Sunday, 27 April 2014

Costco Shopping and Prices 27/4/14

So I have continued to shop at Costco even though I haven't been posting anything about it. I usually go now for smaller trips and park outside the building and just take my own shopping bags in. The experience is much easier and shorter when you don't have to get a car park or a trolley! But today I bought quite a few things, mostly things I don't think I have posted about before either, so I have done another price comparison between Costco, Aldi and Woolies. I get my Woolies prices online, so the savings in store wouldn't be as large I think. However you will see that on these products the difference is so large between Woolies and Costco that even the lower in store prices won't be better than Costco.  If you want more details or a review of any particular items please let me know with a comment, I'd be happy to let you know :)
Items I didn't mention in the table: Yum Cha at Home Steam Selection seafood dumplings (scallop, prawn and prawn+ginger) So much yum. This is $19.99 for 52 piecces. Frozen Blueberries 6.46 for 1kg, Ceasar Salad- The lettuce is ok, the bacon is ok....but the dressing is sooooooooooo good. This is a much better shopping treat than the jerky I usually by too, I think. In this picture you also can't see the skim milk box, that blue one is full cream. 

After Vacuuming- Enough to last a day or two fresh
and the rest sealed up to last until we need it. I
will need to keep track this time of how long it takes
us to use it up and how nice it stays.

So even though the spell check was on, I missed a couple of 'real' spelling errors. But I couldn't be bothered fixing it and getting a new screen shot. I am truly sorry for letting you down. But not really.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Essence Gel Nails at Home Review

I have exceeded my own expectations of laziness today, but it has resulted in me being able to review the new nail products I showed from last nights Priceline visit.
The products I was looking at were the gel top coat, the gel primer, the french tip stickers and a metallic polish for stamping.

Gel Top Coat
I think this cost around $4.60, but it isn't listed on the website.
On my tester nails I did one with the two coats of IBD gel white on the tip first, then used the Gelish Tafeta colour over it, followed by the Essence top coat. On the other nail I have 2 coats of Tafeta, then two coats of the IBD on the tip, follwed by the Gelish top coat.
The reason for the different processes was because I also wanted to see if it looked better with the colour on top or under the white, and how well the tip stickers worked over a coat of gel polish. Because these are just practice nails I didn't bother with base coat at all.  In the photos the nail with the bigger white tip has the Gelish top coat.

Overall I think the Essence gel is kind of a dud. It does work, but not nearly as well or as easily as the Gelish. You can see in the images that the Essence top coat give a cloudy effect to the nail and is a much more dull finished compared to the Gelish. It was also very thick and I found it was hard to spread over the nail without being a very thick layer. It is also has a slightly yellowish tint to it which I think is what made it seem a bit cloudy. If you want to try out gels, I don't think this is the way to do. I would really recommend bypassing the 'drug store' type ones and go straight for CND Shellac or Nail Harmony Gelish polishes and base/top coats. They are much easier to work with and will give you better results for your investment to start with. Then it is easy to experiment with other polishes in the middle as you get better at application. I have yet to find a cheaper brand that applies as much like regular polish as the Gelish or CND Shellac ones, and have not found other brand top coats to give as good of a shine.  

Gel Primer
This is the product that you use on your nails before applying the base coat. The aim is to dehydrate the nail and ensure there are no oils that might make your polish lift sooner. It cost $4.60, for comparison I think the mini Gelish ones like in the picture cost about $8 at Hairhouse.
Comparing the ingredients to the Gelish brand one, I found that the main ingredient was the same (a type of alcohol) but the rest seemed different, however they could have been different names for the same chemical for all I know about it. I'm not sure how much effect this will make on my nails, as I was only playing with practise nails today. 
On the back of my hand I found they felt the same and both evaporated quickly, with the Gelish seeming like it was a bit faster. The Essence one however smells really nice and the smell lingers on your skin for ages, which is nice because the Gelish one smells awful. I would really like it if the smell stayed on may hand after applying all the layers of polish, it would just make the process a bit nicer and fancier feeling! So far I would recommend this, I will update if suddenly my polishes stop working as well. 

French Tip Stickers
At $1.80 for 30 you can't go too far wrong with these. I tried them two ways. First stuck straight onto my practise nail and then stuck on over my base colour that had been cured and dry brushed to try and remove some of the sticky layer. 
Straight on, as it would be on a natural nail when using regular nail polish or over totally dry nail polish, this will work really well and give a great crisp even line for a french tip, or other effect depending on where you place it. 
One layer before cleaning up
Two layers, cleaned up

Over gel polish, like any tape produce, it doesn't work as well and slips around a bit. That said, I think it will make tipped looks much easier for me because using these I can mark the height better so it is even across my nails. Using this to apply the first coat, then cleaning up with a brush dipped in alcohol or non acetone remover before curing means I can get neat even tips, and the second coat of colour is easy to just carefully apply over the top. I am also able to apply thinner layers this way which should mean it lasts longer as thick application at the tips often leads to lifting. 

Metallic Polish
This polish I think was about $3, so it is a bargain either way!
For stamping I found it worked pretty well, not as well as my Ulta3 gold polish, but they aren't completely the same colour. It will still be very useful and great for a warmer toned but softer look when stamping gold. 
I stamped over my practise nail, but you couldn't see it well due to the colours so I ended up just stamping over some purple paper to compare the different polishes I have that are similar. I would say that this Essence polish is now my second best one, and still better than the expensive Konad Special Stamping polish that I got with my inital set. The stamp I used is from BundleMonster.
This was the best shot I could get of the Essence colour. It turned out really well. 

Compared to the others without flash, you can see the Ulta3 gold next to it is just a bit stronger and more opaque.

Compared to the others with flash. The Konad gold is very dissapointing. It does stamp well, as all the Konad colour will, but it isn't a rich metallic gold. It just kind of looks brown/ dirty yellow and has no shine or sparkle.

So there you go! 1 dud, 2 really good and one pretty useful. Not too bad and given the prices, I'm not annoyed that the top coat isn't great. It will be useful for smoothing out glitters I think, and for playing with pigments etc. when I don't want to contaminate my good top coat. 

I would love to do more nail posts and would really like ideas for nail art looks or products to try out, so feel free to comment and let me know what you think :)

(little) Priceline Haul

You know how it is, you go in for one specific thing and come out with lots of random stuff....
I originally went in for the Sanctuary cleansing oil, $19.99, (because Youtube told me cleansing oils are where it's at), but wandered past the Essence stand and saw they have a gel polish system, so I HAD to try tthe topcoat (I can't find this on their website, but I think it was $4.60).

They also had a nice looking metallic that I thought might be good for stamping, which is also not on the website, but I think it was around $3.

I wanted to give the french tip guides, $1.80, a go with my gels and pigments to see if I can get a nice look.

The last Essence product I got was the  gel primer, $4.60. I have used the Gelish primer since I got my first kit about 3 or 4 years ago, so clearly these things last a while. It's great to have found something so easily accessed as Priceline though! Hopefully I can do a review of these nail products, as gel systems can be very expensive and sometimes hard to get.

 The last thing I got was a Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm, $3.16 on special. I got the "Smoothing Cherry" flavour...but I really just picked it because I liked the colours.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Meme Box Global #9

So it's been a very long break, clearly I'm unlikely to meet my new year goal of a blog every week...but oh well!
I am so lucky to have come home for the long weekend to find my very first Meme Box waiting for me. This is a similar thing to Bellabox, but from Korea and from what I can tell, leaps and bounds ahead in terms of value, consistency and customer service. They cost about $30 each with shipping and they have heaps of different ones available. I quite like that they aren't a monthly subscription, you have to actually order them one at a time or in packs as they are released as this makes it much easier to skip one or stop getting them. I found it annoying to unsubscribe from Bellabox.

The box cam in a giant silver ziplock bag with a tear open seal, inside that the box was wrapped in bubble wrap and it also has tissue paper inside. Cool and very sturdy packaging.

Inside the box there was a standard info sheet explaining what the items are worth and how to use them (as many of the products are obviously Korean, this is helpful) there was also an extra leaflet about one of the products in particular.

As you can see the box is very full and had lots of large or full size items included.
The first thing I got was this Luna "Wonder Essential foundation" in a 15ml size in the colour Nudy Beige.

As you can see the colour is not a bad match for me, which is always exciting in a sample box. It is maybe a tad light on my hand, but definitely usable. It is pretty good coverage, but not too heavy. This normally comes in a 40ml bottle for $35

The next things were these two slightly different samples from the same brand. It is an oil/serum type product, but that's about all I know about it. They normally come in a 50ml bottle for $40rrp
 Then I have this KeraSys Oriental Premium Shampoo (200g). The card says it normally comes in a 600g bottle for $90, but I searched it to read reviews (to see what kind of shampoo is worth $90!!) and it isn't nearly that expensive on Ebay or Amazon, but it is still around $18 US per bottle from what I could see. I used this tonight and it was very lathery- I believe it has sulfates (?), so if you don't want those this might not be for you. It smells really nice and was very effective with the treatment I used after it, I will definitely use this up!

This is the aforementioned treatment- 25cc Hairbooster, full size at 25ml rrp $23 (and I used it ALL in one go, very luxury). This is the type of product that feels like it makes your hair seize up at first, but then after a few minutes it relaxes and goes nice and smooth. What was interesting about this and the shampoo was that my hair didn't feel all slippery and coated like it normally does after my usual hair treatment, but when I blow dried it came out very straight and light and smooth. I really enjoyed this and would probably buy it again as a treat if I got money as a gift or a tax return etc.   

The next product is very nice. This is the Ellegirl "I Say Tint, You Say Gloss" in the colour Rock Berry. It is a lovely lip gloss/stain in a full sized 5ml container valued at $23. I love the colour, it is a hot pink that is very close to red which I think is so pretty! I feel very nice and is shiny but doesn't feel sticky. It seems quite moisturizing and does leave a really nice tint even after wiping it off/blending it in.  

I do think the colour is showing a bit orange-y in these pictures but it was the best I could do at the time. 

Next up- Gokmul Care Creamy Cleansing Masque, full size 100ml valued at $45. This smells gross, kind of like dry pet food. However it can be used as a scrub, cleanser or masque and is aimed at reducing pores which I like. I will give this a go and see, the smell is not so revolting that having it on my face for a few minutes will make any good results not worth it. 

And last of all, Savia Magic Count Down 7 Days EGF and Multi-Peptide 5ml, full size valued at $30. This is another serum/oil product. I also tried this tonight and found it felt kind of sticky after it dried at first but now my skin feels so awesome and soft, so I will use this all up as well. 

So, overall I have 7 products and 8 items altogether valued at about $120 for $30 including shipping. I found this was great value and I think I will end up purchasing other boxes. The worst part is that they sell out, so if you are like me and want to try one before buying several months/boxes worth, you have to wait quite a while as you have to pre-order them, but knowing I won't get a quick fix does mean I save my money. You can visit the Memebox site by clicking here