Thursday, June 30, 2011

Essie Clutch Me if You Can

(2 coats)

Oh my goodness, is this love. Is this EVER love.

Finally I have a dried blood color. And she is a jelly that applies like a dream. And I got her for $3.
read more "Essie Clutch Me if You Can"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Funky French

After my last black and green flakies manicure (which was every bit as involved to remove as you'd think) I was craving something pale and clean. Inspired by K2K's gold tip french I decided to try my own renditition, which is a bit less subtle.

This is OPI creme of crete (three coats) as the base with China Glaze 2030 tips freehanded over the top. I usually use creme of crete for french tips and I'm not sure what possessed me to use it as a full manicure. It's very runny and streaky and my planned sheer base fell by the wayside because it's impossible to get it to level while keeping it sheer. Nevertheless I quite like the effect, unintended though it is, and it's also covering my first go at a teabag patch (on my middle finger).

I've only ever freehanded french tips - what do you do? Any suggestions for good stencils?
read more "Funky French"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sticks & Stones - Thumb Accent Mani

When I wore this mani, I got insulted for it. And honestly, it really hurt my feelings. I didn't think it would - I'm usually pretty confident about my fashion and life choices. But it stung.

Essie Pound Cake with OPI Spark de Triomphe thumb:

My labmate (who is consistently seriously rude to me) saw my mani, grabbed my thumb, gasped and made a face, then said:

"Are you kidding me with this?! That is so high school."

I guess it hurt because the implication was that it was tacky - and I really don't like or want to be tacky. I tend to be more reserved in my fashion choices and I like it. Hell, I even think of my fashion sense as classy. So I think that is why her words hit me like that.

But - sticks & stones, right? I've decided to believe that her insults stem from jealousy - this seems to be the common thread in most of her put-downs. I have tried to stay above it by never saying anything negative or mean to her, but it hasn't really worked.

Why must women be so cruel to each other?

read more "Sticks & Stones - Thumb Accent Mani"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Essie Braziliant and OPI Blue Shatter

Hey, I'm alive, I exist. Really. Summer has FINALLY arrived for me -- except not really because I do actually have a ton of work to do and am going to France in two weeks for a conference -- and I have a pretty substantial backlog of NOTDs that I have to post! (Plus a lot of swatching to do... alas, I don't think I'll be able to resume swatching until after I get back from France.)

Essie Braziliant

This was such a disappointment for me. It was this really bright orange in the bottle with this fabulous magenta shimmer... and then I put it on and discover that it just looks coral in most lights. (Oddly, once I uploaded the photos to blogger, it looks a lot more red...) You can see the magenta up close (though I wasn't able to capture it in the photos) but it just sort of mixes with the orange and turns into coral... and I just don't look good in most corals. Application was great though: two coats. This photo was taken on day 2 or 3.

Essie Braziliant and OPI Blue Shatter

My SO took one close look at my nails and asked, "Why did you choose this color combination?"

I answered, "Because it's the ugliest color combination."

He replied, "OK. Just making sure you knew that."

But I love it. I would not mix blue and orange in any other situation but my nails but I just love this shatter *coughcrackle!cough* mani. This was taken on Day 2 of the shatter mani (which would be day 4 of the Braziliant mani). I used one coat of the blue shimmer shatter and it crackled beautifully. Why can't all crackle polishes crackle nicely? (Oh, and it wasn't clumpy. Thank goodness.)

Braziliant and Blue Shatter closeup

So I have a question for y'all: I have several boxes that are CHOCK FULL of nail polishes that I need to get off my hands. (I'm sure there will be more after my annual summer de-stash.) Some are older, some are more recent. The vast majority have only been used once; a small fraction have had 1/4th decanted from them. Most cost between $1 and $10. Many, many different brands. I do plan on selling the ones that I paid many pretty pennies for individually (though I won't charge pretty penny prices, I promise) but there are at least 300 polishes that don't fall into the "oh man, I spent too much on this one polish, I have to recoup this loss" category. I just don't have the time to sell all of them off individually.

I know my $10 (+$5 shipping) small flat-rate grab-boxes have been popular in the past. But even selling these polishes by the dozen is a daunting task. Would there be any interest in my selling medium flat-rate grab-boxes? I need to pack one up properly to see how many I can fit into a single box but I estimate it to be between 40-50 polishes. The price will probably work out to be about $1.50 a polish (plus shipping), a good mix of brands, colors and finishes guaranteed. (And seriously, no one will get a box even half full of polishes that cost me less than $3.) It's a steep price but for those who want to build their stash quickly... I mean, it's a stash-in-a-box. Open it up and voila, a decent-sized stash for a fraction of its retail price.

If I do go with the medium flat-rate grab-box idea, after selling a few, I'll probably be offering small flat-rate grab-envelopes (which can reliably hold 20 polishes, price TBD). ...there's plenty of nail polish to go around!
read more "Essie Braziliant and OPI Blue Shatter"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mini Blog Sale

***SOLD OUT***

Zoya Ashley

Zoya Cola

Zoya Lulu

Zoya Stephanie

Essie Body Language

Nfu Oh JS 04

Color Club Oooooo La La

Soo Nails (magenta foil)

Rescue Beauty Lounge Square Pants

Lippmann Some Enchanted Evening

OPI Absolutely Alice MINI

Zoya Dovima

Zoya Loredana

Zoya Nina (95% left)

Essie Sag Harbor

Essie Sexy Divide

Nfu Oh JS 33

CoverGirl City Lights

Zoya Hope

Zoya Harley

Essie Sew Psyched MINI

Zoya Juicy

Zoya Tamsen
read more "Mini Blog Sale"

Zoya Harley & Essie Mint Candy Apple

Today I have a couple of polishes I have had in my stash for years but never worn.

(3 coats)

Sigh I love this color. I really love it. The pigmentation could be better but the color itself is lovely.

But me and Harley don't get along. The gray is too soft, too cool, too light. My hands too yellow, too warm, and too saturated in their coloring.

So she goes into my purge pile. I've held onto her for 2 years, wearing her only once. It's time to send her to a home that can put her to use.

(2 coats)

I bought this sucker as soon as it came out. Swatched it, hated the chalky/gritty formula, and ignored it.

I don't know what happened. I really don't. Maybe I've become more tolerant (very unlikely), maybe I've learned how to apply polish better (pretty likely), maybe the formula has mellowed out in those many months in the wine (likely very impossible but, honestly, the only explanation I truly believe).

The point: The formula on this is pretty decent. It's not flawless (notice the bald spots on my index and pinky), but given how much white is in this sucker it doesn't apply all that horribly. Yes it certainly leans chalky over buttery. But it flowed nicely and was even and level in 2 coats. I don't know what happened.
read more "Zoya Harley & Essie Mint Candy Apple"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Illamasqua Boosh and Nfu.Oh 56

Illamasqua Boosh is a pretty standard black creme. I have 'issues' with black cremes. I spent my teenage years sporting Boots No.7 black nail polish (or occasionally 'black cherry' for variety, which was...well black, basically) which I applied on a weekly basis in front of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, it's been years since I've been willing to go near black creme. I'm not sure if I'm looking back on my younger days with rose tinted glasses (unlikely, to be frank) but I didn't think the application on Boosh was that great. It was a little sticky and required a bit of work to get it to level. Then again, that's black cremes for you. Man am I glad I don't wear this stuff all the time anymore.

Fortunately, I can't say the same for the lovely green flakies I put over the top, which are much more my to my twenty-something taste. This is the infamous Nfu.oh 56, which is every bit as good as I'd hoped. Bright green flakies with shimmer and a blue duochrome, these really pop layered over a dark colour. I had a hell of a time trying to pick up the duochrome (it drifts between grass, emerald, teal and blue, with the blue showing up best indoors in low light - I am sure those of you who are into lenses will know why this created such problems!) but here's a couple of badly focused macro shots which kind of show it. Click to embiggen.

Yummy, no? The only problem with Nfu.Oh is that I keep wanting to type it 'NFU', which is the national farmers' union. I wrote a couple of my Masters essays on path dependency and regional governance in EU agriculture. I can't see the national famers' union producing nail polish somehow. Anyway...

The Nfu.oh was sent to me for review by Affiniti, the Illamasqua was purchased by my own fair hand. Although technically it came free in the Art of Darkness four polish set, so I'm feeling like a big cheap-o today. No-buy status: 6/35.

Edit - the UK Nfu Oh retail site has now launched. It's at Enjoy!
read more "Illamasqua Boosh and Nfu.Oh 56"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quiet Coquette - Essie Limo-scene

Just wanted to share a classic sheer pink with you today - Essie Limo-scene. It strikes a beautiful balance between creamy and sheer, pink and cream - it's also the perfect palette-cleanser to give me a break from all the bright colours I've been wearing this summer!

Not much to say, but this is an easy polish for me to wear - applies nicely, never feels overdone, but also feels a little bit wearing delicate lacy underwear that no one knows about but you!

read more "Quiet Coquette - Essie Limo-scene"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Zoya Jancyn

(3 coats)

Great color. It reminds me a lot of CoverGirl's Candy Corn. I had similar formula problems too. It was sticky and wouldn't level very nicely.
read more "Zoya Jancyn"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A tale of two polishes

Or, how to ruin perfectly good mani. I just cannot leave things alone.

This is Illamasqua Caress, a gorgeous baby blue creme. Easy two-coat application, smooth finish, stunning colour. When they do pastels right, they really do them right, and this is a fabulous example.

I managed to leave it all of two hours before deciding that what was clearly missing was a bumpy, draggy, horrible topcoat to frakk everything up. Lo! What's that I spy? It's Barry M Blue crackle!

I hesitated to show you this one because it was SO AWFUL. I still don't know how it's so bad, but it dragged the base polish everywhere, dented it, didn't crack properly, and was still really bumpy and gritty after two coats of lumos. Some days I really, really hate myself for doing stupid things like this to perfectly lovely polishes. I took it straight off because I was too embarrassed to leave the house with such a revolting manicure...*shame face*

On the plus side, this used up two polishes in my no-buy challenge.
read more "A tale of two polishes"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chanel Morning Rose & Essie Topless & Barefoot

(3 coats)

The formula on Morning Rose is better than Mimosa but I still found it lacking. Plus I'm kind of eh over the color it's pretty but kind of boring to me.

(a million coats - but I could probably have gotten it in 3 careful coats)

A color I'm not eh over is this. I'm trying to purge my stash and I was SO READY to put this in the goodbye pile especially since I had real trouble with the sticky and unleveling formula, but I just couldn't. I love the color. I think it might be one of those almost universally flattering colors.

I messaged k2k about this and she reported no formula issues and convinced me to keep it. Hopefully, I can just chalk it up to a humid day.
read more "Chanel Morning Rose & Essie Topless & Barefoot"