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.
Please forgive me for that.
This is going to be a bit laconic, as I’ve had a bit of vertigo all day and am not 100% on staring at the screen for a long post, but — here we are. My first serious all-glitter-all-the-time-my-god-my-fingers-are-so-disco mani.
This is China Glaze I Herd That, from the recent On Safari collection, with Ulta Walking On Broken Glass, a mini from the recent Glazed & Confused set.
This is three layers of each glitter over Zoya Austine (I Herd That) and Maybelline Avante Green (Walking On Broken Glass). I Herd That would have been fine with two. It was almost fine with one, as Austine was fantastic as a base for it, but three layers of Walking On… was just a bit more opaque and it looked odd without the second coat.
Both of these are extremely textured, and I Herd That dries slightly matte, which I loved. To be certain, it’s more common to toss topcoats on these for shine and even more twinkle, but I like the slight grittiness. I’m weird, I know. I’d love to find more glitters with the same texture as I Herd That — I’ve seen it referred to as a sandy or sugar-like texture, as opposed to more usual glitters.
I really loved wearing I Herd That, and am looking forward to receiving I’m Not Lion, the other glitter from that release. It’s a paler, more neutral-esque gold, whereas Herd has a lot of red and yellow to it. I liked the coppery-gold with blue-green color combo.
This one is in bright sunshine so you can really see the different textures and colors more distinctly. Don’t be fooled by the green undertone to Walking On Broken Glass — that polish is pure teal glitter. The green is all from Avante Green, which has just enough of a teal duochrome that I foolishly assumed it would make a good base. It was okay, but not perfect. Austine, on the other hand, disappeared under I Herd That.
Totally fun, and, thanks to some pure acetone and holding the cotton on my nails for about fifteen seconds each, it wasn’t really that difficult to remove.
I got both of these on the same trip to Ulta, but the CG is available at a variety of places.
Next up: A sort-of guest post — my nails, someone else’s polishes.
Blue and bronze: book-version Ravenclaw colors. One might argue that OPI Warm & Fozzie is more like gold/copper, but isn’t that a pretty decent description of bronze? ;D I didn’t actually plan it to be a themed mani, though. I just thought these two colors would look nice together.
The blue is another Ulta mini from the Paint the Town set — Nauti-cal but Nice. It’s a very deep blue with a very subtle teal shimmer, so subtle that you cannot see it in the bottle, only in very direct light on the nail. This is two coats. There is a topcoat on it, a sweet purple/blue/green glimmering confection that I’m not entirely sure how to talk about, as it was a gift-with-purchase, and as far as I know, doesn’t have a name yet.
Warm & Fozzie is gorgeous, a flecky, dense glittery beast with a mild duochrome effect (copper to gold, with hints of green at extreme angles) in a smoky brown sheer base. This is two coats; the first was translucent and streaky, and the second was pretty much perfect. A third coat might have given me a little more depth, but my experiences with other polishes like this (MAC Bad Fairy, ORLY Space Cadet, etc.) made me a little leery of drying time.
Nauti-cal had a fairly lousy formula and wore terribly. Even with a topcoat, I had minor tipwear after a couple of hours. You can see it on both hands. It’s a nice color, but I’m not sad that I only have a mini, and I probably won’t wear it that often, though I might seek out other colors in a similar family. I don’t have anything else quite like this — it’s darker than most of the other blues (Revlon Royal, ORLY Royal Navy) I have, and more decisively blue than some of the other dark bluish shades in my collection (Zoya Cynthia, Nails Inc. Kensington, both are much more teal and neither has shimmer). On the plus side, however, it did not stain, though I do always use a basecoat, so that may affect my results.
Ayup. It was fun to wear. The blue started chipping, but I’m betting Warm & Fozzie would have worn pretty well for another couple of days. I’m happy to have it in my collection, and will be wearing it again with glee, especially as we shift towards autumn.
The Ulta polish was bought at *gasp* Ulta, and the OPI was purchased via a blogsale. It’s discontinued, from the Muppets collection last year, but you can still find it for sale at various places around the web. The glittery topcoat on the blue is an unreleased promo from Lilacquer, but I imagine you’ll probably see it, or something similar to it, sometime in the next while. :) I know I’m looking forward to seeing what her next theme is! :D
Bonus image of a different mani under the cut — RBL Jane and my first attempt at a newspaper accent nail.
Today’s nail categorically refused to photograph properly.
This is pretty color accurate, but mostly it photographed like this:
Another matte’d jelly sandwich! Woo! This one is Ulta Paint the Town, from the Paint the Town mini-set, with OPI Pirouette My Whistle. I wanted to use Pirouette, which is a lovely, reasonably subtle glitter topcoat, clear with tiny silver glitter and soft silver hexes (they almost appear white, they’re so satiny), but I didn’t want to pair it with a pastel or black. I wanted to do something BRIGHT. Hence, Paint the Town, which is a pretty gorgeous dark, almost blood-red jelly.
This mani involved a ridiculous amount of cleanup, as Paint the Town was really in love with flooding, and, given that it is a tiny bottle, not the easiest brush to manipulate. But it was worth it. In sunlight it was a bit hypnotic.
I am not hugely prone to wearing red polish, but this made it a lot of fun. I really enjoy these translucent manicures. I’m finding myself wanting a blue jelly that I can use to make ocean-inspired manicures with Pirouette.
Bottle shot! Aren’t they cute? I think I’m going to need a bigger bottle of Pirouette My Whistle, though. As a person who is not a huge fan of glitter, finding one that I really like means that you’ll all get very bored with seeing it used in my sandwiches from now on. ;D
Ulta polishes purchased at Ulta. Pirouette My Whistle was part of the NYC Ballet Soft Shades mini-set that I’ve also seen at Ulta and other places where OPI is carried, but I got it in a blog sale.
I wanted something equally mellow after I decided to remove the previous mani, because when worrying about one’s pets, it is good to have something very relaxing to look at. So, lilac/lavender with a sweet and coordinating topcoat.
Essence No More Drama is the lighter lilac color (here on the middle two nails), Ulta Lav-ish is the darker lavender with the coppery shimmer, and over the top of both is a single coat of Lilacquer Encantado.
Lav-ish I got in a set of mini-bottles. It’s what’s hidden in my hand here. I like it a lot, it’s very muted and, on its own a bit pinker than it looks here; the topcoat disguises the color some, as it’s not clear. The shimmer is very lovely, variously appearing as gold, pink, or coppery, depending on the light.
Encantado is a sheer lilac topcoat with a blue-to-aqua/green duochrome shimmer. It seems to be the same pigment as Selkie, which I wore a bit ago, but imparts a lovely tint to whatever you wear under it. I picked the most obvious option, really. :) I’m sure it would be lovely over quite a variety of other colors, too. Bit hard not to be, really; it’s gorgeous.
Essence No More Drama is a basic lavender creme. It has a nice formula, easy to control and fast-drying, but there is nothing particularly out of the ordinary about it, unless you count what a perfect match it is for Encantado.
Lav-ish was bought at Ulta as part of a set of minis, but is also available as a full-size bottle. The Essence I got in a blog sale, but you may be able to find it at Ulta or your local variation if you’re lucky — alternately, for a somewhat similar, though slightly cooler in tone, color, check out the current Ulta OPI exclusives for Talk About An Upgrade!, which is a re-label of Planks A Lot! from the Pirates of the Caribbean set. Encantado is part of the Lilacquer Shapeshifters topcoat collection, and can be purchased on Etsy.