Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Review: Born This Way by Lady GaGa [music album]


Advantages: Totally different to her previous work, meaningful lyrics, rockier edge to the music,
Disadvantages: None for me; I really did love every second of the album.
"The vision is of me in an endless journey. I am a vehicle. I am a vehicle for all of the ideas. And I'm not riding away or towards anything, I'm just in endless state of creativity" -- Lady Gaga

Nick Knight is the photographer behind the artwork for the album and singles. The fashion director for Haus of Gaga and creative director for Mugler Nicola Formichetti styled Lady GaGa and artists who work with her regularly - Sam McKnight and Val Garland - did Lady GaGa's hair and make-up.
When the photo for the regular album edition cover was released it was a case of WTF? Is she meant to be a transformer? She's half human, half motorcycle - like a Hell's Angel centaur [the deluxe edition cover is just a closeout of her face mid growl]. After a while the covers grew on me; she's not bothered about simply looking all pretty and sweet - every last little detail of the album has a message.

Lady GaGa has fully wrote You And I and has co-wrote every other regular and bonus track. Her co-writers are RedOne, Jeppe Laursen, Fernando Garibay and Paul Blair [aka DJ White Shadow]. Lady GaGa has referred to her co-writers/friends and herself as the "Banditos".

Vincent Herbert is Born This Way's executive producer, Robert "Mutt" Lange has produced You And I and Lady GaGa and her co-writers are the co-producers of the other tracks.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Review: Instant Nail Effects by Barry M

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 6:18AM by MalibuMands - edit 0 Comments - 13 Views

Advantages: Low price, easy to use, fast-acting
Disadvantages: None for me
I'm sorry for not posting this sooner: I got it when it was first released last autumn, but now it's been getting good press and reviews so has been flying off the shelves.
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The product
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OPI are about to release a 'shatter coat' [for about £10] alongside their Katy Perry colour collection, so so-called 'Crackle Polishes' are set to be big beauty news this year. Luckily for us Barry M already have a 'Crackle Polish' of their own on the market and it is cheaper, easier to find and is the same product as it's double-the-price contender.
Barry M INSTANT NAIL EFFECTS is a black polish* that is applied over another colour: As it dries it cracks into a unique pattern, that is similar to a leopard print.
Not only does it give an easy, professional pattern every time, but it is also hard wearing and helps my polish last longer without using another top coat over it**. I think this is due to the formula being slightly thicker then most nail polishes [but non-gloopy], so it forms a thick protective layer over your base colour.
* It is labelled as a Nail Paint - the same as Barry M's other polishes - so I wasn't sure what to call it, but the formula was created to separate as it dries so it won't work as a regular polish.
** This product is not billed as a topcoat, so it's just my personal experience. Without using a regular topcoat my polish will last for at least four days with only minimal wear. But [as previously mentioned] I'm tough on my nails (self powered wheelchair user), so this product will give longer lasting results on other people.
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How to apply
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1) Simply apply one or two coats of your chosen polish shade [don't go for dark colours as the finished results won't show up very well].
2) When the base colour is dry apply one coat of INSTANT NAIL EFFECTS over it*. As the top coat dries [within one minute] it starts to crack and separate, leaving a unique leopard skin pattern.
* When you apply it be careful not to overlap the stokes of INE, as this affects the pattern and the results will become uneven and won't dry properly.
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The packaging
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The brush: Barry M don't use my preferred wide brushes, so it'll take up to three strokes to coat the nail. Normally this would put me off from using it, but as you need to be careful and not overlap this product the thinner brush is very handy. Also; As the brush is thinner less polish is loaded onto the brush, so the nail doesn't become glooped with product.
The bottle: The square shape of the bottle makes it very easy to grip, meaning there's less chance of any spills [Am I the only person who keeps hold of the bottle whilst painting my nails?]
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I was really shocked by the results and couldn't believe how easy it is to use; NAIL EFFECTS gives the exact results it promises and is as easy to apply as the brand leads you to believe. I'm left-handed and have unsteady hands [nerve damage], yet still have no problems applying this.
As mentioned above; Lighter colours are best for this as the pattern is black. I personally think that lilac and mint are two of the best shades for this, so keep an eye open for new spring/summer shades. If you want people to sit up and notice your new nail art use a bright orange as the base colour [if you really want it to look special dab a few spots/stripes with white polish too].
Although you can use any finish of polish as a base, I personally prefer to use creme finishes as I think they are slightly smoother to paint over.
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£3.99 in Boots and Superdrug.
Summary: A great way to vamp up old polishes you may be bored with

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Spotlight: Dita Von Teese to release a perfume.

Burlesque performer and beauty/style icon Dita Von Teese has spoken about her desire to create her own fragrance in numerous magazine interviews and now it looks as though it's about to become a reality, based on these two twitter statements she has made within the past few weeks:

Isolated at a chateau in the French countryside w/my perfumers. "No fruit, no vanilla, no candy!! Velvet sensuality w/a dash of vulgarity!"

I want to evoke passion with fragrance….intense love/lust and distaste/fear rather than merely popular acceptance.

I don't know about you, but I am very excited to see what she comes up with, as she presents her entire life with elegance and she oozes glamor - it comes naturally to her and I want a piece of that :)

Friday, 13 May 2011

Review: Project D EDP by Project D


I love the neroli-lead opening to PROJECT D; It's very spicy, yet a bit bitter and vaguely cold. The bergamot is also citrussy so blends in nicely and within ten minutes the warmth and spice vanishes and the fragrance becomes fresh and green. The ylang ylang isn't sweet here, instead it's quite musky/mossy and is very long lasting.

As the ylang ylang dies down the mimosa quickly develops and adds a vaguely fruity sweetness, as does the osmanthus. The combination reminds me a bit of tangerines - sweet, vaguely citrussy, but with zest.
I don't usually like tuberose, but as it's not artificial I really surprised myself by liking it here as it isn't as strong as I was expecting, though it does add more sweetness. It outlasts the other scent notes in the perfume and becomes almost creamy as it slowly burns down and mingles with the developing base notes.

The musk [whilst always present] becomes fully developed as the florals die down; It is strong masculine and slightly salty. Like with the tuberose I normally don't like musky perfumes, but it doesn't artificial or plastic here and as the rest of this perfume is soft and feminine I love the contrast with the masculine musk.
The sandelwood develops almost as quickly as the musk and has a noticeable woodsy scent to it, which seems somewhat spicy.I'm not used to sandalwood actually smelling like a wood so this is a pleasant surprise. It's sort of familiar to cederwood and adds to the short-lived masculine opening. The saffron gives the perfume one final spicey kick and whilst I'm not sure what amber oil is, maybe it's a fancy term for vegetal amber (resin from tree sap), it is more or less the same as artificial amber - a soft and creamy vanilla based scent.

Scent notes
Neroli, bergamot and ylang ylang, tuberose, Japanese osmanthus, mimosa, purple orchid, sandalwood, exotic saffron, musk and hot amber oils.

I really love the pretty bottle too: It is soft pink and teardrop shaped, with the name and a silhouette of a woman printed on it in black.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Review: Love & Glamour EDP by Jennifer Lopez


Advantages: Reasonable price, easy to wear, striking bottle...
Disadvantages: Only suitable for warmer weather, below average lasting power, unoriginal, availability.

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The fragrance
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Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez was one of the first celebrities to release her own fragrance [she had a fashion range - J.Lo - going at the time] and to be fair she really is a 'celebrity', unlike many of the other D listers who have followed in her wake with perfumes of their own.

Lets tick her perfume releases so far off; The first was Glow and it's millions of limited edition flankers [I think there has been seven so far], Still [I think was her nicest and most unique], Live and it's two limited flankers [Live Luxe and Live Platinum], Deseo, Deseo for Men [I keep seeing this in TJ Maxx], Deseo Forever [Asian market exclusive] and LOVE & GLAMOUR.

LOVE AND GLAMOUR is pure sweet citrus for the first five minutes or so: I can't pick out the mandarin, guava or nectarine, it's all one long sweet-but-fresh note. I like that the tops notes mingle together into one long note that leans more towards fresh then sweet on me, since I'm wearing LOVE & GLAMOUR now that the weather is booking up. After all who wants to wear a fragrance that's heavy and sweet when it's hot and sticky outside?

The jasmine is thankfully sheer and is almost hidden by the lingering citrus, if it was too strong it would clash with the sweetish fruit top notes and be a migraine trigger puller. In fact ALL of the florals appear underdeveloped in this fragrance, so the only other floral I can place with any certainty is the orange blossom. Sometimes when I wear this I think I can make out a hint of waterlily, but I can't be sure that I'm just imagining it because I know that it's meant to be there. Sometimes I can catch a hint of coconut water, but it's very mild and comes and goes.

The base is a big letdown for me; The sandalwood is so strong that it completely drowns out everything else, except for a breeze of musk. Jennifer Lopez has said in the press that she asked for more sandalwood to be added to make the fragrance sexier, but I don't find it sexy at all - it makes everything flat and one dimensional. Considering the strength of the sandalwood, I was surprised by how quickly LOVE & GLAMOUR goes close to the skin.

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Official scent notes
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Italian mandarin, guava, nectarine pulp, water lily, coconut, orchid, orange blossom absolute, jasmine petals, sandalwood, sensual musk and amber.

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The bottle
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I don't know how to describe the bottle, other then as a semi-melted Academy award. It is eye-catching, I'll give it that. I have the 75ml bottle and I've lost count of the number of times it has toppled from the dresser and chased by the cats across the room, due to the bottle being tall with a small base. Still; It hasn't smashed [yet], so at least I know that the glass is hard wearing.

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Other buying considerations
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This wears as through it were a body spray made for hotter weather - the scent notes are light, making the staying power poor for the price. After only four hours or so, I struggle to get more then a brief whiff of orange blossom and sandalwood.

This is a spring/summer fragrance only - the freshness of the fruit notes, underdeveloped florals and skin musk just don't work in the colder months, maybe it's just my nose but in winter it is just guava and sandalwood scented water. I got my bottle for Christmas and dutifully wore it a few times before shoving it into a drawer and forgetting about it for a few months. I almost swapped it, but thankfully held on to it for trying in warmer weather.

It's fine for daytime wear as it's fresh but sweet and light, so I'd say this is more of a girlie-but-casual accompaniment to jeans and a tee, rather then a sexy/grown up/statement/smart-wear/special occasion fragrance. I have worn it for work and received compliments on it, but it didn't feel right, don't ask me why. it just didn't.

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My opinion
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This is a nice-but-not-unique fruity/floral, that is best suited to a sunny spring/summer day so I don't know why it was released in the festive lead-up in America. I can't find anything on a official release date over here yet, but all of the past Jennifer Lopez brand fragrances have had a UK release so I guess that Coty are waiting for the summer.

There's nothing that I dislike this fragrance and will continue to use my 75ml bottle as it was a Christmas gift, but it's not something I'd buy for myself, as it is just like every other generic fragrance out there. Another thing; I can't see how this represents glamour. Not a huge issue really, but how did they come up with the name - pulls phases from a hat?

Overall; I think that if you enjoy Jennifer's Glow fragrance you'll like this too, as the soft florals and skin musk are similar to it; it seems very clean, almost soapy to me, rather then the Hollywood glam image the makers were hoping for.

If you're looking for a gift for someone who wears any of the other Jennifer Lopez perfumes this would be a safe choice. It's too mild to be disagreeable and isn't something that smells 'young' or 'old'.

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RRP Price
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50ml: £26 [£20 on]
75ml: £36 [£29 on]

I don't remember seeing any 30ml bottles in Macy's, which is unusual for a Jennifer Lopez/Coty release, so maybe they'll offer some in the UK launch as the smaller sizes usually sell better.
Summary: A middle of the road release.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Music review: Love? by Jennifer Lopez...

Advantages: Mix of musical styles, summery music, nice artwork
Disadvantages: No more strong single contenders, she's playing it too safe.

LOVE? is the seventh studio album by singer/actress Jennifer Lopez. Work began on the album during the pregnancy of her twins, but the lack of success with her previous three albums lead to Epic Records [part of Sony] testing the waters with two U.S. single releases [Louboutins and Fresh Out The Oven] for a gauge as to the size of her fanbase. The singles were huge flops and failed to receive radio play, so LOVE? was shelved and Epic dropped her - err, I mean they mutually parted ways with her, after briefly starting work on a Greatest Hits album.

Luckily for Jennifer Island [part of Def Jam] decided to take a chance on her and hired L.A. Reid and RedOne as executive producers and charged them with sourcing new material to update the album before release. Individual track producers of the finished product include Mike Caren, D'Mile, Danja, The-Dream, Lady Gaga, StarGate and Tricky Stewart.

Jennifer has said in loads of interviews over the years that she doesn't like being referred to as J.Lo any more as that was just a character, but lo and behold - J.Lo is back. Literally back, J.Lo is stamped on the album and single covers instead of her name. A glance in the booklet is the same old checklist; fur coat? Check. Bling? Check. Barely there clothing? Check. Shades? Check. So with the artwork being blasts from the past the question becomes, will the actual album be a look back over her back catalogue too?