swatch: nails inc. victoria gate

happy new year's eve to all! this is my absolute favorite holiday... it's so full of promise.

here's a recent notd, nails inc. victoria gate (three coats):

i am lame and sleepy, so i have enlisted my bff poonam to give you her commentary on this shade:
"victoria gate has an excellent application, like so many of the nails inc. shades. the color is a strong berry with purple elements and, while i would hesitate to recommend it as a "fun frolicky" shade, this jewel tone is subtle and extremely apropos for the holiday season! it reminds me of christmas ornaments of days of yore! i would recommend pairing it with a fun colored cocktail or festive footwear for maximum holiday enjoyment! countdown to the new year on my end is 35 minutes, so off i go!"

...mama hearts her exclamation points. see you all in 2010!


swatch: nails inc. rodeo drive

i fell i love with the rather un-festive notd i wore earlier this week, nails inc. rodeo drive... so much so that i kept it on for four days!

here's how this polish looks in the sun:

and here's how it looks in the shade (this more blue-toned color is what shows up in indoor lighting as well):

please excuse the lotion and poshe residue in these pics, yikes!

rodeo drive is a gorgeous color, just a bit more blue than rescue beauty lounge teal. the formulas of the two polishes are also quite comparable (creamy, pigmented, and fully even in two coats), although i personally find the rbl easier to apply because of its smaller cap. imo, while the two colors aren't exact dupes, they are close enough that most people won't need both... i'll do a comparison when i get back to new york!

bf says: "this is a nice polish named after a gross road in a bad city."


swatch: sally hansen salon project runway

merry christmas to all who are celebrating today! in honor of the holiday, i'm wearing sally hansen salon project runway, from a recent collection that's currently exclusive to canada (so a big thank-you to the lovely girl who sent this polish my way!). there have been rumors that this collection may be coming to the u.s. at some point, but honestly, i wouldn't trust a thing sally hansen's customer service people say... they usually seem to be pretty clueless about distribution, etc.

the above picture is of two coats. while this polish for the most part applied pretty well, it did have a somewhat odd consistency... it almost felt like i was gliding thin melted jello onto my nail. also, i was expecting this polish to look slightly different on me based on other people's pictures (i thought it would be darker and less blue, and that the gold shimmer would be more visible on the nail), but i do still like it quite a bit. what i do not like, however, is the crazy shrinkage poshe gave me on this mani! *grumbles*

and now, i'm headed off on a trip for a few days, although i've scheduled a couple of posts to go up during that time. i hope you all have a good weekend!


swatch: essie ruby slippers

last week i wore essie ruby slippers to a holiday party with my bf... and i loved it so much i kept it on for five days straight!

this is my hg red glitter polish, and i think it's absolutely perfect for the holiday season. it strikes me as much more complex than the widely popular chg ruby pumps, although having never owned the latter polish, i can't say for sure.

ruby slippers has a jelly base so it does require a number of coats for opacity (i used three for the mani above), but it's quite easy to work with. and one coat of seche vite was enough to make the finish glassy and totally smooth!


swatch: illamasqua grab

hi guys! sorry to have been so absent from here - my laptop kicked the bucket pretty much as soon as i landed in california, and until it's fixed i don't have access to my saved pictures or any photo editing software. but while i've got a second, here's a photo of the notd i wore for *gasp* four days last week, illamasqua grab:

unfortunately, this isn't a color-accurate photo - this polish is much darker and richer irl. but while grab is tough to capture, it's lovely to apply... creamy and opaque in two coats.

bf says: "that looks like a lisa frank trapper keeper."


swatch: opi lincoln park after dark suede

hi everyone! sorry for my absence this past week - i got caught up in helping a friend with a cross-country move, yikes! today i'm headed back to california to spend the holidays with my family; while i won't have access to my full stash during my trip, i did prepare a few swatches so that i'll have something to post for the next couple of weeks. and since for the next few weeks i won't be living on the sixth floor of a walk-up apartment building, i may actually be able to do a few outdoor photos as well!

here's a polish i wore as my notd recently, opi lincoln park after dark suede:

imo, opi's suedes are far better than their mattes (which just look like gloppy dried paint to me); their chunky shimmer gives them a unique appearance, and they look very smooth on the nail. they apply smoothly as well - the above swatch is of two coats that went on quite effortlessly and dried very quickly.

unfortunately, when it comes to wear time these polishes fall short. my manicure above was absolutely destroyed after a day and a half - we're talking huge chips and polish rubbed off in swaths on at least half of my nails. boo!


swatch: nails inc. curzon street

this is from the qvc uk autumn/winter set available here.

this polish goes slightly muted/dusty in strong light:

but looks like this in typical indoor lighting:

very smooth application, two coats


swatch: zoya blair

a quickie post, since i'm running out the door:

a gorgeous example of the "lit from within" family of polishes many people love.


swatch: zoya envy

i absolutely love this super-dark green creme. i know many dislike envy because its green tone disappears somewhat in dimmer lighting, but i'm a big fan of almost-black shades. please excuse the polish i accidentally slopped all over my ring finger:

envy has an unusual texture - on the first coat, it's quite sheer and somewhat grainy-looking, but then it becomes extremely dark and even with just one more coat. the graininess of the first coat of polish suggests that envy would have some shimmer; however there is nothing i hate more than subtle/"secret" shimmer and i promise this polish doesn't have it, not even when right under a bright light.

bf says: "...is that black? black and something else? what color is it?"

ughhh the weather is so gross here, so i'm off to eat mac & cheese in bed while watching entourage. happy saturday!


swatch: zoya dakota

hi everyone! this will be a quick one, as i'm totally swamped today. here's a swatch of the polish i'm currently wearing as my pedi, zoya dakota:

that's three coats with some touch-ups. the formula on this one is nice and thin without being watery; if you're scared of vnl, however, do be forewarned that dakota is a jelly and will thus require some work to get totally opaque. also, for some reason this polish looks much darker on my feet than it does on my hands...

bf says: "that looks like blood."


swatch: bb couture for men grenade

i'm having pangs of swapper's remorse over this one... but then again, i never wore it in the months that i owned it, so it's good that it went to a better home. a gorgeous olive green absolutely packed with gold shimmer:

very smooth application, three coats. bb couture polishes (including the men's collection) are available at overallbeauty.com.


swatch: illamasqua hectic

for the past couple of days i've been wearing illamasqua hectic, a polish that unfortunately didn't make it to sephora stores stateside. here's how it looks on me in indirect sunlight:

and here's how it looks on me in indoor lighting (i.e. most of the time)... quite a bit more browned:

when i applied the first coat of this polish, i almost wanted to laugh at how horrible it looked with my coloring - it was basically a sickly green version of my skin, really awful. but as i built up a couple more layers of this shade, the color deepened considerably, and i found that it wasn't actually so bad. that said, i wouldn't exactly go running to recommend it to other tan and olive-toned girls...

hectic is a bit more sheer than most of the illamasqua polishes i own, requiring three coats plus some additional touch-ups for opacity. besides the lack of heavy pigmentation, however, the formula was quite good. and now i'm really looking forward to trying out my mac dry martini, as it looks to be quite a bit darker than hectic and will thus hopefully provide a better contrast with my skin.

by the way, if you're in the market for a browned olive green, you have a few options besides hectic: rescue beauty lounge no more war, the aforementioned mac dry martini, and obsessive compulsive cosmetics swamp thing. check out flinty's great comparison of the last two here!

as i mentioned earlier, hectic is not currently available in the united states. i received mine as a gift from a generous friend, but if you're interested in getting one for yourself, hectic and other uk-exclusive polishes can be purchased from illamasqua directly. unfortunately, buying from the illamasqua site is quite pricey - the polishes retail for £12.50 (= $20.63) each, plus shipping to anywhere outside the eu is £7.50 (= $12.38). all that said, illamasqua is currently offering free shipping worldwide on orders of £65 (= $107.25) or more; details on the promotion are available here.

bf says: "are you in the military now? that looks like camouflage."
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