Thursday, July 28, 2011

OPI Shorts Story

OPI Shorts Story

Shorts Story is one of my absolute favorite pinks!  I have two bottles (although one is nearly empty) and I wear it throughout the summer.  I love this beautiful, fun pink.  In my opinion, this is one of OPI's best pink cremes.  Any other Shorts Story addicts out there? :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

OPI Skulls & Crossbones

OPI Skulls & Crossbones

OPI Skulls & Crossbones is a very light gray creme.  I used two coats.  I like this color because it is different; I used it for this swirled manicure a few weeks ago.  I also like that chips don't show as well.

The weather this week has been beautiful; the tomatoes are doing great, and the dogs love spending time outdoors.

Today is also a great day because today is my friend Melanie's birthday.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Coastal Scents 88 Ultra Shimmer Palette

I bought a Coastal Scents 88 Ultra Shimmer Palette earlier this week because I was intrigued by the number of colors (88!) for the price ($20).  The palette arrived today (I ordered it just two days ago, so it arrived quickly, but shipping was high).

First impression: the individual shadows are VERY small.  A bit smaller than a dime each, and not very deep.  But while I read many reviews that shadows came cracked or broken, mine arrived in perfect condition.

After playing around with the shadows a bit, I am really happy I chose the Shimmer Palette.  There is a really nice selection of fun colors and I love how shimmery they are - without being frosty.  The shadows are harder than I am used to from more expensive brands, but if you are just looking for something to give you a wide range of colors, this is a nice set.  There was some minor fallout from some of the shadows I tried, but not all of them.  They applied nicely wet or dry and although they didn't blend as well as more high-end shadows, they are blendable.  I applied the shadows without primer and they came out moderately pigmented.

This is a fun set for experimenting with colors, but the shadows are not the highest quality.  That being said, I'm happy to have such a variety of shadow colors, since I typically just wear neutrals.  It is a fun palette to have!

The 88 Ultra Shimmer Palette is available for $19.95 from

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's a Vera Bradley Party!

Welcome to our very Vera Bradley party!

I LOVE Vera Bradley; the prints are fun, creative, and inspiring, and I love all the cute bags and accessories Vera Bradley creates.  I was so excited to discover that Vera Bradley has an entire party collection, complete with plates, napkins, and reusable cups.  How fun - and what a good reason to throw a party!

For our party, we used large plates for brunch and the small plates for desert (coconut cupcakes!).  The large dinner plates are available in sets of 8 for $7 and they come in a variety of fun Vera Bradley prints.  I especially love how they look in Baroque!

The cocktail and desert plates also come in packs of 8 and retail for $6.  In addition to the design around the rim of the plate, they also have center designs (I adore Folkloric!).

For the party, we used luncheon napkins and guest towels.  Both napkins were very thick and the prints were gorgeous.  It was almost too pretty to use!  The luncheon napkins are only $6 for a pack of 20, and the guest towels (which are very large) are available in packs of 15 for $8.  Plum Petals, one of the newest prints for fall, is one of my favorites.

In addition to plates and napkins, Vera Bradley also has adorable matching plastic reusable cups, which looked fabulous at our party.  Cups are sold in a pack of 6 for $14 - and they hold up great in the dishwasher!  I have run the entire set through twice so far (on the top rack) and they look like new.  

A happy hour set, complete with coasters, place cards, and napkins completes the party (and helps guests know where to sit!).  With 8 reusable coasters, 10 place cards, and 20 napkins, the happy hour set retails for $20.

And a party wouldn't be complete without Vera Bradley wrapped gifts (and a few Vera Bradley gifts as well, like the new Vera Bradley readers we got my mom).

I picked these up at the Vera Bradley outlet in Leesburg, VA just a few weeks ago.

All of these fun items are perfect for a party - or a simply fabulous meal.  Vera Bradley plates, napkins, cups, and happy hour items are available in the four new fall shades: Plum Petals, Mocha Rouge, Happy Snails, and Africa Safari, as well as the beautiful spring patterns: Deco Daisy, Watercolor, English Meadows, and Viva La Vera, the fun print I used for our party.

Vera Bradley items are available at Vera Bradley boutiques and online at  They frequently send out free shipping offers and exciting sales by email (and sometimes on Facebook too!).  

Thanks for stopping by to see my Vera Bradley party!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pretty in Purple

Zoya Mimi

Mimi is a gorgeous color both in the bottle and worn on nails.  It is loaded with glitter and iridescent shimmer that is so hard to capture with a camera.  For months now, I would think of this color and go looking for it in my polish bins, time after time.  Each time I would give it up for lost.  It wasn't until I was talking with my sister a few weeks ago, bemoaning the loss of one of my favorite purple polishes, that she revealed that Zoya Mimi had been at her house for months!  I love how glittery this rich, deep purple is - plus, it covers with just 2 coats and dries quickly.

What is your favorite purple polish?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer

Urban Decay's Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer does exactly what it says it will: protects your skin!  With SPF 20, this tinted moisturizer provides sheer coverage along with powerful sun protection, thereby protecting your face from damage and wrinkles.

I love this formula because it blends easily into my skin, providing just enough protection without covering my freckles.  It gives my skin a great glow too, which is perfect for summer.  I have been wearing Urban Defense in Halo daily this past month and I love it (I especially loved wearing it at the beach!  My skin was able to breath while looking flawless.).  It applies easily and melts into my skin (even Bodyguard, the slightly darker shade, blends into my skin well).  The sun protection is great also.  On Sunday, I spent half of the day at a car dealership and came home with a terrible burn on my arms and shoulders - but my face was protected and was thankfully burn-free.

I've shied away from tinted moisturizers in the past because I never felt that I got enough coverage; I was very happy with the coverage this provided, while blending and letting my skin still shine through.  I would definitely recommend Urban Defense, plus it is SO important to wear sun protection every single day, and this tinted moisturizer marries beautiful coverage with powerful skin protection perfectly.

Urban Defense is vegan and like all Urban Decay cosmetics, it is not tested on animals.  Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer is available at, Sephora, and Ulta and retails for $30.

Urban Defense comes in four battle-ready shades: Halo, Bodyguard, Bulletproof, and Forcefield.  For my fair skin, Halo is perfect.

Halo, Bodyguard, Bulletproof, Forcefield
Natural daylight

Wearing Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer in Halo

Learn more about Urban Defense at or stop by a Sephora or Ulta near you to pick up the perfect shade for you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brooke Cooks - Tofu "Crab" Cakes

I have been craving crab cakes for days, so after looking over a few real-crab recipes, I came up with these.  I made them for dinner tonight and enjoyed them so much I couldn't wait to share the recipe.  To make this vegan, substitute the mayonnaise for Vegenaise and omit the egg.  I would also like to try adding some shredded zucchini next time, as I remember enjoying zucchini "crab" cakes years ago.  These are a great vegetarian substitute for crab cakes; I hope you enjoy them too.

1 package extra firm tofu
3-4 teaspoons Old Bay
1/4 cup red pepper
1/4 cup sweet onion
10 Ritz crackers
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 egg

Crumble one container of extra firm tofu and mix with 3-4 teaspoons of Old Bay.  Freeze for a few hours (this improves the texture of the tofu, but is not necessary).

Very finely dice 1/4 cup red pepper and 1/4 cup sweet onion.  Saute until soft.  Mix with 10 crushed Ritz crackers, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, and 1 egg.  Add tofu and stir until combined.

Shape into patties and pat both sides in flour.  Either fry or bake at 400 degrees until crispy (I baked them for about 20 minutes, then broiled for 4).

Serve with tartar sauce (mayonnaise, relish, and lemon juice).

Before baking

Leopard Printastic

My fabulous friend Amy turned 25 last week, and to celebrate, I wore this fun manicure to her party.

I used China Glaze OMG then stamped China Glaze Kiwi Cool-ada and Nicole Pink, Seriously using Konad plate m57.  Sorry for the chip!  I was slicing tomatoes (from my garden!) and I nicked my nail.

Happy Birthday, Amy!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mermaids and Seashells

Nicole by OPI Baby Blue over OPI Suzi Feng Says Shui with OPI Spark de Triomphe

On Wednesday, I returned from vacationing on Chincoteague Island.  While there, we visited tons of beautiful, inspiring locations and stores.  One of the stores we stopped in was mermaid-inspired (and half of the store was filled with shelves and shelves of nautical-themed books!).  This manicure makes me think of the ocean and mermaids, with the wave-like blues and the mermaid sparkles.

Glam Slam!

OPI Rally Pretty Pink

OPI Red Shatter over OPI Rally Pretty Pink

To be honest, I don't love this combination; I'm not a fan of pink and red shades together, and I'm not loving how the Shatter looks a bit blood-like.  But I think the base shade is gorgeous.  Rally Pretty Pink is a mauve-ish hue with tons of shimmery gold.  It is slightly sheer.

I LOVED the combination of Spark De Triomphe and White Shatter.  Check out pictures HERE!
Which Glam Slam combination do you like the most?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bright White

When she was in high school, my sister wore white polish all the time.  I couldn't find a white polish, so I picked up OPI Mod About You to attempt to duplicate the look as close as I could.  Now that my polish collection is much bigger than it was then, I have a few great white polishes.  Today I am wearing Nailene's french manicure white, which goes on pure, bright white and dries surprisingly fast.  I love the all-white nail look, especially for summer. It looks so chic!

PS: I noticed that Blake Lively had fabulous white nails in the July issue of Glamour, plus Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere wore white polish with her Summer Whites look last week!  Talk about trending.  How do you feel about summery white nails?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Best of Babbling Brooke

I've been writing this blog for nearly three years now, so it is high time I put together some of my favorite designs.  I went through my polish posts and pulled my favorites from the years.  I'd love to hear which one is your favorite!

Thank you for reading, whether for the past three days or the past three years.  I really appreciate all of the support and wonderful comments :)
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