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.