Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quick Update

Thank you all SO MUCH for your wonderful thoughts and good wishes for my presentation today. I just wanted to make sure you all know that it went VERY well - better than I could have expected! In fact, my professor typically never even revisits the student's presentation during our class (we present for 20 min right at the beginning of class) but he used my presentation as the basis for our discussion!!! :D

So really quick, here's 2 pics of the polish I chose to wear. This is 3 coats and it's a franken. :) I have a whole bunch of frankens I want to share with you guys soon!

(Unfortunately, my topcoat bubbled a TON on this. :( It makes me sad because I love the color!)

1/2 China Glaze White on White
1/2 China Glaze Emerald Sparkle
a few drops of Wet 'N Wild Clear

Visit Dr. Frankenpolish if you need more info about frankening!

Thanks for looking and thanks again for all of your wonderful encouragement! :D
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Not-Quite Mannequin Hands: RBL Plie

I've been craving pink lately, and since my pink manicure over the weekend didn't pan out, I thought I'd go to one of my old favourites to satiate my colour craving - Rescue Beauty Lounge Plie. For me this is as close to the dreaded (beloved?) 'mannequin-hands' look as I'm going to get! (I've found my correct 'mannequin-hands' shade - but to my eyes it just looks like I got foundation on my fingers - I'm just not into the look despite my deep love of neutrals.)

Plie is my 'not-quite mannequin hands' shade - it is the same depth as my skin tone, but a pinker hue:

This is a pink that works for me - its never too bright or sugary or sweet - it's a genuine neutral that still has a feminine edge. It's calm and pretty. You'd think this colour would be everywhere, but I've never found a dupe for it. (I think the closest I've seen is Essie Not Just a Pretty Face...) I think this is due to this colours' slightly dusty quality - which you know by now I love. It's like pink and greige had a baby! I have a hard time pulling off those vivid baby pinks...I also love that this isn't white against my skin like most pale pinks are on me.

The formula is fab - two easy smooth coats. To be completely honest this is the only light-coloured RBL that I find has the same highly-pigmented-but-not-too-thick as the darker cremes. I've found some of them to be thick and goopy, but streaky at the same time - like spreading marshmallow fluff over your nails. Hate. But this one is all love!!

If I ever get close to running out of this colour, I will definitely re-buy. I have yet to find anything remotely like it! Heck, I may even get a back-up during the next sale late this year.

Do you guys rock the 'mannequin-hands' look? What do you think of Plie?

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Oh Em Gee: Zoya Ivanka and Mimi

I've been a little bored with polish lately. Part of it is being very stressed out by school and my pressing academic obligations -- you will likely see a decline in my posting activity in the next ten to eleven weeks as I wrap up my second year of my PhD program -- part of it is just not feeling anywhere close to healthy. And part of it is feeling uninspired by the new polish releases.

But then I had a chance to swatch some of the new Zoya Sparkle polishes... and while I am still feeling a bit sick of polish at the moment, these just dazzzzzled me. :)

Zoya Ivanka

Let's do negatives first: it's sheer. This is three coats and it looks like it will need possibly even a fifth to get opaque. But who the heck cares when you have such gorgeous iridescent emerald microglitter suspended in that beauteous ( that a word?) emerald jelly? The microglitter reflects gold and green and is simply alive. Super duper ultra pretty.

Zoya Mimi

Even more sheer than Ivanka but even prettier. First of all, it's a blurple jelly. Second, it's purple-pink microglitter that sparkles even more than the microglitter in Ivanka. The above is three coats and I'm positive it will need five to get rid of VNL completely. But it's incredibly beautiful and totally worth the trouble. The formula is pretty easy and thin so building it isn't bad at all.

I am beyond pleased at this purchase. I bought it when Zoya had their last sale because I wanted to try out Remove+, which they were giving out as GWP with some minimum purchase. It turns out that Remove+ is truly awesome (powerful remover that's not harshly drying) and to my utter surprise, the Zoya polishes were not impossible to apply (as has been my experience before). I have no idea of their wear time (my usual complaint with Zoya) but I shall try these out as NOTDs soon. I have a sad feeling that my Zoya embargo is now at an end...
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NOTD Rescue Beauty Lounge 360

Feel better, Flinty!

This is a quick post today. My presentation is tomorrow and I'm kind of freaking out. The hubby is on his way home and we're going to eat junk food tonight and watch movies while I finish up this disaster of a presentation. :) Any recommendations for a nail color that inspires confidence and calm?

It's been raining for the past few days so all I have are shady pics, I'm afraid. This is 2 coats of 360, which applied like a dream.


It is not quite as blue as it appears in my pics. It has a more grey, green tone to it.

Indoors (a little more color accurate):

Thanks for looking!

P.S. Do you guys eat cookies? A colleague gave a presentation today in class and brought in cookies. I was the ONLY ONE who ate a cookie. Everyone else was eating grapes and carrot sticks and they looked at me like I was insane for eating a cookie. I think they're all into organic food and vegetarianism (nothing wrong with that of course) so I guess I'm the freak. Are all people in academia like this?
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Mail haul on a sick day

I've been really sick for the last few days. Went to the doctor this morning: ear infection and bronchitis. I am, like, the only adult who comes down with ear infections regularly.

Got home from the doc and came across a couple of packages on my doorstep, which makes the day slightly better.

From, a mega Essence haul. 11 polishes came out to about $12 (with a coupon): Just In Case, What Do U Think, White Secret, Underwater, Break Through, VIP Appeal.

Check Me Out, Get the Fever, Sundancer, No More Drama, Pool Party.

From Zoya: Remove+, Mimi, Ivanka.

And some non-np goodies:

From Hautelook: Crazylibellule and the Poppies solid perfume in Vanilla Macarons, Josephine Jonquille, Chere Louise. (And a free necklace holder for the perfume??)

From Bathhouse Soaps on etsy: Cherry Chip and Cream Cheese soap, Carrot Cake soap, Coconut Cake soap (all cute and cake shaped); Hot Toddy soap sample and Billowing Blossoms soap sample.

I'm feeling sick to my stomach right now but I may try to swatch later...
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BB Couture Spring 2010: Man Bug and Horned Devil NOTDs

BB Couture does glittery jellies RIGHT. None of this gloopy formula with obscured glitter that has no sparkle! They have beautiful jellies that just shimmer with multicolored microglitter.

BB Couture Man Bug

This is the seafoam (slightly minty) green version of BB Couture Sea of Cortez. Gorgeous sheer jelly with a ton of gold, green and possibly silver microglitter. This is three coats and even though I'm not a fan of VNL in most polishes, I do think it works for these types of BB Couture polishes. I loved this as an NOTD when I wore it a week or so ago. (What is a Man Bug anyway?)

BB Couture Horned Devil

This one is ON FIRE. It reminds me of BB Couture Hermosa Surfer Girl, one of my favorite jellies. It's orange-y red with a truckload of gold, green and red (possibly?) microglitter that just lights up my nails. Such an awesome, lively polish. Again, this is three coats and so squishily jelly. :D Definitely one of my favorite NOTDs of late.
read more "BB Couture Spring 2010: Man Bug and Horned Devil NOTDs"

Monday, March 29, 2010

"The Corpse Look": Essie Great Expectations

It took me four manicure-fails this weekend until I finally put on a polish that worked. I've never tried on so many colours that legit didn't work for me before!! I kind of wanted to show you the fails, but I didn't want keep them on long enough for it to be light out. (That bad. Really.) After so many disappointments I had to go to a colour that worked - my hubby was visiting this weekend and I know it was kind of annoying him that I redid my nails three times...

My sure bet was Essie Great Expectations:

I got this puppy for 70 cents at Ulta on clearance (not my Ulta, but the way more awesome one that is far away). I'm finding more and more that I either gravitate towards dark vampy colours or super light colours. I seem to struggle with the middle range, especially non-neutrals in the middle range. These light polishes yield what my mother calls "the corpse look" - but I think it works for me! I have a lot of colours in the corpse-genre and they are my fail-safes. If nothing is working and I don't know what to wear, the super-pale, but not-quite-natural colours seem to go with everything, and don't leave me completely bored.

Great Expectations is a virtual dupe to OPI Moon Over Mumbai - it's a soft grey with a very subtle amount of shimmer. (Definitely not enough to the point where you look at it and think "shimmer polish!") This pulls slightly purple on me (what doesn't?) but I think it is because I used Barielle Nail Camouflage underneath it instead of a white basecoat. The effect is a semi-sheer (but opaque in 3 coats) finish that looks like a thin layer of porcelain was laid over your nails - delicate and pretty.

The other advantage of super-pale polishes? My lab-mates don't seem to notice if I change my polish colour so as long as I keep it in "the corpse look" category, I can change my polish as often as I want and not have it pointed out in a condescending fashion! Bonus!

Not shabby for 70 cents - not shabby at all.

Do you guys rock "the corpse look"? Am I just morbid?

read more ""The Corpse Look": Essie Great Expectations"

China Glaze - Light Grapes

I had initially planned to swatch some China Glaze blues but at the last minute decided to do a KOTD instead.  It's a little messy around the cuticles. I haven't got the skill the other ladies have for avoiding their cuticles and I typically take pictures a day after a mani so the polish has had a chance to come away from my skin. No time for such luxuries today though!

I am still trying to figure out what I think of Light as Air. I don't know whether it's because I was trying to do this mani hastily (or not) but I found the application to be a bit fussy. It was lovely and opaque in two coats but the polish dragged a bit as though it were drying quickly during the application process.  On another note, while I am not a fan of pastels on myself I bought this precisely for the purposes of doing Konadicures and I think it turned out well. I am not sure I could pull this shade off (nor am I sure I'd try to) on its own though. Still, it does make a beautiful base. And Grape Pop stamps surprisingly well!

As an aside, one of my students noticed my nails last week. It took me by surprise initially since she attended my office hours to talk about the course (obviously)... But she was so enthusiastic about my Konadicure I had to explain it to her. She left a Konad convert (and actually sent me a follow-up email) so I told her about Kathleen over at OCNailart. I guess this nail polish "thing" of mine can't stay hidden forever! Then again...maybe it should!

Base colour: China Glaze - Light as Air
Stamp: China Glaze - Grape Pop; China Glaze - Avalanche
Plate - Konad m57, m54
Topcoat: Seche Vite

Anyway, as I'm sure most of you are aware, the semester is drawing to a close. I have final papers to write, comps lists to compile, tons of assignments and final exams to grade...and a conference to get ready for in just under 3 weeks. Suffice it to say I'm freaking out a little. (Mainly over the conference because public speaking scares me to no end...and it's been a really, really emotionally trying semester as a result.) With all that in mind, I'd like to wish everyone in school a great end of term...and everyone in general a Happy Easter.

As I'll be quite busy in the next little while I probably won't be back in earnest until mid-May. But you'll likely see me stick my head in to say hello and/or find me rambling about something or the other on my personal blog (  (Until then you've got awesome ladies with more interesting polish taste than I have to entertain you.) :)

Have a great April!

Oh...and here's a peek at my new polish storage:


What I'm wearing: My "Light Grapes" mani. :)
What I'm waiting on: A textbook for one of my classes; Richard Walker - The Conquest of Bread
What I'm lemming: I think I've finally picked a phone - Google's Nexus One. doesn't have a keyboard - see: convo.
read more "China Glaze - Light Grapes"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

NOTD: ManGlaze The Death Tar

I'm in a fairly frustrated mood right now. First of all, I'm sure I've mentioned this before, my graduate school program is heavily influenced by postmodern philosophical thinking. Unfortunately, the faculty did not feel it was necessary to share this with me before I agreed to accept my offer to join the program (and I would have declined had I known). Even more unfortunate is that I have had zero experience whatsoever in philosophy, let alone postmodernism (which mostly reads like rambling gibberish to me). So I am thrilled (not) that I have to do a 20 minute presentation this Wednesday on Anne Anlin Cheng's The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief, a book that is very interesting yet I do not understand it very well by any means, let alone well enough to create some kind of critique or analysis. How do you create a presentation on something that does not make very much sense to you? Where do you even begin? ARG.

Thanks for letting me vent. Back to nail polish....

Way back in the day when mattes weren't everywhere like they are now, I ordered from ManGlaze. I resisted for a long time because of some offensive misogynistic (IMO) pictures on their site that have since been taken down. I received great customer service and everything arrived safely. However, I didn't actually use my bottles (I ordered the black and grey) until yesterday! On Saturday afternoon, I was laying around doing homework and feeling angry and nervous about my looming presentation, when I decided to do my nails as a way to calm down. I was about to work out (we have an elliptical in our apt - it's a very cheap Schwinn (this one except ours is black) but it does the job very well) and I got dressed and ready in my workout clothes and sat down to do my mani. I went for the "sweatpants for nails look" and chose ManGlaze The Death Tar, which has now been discontinued and replaced with Matte is Murder. This was, hands down, the BEST experience I've had with a matte polish. I tend to apply very slowly, since I like to have minimal cleanup, and mattes simply cannot be applied slowly typically. This one, however, could be applied like any normal polish. The slight problem is that it was very easy to smudge - I accidentally lightly brushed my pinky against a nearby bottle and it totally smudged off. It was fixable though. It bubbled a tiny bit on my index finger but it's no big deal to me.

I put it on around 4:40PM, worked out until 6:00, and took a shower around 6:45. It was completely dry by the time I took my shower. While I worked out I was careful not to touch my nails, so I'm not sure at what point they were totally dry.

This is 2 coats with Barielle Camouflage as a basecoat and no topcoat. It's already starting to chip since it is a matte (mattes chip quickly) and I had to do laundry and dishes today. But that's ok. I only meant to wear it for the day anyway.


Outdoors, sunlight:

Outdoors, shade:

ManGlaze polish can be purchased here. I have to admit that I'm tempted to order Matte is Murder, Matte-Astrophe Topcoat, and Hot Mess Topcoat. Do any of you own ManGlaze? What do you think?

Thanks for reading and thanks for listening to me vent!

[Edit]: I forgot to add, if you feel like following me on Twitter to listen to my random rants and complaints about life, I'm @aclockstopped. :)
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Old NOTD: Ciate Apple & Custard

Ciate Apple & Custard

I just adore this warm celadon creme. It applied perfectly in two coats -- par for course for Ciate cremes, I'm finding -- and wore beautifully with Diamont topcoat. Not much else I have to say about it besides: I LOVE! :D This is quickly becoming one of my favorite brands for the quality of their cremes. Also, the cute little bow on the bottles.

School starts again tomorrow. Unfortunately, I managed to come down with an awful cold again: my throat was so sore last night that kept waking up from the pain. :( I guess it'll be a lot of sleep for me today.
read more "Old NOTD: Ciate Apple & Custard"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sephora by OPI swatches: Absinthe Makes the Heart & Worth My Weight

Here are two Sephora by OPI polishes that I feel just didn't suit me at all... but everyone else seems to like 'em. :P

This is one color that I just had no love for at all. This is a swatch from awhile back (early December, right after my trip to Boston). That's how non-fun I think this color is: I totally forgot that I had swatched it...

Sephora by OPI Absinthe Makes the Heart

I like dark greens, I like multicolored shimmer. It's not an uninteresting polish: it's gold and green shimmer in a darkened moss green base. But on my fingers, it just looked like slightly sparkly mud. In some lights, the green showed up a little bit more and was kind of pretty... but this sort of just reminds me of dead leaf mulch. Sparkly dead leaf mulch but not sparkly enough. :( I also found this polish fairly sheer and had to use four coats to build it up to opacity. A lot of people love this color but I just couldn't make it work for me. :(

Sephora by OPI Worth My Weight

This is a polish that I REALLY wanted to love. Chunky holo glitter and small holo glitter suspended in a gold shimmer and microglitter base. It sparkles like crazy and is right up my alley... excepts it falls in that paler, cooler gold category that never fails to make my hands look weird. It is totally gorgeous up-close though.

Close up of Worth My Weight

Worth My Weight in the bottle

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Daydream222's Treatment Regimen and Routine

At the risk of sounding conceited, I've been getting oodles of compliments on my nails lately from all kinds of people, including friends, coworkers, strangers at the store, etc. I started to wonder what had changed to warrant such attention. Was I using hand gestures more? Was I wearing brighter, more noticeable colors? The answer is no. My nails, simply put, are in the best shape they've ever been in my entire life (and I used to be a serious biter) and I owe it all to my treatment regimen! So I wanted to share with PoP's fantastic, super awesome readers my favorite treatments that really work.*

Let's start with the stars of my routine.

L-R: Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler, Growth Activator for Natural Nails, Nail Rebuilding Protein, and Natural Nail Camouflage.

I found ALL of these at either TJ Maxx or Marshall's for $3.99 each. If you never see Barielles at either of your TJ Maxx or Marshall's, stay vigilant and keep checking. None of my stores ever had Barielles until the holiday season and now it's hit-or-miss. I stock up every time I see a box. You can also purchase Barielle products from Barielle's website, though they are considerably more expensive.

Hydrating Ridge Filler: This was seriously a godsend. I finally scored a bottle of this back in October and immediately started using it with Growth Activator (I will get to that in a minute). At the time I started using it, my nails were constantly breaking and peeling. After a month there was a significant difference that continues to this day. I used it alone or paired with Growth Activator, followed by my usual polish routine.

Growth Activator for Natural Nails: The directions say that this is NOT a regular basecoat and to use it over something else, so I used it over Hydrating Ridge Filler, followed by my usual polish routine. I believe you can also use it as a topcoat of sorts (not quick dry). My nails grew like WEEDS with this.

Nail Rebuilding Protein: Be careful with this one. I found out from the Nail Board that too much protein on your nails can make them brittle, which I think may have been the problem with Nubar Nu Nails for me. Anyway, I use this one once and awhile when my nails feel/look weak, followed by my usual polish routine.

Natural Nail Camouflage: I think this is my favorite out of all of these. After Hydrating Ridge Filler and Growth Activator did their jobs successfully and my nails are strong and healthy, I switched over to using Natural Nail Camouflage as my typical basecoat, followed by my usual polish routine.

*These treatments work for me, but that does not necessarily mean that they'll work for you. Body chemistry varies from person to person, rendering some products helpful for some and damaging or useless to others.

I did not "go naked" at any point during this change in my basecoats/treatments. I don't believe in it and it gives me the urge to bite. Not only did these treatments significantly change my nail health, they also changed the longevity of my polish wear. I used to get chips within 12 hours, but now it's closer to 48 hours, which is incredible for me since I am a huge klutz. In fact, my nails are so strong that they did not break in two potentially tragic incidences last week. In the first, I was trying to clamp one of those "chip clips" on my kittehs' food bag to hold it shut and it accidentally clamped on my index finger and nail! My nail was really sore after that for a few days but it did not break or peel! In the second incident I grabbed the door handle of my car and my hand slipped, which caused my nail to catch on the door handle - but it didn't break or chip!

Next up, my favorite moisturizers.

L-R: Vaseline Hand & Nail, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, Barielle Intensive Nail Renewal Oil, CND Cuticle Eraser, and Qtica Cuticle Repair.

My typical routine involves using CND Cuticle Eraser, followed by Barielle Intensive Nail Renewal Oil, and then either the Neutrogena or Vaseline moisturizer. I try to do this routine 1-2X per day. I use the Qtica before bed every night. You can purchase the Barielle from TJ Maxx/Marshall's or Barielle's website, the CND from any of the e-tailers, the Qtica from Victoria Nail Supply or Art of Beauty, and the Neutrogena and Vaseline from any stores like Target, Wal-Mart, etc.

Next, my favorite nail polish removal process.

L-R: Felt and Zoya Remove +.

Zoya Remove + is by far my favorite remover so far, though I have not tried OPI's or Barielle's. I still use pure acetone and acetone from Sally's for glitter removal or cleanup but I try to use Remove + the most. I purchase very cheap felt sheets from Wal-Mart and cut them into 3X3 inch squares. I used to buy black felt but I like white felt much more. It's personal preference, though. Use what color you like! You can purchase Remove + from Art of Beauty (link above). It's pricey, but worth it in my opinion.

Next, my OPI crystal file.

I purchased this from Transdesign but you can pick it up in some stores like Ulta too. I used to have an Essie until I broke it and I loved that one too. That's pretty much it! It's great - get a cystal file - it's a necessity!

Last, but not least, Biotin supplements.

I want to be clear about this - anytime you decide to take supplements, check with your doctor first. Supplements can affect other medications and even potentially harm you if you have certain pre-existing conditions. I started out taking 1 1000mcg capsule of Biotin daily and when I had no side effects, I started using the 5000mcg. I take 1 capsule per day. This bottle advises not to take it within 2 hours of any other medication, so I follow that guideline. I purchased this bottle at my grocery store and you can find Biotin at most stores. Some women on the Nail Board mentioned experiencing cystic acne or acne breakouts when on Biotin, so be aware. I have not had these effects but I have never had any issues with acne so maybe that's why.

Well, that's my treatment routine! I hope this may help some of you in choosing a treatment regimen!!!!! I need to go work out - one side effect of graduate school for me has been weight gain! Ick. :(
read more "Daydream222's Treatment Regimen and Routine"

Nailtini Parfait D'Amour with Nailtini topcoats

The less-successful precursor to the new CND line, Nailtini... and there are reasons why it is less successful.

Nailtini Parfait D'Amour
Isn't it a cute lilacky creme? I think it's adorable. If only it didn't take three coats to get near opaque! I've always wondered why this brand didn't get more credit for the "combine creme and topcoats for different effects" gimmick. The bottles are elegant (tall cylinders, like wine bottles), the branding was great (you have cremes named after liquors and and topcoats named after mixers, garnishes, cocktail miscellany) and a pretty nice variety of colors. After trying a couple of polishes, it seems obvious they didn't grasp that they were selling polishes to layer. You need relatively pigmented and quick drying nail polishes... unless you want the topcoat layer to pull the bottom layers right off the nail. So three coats and having to wait between base color and topcoat garnish... maybe not the right way to go about it. :(

Nailtini Parfait D'Amour with "mixers"

From left to right (2 coats each):
Index: none | Middle: Spritzer | Ring: Crushed Ice | Pinky: Blue Flame

Nailtini Spritzer
Chunky gold shimmer. Somewhat hard to see in low lights.

Nailtini Crushed Ice
Frosty silver shimmer. Pretty bright and reminds me of the CND Sparkles. The sort of thing you'd be able to see on top of pastels as well as darker colors.

Nailtini Blue Flame

Transform your polishes into pearly blue semi-frost... eh. Maybe it would be better on top of a darker color.

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