into the Thanksgiving Holiday I know that I have lost!

Weight: 164.7 (-1 lb)

Goal for this week is to make sure I get all my workouts in regardless of the holiday and am able to stay relatively on track with diet. My strategy is to stick to unadorned protein and ignore the carbohydrates, picking up greens and veggies where I can. Anyone else have a Thanksgiving eating strategy?

Oh, and super fun - Mom wants to work out with me while she's visiting. Should I video tape it unbeknownst to her? I may... :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dress Disaster: My First DVF... and it has issues. Help!

Image from Rue-La-La
Last week I blogged about obtaining my very first DVF dress via Rue-La-La. Yes, the Jori Dress (pictured right). I ordered a size 12, expecting the dress to be tight, but achievable. I mean, I'm losing weight (and at a steady pace, relatively speaking). It seamed the sensible thing to do.

The dress arrived extremely fast - Rue-la-la was really on top of their game! On Friday, I pulled the dress out of it's battered box (how dare UPS treat it thus!) and slipped it over my head. The fabric felt like the softest fabric I've ever felt in my life, yet it was strong. The three different fabrics used on this dress were seamless in their feel and the lining of the dress was luscious. I now know why people hail Ms. Diane Von Furstenberg as the Queen of Dresses! I understand!

The dress hugged my hips rather tightly, but I didn't mind. The fabric was forgiving. There was more rouching present than I thought there would be - that's ok because I know this style of dress fits well on me (see Suzi Chin Dress because the shape is basically the same as the Jori. I knew by looking at it that I would not be able to zip it up all the way. That's ok... lets see how far I CAN zip it.


The zipper wouldn't budge. The zipper is this tiny flimsy thing compared with the strength and grace of this dress. And it wouldn't move! I pulled the dress off and tried zipping it up - no luck. Frustrated, twittered madly (you may have seen) then put it down and went to dinner with a friend. When I came back, I zipped the dress up no problem. I was not wearing it at the time. So I played with the zipper a few times, and it seemed to be functioning. I put the dress away.

Sunday I tried the dress on again. Same thing. Zipper should zip, and doesn't budge. In tears,  I put the dress away again and begin to have an argument with myself about what to do. Call Kara!

My good friend Kara has nearly the same hip measurement as me but she has a much slighter torso. She should be able to zip it up. Today I had Kara over to try on the exquisite Jori dress. We put the dress on her and... It doesn't zip up. But she can fasten the close at the top. Funny thing is, Kara usually takes a size several sizes smaller than me and the zipper still won't budge!

I Contact Rue-la-la
Disheartened, I send an email to the Rue-la-la Concierge. Of course, they can not give me a larger size as is the nature of the sales, but they will credit me $20 if I keep the dress and try to shrink into it. Or, they can send me a pre-paid shipping label and I can return it. They do not answer my primary question: Is there a "trick" to DVF dress zippers??? But at least they are trying to help.

Decisions, Decisions...
So... I ask you my lovely readers what I should do. Should I...
  1. Try to contact DFV directly and see if there is a trick to the zipper?
  2. Regardless, should I keep the dress and take the $20 Rue-La-La credit?
  3. Or should I return the dress because maybe, just maybe, the zipper is defective?
I could always purchase the dress (albeit at a higher price) off of DVF.com with the knowledge that the 12 was a fiasco and that in all likelihood I am a behemoth in DVF world. But maybe a 14 would be reasonably tight still... and maybe the zipper would work. Or I could abandon the idea all together. Maybe the Jori and I were not meant to be...

In other news, I did put in my order on the Althea Harper Lorenzo dress for New Years Eve today. That makes me a little happier.

Edited - Checked the Jori on DFV.com and it is not available in a 12 or a 14.

Review: Qtica Intense Total Hydrating Therapy Lotion

I should have written this review long ago. It's been a month since I used up my sample of Qtica's Intense Hydrating Therapy Lotion. I received a good regular product size portion of this so you know if I used it up. So you know there are some good things about it right away. 

Image from Art of Beauty Website
What the Website Says:
"Qtica Intense Total Hydrating Therapy Lotion is an unscented, advanced therapy lotion for hands, feet and body that locks in moisture for up to 8 hours and helps to keep skin looking smooth and healthy.
Qtica Intense Total Hydrating Therapy Lotion is gentle, non-greasy formula uses a miraculous hyaluronic acid (HA) panthanol and colagen combination to impart and lock in moisture to the dermal layer of skin...and it keeps it there for almost 8 hours. Vitamins A, B, and E help to soothe skin and keep it looking fresh and healthy."

This is a creamy lotion that dries fairly quickly on the skin. It's not think and goopy like some of the Qtica lotions (I'm thinking about the hand cream). It feels really good going on the skin.

This lotion smells like other of the Qtica product, with that flowery scent that reminds me of "old lady skincare" type smell but isn't necessarily offensive.

$16 for the 6 oz bottle, $30 for a 16 oz bottle. I had the 6 oz bottle and it lasted me about 2 months, using it every night.

My Experience
Sometimes I used this lotion as a full body lotion and sometimes I used it as a hand lotion. I have serious dry skin issues. I have patches of eczema on my body which have only been getting worse, so I have to use a steroid cream to alleviate them. This product helped a little bit but not as much as I was hoping with the words "Intense Total Hydration". I didn't find it as intense as I needed it to be. I didn't get 8 hours of hydration when  on my body. Sometimes I needed to reapply after an hour.

Where I found this to be a good product was as a hand lotion. I would put some on my hands as I was heading out the door or going to sleep and they felt so much better. I actually prefer the scented Qtica lotions for the body like the Cool Therapy Lotion.

Bottom Line
Good for hands, but you can find cheaper and more moisturizing lotions for the body. It does have a nice feel to it though.

Full Disclosure
The products in this review were furnished to me by Zoya for my use, but not specifically for a review. I was not paid to provide this review, and have provided my honest opinion of the product. I don't sell Zoya or Qtica products, nor am I affiliated with Art of Beauty in any way.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finally! Review and Swatches: China Glaze "Tis the Season To Be Naught And Nice" Holiday 2010

I've been working on these swatches a long time. I am tardy, I realize that. But life sort of got in the way a bit.

This collection is HUGE! And if you're a big fan of Christmas you will love it. It is filled with gorgeous reds, beautiful and decadent greens, and all the glitz and glamour you could want for New Year as well. You've seen me posting comparison pics already, so you know there are similar shades out there for most of these. But personally, I believe some of these colors are far and away better than their dupes. I'll point those out.

Note: I have to beg your forgiveness. My nails have been horrible unmanagable the last couple of months. So you'll see an evolution of not so great nails to crappy nails. Please forgive me. And if you have suggestions on how to help my nails, I am all ears. For those of you who just want to comment that they look bad - keep your comments to yourself because I'm already acknowleging it and I KNOW!

Ok, the collection!

All colors were applied with two coats, over Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator and Topped With Seche Vite. 

Midnight Kiss
Gorgeous yellow gold foil. I love it. You've seen my comparison with OPI's Glitzerland, and they are not exact dupes but you don't need to own both. I have a slight personal preference for Midnight Kiss. But you know, this was meant for New Year's Eve glitz and glam.

Cheers to You
If you have a gold you need a silver right? This is your standard gold foil. Or as I like to call them "Superman 3 Nails" like the Robot Woman. I tend to collect these types of nail polishes, so I'll try to scrounge up a few for a comparison. I can say I was very impressed with the finish and application on this one. It looked far more metallic, like it was actual foil on my tips. Awesome!

Jolly Holly
Deep green shimmer metallic polish. Not my usual polish but Jolly Holly has become the benchmark against I will measure other deep green metallics. It's so much a true green, I can imagine green lovers everywhere drooling over it. Here is a comparison with Zoya Suvi.

Peace on Earth
An unexpected army, olive, green-brown. I was pleasantly surprised by this offering. I don't associate this color with the holidays, and that's a good thing. I think this will translate into other times of year. I did compare it with my other olive/army colors if you are interested.

Jingle Bells

Peachy Gold Shimmer. Not quite a foil. I also think this is a good "gold" if you want to translate gold into other times of the year. It's not as glaringly harsh as a  Midnight Kiss so some may find it more wearable. But I don't think it will be as easy for all skin types to pull off. Even on me... I kept wishing my skintone was darker for this one.

Little Drummer Boy
Navy Blue Shimmer polish. Again, maybe not the most unique color. But it is a solidly gorgeous polish and I could see myself wearing this through winter.

Ruby Deer
Here's the first of the reds! It's a blueish red cream, bordering on jelly. I was determined to dislike this polish, but the longer I wore it the more I enjoyed the classic look. Reminded me of a "Dita Von Teese" polish. I just wanted to lick my finger tips because they looked like candy cherries.

Mistletoe Kisses
Mint green jelly-like glitter polish.I really felt like this was the star of the collection. I put it on my tips and they looked like little gumdrops! They should have called this "Mint Gumdrop" because that's far more descriptive to me. If you like glitter polishes, even if you don't like greens (like me), snatch this up. It's extremely unique from what I've seen and worth it.

Sorry for the stray hair that attached itself to my nail... I didn't notice until after I had removed the polish.

Mrs. Claus
Pink/red jelly glitter. Mrs. Claus was the polish I most wanted to try out of this collection. I was really dissapointed. This is mostly Mistletoe Kisses fault - Mrs. Claus doesn't pack nearly the same glitter punch that Mistletoe Kisses does and for me, this is sub par. If you want this one to be opaque you will need more than two coats. In my opinion, I wish China Glaze had left this out of the collection. Surely they could have come up with something better. This looked very childish and and cheap.

Party Hearty
Layering lovers, this is the color for you! Party Harty is red hexagonal glitter and smaller green glitter packed into a clear base. I can't help but think that China Glaze is taking a bit of a cue from Ms. Lippmann here and I think the payoff will be nice. This will be fun for those of you looking to add a bit of bling to an otherwise dull Christmas standard polish.

Sugar Plums
Berry wine red with multicolor shimmer. We've seen this approach in other China Glaze polishes in the past. I don't own any of those other colors so I adore Sugar Plums! Sexy and spunky and a bit mysterious - I love this color and will be wearing it whenever I can choose to wear a polish (aka when I am not testing a polish).

Took these pics the morning after. Clearly, the polish didn't survive the night. Eeek!
Naughty and Nice
Deep wine bordering on black. Right up my alley. I called it a kissing cousin to Zoya Casey. Sadly my application was horrible and I didn't have the time to go back and redo. This does apply smoothly. Just please give it time. It's a fantastic polish - just make sure you check your stash for dupes. If you're into vampies like me, chances are you have a similar color already.

White cream. I think China Glaze should have called this "White Out" as a throw back to the days when we used to paint our nails with Whiteout in high school history classes while we were board. And like snow, it is difficult to keep this polish pristine white (as evidence by my images). Any stray particles on your top coat brush will be a problem! However don't dismiss snow - I suspect it was created for the benefit of Party Hearty. Layering folks will love.

Phat Santa
Another red berry cream. But this one really won my heart. It's deeper and more vibrant than what I have in my pictures. But this red is worth a second look before dismissing it. I would pick it over Ruby Deer, if that's what's going through your head.

Mommy Kissing Santa
Berry red metallic. This is also a very gorgeous red, but you may have duplicates. I'm planning on trying to do a metallic red dupes post (when I get time) and this will be included. It is pretty, but passable. If you go for any metallic red in this collection, pick up Sugar Plums (though it's not a true red).

White, very frosty sheer frost. This polish seriously ticked me off! I had to reapply it to some of my fingers two or three times before I got a chance to show you something even passable, and even then it looked TERRIBLE. I haven't had this much difficulty with a polish since Lippmann's Funky Chunky. If I could get the application right, it might be a nice subtle color.  Why did I save the worst for last?

This collection really was Christmas Colors Overload for me. Yes there are a few non-traditional, but for a collection entitled "Tis the Season to Be Naughty and Nice" there wasn't enough "Naughty" for me, and the collection felt very safe and dupabale. However there are gems...

The Must Haves
Mistletoe Kisses for sure... just gorgeous. Sugar Plums if you don't have anything like it. Peace on Earth if that's your thing. Midnight Kiss and Cheers to You are lovely if you don't already have a good gold and silver.

Pass On...
Frosty, Mrs. Claus... And you don't need both of the red creams unless you are a red cream lover.

Full Disclosure
The products in this review were furnished to me by PR not only for my use but for review. Other than the products mentioned above I will not be compensated in any other way by China Glaze and will provided my honest opinion of the product. I don't sell China Glaze products, nor am I affiliated with China Glaze in any way.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

News From Ginger + Liz: Holiday Colors, New Colors, and Specials!

Take a Chill Pill
Hey everyone! I have some great news from Ginger + Liz for you! The lovely New York ladies have four new colors for us to play with! Two colors are perminant (I believe) and two colors are limited edition. All are currently available for Pre-Order on their website right now and on sale next week.
  • Take a Chill Pill (limited edition) - Looks to be a silver holo.
  • Big Daddy Cane (limited edition) - Berry red holo. I am excited for this one to see how the holo effect works with the red and if it shows up true!
  • Take It or Leave It - Looks like an army/olive green. I can't wait to try it next to other army greens I've looked at recently!
  • Who's The Boss? - I am hoping this is an awesome magenta/purple cream. I must admit I was very excited seeing this.
Big Daddy Cane
Ginger + Liz Black Friday Sale
For Black Friday, Ginger + Liz will be offering a four piece gift set for $44. Figured you should be aware.

Take it or Leave It
If You're In New York City...
You have chances to try these colors in person (I am assuming that these locations make more sense to you than they do to me):
  • November 18, 19 - Bo Concepts on 22 East57th Street between 2nd and 3rd Ave. And you'll get some Malaysian Food from Malaysia Kitchen (at least on the 18th between 5pm and 8 pm).
  • December 17th - Schecky's, you can visit with Ginger and Liz and sample the holiday sale. 
Who's The Boss?
I'm excited! Are you? I hope so... Obviously, I predict Big Daddy Cane to be in high demand but I seriously have my eye on Who's the Boss. I hope these are as gorgeous as they appear to be. If anyone goes to any of the events in NYC, please feel free to let me know!

All Images in this post are from Ginger + Liz Website with their permission to use on this blog.

Quest for My Pretty - Weekly Weight Loss Report

Yes, while I was in Amsterdam I did workout... but only once on Monday. The other days I was not able to fit it in. When I returned home I was too jet lagged to move so I didn't get my next workout in until Sunday. On Monday I started ChaLEAN Extreme Phase 3, the Lean Circuits. Lean Circuit 1... well, I wanted to throw up about half way through it. But I finished it. Tuesday my biceps and triceps were still sore and lifting my mug of tea was like lifting weights at my desk.

Needless to say, I put off working out yesterday... it just didn't happen. I expect that putting off a Tuesday "last minute" workout will make or break me this week. I am about to weigh myself... and I don't expect the number to be pretty.

Weight:165.7 (-1.5 lbs) And did you see??? I JUST PASSED THE 40 lbs mark!!!

Once again I come out ahead. Oh boy was that lucky.

Regardless of what the outcome was, gain or loss, I just have to get back into it. Traveling took the energy right out of me. Now it's time to gain control. I do know one thing, though. If I want to do these Lean Circuits for the next month I will have to rethink how I am eating, and eat a larger meal that is protein based at lunch. Or at the very least have a snack before workouts. Chalene Johnson is such a killer! But I'll thank her for it in the end.
It's not too late to join me!
From now until the end of the year, Team Beach Body is waiving coaching fees and first month's dues for any new coaches. That means signing up is free and you get your 25% discount for free! Have you wanted to try 90X or Turbo Jam? Maybe you want Insanity or Brazil Butt Lift? We're entering into the cold weather months, so now is the time to get an indoor plan in place. See my post on this earlier

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

3 Days and 1 Night Looking Like Crap! - Traveling in Amsterdam Without The "Essentials"

The first morning I awoke in Amsterdam I had to get ready for the office. Low and behold, I forgot two very important items: 1) my liquid foundation and 2) my eye lash curler.

Liquid Foundation - My Reasons For Needing It
The TSA and I will have words some day over the fact that I can't fit liquid foundation AND hair products into a quart size bag together easily. Especially if I intend to take skincare (which I really need on trips). This trip I was stuck with my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light and ye ole beloved 187 brush. When I realized I did not have liquid foundation in my bag (I was in Atlanta airport) I tweeted out "Oh no! Can I really go a week with only my MSF???" I discovered my answers "No, Styrch, you can not. Not because it won't do the job, but because you are you!"

My skin doesn't seem to like powder foundations by itself - I get dry and flaky. The powder seems to stand out and just look awful on me. Also, I find liquid foundation a little better at covering the dreaded "Airplane Acne" I always get.This is why I always remain skeptical of mineral  foundation. I'm just not sure my skin could handle it. You'll see this below in my photos. I look like DEATH.

Why Eyelash Curlers Rock
We joke and call them medieval torture devices because they just look scary next to the eye. Indeed, one of my friends called me one time in a frantic state because her eyelash curler refused to open... while in the act of curling her lashes. But here's the honest truth: mascara or no, curled lashes make you look more awake. When you are experiencing jet lag and you want to look you best, most professional, it is a must to have one of these.

The power of an eyelash curler and a good liquid foundation working magic on my face is staggering. While I am not one of the great beauties of the world (far from it). You will now see what my face is like either. Being absolutely out of it for the duration of my trip, I don't remember everything I used. But I'll try to note it where I can...

Behold! 3 Days and 1 Night of Looking Like Crap Gallery!!!

Day 1 - Eye shadows were from Meow Cosmetics (can't remember which).Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Rockstar. Mac Plushlash Mascara in Plush Black. Cheeks were MAC Brier Rose Beauty Powder. I think lips were Revlon Bitten Lipstain in Beloved.

Wish I remembered what I used. I liked this.

Day 2 - Again I was using my Meow Cosmetic samples. Awesome for packing really since they are just powders in a bag. I don't remember the Shadows, but I did use Meow Wanton blush. Seriously, if you get this blush, you will need to go lightly with your hand. I went over my face AGAIN with the MSF and it still did not tame my cheeks. My lips... I believe this was Fyrinnae Glitter Kitties.

Night - We went out to dinner one evening. I was slightly more awake for this. I remember using a Meow Cosmetics green color with MAC Magic Dust Eye Shadow. I know I also used MAC New York Apple for my lips. Cheek color was either Briar Rose Beauty Powder or Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick in Apricot. Also used MAC Blackline Pearlglide Eyeliner.

Day 3 - "Dead to the World" is what I like to call this. I was seriously tired. I didn't know it at the time, but the city noises were keeping me up at night, waking me up ever half hour or so with sirens. I do know I used MAC Magic Dust on eyes and used Moth Brown as a liner shade here. Also used Viva Glam IV on my lips. The rest is a blur.

On the plus side, my wardrobe was killer... except maybe the shoes.

Anyway, I guess this is a long post that is fodder for the troll who loves to tell me I look like poop! Well, at least I'm acknowledging it.