Monthly Archives: April 2013


Ombre Colorblock, Geometric Nail Art Tutorial - Sally Hansen Review

Ombre Nails - Ombre Nails Tutorial - Color block Nails Tutorial

Sally Hansen Nail Polish Swatches - Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Review

A way to rock the recent ombre and color blocking trends on your fingers
Mackenzie’s Notes:
I was inspired to create a color block ombre manicure due to all the recent fashion runway (and hair) trends for this upcoming summer season.  A ombre color block manicure is a lovely way of sporting bright colors in a soft way.  I had lots of fun creating this nail art, and I hope you try achieving an ombre effect yourself, as it is easy to recreate and the results are “oh so cool.”  I decided to use bright, complimentary Sally Hansen nail polish colors to achieve a vibrant color block.  The Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color are wonderful for nail art due to their opacity, pigmentation, quick dry formula, bold colors and their affordable price.  Sally Hansen polishes retail for approximately $3.99 a bottle at my local drugstore, and this allowed me to invest in lots of beautiful summer shades.  I’m gradually growing my Sally Hansen Collection as these polishes are hidden gems - great quality, lovely color choices, and affordable (who can turn that down!).
For this ombre color block nail art, you can change the colors however you wish, but keep in mind to use the same family of colors in your accents. Instead of the cheetah print, you can add lines, polka dots, or small cross marks depending on what look you’re going for. I will include a list of polishes and materials used as well as a tutorial below.  Hope you enjoy!
Materials used:
1. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Polishes - Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow 360 Swatch, Sally Hansen Sun Kissed 150 Swatch, Sally Hansen Twisted Pink 240 Swatch, Sally Hansen Lacey Lilac 270 Swatch, Sally Hansen Blue Me Away 130 Swatch (such lovely and cute names!).
2. Cosmetic sponge
3. Nail polish remover and Q tip
The complimentary colors contrast each other in a bold way - perfect for bright summer manicure
You can interchange the cool and warm colors as you like - same with the blocks of color and patterns, as this design welcomes spontaneity
Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Polishes: Mellow Yellow 360, Sun Kissed 150, Twisted Pink 240, Lacey Lilac 270, Blue Me Away 130  (left to right).  Be sure to view the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Contest for more color ideas!

Tips and tricks: How to Create an Ombre Nail Polish Effect 
Use a fine cosmetic makeup sponge to achieve the ombre nail effect - the finer the texture, the more seamless the blending. Have all your Sally Hansen polishes ready to go - in order and without the bottle caps on.  Layer your colors onto the sponge, slightly overlapping them - no need to be too careful as you’ll repeat this 3 times and any mistakes will be covered - the first time you apply the sponge, the colors will be faded.  As you continue on with a second application, the colors become more opaque - simply add polish to the stripes, then the sponge to the nail, and repeat until you are happy with the result. Roll your cosmetic sponge from left to right to lay down the color; ‘refill‘ the same spots with the same polishes and repeat over all the nails. Clean the stained area using a Qtip and top with your favorite topcoat to achieve a seamless ombre, color blocking effect!

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear - Ombre Effect and Color Block

Sally Hansen has been hosting an awesome nail art contest where the winner gets a great prize - if you visit the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Contest page you can enter with your own design, vote on submissions, and just enjoy all the pretty manicures!

Reader’s Recommendations: What other trends would you like me to interpret as a manicure? I always tell my sister I want a nail art challenge so comment below with what I should try next.  Also, leave us your link if you try this ombre color block nail art!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.


HP + Intel: Project Runway “Pin Your Style” Contest - Travel in Style

Traveling is a welcomed activity that usually means we get a small break from work, our usual routine, and the stressful daily do’s. I enjoy traveling, as at the end of a long plane flight or bus ride, I am surrounded by my family and friends.  I have learned that traveling should be an enjoyable experience in itself, and learning how to pack smart can influence your vacation for the better.  You can have it both - comfortable yet stylish travel, with a variety of makeup looks and outfits - all without carrying lots of clunky luggage. Inspired by the HP + Intel + Project Runway: Pin Your Style contest, packing light and traveling in style can be chic, easy, and fun (be sure to enter and vote starting April 29 - more info below).
A pink dotted scarf is a perfect accessory for your luggage (yes, your bags need to travel in style too)

One helpful tip is to tie a unique ribbon around your luggage handle to help you keep track and recognize your luggage easily at the baggage claim - efficient and glamorous at the same time! A blazer, such as the Zara Basic blazer (above), is a versatile piece of clothing to include in your wardrobe as it dresses up any outfit - from the conference room to the patio cocktail hour, a structured blazer is the perfect choice.

Traveling in style also means picking the right items for your makeup bag (because bringing all your makeup collection and palettes is probably not the most efficient).  I recommend using a medium or large sized cosmetic bag so you can fit all your products into one place (nothing is more annoying than ten little baggies scattered throughout tiny compartments). I also usually carry a smaller bag in my purse for touch-ups and basic toiletries.
1. For the face, bring a long lasting concealer (Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer) and foundation (Clinique Stay Matte Foundation).  Be mindful of the weather where you’ll be arriving - setting powder is a must for setting makeup when traveling in humid and hot climates.
2.  Try to select a cream blush (Stila Convertible Color Peony) for which you don’t need a separate brush.  Cream blushes are easier to apply, easy to carry, and depending on the brand, tend to last longer than powder blushes.
3. Make sure to include an eyeshadow palette which can give you both day and night looks (Urban Decay Naked2 palette or Wet n Wild Comfort Zone palette).  Bring an eye primer (Elf eye primer) to ensure long wear - add dual use brushes and a long lasting liquid liner (Wet n Wild Mega Last Liquid Liner), and you have all the tools necessary for different looks.
4.  For your lips, bring a light balm to apply liberally (Maybelline Baby Lips Peach), a natural color for the day (Covergirl Jumbo Gloss Berry Twist) and a full on dramatic color for nights out (Chanel Coromandel).
Makeup looks can be easily taken from day to night in a few easy moves - add an extra coat of mascara and use a statement lipstick

Because I tend to fall asleep left and right when traveling, I sport a more messy hairstyle, such as a fish tail braid, which can handle all the movement and still look chic. For a day look, I recommend keeping your makeup simple with a cat eye liner and a pretty berry shade for lips.  A fedora hat can make you look more put together while protecting you from the elements; similarly, a light chambray shirt is casual while also being fashionable.

If attending a cocktail party or a work event, I recommend amplifying your makeup day look for the evening by thickening your eyeliner, touching up with powder and more blush and finishing off with a bold red lip.  For the night look, I rolled the fishtail braid up into a bun and secured it with bobby pins for a classic and sophisticated hairstyle.

Travel Essentials to be prepared for any change in plans
So if you’re looking to travel in style, you also need a few travel essentials extras (aside from your passport and tickets, of course).  Bring some stylish sunglasses for sun protection (and just in case the best concealer can’t completely hide the jet lag).  Carry a moisturizer with SPF (Neutrogena Healthy Defense) to protect yourself from the sun, some travel size makeup remover wipes (LA Fresh) and a lovely smelling perfume to freshen up (Burberry Perfume).  I usually carry with me two necklaces to accessorize both casual and dressy outfits.  I paint my nails a pretty nude color (Essie Topless and Barefoot Polish) which goes well with my skin tone and is low maintenance.
Wearing IBD’s gel nail polish in “Juliet”

Lastly, a small cross body bag can help you carry your travel essentials such as your phone, travel documents and more.  The long strap makes this purse easy to carry but you can also tuck in the strap to convert this bag into a sleek clutch.  Voila, the best transformer of them all.

For us, traveling in style means bringing the least amount possible while being fully prepared (and looking fab!) for whatever the trip may bring.  Starting April 29 to May 12, share your “travel in style” ideas or vote in the HP Project Runway contest by viewing the Pinterest board submissions on the Pin Your Style contest page.

HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook™
The HP + Intel + Project Runway Pin Your Style Contest
Want to participate?
Pin a photo of the HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook™ via the Pin It button on the Pin Your Style contest page. Then, build a board that represents that week’s theme. Check out the weekly Pinsetter images on the site for inspiration.
Submit your board’s URL into the site to enter. Then, share your board with friends to earn the most votes! Win prizes like an HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook™ and a gift card to bring your style to life by getting the top votes for your board.

Starts April 29 to May 12

 Pin Your Style - Travel in Style HP + Intel + Project Runway contest

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Benefit Dandelion Blush and Luminizer Powder - Benefit Dandelion Swatches and Review

Benefit Dandelion Review - Benefit Dandelion Blush

Benefit Dandelion Blush (Brightening Powder)

Two weeks ago, I took an important exam which gets me closer to my attorney license.  The actual test was over in two hours, but the whole experience of traveling, getting a hotel room, driving to the test center, and signing in took approximately a whole weekend.  When my fiance and I got back it felt as if we’ve done a cross country excursion - it was “that” kind of a test.  Because I studied for days previously, we decided to go for a relaxing shopping trip and (surprise, surprise) I ended up purchasing the Benefit Dandelion blush from Sephora (my fiance especially loved the Dandelion flushed look).

Benefit includes a brush that is quite helpful (although a bit rough) - this brush is handy when traveling or need a quick re-application

Miranda’s Notes: 

Pros: With summer approaching in DC, the weather will be getting very swamp-like - and that’s clearly not the ideal situation for wearing makeup.  Every time I walk around the city in ridiculously hot weather with the sun burning down, I think of the Indiana Jones scene with the melting face - ahhh, DC summers.  Because the melty-face is not the look I’m going for, I picked up the demure and delicate Benefit Dandelion blush.  Benefit powders are finely milled and apply lightly - while there may be some fallout in the pan and on the brush, Benefit Dandelion blends smooth and easy. Because of the texture, this powder lasts for the day but the color does tend to fade. The Dandelion color is not matte and it’s not glittery either - there is just the perfect amount of rose gold shimmer that gives off a lovely glow. The color is a combination of complex mauves and pinks - if you’re looking for a natural, glowing complexion, this Benefit Dandelion powder is the perfect fit.

Cons: I have fair skin and the color is visible in just two applications, but because of the fine texture, the Benefit Dandelion blush may not as bright on everyone.  In fact, Benefit advertises this as a brightening face powder, but for me, Dandelion is too pigmented to apply as powder.  This particular product includes parabens so I recommend checking the ingredients if you have sensitive skin.

Grade: 5/5

Benefit Dandelion swatch (bring it on, summer!)
Benefit Dandelion packaging - comes in a hard cardboard container, contains a mirror and brush
Benefit Dandelion Swatch



Galaxy Nails Tutorial - Nail Art Tutorial

                                          What’s better than the universe on your digits - this is one of my favorite manicures to date!
Small details such as planets and stars can add infinite dimension to your manicure - make this as intricate as you’d like
 Mackenzie’s Notes:
I have always been mesmerized by galaxy manicures, as I think the idea of small windows to the universe on my hands is… well, pretty awesome.  I was under the impression that this would be difficult to recreate, but to my surprise, it was actually one of the easiest manicures I’ve done! Everything is free form, no straight lines, mistakes can be covered and layered over, and the colors used will hint to a galaxy on their own.
I strongly encourage you to try this manicure as I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, both in how easy it easy to achieve and how lovely it will look.  I have included a materials list and two tutorials to depict two different shades of the galaxy.  Enjoy!

Materials used: 

1 makeup sponge (the finer texture the better)
1 Qtip
Polish Remover (for cleanup)
Polishes - CORAL Colors Nail Polish - Pure Ice Spitfire, Kiss Nail Artist “White”, Revlon Sunshine
                Sparkle, Covergirl My Papaya, Soo Nails Purple, Sinful Colors Dream on, Seche Vite
              - BLUE Colors Nail Polishe - Kiss Nail Artist, Revlon Midnight Sparkle, Salon Perfect
                Sparkling Sapphire, Revlon Superstitious, Sinful Colors Dream on, Soo Nails, Pure Ice
                Spitfire, Seche Vite Topcoat.
Every nail is different; the manicure is more interesting and versatile by illustrating a warm toned and cool toned galaxy
Polishes used for the Coral and Blue toned nails (materials listed in full above) - and yes, I need more polishes, my sister is keeping them all
Tricks for Tips:
The main idea behind this coral hue galaxy is to seamlessly blend the light white areas with the dark pink background color.  Keep your polish relatively light and use the pointed tip of your sponge.  Begin by sponging a white base followed by a light purple and coral to blend.  Add a yellow color in the middle of white area, to symbolize the center of the cosmic dust.  Sponge an iridescent blue nail polish around the edges of your nail to add more depth and create contrast.  Paint a supernova (starburst) by starting your lines from the center and dragging out; this will make the lines get thinner towards the ends, making them look as part of the universe and not  clunky. Add glitter and concentrate it around the cosmic dust to not overwhelm the design.

Tricks for Tips:
Begin by painting a dark base as the main galaxy color (black nail polish, indigo nail polish, etc). The main idea for this blue toned galaxy is to blend the light colored cosmic dust with this dark background.  Use purple, dark magenta, and blue to achieve this effect.  Keep the center of the cosmic dust the lightest, brightest white to imitate light.  Paint a planet by dipping a Q tip in your light blue and twisting it in place to achieve a sphere.  Repeat the action with a darker color on top to give dimension to the planet; finish it off by adding white around its edges as if it’s illuminated. Concentrate glitter polish around the cosmic dust and top off with your favorite topcoat.

Sparkle adds the final touch to the manicure
Readers’ Recommendations: I would love to see how your own galaxy nails turn out! Leave me some links if you decide to try this on your own. What other nail art ideas would you like to see me try next?
Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.