Archive for the ‘Work Appropriate Colors’ Category

NOTD: Essie Yogaga

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

This collection seems to be shrouded in a bit mystery – it doesn’t seem to be widely available yet, even though its release date was slated to be August, 2012. Swatches are strangely absent from the interwebs – I only saw two or so sites with full collection reviews.

In any case, I was pretty excited for a few shades from this collection when I saw the promotional photos – particularly Yogaga, Gym Dandy, Boxer Shorts, and Pilates Hottie. Sadly, I only have Yogaga to show you for the time being.

I *really* love this color and I think it fits pretty well into the category of edgy, but work appropriate. This one is definitely safe even for the strictest working environments. Essie’s site describes it as a ”peachful sandy beige.” I’m not sure peachful is a word and this polish doesn’t seem peach-toned at all, so I wonder whether it is a typo on their site. I think it’s actually meant to be “peaceful.” Get it… zen, peaceful, yoga is relaxing and peaceful… yoga… yogaga… Bueller? Bueller? I would describe it as a dusty, putty greige creme. It reminds me of the color of throwing clay. (Which makes me smile because my one and only attempt at pottery ended about 15 minutes in when I realized the clay was going to make my nails peel, womp womp). The base color is similar to Rescue Beauty Lounge Jane, but one full shade lighter and, obviously, minus the shimmer. Definitely not a dupe, but would be a suitable lemming quencher should you be disinclined to drop the big bucks.  As usual with these shades, the overall look was really elegant and sophisticated. Additionally, this shade really seemed to compliment my skin-tone which is warm and olive-toned.

This NOTD was three coats. I believe I used Nubar Foundation (currently undergoing a trial period for a possible spot as my new HG basecoat) and Seche Vite as a top coat. I did have application issues – the consistency of my bottle was very thick. It applied well after 10 or so drops of polish thinner and some hardy shaking. I’m not sure whether the thickness was unique to my bottle – the other reviews I’ve read online didn’t discuss application. I can’t give you an accurate wear time assessment because I’m having some wear issues resulting from the use of Foundation (I’m still trouble-shooting this).

I really wish I had the whole collection to show you – I am so sorry that I don’t. Right now, the collection seems to be available on Essie’s website, but I have yet to see it at any of my usual haunts. When I’m finally able to pick these up, I will definitely buy Gym Dandy, which I will promptly swatch for you. I’m undecided on purchasing the rest of the collection – I’ll probably hold out until I see swatches from Scrangie (yup – I usually wait for her swatches before deciding what to purchase myself, haha).

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Disclosure: This polish was sent to me for review by Essie’s PR representative.

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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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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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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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OPI – It’s Sheer Luck!… I PASSED THE BAR EXAM!

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

As some of you may know, I’ve been on hiatus because I was studying for the bar exam. What you don’t know is that I was utterly and totally convinced that I failed the exam. The testing occurs over the course of two days. The first day, the Florida portion of the exam, beat me down and ultimately broke me. I walked out of the testing center, did the walk of shame back to my hotel room, thought about how I would be staying there again in February to retake the exam and I cried. Yes, it really was that bad. The questions were just absurd and completely unexpected. I could have memorized the study materials word for word and I still wouldn’t have known the correct answers with absolute certainty. The second day consisted of the MBE (the national portion), it was hard but very fair. My hope was that I would score high enough on the MBE to make up for my major failure on the Florida portion. The problem is… you have to wait almost 2 months for the scores to be released. I was hanging over the edge of a cliff over these scores.

Then, finally, the scores came in the mail. Not only did I pass, but to my complete disbelief, I actually scored very well on both portions.

What does all this have to do with nail polish? Well, sometimes life throws some pretty perplexing stuff my way and when it does I take the opportunity to find a color that expresses how I feel.

OPI - It's Sheer Luck

The name says it all. OPI It’s Sheer Luck is a ultra light pink toned off-white with a frost finish. This is 3 coats. This color was originally from the Las Vegas Collection (Spring/Summer 2003) but I believe it became part of the main Soft Shades Collection all of which are available on an on going basis.

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The Big Return: Color Club Spring 2009 Catwalk Queen Collection

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

I’m back! Things are going to be a bit slow at first because, frankly, my life (and nails) are still a huge mess. But rest assured, I will respond to all the emails and comments very soon. Posting frequency should pick up shortly thereafter.

In any case, I know you’ve all seen it but here’s Color Club Catwalk Queen Collection. Like Femme Fatale,  this collection is composed of sheers and solids that can be mixed, matched, and layered. I like this collection but it’s a little depressing looking at these pictures. The photos are from a few months ago, my nails were so long back then. Man, the bar exam takes away everything.

Color Club - Catwalk Queen

Catwalk Queen, the collection namesake, is a vampy tyrian purple with complex amethyst and subtle blue shimmer. This swatch was 3 coats but this polish is pigmented enough that coverage would be fine with just 2 coats. (This image is a little blurry because I was trying to capture the shimmer – I failed. The shimmer is way more obvious in person.)

Color Club - Fashion Addict

Fashion Addict is my favorite from this collection. Lilac holographic? Sign me up. The holo is medium grain like the holos in the Femme Fatale collection. Like Worth the Risque and Revvvolution, the holo has a greenish cast. The polish gets darker with each layer so it’s slightly lighter with 2 coats, this picture is 3 coats.

Color Club - Fashion Addict 2

Here’s a shot of the holo flash. I hope Color Club does a few more holos in the future because these were just superb. Personally, I would love to see a dark green holo.

Color Club-Front Row Diva

Front Row Diva is an extremely pale gray that leans towards lavender, it has a pearl finish. It’s chic and work appropriate – which is pretty much all I’m wearing now so I’m stocking up on colors like this and you’ll see plenty of them featured here in the months to come.

Color Club - Runway Muse

Runway Muse is one of those sadly deceptive duochromes. In the bottle, it’s a predominately green duochrome that flashes pink. On the nail, it’s a frosty sheer with pink shimmer that only flashes a subtle green rarely. I so wish that the bottle appearance was comparable to the on nail result, nonetheless, it’s pretty amazing over black. Scrangie has all the sheers from both the Femme Fatale collection and the Catwalk Queen collection over black on her site.

Color Club - Vintage Couture

Vintage Couture. Scrangie called this a mod lilac pink baby creme and that’s definitely the best description for this color so I’m going to steal it from her. It’s pinker on the nail than I expected but it’s still pretty stark. The application was finicky. I forgot to write down exactly how many coats I used but if I remember correctly, I believe it took 4 to even everything out.

Color Club - Ready To Wear

Ready to Wear is my current NOTD and as you can see my nails are little yellow nubbins right now. *More sobs*  Ready to Wear is a frosty opalescent sheer with warm pink shimmer. Usually sheers like this require 4 layers but I actually got good coverage with 2 coats, but since my nails are so yellow, I went ahead and added another layer. Edit: I’ve been wearing this color for a full day now and I want to revise my review. It’s definitely a duochrome, it’s not really noticeable until you see it in sunlight. It flashes a warm light coppery gold tone, almost some what metallic. The mixture of the gold and the pink reminds me of a sunset. I love it when colors present surprises in the sunlight.

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Disclosure: This collection was sent to me for review by Color Club.

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