Monday, June 30, 2014

O.P.I Pure Lacquer Nails Apps Review

Recently I reviewed the Broadway imPRESS nails which didn't work for me due to sizing but the idea was very appealing! Inspired by the concept of a quick manicure I recently tried my luck with the Pure Lacquer Nail Apps by O.P.I. Unlike the imPRESS nails which are plastic, these stickers are made with 100% pure lacquer.

The stickers can be filed down and adjusted to fit the nails and they contain base coat, color and top coat all-in-one. At first glance they appeared easy to use and come in a variety of patterns, finishes and intricate designs ideal for those who have yet to master the skills of nail art.

How to Use:
1. Start with clean dry nails
2. Remove clear film and peel strip away from backing
3. Place strip on nail
4. Crease strip at edges and file off excess in a downward motion.
Removal can be achieved with average nail polish remover.

The packet contains 16 pre-cut strips but there is no indication of how long they are meant to last and if you do not use the strips immediately after peeling they dry out.

I chose a lace pattern in pink and grey

I purchased these on sale for $2.50 per pack which was a great deal since they retail for $10.96. The stickers are wide and have a lot excess material at the end which allows you to shape and form them to the length and width of your nails.
Prep & Materials
Before application make sure nails are thoroughly cleansed to improve adhesion. I also recommend having small cosmetic scissors on hand to trim the sides. O.P.I recommends not using a top coat over the stickers.

Application Tips 
Application was tricky and not as fast as anticipated. With the amount of time it took to adjust, shape, cut and apply it was quite tedious and took longer than using regular polish. Make sure the edges of the stickers are cut accurately because if they overlap onto skin they will lift. The strips are not sticky enough for long-wear and mine began detaching less than an hour after application.

Although the designs are nice and my nails are long enough to accommodate them if you have shorter nail you won't get much of the lace design on your nail beds. The stickers may wrinkle during application so it takes a while to get them to lay smoothly.
Final Thoughts
I like the concept and designs but I thought these stickers would be fast and easy to use and they were not! They don't last long enough relative to the time it takes to apply them and they started coming off when I scratched my arm! If I had spent $11 dollars on these I would have been even more disappointed. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Venice Italy: Photos, Travel and Tourism

After touring Rome and Barcelona the cobblestones had done their worst and my feet were aching. Sitting on the train to Venice was a relief! I struggled to stay awake and fight jet lag as we passed through beautiful countryside lush with vegetation. Small villages and churches situated high on rolling green hills dotted the land and I relished in the feeling of being so far from home.

While munching on crunchy biscotti and passing Florence I was excited to be getting closer to the city that sat at the top of my bucket list since checking off Paris and Dubai the year before.

I stayed in the small, quiet town of Mestre, a 12 minute bus ride from Venice. The accommodations in Venice were a bit old and worn so I booked at Hotel Antony which was modern, clean, comfortable and included all the amenities of North American hotels.

It is difficult and nearly impossible to explain the beauty and wonders of Venice because it is like no other city I have seen. 

Beautiful old buildings in every color line the canals, bridges flowing with travelers arch over waterways and narrow cobble stone streets display beautiful shops of colorful Murano glass. As the sun sets you can enjoy a delicious meal right out on the sidewalk along the water. I fell in love with the old rustic architecture and the constant sea of boats and gondolas as soon as I laid eyes on the city. As Venice slowly sinks the steps leading up to some of the buildings are almost fully submerged, evidence of the high tides and erosion. 

One thing I found enthralling about Venice was the traffic. In an average city you would expect to see cars emerging from side roads but in Venice boats pass down narrow streets of water and under bridges as you walk above. The heavy traffic is not from motorists but from tourists, there are no cars or traffic lights!

The first day after a long journey, I spent the evening shopping and having an amazing Italian dinner at Gino’s Pizzeria. It was the best Italian food I had during my trip! (location info for Gino's at the end of this post).

After getting some rest I started off the next day with a water taxi ride to St. Mark’s Square and Basilica. This area is one of the most crowded in Venice and annoying pigeons fly too close for comfort. 

I also made a stop at Hotel Danieli which was a hotel I had first seen in the movie Only You starring Marisa Tomei.

Doge's Palace

You can easily get lost on the winding back streets of Venice. I enjoyed roaming the charming streets with no map and ducking into shops selling  local glass jewelry and vases. 

I made a quick stop at Pandora to get my Venice charm for my bracelet.

Rialto Bridge has one of the best vantage points of the Grand Canal. It is so scenic that I could have stood there for hours marveling at the beauty before me.

After taking countless unmarked streets and getting lost in the magic of Venice I stopped on the Grand Canal to have a drink and enjoy the ambiance. I watched people happily bob in gondolas as an elderly man sang beautiful Italian music that lulled me into relaxation.

Venice as the sun sets

The next day I took water taxi number 1 from Piazzale Roma all the way to Lido. Lido is a small island with a wonderful beach. I highly recommend this route because it is incredibly picturesque. You can sit outside on the boat as it passes all the beautiful attractions.

As the sun glistened off the surface of the water and the narrow canal opened into a basin of sparkling sea, a cool breeze enveloped as we passed a big white yacht. It felt like paradise, surreal in its splendor with an aura unlike any I have experienced in a city.

Lido is a great place to spend the afternoon swimming, walking along the beach, picnicking or trying all the delicious gelaterias on the island.

The beach is covered in a blanket of colorful sea shells!

Unlike Rome where there is an overwhelming amount to see and do Venice is more relaxed. After the main tourist attractions you can spend your days leisurely immersing yourself in culture.

Additional Tourist and Travel Information:

*If you are traveling to Venice by train you can take Trenitalia. From the Rome station Termini. The journey can take up to 5 hours and cost $28. Ticket prices are subject to change depending on when you book. I recommend bringing food with you. 

*For travelers staying in Mestre 1 return trip by water taxi is 14 or 7 one way. A 3 day pass for unlimited water taxi + bus is 35 and takes you all the way to Lido. I recommend taking water taxi #1 from Piazzale Roma all the way to Lido for a beautiful scenic cruise.

*Gondola rides are about 80 Euros for 40 minutes and can usually be shared by up to 4 people. 

*The bus or water taxi also takes you to Murano island where the famous colored glass is made.

*You must remember to validate your tickets before boarding public transportation because random checks are performed. Even those with purchased tickets can be charged up to 59  if they are not validated. If you do not purchase a ticket and get caught the fine is up to 250. 

* I recommend arranging transportation  if you are staying in Venezia because carrying luggage through narrow streets can be difficult and many tourists get lost.

*Pick pockets are at large in Venice and usually circulate at major tourist attractions, on the metro, buses and in crowded areas. Make sure to lock all important documents such as passports in a safe if one is provided by your hotel. Never carry important documents and money in backpacks where they are out of sight.
*Many of the hotels in Venice are old and a bit worn. Even the ones with low star ratings are expensive due to location. For higher rated hotels you can easily spend 400-600 per night.

*Mestre is a quick bus ride into Venice and accommodations are more affordable. At Antony Hotel where I stayed it was clean and had North American hotel amenities including a continental breakfast. It also had a great authentic Italian menu for dinner. You can find this hotel HERE


*Most restaurants charge a service fee of  about 12%

*There are many great restaurants in Venice, the ones along the Grand Canal tend to be pricier and off the main canal they are more affordable. 

*I highly recommend Gino's Ristorante Pizzeria located at Cannaregio 157-30121 Venezia tel: +35.41.716072 I ate there several times because they had the best Italian food I had on my entire trip!! I recommend the tagliolini pasta in porcino cream sauce, the margherita pizza and the tiramisu was the best I have ever had! The cafe late is also great for coffee drinkers and meals come with fresh Italian bread.

*Because of all the water there are mosquitoes, I suggest taking a repellent. 

Feel free to leave comments or questions down below

*All photos are copyright of Diray of a Trendaholic and cannot be used, copied or altered in any way.*

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lancôme Limited Edition Star Bronzer Review

Because Canadian winters are long, blustery and frigid, during the summer I spend a lot of time outdoors sipping cold sangria and enjoying the cloudless blue sky and warm sun. My favorite summer makeup look is: soft eye shadow with a winged liner for a touch of drama, a bright pop of color on the lips and glowing skin. Today’s review is dedicated to one of the most gorgeous bronzers on the market, Lancôme’s Star Bronzer in Golden Riviera.

First let’s talk about packaging; this bronzer is very large with a beautiful etched rose in the center embellished in shimmering gold. This is a great product for those looking for a light, sun kissed glow and for lighter skin tones it provides a sheer tan for both the face and body. I like to use it for soft contouring and subtle highlight, the texture is luxuriously smooth and easy to blend. On my skin tone the color seems to melt right in for seamless, natural looking illumination.

When I first saw the beautiful gold shimmer I initially thought it was embedded into the bronzer but the concentrated gold center is actually more of an overspray which can be wiped away to reveal less abundant, more dispersed glitter underneath. Although I would have loved the center to remain ultra shimmery there is still adequate amount of shimmer throughout the bronzer to create a beautiful highlight effect.

Swept into the hollows of the cheeks the light-weight formula works well to subtly define. It also creates brilliant shine for healthy looking luminous skin! If you are in the market for a velvety smooth, iridescent bronzer this one is fabulous but you may have to act fast as it is limited edition! It retails for $52.00 at The Bay (you can find it HERE). You can also check local department stores and Sephora where Lancôme products are sold.

**Disclaimer: This product was provided for review. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based on my experience with the products. Results may vary based on individual use.**

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Anna Sui Cosmetics: Lipstick, Lip Crayon & Gloss

Anna Sui has some of my favorite cosmetic packaging on the market. The beautifully dramatic, colorful boxes always catch my attention and the quality and formulas are usually quite impressive. Today I have a review on a variety of lip products from the brand including a rather unconventional shade of lipstick.

Anna Sui lipstick #850
The first time I saw yellow lipstick look enviously fantastic on someone was in Jennifer Lopez’s music video Live It Up. This shade by Anna Sui is bright, vibrant and quite unique. I will admit that when I first saw it I was a bit flabbergasted and although blue, purple and orange lips are trendy, many still tend to shy away from yellow.

The color looks beautiful in the tube and when swatched it isn't solid but rather transparent and glossy making it easier to pull-off. The lipsticks come in two finishes: Dazzle and Vivid; this shade has a dazzle finish and contains glittery pearls.

The dazzle lipsticks are available in 4 shades and moisturize lips with: rosa fruit, jojoba oil, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil and olive oil. It has a fresh scent, is easy to apply and feels great on the lips.

The glitter fragments beautifully reflect light which make lips look radiant especially outdoors. Although I tend to prefer solid lipsticks I like the texture, formula and quality and since the color appears golden it is wearable. The lipsticks retail for $29.00 and the vivid line is available in 16 shades. 

Anna Sui Lip Crayon #301
Lately I have been using more lip crayons due to ease of application. I like being able to use one product to line and fill in my lips and usually crayon shapes are ideal for this.

The lip crayons by Anna Sui are great! The tapered tip makes shaping and defining simple and application tends to be tidier. The color is opaque and a tad creamy which is comfortable and non-drying. The crayon twists up to reveal concentrated, vivid pigment with a semi-matte finish and the formula contains a light touch of oil and matte powder meant to “promote smooth application and lasting finish.”

#301 is a flashy, bright pink which is a color I can’t get enough of! When I wear it I tend to forget it is even on my lips due to the light texture and long-lasting formula. This is definitely a great crayon and retails for $28.00
Anna Sui Lip Gloss C in shade #401
For gloss lovers Anna Sui also offers a variety of sheer, shimmery lip products. Number 401 is from the Lip Gloss C collection and has a light texture and translucent finish.

Although the gloss is priced in the high-end rage for $28.00 it does make lips look iridescently pretty with radiant shine and a slight tint. The gloss hydrates like a balm with: olive fruit oil, apricot oil, peach extract, grape and rosemary. The scent is quite strong but the texture is smooth and non-sticky making it comfortable and soothing on the lips. Anna Sui Cosmetics can be found at Sephora and you can visit the website HERE

**Disclaimer: These products were provided for review. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based on my experience with the products. Results may vary based on individual use.**
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