Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Catrice Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy (plus my day with MissTings and IceRozie)

So IceRozie (of MUA) has been in town and we got together with MissTings (of MUA) on Saturday to do some NP shopping.

I met up with IR the night before to pick up several gorgeous cheese she brought me back from the Netherlands (when she told me she was visiting and asked what polishes I wanted, I was like "Nothing, JUST CHEESE."). Boy did she deliver.

From the upper left we have a young Manchego which I ate for breakfast on Sunday morning. It was sharp and creamy. Going clockwise is an aged Manchego (haven't tried it yet), two local goats cheeses from her neighborhood (a DREAM), and my favorite cheese in the world La Tur. YAY.

We visited a Duane Reade and several beauty supplies.

We hit up American Apparel, Anna Sui, and Uniqlo, which is a place I usually don't brave on a Saturday.

Rescue Beauty Lounge on Gansevort where I unsuccessfully tried to get them to sell me one of their four used Janes. To be quite honest, I wasn't expecting a win but the guy at the counter was ruder than he had to be (and I wasn't pushy at all - I asked once and that was it). IR was ticked off and decided to not buy a couple of the new colors because the guy was kind of a jag.

We ate terrible blackberries from China Town and Italian foods for lunch: IR and I shared a very large sandwich with bresaole (sp?), provolone and sun-dried tomatoes. MT snacked on some very tasty fresh ricotta. IR and MT had Jamba Juices and I suckled on a passion fruit bubble tea.

This was the state of our nails after our day of NP shopping and swatching:

I, being the preening diva I am, refused to ruin my mani (Zoya Caitlyn - which is LOVE btw, 2 easy coats shown). I made IR try out the testers at AA for me (I settled on Neon Coral, IR picked up 3). And both IR and MT were swatching the testers at Anna Sui, where I was largely uninterested (being a creme/jelly girl and all). They each picked an, admittedly, really cool chunky fuchsia pink glitter with tiny green specks.

When we got back to my apartment, we did a polish exchange. IR brought us countless bottles of ~overseas~ polish. And MT hauled from 8tyeight for IR (and she brought me Sea Spray! YAY!!).

Our collective haul:

Mine is on the left, IR's is in the middle, and MT's is on the right.

One of the polishes IR brought me was this one:

(2 coats)

I was so excited when I saw this. It was a perfect lettuce green with a hidden shimmer (very hidden, thus really it's a creme). But somewhere between application and drying I fell out of love. It was glue-y and didn't level (bubbles everywhere natch) and it dried kind of brighter. So what was more of a softer color in the bottle turned a little too scream-y (lettuce green in the bottle, and melon green on the nail if you will).

She also brought me a gorgeous purple holo from Teeez and this was the state of the brush:

It could not be saved. I tried. It was in knots. I decanted into an empty franken bottle.

MT had to leave to get back to Long Island so IR and I stayed at my house, swatching and ate dinner (vietnamese).

We discovered that Essie's Vermillionaire is very close to Lippmann's Lara's Theme.

Vermillionaire has a touch more white. A touch.

IR showed me her book of swaps and lemmings:

It was a really great day. And I can't believe IR's energy. She was still getting over her jet lag and did a, literally, 12 hour power day.

Hope to do it again soon!
read more "Catrice Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy (plus my day with MissTings and IceRozie)"

Monday, May 30, 2011

Butter London Victoriana: when good polish goes bad

Urgh...ever have those manicures when nothing goes right? This is one of those. Nice polish, gorgeous colour...crap manicure. Figured I should post it anyway because it doesn't look that bad in the pictures despite the awful inception.

This one was doomed from the start, since it was done on Eurovision night. For anyone who's not come across Eurovision - lucky you - it's an annual knees up where tragically awful acts from European countries get to perform, and then every country votes. Usually for their neighbour. Hence why Azerbaijan (where?) won this year. It's a cherished cultural institution in Europe, because it's wonderfully naff and usually involves parties where everyone gets dressed up as a country and then proceeds to get blind drunk. Can you see why this was a bad idea?

As it happens I wasn't at a party last night - we stayed in with friends over - and I decided to do a mani/pedi to keep me occupied, because I'm a fidget who can't sit still in front of the television. So I did my toes first, whilst knocking back the ale (the pedi was even worse, by the way - I took Illamasqua Alarm off which stained my toes tomato, and then tried to put a nude over the top. Result: hot mess). By the time I got to the tips I was polishing with the kind of exaggerated comedy concentration normally only seen in five year olds. I did two coats, and then the takeaway arrived, whereupon I dinged them to hell and lost the bottle cap. Epic fail.

The next day, cracking hangover in tow, I tried to tidy it with a third coat and topcoat. This was the point at which Neurotic Cat had a minor breakdown and decided that if I didn't give her a cuddle that very moment, she would leave home. Then Kamikaze Kitten got jealous of the attention and jumped on my lap too. They then had a fight. Meanwhile, I'm holding my hands in the air like I'm directing traffic. Finally I kick them off and go to put topcoat on, but my seche vite has set like jelly and makes it even worse. I give up.

This is the result. The Polish is a gorgeous colour - a kind of dingy teal-blue with silver microglitter. It would probably be fine with two coats if those two coats hadn't been applied through beer goggles. I find the BL brushes a little fiddly because they're narrow, and the glitter in this means that the polish doesn't move very far, so thick coats are necessary. But it's lovely and I will definitely be trying it again under more auspicious circumstances.
read more "Butter London Victoriana: when good polish goes bad"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

More RED - OPI Off With Her Red

Yes...I still keep looking for reds. I'm hooked on the hunt!

I found OPI Off With Her Red in the clearance bin at Ulta for $3, and I'm not sure what possessed me to buy it. It looked really orange-y, muddy, and just not appetizing. But I bought it. The thing that I've learned about reds is that they rarely seem to look the same in the bottle and on the nail, so I took a chance.

And I'm so glad I did!! Here it is...

I lllooooovvveee it! Instead of looking muddy on me, it looks clear and crisp, without being crazy bright. Orange-toned reds suit my yellow skin best, and in the bottle it seemed overly orange - but I think it works!!

What do you think? Is there a colour you keep picking up trying to find the "ultimate"?

read more "More RED - OPI Off With Her Red"

Friday, May 27, 2011

TiNS The Neptune and China Glaze Lightening Bolt Crackle

TiNS makes the most incredible glitterbombs. Alas they are fairly expensive and rare in the US so I have to rely on... well, an MUAer by the name of TerribleTerra. She gets tons of polishes from Asia, sells the ones she doesn't want... and over the years, I must've purchased around 100 polishes from her. Nearly all my Asian polishes -- with the exception of the ones I purchased this year from Taipei -- are from her.

TiNS The Neptune

Cobalt blue jelly, chunky (but not in a dull and icky way) with different sizes of holo glitter. This was two coats and on the third day of wear (as you can see from the tipwear/shrinkage). Most TiNS glitter polishes sparkle without the benefit of actual sunlight. I. just. love.

Close-up of The Neptune
ALL sorts of holo glitter: larger hex glitter, smaller round glitter, square glitter... glitter galore!

TiNS The Neptune with China Glaze Lightening Bolt on top
This didn't turn out as well as I hoped it would. Part of it is that the white crackle never quite looks as opaque as one feels like it should. Part of it was that the contrast wasn't striking enough.

BUT! Take a peek at this pic. I wish all the nails turned out like my ring finger:
Crackle polishes were made for macro mode, don't you think?

read more "TiNS The Neptune and China Glaze Lightening Bolt Crackle"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lippmann Lara's Theme

(2 coats)

I asked for more oranges in 2011 and did Deb ever give me a doozy! Love eet. In fact, so much love I went out and bought a matching watch from Henri Bendel.

This gorgeous carrot (or dutch) orange has a lovely formula (though not perfect, I struggled with bald spots but still managed to pull it off in two) that dries shiny and relatively quickly.

(Sidebar, why is this my only bottle with Lippmann's writing in white?? My Funky Chunky and my Maneater need white writing desperately, this one doesn't.)
read more "Lippmann Lara's Theme"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hello Kitty Banana Cream and Minty

So I've really gotten into jewelry making lately. (I don't know why I'm taking up all these craftsy hobbies lately: first crocheting and knitting, now jewelry making... I REALLY don't have time for this sort of hobbying.) And I was on FireMountainGems.com, contemplating a huge order.

See, this is how Fire Mountain seduces you: every item on their website has four prices. There's the price for if you buy 1-14 units of anything on the website, then between 15-49, then 50-199, and then 200+. The prices are highest if you buy the least amount of stuff but then it gets lower and lower the more you buy and buy (in one sitting). The prices of popular and expensive stuff, such as Swarovski crystal beads or things made out of real 14k gold, barely budges a dollar but, for the majority of items, by the time you have 50 items in your cart, cost between 1/4 to 1/2 the original price! (Man, if they sold nail polish like this... yikes.)

Anyway, the reason I brought up Fire Mountain was because they have a lot of handy dandy guides, such as Pantone's "Color Forecast" for the upcoming seasons. I don't really get how the Color Forecast thing works but here the projected hot colors of Spring/Summer 2011. I was struck at how many of the spring and summer polish collections had colors that can be found in this palette. Maybe there really is something to these "forecasts"? Or maybe more people pay attention to them than I had thought.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because it looks like the Hello Kitty "Liquid Nail Art" polishes are taking some cues from some of these...

Hello Kitty Banana Cream
The one saving grace of these polishes: they come in cute little Hello Kitty head bottles. This basic pastel yellow creme was hell: four coats, still bald patches here and there. Some cuticle drag. Yellows are always hell but this was an especially intractable one.

Hello Kitty Minty
This one had slightly less cuticle drag but it was also pretty streaky and uneven. The above is four coats, which is too much for a minty creme. Plenty of other minty cremes out there that apply beautiful in three coats tops.

These aren't quite sending me back to Sephora to pick up more. Definitely regretting spending money on them. $10 each and not even the standard 0.5 fl oz!
read more "Hello Kitty Banana Cream and Minty"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Essie Resort 2011 Picks!

Essie Resort 2011 was one of those collections that I looked forward to for *months*! I found out every little tidbit about it, scoured pictures for advanced shots of the colours - everything. When I was finally able to purchase it (on eBay, by the way - still haven't seen it in stores) I carefully selected my colours. I chose:

Essie Da Bush

A *very* close cousin to my new lovah - OPI Stranger Tides. Da Bush is ever-so-slightly darker and has a hint more blue to it, compared to ST's yellow. I am now in love with both of these pistachio shades! I have to hand it to Essie though - their application was better. A normal person would just need one of these...since I'm so smitten, I'm keeping both!

Essie Your Hut Or Mine

This is a colour I unexpectedly loved! I usually struggle with pinks - something about them typically makes my yellow skin look sallow and dead. But this lovely little gal is warm enough for me to pull off, but not bright enough to look overly Barbie! It has some gorgeous golden shimmer as well, that I completely failed to capture. Oi.

After the months of coveting, I'm really thrilled with these two polishes. The other two were not for me, and that's OK! In the end I have two more polishes joining my collection that I simply *adore*.

Now...I wonder what Essie has planned for fall? I haven't heard even a whisper! Have you?

read more "My Essie Resort 2011 Picks!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hey, want to see the worst NOTD I've had in a long time? (CND Brigitte with Anna Effect, Jason Wu collection)

I was really into the idea of the Jason Wu/CND collaboration. So much so that I actually bought it for full retail price and then some from Cult Beauty (because I was getting the Rococo Gold Leaf polish anyway and if I was going to pay for across-the-pond shipping... etc).

I like interesting textures. I like taupey, underplayed colors. I really like CND's new polishes. (Though I just saw some old glitters from 2008 on the Pretty Random blog and holy effin' crap, I so want. Even though my experience with old CNDs was pretty bad.) So when I heard about a whole collection of sophisticated shroomy types of colors with an Effects polish that promised a "tweedy" texture, I was pretty excited. (No one else was but I was.)

And then I put this on. I mean... I've been having bad mani days (much like bad hair days but worse because I can see my nails at any time and I need a mirror to see my hair) but this took the cake.

Behold, the cake:

CND Brigitte (Colour) and Anna (Effect)
Mauvey, taupey... warm and sort of dull. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is the bubbling. This polish did not enjoy my Gelous bc and/or Diamont tc and reacted very angrily to me when I made them all play together. Also, what happened to the fantastic CND creme formula? Some of the core CND Colour polishes are simply perfection (completely opaque and smooth in two coats) with a dummy-proof brush. This, in comparison, was watery, thick, and needed three coats (which is not desirable in a polish meant to be layered underneath another).

Actually... no, I change my mind. The worst part was the "tweedy" texture, the Anna polish. In the bottle, it looks a lot like a matte topcoat (and indeed, it does mattefy). But when applied, it mostly looks like I stuck a hand with wet nails into the pocket of an old wool coat. The little linty shards coming off the nail... I mean, that just kind of put it over the top.

Closeup of Brigitte and Anna
A bubbly, hairy manicure. Couldn't wait to take this one off and I kind of didn't want to post it... except... it's a bubbly, hairy manicure and that's kind of funny in itself.
read more "Hey, want to see the worst NOTD I've had in a long time? (CND Brigitte with Anna Effect, Jason Wu collection)"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Models Own Jade Stone: Mermaid's Tears' more cheerful sister

After placing my OPI pirates order, it occurred to me that I might have a dupe for one of the colours in my order. (Buy first, check later, that's my motto). Anyway, I had no qualms about potential twinning, since I own about a million billion mint greens and still I buy more. This one's a particular pleasure to wear. I present: Models Own Jade Stone.

A very pretty minty green creme, this is opaque in two coats. It's in the same vein as mint candy apple but a couple of shades darker/more intense. The finish is good and it's nice to use (fairly average brush, probably most comparable to china glaze, but all the MO cremes I've tried have been good quality and very easy to manipulate). Dried quickly and lasted with no tip wear at all for three days before I got bored and took it off.

I kept it on long enough for my Pirates haul to arrive, and long enough to compare the two. It's definitely not a dupe (phew!). As you can see, they're similar, but Mermaid's tears has a murky, grungy quality to it that Jade Stone doesn't share. It's a simpler, more cheerful rendition of minty green. Love them both, but then, I would.
read more "Models Own Jade Stone: Mermaid's Tears' more cheerful sister"

OCC Perpetual and Rococo Gold Leaf

I had said I didn't want it. But in the end, I bought it anyway. Yes, Rococo Gold Leaf, I'm lookin' at you.

OCC Perpetual and Rococo Gold Leaf

When I put on this combination, I was so disappointed. I thought Perpetual would be this awesome, semi-neon purple creme. It turned out to be very jelly. Three coats, definite VNL. It didn't apply smoothly, had bald spots and after thinking I'd be getting an awesomely pigmented creme (something OCC is extraordinarily good at), I wasn't too happy with it. But I actually ended up loving it. There's something very seductive about the jelly squish look.

As for Rococo Gold Leaf. Holy heck, it is HARD to get that gold leaf onto the brush. (Once you get it on the brush, it transfers somewhat easily to the nail.) Picking it out with something hard like a toothpick made a lot of the larger pieces fall apart. The best way I could figure out was to shake it up a bit and to sweep the gold leaf that gets stuck in the neck onto the brush.

What you see on the nail is... three coats? (Like I said, it's hard to get on the brush.) But I think I like it. I thought I'd hate the manicure (between the jelly and the sparse gold leaf) but I was quite attached to it by the end of the first day. The gold leaf turned out to be incredibly... gold. Such a rich color (probably because it's real gold leaf) with a beautiful texture that, even minute, was obvious.

Closeup of Perpetual and Gold Leaf

Somehow it became one of my favorite manicures of late. :)

(OCC Perpetual was sent to me for review by OCC. Rococo Gold Leaf was purchased personally.)

Anyway... today is the wedding day of one of my friends and I'm sad that I couldn't make it to the ceremony and reception. (It's kind of on the opposite side of the continent.) So I just wanted to wish her a wonderful, wonderful day. And that her Shellac holds up (which I'm sure it will, because it's pretty tenacious) and looks fabulous peeping out from her Manolos. She probably isn't reading this right now -- at least I hope she's not -- but I wanted to send happy thoughts (and sanity vibes -- it's a big wedding she's planned) towards her out into the void anyway. Good luck, babe. It's gonna be a great day. :)
read more "OCC Perpetual and Rococo Gold Leaf"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Zoya Maura

(2 coats)

SO happy with this polish. SO happy. A gorgeous mix of orange and red. It applied like a friggin dream and was smooth, glossy, and perfect in 2 easy coats. Lots of people complain about Zoyas not drying on them but I had 0, no, nada problems with this.

The color in the photo is not right, it's not quite SO searingly bright (tho it is really bright).

FYI - this is Maura after 4 days wear:

read more "Zoya Maura"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Yummy Berry - OPI No Spain, No Gain

I'm a big fruit person - I eat a lot of it every day. It's a food group that just makes me feel really *good*. Vitamins and stuff, right? And right now it's getting to be berry season so I've been stocking up on strawberries, blueberries, blackberries - even cherries. So delicious!

This berry-coloured polish makes me feel almost as good as those vitamin-packed little gems do!

OPI No Spain, No Gain

Perfect OPI creme formula - smooth and opaque, without being chalky. Simply delectable!

What foods are you really into right now?

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Misa Whimsical Wish and Pixie Princess (Wishes, Spring 2011)

I feel like my most recent posts should be labeled "follies of a nail blogger": nails dented with a crochet hook, smudged polish, unshaped nubbins. Man, Misa's never going to send me anything again. Every Wishes collection mani I've posted so far has some major flaw. And totally not on purpose. ...although, I gotta say, that's part of the risk of putting on four coats to try to get rid of VNL. Nails don't dry as fast, even with quick-dry topcoat. (It really doesn't explain the unshaped nubbins. That's just sloppiness on my part.)

Misa Whimsical Wish

I don't know what's gotten into me but I'm so into delicate neutral-like colors lately. I wore this one happily for days. It felt really...refreshing. Subdued yet sparkly. (Like me. ...yeah, right, who am I kidding?) It's a light peachy-ish shade... whose peachiness was more due to the pink and gold shimmer that infuses a strongly creamy ivory base. I actually can't remember if this was four coats or five. I get the sense that the Wishes polishes are meant to be worn sheer but... eh... no. Thanks, but no. Still, it was easy to apply so I didn't mind as much. (The longer dry time however...)

Misa Pixie Princess

This one was less to my liking. And not only because I had just chopped my nails to nubbins and, as always, the first day or two after nubbinization always look kind of rough on me. I liked Whimsical Wish a lot because it gave the sense of pinkish peachiness without being overtly pink and peachy (which kind of clashes with my skin as a rule). This one was pink and peachy with pink and peachy shimmer. So... a lot of pink and peachy. I think this was four coats? (Might've been three? Definitely no less than three.)

I am so lusting after several polishes from the Essie Braziliant collection, one of which kittytokaren posted about yesterday. None of them have ended up on eBay yet (for Buy It Now -- there are some that are being auctioned). eBay's my go-to for Essie polishes of late: if I'm getting a bunch of them, the combined shipping a lot of sellers offer brings the cost down to what I used to pay for Essie from the etailers (about $4-5). I'll pay $8 for an Essie if it's a color that's sold out everywhere else and/or if I'm having a bad day and indulging in retail therapy. Most days though... nah. I got spoiled way back when and $8 sounds steep in comparison.
read more "Misa Whimsical Wish and Pixie Princess (Wishes, Spring 2011)"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not A Match? - Essie Smooth Sailing

I admit it - I fell prey at a drug store recently - CVS to be exact. I fell prey to that sweet, sweet American concept - the SALE. I had some "extra bucks" and a coupon for a dollar off Essie, so how could I resist?

So many people have been loving Smooth Sailing, and I decided to pick it up and give it a go...

Objectively, this colour is really pretty to me - a blue bordering on deep periwinkle with beautiful icicle-like shimmer. However, I don't think it "goes" with me. We don't click. If this were speed-dating, I would like Mr. Smooth Sailing - for one of my friends. I probably wouldn't write his name down for myself.

Have you ever liked a polish, but felt like it just didn't fit your personality?

read more "Not A Match? - Essie Smooth Sailing"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Illamasqua Purity

I checked out the Toxic Nature collection and really wasn't that wowed. However, Illamasqua had a 20% off sale, and there is nothing like a sale to persuade me I want something. I do like the fact that Illamasqua hold such regular customer sales, plus the 10% off I always get for being a repeat customer. Thumbs up there.

So here is Illamasqua Purity. A fairly standard, pretty, pale peach. The finish is very creamy and the colour is very pretty and fresh and definitely name-appropriate. However, I had issues with application and wear. It is very thick but also a little streaky, so even after two thick coats the coverage was a little sparse in places. (And with this polish, thick coats is all you're gettin', because it's so gloopy). I had major chips by day two, which is very unusual with an Illamasqua polish. I like the colour, but the formula? Not so much.

Any Illamasquas you're keen to see? I have quite a few of them. Also: a hoarding problem. But we won't go there.
read more "Illamasqua Purity"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Comparison of Zoya Breezi and Sephora by OPI Slushied

This is why you should never de-dupe your collection by just looking at bottle color.

Zoya Breezi (Summertime, 2011) and Sephora by OPI Slushied (Glee, 2011)
OK. So Breezi looks a tad bit darker than Slushied, right? I mean, maybe if you look really closely, you could think that Breezi may look a tad more teal than Slushied. (Btw, thanks to my SO's mom for Slushied. It's awesome.)

From left to right: Slushied, Breezi, Slushied, Breezi
Seriously, this is not a weird camera quirk. They looked this different on the nail. They're barely even in the same color category (in my head -- granted, my head subdivides the rainbow into about a hundred colors). Slushied is this bright creme that falls somewhere between azure and cyan. Breezi is closer to a very blue teal and it's almost got a bit of a jelly squish to it. Both applied extremely well: two coats each.
read more "Comparison of Zoya Breezi and Sephora by OPI Slushied"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chanel Mimosa

Why am I only showing three fingers? Because I dinged the index and refused to reapply.

Alright here:

(3 coats)

I think we all know this one has a soft shimmer and I'm really sorry I couldn't capture it for you working with the light I had.

Not happy with this polish. Poor formula, streaky, dull finish (no gloss/shine once dried), application was tough. However, it dried inexplicably quickly given how many coats were required.

I realize that yellows are harder to get right, but still the quality of this one was pretty disappointing.

P.S. Look at my brush! It was like a middle finger from Chanel.
read more "Chanel Mimosa"