Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NYC Flat Iron Green vs Milani One of a Kind

I have seriously been on a buy every dark green kick this whole summer! Don't know what has gotten into me, but I just have to buy every dark green I see. I was at CVS the other day and HAD to buy these two even though 1) they both look almost black 2) they really aren't anything special. I'm crazy, right? haha I think posting this entry will only prove that to be a fact even more.

Flat Iron Green is one of the new permanent NYC colors, and One of a Kind is part of the same display that Milani has Dressmaker in.

And even more proof...

L-R: One of a Kind, Flat Iron Green, One of a Kind, Flat Iron Green

That's not shimmer on my ring finger... I don't know what that is, looks like a smudge. They are pretty much identical. Both are super dark green cremes that look almost black, all the time. The only differences are in application and formula. One of a Kind took three coats to become opaque and not streaky, while Flat Iron Green only two coats. One of a Kind had a slightly more jelly like formula which probably why it took one more coat to get even. If you want to try one of these, I would definitely reccomend Flat Iron because it is cheaper, only $1.99 where as Milani is $4.49, is permanent, and application was easier! ALSO, these two remind me a lot of Sephora by OPI Dark Room that I also have.... And you know what makes me even crazier?? I absolutely HATE polishes that look black when they aren't black.......... hahaha I think I'm just on a hunt for a really nice super dark green creme that doesn't look black all the time.

Does anyone else have nail polish phases like I currently do?

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Color Club Untamed Luxury, Part I: the glitters

Here are my first set of swatches done with a wrist brace on. And they took much longer and don't look half as good as they should. I just couldn't wait to try the new Color Club collex (provided by Color Club for my review).

So I'm not sure if my swatching was particularly bad or if these polishes were particularly difficult to make look good. One thing I kept thinking throughout was that these were seven missing Revlon Street Wear polishes; that if I had found these polishes in Street Wear bottles, I would be frantically searching for their names online. They're very old school Street Wear glitter type polishes to me: brilliant in the bottle, somewhat difficult on the nail, often gritty and streaky but ultimately kinda cool... sometimes. Anyone else get this vibe from these polishes?

Color Club Resort to Red
Basic red shimmer... almost frosty in appearance. A little brushstrokey but very easy to apply (especially while in a brace...). Two coats. Very meh to me.

Color Club Snakeskin

Apologies for the sunlight washing this one out a bit: it's more of a mossy metallic grey color than straight up grey. Something that's a little more obvious in shade but I didn't get a good shade pic of this. It's also dotted with tons of gold microshimmer, as you can kind of see in the larger photos of this (and in the closeup). Two coats, also very easy to apply.

Closeup of Snakeskin

Color Club Ms Hautie

One of the ones I think most resembles old school Street Wear. Holo glitter with a purported red flash in a metallic grey base. This took me two tries to apply properly. For my first try, I used thick coats and the third coat just destroyed the mani. For my second one, I used three very thin coats and it came out alright. This definitely needs topcoat because the holo glitter looks very gritty in this base.

Ms Hautie in bottle
See that pretty red flash there? COMPLETELY disappears on the nail. Boo!

Color Club De-Luxe-Cious

Another polish that I should have applied a second time because the first time didn't go so well. Everyone use thin coats with this one! Otherwise, it'll be translucent AND be brushed right off the nail by the third coat. This one is also very reminiscent of old Street Wear: sheer dusty blue shimmer base with opalescent and/or holo glitter. Oddly enough though, this isn't as bumpy as it looks: it actually has a pretty smooth, glossy surface when you see it in person. But it does appear bumpy. Its definitely an interesting, unique polish but it also looks a lot like someone's failed franken.

Color Club Red Velvet

Basic idea as seen before in China Glaze Lubu Heels and Eyeko Vampira (red glitter in a black jelly base) but it seems that Red Velvet is a little more dense that Vampira (though I don't know how it stands next to Lubu Heels). This one needs topcoat. It looks terrible without topcoat. Three coats.

Color Club Covered in Diamonds (over Red Velvet)

Come on. This is so a missing Street Wear type of glitter. It's like the bar glitters: great idea, looks kind of cool, ultimately kind of messy and uneven. These are irregular flakes (not flakies though) that are kind of thick and stick up all over the place and are hard to place evenly. Sometimes it looks like opalescent confetti gone wrong, and sometimes it looks like the coolest stained glass ever. I happen to like the effect from a distance but closeup, it just looks a mess. Two coats.

Closeup of Covered in Diamonds (over Red Velvet)

Color Club Untamed Luxury

Well, of course I was gonna love this one! Teal jelly suffused with blue (rather than perfectly matching) square glitter. I LOVE square glitter. Three coats. Very happy with this one.

Closeup of Untamed Luxury

Well, that's that for this half of the collection. I hope to get the rest swatched before the end of the week! (Grr, dumb wrist brace.)

Ahh! Last day of August! Now I get to count up how many nail polishes I get in September for exercising... Aug 26 (25m cardio), Aug 29th (35m cardio), Aug 30th (45m cardio), Aug 31st (60m cardio+very mild strength training). I don't have time to tally it now but I'll post about it the next time I have a swatch to post. :)
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Elegant Glitz: OPI Glitzerland

I know I already swatched my OPI Swiss collection picks for you, I just had to show you a picture from when I wore OPI Glitzerland as a full manicure. This polish really exceeded my expectations! If you can, click on the pic to enlarge - you will see the multi-coloured shimmer in this bad boy:

I have a soft spot for metallic polishes, but really hate streaky, brushstroke-filled finishes, so these ultra shimmery semi-foils are right up my alley. Plus, this gold is neutral and quiet enough to go with anything. It definitely doesn't scream "GOOOLLLDDDD" like OPI Dazzled by Gold, but it gilds your fingertips elegantly and sparkles beautifully in low light. Sexy!

Just had to share another shot of this one! :)

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Claire's Flirty/Shy

I will fall for every gimmick you throw at me. A bagel slicer that takes up my entire counter-top? Sure. A giant food dehydrator when I don't even like dried fruit? Why not!

Hence, the mood polishes. I thought from the get-go that the mood polish series from Claire's would be yet another gimmick I fell for and it would be a miserable experience; happily, though, I have to say that I think I may have been incorrect!

This is my most recent acquisition of the collection, Flirty/Shy... it's an indigo/purple creme polish when cool and an azure blue when warm. I've heard a little scuttle about the ability of these polishes to change color, and I hate to say this, but I think I must have a perfectly balanced body temperature for these! Most of the time, my body must hover in the half warm/half cool state, so it looks as if I am rocking a pretty sweet gradient manicure. Score!

As for the wear, this is where these polishes fall flat. By the end of the first day of wear I was missing more than one ENTIRE nail of polish, which is something that never happens to me. I understand that you often have to trade something in for a good gimmick, but ONE DAY? Have you guys had pretty good luck with these polishes?

Happy day, all!
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Illamasqua Fern layered with Sally Hansen HD Spectrum

Sally Hansen HD Spectrum layered over Illamasqua Fern

The pattern of shimmer makes my nails look a little bizarrely shaped. Hmm, odd. Anyway... as much as I loved Fern, I needed it to brighten it up a bit. Because bright vibrant blue needs brightening up. Always. It turns out, Fern is a great base color for Spectrum in that it makes it look like the bottle color. Otherwise, all these HD polishes have a tendency to be pretty sheer. Like "won't be opaque in four coats sheer". This was two coats of Spectrum over Fern. Unfortunately, doing it over this matching base color (as opposed to black) totally obliterates the slight purple duochrome in sunlight -- though it still shows up somewhat in low lights... if you look VERY closely. But even though I lost the duochrome, I still love how sparkly this mani turned out to be. I want to try it on my toes!
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lippmann Collection - Across the Universe AND ONTO MY FAVORITES LIST!

Trust me, I understand that everyone and their mother has desired for, swatched and raved about this polish, and please understand that I hate nothing more than appearing like I am hopping onto the proverbial band wagon.

I have to say, though... everyone was right. ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

Lippmann Collection - Across the Universe

Did I balk at the price tag of this high-end polish? Hell yes, I did... for months. One can only take so much drooling on her laptop before she slams her credit card number into Nordstrom's website and prays for the best, and boy did my prayers work. From the deep blue jelly that makes you feel like you're looking into the depths of the ocean to the variety of blue, green and silver hex and small glitter, this polish is absolutely stunning. Oh, and about the wear... five days, MINIMAL tip wear. That's right, I said it. MINIMAL. And I wore it for five days, which must be some sort of record for me, but frankly, I didn't want to take it off.


What do you guys think of this baby? Are you still as in love today as you were when you first saw this lovely polish?

Happy day, all!
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Illamasqua Fern

Just received Color Club's Untamed Luxury collex yesterday from their PR folks. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to swatch them over the weekend. I'm currently in a wrist brace right now (explanation can be found at the bottom of the post) so it may be a little slow going. I guess I could remove the brace for swatching but that seems to be going a little too far for the sake of some pictures of nail polish...?

Hey, at least I have a huge backlog of swatch photos to post if I'm not going to be able to do a lot of new swatches for awhile...

Illamasqua Fern

I loved this NOTD (even though I got some shrinkage with Gelous bc and Diamont tc). It applied so very easily in two coats. Vibrant azure blue base with light blue shimmer. The shimmer is not subtle at all, which I just love. It gives it so much more pop. :)

And what I love best of all about this nail polish is that it cost me $5 and change! Thank you, eBay, you are not so evil after all! I had a $10 coupon from PayPal to use on any eBay purchase and found this seller who was selling Illamasqua Fern, Snap and Phallic for $26 Buy It Now. Even though people were bidding on it auction-style, I decided that it was too good a deal to let slip through my fingers. With the $10 coupon, I got all three for $16! I love a good deal.

So bad news on the workout front: when I fell off my bike in July, I either sprained or fractured my wrist and now I have to wear a brace... and cannot put any weight on my wrist, which means no vinyasa yoga, no strength training with free weights, no pushups. :( I have been treating it somewhat gingerly since the fall because it hurt but I had been trying to ignore the pain (because I'm stubborn and stupid), thinking it would go away sooner or later. Well, six weeks later, pain has not gone away. Not surprising since I wasn't giving it much of a rest. I just got an x-ray yesterday so I'll at least know what exactly is wrong by the beginning of next week.

Aug 23rd (25m cardio), Aug 24th (60m cardio+strength), Aug 25 (40m hike through the woods on my campus with my labmates and advisor... because my advisor is trying to exercise more and thought it would be a great idea for a lab meeting).
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Water Marbling with Metallics

I wanted to do a water marble of gold and turquoise for my friend's wedding (it ended up looking totally ridiculous for wedding purposes so the day of I switched to $OPI's I'm Wired--terrible formula, fyi).

Still I thought the result was kind of cool. I used a metallic gold polish from a random brand I've found in the NYC area. It behaved in unexpected ways, I think maybe because of the metallic's increased drying speed?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Hunt For Red (By) October, Part 2

Battle of the blue-based reds!

Here we have the latest polish auditioning for the part of my perfect red - Essie A-List:

Check out my A-List nubbins! This red jelly is another blue-toned red (like OPI Vodka & Caviar...as seen in Part 1 of my Hunt), but it reads deeper than Vodka & Caviar, which I think is more flattering on my skin.

Here it is compared to a couple other 'blue-based reds' in different lights:

L-R: OPI Got the Blues for Red, Essie Limited Addiction, Essie A-List.

As you can see from the top picture, these reds all look fairly similar in bright lighting. In fact, I went to work with my polish like this and no one was the wiser - I even forgot sometimes! In darker light the differences come out.

OPI Got the Blues for Red turns burgundy in dimmer lighting, so I don't know if I even count it in the hunt for my red! It's a confusing polish - juicy red in direct light, deep burgundy in others...it has multiple personality disorder!

Essie Limited Addiction is very close to A-List in almost all lightings, but I get the sense that it is slightly deeper/richer, which I like. I may just be liking the name though. ;)

Even though LA is probably my favourite of these blue-based reds, I'm not sure any of these is "IT". Even though blue-based colours typically look better on me, (i.e. Pink polishes - lilac tones look great, warm-toned pinks look like death warmed over on my fingers), I'm not sure this is the kind of red that I would feel comfortable with wearing every day. It's very cherry, very pin-up, but quite a bold contrast against my super pale skin.

I think what I'm looking for a more neutral red that doesn't make me feel quite so self-conscious.

The Hunt continues!

read more "The Hunt For Red (By) October, Part 2"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sinful Colors Dream On

We all know that neons are hard to photograph and so are purple polishes. What makes perfect sense? That the hardest polish that I have photographed so far is a NEON PURPLE polish.

Sinful Colors Dream On

Sinful Colors Dream On is a pretty fabulous color even though it likes to kick the garbage out of my sweet little unassuming camera. Neon purple sounds like a pretty good description for this shade, but I'd also suggest electric plum or Barney-fur-violet. Yeah, those are about right, too.

As far as application goes, this is three coats of quick-drying, satin-finished polish with a thick coat of Seche Vite as a top coat to add shine. The color is vibrant and lovely, and it lasted for a good two days with only minor chipping, which is great in my mind for a drug store brand.

The only issue I had with this mani was with my Seche Vite; do any of you lovely readers have any problems with scratches on your nails that aren't super noticeable but annoying nonetheless?

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jessica Tourmaline and Quirius Sand Castle: two polishes I didn't know I'd like

This isn't really a themed post. The only thing these two polishes have in common is that I thought I'd hate them but I actually was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them.

Jessica Tourmaline
This cool lavender pink falls between foil and frost for me. It doesn't have the sort of full-foil effect that a lot of foils I'm used to have... but it's not as ugly as most frosts. It looks like it's just a lavender pink creme with a lot of fine silver glitter thrown in. It's not particularly elegant or pretty but somehow, it really appealed to me when I put it on. Three coats, if I recall correctly.

Quirius Sand Castle
Quirius sent me this one a long time ago, right before their half-year closing of their website. Since they weren't going to be available for purchase for half a year, it didn't make sense to review it then. So I forgot about those polishes until my recent collection reorganization... and found this. I kinda groaned when I saw it: frosty non-color. But then when I swatched it, I realized that 1. it doesn't quite give me mannequin hands but it's sort of a complementary color and didn't look so bad and 2. I actually like the frostiness. Why? I'm not sure. I certainly am not a huge fan of the brushstrokes but otherwise, it applied very nicely in two coats. I forget how easy I find Quirius polishes to apply, especially given that they are a fairly inexpensive brand.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Essie Fall 2010, Part II of II: Little Brown Dress, Velvet Voyeur, and Limited Addiction

Cuticles are still travel ravaged. And I tried using the Nfu.Oh cuticle remover (like, for real, not on fairly neat cuticles while wearing nail polish) and gotta say, I find it pretty useless! No removing powers as far as I could see. So I went back to my trusty old Blue Cross Cuticle Remover and voila! a good job done quickly for far cheaper.

Anyway, here are the rest of the Essie Fall 2010 samples that their PR folks sent me. Predictably, I was less excited by these than the first three I showed but they are actually very nice polishes nonetheless. All three are very glossy without topcoat, which is always a plus (even though I never fail to put on topcoat unless it's a matte finish).

Essie Little Brown Dress

Dark and delicious. Applied very easily and neatly in two thin coats. It's such a warm, fall/winter color. It definitely can appear near black in some lights (as in the second picture) but in other lights, it's more obviously brown (as in the first).

Essie Limited Addiction
I just don't like the way reds look on me. This one was not particularly stunning to me one way or another besides that it's super glossy (almost jelly-like). Nice that it was opaque in two coats though! I did find this one harder to apply for some reason: a little gloopier than the others, perhaps? Or maybe I just have an unconscious bias against reds. :P

Essie Velvet Voyeur

Great little vampy shade, so glossy that it almost looks jelly. Nothing particularly new but a pretty good execution of a staple shade. Two coats, good application. It does mostly look like it's a very dark purple but it can look close to black at times.

I feel so gross to have not exercised at all right before I left for Chicago until the day after I arrived home. I ate sooo much crap -- and, let's face it, drank toooo much -- at the conference. I guess I'll be not getting 31 polishes in September. :( Aug 20th (40m cardio), Aug 21st (20m cardio), Aug 22nd (45m cardio+strength).
read more "Essie Fall 2010, Part II of II: Little Brown Dress, Velvet Voyeur, and Limited Addiction"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

China Glaze Ruby Pumps

Ladies and (maybe one or two) gentlemen, I give you one of the most popular polishes in the world!!!

China Glaze Ruby Pumps - indoors

China Glaze Ruby Pumps - sunlight

You knew it had to be Ruby Pumps, right? I mean, come on - this polish is legendary! Originally released as part of "The Wizard of Ooh Ahz" collection and then placed in their permanent collection as well as brought back for the re-release of "Wizard" last year, this polish has probably graced the fingers of most of you out there. As a matter of fact, for a hot second I thought about NOT showing this polish as it has been swatched from here to Zimbabwe and back, but it was The Husband's birthday this week and I let him choose. "What polish do you think I should..." "Ruby Pumps." "No seriously, Husband, which one should I..." "Ruby Pumps." What can I say, he just loves this one.

So what is it about this color? Is it the glitter-filled candy apple red goodness? Is is the smooth finish? Is it the fact that every girl out there has always wanted a pair of THESE?

Who knows... but you've got to have it, right?

Happy day, all!
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A Love Resumed: OPI Tickets to Paradise

Have you ever re-discovered a hidden gem in your stash? A polish that you haven't used in a while, and you can't quite remember why you kept it...then you try it and it's fab? That's what happened to me!

I used to *adore* OPI Tickets to Paradise, and I don't know why I ever stopped...

This is the most beautiful orchid-tinged white that just...well words, can't describe it, and my picture doesn't do it much justice either. It's clean, it's neat, it's pretty, it's feminine and it warrants a second (and third) look, because you can never quite put your finger on *exactly* what the colour is.

Many have reported this as being streaky. This was four coats, but I didn't have any streaking because I let each coat dry for a few minutes before applying the next - worked like a charm!

I'm so happy to have unearthed this polish. It feels like I found an old friend and we are having a great time getting reacquainted! Back to the top of my 'favourite pale colours' list it goes!

Any treasures buried deep in your make-up drawers???

read more "A Love Resumed: OPI Tickets to Paradise"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I recently needed a super fun mani to cheer me up so what did I decide to paint my nails? I decided to paint them OPI Catch Me in Your Net which is a beautiful polish and is stunning on its own, but I wanted more.... so I topped it off with an Anna Sui glitter that I picked up earlier in the month called 101.

So what's the deal with these Anna Sui polishes? For one, they come in really cute packaging!

The bottle is a rose and on top of the handle, there is also a rose! So adorable. (sorry for the dust) The polish is also supposed to have a rose scent. Although, to me it smells like processed lychee fruits. Very sweet and kinda gives me a headache after a while if my fingers are close to my nose for longer than a few minutes.

Downside? They cost $15!!!!!!!! I bought this at the Anna Sui boutique in Soho, NYC... I also had to pay NYC tax on it :( It's been kinda rough lately so I splurged a bit and bought two polishes from the boutique. This is what my mani ended up looking like: OPI Catch Me in Your Net with Anna Sui 101 layered over it, two coats each.

This picture is in natural light so you can see the individual pieces of glitter and sparkles. Anna Sui 101 is a sheer bright blue jelly with round bright blue, aqua, and green glitter. And a couple more pictures just because I loved this mani so much...

You can sorta see the green peaking through from the OPI! I think that's what made this mani so so pretty :) This made my mani so freaking SPARKLEY, couldn't stop staring at it and didn't want to take it off!! After a day of wear and doing things with my hands, the scent started to fade though which I was thankful for, but kinda sad at the same time because by day 2 it was completely gone. I bought this shade and another one that I haven't tried yet. Would I buy Anna Sui again? Probably not since it was so much money unless she comes out with some super unique gorgeous colors!

Anyone else try Anna Sui?? Thoughts? Tips?

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NOTDs from the previous two days: Milani Bare to Wear and Incoco Oscar Night

My cuticles are still a bit travel-ravaged even though I've been treating them with Mango Mend every few hours since getting home. Sigh, traveling does do quite the number on my body. I'm still dead exhausted.

Milani Bare to Wear
This is supposedly somewhat close to Lippmann Waking Up in Vegas but I don't have that polish. This is a very greyed-out light taupe that can pull lilac in some lights. Very pretty, understated color and it only required three coats to be opaque but it took forever to dry (with Gelous and Diamont, which is usually a very quick drying combo on me). See that big chink on my pinky? Got that several hours after I applied the mani. Grr. Didn't notice it until I took the photo. Double grr.

Incoco Oscar Please

Satiny champagne shimmer made up of darker and lighter gold. Incoco sent me this for review and their review samples don't seem to have names. Either that or I can't find them. Judging by the swatches on their website, I think this is most likely to be Oscar Night. This is not the neatest or nicest Incoco mani and I'll tell you why: I did this on the plane in fifteen minutes during turbulence!

I didn't have a nail file or anything to trim down some off the less-well-fitting pieces but luckily, most of the pieces fit me alright. Because I lacked a file and just had to tear off the extra length at the end, some of the pieces ended up a bit too short for me but generally, I thought it looked okay, if a bit worn for just one day.

I peeled off -- yes, gross, I know -- my Paradoxal mani before applying it. Paradoxal lasted for four days without chips and then on the fifth and last day of the conference, a few small chips started coming off while I was on the plane. Being bored and nervous on a plane, I started picking the entire manicure off. And because my nails were stained from previous manis -- though not the Paradoxal mani -- I decided to try out the Incoco nail appliques I had been carrying in my carry-on for such an "emergency". (The emergency was that I was vain and bored.)

The flight attendant saw me putting on the Incoco nail appliques and asked me incredulously whether they actually work. I was happy to report to her her, yes, they do. :)
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