Tuesday, August 7, 2012

China Glaze - Agro: Holo Layering

Just a quick post today.



China Glaze Agro and HITS Hefesto

This is China Glaze Agro with one coat of HITS Hefesto over the top. As you can see, Hefesto kind of mutes whatever color is underneath. I love the bright holo effect it creates, but wish it didn't grey out the base color so much. Oh well, the sage green holo it turned into was still pretty awesome.

Here are a couple pictures of Agro on its own:

China Glaze - Agro

Agro is a sage-olive green shimmer that has a bit of that "glowy" appearance. It gains a lot more depth with a top coat, and is on the edgy side of chic.

Agro was part of the China Glaze Hunger Games collection in spring 2012, but as of now it's still available on Transdesign. HITS Hefesto is available at Llarowe and Ninja Polish.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Butter London - The Old Bill and Chanel - Delight: Review and Comparison

I love golden, coppery polish, especially for fall (I can't wait for fall nail polish season!).  Here are a couple awesome ones:

butter LONDON - The Old Bill

The Old Bill is a copper shimmer. It's not quite a metallic, not quite a foil. It almost comes across as a shiny nude color. Very nice at two easy coats.

Chanel - Delight

Delight, on me, looks like a shiny nude foil. It matches my skin tone wonderfully but isn't your typical "dull" nude (I actually happen to like nude polishes, but mostly when they have some pizzazz). It looks nice at both one and two coats, but it's hard to describe the difference.  Very elegant and eye catching!

Delight was actually a gift from one of my awesome readers.  Thank you so so SO much!

Here are a couple comparisons:

This one shows how similar The Old Bill and Delight are in terms of base color. Delight is a little lighter, but it could be just because of the intense foil shine.

These are all of the copper foils in my collection.  No dupes for delight.  Orly Rage is much more of a rose gold (pink toned) and a bit lighter, and Copper Penny is a more saturated orange-y copper.  I like Copper Penny on my toes, but I still prefer the nude foil look of Delight on my fingers.

The Old Bill can be purchased on butter LONDON's website, or at Ulta (and Ulta.com).  Chanel Delight is available from the Chanel website.

(The Old Bill was provided for review.  Delight was gifted by a friend.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In support of Chalkboard Nails!

Today I decided to make a tribute to one of my favorite nail blogs: Chalkboard Nails.

The blog owner, Sarah, is incredibly talented in the realm of nail art, and has provided inspiration to so many nail polish fanatics, including me. I'm actually lucky enough to live in the same neighborhood with Sarah, and get to hang out with her every once in awhile. She's very sweet, social, and just plain fun to be around.

I decided to try one of Sarah's signature hand poses, though my hands don't look nearly as graceful as hers do...  *sigh*  :o)

Chalkboard Nails Houndstooth
(American Apparel L'Esprit and OPI Just Groovy)

I kinda of suck at stamping, but I'm determined to practice and get better at it. I was pretty happy with the results this time, even though they didn't come out perfectly.

Here is a picture of the inspiration (just in case she changes the background in the future. She's had quite a few really awesome ones so far!):

Sarah has actually had a bit of backlash of hateful comments and emails after having requested that a particular Instagram user credit her when using her pictures. Not an unreasonable request, but the IG user retaliated in a disgusting manner, and I feel so bad for Sarah having to deal with the aftermath. She works so hard not just on coming up with original creative designs, but also in the execution AND superb photography of them. She definitely deserves to be cited when her pictures are shared. 

So I wanted to show her my support, and tell her just how much I personally love her blog and nail art.

You're amazing, Sarah!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CrowsToes - Triple Black Diamond: Swatches and Review

Ahhh, I LOVE this polish! I swatched it on just my thumb first but was so crazy about it I had to put it on the rest.

CrowsToes - Triple Black Diamond (over China Glaze Liquid Leather

Triple Black Diamond is actually a clear base that's full of small black, purple, silver holo and DUOCHROME SQUARE glitter.  It's mostly opaque at three coats on its own, (which makes the individual black glitter more prominent).  I decided to layer it over black to make the other colors stand out more, and it has incredible depth!   It also looks amazing over A England St. George (Steffels has some awesome pictures of it, which is why I bought this polish in the first place).

CrowsToes polishes can be purchased from Llarowe's shop, but you have to catch them when they're in stock!  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

OPI - DS Design: Swatches and Review

I'm such a sucker for nude/gold holo polishes lately, and I was lucky enough recently to get OPI DS Design at an incredible price!

OPI - DS Design

Design is a perfect nude base with tons of sparkly holo pigment, just like the others in the DS series. For some reason, the rainbow colors seem a bit more subdued in this one, but it's still very stunning in the sun. In the shade, it matches my skin tone PERFECTLY.

Unfortunately, DS Design is discontinued (along with all the other holo DS polishes) and can be tricky to find. I found mine in a blog sale, so keep your eye out and you might just get lucky!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wet n Wild - Cost is No Issue: Swatch and Review

We all know I love glitter, so I was pretty thrilled with a lot of the Wet n Wild Ice Baby Collection. Here is yet another beauty from that set. (The first two I reviewed were Diamond in the Rough and Back Alley Deals)

Wet n Wild - Cost is No Issue

Cost is No Issue is a clear base chock full of teal micro glitter and small sky blue hex glitter. This is my FAVORITE glitter combination (mix of micro and small glitters in complementary colors that are opaque in a couple coats), and this one is quite pretty. Nails Inc Fitzroy Square is a dupe.

This is not a dupe for Deborah Lippmann's Mermaid Dream, but honestly I love this one so much more. Mermaid Dream always looks so... chunky. I've heard that it's actually smooth, but I don't care for how it LOOKS so bumpy and textured. So to me, this is Mermaid Dream's way more awesome sister - a wonderful, even more sparkly alternative! WIN.

I think it'd be very unlikely to find this one in stores anymore as it was released sometime last year, but Nails Inc Fitzroy Square may still be available (though a bit more expensive).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dollish Polish - Toxic Avenger: Swatches and Review

Funny story about this polish.

Dollish Polish - Toxic Avenger

Toxic Avenger is an amazing duochrome AND holo foil. The duochrome is similar to Orly Space Cadet or Hard Candy Beetle: it's a purple to gold/green duochrome in a teal base, but this has a ton of holo pigment added to it. Usually, the holo takes over in the sun, and the duochrome really comes out in indirect light. Basically, it's just all-around interesting! It's also not being made anymore, so I'd pretty much given up hope at ever finding a bottle.

This was from a couple Dollish sales ago when the "bonus mystery shade" was a mini bottle of the original Toxic Avenger. I actually didn't know about the sale until it was already 15 minutes into it or something, and all the Toxic Avengers were in carts already (if you don't know, Big Cartel SUPPOSEDLY will hold it for 30 minutes once it's in someone's cart so it doesn't get taken from them while they're in the payment process).

So I waited for another 15 minutes (wildly refreshing the page) until it was finally dropped from someone's cart into MINE... WOOHOO! I was so excited and hurriedly went to payment and just as I was about to pay on Paypal's site... BOOM, it's gone out of my cart (obviously, Big Cartel's hold does NOT always work). OH, MISERY!

So I sat there for ANOTHER half hour wildly refreshing waiting for someone else to let go of one in their cart. And FINALLY, I got one and was able to pay for it, and you can bet I did it LICKETY SPLIT.

I know the story sounds dramatic, but really, even if I hadn't have gotten it I would have just moved on with my day. I LIKE the chase of nail polish sales on Etsy/Big Cartel/whatever. I think it's fun to try and snag the polishes I'm longing for, but to me it will always still be just nail polish. At the end of the day, there are so many more important things to me.

But yes, I DID spend an hour of my life refreshing a web page so I could get this polish, and it was totally worth it!

Like I said, unfortunately (because of availability of ingredients) Dollish Polish isn't making this polish (at lease with this particular formula) anymore. It could be she releases it with a new formula in the future, so be on the lookout for it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pixi Polishes: Swatches and Review

This is the first I'd heard of Pixi polishes. Here are three that are perfect summer colors:

(no topcoat)

(with topcoat)
Pixi - Vivid Coral

Vivid Coral is my favorite of the three. It's bright neon watermelon red-coral jelly that is mostly opaque in three coats and dries with a satin finish. The formula is nice and easy to work with, but it IS a jelly so it still shows a bit of VNL at three coats. But isn't it just SOO juicy? It makes me crave a watermelon Jolly Rancher!

Pixi - Very Violet

Very Violet is bright magenta purple creme that's completely opaque in two coats. A typical neon purple, but I actually don't have any in my collection to compare it to! It's extremely vibrant - much more that the photo shows.

Pixi Very Violet with one coat Max Factor Fantasy Fire

This makes an excellent base for Fantasy Fire that varies from the typical dark blues and purples. It is really glowy in person; you'll have to try it to see what I mean.

Pixi - Paradise Pink

The last one is Paradise Pink, a bubblegum pink creme. This one is quite cool toned and therefore doesn't really flatter my skin. The formula is wonderful: two easy coats and fully opaque. Nice color and application, just not my type.

Overall, I liked two of the three Pixi polishes I tried. I'd really like to see Pixi come out with a wider range of colors, though (greens, golds, and glitters please!).

Pixi polishes are available for $8 each on Target.com but they appear to be on backorder at the moment. Zappos has Pixi polishes as well, but none of the names seem to match, so I'm not sure if they carry these colors.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Zoya Rica and Tanzy: Swatches and Review

One of my favorite things lately is to paint the nails on each hand a different color. I usually try to pick colors that are similar enough so that it's not obvious at first glance that it's actually two different colors. My favorite combo so far has been Zoya Rica and Tanzy from the Sunshine collection.

Zoya - Tanzy and Zoya - Rica

Tanzy is an amazing light orange base that's absolutely packed with sparkly golden glass flecks. Rica is the same formula except with a coral pink base, and both are absolutely amazing. Zoya's Sparkle (summer 2010) and Sunshine (summer 2011) are two of my favorite collections of all time from any company, which is why I was a little disappointed in the 2012 summer collection. Oh well, maybe next year they'll come out with something even more spectacular!

It started out as one of those "I can't decide which one I want to wear!" days, and since I never actually made a decision, I just ended up painting one hand with Tanzy and one with Rica. Turns out, the crazy gold sparkles in both pulled them together into an awesome mismatched manicure, and I ended up loving the rebel feeling of having two different colors. I will certainly be doing this again!

Both of these are shown at two easy coats, but for some reason these have a longer-than-normal dry time.  They were still slightly dentable after a couple hours even with Cult Nail Wicked Fast (quick dry) topcoat.

Zoya Rica and Tanzy are both available on Zoya's website for $8 each, but if you love gold sparkles, I highly recommend picking up the whole Sunshine set. Every single one is a stunner.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Atrophie - Bathysphere: Swatch and Review

Unfortunately, I found the atrophie Esty shop a little too late. I saw so many polishes that I loved while looking through the past sales, but the one I wanted the most was a beautiful teal jelly with gold glitter: Bathysphere.

atrophie - Bathysphere

Isn't it squishy and sparkly and AWESOME?! I had almost given up all hope when I decided to post on facebook that I was looking for Bathysphere (and other atrophie polishes) and was SO surprised and excited when I got a reply from someone who had an extra bottle (THANK YOU SO MUCH)! I am so lucky to own this! I have to say, I like it best on the short nails in the listing, and next time I have to file my nails down because of a break I'm definitely wearing this one again.

Now, I know it says that it's named for the Cat Power song (I don't even know if I've heard it), but what it makes me think of is this:

Bioshock Bathysphere

I know, I can't help it. I'm a bit of a nerd. If you like video games and haven't played Bioshock, DO IT. It's such a trip.

Unfortunately, I don't really think there's any way to get atrophie polishes anymore. Hopefully someday in the future the shop will open once more, and if it does I have a whole wishlist of polishes ready!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Claire's Starstruck - Cosmic: Swatch and Review

I haven't gone to Claire's polish-hunting in awhile, so I was pretty excited when I found this pretty polish the other day.

Claire's Starstruck - Cosmic

Cosmic is a sparkly purple with what looks like micro glass flecks in violet and blue. I think it's a tad more purple (less blue) than the pictures show, but it's close.  It is part of the Starstruck line, which parallels the Color Club Take Wing collection (the Claire's polishes actually say "Color Club" on the back), except that Take Wing doesn't have this purple, and Starstruck doesn't seem to have the yellow. I love the chunky square bottle it comes in.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July Nails

Happy 4th of July!

Right now I'm missing my family in Michigan because we usually have a huge party that lasts all day/night with tons of beer, food, and fireworks. I LOVE family parties!

These are the nails I did to celebrate (I DO get to go over to my grandparent's and have a little party with them and my aunt and uncle). I used Revlon Royal for my left ring finger, China Glaze Phat Santa for my right finger and OPI You Callin' Me a Lyre? for the base on the rest. Then I layered All That Glitters Glitter Glory over the ring fingers and sponged it on in a gradient French over the others. It is very easy to apply with the brush, but I had a little trouble sponging it. I do love the result, though!

I bought Revlon Royal in a drugstore a few months ago, so I think it's readily available. Phat Santa was part of the China Glaze 2010 Christmas collection, but there are a lot of red creme/jellies like it. Glitter Glory was purchased from the All That Glitters Etsy shop, but it doesn't seem to be in stock at the moment. Hopefully it will return!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Born Pretty Microbeads Review

Accent nails have been very popular lately, so I decided to go crazy and dress up my favorite nail polish (Layla Hologram Effect Flash Black) with all sorts of accent nails.

Layla Hologram Effects 
(with Born Pretty microbeads, Hot Topic holo bar glitter, and American Apparel Light Year)

When I got these micro beads from Born Pretty to review, I originally had a full "fish eggs" manicure in mind, but once I got it, I realized that there wasn't enough of each color. I think this wheel of microbeads is more for nail art using the bullion pieces to create patterns like Sammy's manicure inspired by fashion. If you're looking to do a full fish egg manicure, I'd probably go with the jars of microbeads instead.

The container these came in is a little tricky.  Every time I turned the top clear piece to move the opening to a slot of beads, micro beads from all over would stick to it (static cling) and migrate into the other colors. You can see what I mean in the picture below.  It makes them a little bit hard to use as solid color accent nails, but I would imagine it'd still be fine for delicate nail art.  

The Born Pretty microbeads can be purchased from their site as well as a lot of other awesome nail art decorations and polishes and nail wraps! You can also use the code GG5J61 to get a 5% discount on your order!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

butter LONDON - Lillibet's Jubilee for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

From what I understand, this past weekend celebrated Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, which marked 60 years since her ascension to the throne in 1952. In honor, butter LONDON has created a nail polish shade named Lillibet's Jubilee.

butter LONDON - Lillibet's Jubilee

Lillibet's Jubilee is a beautiful, bright silvery lilac foil. At first I was disappointed because I thought it was going to contain holo particles, but now that I've tried it I think it's stunning just how it is. What it does, it does very well! The finish is incredibly reflective and eye-catching, and the lilac tint sets it apart from all the other silver foils out there. It also has excellent formula, gliding on perfectly in two easy coats. I don't have anything like this in my collection; all the purple foils I have are darker and not as shiny. Elegant, yet striking.

Lillibet's Jubilee and all the other butter LONDON polishes are available on the butter LONDON website, as well as in Ulta stores and at Ulta.com. They retail for $14 each. Lillibet's Jubilee is labeled as a limited edition on Ulta, but I'm not sure since Butter London's site makes no indication.

(Products were provided for review.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

OPI DS Desire

DS Desire is a beautiful brown/tan holo that I've been eyeing around the blogging world for a long time, but haven't been willing to spend the high price for it (I planned on trying to make my own frankendupe with some spectraflair). It's funny, because pictures of this polish tend to give the effect of all different colors: some pinkish-brown, some dark brown, and some golden. Here is the best representation of the color that I could get.



OPI - DS Desire

In my eyes, DS Desire is a light brown holo that leans a little mauve in some lights, but has a golden cast as well (You can see it inside the rainbows on the sun picture. It looks fairly neutral on my skin tone, and is incredibly flattering.The holo is typical OPI DS holo: very bright colors in a "grainy" linear holo.  This type of holo is lost in dim lighting as shown in the second photo, but shines beautifully in the sun.  I tried layering it over a dark brown and a gold as well, and it was awesome!

Now I'm not one to drop a lot of money on a nail polish unless it was really worth it, but the reason I ended up with this one was because the money from my purchase was going to go to leukemia and lymphoma research.  The girl I bought it from, Christine, lost her brother Derick to leukemia and was raising money through her nail polish sales.  I was very honored to get the chance to contribute and support Team Derick!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Starry, Starry... dupe? CM - Midnight Imposter

I'm not one for buying expensive nail polishes unless they are extremely unique. I'm always on the lookout for cheaper dupes or a way to franken-dupe my own for less. This is a polish I saw on a couple blogs and I thought it looked a lot like Essie's very-hard-to-find Starry, Starry Night.

CM - Midnight Imposter

Midnight Imposter is a rich royal navy blue jelly with lots of small silver hex and square glitters. The formula is wonderful. It is opaque at two coats, but for a little extra depth I used three coats for the pictures and one coat of Cult Nails Wicket Fast on top and it came out glassy smooth. In short, it is beautiful and everything I would hope Starry, Starry Night would be if I ever decided to pay the high prices for it (which I won't... the only time I've spent $30+ on a nail polish was when the money was going to charitable causes).

Now after I've looked up Starry, Starry Night again, I see that it appears to have smaller micro glitter instead of the slightly bigger pieces in Midnight Imposter, but honestly I like the look of Midnight Imposter more. Because the glitter is a little bit bigger and more sparse, it actually looks like individual little stars, and I love how some of the pieces get buried underneath jelly layers to appear to be different shades of blue along with the silver. It's classy and chic indoors and sparkly out in the sun!

I got Midnight Imposter from East Bay Beauty Supply, and the cost and shipping was very reasonable in my opinion. I feel like I've seen CM polishes in store as well, but I can't remember where.


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