Thursday, August 29, 2013

a-england - She Walks in Beauty

She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

"She Walks in Beauty" (1814)
     - Lord Byron


     I'm so happy to finally get around to posting some a-england! I have a particular fondness for this brand. Everything about the a-england concept and aesthetic has drawn me in. The collections are so well thought out, and the polishes themselves are gorgeous. The boyfriend and I celebrated our three year anniversary earlier this month, so of course I wanted to wear a special polish. a-england She Walks in Beauty was my dreamy, romantic pick. (Now, by this point, I usually would have extensively fangirled about a-england or babbled on about my motivation behind choosing this polish. Lucky for you, my lovies, I'm in a "more pictures, less words" sort of mood.)

     She Walks in Beauty from a-england's Heavenly Quotes collection. It is composed of extra fine pale golden shimmer and both small and large rose-coloured hex glitter in a clear base. I'm not usually big on gold, but the particular shade of shimmer used in this polish (and the effect it gives) is delicate and ethereal. The rose glitter is feminine, but doesn't scream "girly." I think it's a perfect combination. I imagine that other glitter/shimmer polishes want to look this elegant and sophisticated when they grow up.

     For this manicure, I layered two coats of a-england She Walks in Beauty over a-england Iseult. One coat of Seche Vite was used. (Side note: I bought Iseult specifically for this combination. Months ago, I had considered using gold undies, but preferred the effect of a pink base colour for contrast. When I realized that I lacked the specific sort of pale pink polish I was looking for, well, you know how it goes... Hello, legit excuse reason to buy more a-england!) One coat of polish would have been enough glitter-wise, but I wanted a more pronounced veil of shimmer. Application was effortless, the formula was just thick enough, and the glitter dispersed perfectly on the nail.

     Ugh, this polish is so beautiful that I almost can't take it. I felt like a fraking princess wearing this. My newly polish obsessed fellow bartender noted that while she initially thought I was wearing pink polish, my nails later looked gold to her, and even silver. Good eye, young Padawan, good eye. There is a definite shift depending on the light and angle. I wore this combo for three shifts at work, with minimal tipwear and only a small chip on my dominant hand by the end of the third night. (Pics are from days one and two.) Removal took a little bit of effort, but nothing too crazy. I didn't want to take this polish off, though. It made me feel, well, pretty.
     One last shot that I hope shows the complexity of She Walks in Beauty. If you look at the sides of my nail, in the shadow, you can better see the glitter and shimmer particles. Swoon.

     If you live in the UK, you can purchase She Walks in Beauty directly from a-england. Otherwise, check out the list of international distributors. It's currently in stock at  Llarowe for $10, which is where I purchased my bottle. You can keep up with a-england on Facebook here. Hope everyone has a lovely second half of the week!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Femme Fatale Cosmetics - Keeper of the Grove

     Well, it's been a little while since my last post. Work has been murder on my nails and cuticles. The wear and tear my hands suffer while bartending has reached a whole new level. I'll spare you the details, but the damage caused by my job made it impossible to maintain any kind of length. I even went to work with bare nails a couple of times. (Quelle horreur!) Believe me, people noticed. They asked if I was okay. I'll admit, I was kinda bummed about things, nail related and otherwise. Then, one of my fellow bartenders told me something that motivated me to get back into the polishing, blogging, swing of things. She said that I was her nail polish idol. That I inspired her! As I was admiring her glittery fuchsia nails, she confided that I gave her the confidence to wear colour on her fingers, not just her toes. She had always worn clear polish or french manicures, scared that colour would look weird on her or make her feel self-conscious. However, after discussing nails with me and admiring mine for the past year, she recently felt comfortable enough to come into work wearing pinks, reds, purples, blacks, and even some glitters. She said that she was still working up the nerve to rock green or blue, but that I was the reason that she felt brave enough to expand her polish horizons and wear what made her happy. She had even started researching new polishes and brands online. (Is it just me, or is that the sound of a baby polish addict being born?) Now, isn't that just the coolest compliment ever! I felt so humbled, but at the same time proud that I contributed to a friend feeling better about herself. :)

     Still with me? Want to see the polish I was wearing during the above conversation? I present to you... a glitterbomb!

     Femme Fatale Cosmetics Keeper of the Grove is super blingy, and I la-la-love it! This baby is definitely an attention grabber. It's inspired by the Path of Cenarius from World of Warcraft. If you're not familiar with WoW, look it up. (Or just believe me when I say that I can totally see the connection.) WoW aside, I think the name sounds magical/mystical and is totally appropriate. Keeper of the Grove has a sheer lime green jelly base, and is packed full of holographic greens and golds. There are also scatterings of pale pink hearts, teal and pink dots, and bright pink holo hexes. This polish is definitely reminiscent of flowers in a luscious garden, but it also reminds me of crushed gems.
     I've seen swatches of Keeper of the Grove both by itself and layered over another polish. I much prefer it by itself, because the brightness of the base and glitter is preserved that way. This polish is so packed with glitter that achieving full coverage was pretty easy. I only used two coats here, and that was enough to make me happy. (You can still see tiny spots of nail peeking through, but it wasn't noticeable in person.) I had no problems getting any of the different kinds of glitter out. In fact, I had to be careful to not get too much glitter on the brush. I applied the polish in full strokes, then spread out any clumps of glitter to make things even and flat on the nail. This didn't bother me at all, and I wouldn't confider it problematic. I waited a few minutes between coats to make sure to not drag either the glitter or jelly base. As to be expected, this polish did dry with some texture. I topped it off with two coats of Gelous and a coat of Seche Vite to make it perfectly smooth. I wouldn't say that removal was easy, but it was easier than I thought it would be. (Oh, and pics are from both the first and second days of wear, so there are stray glitter specks in some and minor tipwear in others. Whoops!)
     Isn't this just sooo pretty?! I couldn't stop looking at my nails, especially under low lighting. All that holo glitter twinkled like crazy. I wore Keeper of the Grove for three days, including two at work. I did get some tipwear and a chip on my dominant hand after the second day. Still, I really didn't want to take this off. I just love that lime green, and the glitter mix is so complex. I got tons of compliments, and surprisingly, a lot of questions about this polish. People seemed baffled by how much glitter was on my nails and how I got it there. Lol. I was happy to explain. :)
     If you live in Australia, Keeper of the Grove is currently available from Femme Fatale Cosmetics. You can also find it at Color4Nails. Elsewhere, it's not in stock at the moment, but I purchased my bottle from Llarowe for $13.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Model City Polish - Sheena is a Punk Rocker

     Ramones inspired collection? Yes, please! An excuse to sing and dance around the apartment like a lunatic? Count me in! Glitters in a black base? Frak, yeah! Model City Polish Sheena is a Punk Rocker is exactly the type of lacquer that I love wearing. Take a look...

     Model City Polish describes Sheena is a Punk Rocker as "a black jelly base filled with bright pink dots, fine silver glitter, and fine silver holographic glitter." They forgot to mention that it's awesome! I've already gushed about my love for black nail polish, and this one is very wearable. I actually had a conversation about this with a middle aged guest while wearing this polish at work. She told me that she also loved the edginess of black polish, but couldn't really wear it at her age without feeling too dark or people assuming she was trying to be goth. She thought that the pink and silver/holo glitter made this polish perfect, balancing out the moodiness with some fun. I'd say she hit the nail on the head! While I'm not a "pink girl", I'm a huge fan of pink and black together. And that silver sparkle in the light? Oh, man.

     Sheena is a Punk Rocker does have a jelly base, so I decided to layer it. You could build it up with three to four coats, but I don't always like the way black jellies look on their own. (You know, that murky brown/grey/black colour if you don't use enough coats...) I wanted this to be black, without covering up the awesome pink circle glitters or overloading my nails with them. I used one coat of Sheena is a Punk Rocker over Cult Nails Nevermore. It applied easily, and I was happy with the glitter spread and coverage that I got. I did place an extra circle or two onto each nail because I'm picky, but I didn't have to fish for the larger glitter at all. The end result was pretty smooth to the touch, so I only needed a coat of Seche Vite to make things glossy.
     Side note: I'm pale, but jeez. Blacks and dark purples sure make me look really pale in some lighting. Holy ghost hands in that last pic! And this is probably the longest you will ever see my nails. I tend to break them at work once they reach a certain length. Sure enough, I snapped a corner completely off on the second day of wearing this polish. Props to you ladies who can keep your nails beautiful and long, but I guess it's just not for me.
     Sparkle, little holo glitters, sparkle in that kinda sorta sunlight! Yep, I love this polish. True story: I was driving home from work wearing this, and guess what song plays on the radio as I'm pulling into my apartment complex?! Of course I sat in my truck until it finished, then ran inside to tell the BF. Thrusting the bottle into his face, "Do you know what I just heard on the radio?! Look what this polish is called! Look what I'm wearing!" He actually thought it was a really cool occurrence, because the Ramones don't tend to get a lot of radio play. I love him for telling me that my nail polish was meant to be, totally sincerely.
     Sheena is a Punk Rocker is currently available from Model City Polish for $8. You can keep up with the brand on Facebook.
     End of post bonus for you, lovies, because I assume everyone loves the Ramones as much as I do:


Dollish Polish - Ferb, I Know What We're Gonna Do Today

     I like to have a have an emotional connection to my nail polish. Does that sound weird? Sometimes, a pretty colour or unique finish is enough me want to buy a polish. Other times, it's hearing about a stellar formula or simply a new release from a brand I'm a sucker for. Honestly, though, I would probably buy an average polish if it reminded me of something that I love. (A band, a character from a work of fiction, my cat, the ocean, homophonic puns, et cetera...) Well, today's polish is definitely much better than average and makes me think of my nephew. That means that Dollish Polish Ferb, I Know What We're Gonna Do Today is a double win in my book!

     Ferb, I Know What We're Gonna Do Today is from Dollish Polish's Cartoon Series. It is inspired by Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb. This polish first caught my eye because of its name. (My nephew is seven and a fan of the show. On one of my recent visits back home, he downloaded a game called "Where's My Perry?" onto my phone for us to play whenever I'm in town. Now, anything Phineas and Ferb makes me think of him.) My interest peaked, I clicked on a preview swatch pic and Oh. My. Glitter. Dollish Polish describes Ferb as "bursting with small and medium turquoise holographic hexagons glitters, accented with golden orange glitters all in a turquoise jelly." Bursting is right! There are certainly a lot of different glitters going on. I love the combination of colours. Definitely a happy day polish. My bottle didn't have a turquoise jelly base as much as a slightly light blue tinted one. That was fine with me, because the almost clear base made this polish perfect for layering, while not changing my base colour too much.
     Ferb, I Know What We're Gonna Do Today applied like a dream. It went on smoothly, with even glitter coverage. No clumping glitter or need for placement/dabbing. I liked that it applied like an effortless jelly, unlike similar glitters that come in your typical clear suspension base. One coat would have been perfectly fine, but I wanted a little more sparkle. Shown is two coats of Ferb over OPI Can’t Find My Czechbook. One coat each of Gelous and Seche Vite for a glassy shine. I feel like you could layer the Dollish Polish to opacity on its own with three or four coats, but I think putting it over a base polish makes the individual glitters pop. It also helps with removal, which wasn't too bad, considering the amount of glitter.
     I wore this mani for five days. Yes, five. I didn't want to take it off. I wore it for two nights at work, a day of packing and traveling, and two more of playtime with my nephew. So much abuse and this combo still wore like iron. I had absolutely no tipwear and only had a tiny chip on my dominant hand at the end of the last day. I made sure to wear this particular polish on my trip to see my family so that I could show my nephew. I tell him things that I don't tell other people, so he knows about my love of polish. I'm glad that we got to bond over this one.
     Ferb, I Know What We're Gonna Do Today is currently available from Dollish Polish for $10. Llarowe also has it in stock for $11. Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Contrary Polish - Better Together

     Lately, I've been wanting to wear grey nail polish. All the time. Here's the deal: I love any variation of black polish. Blue is my favourite colour, and I'm a fan of how the darker shades look on me. I feel the need to own all the blue/greens. (Oh my glob. So many teals/aquas/mints/et cetera.) Purple is my comfortable go-to. Grey, though... This infatuation is pretty new. Dark greys. Light greys. Cremes. Shimmers. Some glitter thrown in for good measure. I want to wear it every day. Maybe because it's neutral without being boring. Edgy, but not in-your-face. Maybe because I want to wear pastels during the winter and vampy colours in the summer. Grey seems like a perfect compromise colour. Anyway. Onwards...

     Today's grey is Contrary Polish Better Together, from the Spring 2013 Love Lyrics Collection. In the glitter-bombed indie world, Contrary Polish stands out for its shimmer. See for yourself.

     Better Together is a blue-leaning grey with turquoise shimmer. I wish I had some nice direct sunlight pics to show off the pretty shimmer, but I don't. I sleep in pretty late, and the daily round of afternoon thunderstorms has normally started by the time I pull out my camera. (Oh, Florida Summer weather... I'm already a bad blogger, and you just make it worse.) You can still see some shimmer in the pics I do have, though. Kinda glowy on the nail, and definitely there in the bottle. I feel like this is a very classy shade of grey, and I felt mellow and composed while wearing it.

     The formula of Better Together is good. It felt a little thicker than some of my other Contrary Polishes, but not bad thick. More like, nice and creamy thick, which made it easy to control. Application was easy, and I only needed two coats for opacity. Seche Vite helped bring out the shimmer. (Yes, I still haven't tried out a different top coat. I'm working on that.) This polish went through two days of abuse at work, with no chipping and only minor tipwear to report.
     Even if grey polish isn't your thing, I really recommend checking out Contrary Polish. Their formulas are excellent. The beautiful contrasting shimmer is a welcome change if you're like me and love sparkle, but hate removing glitter. I'm a fan of how some of the shades are more muted or dusty, and they have some gorgeous blues. Better Together is currently available from Llarowe for $11. You can catch a sneak peek of some about to be released new pretties on the Contrary Polish Facebook page.
     Finally, because I feel like I should...



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Zoya - Zuza

     Well, hey there, lovies! Hope everyone is doing well. Super busy past week and a half here. I made a quick last minute trip back home to see my mom while she was in the country. I also got to hang out with my dad on Father's Day and spend time with my delightful little nephew. It was a good couple of days. :) My restaurant reopened after its remodel. The bar is completely different. It's beautiful, but we're still working out the kinks in its functionality. Between making some major adjustments and having the bigwigs from corporate hanging around, work has been pretty stressful, and I've just been wiped out. All I want to do is paint my nails, but I get home from work and pass out...

     Today's polish is one I wore a little while ago to brighten up a dreary day. Zoya Zuza is from the Summer 2012 Surf Collection. I love this one! It's such a beautiful, beachy, summer colour.

     Zuza is described by Zoya as a "deep, saturated, oceanic turquoise with gold and silver metallic shimmer and a foil-like finish." I absolutely adore this shade. Such a perfect mix of blue and green! I can see this one being flattering on most skin tones. I have a bunch of aqua/turquoise polishes, but Zuza is unique to my collection. The formula is wonderful. Coverage was really good with one coat. Photos show two coats, topped with Seche Vite. (I know that I previously mentioned occasional shrinkage with the Zoya/Seche combo, but no problems this time!) I didn't have any issues controlling the polish, but if you're like me and have ADD when it comes to application, beware of leftover shimmer particles post clean-up.

     Sadly, I only got to wear this beauty for two days. I blame it on a busy night at work, but a weird thing happened. I didn't get tipwear in the traditional sense. It didn't chip, either. It just kinda shredded off. That's the only way I can describe it. Random jagged little pieces tore off my tips. I tried to patch up my mani, but the same thing happened after the second night. Sad panda. I'll have to wear this one again when I'm not guaranteed to wreck it.

     I'd normally babble on more about this polish, but seriously? Look at it! It's gorgeous. The pictures should be enough to convince you. Also, I'm currently watching/listening to the director's commentary on the Les Misérables DVD. So, yeah, I'm a little distracted. To make it up to you, how about a pic of the always adorable Luna? She's always around for my polish related activities. She loves "girl time." Lol. Little princess usually falls asleep by my feet while I'm snapping away with the camera. Below is her normal napping position of choice. <3

     Zuza is available for purchase from Zoya for $8. Zoya is always doing awesome promotions, so you should follow them on Facebook so that you don't miss out.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Lac Attack - Death Day Party

     Hi lovies! I should be sleeping, but, nah... Gotta post when the blogging spirit moves me. ;) Today's polish is one that I wanted to show you a couple of weeks ago during my Harry Potter marathon. Lac Attack Death Day Party is sooo cool! It's from the Magical Musings Collection, which I'm still trying to work my way through. I'm giddy just thinking about all that awesome.

     I'm horrible at describing polishes. My brain just goes, "Oh my glob. Shiny..." and I can't think past that. My apologies. Death Day Party is a topper that contains (according to the Lac Attack site description) "mainly charcoal colored micro-flakes that flash a beautiful purple, as well as multicolored iridescent flakes strewn throughout a clear base." Oh my, do I ever love flakie polishes. This one is inspired by Nearly Headless Nick's 500th death day party. Even if you're not into Harry Potter and that previous sentence means nothing to you, you should still be able to appreciate this complex and unique polish.

     How fantastic do those flakes look?! The colour shifts are so pretty and unusual. This is just one coat of Death Day Party over OPI Vant to Bite My Neck?. I chose to layer it over a dark purple because it matched the overall bottle colour, but I think it would look good over a variety of base colours. (I still want to try it over a dark blue to contrast the coppery flakes and a beige to show off the variety of iridescent flakes better.) I was happy with the coverage that I got, but I guess you could do a second coat if you wanted to. Despite being full of flakes, this polish spread easily. I applied it like normal polish, with very minimal dabbing. As usual, everything is topped off with a coat each of Gelous and Seche Vite. I want to say that I wore this for three days with no chipping and that removal wasn't anything horrible, but don't quote me on that. I should really take notes for when I get behind on my posts. (Or I could just, you know, not get behind...)
     Death Day Party is currently available from Lac Attack for $8. You can also find it at Harlow & Co. for $9. Sidenote, the elusive Weasley's Wizard Wheezes is still in stock at Harlow & Co. Get it while you can, and avoid the normal restock madness! While you're at it, you should go ahead and follow Lac Attack on Facebook for updates. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. :)