Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pretty & Polished - I'm not a banana!

     Every now and then, I'm pretty sure that some people look at my nails and wonder, "What made her pick that polish?" Or, a little more judgey, "Why does that polish even exist?!" When said polish is a yellow jelly, I forgive them. They'll never understand why I'm not a banana! is so awesome. I don't bother to tell them that it's from Pretty & Polished's Mathematical! Collection, which is inspired by Adventure Time. I don't feel like explaining what Adventure Time is, that my boyfriend and I looove the series, or that this polish represents Jake the Dog. (Not, as they might assume, a bumblebee.) They definitely won't appreciate my love for Pretty & Polished, or that I exclaimed "Oh my Glob!" when I first started to apply this. But you, my lovies, you might understand...


     I'm not a banana! is a yellow jelly base with large black and white matte hex glitters, as well as small matte white glitters. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive about wearing a yellow jelly, but my love for Adventure Time leaves little room for worrying about my nails looking strange. In some lighting, the base leans a little orangey-yellow. Other times, it's more of a bright, sunny yellow. In any case, it's a very Jake accurate shade.

     I used two coats of I'm not a banana!. I wasn't worried about covering my nail line. It wasn't super noticeable in person. (I did make sure to wear it while my nails were short.) If you have longer nails, VNL might bother you more. I guess you could wear a yellow polish underneath or add another coat, but I think that would kill the depth and jelly squishiness. I wanted to quickly slap on some polish before work, and man, I picked a winner with this one. The formula was fantastic. I only have a couple of Pretty & Polished jellies, so I forget that they go on sooo smoothly. This went on perfectly level with no streaking, even at one coat. The base is just thick enough that it doesn't run and goes where you want it to. Despite my hurried application, this polish behaved so well. (Sorry about my sloppy clean-up and not-so-great pics. I was running late. Story of my life.) A layer of Seche Vite on top to make it shiny, and I was good to go.

     Just look at that squishy jelly glitter goodness! I didn't have to fish for glitters or worry about placement, but I'd definitely recommend leaving the bottle upside down for a few minutes before application. I did this before each coat, and the hexes came out easy peasy. I wore this mani for only one day. No tipwear at all, but the polish did start to lift on a few of my nails. Oh well. At least I got to wear a polish that made me smile (and want to watch Netflix) every time I looked at it, even if not everyone had the same reaction. Funny story, though, one of my regular guests did burst into laughter when I set down his drink. "Oh my God! Your nails! Those are sure to attract some attention!" He tried to suppress his giggles but couldn't. He seemed so honestly surprised and amused. His ex-wife just smiled at me and said, "Whatever makes you happy, honey, that's all that matters."

     I'm not a banana! is still available from Pretty & Polished for $9. It's in the "Say Goodbye!" section now, so it won't be restocked. If you're an Adventure Time fan, but this just isn't your thing, there are lots of other cool polishes to chose from. Go check out the site!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Color Club - Eternal Beauty

     Ahh, holographic polishes... What can I say? I love the way they look. Should I own as many as I do? Absolutely not. I'm not in the sun enough for me to see some blinding holo effect. If I expect for my manis to last any time at all, I have to wear top coat, and we all know that this dulls most holos. Some holos also cost more, and it's not very practical for me to spend extra money on something I can't fully appreciate. All that being said, we are talking about nail polish here, so logic and reason are pretty much irrelevant. On a gloomy day that promised rain, I decided that there was only one polish that I wanted to wear. Eternal Beauty, from Color Club's 2013 Halo Hues Collection, was the exact colour of purple that I was craving. So, enjoy some pics of a polish I'm sure you've already seen, this time sans direct sunlight or flash.

     Eternal Beauty is a mid-toned purple linear holographic polish. The holo effect is crazy strong with this one. All photos were taken indoors, with the sun refusing to make an appearance in the grey clouded sky, and you can still clearly see the holo rainbows. Imagine how amazing this is when there's more light present!

     I had zero problems with application. The formula of Eternal Beauty is fantastic. It went on exactly where I wanted it to, similar to a great creme, and dried smooth to the touch. While far more even and opaque than I expected at one coat, I used two to ensure richness of colour and holo strength. I don't own an aqua base coat, so I used my usual CND Stickey, and this polish flowed nicely over it. I also top coated this mani with Seche Vite. The linear holo effect was initially dulled a little, but reappeared after the Seche was dry. Was it exactly as strong as pre-top coat? Probably not, but it was close enough for me to not care. (I've heard mixed reviews about whether top coat dulls the Halo Hues. When I swatched them on a nail wheel, I found that it depended on the individual polishes. Some seemed unaffected by top coat, others sported a slightly weaker effect. The linear holo wasn't totally killed on any of the shades, though.)

     How gorgeous is this shade of purple?! Factor in the strong holo, and I'm in love. I wore this mani for a night at work and ended up with no (!) chips. Tipwear, yes, but that's to be expected. I did wear top coat, though, so I can't comment on how it wears without it. I'm just happy to find that I can get at least one day of wear out this polish, and that it still looks beautiful with top coat. I can't wait until the weather evens out (hellllooo, Sunshine State?) so that I can try out some of the other polishes in this collection.

     I bought my bottle of Eternal Beauty off of Amazon. I actually purchased all of the Color Club Halo Hues (both 2012 and 2013) at once, as a lot of 12, for just under $80. I didn't shop around, comparing prices, because I wanted them right then. Once again, love of nail polish > logic, reason. Looking around after the fact, I've seen them retailing for significantly more than that, so my impulse bulk purchase makes perfect financial sense. Mmm hmm...


Monday, April 15, 2013

Lucky 13 Lacquer - Special Hell

     Sooo... Work has been full of tiresome high school level drama, the weather has been bipolar, and my bottle of Seche Vite reached the point where it probably had more thinner in it than top coat. Bleh. At least one of those issues has been rectified, so I'm able to resume posting. :) I tend to cease communication when I feel annoyed or stressed out, often for weeks at a time. My friends are used to this occasionally happening, but I promise I'll try to not do it to y'all. I actually look forward to blogging, especially when I love a polish as much as the one I have for you today. Just please be understanding if I don't post for a couple days because of, you know, life and such...

      I'm not going to profess my love for all things Joss Whedon. I'm not going to tell you that I'm obsessed with most of the projects he's been involved in. I'm not going to call him a genius. (While all of those things are true, I'll save my nerdy fangirling for another day.) What I am going to do is show you a polish from a collection inspired by Whedon's Firefly/Serenity series. Say hello to Lucky 13 Lacquer's Special Hell.

     Oh. My. Glob. I own a lot of red polishes. A lot of red polishes that I love but don't wear. I want to wear this. Over and over again, I want to wear this.

     Special Hell is from Lucky 13 Lacquer's Ballad of Serenity collection. If you're a fan of the series, then you'll care that this polish is inspired by our Mrs. Reynolds, Yolanda/Saffron/Bridget. It's an orange leaning red jelly, full of holographic red squares and ruby red micro hex glitters. And it's amazing. I normally prefer reds that lean towards the cooler side, but this polish has a gorgeous fiery glow that made me fall for it instantly. The red squares are constantly changing, flashing yellow/orange and pink/purple, while the tiny glitters add depth and visual interest.

     Application did take a little bit of effort, but I wouldn't call it problematic by any standards. The base is on the thicker side. This is good, because it keeps the squares suspended (no fishing required!) and you can push them around on the nail a bit if you're picky about placement. They can sometimes drift towards the edges if you're not careful. It took some patience for me to figure out how much polish to put on the brush so that I wasn't globbing it on. You could layer this over another red, but why would you want to do that? I used three thin coats, and the depth of this polish was fantastic. (All those holo squares suspended in the jelly? Love.) By the third coat, the base had started to thicken, so I'll add a few drops of thinner before I use it again. This polish did dry on the dull side and slightly bumpy, so you can guess what happened next. A coat each of Gelous and Seche Vite and...

     Shiny! I tried my best to capture the beauty of Special Hell, but like so many polishes, it's even better in person. I would recommend clicking on the pics so you can better see that wonderful depth. I've worn this mani for a little over three days now, including two days at work. All pics are from days two and three. So, you can see for yourself the amount of tipwear I ended up with. No chips at all, minus the one piece of square glitter that was hanging off the edge of my nail getting (thankfully) knocked off. I could probably wear this for a few more days with no problems, and part of me really wants to.

     Slightly blurry pic, you can see that the tiny red glitters sparkle, too! In lower light and in the shade, this polish leans cooler, more true red. The squares glimmer and twinkle. Throw some light on it, and it totally looks more orange. Check it out...

     My male friend at work that always notices my nails loooved this polish. (He doesn't have a fetish or anything. He's just detail oriented. And fabulous.) He didn't think of Firefly, though. "Ooooo! Ruby red slippers!" I can definitely see that...

     I purchased six of the polishes from the Ballad of Serenity collection as a gift to myself for my birthday. Lucky 13 Lacquer was a new to me brand, but I had to have them. (Okay, what really happened was that I saw polishes inspired by something that I love, and they happened to be gorgeous. All of them. I freaked out, and was barely able to stop myself from buying the entire collection at once.) I'm very impressed with the quality of this line so far. I plan on getting the other five Ballad of Serenity polishes soon, and I'll order a backup of Special Hell while I'm at it. Yep. I never thought it would happen, but I want a backup of a red polish. I don't want to ever not have this.

     Special Hell is available from Lucky 13 Lacquer here for $8. The shop is on a mini vacation at the moment. You can still place polish orders, but they won't be processed until around the end of the month. Follow Lucky 13 Lacquer on Facebook so you can stay updated. You'll be glad that you did. :)


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Daily Lacquer - Sparkle Princess Dress

     It was bound to happen... I knew that I would eventually have a post about a polish that I couldn't capture properly with my limited photography skills. Aaand here it is! Daily Lacquer Sparkle Princess Dress is just so gosh darn, well, sparkly that my camera freaked out. I took a ridiculous amount of photos and the majority of them turned out blurry or reaaally blurry. I eventually had to call it quits, or this post would never go up. Not feeling quite as loquacious as normal, so I'll let the pics do (some of) the talking! (Keep in mind that this polish is so much more shiny and sparkly in real life. I can't seem to stop looking at my nails.)

     Sparkle Princess Dress is from Daily Lacquer's Welcome to the Circus Collection. It has a clear base packed full of shiny microglitters. It was really hard for me to pick out the colours of the glitters, because they were so small and sparkly that my eyes couldn't focus. I'm pretty sure that they are blue, green, red, and purple. This fancy lady is intended to be full coverage in two coats, and that's exactly what I used. I think it would also be pretty with one coat layered over another colour, if you want a (slightly) less blingy look.

     Application was easy peasy. I applied it like normal polish, no dabbing. I didn't have any problems with bald spots or the glitters clumping together. The base did start to thicken by the time I started my second coat, but it wasn't hard to work with. I'll add a little thinner before I wear this again. Still, lovely formula with tons of glitter goodness.

     This type of glitter polish tends to be very hungry. Sparkle Princess Dress is no exception. After the two coats of polish, I added a coat of Gelous and another from my thickened bottle of Seche Vite. My mani was so smooth and glassy and only kinda thick. By the end of day one of wear, it was down to normal thickness. These photos are from day two, and you can see that there is some texture from the glitter. It does feel a little bit bumpy, but not rough. Hey, textured polished are all the rage right now, right? ;)

Artificial light

     The picture above was taken under artificial lighting in my hallway. It's somewhat blurry, but that's honestly what the polish looks like to me most of the time. It has a brighter sparkle in more direct light, but my favourite is how the glitters twinkle indoors, especially in lower lighting. It reminds me of little twinkly Christmas lights on my fingers. :) I've worn this mani for two days, including a day at work, with no chipping. This is an absolute miracle for me! Polish with this much glitter pretty much always chips on me within the first day. I'm pleasantly surprised that it has worn this well. I can't comment on removal. I was feeling brave when I put this on, but not so much now... Maybe that will surprise me, too.


     The above picture was taken on my enclosed back patio at sunset. (I didn't get any direct sunlight shots, because it's been rainy during the mornings and afternoons for the last week or two. I don't think my camera would have worked with me anyway.) You can see the glitters shining, even in this setting. I thought it was interesting that the glitter colours looked different, more warm. The red also seems a little more dominant.


     One last pic to show you the glitters more clearly. This is a sunset pic, so the colours don't always look exactly like this, but it should give you an idea. Oh, and I have to share that the first two women that I served at work complimented this polish immediately. One of them was an older lady who exclaimed, "Oh my, I love your nail polish! Sparkly princess nails!" How did she know?! I've gotta say, I do feel like a sparkly princess wearing this. :)

     Sparkle Princess Dress can be purchased from  Daily Lacquer for $9. It's sold out at the moment, but Maggy does frequent restocks. Follow Daily Lacquer on Facebook for restock info and more.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Orly - Fowl Play (pic heavy)

     As excited as I am to wear pastels and brights for spring, sometimes I just have to mix things up with a darker polish. I guess it's my version of a palette cleanser. Orly Fowl Play is from their Fall 2011 Birds of Feather Collection, but I didn't get it until last year. I meant to wear it during Fall, then Winter, but never got around to it until now. I'm sure everyone has seen this one by now, but I'm not that concerned. I'm a big sucker for puns, so its name makes me smile.

     Just a little heads up... These are not the best pics. I'm fully aware of this. Us baby bloggers learn a lot by trial and error. I'm not ashamed to show my failures. What you see in the photos is not tipwear. It's shrinkage from my Seche Vite, which happened pretty much immediately. I tried to add another coat of polish to cover my bare tips and a layer of random top coat that wasn't fast dry. This only made the shrinkage line uneven and my polish look thick. The shrinkage didn't really bother me in the first place, but I wanted for the polish to look its best for this post. Fail. It looked even worse. Let's just call this a learning experience...

     Fowl Play is a dark plummy jelly base with a quite a bit of yummy goodness mixed. I don't normally post this many photos, but I was trying to capture what it looks like in different lighting and from various angles. It has reddish/copper flakies that shift to orange, yellow, then green. I like that you don't have to hold your hand at extreme angles to see the shift. It also has really pretty blue glitter that sparkles in every light. In the shade, it looks like there's some silver microglitter thrown in, too.


     I originally used three thin coats of Fowl Play to reach opacity and depth. Due to the aforementioned shrinkage debacle, these photos show an additional thin coat, which didn't affect how the polish itself looked. It applied easily. The flakies lie flat on the nail and didn't interfere with application. The formula was slightly thick, which was fine with me. I just waited an extra minute between coats. I don't think I can blame the shrinkage completely on the polish or the Seche Vite. I didn't do the best job of wrapping my tips, thanks to my new shorter nail length. Hello, polish all over my fingertips! Removal  and clean-up were easy, but be careful or you'll end up with sparkles everywhere (like I did).



     Argh! Shrinkage! Hmm, that's what the title of this post should have been... I read that some people didn't understand the hype surrounding this polish and that it could only be appreciated in the sunlight. I disagree. The sunlight certainly makes it sparkle and shimmer, but it's overwhelming for me. Even though I live in Florida, I'm not currently spending a lot of time outdoors. I wouldn't wear a polish that I didn't think looked good in indoor or low lighting, since that's where I normally am. I think Fowl Play is beautiful and complex. (I'm also a sucker for compliments on my polish from my bar guests and co-workers. Holos and other sunlight loving polishes are reserved for my days off, because it's pointless to wear them in dim lighting where no one, myself included, can see them in their full glory.) I wore this mani for three days, including a Friday night at work, without a single chip. Tipwear? Who knows. My shrinkage line didn't seem to change at all. ;)


     Fowl Play is supposedly a dupe, or very close to one, of OPI Merry Midnight. I don't have the OPI, so I'm not sure. From swatches that I've seen online, they seem to be very similar, but not dupes. Fowl Play, however, was affordable and easy for me to find. From what I can tell, it's still widely available. Go check it out for yourself! (Or go on eBay and pine over a $23+ bottle of Merry Midnight. I can't say I haven't done that myself...) Hope everyone has a beautiful Sunday. :)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dollish Polish - Peter Cottontail

     I'm gonna start off today by saying that I'm so, so, sooo very excited that baseball season has started! Like, giddy, on the verge of passing out. I've been a die hard Atlanta Braves fan since I was young, and I adopted the Tampa Bay Rays as my second team about a decade or so ago, when I moved to the area. The only time I wasn't passionate about baseball was my earliest years, living in Saudi Arabia before my family moved back to the States. Growing up in the South, you just kinda breathe baseball. I love everything about the game. The history, the personalities, the atmosphere, the artistry and athleticism. It's a beautifully nuanced sport that breaks my heart every year, yet there's nothing like discussing pitching mechanics with my seventy-five year old father or watching my seven year old nephew turn a double play. A lot of things have changed over the years, but baseball is in my soul. Now, you didn't come here for my ramblings about baseball,  did ya? ;) On to my ramblings about nail polish!

     Today's polish is a Limited Edition shade from Dollish Polish, Peter Cottontail. I had originally planned on wearing this on Easter (of course), but in my brain dead state last week, I managed to forget to buy cotton balls/pads so that I could remove my old mani. Five days in a row, I left the house to do everything except for this one simple task. Once again, BF to the rescue. He bought me the biggest bag of cotton balls I have ever seen. I wish I had taken a picture before I ripped into it. It was ridiculous. I guess he was trying to prevent future polish related meltdowns, and he knows that I'll use them... So, I went ahead and wore this polish the day after Easter, because, well, why not?

     Peter Cottontail is a soft coral jelly, filled with multi-hued iridescent glitters in several shapes and sizes. I can see micro glitters, hexes, and squares, all of which catch the light in a rainbow of colours. This polish can be built up on it's own, but I wasn't down for the task of seeing how many coats that would take, as it's a very sheer jelly. I've seen this polish layered over a few different shades of orange, but my bottle seems to lean more towards the pink side of coral, and I didn't want to ruin how pretty and delicate it is. I somehow don't have the shade of peach that I was looking for as a base colour, so I used two coats of China Glaze Sunset Sail, which is a peachy nude with microshimmer that ended up being too warm on me. One thin layer of Nicole by OPI Do Good... Feel Good (a very light baby pink) on top made the base closer to the colour I was looking for. Fairly satisfied with this, I used one coat of Peter Cottontail and topped it all off with Seche Vite. Such a pretty little bunny!

     I'll be honest, I only wore this for about a day and a half. It chipped while I was at work, and I wasn't heartbroken that I would have to take it off. (I also managed to break a nail, but I'm not heartbroken about that, either. I'm used to it happening all the time due to how busy my bartending shifts are, so I'm not devastated like some people are by loss of length. My next post will feature nubbins. C'est la vie.) I thought this mani had an ethereal quality that reminded me of the many years I spent in a ballet company. It's so feminine and delicate... and not my thing at all. Way out of my comfort zone. I'll wear vampies, brights, or glitterbombs any day of the week, but nudes or sheers? Eeek! I don't mind light colours or pale pinks, but this was just too close to my skin colour for me. I do love the polish itself, so I hope that I can find some undies to pair it with that are more to my liking. Anyone else have shades or finishes that you find a little scary to wear?

     The picture above is intentionally blurred to show off the iridescent glitter. Like I've said before, I'm a sucker for anything iridescent. :) I know that some people think it's a bummer when blogs feature polishes that are no longer available, but you never know when you'll have a lucky day and stumble across one. That being said, Peter Cottontail is a Limited Edition polish that I was so happy to score! Dolly was only supposed to make 100 bottles, but a website error resulted in the polish being oversold and she honoured the extra orders. My bottle is number 133/150, so I'm one of the people who lucked out. I hope the polish gods are being just as kind to you, lovies!


Monday, April 1, 2013

White Owl Lacquers - Water Lilies

     Well, hey there, lovies. Hope y'all had a good Easter. Quick post today. Or it might be long. I don't know. I do know that I'm behind on my blogging. Work was crazy busy last week and fairly full of drama, so I was both mentally and physically exhausted. I'm still feeling kinda bleh and drained. What I am stoked about, however, is today's polish. White Owl Lacquers Water Lilies, from their Spring 2013 collection, is the vernis du jour.

     According to the White Owl Lacquers site, Water Lilies is a "light mint green jelly base with purple, teal and aqua matte hex, metallic turquoise dots and bigger magenta dots." I don't think this fully describes how beautiful this polish is or all the different types of glitter in it. The purple hexes come in three different sizes and shades. There are also small pink hexes that they didn't mention, as well as very subtle shimmer flecks. I originally tried to wear this on it's own, without any undies, because I love the way the glitter suspended in the green leaning base really does remind me of water lilies. Fail. I just need to learn that certain jellies look awesome swatched on a nail wheel but not so much on my slightly stained nails. (Oh, and two coats of precious polish wasted... breaks my heart.) Maybe I'll try it alone again when I'm rocking supernubs.

     This is one coat of Water Lilies layered over China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint. I didn't want to alter the colour of Water Lilies too much by picking a mint base that was too blue or dark. Compared to bottle colour, I think I did pretty well. I'm not so great at applying jellies, but this one didn't give me much trouble. For the most part, it was self-leveling and non-streaky. (All of my White Owl Lacquers jelly based polishes seem to have wonderful formulas. Some of them actually apply effortlessly. Total score.) I did make sure that I had a good amount of glitter on the brush with each dip, but I didn't have to place it on the nail at all. I also didn't have to fish for the large magenta circles, which I love. Removal was what you'd expect from a polish with glitter, a little bit of work, but nothing crazy. As usual, I topped this off with a coat each of Gelous and Seche Vite.

     I kinda feel the need to apologize for the less than stellar clean up job on this mani. I was just so tired and my contact lenses were dry from being awake for so long. I couldn't really see straight and thought I did much better than I did. It should also be noted that the boyfriend picked this polish out. My brain was too fried to make a decision, so I shoved this and another polish from the same collection in front of him and asked him to choose. BF to the rescue. ;) I ended up wearing this polish for five days. (Yes, five! I told you, I was shot from work. Good thing I really like this polish.) These photos are from the second day of wear. I only had one chip after day three and two more after day four. Really, though, the chips weren't that noticeable. Tipwear was almost non-existant.

     A couple of final thoughts... Mara, the creative mind behind White Owl Lacquers, seems super sweet. A few months ago, I expressed interest in two of her polishes that had been recently retired. She offered to make them for me even though she was no longer restocking them! I had never bought anything from her before, and this totally impressed me. I was thankful for her kindness, and she earned herself a loyal fan. Her polishes have a certain delicate beauty to them, and I honestly think they deserve all the attention they can get. Ohhh, and how ridiculously cute are those bottles? Water Lilies can be purchased from White Owl Lacquers for $9.

     Aaand for no reason other than it being stuck in my head for the last 24 hours, I'll leave you with a song. Nail world, meet my first love, Music...