Archive for August, 2012

China Glaze Whimsical Comparisons

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

When I originally posted about China Glaze Whimsical, I promised to dig around looking for dupes. I went stash diving and, sadly, I have nothing good to report. Whimsical seems to be in a league of its own as far as my stash goes. There were two possible candidates judging from bottle color alone, but the ultimate effect on the nail was not similar at all.

The base color of OPI Significant Other Color, which is pink-leaning-towards-lilac, seemed similar to Whimsical’s base color. SOC is a sheer layering polish with a predominantly green duochrome shimmer. Estee Lauder Shimmering Pink, a frosty very light pink, was chosen because it exhibits a very beautiful ultra fine green and pink shimmer in bottle. I thought that type of shimmer might reproduce the ethereal quality of Whimsical on the nail, even though the base color was visibly dissimilar. Both these colors were untrieds so I wasn’t sure what they would look like in practice.

Clearly, not close at all. Shimmering Pink was very frosty, no me gusta. The shimmer wasn’t very apparent and the pink shimmer was more dominant than the green. This is 5 coats of color. I wasn’t too impressed with the swatch, but I’ll wait to do a full mani before I kick this one. Significant Other Color has a pinker base color – Whimsical is more mauve. This is 4 coats of SOC and 4 coats of Whimsical.

I took this shot with my nails slightly angled, catching more light to display the shimmer. Here the differences between the shimmer in Whimsical and the shimmer in SOC is more obvious. SOC displays a much stronger green cast and doesn’t build to the same level of opacity as Whimsical. Significant Other Color, at least in the bottle, is one of the most impressively beautiful polishes ever made, but the duochrome magic just doesn’t translate to the nail. That is, until you layer it over black, then the winning never stops. I do plan to wear it this way some day but if you need instant swatch gratification check out Love Varnish’s swatch of SOC over black. Pretty amazing, huh?

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Zoya Smoke Collection Fall 2011: Like Old Times

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This is my first collection review as of the relaunch! I chose to begin with the Zoya Smoke collection for three reasons: first, this collection pretty much encompasses everything I love about nail polish – very rich, creme, smokey, unique, moody colors presented together thematically. Second, I consider many of the colors in this collection to be consistent with the new theme: work appropriate with an edge. Finally, if you follow Zoya on  Facebook or Twitter (and if you don’t you really, really should) you know that their Account Holder Buy One Get One Free Sale ends tomorrow one minute before midnight, so I figured this post would be timely for anyone still on the fence about making an order.

This collection might be old news for some, but when I decided to start blogging again this collection really popped out to me after scouring Scrangie’s blog for new lemmings. It was released in Fall of 2011 as one half of the Smoke and Mirrors Collection (I’ll be swatching Mirrors soon). I really love the theme here – the concept of smoke, which evokes images of smoldering color and sultriness, was really well executed. Zoya has seriously stepped up their game while I’ve been away, so hats off to them. Part of the reason, it took all week to get these swatches together for this post is that I wore three of the six colors in this collection as NOTDs. The whole collection is worth owning for anyone into moody cremes.

Zoya Petra was my first NOTD from this collection – I LOVED IT. It’s a dark smokey purple creme. The color in the bottle looks more murky and mushroom-y than the color appears once it’s on the nail – which is significantly darker. This mani was 3 coats. Application was average, not the best but not the worst. On the work-apropos scale – I would say this shade is appropriate for all except the most conservative environments. It’s purple, but it’s not “in your face” – it’s very chic and demure. I know colors like this have been very popular in my absence and since my collection is still frozen in time, I didn’t really have anything comparable in my stash – the closest thing was Sephora by OPI Metro Chic but Petra is much more purple.

Zoya Jana, in the same vein as Petra, is a dusty, moody purple tinged putty taupe creme – this color is chic personified. It even elicited compliments from my husband who very rarely comments on polish. Like Petra, Jana was worn as a NOTD. I got really excellent wear out of it – I think it was over 5 days with no chips using Sally Hansen Nail Quencher as a base-cost and Seche Vite as a top-coat.  Also, like Petra, this one dries significantly darker on the nail than it looks in the bottle. Application was great, almost full coverage with one coat. However, the very pigmented formula was not forgiving of nail surface imperfections with less than 3 coats. On the work-apropos scale – in my opinion this one is safe anywhere. The closest color in my collection was Sephora by OPI Call Your Mother, but CYM is much more purple and less muted.

Zoya Anja, another NOTD, is a deep burgundy creme. Vampy goodness all around – I never, ever get tired of vampies. I didn’t spot any exact dupes in my vampy drawer but I don’t own Rescue Beauty Lounge Drifter which Temptalia believes is a very close dupe. This is 2 coats, perfect application. I filed my nails really short, partly to wear this color. I do believe it’s work appropriate on short nails. I’m certainly not telling anyone how to wear their nails, but short is my personal nail length preference for vampies and almost blacks. I often see women around the courthouse wearing darker shades, but always on short nails - accordingly, I believe that’s the social convention for professionals. So, for the time being, I’m labeling this one conditionally work-apropos.

Holy $&$($&^@&*##@#(#&. Zoya Codie – the best way I can describe this is green toned liquid smoke with a creme finish. Definitely in line with the collection theme, smoke. It’s an almost black, but it’s beautiful. Like Petra and Jana, it’s darker on the nail than in the bottle. I wasn’t brave enough to wear this one to work. Sadly, this beauty is probably not work safe for any environment that is even remotely conservative. I’m definitely planning to whip it out on a weekend, when the swatching schedule permits. This swatch is three coats. The formula was a little watery so you have to be careful of pooling during application. Codie is my favorite from this collection.

Zoya Cynthia, my second favorite from this collection, is a smokey teal toned dark navy, almost black. It’s very difficult to see (and my camera totally failed to capture it), but this color has a beautiful ultra fine shimmer that is effectively invisible but gives the polish depth. (It’s shimmer for shimmer-haters like me. Haha.) This swatch is 3 coats, the first coat was very watery. Again, probably not the best choice for most office environments.

And, finally, Zoya Dree, a muted, dusty drab olive green creme. Coverage would have been good at 2 coats, but this swatch is 3 coats. Application on this one was perfect. Like the others in this collection, this one also dried slightly darker on the nail. The first obvious possible dupe would be Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War – but it doesn’t seem close. NMW seems much darker, although it’s tough to judge based on bottle shade alone since Dree appears slightly darker on the nail. I will post comparison pics soon. This one, again, is probably not office appropriate.

In case anyone is looking for more Zoya swatches for the BOGO Sale – check out my Zoya Category for your lemming creation needs. : D Are you planning to get, or have you gotten, anything from the sale? I know some girls hauled big time!

In other news, should you stumble upon the nail art article in the September issue of Allure and you might recognize nails belonging to a certain someone. :  ) You can see the post that that photo came from here: Cover Girl Crackle Lacquer.

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Disclosure: This collection was provided for review by Zoya.

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The Polish Addict: Wedding Edition!!

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

My husband and I got engaged last year. So, obviously, the most important decision I made after that was deciding what to do with my nails for the wedding (totally not kidding). This was an arduous process – the stash was thoroughly examined, scrutinized, and analyzed. When I first set out to plan my wedding mani, I wanted to do something different. Soft shades are obvious, I wanted something more unique. I stumbled upon Oscar De La Renta’s Spring 2013 Bridal Collection and fell in love with this concept.

(Photo Credit: Society Bride)

A subtle, light watery blue mani accented with opal-like blue toned jewelry. I wouldn’t have to do much searching as there were a few options in my stash that could mimic that look, China Glaze Moody Blue and Rescue Beauty Lounge Bikini Bottom immediately came to mind. Unfortunately, and probably not surprisingly, my Mom was less than thrilled with my blue nails idea.  So, in the end, to minimize stress, I decided to compromise and go with more typical wedding fare. Some of you are going to be disappointed, haha, that I decided to do a standard french, using Essie Mademoiselle and Essie Marshmallow. But I did spice it up a bit with two coats of Orly Twilight.

Orly Twilight is a gorgeous sheer layering polish – it consists of very fine iridescent silver toned shimmer suspended in somewhat cloudy clear polish. Mostly, I’ve seen Twilight layered over darker shades, but it’s very pretty over lighter shades. In my case, it added the perfect amount of glam to my potentially boring standard french. I did consider a holographic topcoat – but after several swatching attempts, I thought it look a little too ‘young’ for the style I was trying to achieve. I, sadly, did go to a salon to have my nails done. It’s been years since I’ve entered a nail salon for anything other than a mini dusty hunt. Ultimately, I regretted it a little – the nail tech did a good job, but I’m pretty particular about my nails and I think I would have been happier doing them on my own.

(Yes! I do have thumbs!) None of the wedding photos of my nails show the beautiful shimmer of Orly Twilight, so I’ll have to post a swatch in the future. Although, I would say that this photo is a pretty accurate depiction of the overall look – Twilight is really subtle over Mademoiselle so my nails weren’t blinging all over the place.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “how was this a compromise, you totally sold out!”  Well, I hope my sellout status is mitigated by my pedicure. I decided to do Rescue Beauty Lounge Bikini Bottom both as a pedi and as my “something blue.” Originally, to mimic the Oscar De La Renta nails, I was planning to layer Bikini Bottom over a jelly light color like OPI Don’t Touch My Tutu or OPI Barre My Soul. That layering combination would have created a more watery, cloudy, more subtle light blue. On my toes, I didn’t think I needed to be more subtle so it’s just 3 coats of unadulterated Bikini Bottom. I think the light blue nails with the ivory shoes made a really chic combination. And, finally, the dress:

This is us! Our wedding was a really small dinner party in the middle of hot, hot, hot July (yes! we’re very newly wed!), so I decided on a short dress. My wonderful Mother-in-Law pretty much did all the planning and decorating – she’s so amazing! My dress is Sasha from the Little White Dress Collection by Amsale. The shoes are Nina in the style Neva. My Mom, a very talented seasmstress, altered it extensively and added a panel of lace to the skirt. The whole wedding was DIY for the most part, my Mom and M0m-in-Law even made my bouquet by hand! I was so happy with how everything turned out! It was a really happy day for us and we’ve been silly-happy ever since. : )

What about you all – what nail polish did you wear to your wedding?

 

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Disclosure: Bikini Bottom was sent to me for review by Rescue Beauty Lounge.

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Perplexing: Creative Nail Design Blueberries & Cream

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Creative Nail Design (CND) discontinued its old line of nail polishes in 2008. At the time, I freaked out, big time. My meltdown was followed by a haul  (duh, as a haul follows many of my meltdowns) to make sure I picked up all my CND lemmings before they became hard to find. I got Blueberries & Cream around that time, although I can’t remember whether it came from that haul or a RAOK or swap. I just remember that I had a hardcore lemming for this color. I was so excited – it was right up my alley, being a work appropriate ultra pale, somewhat dusty, lilac/pink with subtle fuchsia shimmer.

I guess the fact that I was so excited for it contributed to my extensive disappointment.

The end-product on the nail looks like an ultra-pale, dusty light pink creme. The shimmer was completely invisible – in all lights – which, I mean, is fine because I’m not the biggest shimmer fan anyway (blasphemy, I know).

I subtitled this post “perplexing” because I have never encountered a polish that is both too thick and too thin at the same time. It was simultaneously streaky, lumpy and chalky. Normally, I would use thinner with a thick polish but the formula was so thin already, I thought it might actually make it worse. I believe this mani was a total of 3 coats, possibly 4. It was very tough to even out. In a nutshell, it was really, really hard to make this look pretty. No question, this was a PITA (pain in the a**) to apply.

Another perplexing application issue - the first coat of color pulled off my base coat. I would expect that to happen with a thickly applied base coat layer or perhaps when the base coat is not dry enough but I didn’t have either issue. The sliding base coat definitely added to the streakiness problem. The same thing happened with the topcoat – seche vite pulled the color coat right off – it ended up all over my brush and inside the bottle. The end result was that the polish did not dry ultra glossy like my usual manis – it dried with, sort of, a satin finish… Wear was average. I’ve been wearing it since Sunday with only minor tip-wear and no chips. I did, however, get a few vertical cracks along the sides of my nails after I had been wearing it for a day or two, no bueno.

The whole manicure was really quite baffling – CND is super well-regarded. I hadn’t heard of anyone having these issues before and I certainly haven’t had these issues with their other old line polishes. But, many sit in my helmers untried, it’s possible that other application duds are out there.

With all that said, I did get compliments on the color – actually, my boss said she really liked it. The color was fairly flattering to my skin-tone. And after what amounted to hand-to-hand-combat style application, I ultimately got it to look alright.

I poked around online and did see this color for sale in a few places, so if you feel compelled to buy it – it’s still available albeit at higher prices. The closest base color match I found in my stash was Essie Secret Affair. Essie Pound Cake is similarly muted but a lot lighter than Blueberries & Cream. In fall of 2009, CND relaunched their polish line. I have yet to try the new collection, but the reviews online are favorable. I suspect that CND Blueberry Whip is probably the same shade with a different name, new packaging, and a better formula. I’ll try to pick up a bottle and post comparisons soon.

As an aside – I’m trying to join this century so I made a facebook page for the blog. It… was… um… hard? I don’t think I did it right. But here’s the link anyway. haha. I’m working on setting up other social networking as well, instagram, pinterest, etc.. Although I’ve made accounts, I haven’t really done anything with them yet so I’m going to hold off on posting those for the time being.

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Glory Be: Glitter Gal Lizard Belly

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

The humor isn’t lost on me that I return with grand promises to review work appropriate polishes only to have my second post be a holographic dark green. But it’s the weekend and a color like this has been a major wishlist polish since time began. In my effort to catch up with the nail polish world – I’ve been reading a lot of MUA and a lot of other excellent nail blogs. (Thanks so much everyone for cluing me into so many great sites – I’ll be updating my blogroll really soon!).  I first saw this polish on The PolishAholic. I did a double-take: a DARK GREEN HOLO WHAT? WHAT!? WHAT!?! – then I squealed a little bit and immediately bought a bottle. I’m so glad I did, this polish is amazing.

I feel like the nail polish gods lured me back into blogging just so this color could make its way into my mailbox. Man, it’s beautiful. This NOTD is 3 coats of Lizard Belly, but it would have been perfect at 2 coats. Base coat is Sally Hansen Nail Quencher and top coat is Seche Vite. The color is a deep blackened green that leans slightly bluish-green (teal?), although it is ‘almost black’ it is visibly green. The very fine grain holo creates a refined prismatic effect and adds depth to the color - Lizard Belly is gorgeous but it’s definitely not as blingy as other holos.

 I took this shot with flash to show the holographic effect, but again these photos just don’t do this polish any justice. In person, the holo effect is more defined, it flashes a full rainbow but it’s fairly subdued even in the brightest sunlight. In the shade or indoors, it looks nearly black with sparse tiny glittery sparkles (like a mini-universe on my nail). I didn’t have any major application issues – although the polish was a tad on the thickish side. However, it was not thick enough to cause problems.  I seriously love this color – I think it has won a spot on the top twenty (yes, I’m going to keep doing the list even though it will be a little dated now).

My only beef is that I accidentally bought a teeny-tiny bottle… womp-womp. This photo is Lizard Belly next to OPI Here Today … Aragon Tomorrow to show the difference in size.  In my excitement to buy the color, I didn’t even notice I was buying the mini especially because it was a tad on the expensive side (I think I paid around $15). To my chagrin, Glitter Gal does sell these in the regular 15 mL size on their website *Sigh* now I’m trying to fight the urge to buy 8 more of the minis or at least one full size backup bottle.

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Seriously Underrated: China Glaze Whimsical

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

To kick things off with the new “work apropos” theme, I looked through my stash trying to find a color that was both unique and subtle. There were about 10 choices, all duo-chromes/multi-chromes or shifters. In the end, I settled on China Glaze Whimsical for two reasons. Of all the colors, it popped out as particularly office friendly. It also happens to be one of the older polishes in my collection. With my faded memories, I’m not sure where this one came from. It looks like it’s been used a few times, so it was most likely from a swap or a RAOK. However, it might also be the result of a dusty hunt. I went through a period where I kept finding these older silver capped China Glazes at nail salons.

China Glaze Whimsical, circa 2001, was released as a part of the Platinum Collection. [1. I got this info from the China Glaze Wiki - what an awesome resource!!!] Other memorable colors from this collection include Orchid Shadow and Grape Crush – both of which I hope to review soon. An old friend, the blogger at A Stroke of Color, posted a long time ago about a polish in her stash from China Glaze also called Whimsical – hers was a really cool shimmery dusty green. I scoured the net – I found a lot of photos of polishes that looked like my version and none that looked like hers. That leads me to believe that hers, sadly, was a mislabeled franken.

The best word to describe this color is ethereal. The base color is a peach-toned light mauve or a sort-of rose-toned taupe. The microshimmer, an iridescent green, causes this color to glow and creates a chameleon-like effect on the base shade. I wouldn’t call it a duo-chrome because the shimmer itself doesn’t shift shades. It’s always green but the shimmer casts over the color, creating the illusion of different shades. The shimmer is really fine, so the overall finish looks slightly frosted – complete with very subtle brushstrokes. The photo above doesn’t do this color justice and is a little inaccurate – the color is lighter in person. Whimsical probably wasn’t the best choice for this first post because I’m still working the kinks out of my lighting system. So I did the next best thing…

In this sun light photo, the base shade is more accurate and the shimmer is more evident. Still though, I’m not sure any camera or organization of lights could ever truly capture this color. It’s definitely a chameleon – sometimes it looks pink, sometimes taupe, sometimes mauve, and sometimes the green causes the illusion of a gold cast, sometimes just a faint green flash. And since the shimmer is only a delicate glow in indoor lighting, it’s totally appropriate for work, even in more conservative offices. It’s really nothing short of lovely.

Whimsical is my current NOTD – this is 3 coats of color with Sally Hansen Nail Quencher (sadly discontinued but awesome nonetheless) as the basecoat and Seche Vite as the top coat. I didn’t have any major application issues despite the presumed age of the color. Although it’s an older polish and probably could be considered hard to find – it’s not sought after, so if you poke around online you can find it for reasonable prices. I’ll definitely search the stash for dupes but none immediately come to mind.

With all that said – I was so surprised and pleased by the all the positive comments on the last post. Thank you so much everyone for the love and support! I walked around with a smile all day – it’s so great to know that so many people not only remember my site, but are also happy that I’ve returned. : ) I would like to impose on everyone for some help getting up to speed. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Also, I would love to know your thoughts regarding recent releases. I’ve been slowly picking up new colors that I like – there are SO many – what colors do you think are must have/die without – also what are your favorite blogs? I would like to update my stash and blog roll with your help!

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