So, hi. I skipped out on nearly two years of blogging in the name of going back to school and learning to sew. I just completed my first official year as a student in the Apparel Design & Development program at Seattle Central College and I must tell you, it really ate my life. It was great! But I have not gotten rid of my polish and perfume collections or reduced my collecting habits, in fact they have grown monstrous, like goldfish with a large habitat and unending food supply. I joined SquareHue for a while, and that was fun; I expanded my horizons regarding jellies and have grown less addicted to matte-ifying everything I touch; I obsessively bought textures for a while, then kind of got over them, then relapsed, then un-relapsed. ….Good times. Anyhow, I’ve got a little time free right now and I just passed my two-year blogiversary, so I’m going to post some swatches and reviews and general mischief. This will continue through the summer and then I’ll probably lapse again once school starts. We’ll see. I have a LOT of polish to talk about, not to mention bath & body goodies and perfumes. Whee!
Let’s start with this cheap shot: What I’m wearing today!
That grey might look familiar, and it should, because Nails Inc. Covent Garden Ballet, which I posted about in August 2012, has finally gotten an official US release in the Ballet Sheers collection that has just turned up at Ulta. (It also showed up in one of the mini sets at Sephora — Winter 13, maybe? — as ‘Kensington Place’. Same polish, different name, oh, Nails Inc. Oh you and your shenanigans.) The pale pink from the same set is Hamilton Mews and is — surprise! — a pale pink matte with green and blue shimmer. It’s not marked as such anywhere on the bottle or display. It looks very nice with a glossy topcoat and is a much nicer accent with Covent Garden Ballet that way. I haven’t taken any pictures of it as such because I’m a lazy butt and my cuticles are laughable. ^_^
The formula on Covent Garden seems a little more sheer than the original release, but not dramatically so. It’s still smooth and shiny and stunning, absolutely one of my favorite grey polishes. This is two coats over Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator (I’ve been using this in hopes of making my nails quit flaking. It seems to be working, but then, I also didn’t really polish them for the last three weeks of classes, so that may have had something to do with it as well). Hamilton Mews was kind of thick and dried almost too quickly to work with, that quick snap was one coat, and two is more optimal. It’s not bad, and application would have been better had I been expecting a matte rather than a sheer shimmer. ^_^;
Overall, I’m happy to have a backup bottle of Covent Garden Ballet, and I am not sad to have a pretty pale pink matte shimmer. As a side note, the white shimmer from the Ballet Sheers collection, Mayfair, also showed up in A-Listers collection from two years ago.
I bought both of these at Ulta, though they aren’t on the website yet, and presumably you’ll eventually be able to order them from the Nails Inc. website — they’re not up on the US site, but Google tells me they’re available on the UK site.
…The other’s insane~
First a short story.
When I saw twee & honey’s The Same Thing We Do Every Night, Pinky, I basically flipped my lid. It’s a gray jelly with appropriately mousy pink, white, and pale blue glitters, sparked with the odd nose-pink hex. It is amazing. I knew I needed it. I love gray, I love gray jellies, and I loved Animaniacs.
I placed an order near the end of July and waited and got distracted by vacations and a new kitten and realized a couple of weeks ago that I hadn’t seen it, and that the tracking info hadn’t been updated from “arrival at sorting center”. So I peeped, USPS determined that they had lost the package entirely, and the marvelous Cleo, proprietress and creator of the brand, sent me out a new package with a couple of extra bits and an upgrade. A happy ending, and I now get to show you how pretty twee & honey’s (noted hereafter as t&h) polishes and topcoats are.
This is a-england Iseult, a pale, shimmery petal pink, with two layers of t&h Pinky glitter (same glitter mix as The Same Thing We Do…, but with a clear base), one thin layer of Zoya Rose, a translucent pink with a green shimmer, topped with t&h This Is Matteness, which is exactly what it sounds like, a matte topcoat.
It was, unfortunately, a very yellowy morning, so I wouldn’t take most of these images as a perfect idea of what the colors involved are like. The third one is probably the closest, but I really liked the images otherwise, so please forgive me my “artistic” notions.
Iseult is, as all a-england polishes are, pretty much perfect. It’s more sheer than most, and you do get a bit of visible nail line at the tips at two coats. Three would probably take care of it, but I was in a hurry. As you can see in the bottle image below, it is quite shimmery.
Pinky was pretty easy to work with, even in a tiny bottle. I had to do a bit of glitter placement, but managed to get at least a few of each type of glitter without much fishing or glooping. I love the colors and the theme. While not hugely fond of darker pinks in a full manicure, I do apparently really enjoy them as facets of glitters. I can’t explain this with any degree of satisfaction.
Funny thing, when I reached into my box of Zoya polishes and pulled out a pale pink, I was aiming for Audrey, which is a plain sheer pink in a similar color family as Iseult. What I pulled out was Rose (no bottle image, sorry. None of those came out at all.), which is a cooler pink super-sheer polish (I’ve done -five- coats of Rose in the past and still not gotten it fully opaque) with a strong green shimmer. I didn’t realize my mistake until I’d already painted my first nail and thought it strange that it wasn’t quite sandwiching properly. Oops. It went quite well over Iseult and Pinky, though, so I went ahead and finished both hands. It seemed to make the glitter pop a bit more.
This Is Matteness is not the most matte of matte topcoats I have tried, but it does mellow out the shine and unlike some, doesn’t change the color at all, and at $5, it’s also substantially cheaper than most.
a-england polishes are available via a-england, Llarowe, Ninja Polish, Beautometry, and probably a few other places. twee & honey has a website, and occasionally sell on etsy, too. She is currently on a short hiatus, but from recent website updates (Halloween collection whaaat? Show me pics!), should be back soon. I buy my Zoya polishes from Zoya; they have frequent sales and promotions.
Tomorrow: RBL & CG — copper battle!
So I missed a day due to vacation and lazy! Yeep! I’ll have to do something extra next week. The mani I left with (Chanel Peridot) didn’t last four days, so I bought some cheap-but-surprisingly-decent polishes at H&M and Claire’s, so I should use those. One of them is a truly hilarious glitter that changes color in sunlight. Hopefully we’ll get some proper sun again so I can take some photos.
Today, however, I have a mani I did before I left — a-england Lady of the Lake and OPI DS Diamond with a bit of China Glaze Ink. It was my first attempt using scotch tape, and it went …acceptably well?
Both of these are scattered holos–Diamond is the lavender-pink, and Lady of the Lake is the violet. Ink is approximately the color of blue ink, and comes with a super-thin nail art brush.
I did this in a slightly silly way (as I said, it was my first attempt) — first, I painted a single layer of DS Diamond and let it dry, then I cut a triangular shape out of tape, slapped that on my nails, and painted Lady of the Lake around it.
Naturally, the edges came out a bit ragged, so I added psuedo-detailing with Ink.
This actually looked a great deal nicer in person than it does in macro. I got several compliments on it, and really enjoyed wearing it.
I bought DS Diamond at a salon (just a random one I happened to stop in because they had a lot of older OPI on display), Lady of the Lake directly from a-england, and Ink was part of the mad stash liberation/redistribution by the Superlatively Coiffed and Always Well-Dressed U. ;)
Because around here, April is usually gray. Hmph. So here’s another matteified jelly sandwich for you, this time using another of the OPI NYC Ballet shades — My Pointe Exactly — and a pretty glitter topcoat called Cherry Blossom from an indie company, Amy’s Nail Boutique.
My Pointe Exactly is a very sheer gray polish. I like it enormously, although it doesn’t actually look that fantastic on me, as it’s a warmer gray and I tend to do better with cooler tones. I don’t generally care that much, but this one does end up making my nails look a little dirty if I leave it shiny. The inspiration for Cherry Blossom is pretty obvious, and you can see the components pretty clearly. I’m quite sure the square on my index finger snuck in accidentally, as there are no others visible in the bottle. Bonus?
Cherry Blossom has a slightly tinted base with some shimmer, which would, I think, make this lovely to wear over a brighter color. Blue would be the obvious choice in this case. The gray I picked is more representative of what it’s like in my part of the country during spring, though. We get the odd nice day, but often it’s overcast.
My Pointe had a fairly runny formula, and flooded my cuticles completely. Cleanup was not a bear, as it’s not heavily pigmented, but it was extensive. By contrast, Cherry Blossom was initially so thick that my first attempts resulted in horribly lumpy nails, so I added some thinner and that made it easier to work with. I liked the results well enough, but sometimes I just can’t be happy with shiny nails. :)
You’ll note that I have no photos of my other hand. This is because I borked one nail completely and didn’t have time to redo it before running out the door. :)
I bought this OPI at a Nordstrom’s Rack, but they are available at a wide variety of places. Amy’s Nail Boutique currently sells on Etsy.
Pastels make me happy sometimes. Okay, frequently. Especially when they remind me of ice cream, and not just any old ice cream, but spumoni. I could have made it more like spumoni by adding, perhaps, a light amount of pink glitter to the pink nails and including a milky brown nail for the chocolate, but pshaw. This was quite pretty enough on its own.
The two main polishes here are OPI Where’s My Bikini Top and First Names Only. These are from the current crop of Ulta exclusives, but are actually straight-up renames of, respectively, Stranger Tides and Steady As She Rose from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection last year. Where’s My…/Stranger Tides is a mildly pistachio-esque, pleasantly dusty pale green, and First Names/Steady As is the cool light pink; both are cremes, both had reasonably good coverage. I used two coats of each color over a Revlon basecoat, and, much to my dismay, these OPIs did not play well with it at all. Shrinkage started almost before they were dry, and they started chipping around the edges after less than a day.
The sparkle topcoat is Zoya Glimmer. It’s a silver and gold shimmer in a slightly peachy translucent base. I’ve seen people use this for a full mani, but I think it’s really best used over other colors. It did alter the color of the base slightly, making it slightly more warm. Compare the nails on my left hand (green shimmer, pink matte accents), with my right (pink shimmer, green matte). I think it’s more noticeable on the pink; without Glimmer, it’s cooler and with it trends slightly more peachy.
Pistachio and cherry ice cream. This is entirely what this reminded me of, soft and creamy and suddenly I want spaghetti. Check out the chipping action on the side of my index finger there. I cannot recommend the Revlon quick-dry basecoat with OPI, or at least, -these- OPI polishes. It has worked reasonably well with other brands, especially other drugstore brands, however.
Sparkly! Did I mention that I’ve had a full relapse into my matte-ifying ways? Well, I have. Oh, Matte About You, why are you so amazing? I have no good answer for this, but I certainly do love it.
Funny story — the ring finger on this hand actually had a different base coat because I dinged it badly enough that it needed repainting. Can you see how much less shrinkage there is on that finger? All the others just look slightly lumpy at the edges, but not that one.
The two OPI polishes I bought at Ulta, as you might expect, although I’ve seen the original releases with the Pirates names at the Nordstrom Rack recently. The Zoya was purchased from Zoya.