Archive for the ‘Purples & Lilacs’ Category

Random Cremes From Essie & My Newest Obsession

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Recently, I discovered the glory that is audiobooks from the library. I can download them on my iPhone and listen while I get ready in the morning, garden, do my nails, cook, clean, drive, walk the dogs, and pretty much any normally quiet daily activity.  As a result of all this “reading” that I can now do, I’ve been expanding my book choices into the unprecedented. As an unreasonable book snob, I vowed never to read anything that could be considered YA. But after several friends convinced me to give The Hunger Games a try and the possibility of listening instead of reading, I decided,  ”meh I guess I can listen to it – what’s the big deal?”

Well, the big deal is that it totally triggered my fandom like whoa. I. am. obsessed. The angst, the cheesy love triangle, the dystopian future, the battle against an oppressive government, the action and actually competent, badass female lead. Yes, YES!! I can’t believe my book snobbery would have kept me from checking this series out sooner. I listened to all three books in 3 days and then walked around in a daze afterwards, depressed that the series was over and missing the characters. I cannot wait for the Catching Fire movie to come out in November (and I really hope that they take the time in the movie to represent the nail art that Katniss wears throughout the books.) I’m slowly collecting the China Glaze Capitol Colors Collection as an extension of my fandom too. *squee*

In any case, I present you with some random Essie swatches. These are some colors that had been on my lemming list for a while and they did not disappoint.

Essie Case Study

Essie Case Study is a taupe-ish dark clay brown, with a touch of green, it’s sort of a chameleon. Definitely work appropriate with a twist – I wore this one to my first homicide trial. This is 3 coats but it would have been fine at 2 coats.

Essie Glamour Purse

Essie Glamour Purse is a mushroomy muted brown leaning taupe. GP had excellent application, another 3 coater that would have been fine at 2. In addition to being work apropos, it was very flattering to my skintone.

Essie Going Incognito

*cat calls* Essie Going Incognito. Gorgeous, just a freaking unbelievably gorgeous deep dark blue toned emerald green. I would classify this one as more of a crelly than a creme – the application is somewhat thin because it’s buildable. The shine is eye-popping. I LOVE this one and it’s a contender for the top twenty, possibly even to knock-out a different green.

Essie Lilacism

Essie Lilacism is a delicate lilac creme. I suppose I will stop calling lilac one of my white whales because at this point I’ve encountered a few that I consider flattering, including Lilacism. I started lemming it after I saw it on a friend from work. While I loved the color, I was disappointed with the application. It’s a PITA, very thick while also thin causing it to apply unevenly. It required 4 coats to even out on the surface of the nail. Despite the application woes, it did wear well. With Seche Vite and Sally Nail Quencher I got a full 5 days of wear with no chips and minimal tip wear.

Essie Plumberry

And finally, Essie Plumberry. This color could not be more aptly named because it is without-a-doubt a plum toned berry creme. My photo, sadly, does not capture this color very well. In real life it’s a little deeper, darker and moodier. The photo captures more of the berry tone and not as much of the plum. Wonderful application – 3 coats but would have been good at 2. While I don’t usually wear colors like this often, I lemminged it after seeing swatches on another blog. I can see why berry, like red and pink, tends to be more popular. My love for more unique colors aside, this sure is pretty and it does flatter my skin-tone (and probably would flatter most).

Did you lemming any of these colors too? And now that I’m taking a foray into YA, any other books I should check out?

__________

Disclaimer: These colors were sent to me for review by Beauty Stop Online. BSO is a new-to-me e-tailer that carries several of the biggie brands. Essie retails on their site for $5.99 a pop. 

 

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Some Random Swatches from Nail Girls London and a Sad Story About the Worst Mani Ever

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

 I recently traveled for a wedding in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. Things were so hectic right before I left that I didn’t have time to do my nails (that and I was wearing a really fabu color that I didn’t want to take off, Nicole By OPI A Phil’s Paradise, review and post coming soon). Normally, I take my mani kit with me everywhere I go, but I couldn’t on this trip because the airline had some seriously oppressive baggage weight limits. So, my only option was a professional manicure. I never, ever get my nails done professionally, never. In the last five years, I’ve been once… for my wedding. And I really regretted not having done them myself. But I figured, eh, it’s just this once, what’s the worse that can happen, right? Famous last words.

My poor sister-in-law scoured the town looking for a reputable nail place. She went to about 5 different places before finding a salon that didn’t totally skeeve her out and had appointment availability. (Just to be clear, this salon was a random local NC salon, it was not affiliated with the Nail Girls salons in England). The nail tech was really nice but it was the worst manicure I’ve ever gotten. She took a scorched-earth approach to my cuticles, pushing them back so hard that it still hurts. She didn’t even remove all the polish I was wearing before she started painting. The paint job was uneven at the cuticles and had bald spots everywhere. While I did ask for her to fix certain issues, there was so much going horribly wrong that there was no way to keep asking for corrections without seeming completely rude and insane. So, mostly, I just kept my criticisms to myself and silently endured the crimes against my nails. 30 dollars and nearly 12 hours later, I fell asleep and woke up with sheet marks. SHEET MARKS!! I had to go to Sally’s to buy a bottle of China Glaze Ruby Pumps and Seche Vite to paint over the original OPI Vodka & Caviar mani and save the day. In conclusion, I will never, ever, ever get another professional manicure ever again, ever.

I’m sharing this sad tale of woe and despair for two reasons: first, doing your own nails is the way to go, period. Especially if you are neurotic like me.  If you don’t like doing them yourself, that’s totally fine too but make sure that when you do find a good nail tech you stick to him or her like glue because not all nail techs are created equally. And a truly bad manicure can have some long term consequences. It’s probably going to take at least a month for my cuticles to get back to normal.

In any case here are some swatches from the new-to-me-brand, Nail Girls London. Overall, I’m really impressed with this brand – good formula, good application, and great colors. I also really love the color name concept – don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the wacky OPI names but there’s something so intriguing and mysterious about a naming system as simple as ‘actual color + number’.

Nail Girls Teal 1

Nail Girls Teal 1 is a Dolphins-ish teal (ugh, sorry for the sports reference but I didn’t know how else to describe it and I happen to be a Floridian), leaning more green than blue. This color is seriously flattering, I got a ton of compliments when I wore it. The application was smooth and easy. Teal 1 is extremely pigmented and this mani was perfect at two coats.

Nail Girls Taupe 5

Nail Girls Taupe 5, is a gorgeous mushroomy greige. The base color is similar to Chanel Frenzy, but Frenzy is a smidge deeper and darker. What makes Taupe 5 unique is the dark ash-like particles suspended in the color. The specks give the color a cookies and cream type effect, but not too obvious. The over all look reminded me of throwing clay. This is unique, but work appropriate – conservative enough that I wore it for a trial. This NOTD was 3 coats.

Nail Girls Taupe 5 Bottle

The ash-specks are much more visible in the bottle shot above.  Although I really loved this color, the ash-specks do make the color look somewhat grungy, which I suspect will turn some people off to it.

Nail Girls Purple 8

And, finally, Nail Girls Purple 8 is a mushroomy griolet (think grayed-out-grape). The consistency during application was a bit like a jelly polish so this is 4 coats. The formula here was on the thick side, but not terrible. I was really impressed with the wear time. This was a Monday to Friday mani with no chips and minimal tip wear.

In terms of where to purchase these, I was able to get confirmation – these polishes are available on the Nail Girls London website (careful, it’s definitely not a .com lol). And they do ship throughout the United States because they have a distribution center here. (Which does makes sense since these polishes are manufactured in the United States.) These retail for £10.50 a pop, with the current exchange rate that is a little under $16 US.

 So, have you tried Nail Girls? Any other colors I should seek out? What about nightmare manis? Been there?

_____

Disclaimer: These polishes were sent to me for review by Nail Girls London. 

Edited to include updated information about shipping and also to explain that my manicure-nightmare was not at the hands of a Nail Girls manicurist. 

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Experiments in Layering: Hits Phenomena Moonbow + Essie Grape Crush

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I started writing this post during that week that my site went on the fritz. I gave up after I banged my head against my computer and had to go outside to burn a WordPress effigy. Last week, I finally figured out what caused the issue in the first place. As it turns out my website does not like the WordPress Jetpack Plug-in. I deactivated it, along with everything else, when I was trying to fix the problem originally. It didn’t help instantly, but after being deactivated for a couple of days, I logged back in to find that everything was working perfectly. Fast forward to a few days ago, I tried to check my stats and I realized that that function is dependent on Jetpack so I reactivated the plug-in. Instantly, the site stopped working again and it took about 24 hours after deactivation for the site to function normally. At the very least, I finally know what happened but I’m flying completely blind in terms of site stats. Haha.

In any case, back to the post, I got an email recently from a newly minted nail polish collector who was interested in layering techniques. I don’t layer often because my nail polish OCD compels me to wear a color in its unaltered form the first time I wear it. But when I do layer, I love it. And some colors scream “layer me!” despite my obsessive tendencies.

Hits Moonbow

Hits Moonbow, from the Phenomena collection, is precisely that type of color. This polish is ridiculous. Just ridiculous. It’s a color-shifting multichrone glitter suspended in a cloudy base.  The glitter shifts from green and fuchsia to purple and occasionally it flashes gold. When I first saw photos of this color I was instantly obsessed, I had to have it, stat! However, from the swatches I saw, it didn’t look like a glitter polish, it looked like… well… magic. So I was a little disappointed when I received it and discovered that while it was still quite magical, it didn’t really look the way it looked online. (This is the second time this has happened recently *makes Mikayla is not impressed face*). My next hope was that it would be a buildable glitter, meaning the whole surface of the nail would be completely covered within a few coats. It is buildable, sort of. The glitter will cover the surface of your nail but it takes about 4 coats. That would be fine, except that, for whatever reason, the glitter does not coat the tip of the nail very well. The end result looks a bit like tip pull. You can definitely see what I’m talking about in the photo above – needless to say, it’s not very flattering.

Hits Moonbow Top View

Because of that issue, I don’t recommend wearing this color on its own. It is gorgeous for sure and it definitely has a crash-inducing-stare-at-my-nails-while-driving quality to it but it looks infinitely better layered over another color.

Hits Moonbow over Essie Grape Crush

Case in point, Hits Moonbow over oldschool Essie Grape Crush. Looks much better, right? Grape Crush, a sheer purple glaze, is from an older Essie collection that consisted of all sheer glazes (as opposed to more modern jellies). For reference and comparison Essie Cherry Pop, which is still widely available, is from the same collection and has the same look and consistency. The beloved Essie Night Cap is also from that collection. I somehow neglected to photograph Grape Crush on its own – bad nail blogger, bad. I’ll make that up to you, I do plan to post the whole collection soon. I’m only missing one more polish, Essie Apricot Fizz, to complete the set of 6 from the original collection! In any case, this NOTD is 3 coats of GC and 3 coats of Moonbow. I know, I know that’s too many coats. But I liked the end result and I didn’t have any drying issues after a coat of Seche.

Hits is a new brand to me. I’m a little biased because it hails from the mother country, Brazil. The Phenomena collection is my first experience with this brand and I was pretty wowed by it even though it wasn’t what I expected. There are a few more Hits polishes on my lemming list, including pretty much ALL OF THE HOLOS. My one gripe is that the bottle is pretty small so you end up with that noticeable, and uber distressing, dip in the bottle after just one mani. It gave me some serious angst, another aspect of my nail polish OCD, so I do plan to get a back up bottle.  These bad boys retail for approximately $6.50 to $7.00.

When I was on the hunt for Moonbow and company, all the e-tailers had it listed as out of stock. That day, I placed orders with both Llarowe and Ninja Polish for several other colors. I included a note in the comments section of my order for both e-tailers that I really needed this color and asked that if they happened to have a bottle laying around in the stock room to please add it to my order and charge me for it. Ninja Polish did just that (excellent customer service on their part), meanwhile Llarowe very kindly included a bottle of it in my order without charging me. Even though I do want a back up bottle of this color and I was very grateful, I felt badly because I like to support small nail polish related businesses whenever I can. I figured that the best way to repay that kindness was to gift the bottle that I bought to another blogger and keep the gifted bottle. I did that in hopes of spreading the awesome around because more swatches = a better world, right? In any case, I don’t say this often but I highly recommend both e-tailers. They are both great so you can’t go wrong with either one. 

 Thoughts on Hits or Moonbow? What about nail polish OCD? Do you have it? If yes, how does it manifest for you?

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Rescue Beauty Lounge Emoting Me Collection 2013 Part 2

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

And now for the second set of colors from the Rescue Beauty Lounge Emoting Me Collection (Nearly two weeks later!! Sorry!!!)

Rescue Beauty Lounge Thank You

Rescue Beauty Lounge Thank You is a very light, muted nude toned pink with very subtle fuchsia shimmer. The shimmer creates a somewhat frosty effect. This color is very delicate with a hint of glimmer, perfect for conservative work places. The application, like some of the other colors in this collection was a bit on the thick side. This swatch is 3 coats.


Rescue Beauty Lounge Become One

Rescue Beauty Lounge Become One is a leafy yellow toned green creme. It is my absolute favorite color from this collection. This color fills me with feelings of happiness and nostalgia. It reminds me of childhood, of beautiful colorful leaves, of crayons, of Luigi! This photo is a little bit inaccurate, it’s a little more yellow-toned in real life. The application was good, very smooth but it did get thicker with each coat. It’s definitely a stainer though, so double-up on base-coat.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Pause

Rescue Beauty Lounge Pause is a very pigmented, vibrant mid-toned violet with subtle purple and blue shimmer. I feel like I can’t fully appreciate this color because of my purple-hatred. As far as application, like the others, it is also a bit thick. This is 3 coats.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Smile

Rescue Beauty Lounge Smile is a gorgeous, vivid mango pink with subtle fine gold shimmer. This one was not thick like the others and applied very well. This is 3 coats. I want to say I’m usually not moved by colors like this but who am I kidding? I’m such a sucker for these red/pink/coral/orange chameleons even though I hardly ever wear them.

 Bah. I’ve been going through an abnormally excessive amount of stress lately. So much so that I’ve been getting physically sick as a result. In an effort to take the edge off, I’ve taken up a few new hobbies. While I love nail polish collecting, it isn’t as relaxing as it used to be… probably because I still feel like I’m catching up. I’ve been trying out vegetable gardening for the first time, quite successfully might I add. *toot my own horn* I’m really enjoying it so far because it’s something that I get to do with DH and it’s just about the coolest thing ever to watch plants grow. Not to be a total cheese-ball but it’s pretty fulfilling. I’ve also taken up an old hobby, compulsively checking out and hoarding library books (obvi with good intentions of actually reading them) haha. I’m also trying to do my nails with more frequency. In the long, long ago when I had all the time in the world, I did my nails every day. Every. Day. Crazy, I know. Now I’m lucky if I get to do them more than twice a week. Although I do love my new unwinding techniques, nothing beats a shiny, glossy new mani in a great color.

Do you guys have any hobbies other than nail polish? How do you relax and unwind?

___________________

Disclaimer: This collection was sent to me for review by Rescue Beauty Lounge.

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Rescue Beauty Lounge Emoting Me Collection 2013 Part 1

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

After a couple of days of fiddling with no success and getting shot down by my brother and a computer tech (both told me nothing could be done to fix the blog problem), I logged in one more time to fiddle some more and suddenly the problem was gone! I still don’t know what happened and hopefully it won’t happen again… but for now, the blog is functioning, finally. I’m just happy to be up and running again. I feel so relieved!

The Emoting Me Collection is the newest installation in the Rescue Beauty Lounge library of colors. The theme here is self-awareness, introspection, self-appreciation, and reflection – this meaningful message appeals to me, especially right now. I’m hard on myself and when things get rough, be it at work or at home, I have a tendency to engage in a lot of wallowing as a result. Wearing these colors has been a small reminder to take it easy (and if ever there were a week for that type of reminder, this was it).

Color-wise, this collection is a well-balanced mixture of moody work appropriate colors and bright, exciting colors. My one gripe is that there are only two true cremes. Granted, the two are really great, but it’s only two none-the-less. You guys know me, I’m a creme girl. With that said though, I really do love these colors so I’ve been actually wearing them instead of just swatching which is why I’m only showing you half of the collection in this post. Tonight’s mani will be either Become One or Thank You – I haven’t been able to decide yet.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Be Humble

Rescue Beauty Lounge Be Humble is tough to describe. It’s a mushroomy, light grey putty with a purple/pink undertone and with subtle blue and violet shimmer. The shimmer ends up being nearly invisible – the over-all effect is sort of a snowy “interference” on the surface of the nail that gives the color depth. This is a chic, professional color. Definitely, me gusta. Be Humble dries slightly darker on the nail than it looks in the bottle color. The application was good but a smidge on the thick side. This mani was 3 coats.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Forgiveness

Rescue Beauty Lounge Forgiveness is a greyed-out, dusty lilac creme. Moody… work appropriate… right up my alley. If you have trouble wearing lilacs like I do – this might be a good color to pick up. It didn’t wash me out and was not just wearable (usually the best I can hope for with shades like this), but actually affirmatively flattering. This NOTD was 3 coats, like Be Humble – a little thick but not terrible.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Turn It Around

And, finally, Rescue Beauty Lounge Turn It Around a dark olive green speckled with course copper shimmer. I think my Husband summed it up best, ”Whoa… that’s a cool color.” Yea, I completely agree. I don’t own Rescue Beauty Lounge Halcyon (waaaaaaaah) but I imagine that Turn It Around is a distant cousin. The application was good but a little thicker than the others – probably as a result of copper specks. This is 4 coats – but it would have been good at 3.

What do you think of the Emoting Me Collection? Hoping to pick up any?

 __________

Disclaimer: This collection was sent to me for review by Rescue Beauty Lounge. (Sorry! I forgot to include the disclaimer when I first posted this!)

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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?

_______

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

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