Ruby Everyday Nail Salon

I’m not a nail person. In the twenty-odd years since I discovered the joys of outsourcing my nail care, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to make it out of a nail salon without ruining my manicure. Then I continue to ruin it with my frequent hand washing and inherent carelessness.

A friend introduced me to the miracle of UV gel manicures and I thought I’d found the answer to my manicure woes. They last forever and could probably withstand a nuclear explosion. But after two or so rounds of such manicures, my normally strong nails weakened, split, and peeled with a vengeance. Clearly UV gel manicures are also not in my personal grooming future except for special occasions. I’ve long ago given up getting manicures of any kind; it’s a maddening Sisyphean effort at best.

But through all my manicure disappointments, it’s the pedicure that has almost never let me down. Which is good because I can’t comfortably reach down low enough to do more than apply lotion to my feet. *glares down at Homer Simpson belly in shame* I don’t think I’ve ever managed to do even a passable polishing job on my own feet and I admit to harboring a secret hatred of all the ladies out there who can polish their toenails quickly and tidily without other people mistaking their feet as the object of a pre-school art project.

Since moving to Flushing, I’ve been on the hunt for a nice nail salon that doesn’t charge a small fortune for a good pedicure and is convenient to my new home. There are lots of nail salons in the area but really none stand out as The One. It’s a lot like dating, come to think of it.

I think I’ve found it in Ruby Everyday Nail Salon in Whitestone where my feet are being worked on as I type. It’s not nearly as conveniently located as I’d like but I’m probably just bitter because I walked a couple of miles to get here and am not only feeling grossly sweaty but exhausted too.

So exhausted, in fact, that I picked out a pink polish that is much much brighter than I expected. Like hot pink when I thought it was just kind of bright in the bottle. Oh well. Beauty is all about being experimental, right?

Yikes, it’s really bright. I may have crossed into neon pink territory. :O

I tried not to giggle when the nail tech (crap, I’ve forgotten her name!) applied the callus remover (additional $9) and she couldn’t get the plastic wrap over my gigantic feet. When you are descended from Fred Flintstone and hobbits, you can’t help but try to find the amusement related to said clodhoppers.

IMG_1730.JPGI really have to remember to take before and after shots.

They include a hot stone foot massage with every pedicure; the nail file or cuticle pusher they used on Foot Fungus Fanny before you is not also used on you; and the nail tech who worked on my tootsies was super thorough.The salon is clean, well organized, and quiet.

Not gonna lie: I don’t want to give Ruby Everyday Nail Salon any props in case they get too popular, but they’re all so friendly and polite, I can’t keep them a secret!

Beach Vacation Makeup

I tend not to wear a ton of makeup during the summer because NYC is so hot and steamy, makeup either melts off my face or I wash it all off because I can’t take the sweat and grease any longer. I wear even less when I’m on a beach vacation but for some reason, I always bring more cosmetics than I really use. Anyone who knows me knows I despise bringing things I don’t use on a trip. It’s a waste of luggage space that can be used for other things.

So when I packed for this year’s beach holiday, I decided to be ruthless and pack only the makeup and clothes I would
actually use. I missed the mark when it came to my clothing:

*two casual dresses
*one denim skirt
*one pair of black pants
*two workout tanks
*three sleeveless tops
*one maxi skirt
*pajamas

Grrr! I could have left the pants, one dress, one top, and one workout tank at home! The condo my friends and I were staying in had an in-unit washer-dryer and we wound up doing laundry every day and I just didn’t need that much clothing in my rotation. *shakes fist* I’ll do better next time!

The makeup I took on vacation:

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*Eco Tools eyeshadow brushes
*Urban Decay Naked Beauty Balm
*EyeTini Eye Cordial Shadow + Base in Violette
*Pop Cosmetics Bright Up Your Life shadow trio in Naturally Bare
*L’Oréal Visible Lift Blur Blush in Soft Peach
*Jesse’s Girl Liquid Eyeliner in black
*Urban Decay Naked Lip Gloss in Naked
*Revlon Colorstay Lip Butter in Peach Parfait
*Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in Apple a Day (not shown)
*Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
*Missha Pencil and Powder Dual Eyebrow
*LashEm Double Trouble Mascara

I used everything except the BB cream and mascara on this trip! Product reviews to come!

Dream Feet Exfoliating Foot Mask

I’m not entirely sure, but judging by my feet, I may be descended from an odd mix of Hobbits, Fred Flintstone, and Sasquatch. My size 10WW are also blessed with bunions and corns. Did I mention my ankles are severely pronated (they roll to the inside as I walk)? With all these foot issues, it’s no wonder I have a hard time keeping them smooth.

It doesn’t get much sexier than my gnarly feet, does it?

I’ve been searching for a lazy way of getting that wonderfully soft and smooth just-pedicured effect without having to go to the salon, where I always over-tip the poor nail tech who has to deal with my dogs. It’s my way of apologizing for putting her through such a harrowing experience because every time I get a pedicure, my feet look as if they’ve never been pedicured before.

I invested in pumice stones, brushes, exfoliating foot creams (Bliss used to make a wonderful one but it’s never been quite the same after Marcia Kilgore sold the business), foot files, those moisturizing socks, and even bought a callus shaver that I couldn’t work up the courage to use. And still my feet remained virtually bullet-proof.

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing Amazon for a moisturizing foot mask when I saw something called Dream Feet.

I wish I had dreamy feet, I thought, and immediately ordered a pair. Yes, pair. Because these are little plastic booties you slide your tough, leathery clodhoppers er, feet into. Sorry, I’m projecting.

Anyway, these little booties are lined with fruit acids to exfoliate and chamomile extracts to soothe. The directions on the package say to leave these things on for up to 90 minutes. I lay on my bed and window-shopped for fab shoes in which to show off my gorgeous new feet while wearing the sock-masks on for an hour before I decided to rinse off the solution; my feet were starting to get warm and tingly and I was afraid they would burn off if I left the socks on too long. I mean, it didn’t really burn or even hurt, but I’m a paranoid person and didn’t want to take a chance.

For the next five days, I stared at my feet, hoping the skin would come off in one big sheet like a snake molting and leaving behind a snake-shaped shell of skin. Nothing. If anything, the soles looked super super dry and cracked. They felt papery and tight. The package said you don’t see any sign of peeling for five to seven days, but of course, I’m all about instant gratification and was disappointed in the lack of results.

After a long day of work today (day six), I flopped onto my bed and pulled off my socks. And gaped at my feet. There were sheets of skin just hanging off my soles.

You know when something is just too gross not to look? Yeah, it’s like that.

Which is why I’m going to post a picture of my peeling foot. So if you’re easily yucked out, stop reading.

For real.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you so don’t yell at me later! :D

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Ha, I didn’t notice until just now but apparently I’ve been shedding large bits of skin; I found pieces in the hallway that must have fallen off as I walked around the apartment. Good. New toys for the cat!

I’m really thrilled to be seeing my feet molt. Is that weird? It’s just kind of nice to see the newer skin underneath. I mentally croon to it and make all kinds of promises about taking tender and loving care of it.

Oh yeah, the directions also say not to pick at the peeling skin and just let it come off when it’s ready. Erm, How can you not pick at it???

In sum, I would buy this again just for the ick factor and the eventual foot smoothing. It doesn’t happen right away, and apparently soaking your feet for a few minutes before putting on the booties will help the cream do its job more efficiently. Which I did. I’m kind of afraid of what tomorrow’s molting is going to look like.

November Glam Bag

I joined ipsy back when it was still myglam. Don’t ask me how long ago that was. Maybe 2011? I stupidly didn’t take out a subscription to their product sample service at the time. Then I forgot all my log-in credentials and had to start a new account in 2012.

And yep, still too stupid to take a subscription to their beauty samples.

Until this autumn when I finally got annoyed enough with another subscriber service to see what ipsy was all about. This time, there was a waiting list to join in on the fun. That’s what I get for not making ipsy my first choice!

I can’t tell you what was in my October bag because I put it down somewhere and I don’t remember where. *embarrassed* I only know it was a white vinyl makeup bag with words on them (every month, your cosmetic treasures come in its own cute little makeup bag) and … stuff inside.

It’s a good thing I pay attention to detail.

I do remember that each ipsy bag contains at least one full-sized product. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a cute little sample-sized product, but sometimes a girl really needs the full-sized version!

So imagine how surprised I was to get the delightfully-garish gold November bag filled with a full-sized mascara by Em (part of Michelle Phan’s new makeup line); full-sized Star Looks Gem Pencil eye liner in Amethyst; full-sized bottle of Nailtini nail polish in Champagne; full-sized be a bombshell lip crayon in shameless; a very generously-sized pot of BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic baked eyeshadow in Sun; and what I think may be a full-sized pot of Pixi beauty Bronzer in Subtly Suntouched. I was not expecting so many full-sized products in one bag. #winning

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Swatches:

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From the top: Star Looks Gem eyeliner in Amethyst, be a bombshell lip crayon in shameless, and it’s hard to see the swatch of BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic baked eyeshadow in Sun because it’s nearly the same color as my skin. Except I’m not a vampire and I don’t glitter.

I’m surprised by how much I like the eyeliner. Super-glitzy makeup is generally not my style. It brings attention to my shoddy technique! But seriously, I’m really pleased by how easily the pencil glided along my lash line.

Ditto for the lip pencil. I love the color and that it’s not drying. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s moisturizing either, but I’ve been wearing it for about two hours and so far, no flaking or tightness that usually comes with a lot of lip colors I’ve used. Really nice!

And then we come to the Em mascara. I’ve been a Michelle Phan fan from her xanga blogging days and expected a superior mascara: one that volumizes, lengthens, stays put, and doesn’t clump.

I’m super disappointed. Em mascara lengthens like crazy but fails miserably at volumizing my skimpy lashes, and it clumps. It’s been on my lashes for a couple of hours and so far, that’s where it’s been staying.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

I finally got my hands on a tube of Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm! So excited about it! I avoided reading reviews about UD’s BB cream until I had a chance to try it out for myself without any prejudice.

I used it when I attended our family’s Chinese New Year dinner at Bamboo Garden Chinese Restaurant in Brooklyn and I have to admit I was a little disappointed at first. The texture is really thin and watery, and the color looks nothing like your average BB cream. I actually blinked when I first used it and thought, “How many Oompa Loompas does it take to make a tube of this BB cream?” because it is a somewhat alarming shade of orange.

It’s more orange in person!

Despite the sunset hue, I applied it to my freshly-cleansed face and was surprisingly pleased with the way it disappeared into my skin. Which now makes me wonder if I am an Oompa Loompa…

Seriously, though, the way it blended perfectly into my skin was amazing.  It also dries to a matte finish which makes this greasy-complexioned chick want to dance! I also usually have trouble with face products that contain sunscreen (this BB cream has broad spectrum SPF 20) and break out into massive zits. Not with this product!

Do you see where the UD Naked Skin BB Cream ends and my skin begins?

The biggest down side to Urban Decay Naked Skin BB Cream is that it is very very sheer. Despite the company’s claims, this is just not a universal product and definitely not for someone looking to conceal  troubled or moderate-to-severely blotchy skin; it’s for the person whose complexion is mostly clear and even-toned. Don’t care what UD says, it’s not suitable for the very very fair-skinned.

In the two months or so that I’ve been using this BB cream, I’ve been applying moisturizer to my face before the BB cream. I made the mistake of using an AHA moisturizer and it resulted in some flaking later in the day, so now I stick to my beloved DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew. Yeah. Don’t use exfoliating moisturizers underneath your makeup.

Overall I really like Urban Decay Naked Skin BB Cream. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, I have been reaching for it almost every day. It’s easy to apply, it’s so sheer it leaves virtually no demarcation lines, and my skin doesn’t feel like it’s suffocating, especially nice because I’m not only a greasy-faced person, I’m also an overheated one. I can see myself using this during the hot steamy summer days that lie ahead.

My final verdict: DON’T buy this if you are very very fair-skinned or have blemishes or discoloration to conceal. DO buy it if your complexion is mostly clear and you just need a little bit of oomph to your face.

Samplepalooza: Day 2–Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer and Befine Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15

Sorry, sorry, I know I’ve been neglecting you.  Got all caught up in having fun and then time just got away from me.

On Day 2, R gave me her sample tube of Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer because it made her break out and she knew I was going on a beauty sampling bender.

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer

Love it! I actually like this much more than the over-hyped Urban Decay Eden Primer Potion I bought earlier this year. Easier to apply thanks to its wand applicator, and smoother than the PP. I’m sold on the Smashbox lid primer!

My next sample was Befine Skin Care’s Daily Moisturizer with SPF15.

Befine food skincare Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15

Moisturizers with sunscreen and sunblock in them almost always make me break out in horrible zits, so I approached this product with some trepidation.  In the end, I found this was a little on the heavy side for me, especially since it was still summer at the time, but I can see myself using it in the winter when I need a more oomph in the moisturizing department. I like that it’s a natural, no added fragrance product.

I know I bitch about it all the time but I hate hate hate heavily perfumed facial products.  It’s one thing if a face product is lightly scented as a result of its ingredients but I don’t get why cosmetics companies continue to add perfume to already-scented lotions and potions. I’m looking at YOU, Garnier!

Anyhow, I’m impressed with both of today’s samples.