Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nfu Oh Jellies

I bought 6 Nfu Oh jellies: three ~non-traditional~ colors and three classics.

Today are the non-traditional colors (i.e. the only colors you guys care about).

Teal Jelly JS-33

(5 coats)

This one was the most clear. 5 coats and it's still no where near bottle color. The VNL is much more visible in person. At 5 coats I was worried about dry time (not Nfu Oh strong suit, IME) so I slapped on an ultra thick coat of Diamont and bubble city!!! Hated this mani and it didn't dry great, quelle surprise.

Apple Green Jelly JS-17

(3 coats)

Ahhhh more reasonable coverage. I think we'd have full coverage, no vnl at 4 coats but I don't do 4 unless I HAVE to. And I thought the unbelievable squishiness of this one would be compromised if I went with any more coats.

This one dried a liiiittle bit fussy (a some bupples popped up after 20 minutes or so) but applied reasonably well and I got lots of compliments. Just look at that swatch! I want to drink that color it looks so juicy!

Raspberry Jelly JS-26

(3 coats - Warning - this one is a bit more purple IRL, also the smudge on the middle finger is the TC not the polish)

Formula-wise, this one was the star. It applied pretty evenly and dried nicely (though not speedily).

I bought colors based on the fabulous street swatches (which are wanting in terms of lighting) and I tried to guess at the more opaque jellies (I can live with VNL but I really don't like completely see through, which is JS-33). One was a failure but frankly I was quite pleased with the other two.
read more "Nfu Oh Jellies"

Friday, April 29, 2011

A right royal haul: Butter London

…In which I discover Butter London, and my wallet weeps.

One of our lovely readers asked if I could get hold of Butter London's 'No More Waity Katie' to swatch. The answer was that yes, I could, but only if I was prepared to surrender fifteen of my Great British Pounds (about $25) for the privilege. Fifteen! Plus postage! That's almost enough to buy you a house in some of the less salubrious parts of Birmingham*. Ironically it's much cheaper to buy over the pond - it's available to US and Canadian customers for the much more reasonable sum of $14.

Anyway, incredulous cheapness aside, my interest in the brand was piqued. I decided to try a few of the more 'me' polishes available (their regular polishes are also quite a bit cheaper than NMWK at around the £9.50-£12 mark, which is a little less than an Illamasqua polish). So I put in an order from (I've not tried them before), and prepared to pounce on my nice postlady. We've had four bank holidays the space of 11 days here, so all the nation's post is sitting in some mighty pile at Royal Mail HQ while the posties top up their tans in the unseasonably good weather we're having. Just as I was starting to sweat that I would have nothing to show you, the package turned up! And what a package it is:

The little envelope one? SWEETS. With 'powder rooms' piped in the centre. Greedy squee!

Here's my haul. L-R: Henley Regatta, West End Wonderland, Victoriana, Rosie Lee. Confectionary, blogger's own

I'm really stoked about the glitters. I mean, it doesn't take much to get me fired up where glitters are concerned, but these are So. Pretty. West End Wonderland looks to me like a finer, sparser version of OPI Gift of Gold (which I have been stalking on ebay since Christmas, but I can't quite bring myself to drop £17 or so on it). Henley Regatta is a little like China Glaze Atlantis in the bottle, except that the colour in Henley is glitter in a clear base, whereas atlantis is silver holo in a coloured base. Same hue family, though. Victoriana is paler than I was expecting, probably as a result of all the pearly silver shimmer/micro-glitter. It's only a wee bit deeper than Illamasqua Caress, although I'm expecting it'll dry darker, so I'm looking forward to trying it. Rosie Lee I have nothing even vaguely alike - not a surprise since I don't wear pink (on which more later) but it's just oodles of awesome.

Which one do you want to see first?

I may have already put in another order. Happy wedding day, Royal people! If you'll excuse me, I'm off to coat my mitts in glitter.

*Not really. I'm allowed to make that joke because I live there.
read more "A right royal haul: Butter London"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

T-Shirt Grey - Barry M Grey

I think this is just a magnificent dark grey creme...

As simple as that! Just like my favourite dark grey t-shirt.

Do you have any Barry M favourites that you think I should try? I've been loving this brand!

read more "T-Shirt Grey - Barry M Grey"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Zoya Phoebe (Mod Mattes, Summer 2011)

Back from Taipei. Too tired, too harried, too stressed out... sigh.

Zoya Phoebe
I am so bad at applying mattes! This was a goopy mess for me. I love the color: this almost wispy, ethereal shimmering blue satin... and then there are the clumps. Two coats. Because a third would've been even worse.

Zoya Phoebe with topcoat
Better, much better. Such pretty blue shimmer with topcoat, no?

Time to prepare for section...
read more "Zoya Phoebe (Mod Mattes, Summer 2011)"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GOSH Miss Sweety and a giveaway

This is from the annals of 'colours I loved in the bottle, and hated on me'. In the bottle it had such promise - a lovely peachy tan nude, just a little darker than my skintone. I had it in mind as a potential go-to neutral, for the occasions - conferences, meetings and the like - when my usual manicures are a little de trop. I think it would probably look nice on someone with a tan (i.e. not me, at least not if it keeps raining), but I just can't wrap my head around what's wrong with the colour - too 1980s? Too sickly? Too dark? I'm not sure.
Aside from the colour, the application was a pig. This is three thick coats and the first two were streak city. The third evened it out, but after whacking on some seche vite and waiting half an hour trying not to mush it, I managed to completely melt one nail getting dinner out of the oven. Four. Hours. Later. Then I buggered another nail in the bath six hours after application. Crazy. Needless to say, I won't be reaching for this for a while.

Anyway! Following that rather negative review, I do have a positive. I bought 6 GOSH polishes on three-for-two and managed in the process to buy two exact dupes for polishes I already have. It appears I know what I like and forget what I own. This is...what, dupe number four for OPI hot & spicy that I've accidentally bought? Oops. This tendency also accounts for the number of largely identical pairs of purple high heels I own.

So, rather than hog the dupes, I will be giving them away. I will post them anywhere, so if you can't get GOSH in your country this is for you! To enter, please leave a comment on THIS post, tell me what things you can't help yourself from buying 'repeats' of.

- one entry per person
- anyone can enter
- closes May 2nd midnight GMT
- I will announce the winner the following day; you have 7 days to contact me before I select another winner.

read more "GOSH Miss Sweety and a giveaway"

Monday, April 25, 2011

Illamasqua Baptiste

And with this polish I finished wearing everything in my miscellaneous drawer. Just in time for me to jump off my no-buy with a VENGEANCE.

(2 coats)

Formula on this one is legit. 2 smooth buttery coats, dried nicely.
read more "Illamasqua Baptiste"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cute Cute Cute! - Essie Chubby Cheeks

Hehe I always giggle when I say the name of this polish! It is so cute! (Kawaiiiiiii!!!) I'm not sure what exactly this coral colour has to do with Chubby Cheeks, but the colour is pretty cute as well!

To add to the cuteness, the colour is really close to the packaging of my eos lip balm in Summerfruit - my favourite flavour of all the eos balms.

Check it out...

The formula on this was great - I believe this is two coats? And I had minimal clean-up to do.

I'm really itching to start wearing my spring/summer colours. I wore this when it was really dreary out to perk myself up, but it seemed a little out of place. I got lots of compliments though!

Have you started wearing spring/summer colours yet?

read more "Cute Cute Cute! - Essie Chubby Cheeks"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

China Glaze Blue Iguana and Cha Cha Cha (Island Escape, Sumer 2011

I'm leaving soon for my grandfather's funeral in Taipei. It's going to be quite the trip: about 60 hours in Taipei + 30 hours travel time. But what can I do? I want to be there for my mother and grandmother -- even though I have very strained relationships with both -- and I can't miss doing my sections on Wednesday. So... Saturday to Tuesday it is.

Speaking of sections, funny thing happened a few days ago. I noticed that one student had some minty nail polish on and I couldn't resist asking. When I asked, "Oh, what color is that?" I got the response, "uhhh... it's kind of minty."

Oddly enough, this sort of response is pretty typical when you ask people about their nail polish. They describe the color to you (and usually very vaguely -- I was surprised I got "minty" rather than "green"), even though you've got enough eyesight to recognize they're wearing nice polish to begin with.

It was even more odd because I was wearing this:

China Glaze Cha Cha Cha

A somewhat unusual (to the non-obsessed and uninitiated) color that is probably best described as "radioactive". (Three coats, a little more streaky than I would've liked though careful application gets rid of most of that.) With Nail Life Gripper and Poshe, it has lasted me four days without a single chip and barely any tipwear! But it took a very long time to dry for me... but the longevity definitely makes it worth it.

Anyway, back to the minty green polish story: Because I LOVE minty polishes, I just HAD to know what brand that polish was from. (I mean, it could've been from a company I didn't know about! ...which, I realize now, is unlikely.) It looked like such a creamy, smooth mint. So I persisted, even though it was right before section started.

"No, I meant... who makes it?"

"Um. China Glaze? It's called Refreshmint."

And before I could stop myself, I said, "Oh! Wasn't that last year?"

She gave me this surprised look and said, somewhat sheepishly, that yeah, she was "kinda obsessed" with nail polish. And I really wanted to ask, "Nail Board, blogs or both?" But I couldn't, because I had to review z-scores with them. :P

China Glaze Blue Iguana

One more photo for the road. Also from the Island Escape collection: what's really sad about these pics is that there's just the TINIEST bit of purple duochrome lingering around the edges of this pretty sheer (this is three coats) shimmering blue. Also, because this was an NOTD, I can tell you that this one as a bit of stamina too (with Gelous and Diamont): I think I got about six days wear out of it -- and it was still going strong on day six but I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND of this color.

(Before I forget: thanks to those at China Glaze for sending me these polishes to review.)

TA'ing stats has become a bit of a disaster. It is TA hell. Stats is inherently difficult to teach well -- psych majors usually freak out when it comes to stats -- and I'm completely sucking at the moment. But the actual teaching part isn't what's painful: it's how disorganized everything is.

I pretty much redid the syllabus when I realized sections weren't going to match up to classes; it took about six hours. The homework assignments are generated by the prof but are missing answer keys so the TAs take turns doing the homework...because we don't have enough to do grading 45 of those things 1-2 times a week! (Last week, those poor kids -- and we poor TAs -- had to calculate the standard deviation of a set of 50 scores by hand. 50!) The textbook company sent us one text to share between five people and promised they'd send more but it's halfway through the quarter and we're still passing the one lonely text around. The prof has a bunch of conferences and is gone for pretty much one quarter of the classes, so he leaves it up to the TAs to lecture to the students (and to plan the worksheets in his absence). In the span of nine weeks, there are three exams, five pop quizzes, nine homework assignments and nine section worksheets; we grade all of them except for the worksheets.

The amount of time punching in numbers to Excel alone... the amount of time spent on email alone...! The other two TAs (there are three for the 135 students) and I are constantly going back and forth, debating how to grade assignments, figuring out who has the textbook, who has the exams, who has this, what exactly does the prof want us to do, and what the hell are we doing, etc.

So when the student who regularly either beatboxes or sleeps during sections stumbles in late to a section, slumps in his chair, and interrupts me to ask, "Uh, why is it taking so long to get our exams back? Like, how hard is it to grade Scantrons?!" -- because, you know, I didn't already answer the same question three times before he decided to grace us with his presence -- it can be so hard to respond in a polite, measured fashion.

And now I'm flying off to Taipei and will have no time to prepare for next week's section before the day of the section. Let's hope I'm not too jetlagged for that.
read more "China Glaze Blue Iguana and Cha Cha Cha (Island Escape, Sumer 2011"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mini Blog Sale

I figure I'll do one of these every time I manage to wear every polish in one helmer drawer.


The Face Shop - BR804
Eyeko Vamp - Polish

China Glaze - White Out
Konad Special Polish - Orange
Brucci - French Heaven
Jade - Autumn Clouds

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear - Purple Potion? (correct me if I am wrong)
Sally Girl - Your Majesty (missing bottom label)
Orly - Velvet Rope

Revlon - Silver Screen
Milani - Radiant in Purple
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri - Jumpin' Jade

OPI - Diva of Geneva
OPI - Get Me to the Taj on Time

Cetuem - 76
Cetuem - 169
Cetuem - 28
Cetuem - 119

Cover Girl - Candy Corn
Cover Girl - Bronze Beauty

KleanColor - Jewelry Red
KleanColor - Neon Purple
read more "Mini Blog Sale"

Zoya Rea

A cool rose foil.

(2 coats)

She's cute but she would look better on somebody darker or lighter than me. Formula on this was good, 2 even coats, dried very well.
read more "Zoya Rea"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Robot Hot" - OPI Not Likes The Movies

I'm not typically into duochrome polishes - I'm not sure why, but I'm just never drawn them. I'm really a creme girl at heart! But for some reason I got a hankering for OPI Not Like The Movies, and was lucky enough to get it in a swap with a lovely lady!

Here it is:

I'm so happy I decided to go with my gut and try this out! I absolutely adore it! It is a silver base that flashes green, purple and gold and is laced with fine silver glitter throughout. The overall effect is smooth, non-brushstroke-y, and just gorgeous. I can see myself wearing this one quite often actually. Maybe I've gone batty, but I couldn't stop looking at my nails, and it seemed to go with every outfit I put on! The hubs declared my nails "Robot Hot". Good enough for me!

How do you feel about duochrome polishes? Hot or not?

read more ""Robot Hot" - OPI Not Likes The Movies"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

OPI Let Them Eat Rice Cake

OMG you guys, I'm in LOVE with this blog - Spaz & Squee. I always lusted after Cilucia's swatches on MUA's NB and it finally occurred to me to ask her if she had a blog. She does! And she's been doing it for almost a year now! She's a photography genius and has a trick to diffuse a camera's flash with a plastic bag.

Her swatches are flawless and she made me lemm the hell out of Let Them Eat Rice Cake (OPI Japan Collex).

I bought it and while it doesn't look quite as good on me as her, I'm still happy I have it.

(3 coats - photo taken with plastic bag diffuser. Not bad right?)

This color is not quite right on me. An uber-soft baby pink with a touch beige. But I still like it lots. It's actually very similar to Essie Pound Cake, which I showed you a few weeks ago. Pound Cake has a bit more brown in it though, which makes it work better with my coloring.

Formula was not good. It needs at least 3 coats to eliminate the streaks and it doesn't dry well at all.
read more "OPI Let Them Eat Rice Cake"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Essie Mint Candy Apple

An oldie but a goldie! I've been wanting to try this for ages, after seeing others' lovely swatches. I have a long and unsuccessful history with mint green polish. I tried China Gaze re-fresh mint and it gave me monster lobster claws, so I gifted it to my sister-in-law who has a much richer skin tone (and it looks amazing on her). Perhaps jealous of her success I decided to give this a go to see if it was any less garish on my skin.

The finish on this is soooo dreamy. This is two perfect coats. It wasn't patchy, chalky or draggy - I tend to have very low expectations of pastel polishes after experiencing a few horrorshows (Illamasqua load, I'm looking at you) but this is very easy to apply. It dries fast and lasted five days with only minor tipwear. I also like the colour on me, and it reminds me of mint ice cream. So overall, a definite winner!
read more "Essie Mint Candy Apple"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Am Fortunate- Essie Lapis of Luxury

Ever have a sudden urge to wear a particular colour? I did! One day I woke up and decided I *had* to have this soft blue-with-a-touch-of-periwinkle on my nails. HAD TO. So I did.

Sometimes I remember how good I have it if this is what my mind chooses to focus on. I have to remind myself that even though I'm a poor grad student, in the grander perspective I truly am living in the lap(is) of luxury. (HA!)

What do you feel fortunate for today?

read more "I Am Fortunate- Essie Lapis of Luxury"

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Top 5 Summer Pedi Colors of 2010

Inspired by K2K's post, I thought I would share with you my own top 5 summer pedi colors of the 2010 summer. I wore all of these at least twice last summer.

I generally get pedis year round, but some colors just feel right when it's hot out (and some feel very wrong, like my fav pedi color - NARS Midnight Express). Here's my summer-time list:

  • American Apparel Malibu Green

(2 coats)

You didn't think I was gonna subject you folks to my feet, did you?

Love this color, but holy crap, I wore it ONCE as a mani and will never do that again. Stain city! Very pigmented formula. Could have gotten away with one thick coat. AA has some incredible polishes.

  • Zoya Charisma (Sinful Dream On, Essie Perky Purple)

(2 coats)

This photo isn't even close to color accurate. I couldn't even fix it w/ photoshop. It's like my computer is telling me this color does not exist and is merely a figment of my imagination.

No matter what, you know what it looks like. You've seen Charisma or one of her cousins. It's a great "staple" neon. I love this color so much.
  • OPI Cajun Shrimp

(2 coats)

Probably my favorite pedi color period. I did a pedi with this 3 times last summer and a couple times as a mani. Considering how many polishes I have...

  • China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy

(2 coats)

I'm fairly certain it was THE pedi color of the Summer of 2010 among NP enthusiasts.

  • Milani Radiant in Purple

(2 coats)

Really any medium purple creme works in this space. It's a go-to for me.

I wonder what's in store for us this year...
read more "My Top 5 Summer Pedi Colors of 2010"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

kittytokaren's Spring Things GIVEAWAY winner!

The winner of the GIVEAWAY is:


Congratulations - I'm contacting you through the email address you left, so I can get these lovely prizes on their way to you...

Thank you so much to everyone for entering - I hope to have more of these giveaways in the future!

read more "kittytokaren's Spring Things GIVEAWAY winner!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OPI & Illamasqua teals

This manicure has a short story behind it: my aunt took a weekend trip to Florence (Firenze) and asked me for recommendations, since I spent a fortnight there in '09. I duly provided her with a long list of gelato vendors (I used my time there productively) and asked me to bring me back some scarves, since I'd overloaded my carry on luggage on the way home with four. She picked well: a beautiful teal shawl, which is very possibly my favourite colour. And since I wanted to wear it immediately I decided co-ordinating nails were in order.

OPI ski teal we drop, two coats + Illamasqua muse tips, one coat (with Nailtek foundation II and Seche vite)

Since I had no exact match I decided to do a two-colour french. I've worn both of these colours on their own and both are perfection in their own way: 4-5 day wear with minor tip wear, easy two coat application (possibly one if you're less of a klutz than me), shiny and intensely pigmented. And the colours are goooorgeous.

The respective brushes lend themselves really nicely to this kind of manicure, since the OPI pro wide is so…well…wide, and illamasqua's brushes are very narrow and precise (much like Essie's).

I really liked this combo and would probably do it again with variations - I'd love to try a grape and plum combo, or maybe banana yellow with white, or navy and green.

Are you ever inspired by fabrics? What's your favourite?
read more "OPI & Illamasqua teals"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not-So-Purple JELLY - OPI Houston We Have A Purple

*****Don't forget to enter my Spring Things GIVEAWAY with Essie and Pradman Jewelry! Check out the post here or just enter in the sidebar!*****

I *SWORE* I wasn't going to get any of the OPI Texas collection polishes, but then I got curious...

Houston We Have A Purple is one of the polishes in the collection with the "sorbet" finish. (I hate this. It's a jelly, people. We know what a jelly is. OPI insults our intelligence.)

I personally find this to be more pink-red than purple, but I've got to say - I really like the colour! This was four coats, and while that wasn't so fun to do, the result is quite pretty - I think the finish adds depth to the colour without the need for shimmer.

Will I be picking up more of these? No. But will I wear this one? Absolutely! I'm going to love it in summer especially!

What do you think of OPI essentially "re-branding" the jelly finish? Smarmy or smart?

read more "Not-So-Purple JELLY - OPI Houston We Have A Purple"