Sally Hansen Comes Out with New Limited-Edition Easter Patterns in the Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

I’ve been enjoying Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips for awhile (mostly in the pretty glitters they offer!) – and was pleased to see that they’ve come up with some great new patterns, just in time for Spring!

I picked up the pink polka dot pattern (“Pink-A-Dot“) the other day – and as soon as my fluorescent yellow mani needs replacing, I’ll be trying this one out!  (which will probably be soon…ahem)

photo from my January review last year

The review I posted of them when the original colors came out last year garnered a lot of interest; if you’d like to check out the post to see the step-by-step, you’ll find it here!

What do you guys think?  Any pattern/color strike your fancy?

…And if you’re looking to buy them, you can find them at Walgreens, Target, CVS, and other drugstores nationwide…as well as online at!


flower texture source; product collage by me.

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Smooth Hair At Last: HANA Titanium Ionic 1.5″ Flat Iron Review

Do you use a flat iron to straighten your hair?

For the longest time, I didn’t…not until my late twenties, at least.  In fact, I was mostly just a get-out-of-bed-pull-my-hair-into-a-ponytail kinda gal.  It’s only as I’ve gotten older – and begun to look at myself and how I look as a complete picture, that I finally realized that the make-it-or-break-it component to any stylish outfit is what you wear on your head.  Yes folks (as probably everybody else already knows;-) it’s your hairstyle (or lack thereof) that truly ties everything together and makes your look chic…or not.  So I’ve added flat ironing into my repertoire of hair styling techniques, and as my hair’s growing out longer, there’s a lot more to play with.  So awhile ago I bought myself a $29 iron (a national, well-known brand) from my local discount store, thinking that there was no reason to spend money on what was the equivalent of just a couple of hotplates stuck on a pair of tongs.  Boy was I wrong. (more…)

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How to Create Your Perfect Valentine’s Day Look

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If you celebrate V-day with your significant other and want to look your best on the big day…here are a couple tips for romantic makeup, hair, and outfits.  With just a little bit of effort, achieving the whole package just got a little easier!


A great look starts off with your face – and what better way to find inspiration than a slideshow of different romantic looks from Refinery29?

The Head-To-Toe Guide to V-Day Hotness


From Nicholas Penna, Jr., owner and lead stylist at SalonCapri in Newton and Dedham:

The Sock Bun: Start by blow-drying hair with a natural bristle brush; once hair is dry, apply a dime-sized drop of smoothing serum to the shafts and ends of hair.  Using a fine-tooth comb to smooth out bumps, slick hair back into a high ponytail at the crown of your head and secure it with an elastic.  Cut off the end of a clean, unwanted sock (where your toes would be), and roll it up into a donut shape, placing it around the base of the ponytail.  Tilt your head slightly forward and spread your ponytail evenly around the sock so that half of your hair is toward the top of the sock, pointing toward your forehead, and half is at the bottom, pointing toward your back.  Use a second hair elastic to wrap and secure hair around the outside of the sock, creating a ballerina-bun at the crown of your head.  Twist remaining hair in one direction and use bobby-pins to tuck and clip the ends underneath your bun.  Finish with a light application of hairspray.

Sleek, “Wet-Inspired” Hair: Start by combing through wet hair with a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles, and add a walnut-size dollop of styling balm to the top half of wet, tangle-free hair. Brush your hair towards the back of your head with a fine-tooth comb and secure it tightly with an elastic. Twist hair gently, and wrap it into around the base of the ponytail to create a round bun.  Use bobby pins to secure the end of your ponytail and tame fly-aways.  Run a fine-tooth comb through the top of your hair up to the bun to smooth over any bumps, and finish with a generous amount of an extra-hold hairspray.

Bouncy, Volumized Hair:  Start with a classic blow-dry using a round, natural bristle brush and a palm-full of volumizing mousse.  Once hair is dry, add volume to the top of the head by teasing the hair using hairspray and a round brush.  After desired volume is achieved, curl hair away from the face from end to root with a large barrel (2″) curling iron.Using a dime-sized drop of smoothing serum, rub your hands together and gently run your fingers through the curls to separate them.  Finish the look with light hair spray and you’re red carpet ready!

Smooth and Sleek Hair with a Center Part: Start by parting wet hair directly in the center of your head using the edge of a fine-toothed comb.  Dry hair with the nozzle attachment of your blow-dryer, and a natural bristle brush, pulling hair and the dryer downward to smooth out hair.  Apply a pea-sized drop of smoothing serum from the shafts to the ends of your hair. Run a straightening iron through your ends to straighten out any waves and voila, you have a classic look for day or night!


Need some ideas for what to wear on your hot date?  Want to go beyond “sexy and red?”  Try checking out looks that other stylish ladies on Chictopia have put together:

A Gallery of V-Day Inspiration Outfits


And if you’re still stuck for a gift, try out this handmade chocolate box from Delia Creates:

or this geek-chic Lego heart necklace from Iridium on Karmaloop (try a DIY if you have the parts!):

or a whole bunch of ideas of what to craft for your guy over at Dollar Store Crafts (heart-print boxers from


Hope that gives you some ideas for the Day of Love!

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!:-D


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Spooky Spiderweb Nails with Crackle Nail Polish

In honor of Halloween, I tried out my new Mia Secret Crackle Nail Polish in black, over a coat of a light baby blue (Sally Hansen).  The effect reminds me of a turquoise snakeskin…or black spiderweb netting over my nails.  MIA Secret is a lot cheaper than OPI, too – at around $4 for the polish + shipping from  I think the crackle effect would be different if I stroked the polish from side-to-side over the nail too!
I totally love this effect!

Happy Halloween to everyone!  Hope it’s a great one~


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Winter Hair Styling Options: Vivi Magazine

(click for enlarged)

Winter is creeping up on us again – and I’m always at a loss as to how to style my hair during these months of mandatory headwear.  Japanese fashion magazines usually supply a plethora of cute styling options that are totally doable for a variety of hair lengths.  Master the art of the turband, the side bow, the messy pony, and the double-wrapped bun, courtesy of Vivi Magazine.

Are you inspired to try anything outside your usual Winter hairstyle?  I love the textural velvet and mohair bows!



*scans from Vivi Magazine Dec 2010 (I think)

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New Beauty Products from Japan

I love hitting up the drugstore whenever I’m in Japan to browse all the new and uniquely Japanese products available.  Some never even make it to the U.S., so it’s a treat to scoop up the latest.  Above are some of my recent finds:

1. Pukkuri Faux Gel Nail Topcoat With CalGel nails being the norm amongst the nail-art-loving Japanese, some girls want to give their natural nails a break, but still have the plumped-up, glossy, smooth look to their nails.  This topcoat promises to create a similar look to gel nails, and yet is removable with regular nail polish remover.

I admit I don’t notice much of a difference between this and a regular topcoat, but it certainly is thick and seals in glittery polishes well.

2. BYS Color Change Nail Enamel I had to sneak this one in, but I think it’s actually an Australian brand.  (Aussie readers, correct me if I’m wrong!!)  I remember color change nail polishes being popular back in the early 90’s (I think TOMA made a good one), but I haven’t seen one for ages.  This went on rather pink to my dismay, but I found that exposure to cold turned it purple.  It didn’t quite produce the “gradient” color that the bottle advertised, even though my nails are med-long.

3. KOSE Concentrated Whitening Mask I believe one component in the average Japanese girl’s skincare routine that is essential to their beautiful complexions is the frequent usage of facial masks.  Collagen-Infused; Vitamin-Enriched; Whitening; Smoothing; Softening; Brightening; Hyaluronic-Acid-Filled; Packed with Minerals – there are so many different types available I couldn’t ever detail all of them.  This one makes my skin feel like Lil Tot’s bottom (which is a good thing!!;-)

4. Odango Cushion Though it reminds me of a tawashi scrubber (usually used for cleaning toilets in Japan!!), this is a base for a nice, fluffy bun.

I don’t yet have a good picture of me wearing it, but it takes my sad little topknot into puffy, fluffy mayhem.  Lovely!

5. Cooling Gel In the unbearably hot Tokyo summer, cooling products are rocketing off the shelves of the stores.  Hub has a cooling body spray with menthol in it that he’s partial to, and this cooling gel works similarly.  I spread it on the back of my neck and on the insides of my elbows for ultimate relief. (Of course, they only provide cool relief for about 10-20 minutes until you start to feel the sticky, oppressive heat again.)

6. “Glamorous” gum A gum created as a collaboration between fashion designer KEITA MARUYAMA and Lotte (I think).  It’s apricot-flavored.  Imagine if Marc Jacobs or Michael Kors collaborated with Hubba Bubba!!

7. Cooling Neck-Wrap It’s so true that your body temperature is affected by what you wear on your neck!!  I never really thought about it but once I experienced this wrap it’s like a difference of night and day.  Inside the cloth is water-absorbing cooling particles (similar to gel ice-packs), and they plump up when soaked in water.  I’ve been wearing it whenever I’m out and about, and though not exactly fashionable per se, it definitely keeps me cool!

8. Gradation Eye Pencil Creates the smoky eye perfectly; one end is a wedge-shaped kohl pencil; the other end is a large wedge-shaped hard rubber tip (not a sponge, that tends to soak up the color you just laid down) that you rub over the line to create a smudgy smoky eye.  Why have I never seen this before in the US??!

And in addition, here are a couple more products I’ve seen:

Stick-on Body Jewels with Dangling Chain and Charms: Perfect for when Carnivale comes through your town.

Stick-on Faux Mustaches and Goatees: For when you just can’t seem to grow facial hair.



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