Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NOTD Essie's "Hot Coco"

Today's mani features another hard-to-find Essie color called "Hot Coco", a oft creamy brown color that gave me some trouble. The first layer was so quick drying and streaky that I almost gave up on it - though the second leveled it out nicely. Below is 2 layers of Hot Coco with a Gelous top coat, and dotted accents of "Selena" (Nicole by OPI) and "For Audrey" (China Glaze)

Direct Sunlight

Cloudy Sunlight
Overall, it's a nice warm brown that does in fact remind me of hot chocolate, though with spring coming up I'm not sure how often I'll wear it. Definitely meant for the fall and winter months. What do you think?

Happy Polishing!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mixed bag - today's haul

The weather here today has been a bit dreary..snow in the morning and early afternoon, and just rain from there on out. I decided to cheer myself up a bit by picking up some new shades to share - hooray!

This first one is a straight-up, bubblegum pink. There's a slight shimmer to it that is barely visible, even in the sun...but I've been after this color for a while and just haven't seen it around. I present to you, "Selena" from the Selena Gomez collection of Nicole by OPI! I've been looking for a pink like this for a while, it just looks so yummy! It was a bit sheer, took 3 coats for opacity. This is without topcoat.

Next up is a polish that follows the flat glitter trend, and definitely the black and white trend. It's called "Black Tie Optional" by Hard Candy, ($4 at Walmart) - And it didn't dissapoint. I layered it over the above color, mainly because I love the black and pink look. This is just one layer, plus top coat. I'm excited to see how this would look sandwiched between Essie's "Marshmallow", just cuz I feel it'll have a cookies n creme look to it!

Lastly is actually from Sephora by OPI's 2010 Halloween Collection, called "If You've Got It, Haunt It". It's a black and silver/gunmetal microglitter with some slightly larger blue, teal, green, orange, etc etc etc glitters thrown in. Doesn't really scream Halloween to me, but I was able to get this for a steal at Marshall's for $3.99. After 2 coats of Gelous, I was able to seal it in nicely for the below photo. I really like this as a wearable glitter...not too ostentatious but still very pretty. I wish there had been more sun today so I could really capture the glimmer in it. This is 2 coats plus the top coat. You can see the colored glitters scattered throughout, quite brilliant.

Some lucky finds today, who knows what tomorrow will hold?

Happy Polishing!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

NOTD: Essie Jamaica Me Crazy and OPI

Today's NOTD is a simple metallic/glitter combo - Essie's "Jamaica Me Crazy", a bright purple magenta metallic, topped off with OPI's ""..I thought about wearing the Essie by itself, but decided it needed a little more 'pop'! These shots are with 2 coats of each sandwiched between some layers of Gelous. "Jamaica Me Crazy" has a tendency to lean purple in some light and pink in others, so I've provided 2 photos. I really liked the formula on both of these polishes, but the Essie surprised me - normally I have issues with A. The brush being too small and dragging a bit (I have wide nails) and B. It applying a little too thick for my liking...I had no problems with this shade whatsoever!


What do you think? I really love the color combo of the base with the pink and purple and blue glitters of "".

Happy Polishing!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

NOTD and a comparison swatch

Here's a quick mani I thought I'd try out today - Essie's "Fruit Sangria" as a base, with Layla "Flash Black" and butter LONDON "Dodgy Barnett" holo accents. I really love the creamy formula that Fruit Sangria has, it took 2 coats for opacity and had a nice subtle shimmer to it. A true bold summer color.

Below, by request I did a comparison between Essie's "Turquoise & Caicos" and China Glaze's "For Audrey"... Essie is on the middle and pinky fingers, CG on the pointer and ring fingers. "For Audrey" is a bit more blue, and the formula was opaque in one coat, a lot creamier than T&C. The Essie formula had a bit more gel to it, and took a good 3 coats to get opaque. Also a lot greener. I guess if you had to choose between the two, it depends which you think would flatter your skin tone more...or if you just fancy a blue to a green or vice-versa. Both have been made standard shades by their respective brands - China Glaze is available at Sally Beauty Supply, and Essie basically everywhere else. Best chances to find T&C are probably at Harmon and Ulta.

Happy Polishing!

Friday, March 22, 2013

NOTD - Quick swatches

So, I wanted a mani that had a little more fun and flair to it to challenge the Gelous gel coat - I've had it on my toes for a couple of days now with one of Essie's new Resort Collection Shades, called "First Timer", a bright, soft kelly green. That'll get swatched soon. Another shade from this collection is called "in the cab-ana", a bright cerulean blue that makes you think of the cool clear caribbean waters. I'm super lucky for grabbing the last bottle. Sorry for the kinda crappy pictures, I took a long nap today and totally missed the daylight hours. This lighting gives a pretty nice portrayal of the color though. The formula was a little thick, and after 2 coats of the gel coat it really built up on my nail. But I can't say it hasn't lasted though. This picture was taken after a day of work, which usually chips at least 2 nails. No nicks on these babies!

 This is 2 thick coats of "In The Cab-ana" over 2 coats of Gelous and topped with another coat of Gelous. The accent nail glitter you might recognize as OPI's "When Monkeys Fly" from the Oz The Great and Powerful Collection. I was able to place the large glitters curved side-down so as to prevent a too-bumpy surface and severe "taco-ing". The Gelous is a great top coat for heavy glitters and really smoothed out the surface too.

EDIT: Here's a better shot of "In the Cab-Ana" in sunlight *I've also applied OPI's "Last Friday Night" to the index finger* :

On my right hand I wanted to mix it up a little but wanted to keep the When Monkeys Fly accent nail, so here is "Cute as a Button" looks a little orangey in this light, but is definitely one of my favorite colors not just for spring/summer but for all year around. It's such a juicy dark coraly pink, with a smooth formula. 2 coats over the Gelous with a Gelous topcoat - you can see that A. I messed up my index nail somehow at work and B. My thumb is all yucky cuz I ran to the gym without waiting for them to dry properly last night...woops. Another coat of Gelous should fix that, though.

I'll be swatching "First Timer" soon, it's such a lovely grassy green, a good color for an easter mani :)

Happy Polishing!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Patty's Day Mani + Gelous Advanced Nail Gel Coat

Hey folks -

Sorry it's been a few days, I've been a bit busy tending to a sick pet :(. Hope everyone's St. Patty's Day was fantastic! I spent the day cooking, and at the vet...and doing my nails of course! This is what I came up with on the fly.

I know it's not much, I kind of just approached this randomly. I think the thumb, despite being so simple, is my favorite! The base is Sinful Colors "San Francisco" with spots of OPI "Goldeneye" (glitter) and Essie "Shifting Power"...the fact that Shifting Power is a bit sheer made it a bit chartreuse over the it.

Disclaimer - Pinky Nail was meant to be a sugar spun detail - I had to start cooking and I therefore applied my top coat too soon and it smushed everything together. :(

As for the rest of this post, this review was a bit of a request from a friend of mine. Floating around on pinterest are a bunch of tutorials on how to achieve a DIY gel mani...besides investing in a UV/LED kit, this might just be the next best thing. May I introduce American Classics' "Gelous" Advanced Nail Gel Coat. This stuff works wonders. You can find it in store and online at Sally Beauty Supply.

Here, I've used a base coat of OPI Nail Envy (for that vitamin loving boost), then 2 coats of the Gelous, 2 coats of nail color + details, and then a top coat of the Gelous to seal. EVERY layer, I wrapped the tips as well. Even with just the base coats and no polish, I could notice a significant difference in thickness and strength. My right hand is currently unpolished, save for the Nail Envy and 2 coats of Gelous. I applied everything based on recommendations I had read around the web - some mentioned sandwiches like I had done below, or simply using it as a base coat. I chose to use it over an actual base coat, hearing it would adhere better. It definitely creates a smooth surface for nail polish to adhere to, and evens out any ridges or imperfections your nail might the thickness? Love!

I must say, it does look like my nails have been treated with a LED or UV gel. the thickness is spot on, and as a top coat, it is really quite shiny. Since I've only just applied it, we will have to wait and see how long this'll last - thank goodness I have some manis backed up to post the next few days! As for right now, my overall impression is good...I've heard some complaints about peeling and lifting (like SV tends to do), as well as a dull finish - no grief from me on the latter, that's for sure!

The colors in the photo above are: Essie's "Power Clutch" and "Lapis of Luxury", Zoya's "Dove" and Old Navy's "Platinum". 

Have you tried any of the DIY gel manis on Pinterest? Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to review!

Happy Polishing!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Yesterday's Haul

So, I meant to post this yesterday - I really did. Dad had the day off from work and we had to run out to run errands....nail blog got tossed aside.

I took these photos planning to post them yesterday - I picked up both of these lovelies at Ulta...ON SALE. All butter LONDONs were $9...they're normally $14-$15 each. I KNOW.

First one up is "Snog", this color is just so stunning. The formula is flawless, this is 2 coats. A nice, creamy, raspberry red looks super yummy and delicious. And how can you not love the name? It was super shiny on its own, but this is with a layer of SV on top. This was such an impulse buy and I have no regrets.

"Snog" in sunlight
 Now, THIS ladies and gentlemen, is "Dodgy Barnett"...and when I looked to buy it I didn't realize it would be so holo-y. But, I love it! Definitely no regrets about this one either. Nice, smooth application, but took 3 full coats for opacity below. SV didn't dull this one either, though the first picture below I took when the sun decided to disappear :(. You can see the super fine glitter in it that makes it so brilliant as a silver alone, but I was able to capture the full linear holo-y goodness in the fluorescent lighting.
Cloudy sunlight
 Behold, rainbows. Oooh. Ahh. It's soft, but it's there! I promise it's stronger in direct sunlight, like all holos. The subtlety of it might actually make me love it that much more.

Fluorescent Lighting
Overall, this was SUCH an impulse buy for both and I regret neither. I can only imagine how cute "Snog" is going to look on my toes come flip-flop season! And a silver-based holo is an absolute essential these days.

All in all, a successful day of shopping - Happy polishing!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sunny outside? Time for some Holos!

Today's post is a quick one....we finally got a spot of sun for a bit, so I decided to show off the few holos that I have in my collection. 3 are from the Color Club Halo Hues collection released last fall, and the last is from Layla.

From left to right are: "Angel Kiss", "Halo-Graphic", and "Blue Heaven", all from Color Club. Pinky finger is Layla  "08 Flash Black".

The first 3 have a real nice linear look to them...the 4th however isn't quite as bold. The SV top coat didn't dull them down either. Color Club has some new bolder colors that remind me of China Glaze's OMG collection, bright bold holos in vibrant colors. Out of the 4 here, my favorite is probably "Blue Heaven" (Ring Finger). It was my first, and leans a little towards the silver side.

Which one's your favorite?

Happy Polishing!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Illamasqua Speckled Collection - Fragile Swatch

So, I know I've been terrible and haven't posted in a few days. tsk tsk.

HOWEVER, I would like to thank everyone who's helped get me to over 1,000 pageviews! You've been tremendously supportive and I love that I get requests and questions from all of you, so keep it coming!

As for today's swatch, I went and splurged on Illamasqua's "Fragile" from their 'Speckled' Collection. This is one of spring's BIG trends, you see this in all the magazines nowadays, especially with this brand and Deborah Lippman as the front runners. I picked this one up since it was A. the only one unavailable on the website and B. because it looks like a robin's egg! It also comes in a purple, a green, and a tan/beige, all pastel of course. It's amazing what some black flat glitters can do! This one has tiny black micros with some small round ones. The formula on this was real smooth, the layers were thin but dried quick.

I did 3 coats, with the Sephora by OPI Matte top coat. I did like this on its own without the matte top coat, but I wanted to get that whole eggshell feel to it.

Happy Polishing!


Friday, March 8, 2013

OPI Bond Girl Liquid Sand Swatches!

Hey All! As promised, I'm delivering to you the swatches of OPI's next Liquid Sand shades. I won these as a contest winner of their Liquid Sand Leading Ladies contest - the collection will be released in time for summer later this year.

In my previous post I outlined the details of each shade and their descriptions, so here are the swatches!

First up is "Pussy Galore" - despite what 007-ignorant laquerettes might think, she's one of the most popular and prevalent Bond girls, featured in Goldfinger and known for her pink wardrobe. This shade is simply lovely, a metallic powder pink speckled with pink glitter and obviously textured for a nice velvety finish. 2 coats.

Next up is probably my favorite of the collection, "Jinx" (Halle Berry, Die Another Day). This is no doubt inspired by her famous orange bikini - the shade is a gorgeous golden coral with a pink tint in the sun. The base is similar to the Mariah Carey shades, super heavy on the sparkle. 2 coats.

This one is inspired by one of my favorite Bond girls, "Honey Ryder" from Dr. No. It's another metallic base, a soft gold speckled with gold glitter. I admit this color isn't the most flattering with my skin tone. I do expect it to look better once I get a little bit more color on me some summertime! 2 coats.

Sort of a sister to the above shade, "Solitaire" (Live and Let Die) is the last of the metallic based sands in the collection. A frosty white dotted with silver glitters, I really enjoyed this one on the nail. The pearly look to it is broken up by the texture and the sparkle, making it a very wearable white. 2 coats.

Though this one might look a bit metallic, "Tiffany Case" (Diamonds Are Forever) leans more along the lines of "Jinx". A super condensed powdery blue glitter base with silver round glitters is just as stunning on the nail as it is on the bottle. Another one of my favorites from this collection, the formula was a bit difficult to level out but worked fine after 2 coats.

 Last, and probably least for me is "Vesper" (Casino Royale). This is a deep plum jelly base, speckled with plain black glitter and the crystals to give it texture. On my thumb, you can see one coat - very transparent and the black glitters don't distribute evenly. The rest of my nails are 2 coats and you can see how the opacity builds up. In person, the color isn't so terrible, and the light reflected by the sand particles makes it a bit more brilliant. However, you can see how uneven it is in the sunlight below. 2 coats.

Overall, I really loved this collection - the shades are (almost) universally flattering, and as usual you get a lot more control over the polish because of its consistency. My favorites were definitely "Jinx", "Solitaire", and "Tiffany Case".

Remember, you'll have to be patient for this collection, as it doesn't come out for another 2 months. Which ones will you be pre-ordering/buying??

Happy Polishing!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


So, OPI sent me my next liquid sand color - "What Wizardy Is This?" from the Oz Collection. They also sent me the 6 new Bond Girl Liquid Sand Shades - needless to say, I screamed a bit when I opened the box!

I'll have the swatches up later tonight/tomorrow, but here's the lineup! Left to Right - "Jinx", "Pussy Galore", "Honey Ryder", "Tiffany Case", "Vesper" and "Solitaire".

EDIT: So here's the skinny on the upcoming Bond Girl Liquid Sand Shades I just inherited - The collection is due out in May of this year and features just these 6 shades, each clearly named after an iconic Bond Girl.

Solitaire (Live And Let Die) - This diamond sparkling white is totally engaging.
Pussy Galore (Goldfinger) - This light feminine pink has the purrrfect amount of shimmer.
Tiffany Case (Diamonds are Forever) - A classic light blue worth investigating.
Vesper (Casino Royale)  - A mysterious and intriguing deep purple.
Honey Ryder (Dr. No) - Take a ryde on the wild side in this shimmery gold.
Jinx (Die Another Day) - This mesmerizing matte color has lucky sparkle.

I'll be swatching these tomorrow when I have sunlight to properly display their brilliance - stay patient until then!

Happy Polishing!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tomb Raider Nail Art

Today's post is inspired by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix's reincarnation of Tomb Raider - one of my all-time favorite video game franchises. I finally picked up my copy today (it was released yesterday), and decided to dedicate today's manicure to this historical video game release, and its concept art.

As you can see, the designs I chose for each nail were inspired not just by the concept art, but by the entire Tomb Raider Universe.
Thumb: Tomb Raider wordmark, nice and simple. Essie "Licorice" Base, acrylic paint for the words, using a mechanical pencil, freehand.
Mossy Index Finger: China Glaze "Stone Cold" Base, with OPI "Just Spotted the Lizard!" and Essie "Pretty Edgy" dry brush moss detail. Lara's always climbing on stony stuff with moss and vines and whatnot.
Firey Middle Finger: China Glaze "Riveting" base, with OPI "Need Sunglasses?" and H&M "Peach Me Soon" brush flames. Added some spots of Essie Luxe Effects "As Gold As It Gets" for a little more sparkle.
Bloody Ring Finger: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure "Cafe Au Lait" base, with OPI "Big Apple Red" Blood splatter. When is Lara NOT covered in blood? Ever?
Cloudy Sky Pinky Finger: OPI "Alpine Snow" Base, with sponge gradient in Zoya "Dove", Essie "Power Clutch" and Essie "Licorice".

Property of Tomb Raider

Property of Tomb Raider

A closer look
The only nail I didn't add a top coat to was the index finger. China Glaze's "Stone Cold" dries matte to give a cool rocky effect and I didn't want to mess that up.

Are you a Tomb Raider fan?

Happy Polishing!

Monday, March 4, 2013

NOTD - Spotted Blue and Nude

Good news - my Konad set finally shipped! Prepare for some awesome stamping within the next couple of weeks :D

Today's NOTD is a simple spotted design paired with some solid accent nails. The blue is Essie's "Aruba Blue". The other nails are spots of China Glaze's "Fast Track" (Hunger Games Collection) over a base of Essie's "It's In The Bag". I really like how Fast Track came out a lot more "goldy" than how it looks on a bare nail - next time I wear it, I'll have to try it over an opaque base.

 For the dots I simply used a straight pin pierced through the eraser of a mechanical pencil, as well as the proper tip of the pencil for smaller dots. All nails are coated in a layer of SV.

Happy Polishing!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

NOTD - Renewal!!

Here are my NOTD from yesterday - I didn't get a change to photograph them properly yesterday so here they are - don't mind the tip wear/bubbling - my top coat went wild.

Below is Essie's "Borrowed and Blue" (a very coveted color since it's recent Pinterest popularity) with Old Navy's "Platinum" on the index accent nail. Borrowed and Blue has a nice formula that was opaque in 2 coats - the glitter took a bit more.

This next color you'll remember from my first post - OPI finally sent me a new brush for my bottle of "Holy Pink Pagoda!", and so today is the day to swatch it! The formula on it was a bit thick, so I thinned it out with a couple of drops of thinner - the shimmer on it is great. It's easily buildable, opaque in 2 coats. The color reminds me of something Barbie would wear - and not that corny Nicki Minaj neon crap.

 I decided to dress up the index nail with some "turquoise water accenting" - Similar to water marbling, though instead of swirling the colors, you spray the surface with something alcohol based (i.e. rubbing alcohol or body spray) and it will break up the nail color on the water - and then you dip!

A vibrant, deep rose with beautiful shimmer!

Close-up of the accent nail

Hope you all enjoyed today's post!

Happy Polishing!