Saturday, March 31, 2012

Orly Nite Owl

I've been doing an awful lot of blue manis lately and I wanted to take a break before my order of a London's Lady of the Lake showed up, so this time I went back to a neutral shade to "cleanse my palate," so to speak. I had been reading a lot about Orly's Fowl Play, but when I went to Ulta it turns out that it's a dupe of OPI Merry Midnight, which was one of my dusty finds a while ago so I didn't need that. However, in that same area my eye was drawn toward Nite Owl, a lovely taupe-beige shade. I like how there are little glimmers in it to add dimension — I find I'm getting bored with straight creme polishes these days and want a little something extra, no matter how subtle!
Orly Nite Owl
This was the first Orly polish I've used and I really liked it! It was the easiest application I've had in a long time and clean-up was minimal. It flowed well enough to fill in the brush strokes, yet not so much that it flooded the cuticles. Really nice! This is two coats plus a top coat of SV.
I love the extra dimension you get from the micro-glitter!
Close-up of the bottle to show the glimmers.
As I was putting it on, however, it seemed awfully familiar, so I checked my stash. Sure enough, it was extremely close to butter LONDON's All Hail The Queen! It was different enough to warrant keeping, however. (Can't have too many neutrals!) I've been wearing it for two days, tapping at a keyboard most of the time, and there's no sign of tip wear yet so it beats out AHTQ on that score.
Here's the label, so you know what to look for.
And here's the bottle, so show the distinctive Orly shape.
Orly was never really on my radar before but I definitely have to put them on my list when I'm checking for something new. I'm really pleased with this choice!

My "Girl On Fire" Mani!

Today I'm going to go see The Hunger Games! Naturally, I wanted to do a "girl on fire" mani like I've been seeing all over the place in the past few weeks. I used The Nail Network's tutorial for my design.




I used China Glaze-Stone Cold as my base. I used a thin paint brush to paint on the fire staring with Essie- Forever Young, then Urban Outfitters red glitter, then China Glaze- Riveting. I added some yellow accents with Sinful Colors Nail Art- Morning Breath striper, and finally dabbed on some China Glaze- Electrify. I knew I would find a reason to wear Electrify!



Forever Young definitely stained my cuticles and was pretty difficult to clean up

Here's Part 1 and Part 2 of my China Glaze Hunger Games Collection swatches and reviews! Can't wait to see the move today :)


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Max Factor- Fantasy Fire!

So today is my 28th birthday. Eek! I feel like that's got to be a mistake. Someone must have miscalculated somewhere. There's no way it's possible.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an early birthday present in the mail. Two(!) bottles of Fantasy Fire, the Max Factor dupe of Clarins 230 aka "Unicorn Pee", only available in the UK. Clarins 230 hasn't been available for years and costs about a million dollars on eBay. Max Factor is a drug store brand in the UK so it's not very expensive at all, it's just in very high demand and pretty hard to come by. Plenty of eBayers jack up the price for those of us on the other side of the pond who are going crazy for this polish!


Itty bitty bottles!
Fantasy Fire is a sheer blue/purple polish that flashes red, gold, copper and green depending on the light. It's gorgeous! Seriously, just look at that bottle! I've seen some swatches of it after 4 or 5 coats and while it's very pretty on its own, I think it's better as a layering polish. The most common layering I've seen is over a true blue like Revlon Royal, or over black. It really allows all of the color shifts to show!

The bottles of Fantasy Fire are teeny tiny so I'm pretty excited to have a backup. I feel like I used half the bottle just on this manicure and a few nail wheel layering swatches!

Since I have seen FF over Revlon Royal, I knew it looked great but I wanted to try a purple. I chose China Glaze Grape Pop, which I picked up during one of my wholesale hauls. One of the problems with the wholesale store is that a lot of the polishes are kind of old. Not in a "dusty find" kind of way, but more of a "there's so much inventory in this store, no one has touched this bottle for 3 years and all of the pigment separated" kind of way. So Grape Pop was pretty thick and needed a few drops of thinner to even out. 


Two coats by the window


Grape Pop photographs much more blue than it looks in real life

I applied one coat of Fantasy Fire and topped it off with some Poshe before heading out the door. I wanted to try to conserve this polish! But with only one coat, it didn't have the sparkle I wanted from it. I tried taking a few pictures with my iPhone to send to Robin and Erin but it just didn't have the "wow factor" I knew it could. So I added another coat in the morning and took these pictures without a top coat. Enjoy! I tried to capture all of the color shifts so there are plenty of pictures ahead :)










Some more bottle porn but check out the thumb nail up there!
So yeah, this stuff is pretty amazing. I'm just so sad the bottles are so little, I'm kind of afraid to use it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

butter LONDON Lady Muck

I've been doing a lot of dark blue manicures lately, for some reason, and as the weather warms up I feel the need to lighten up the colors a bit, too. As I spread out my stash I was still drawn to the blues, but this time over to the pastels. I have quite a few to choose from so it was really difficult to decide, but I ended up selecting Lady Muck by butter LONDON. Depending on the light it's either a dove gray (should I spell it "grey" for them?) with a pale blue tinge, or a soft blue with a grey-ish shimmer. Surprisingly, the dimmer the light, the brighter the blue — which, unfortunately, my camera can't capture accurately, so all the shots are taken in the window with morning light.
butter LONDON Lady Muck
I got this polish because All Hail The Queen is one of my favorite taupe polishes and this looked to be a blue version of that. The formulation on this one is a bit different, requiring at least three coats for full opacity, if not four. In fact, even with three coats there were still some bald spots on my left hand, but that may be because it's my dominant hand so it usually comes out the worst anyway (which is why my right hand is my photo hand, of course.) It was interesting to watch this color develop since with each of the first two coats the effect was totally "meh" but with a third coat the color comes to life and you can see the depth of the gorgeous pastel blue and the silver-grey sparkles.
See the silver-grey sparkles in there?
While I absolutely love this color, I'm still on the fence as to whether I like it on me. I have a history of being drawn to colors that are gorgeous as swatches, but which for some reason don't work with me wearing them. I do think this would go fabulously with a girly, dressy outfit more so than the jeans-and-t-shirt I usually wear, so it may become my go-to party polish.

Bottle shots, so you know what to look for:
Lady Muck
butter LONDON
I got this at Ulta and I think it's been around for a while, so it's probably part of their core line. A nice color for Spring!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Girly Girl Challenge- Day 7- Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

"Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of."

That's how it goes, right? For today's Girly Girl Challenge, we had to show off our "sweet (or spicy) inspired nails."

Naturally, I went spicy. Here's OPI- It's My Year! from the Miss Universe collection stamped with black from Bundle Monster plate BM-223. I liked the way it came out but it just needed a little something else. So I mattified it with Essie Matte About You. I love the way It's My Year! looks with those matted gold shimmers.


And don't forget to check out the other ladies participating in the challenge!



Stephanie of A Little Polish
Kelly of DevilishPolish
Jodi of Captivating Claws
Danielle of Rock N Polish
Elly of Polishable
Olivia of Unprofessional Nails
Kate of This Charming Kate
Bethany of  A Plethora of Nails
Lizzy of The Do It Yourself Lady
Eugenia of Talon-ted
Johanna of Neues vom Kellerkind
Amanda of Nox Nails
Ashley of Smashley Sparkles
Sarah of See Sarah Swatch
Emily of The Lacquerologist
Jess of LuvMyLacquer
Tressa of O' Natur Nail
ChiChi of I'm just me...ChiChi 
Amanda of Berry Polished 
Bonny of Over Stuffed 
Taylor of REJOICE! 



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making a Jelly Sandwich

A "jelly sandwich" is a manicure technique using a glitter polish "sandwiched" between layers of jelly polish. Jelly polishes have a sort of squishy look to them. They are different than regular sheer polishes but it's difficult to describe the differences. It's also difficult to photograph the squishiness!

I think the differences come with how the colors are made. I'm no nail polish frankener but I do know a little bit about paint. A polish with a creme finish is usually made by adding pigments to a white or colored base. Like the paint colors you buy at Home Depot. Jelly polishes seem to be made by adding pigments to a thick clear base. With some jelly polishes, even after 4 coats you might still see some VNL (visible nail line). I really love the look and feel of jelly polishes. Some people totally hate VNL and steer clear of them. 

To make a jelly sandwich, start with your favorite base coat. I used Orly Bonder today. I don't know if it's my favorite or not, but that's what I used. You do you. Then put on two coats of the jelly polish of your choice. I'm using Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear- Purple Pizzazz. I picked this up at the dollar store packaged with another Xtreme wear color. Two polishes for a dollar? I'll take it. When I first swatched this color on a nail wheel, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was a jelly. In the bottle, the dark purple polish has loads and loads of little purplely pink shimmers. They almost look like tiny flakes. The shimmer is a little lost on the nail but I love the way it looks.


One coat


Two coats
After your two jelly coats are mostly dry (you can add a quick dry top coat like Poshe or Seche Vite to speed this up), put a coat of glitter on top. I used Claire's Bedazzled. The clear base of Bedazzled is loaded with different sizes and colors of glitter. I was really happy with how evenly the glitter flowed on the nail. Sometimes with big glitter you need to use the brush or even a toothpick to dab the larger pieces into place.




Once the glitter is mostly dry, cover it up with another coat of your jelly polish! That's the sandwich part. I guess it's more of a glitter sandwich, with the jelly acting like the bread. This jelly color showed the glitter a little more than I wanted after one coat.


So I just added another!



This was my first time trying a "jelly sandwich" and I really like the way it came out. Mine ended up being Jelly-Jelly-Glitter-Jelly-Jelly and yes, my nail was thick with polish. And even though I only wore this mani for a day, I got a ton of compliments on it. Have you ever done a jelly sandwich mani? Share it on our Facebook page!



Saturday, March 24, 2012

NOTD - Zoya Elodie and Revlon Stunning

Hi everyone! Today I have a quick NOTD post for you.  I've been dying to use Elodie since I got it last week in my latest haul. This polish did not disappoint.  I love it!  It's a perfect spring color.  It's an awesome pink coral jelly.  It took two coats and I still had a touch of VNL but I don't think it needed a third coat.  I also picked up Revlon Stunning at Duane Reade in NYC and I wanted to use it asap so I did a ring finger accent accent nail.  It's a silver holo glitter that flashes rainbow in the light.  There are different sized hex glitters and microglitter in a clear base.  I used three coats to maximize the sparkle.  I probably could have layer it over Elodie but I like the bare nail under the glitter.
Stunning came out a little blurry because it's just so sparkly!


What do you think?  Are accent nails played out?  I really love them and have no plans to stop. But, I keep seeing the women from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while I'm watching the show commercials and we have the same manicures.  I think that's a bad sign.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Dusty Find of the Year!

After hearing about the finds that Anna & Erin got poking around in the used polishes at salons, I decided to give it a try myself. Even though I live in a small town, it seems that there is a nail salon every 100 yards or so, so it was worth a shot, right? When I went to the bank yesterday I saw a salon tucked into the corner of that strip mall so I went in and asked if they sold their old polishes; the woman said they did so I checked over their stock. I saw a couple that caught my eye, OPI Merry Midnight and DS Glamour. Now, I've lost track of which of the DS series are current and which are discontinued, so I texted Anna and she said it was selling on ebay for $55! I got them both for an amazing $3 each! I had been thinking that it might be a nice base for another attempt at duping KOH Blue Universe, but it wasn't until I was out in the daylight that I saw the holographics of DS Glamour and I understood the appeal.
Check out those holos!
Unfortunately, the bottle was only about a third full and it was kind of thick and gloopy, so I think I may need to add some restore to it. But, still...  only $3!!! Look at it in close-up:
This is a day later, so there's a bit of tip wear
I am so upset that this gorgeous polish has been discontinued and that my bottle probably only has a few more manicures left in it, but I console myself in that the true beauty of it is really only revealed in direct sunlight, so I will save it for when I will be outside more than usual. Indoors — where I am found most of the time — it is actually very similar to Milani's Sail Away (see below) so I do have that as a back-up when I want this color. I'm still going to try layering Asylum over DS Glamour to see how well it dupes KOH Blue Universe, but for now I want to enjoy it in its own unique loveliness.
DS Glamour on nails, Sail Away in bottle, indirect light

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Girly Girl Challenge Day 6 - Who Inspires You?

Anna and I decided to tag team this post.  Our blog is called Polished Cousins so we looked to our family to inspire us.  Check it out!

Erin:  Today we have Day 6 of the Girly Girl Challenge and the theme is "Who Inspires You?"  This challenge took some thought.  Celebrities don't inspire me.  I don't follow politics.  So I started to think about my family.  My Mom-Mom turns 90 this year.  Yes, that's right, 90.  And my Dad-Dad is 94.  And not an old 94, a 94 that looks like 74.  He has an Iphone 4S, drives and works in his garden everyday.  Mom-Mom is a true matriarch of our family.  She brings everyone together, she truly accepts all of us for who we are and I can only hope to be a sliver of how awesome she is when I'm 90.  My 31 year old hands look just like Mom-Mom's hands, long nail beds and skinny, bony fingers.  I like to keep my nails shorter because the nail beds are so long that they start to look like fake nails fast.  But I let my nails grow a little, filed them just like Mom-Mom, round and pointy and painted them one of  her colors, a shiny pink frost. 

Round nails.  I cut and filed them back to normal 10 hours later.

This is the pink frost polish from the 10 Things I Hate About You post

Anna:  This mani was inspired by my great aunt. She was the first person who ever took me to get a REAL manicure. When I was little, sometimes my mom would take me to my great aunt's house for her to watch me during the day. I mostly remember playing with her awesome bubble toys in the back yard (and her television set with an actual "clicker") but sometimes she would take me with her to run errands too. My favorite days were when she took me to the "beauty parlor" with her. She'd sit under the dryer smiling at me while the ladies who worked there painted my fingers and toes. Little girls weren't getting professional manicures in those days so it was pretty exciting for me. They'd always paint my tiny nails with a soft pink color and dot little flowers on each one. So in honor of my great aunt, I painted my nails with Finger Paints Pop Rocks Pink (from their new Gumdrops and Lollipops collection) and dotted flowers on top with Color Club- He Loves Me.



Don't forget to check out the other fabulous blogs participating in this challenge!
Stephanie of A Little Polish
Kelly of DevilishPolish
Jodi of Captivating Claws
Danielle of Rock N Polish
Elly of Polishable
Olivia of Unprofessional Nails
Kate of This Charming Kate
Bethany of  A Plethora of Nails
Lizzy of The Do It Yourself Lady
Eugenia of Talon-ted
Johanna of Neues vom Kellerkind
Amanda of Nox Nails
Ashley of Smashley Sparkles
Sarah of See Sarah Swatch
Emily of The Lacquerologist
Jess of LuvMyLacquer
Tressa of O' Natur Nail

ChiChi of I'm just me...ChiChi 
Amanda of Berry Polished 
Bonny of Over Stuffed 
Taylor of REJOICE! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Zoya Haul + Mini NYC Haul

Anna and I took advantage of the buy 3, get 3 free Zoya promo and I took a little trip to NYC and bought a few drugstore polishes.  Take a look!
Erin's Zoyas
From left to right:  Casey, Rihanna, Elodie

Anna's Zoyas



 From left to right:  Marina, Adina, Reece

Erin's NYC Mini Duane Reade Haul
 Left to right:  Wet and Wild Born into Privilege, Revlon Stunning, Revlon Whimsical, Wet and Wild Bow in my Presence




Sinful Bare (for Robin) and Wet Wild Bow in my Presence (for Anna)

I've been trying to not go as crazy lately so I just let myself check out Duane Reade to see if they stocked anything that my local drugstores didn't.  I found Whimsical and the limited edition Wet and Wilds.  They look like dupes for the new China Glaze Prismatics.  I see a comparison post in the future!  What about you?  Have you had any epic hauls lately?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Girly-Girl Challenge Day 5- Gotta Love Chick Flicks!

For Day 5 of the Girly Girl Challenge, we were supposed to come up with a manicure inspired by our favorite chick flick. We picked 10 Things I Hate About You and chose to interpret the title of the movie literally.

We love you forever Heath!

So now, here are ten of the polishes we hate the most!


From left to right:
1. Sinful Colors- Snow Me White
2. Spoiled- Distant Memory
3. China Glaze- Electrify (*gasp!*)
4. Zoya- Trixie
5. OPI- Did It On 'Em

This is the ugliest manicure I've ever had on my nails.

1. Nothing against Sinful Colors, it's just that BRIGHT WHITE polish is ugly. It reminds me of the days when we all used to paint white out on our nails. It's pretty great for stamping though so no regrets on the purchase.

2. This was my first time trying Spoiled polish (by Wet N Wild). I love a cheap drug store polish but look at the gross brush. I had to trim two long hairs from the end too. From reading other blogs I've learned that I didn't get a dud, a lot of them seem to be this way. The color is great and has a nice shimmer but it dries matte! I don't like surprise mattes.


3. I think I might break some hearts with my hatred for this polish. It just doesn't fit in the Hunger Games collection, ok? It looks like Christmas tinsel. I'm pretty sure they don't have Christmas in District 12. I've seen some great nail art made with it on other blogs though, I will just never wear it on its own.

4. Silver foils are ugly. GREAT stamping polish though.

5. Just like I said in my Nicki Minaj Collection review, this color looks terrible on me. I see no zombie raves in my future, so I see no need to put this polish on again.

__________________________________________________________

Anna and I decided to tag team this post so here are my (Erin) 5 polishes that I hate the most.  I really don't have that many polishes that I hate in my collection so some of these are sort of a stretch.  Let's not get upset here, girls.  Just read the full explanation...
 From left to right:
Orly- Rock Solid
Kleancolor- Kiss Goodbye
Essie- Bermuda Shorts
Nerd Lacquer- Don't Blink (Stop freaking out.  I don't really hate it)
Famous- It's Better to Give than Receive
1. My first review on this blog was for Rock Solid.  I included it because I'm still mad about how awesome it is in the bottle and much it sucks on the nail.  You can read my review here.

2.  I love glitter.  But Kleancolor glitter is just the worst.  The formula is awful, it's like painting rubber cement on your nail.  That's 2 coats but it looked like 4.  And this glitter is ugly.

3.  Ok, the story behind Bermuda Shorts makes me sound like a real nail polish crazy person.  To make a long story short...I got a pedicure with Bermuda Shorts and I must have been very relaxed because I didn't pay attention when she painted my nails.  I loved the color so much, I went home and stalked the internet until I found a bottle on eBay and bought it.  I didn't read any reviews or look at any swatches because it was already on my toes and I know exactly what it looks like, glossy neon magenta awesomeness.  I knew that Sinful made a dupe but that it was matte and I HATE matte polish.  So, I get my bottle of Bermuda Shorts and start my mani and realize that this polish is matte!  Oh hell no.  Things start to go downhill from here.  There may have been a couple glasses of wine involved...I text Anna and tell her that I bought a fake bottle of Essie Bermuda Shorts on eBay and the seller obviously bought a bottle of the Sinful dupe and poured it into the Essie bottle and made a fake label.  Yes, I know...it's bad.  While I was composing my insane email to the seller accusing her of selling fake nail polish, my husband did a little searching and saw the swatches online and I finally realized my mistake.  Don't judge me!  I feel strongly about polish.  So what?! NBD.  I didn't send the email to the seller.  So that's why I hate this polish.  

4.  I'm sure you all think I'm insane right now so let's keep the crazy train rolling.  I don't hate Don't Blink.  I love it.  I just hate it on my skin.  Nerd Lacquer is my favorite indie brand right now and I want her whole collection.  Anna and I just did a little swap so this polish will live with her and look way better on her skin. 

5.  This polish is just ew.  A pink frost?  I don't know what I was thinking.  I was in a greedy haze at the wholesalers when i bought this.  I'm still glad that I bought it because I used it for the next challenge.  Stay tuned for Thursday!


Stephanie of A Little Polish
Kelly of DevilishPolish
Jodi of Captivating Claws
Danielle of Rock N Polish
Elly of Polishable
Olivia of Unprofessional Nails
Kate of This Charming Kate
Bethany of  A Plethora of Nails
Lizzy of The Do It Yourself Lady
Eugenia of Talon-ted
Johanna of Neues vom Kellerkind
Amanda of Nox Nails
Ashley of Smashley Sparkles
Sarah of See Sarah Swatch
Emily of The Lacquerologist
Jess of LuvMyLacquer
Tressa of O' Natur Nail

ChiChi of I'm just me...ChiChi 
Amanda of Berry Polished 
Bonny of Over Stuffed 
Taylor of REJOICE! 
Jess of Nearly Natural Nails