Monday, April 30, 2012

Selections from the Essie Wedding Collection

Hi everyone!  Today I have some quick swatches of three of the four Essie Wedding collection polishes for this year, a collection of pretty enough pastels with pretty awful formulas.  I didn't get the fourth color, a lavender creme, because I would never wear it and I really regret budging on the pink and buying it because it's really not as pretty on the nail as in the bottle and the formula is awful.

First up, I have Who Is The Boss, a gray-blue that actually leaned a tiny bit green on me.  I used it for my polka dot mani the other day and I think the other two blues made it turn out more blue there, but while I was swatching it, it came off with just a hair of green against my skin.  This was the only one of the three that had a nice formula.  It dragged a tiny bit, so I had to make sure that it had enough drying time before adding the second coat.  These pictures show two coats, no top coat.

Next, I have Instant Hot, an off-white creme with a very, very subtle shimmer to it.  The formula sucked, but I really liked the way this looked against my skin.  It's not a stark white at all and leans very slightly into a pinkish off-white.  The shimmer is all but invisible on the nail, but it's the softer shade that I like a lot.  I actually wore this for three days, until it chipped, because I liked the clean look so much... and I got a TON of compliments.  I could hardly believe it because it was really plain for me, but everyone really responded to it.

But, like I mentioned, the formula was awful.  I used my BL Nail Foundation base coat, my secret weapon against the streaky and difficult polishes, and it worked to a degree.  These photos required four coats to look decent and it didn't look good until I got generous with some Seche Vite.  The two photos above are top coated.

This picture and the one below are both without top coat.  My camera was being very forgiving with this polish because a lot of the brush strokes were hidden in nearly all the pictures.  It didn't pool too much, so I was able to do coats that weren't too thick and so it didn't seem chunky at four.  The edges around the cuticle show the worst evidence of working with a difficult formula with a bit of visible dragging.

Luckily, if I'm patient, let each coat have a little extra dry time and top coat generously, it turns out really pretty.

Lastly, I have Like To Be Bad, a nightmare in a bottle for me.  I didn't want this one after I saw pictures online, but the slight shimmer in the bottle made me want it in the store and I bought it anyway.  Definitely regret it!  It's a dusty pink creme and that shimmer that I loved didn't love me back.  I couldn't see it on the nail.  It applied like a streaky mess, even worse than Instant Hot with the same base coat.  Pictured above is three coats with one thick coat of SV on top.  It looked horrific on, which is why the picture looks horrific too...

Here it is without top coat and you can definitely get a look at those streaks.  I had to go thick with the second and third coats because it didn't want to go thin, so I gave up salvaging it with a fourth coat.  In any case, there was already more polish down than I like to have to deal with when it comes to drying time.  It felt thicker than the four coats of Instant Hot!

Overall, it's a pretty pastel collection.  The names are kind of odd for a wedding collection, methinks, and I don't recommend dealing with the crappy formula with Like To Be Bad.  I'm on the fence about Instant Hot, but I kind of feel like it was worth it because of how pretty it was.  The polish I don't have, Love & Acceptance, is supposed to be along the lines of the blue formula-wise, but I am a lavender hater and I was already being pretty mean to my wallet when I hauled these!  Essie is actually a brand that I feel very "meh" about in general.  I like some of their stuff, but I don't own a lot because every time I think about picking up something on my wishlist, I decide it can wait because I need something else.  In this case, I was hauling a couple OPI Ballet Collection polishes for jelly sandwiches =D

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blue Polka Dots

Hi there!  I hope everyone is having a good weekend!  I've been busy again lately and have my manicure pictures piling up again, so while I have a moment, I thought I'd pop in and show you my weekend manicure!  I've been needing to get a new tiny nail art brush, so in the meantime, I've gotten a lot of use out of my dotting tool!

 My hubby and I are going to see some friends for dinner to talk about a wedding cake and the bride has asked me to do her nails for her wedding.  She loves blue, and though I am thinking something a little less eye-catching for her wedding, I wanted to show her some of the blues from my collection so I can find the perfect one.  It's her special day and I don't want to disappoint =)

 For this, I used Zoya Breezi as the primary color, but as I started to paint I decided that I definitely needed to make it more interesting, so I used Essie's Who Is The Boss from their recent wedding collection (I've got swatches of it for later!) on my ring finger.  I have American Apparel's Passport Blue as a base on my thumb.  Then it was simply a matter of dotting it up with the same colors!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cult Nails: Cruisin' Nude + Connect the Dots

Hi there everyone!  I hope you all had a fun weekend!  I had a very eventful one.  It was a very warm and sunny one here in Washington, so my hubby and I went out to enjoy the weather.  It kept up until yesterday, which was great because we had some extra time to go to Seattle.  I only managed to talk him into stopping at Ulta for polish, though I picked up a few things I needed! ;)

I hadn't been expecting to go anywhere though, so I was taking off my chipped mani from Sunday and had to throw on something.  Luckily, I had the time on the ferry to let it dry completely!  Here's what I wore:

I was really in love with Cruisin' Nude from seeing swatches right before Cult Nails had their $5 sale, so it was one of the colors I bought then.  In real life, my hands aren't as pale as they photograph.  They get really washed out whenever I point the camera at them.  In any case, Crusin' Nude is really close to my skin tone and close to looking like mannequin hands, just a smidge too dark. 

And though that look kind of creeps me out, I still really love this polish.  It applies like butter, smooth and silky.  I applied three coats here to get my desired opacity.  Sorry I didn't get a chance to show it to you by itself!  In any case, when I was done and looking at it, it just needed a little something to take it out of mannequin hand territory.

Adding Connect the Dots on top of it hid the red flash in Cruisin' Nude.  You can see the very subtle shimmer in CtD instead.  It's one of my favorite things about that polish.  It was just a quick topper this time so I could get out the door but it made it super fun with as little effort as possible. 

However, now I will have to wear Cruisin' Nude again soon so I can do the mani that I had in mind!  My friend suggested some polka dots that I'm totally in love with doing, so I need to get on that!  Until next time, Cruisin' Nude!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nail-venturous: Humble Bee Nail

Hello everyone!  I've got a fun little bit of nail art for you today.  I was originally wearing some half moons that I  really loved and was going to photograph them when I noticed a chip!  Upon closer inspection, the newest top coat I was testing had made the polish lift and it was all ready to peel off in sheets =(  I decided to do this a day early, since I was going to wear it over the weekend.

Nail-venturous Lacquers are a great indie brand of polishes that are available on Etsy and on Ninja Polish, though not always in stock due to their popularity.  I camped out Amy's Etsy store with determination the last time it opened and didn't manage to snag Floam or Humble Bee initially, but I did get Peacock Gone Wild.  Unfortunately, there was a wonky glitter issue (the polish is still lovely and useable though!) and Amy sent me a free bottle of another polish (she's the sweetest person in the world in addition to having great customer service).  I picked Humble Bee, despite thinking about how much I want Floam...  It just gives me something else to camp out for next time!

I am actually super glad that I got Humble Bee, because I'm kind of in love with it.  This funky-cool matte glitter is just so much fun.  I wanted to play off the slight green in the yellow glitter, so I added and accent nail in a chartreuse green, but it wasn't cool enough, so I added a bee!  For Humble Bee itself, I used three thickish coats to get full opacity and topped it with two coats of Gelous and one of Seche Vite to smooth it out.

Unfortunately, my top coat streaked the bee even after I waited for it to be completely dry before putting on the last coat.  It was minor, so only these darn macro shots show it.  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some Jelly Sandwiching, Nom Nom Nom

Hi everyone!  Today I'm bringing you a fun little jelly sandwich with Essie's Adore-A-Ball.  My hubby is constantly playing Team Fortress 2 when he's not at work, so when I showed him my jelly sandwich, he immediately thought of Heavy Weapons Guy, so now I get to listen to "Nom Nom Nom!" as I write this post!  Aren't I lucky? =P

In any case, I've been lemming the OPI Ballet Collection ever since I saw Scrangie's swatches because she made them look absolutely gorgeous.  However, I keep telling myself that I won't wear them that often to keep from buying them... And I give up, I'm going to check my JCPenny this weekend, since I was too busy to go last weekend.  Until then, I do have Essie's Adore-A-Ball that I picked up on clearance a while ago and never tried.  I think it will be a good substitute for now, until I get my hands on that beautiful looking gray jelly and more!

Adore-A-Ball happens to be a very pretty, very lightly pink toned sheer polish.  When I Googled it for reviews a while ago, I read that the formula wasn't very good, very streaky and thin.  That was what made me put it away for another time, but after my success the other day with Butter London Nail Foundation and white nail polish, I figured that would be my best bet.

BL worked wonders.  I had a really easy time applying this color and with none of the evil streaking I'd heard about.  It was still a little runny, so I tried not to overload my brush and it worked out fine.  I also really appreciate that BL's Nail Foundation is a tinted nude shade because it completely covered up any stains on my nails!  Huzzah!  BL, you're amazing!

Well, almost.  Using it did seem to decrease my wear time, so I'm testing out how a thin coat of Gelous or Poshe holds up underneath the BL.  For this mani, Poshe base coat is working really well!

The glitter I used here is a little unnamed franken I made with loose white, gunmetal and purple glitters in various sizes.  These pictures show two coats of Adore-A-Ball, one coat glitter and one more coat of Adore-A-Ball, followed by top coat.

Ahh, the squishy prettiness of it makes me happy... And makes me want more jelly sandwiches!

Also, because what really threw me over the edge and made me want the OPI Ballets was Mich at The Polish Well's matte jelly sandwich, I threw my matte top coat on top of this after a day.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nail Art: Birds On A Wire

Hi there!  Today I've got some exciting news (and nail art)!  Well, exciting for me. I've found the solution to my white nail polish problems!  Let's talk white polish for a minute!

If you haven't heard me talk about it before, let me start by telling you how much I hate white nail polish.  I use it a lot, ALL the time, because a lot of nail art I like to try starts with a stark white canvas.  However, application is awful, and if you've used it you probably know what I mean: thick, goopy, streaky, messy.  It usually resists thinner for me, so I have ended up over thinning several bottles even carefully adding drop by drop.  I have the worst relationship with white nail polish.

But after much experimenting, I found something that actually worked: Butter London's Nail Foundation.  I bought this in a sale on a whim and hadn't tried it for a while.  I tried a couple ridge fillers and wasn't impressed.  I even tried a matte top coat as a base and it showed some potential.  Then someone recommended Aqua Base, like what you want to use for finicky holos, and I was about to cave in and buy it when I pulled out BL.  It worked!  Finally!  I got my clean canvas!

So I used it to do some birds on a wire, inspired by these.  As a side note, I seriously dig those shoes.  If there's anything I like as much as nail polish, it's shoes!  I decided that I'd give the idea a try and I love how they turned out.  

Here's the other hand, the very rare and elusive right hand!  It looks like it needs some cuticle TLC, so I hope you'll excuse me.  The thing I'm most proud of is that I did this all with a rather long striping brush because my last itty bitty fine brush died a sad death when I started this.  It's about time I get another one!

I hope you like my birds!  Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Orly: Buried Treasure

Hi there, folks!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I had a busy one but it was a good one nonetheless.  Today I want to show you some swatches of a polish from Orly's Dark Shadows collection called Buried Alive.  It's the only polish from this collection that appealed to me--Mysterious Curse looks like a rebottled Royal Velvet, which I have, and the red and white seemed kind of standard to me.  Buried Alive looked like the most unique and since I needed to place an order on the Sally's website, I picked it up.

Buried Alive is a rich, dark brown with a gold and copper shimmer.  I think it looks really pretty, but the shade of brown might now be for everyone... I'm not going to say anymore, you guys can infer from there... The shimmer in it is seriously pretty though.  My camera also hated it.  This post extra pictures so that you can see how the light really catches it.  

These pictures show three coats with no top coat.  The application was pretty good.  It was a tad runny, so I had to make sure I wiped off any extra polish from the stem and brush.  

 And as much as I personally like this polish, it brings up a comment that I made when I was reviewing the Hunger Games collection by China Glaze last month: Yes, it's a movie collection and yes, it follows the theme of Dark Shadows, but it's really not seasonally appropriate and that is probably what is turning me off.  I will probably stick this in the box with my Hunger Games polishes and revisit them in the fall.  It's not necessarily something that bothers me, but it makes me less inclined to want a new collection like this.  Perhaps the red and white shades are a little more versatile and if I see them in person I'll be more interested.

Speaking of the movie, I don't have any interest in it... I might be stoned for saying so, but I am so tired of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.  Edward Scissorhands?  One of my favorite, favorite movies.  Everything since then?  Very apathetic about.

So is this polish pretty and is the formula good?  Yep.  Am I in love with it?  Nope!

What do you guys think?  Are you excited for this movie and these polishes?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One More Franken!

Hi everyone!  I've been working on some Lacquer Convention shades to bring you that don't require glitter suspension base.  I'm testing some interesting ones, but this is one that I kind of mixed by accident and I'm not certain if I'll be able to make it in large quantities.  It was so pretty that I decided to wear it for kicks myself, so I snapped some pictures.  

I've been in a bit of a nail art slump lately.  Everything I try to do ends up being too ambitious and I hate it!  It might have something to so with me mostly painting my nails late into the night...  I've got a big project planned for this week though:  I'm painting my helmer, and I'm not just talking re-painting it.  I'm turning it into a funky art project and I'm planning on doing some nail art to match!

In any case, my hubby is also bugging me to go, so I'll let you take a gander!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Franken: Nothing's Gonna Change My World

Hi everyone!  Yesterday I promised to show you my other attempt to franken a dupe of a Deborah Lippmann polish.  Did you guess what it was?  Well, if you did, give yourself a pat on the back!  This is my attempt to squash my lemming for DL's Across the Universe without breaking my no-buy!

Sorry that the swatches are a little messy today.  It's one of those times where the macro shot picked up stuff I didn't see in person and I admit, I probably should have reshoot these, but I was wearing a mani by the time I edited these... Boo at me today.

I hope that you can still enjoy this though.  I am pretty sure this attempt to dupe AtU is off, because I made two bottles and this one was the wonkier one.  I sent the nicer one to my best friend.  She wore it, but didn't send me pictures!  Of course, I got caught up talking about frankens and didn't ask, but that's beside the point.

In real life, it's a lot easier to see the glitter in this polish.  I think the camera did this no justice, because dupe or not, pretty blue and green glitter in a dark blue jelly base?  Awesome!  I shot these under a daylight lamp, but we have been having a lot of sunshine lately in Washington and I might go out and do some sun pictures! I just usually swatch in the evening when my hubby goes to work, but springtime and longer days should give me the chance to get outside in the sun!

This is a better shot to see the glitter on that middle finger.  I did top coat this for an extra shiny and squishy jelly look.

Totally going to be wearing this soon!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Franken: As If She Mean It

Hi kids!  I hope you're all doing well today!  I'm in the mood to show you two franken "dupes" that I've been working on, so let's take a look at the first one!

 I've always had a lemming for Deborah Lippmann's Lady Sings the Blues but I always resist pulling the trigger and ordering it.  I sent my BFF a text and asked if she supported me attempting to dupe it, and of course she was all for it.  I mean, I still want the real thing, but I am pretty happy with how this turned out.  I actually made two bottles, because the hazard of texting my friend about frankens is that I have to send her one in the mail =P

From pictures, I came up with this, As If She Mean It.  I can pretty much guarantee that it isn't a perfect dupe.  Swatches online have been helpful in the past, but it's hard to pin down a polish when I can't see it in person.  In any case, I do kind of love this franken.  It satisfies my lemming for now!

The finish is a little dull, so I top coated for these photos.  It brings out the shiny and squishy jelly appearance that I wanted.  I love how polishes like this become a jelly sandwich in a bottle and I particularly love dark, midnight blue jellies.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I show you my second franken dupe attempt!  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cult Nails: Divas and Drama Collection

Hi there!  I've been a little MIA on my blog lately, which I hate, but I've been super busy.  Hopefully things are settling down for a bit.  I spent yesterday doing swatches of this new collection and started to write this post, but my computer ended up eating it... Thus, I'm starting over and making sure I save it this time!

Today, I want to show you the Divas and Drama collection from Cult Nails.  It's the first full collection I've ordered from this company, but now I'm wondering what took me so long!  If you're not into gushing, just scroll through the many pretty pictures =)

The first polish I have for you is Scandalous, an orangey coral jelly.  This was actually the color I was apathetic about when I pre-ordered this collection because I am not a huge coral fan, but I was curious about this being a jelly.  I'm glad that I gave it a shot because it's one of the most gorgeous summer shades I have!

For the record, this has one of the best formulas in the world.  It is so easy to apply and work with.  These pictures show four coats, no top coat, because I wanted to see it at full opacity.  I can't wait to make jelly sandwiches with it!  It's such an awesome shade with a great squishy finish.

  The second picture is the most color accurate.  It is a little pinker than it wanted to photograph.

The second shade I have for you is Manipulative, a beautiful aqua colored creme with a hint of a shimmer.  That shimmer is definitely more prominent in the bottle than on the nail, but you can still catch a hint of it from time to time.

Application was good, but it was a tad thick and I will be adding a few drops of thinner.  These photos show three coats because I needed a third to even it out.  Still, I really like this polish a lot!  

The shade of blue here has a hint of green to it and it gets picked up depending on the light.  The first three are a little brighter than how it looks in the bottle, but this last picture shows its dustier side.  It really is brighter and upbeat most of the time.

In this last picture, you can also see the shimmer!

Next we have Enticing, which actually perfectly fills a gap in my collection that I have been searching for: a pretty, sheer pink with a tiny bit of a spark to it.  I'm not huge on sheers and neutrals, but for whatever reason, I really wanted to have something like this on hand.   

 This happens to be the shade I was hoping to find with a bit of a shimmer and another fantastic formula.  It was like Scandalous, so very smooth and wonderful to apply.  These pictures show three coats with no top coat.  As you can see, it is almost opaque here, but it was beautifully sheer at one and two coats and definitely wearable that way too.  The pigmentation makes it really awesome for me because I have slightly yellowed nails and it actually camouflages them rather well.

If nothing else, Enticing made this collection worth it for me!

The last polish in this collection is also something to write home about.  Seduction is a multi-colored flaky in a purple jelly base, a close cousin to the famous Unicorn Puke/Clairvoyant.  

These two pictures show it over Scandalous, two coats for good coverage.

I do own the original Unicorn Puke, but I haven't compared them on the nail (Pointless Cafe has a comparison post though!).

These two pictures show two coats layered over Manipulative.

One coat over Enticing.

And I also pulled some random colors to try it over from my stash, a medium blue creme, a plum purple creme and a black creme.  I left my index finger blank.  There are two coats of Seduction on each finger in these pictures.

Seduction is a limited edition color and is still in stock on the Cult Nails website, as is the rest of the collection.  I'm really in love with these four polishes and definitely recommend them!

Thanks for reading!