Thursday, February 28, 2013

A few of my favorite things/ NOTD

Hey all, this is an impromptu post that I'm throwing in the mix today - time to talk about some of my favorite hand/nail products! If you EVER intend to do your own nails, there are definitely a few items you'll need to achieve the best results.

1. Nail file/emery board - I use your typical cardboard/sandpaper ones you can get at the drug store, though I also have a metal one with a pointed tip to help with cleanup, as well as a 4-sided nail buffer.

2. Nail clipper - easiest way to even out scraggly nails and trim them down to appropriate length.

3. Hand cream/cuticle cream - After removing old nail polish, make sure to wash your hands and apply a healthy dose of hand cream. However, before polishing, give nails a quick swipe with some rubbing alcohol or apple cider vinegar so nails aren't all gunked up with lotion - your polish won't stick. My favorite hand creams include Avon's Skin So Soft, as well as their VitaMoist hand cream. Cocoa butter is a great overnight treatment, as well as Argan oil - and they smell lovely :)

4. Base coat - Right now, my favorites are OPI's Nail Envy - Soft & Thin Formula, as well as Essie's Grow Stronger, Essie's Rock Solid, Sally Hansen's Thicken Up and Orly's Ridgefiller. Depending on how your nails behave, you might need a fortifying base coat like one of the above. Ridgefillers tend to be a little more opaque on the nail, and act as a great base if you want your bright colors to really stand out.

5. Polish (duh) - I have a tab set aside for my favorite brands, but my top top favorite is OPI - I love the creativity of their collections and they're always setting the trends. Examples - 007 Skyfall Collection, Oz the Great and Powerful soft shades collection, Liquid Sand, etc.

6. Top Coat - This one gets a little tricky. Quick dry top coats like Seche Vite and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri (In the red bottle) have a tendency to cause shrinkage if you're not careful, but they're the absolute best when you need your polish to dry in a pinch. Other top coats I use are OPI's regular top coat, as well as Sephora by OPI matte top coat.

NOTD - I've got a job interview this afternoon, and originally chose "Glints of Glinda" from the Oz collection, but decided I'd go with a classic red for a little 'pop' against my black and white ensemble. For this, I chose "Die Another Day" from the 007 Skyfall collection, a nice warm red shimmer that compliments my skin tone well. With this I used my Orly Ridgefiller base coat to make as smooth a canvas as possible to keep the polish honest.

And then I remembered that reds don't photograph the best. Here are the best shots I could get. Both are just 2 coats with Seche Vite.

Hoping to 'nail' this interview (sorry that was lame)!

Happy Polishing!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today I've decided to post some old nail art that I had produced come up with over the summer - my nails are currently being "tame" for some job interviews.

This first one was a simple tape manicure - the base color is called "Tropical Breeze" from Old Navy. The stripes are painted and cut scotch tape. The silver glitter is a Betsey Johnson color, Sephora by OPI called "Sparkling Personality".

This next one is a simple glitter gradient, of "As Gold As It Gets" by Essie, over OPI's "Suzi and the 7 Dusseldorfs" from the Germany Collection.

This is also another sponge gradient manicure - "Need Sunglasses?" by OPI, H&M's "Peach Me Soon", and an unnamed Revlon Pink/Purple which I no longer own.

This one is a copycat of a manicure I saw on Pinterest. The Base Color is OPI's "Moon Over Mumbai", a soft metallic gray. The gold is Essie's "Shifting Power, with the spots and stripes done with Essie's "Licorice".

This last one is a manicure inspired by the New York Giants - the gray base is Zoya's "Dove", the blue accents OPI's "Dating a Royal", with red striping tape to tie it all together.

Happy Polishing!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finally in Oz!

Goodness...I meant to post this earlier but I finally got around to watching Silver Linings Playbook and man did JLaw deserve that Oscar...simply fantastic movie. Tough year for Bradley Cooper....he really gave the rest of the nominees a run for their money.

Regardless, my order from Trendy Hands came in the mail today! I ordered 4 of the 6 polishes from OPI's new Oz The Great and Powerful collection, not including the new Liquid Sand shade that I'll be getting shipped to my house March 1.

The two soft shades I picked up were "I Theadora You" and "Glints of Glinda". I definitely get what all the buzz was about, especially about Theadora...but Glinda is my favorite soft shade in a long time. The other two I got my hands on are "Lights of Emerald City" and "When Monkeys Fly".

 The formula on this was a bit thick, but still okay. I love the color, its a great soft pink that's perfectly wearable for any occasion. This is 3 coats with a coat of SV.

 This is "Lights of Emerald City" over Theadora. I have no idea what the other reviews I've seen were talking about, but this big glitters are a pain in the buns to work with. I really love this glitter, it looks so pretty in the bottle, but it was not easy to distribute. This is one coat.

 I then jumped on the sandwich bandwagon and applied another coat of Theadora. You can see the jelly-like  consistency of the color, though it still has a creamy look to it. It really tones down the white glitters and all but eliminates the iridescent ones.

Next up is "Glints of Glinda" - LOVE LOVE LOVE. This shade looked a little off on some of the swatches I've seen, but this turned out to be a perfect nude match for my skin tone. I will warn you however, that my nails have suffered a bit of yellowing from all my swatching.

This is 3 coats of Glinda with a layer of SV. I personally liked this after 2, but I tried to tone down my terrible yellow tips :( As you can see, it's a very pretty nude with more of a jelly consistency than a creme. The application on this was flawless. With Theodora I had some leveling issues on the first couple of layers, leaving me to make the third thicker and therefore a bit more opaque.

"When Monkeys Fly" over Glinda. I understand the issues with the big hex glitters, lots of complains about "tacoing", or the glitter curling off the nail. With a little patience, I was able to get most of them to curve down and therefore with the curve of my nail to make them as flat as possible. This is one layer of Monkeys, no top coat.

This is with another layer of Glinda - I almost like it better muted this way. However, the holo glitters become totally flat (not surprising) and it tones down the gold. I really wish my nails weren't so yellowed in these photos - I'll have to soak them a bit to get that out.

Along with these, I also purchased Essie's "Pretty Edgy" and China Glaze "Mimosas Before Manis" from their Avante Garden Collection. But I'll swatch those another day.

The other 3 polishes from this collection include "Don't Burst My Bubble", a white-ish jelly creme polish, and "Which is Witch?", another glitter topcoat consisting of silver hexes and thin thin holo bar glitters. Neither really drew me in. "What Wizardry Is This?" is the liquid sand color that came with this collection, a bronzy olive metallic liquid sand, unlike the Mariah Carey glitter-overload ones we've seen. I'm excited to get my bottle from OPI soon - I hear the texture on it is fun to pet :P I'll get a swatch up for that as soon as I receive it in the mail!

Happy Polishing!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Funday

Sorry if I left anyone hanging yesterday! I picked up a few new polishes at Ulta yesterday, but didn't have the time (or ideal light outside) to swatch here we are today!
First up is called "Gilded Coral" by Orly - I don't know why, but I really really love this color. This color is from Orly's Spring 2011 "Precious" collection. I couldn't quite capture the gold brilliance that this polish shows off in the sun - it's been a bit cloudy recently. However, this is a great rosy metallic neutral that almost gave me that "mannequin hands" look but with a little kick. Opaque in 2 coats, with a layer of SV. The formula was great - nice and smooth, and with some patience you can avoid visible polish strokes/lines like in a lot of shimmers.

"Butterfly Moment" and "Gilded Coral"

As I was contemplating buying this, I thought it looked familiar. It's a more amped-up cousin of "Butterfly Moment", from OPI's Mariah Carey Collection. I didn't love Butterfly Moment as much when I bought it, but seeing it juxtaposed with Gilded Coral may have changed my mind. They're both nice subtle colors that offer themselves to the soft shades we see for spring, but with a hint of shimmer.
"Butterfly Moment" alternating with "Gilded Coral"

Next up is a random Essie that happened to grab my attention - "Haute as Hello", from Essie's 2010 Summer collection. In the bottle, it seemed like a nice peach color, simple and solid. But on the nail, "Hello" is right - This is definitely a soft neon orange! Looking at the picture below, you can see the clear difference between the bottle shade and the finished result. Can I mention how like other neons, this one was a HUGE pain?? The formula was terrible and draggy, poor at layering out and took a lot of coats - this is 3 or 4 with SV on top. I also think this would look better with a tan, so I'll save it for after I've spent a few days at the beach. I've also heard that this is very similar to Essie's "Tart Deco" - however this shade is more orange whereas the latter is definitely more pink/red. Both are very appropriate for summer!

Can I just say that this last one - HUGE HUGE lemming. This is another Essie shade, one that has gained
a LOT of following and popularity via Pinterest. However, and I say this sternly - it is NOT called "Cottage and Vine"! The shade is called "No More Film", and hails from Essie's 2012 Resort Collection. I had been trying to hunt this one down for a while - it had been at my local beauty shop, but since it got shut down I hadn't seen it.

The formula on this misbehaved a bit - but these shots are only one coat, believe it or not! It was a bit runny at first, but once I learned to control it, application was a breeze. Next time, I'll have to try 2 coats to see if it makes any difference, but you could easily get away with one and a topcoat like I've shown here. 

This one is also a bit of a color changer in different lights - sometimes blue leaning, sometimes purple. In the bottle, it falls more purple on my spectrum, but clearly can be described as a deep, rich indigo....the "I" in your R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. for you rainbow junkies out there.

A touch of blue...

...with a bit of purple!

Which out of these was your favorite? Are there any other polishes you've seen online that you just HAVE to get your hands on??

Happy Polishing!

Friday, February 22, 2013


If you haven't heard by now, Pantone's official color of 2013 is Emerald Green - and I am absolutely OBSESSED.

Goodness, it's stunning.

So obsessed in fact, that during my shifts at work I point out all of the items influenced not just by 17-5641, but by the other colors Pantone has designated as colors of the Spring 2013 season. But more on that later.

The purpose of this post is basically to showcase my favorite ways to wear this trend on your nails - I've been searching for the perfect color of green to match the swatch, but depending on the season, there's a few different ways to get in on the emerald action! And these come at all different price points, too. :)

"Henley Regatta", "Tenacious Teal", and "Noir Emerald"
Henley Regatta by butter london is a straight-up glitter polish. It's got a mix of emerald green and a teal/cyan microglitter in a clear base, and is very dense. If you LOVE just glitter, this gets pretty opaque in 2 coats.
Close-up to get the full glittery goodness!
Here, I have 2 layers of Henley Regatta layered over 2 coats of the next polish, "Tenacious Teal" by Maybelline. Like all butter london polishes, this averages about $14-15 a bottle. Lucky me, I got this one for Christmas ;)

Next up is Maybelline's Color Show "Tenacious Teal". This polish is a creme/jelly formula that runs very thin on the first coat, but builds up well. If you look close at the bottle in the above picture, you can see how it doesn't stay very well mixed in the bottle. However, the color is gorgeous, high gloss, and a decent formula on application. Downside - MAJOR shrinkage after applying a coat of Seche Vite - it's only been an hour and I can already see my tips coming through. I'd try using another top coat with this - Sally Hansen Insta-Dri (in the red bottle may work better). I don't know where the name came from, this is clearly a green, and not a teal by any means, in any light. These babies retail for $3 at Target - go get 'em!

"Noir Emerald" and "Tenacious Teal"
Lastly, I give you Avon's "Noir Emerald". This is a dark, dark emerald shimmer that on the first coat did not apply well at ALL. I'm talking about sticky, draggy, uneven polishing. The second coat I did kind of thick to make sure it evened out. I couldn't quite capture the color right, but there is definitely a bluer tint to this, making it an appropriate emerald green by Pantone's standards. The shimmer is great, but the streaky-ness of the formula is unforgiving and very visible once dry. This is 2 coats with a topcoat of SV.

 I do love Avon's Nailwear Pro+ line, they are hard to chip - they promise "12 days of lasting color", but I wouldn't know since I change my polish so often! Avon Nailwear Pro+ retails for $6 a bottle in the catalog, and comes in great colors that are on trend for the season.

Okay, just ONE more.

Which one of these was your favorite? Do you have any green polishes that you love to wear in the spirit of Emerald green? Let me know in the comments below!!

Happy Polishing!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who doesn't love free polish?

Today, I was at a total loss as to what to post about - I thought about swatching something, and was about to paint my toenails when the doorbell rang...a package, for me??
"The Impossible", "Can't Let Go", "Get Your Number", "Stay The Night"
Just over a month ago, I had won OPI's Liquid Sand Leading Ladies contest - providing me with ALL of OPI's Liquid Sand colors they release in 2013. Needless to say, I was pretty darn excited :) I'm so incredibly late on the Mariah Carey Collection posts, though I did buy a couple of these liquid sand colors as well as a few others (Anti-Bleak, Butterfly Moment, and Pink, Yet Lavender). When I spoke to the representative from OPI, she said I should be receiving the Liquid Sand from the "Oz the Great And Powerful" Collection in early March...I've also got a bunch from the collection on order from TrendyHands :)

My absolute favorite from this collection is Anti-Bleak. It's a rich pink-leaning plum that's almost opaque in one coat, but I'll do two just in case. It applies very smooth, not much of a surprise for OPI's cremes. It's super hi gloss without a top coat. Be advised - if you're using pure acetone for cleanup, this will run like the dickens into every nook and cranny because it's so highly pigmented. So worth the clean up, though.

 As much as I love "Pink Yet Lavender" from this collection, my absolute favorite glitter pairing with this is "I Lily Love You" from the Summer 2011 Nice Stems! Collection. This is a super-dense flaky rainbow glitter in a pink transparent base. If you look closely, it also has some tiny square glitters in there as well. The formula on this was getting a little thick, so I only did one nail.

I got this look with just one coat over 2 coats of the Anti-Bleak, plus a coat of Seche Vite. please forgive my cuticles, this dry winter weather is wreaking havoc on them :( I couldn't quite get the light to reflect properly, but it looks absolutely stunning in person. One of those manicures where I catch myself staring at my own nails....yeah.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some macros of all the glitters I used in today's post!

I still haven't gotten to painting my toenails, either :\

Happy Polishing!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Icebreaker

So, I finally caved. I made a blog, which I plan to dedicate mostly, if not completely, to nails, manicures, nail art, swatches, etc. I figure I might as well put my addiction to good use, since I can't even keep myself from buying colors on a whim. Not even during Lent....whoops.
If you know me personally, you know that my collection has started to grow exponentially since I started college. Now that I'm out, I've gotten to a point where there's no turning back. As I invest myself more and more into this "hobby", I plan to regale you all with tales of my journey.

My first OPI colors were the two you see at the right here - Significant Other Color, and Holy Pink Pagoda! as part of the "A Pose For Toes" gift set. I think I received this for my birthday one year, maybe in the early 2000's.  All I remember is that it was pre-"3-free" era, something you can definitely point out when you catch a whiff upon opening.

Given my long history with these 2 bottles, I have yet to part with them. I also hadn't opened Holy Pink Pagoda! in a while, which led me to this:

Never have I experienced or even heard of bristles detaching themselves and ending up IN the nail polish itself...needless to say, I had to scoop them out with a bent hair pin, resulting in serious loss of this now rare and discontinued least OPI is sending me a new brush. Luckily, I have yet to experience this travesty with its companion.

I'll swatch these when I have the time, and link to it here once I do. In the mean time, happy polishing!