Archive for March, 2013

Gasp: A Few A England Holos

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

I was back to blogging for about two seconds before this bomb was dropped on me: Holos – there’s a ton of them out there now and… they come in green. Having reached the peak of my nail polish collecting in 2009, this was practically unheard of for me. My first encounter with this unicorn, the green holo, was the glorious Glitter Gal Lizard Belly. It wasn’t too long before everyone told me about A England and the mantra was ”you need all of these, right now.” I was lemming about three-quarters of their line, particularly their holos. With that said, I’ve had these for months but it took me forever to photograph them because I didn’t want to just swatch them. I loved them so much I really wanted to actually wear them. And, sadly, although I have a lot more nail liberty now than I did before, I still can’t go balls to the wall all the time so getting this post together took a hot minute.

A England Dragon

A England Dragon *deep breath*  a sage green holo. The holo in these polishes is pretty subtle, definitely not blingtastic at all. In my opinion, the holo is neither linear nor scattered – a better description would be “ambient,” like a shimmery interference. Application was good but the formula was a smidge on the thick side, perfect at two coats but I did three. Dragon is my favorite of the three polishes featured in this post because this shade of green was very flattering to my skin-tone.

A England Saint George

A England Saint George is a teal leaning dark green holo. *swoon* Like Dragon, the holo is fine grained. This was my New Year’s Eve NOTD! Application was comparable to Dragon – this is three coats, but it would have been fine at two. It’s a bit of a stainer, so beware of sloppy application. Please excuse my gross flairy ring-finger nail. This photo was taken when I was struggling with peelies a few months back. My nails tend to flair like that when they’re weak. Taking biotin and switching back to my old holy grail base-coat that was unfortunately discontinued before its time, Sally Hansen Nail Quencher, really helped with the terrible peeling. My failed attempts to find a new go-to base-coat will be the topic of many anguished posts to come.

A England Lady of the Lake

Last but not least, A England Lady of the Lake, a dark grape ambient holo. This shade is consistent with Dragon and Saint George in terms of look and application. This is my current NOTD. As you can see I had to nubbinize so I used that as an excuse to holo-it-up - looooooove it. Generally, I have a love\hate relationship with purples. I feel like purple is so over done: the “red” of “wacky” colors, if that makes sense. But, like with red, I’m a hater until I actually wear a purple polish, then I remember why everyone loves the color so much. It’s just gorgeous. Not to keep making excuses for my sub-par nail situation but please also excuse this photo. Since the past few weeks were so rough, I fell off the wagon in terms of keeping up with my moisture regime - these cuticles are the sad, sad result. womp womp.

This was my first foray into A England and I’m hooked. A England is the brain child of Adina, an evil nail polish genius. (You can follow her on twitter @aenglandtweets). I feel like if we knew each other in real life we’d be total besties… a love for nail polish, legends & myths, a gothic aesthetic, and a touch of anglophilia … um, sign me up for that life long friendship. A England is an indie brand and hails from the United Kingdom. [edited - thank you Chia & Aglaya for catching that for me] Although A England used to ship to the U.S. they are no longer able to ship internationally. However, you can get them from U.S. retailers like Ninja Polish and Llarowe for $10. You can get additional information about where to buy A England here.

Have you tried A England? What do you think?

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Disclosure: These were sent to me for review by A England.

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Learning a Lesson: Oscar de la Renta Larimar

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Some of you may remember my wedding post from a couple of months back – I mentioned a nail polish shown in a runway photo from Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2013 Bridal Collection that sparked my interest in having blue nails at my wedding. For reference, here’s the photo I was talking about:

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(Photo Credit: Society Bride)

At the time, I didn’t realize that this was a real color – I figured it was some frankened combo made by some genius nail tech especially for this runway shoot. A few months after my wedding a friend from the nail community alerted me to Larimar, a color being sold on Oscar de la Renta’s website for $22. My eyes popped out of my head – there it was… the color I was looking for… that truly beautiful ethereal, seemingly surreal blue from the runway show!! I died a little and after my resurrection I forked over the 22 bucks to snag myself a bottle.

Oscar de la Renta Larimar

Oscar de la Renta Larimar is the truest light blue creme I have ever seen. My photo is a little inaccurate, it’s a smidge lighter in real life. All the light blues in my collection, for example China Glaze Moody Blue and Rescue Beauty Lounge Bikini Bottom, seem to lean green in comparison. I really love the color but the polish was a bit of a disappointment. First, while the runway photos were color accurate, that seemingly translucent, backlit quality exhibited in the photos (that, frankly, made this polish look so special) did not translate to my mani. I don’t know whether that should be attributed to the number of coats I used - I failed to write it down in my notes but I believe it was around 4. Second, this is a PITA to apply. Somewhat thick but thin at the same time – I ended up using the slather and sculpt method (slathering it on willy-nilly, then very carefully cleaning up afterwards). The bottle and brush shape did not help the PITA-ness at all. The bottle is longer than an average nail polish bottle, as a result the brush was very long. If you do your nails often and you’re used to a standard bottle size, you’re probably also used to judging the amount of polish you need in relation to how the polish flows down the brush shaft. For me, judging the polish stream on the brush is an unconscious, automatic action – with this longer brush, more polish than normal flows or drips downward on the brush causing unexpected pooling. That took some getting used to, for sure.

This polish presented an interesting conundrum for me. As a polish blogger, I’m often explaining to people that photos won’t always be accurate. There’s so much that goes into how a color in a photo looks – just to name a few factors, the lighting, the skintone of the model, the camera, and the computer monitor being used to see the photo will all effect how the polish color appears. When I first started blogging again, I went to a photography store to buy a new lighting system because I had long ago chucked my old DIY light box. I tried to explain to the owner of the store what this site is about - he was a career products photographer so he was definitely the right person to talk to about nail polish photo color accuracy. He pretty much told me flat-out, ”you will never get the color in the photo to look exactly how you see it in real life.” I really do make a conscious effort to ensure that my photos are as accurate as possible. I don’t use editing software for color correcting, because, well, I’m bad at it – I only make it worse. So, when accuracy is not possible, I try to make sure that I tell you about it. I know a lot of people get really frustrated when they see a photo of a color on a site, order it thinking that they are getting the color that they saw, only to find the color in real life looks nothing like it looks on the site. I can honestly say that I’ve never felt that way until I got this color. Since I started collecting, I’ve always looked at swatches online before making a purchase. In doing so, I’ve always expected there to be some level of inaccuracy associated with the photos. I was never disappointed when a color ended up being different then a swatch I’d seen… until this color. I guess it’s because there aren’t many colors I come across that seem really unique. This color, in the runway photos, seemed really special – I was expecting a crelly with an inner luminescence, only to get a standard crème. Now been that I’ve in the shoes of a frustrated swatch viewer, I totally understand why peeps complain about that.

With all that said – is this color worth it? Hefty price tag, color inaccuracies, application issues and all? The surprising answer is yes. It’s not what I expected and that was disappointing but I couldn’t find anything in my stash quite like it. And it’s seriously pretty. Totally would have worn this to my wedding if I had owned it at the time (even over my Mother’s objections).

What are your thoughts on color inaccuracies? Is it a pet-peeve or do you leave room for error?

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Zoya NYFW Designer Collection Fall 2012 Swatches

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Just when I thought things were beginning to calm down, I had, without any exaggeration, the roughest two weeks at work that I can remember. And it really was the perfect storm because in addition to work stress I’ve been dealing with some major life stress too. I’m sure you know all how it is… sometimes things get so that you only have enough wherewithal to keep your head above the water. And, unfortunately, when I get overwhelmed I have a tendency to just want to go to work, come home, and lay in bed (and watch Netflix so I’ve been watching Bones like whoa.) I think things are under control now but there won’t be any swatching for a little while. I’ve been stress-picking at my nails so I’ll have to wait a little while for them to be healthy again – they are in no condition to be photographed. But fear not! I still have a ton of back log from the lack of recently posting and the swatch-fest I had at the end of February. Thank you for sticking with me through this rough period – blogging is really rewarding for me and although it’s the first thing that I let fall by the wayside when I get stressed (along with actually doing my nails, reading, and exercising… and um pretty much anything that requires mental or physical activity haha) it’s something that I really want to keep doing.

Anywho, that’s enough boo-hooing from me. Behold, my swatches of Zoya NYFW Designer Collection Fall 2012. I know I’ve been saying this a lot about Zoya lately but I really feel like they’ve stepped up their game color-design-wise. Love, love, love this collection – moody, edgy but mature cremes that fit together thematically, now that is a collection of nail polish. Obviously, for me the stand outs are Noot, Evvie, and Natty but Rehka, Toni, and Monica are nothing to scoff at either. All in all, a solid collection definitely worth owning.

Zoya Evvie

Zoya Evvie *cat calls* is a green tinged soot gray creme, with an overall muted, somewhat faded look. I live for colors like this – edgy but not obvious. The application was great, perfect at two coats but this is three.

Zoya Monica

Zoya Monica is a moody dark eggplant crème. Like Evvie, the application was excellent. This is three coats.

Zoya Natty

Zoya Natty oh, where have you been all my life. Natty is tough to describe. I know I sound like a broken record - it’s an edgy, moody, darkened, grayed-out denim blue. This collection, and this color in particular, has made me come to a sad realization. What am I going to do when this grayed-out trend is over? Will my passion for polish die with it? Will I ever love another nail polish ever again? Like Evvie, I wore this one to work because it’s not obvious. The application was great – this is three coats.

Zoya Noot

Zoya Noot is a dark smoky muted army-ish green. Again, like Natty and Evvie, this color is moody and chic. I’ve read that OPI Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok Fein! is a close dupe – I can’t independently confirm that because I haven’t picked up the Germany collection yet. But you can see LTHP’s comparison here. Like the others, application was perfect – this is three coats.

Zoya Rekha

Zoya Rekha (sorry typo on the photo!) is a deep vampy medium red crème – it’s hard to peg the base color, at first glance in the bottle it seemed orange based. On the nail, at one coat, it seemed pink based. Zoya describes it as blood red – that’s accurate. Red is red and like most reds, this one is sexy and flattering. This is three coats, smooth application.

Zoya Toni

And, finally, Zoya Toni a muted vampy plum-toned oxblood crème. Oxblood. Definitely the “it” shade of last year but what a baffling name for a color. What is the origin of that phrase? Does an ox’s blood look like burgundy? If we’re going for, like, strong, scary animals… Why not lionblood or tigerblood? But I digress, this is 3 coats and the application was perfect.

So, do you agree? Is Zoya stepping up their game? or am I alone on that one?

_____

Disclaimer: This collection was provided for review by Zoya.

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