scheduled post - blog might be quiet for a few days because of hurricane irene. hopefully i'll be back online with you all soon! be safe!


China Glaze Concrete Catwalk: Swatch Picture

Concrete Catwalk is a nice, dark, blue-toned gray creme! I'm looking forward to wearing this shade once fall fully hits:

The formula on this polish was a little thicker than I expected, but overall quite nice; I used 2 coats to achieve evenness. I love dark gray - it works so much better on my skin tone than medium grays do!


China Glaze Sea Spray: Swatch Picture

Sea Spray is a polish I wasn't expecting to like quite as much as I did! Normally I avoid cooler-toned colors, but this grayed-out pale blue was surprisingly pretty on my skin tone, I thought:

Sea Spray was opaque in 2 coats, but I wound up doing 3 just for complete evenness. This polish has an almost imperceptible pearly shimmer that gives it a beautiful softness. I will definitely be wearing this one again!


Sephora by OPI Absinthe Makes the Heart: Swatch Pictures

I don't even know what color to call this shade... gray-green?

It has some interesting irregular shimmer:

Absinthe Makes the Heart required 3 coats for total opacity.


OPI Lincoln Park After Dark: Swatch Picture

I love a vampy creme, and there's a reason OPI Lincoln Park After Dark is considered to be a classic! 2 easy coats to dark evenness.

Forgive the lack of commentary on some upcoming posts: I just came across a ton of old pictures in my Photobucket and am trying to get them up as quickly as possible, since the new school year is just around the corner and I have tons of things to do! I just know that I'd rather see swatch pictures with minimal commentary than no posts at all, and I hope you guys feel the same way!


Nails Inc. Kabaret: Swatch Picture and Review

Knowing of my love for Nails Inc. (and its limited availability here in the US… although that's starting to change a bit with part of the Nails Inc. range coming to Sephora!), a sweet friend in the UK threw Kabaret in a parcel as an extra:

I like the smokiness of the color, but unfortunately this shade was thin and required 4 coats for opacity.


Nails Inc. Victoria & Albert: Swatch Picture and Review

If I recall correctly, Nails Inc. Victoria & Albert is one of the favorites of the red creme queen herself - tobywoo - so you know it has to be good.

And it is! Unfortunately, my picture doesn't do it justice, but Victoria & Albert is a super-smooth, even-flowing, beautiful red creme. When I first wore it, I remember being so impressed with the ease of application and rich pigment of the polish, especially considering that it's quite thin. While V&A was perfect in two coats, it's not quite warm-toned enough to make its way into my very favorites… but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate how lovely and high-quality it is!


Sunday Link Roundup! Multicolored Glitters, Rainbow Water-Marbles, and More!

Here are some of my favorite posts from the polish blogosphere over the past week!
  • Alizarine Claws has beautiful swatches of the new OPI Designer Series polishes for fall 2011 - glitter galore! I'm loving the looks of DS Temptation - magenta, purple, and blue glitter in a blue jelly base!

  • Temptalia also has swatches of a blue and magenta glitter: Nails Inc. Connaught Square, one of the brand's Special Effects 3D Glitters.

  • Let Them Have Polish has guest posted an AMAZING bright rainbow water-marble manicure on Also Known As, and I'm loving it! I wish I had the skills to pull this off!

  • Nouveau Cheap has bottle pics of Maybelline's Fashion Week collection for Fall 2011. Purple Trend looks pretty dupeable at first... but when that blue flash appears, OMG! I totally agree that it's reminiscent of MAC Blue Brown pigment, but in nail polish form!

  • Haul of Fame has some swatches of the glitter-packed Color Club Backstage Pass collection. If you were lemming these polishes, as I was before, you'll definitely want to check out her review.
  • Vampy Varnish has great swatches of Estee Lauder Metallic Sage - in her words, "a murky sage green base with heavy pink, gold and green shimmer."


Lynnderella Snow Angel: Swatch Picture

I've been lusting after Lynnderella Snow Angel since I first saw a beautiful manicure with it on my friend Eve - it looked so unique and light and angelic. I was so happy to be able to pick up a bottle of it myself recently!

According to Lynn, Snow Angel features white hexagonal and square glitter of varying sizes in a shimmering base (although any shimmer in the polish base wasn't readily apparent on my nails). I originally tried to wear this polish on its own, but after 4 coats I realized I wasn't going to get the look I was hoping for, as I hadn't realized that the base color of Snow Angel is essentially clear. I removed the manicure and started over, prepping my nails with 2 coats of OPI Time-Less Is More (a clean, pretty white jelly that reads slightly pink on me) before adding 1 coat of Snow Angel. The result? Ethereal perfection! It reminds me of sparkling frost.


Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War vs. MAC Dry Martini: Comparison Swatch Picture and Review

On Monday, I posted a picture of olive-green-brown RBL No More War. Another shade in the same general color family (albeit a much darker and browner version) is MAC Dry Martini, which was released as part of the Nail Trend FW09 Jin Soon collection (along with Cool Reserve, Dance All Night, For Fun, Rich Dark Delicious, and Beyond Jealous… none of which I bought). The marked difference between the two polishes can hopefully be seen in the following comparison shot:

In the picture above, RBL No More War is on my index and ring fingers, while MAC Dry Martini is on my middle finger and pinky.

I discuss the qualities of No More War in Wednesday's post. As for Dry Martini, it was my first MAC polish, and going in I was a bit worried as I'd heard bad things about the application of MAC polishes. However, Dry Martini was creamy, even, and richly pigmented (the swatch you see is two coats), and on top of that I loved the brush! It made for easy, neat application


OPI Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It: Swatch Picture and Review

From the OPI Australia collection:

Bright, super-orange-toned red! Easy application and nice pigmentation, but for orange-toned reds my heart belongs to OPI Monsooner or Later.


Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War: Swatch Picture and Review

Some people love browned olive green shades; others hate them. Regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall on, these colors are certainly unusual.

RBL No More War was released as part of RBL's Fall/Winter 2008 collection, one of the very first polish collections I fell in love with. I remember loving the juxtaposing of more traditional shades like dirty pink Plie and plum-brown Bruised with less traditional colors like dark blue-green Teal and of course, No More War. RBL used to have a salon right by my apartment and I fought with myself for weeks, trying to justify the purchase of such expensive polish, before I finally made my way in and bought Teal. Plie, Bruised, and No More War came later, in one of RBL's famed 50% off sales, but eventually they found their way into my Helmer too!

This polish was a pleasure to apply, smooth and opaque in 2 coats. I have to say that I don't love this particular color against my skin tone (although I'll bet it looks darker and therefore better on pale skin), but I do like deeper versions of the shade. Stay tuned for a comparison with MAC Dry Martini, which I much prefer!


OPI Monsooner or Later: Swatch Picture and Review

I think this is my very favorite red creme. RBL Bangin' and OPI Girls Just Want To Play are up there, but at the end of the day my tan skin makes me prefer my reds orange-toned.

Super bright (maybe too bright for some, but perfect for me), warm-toned, and a dream to apply! What more could I want?


OPI Gift of Gold: Swatch Picture and Review

This was one of Ulta's OPI holiday exclusives from last year. I don't have an Ulta anywhere near me, so my friend Dia hooked me up!

OBSESSED. A super-sparkly mix of bright gold and darker gold glitter, with some red-copper glitter speckled in! What I love about this glitter is how opaque it was for glitter in a clear base (this swatch is just two coats) and how brilliantly it twinkled in the light. My pic unfortunately looks a bit dull and bumpy, but my pinky gives a hint of this polish's true glassy gleam.


Sunday Link Roundup! Lynnderella Halloween Glitter, Snakeskin Nails, and More!

Here are some of my favorite posts from the polish blogosphere over the past week!
  • Mary at Body and Soul Beauty has a swatch of Lynnderella Cauldron Drippings, a super-glittery and unique member of the Early Halloween collection! I love Lynnderella polishes so hard, and Lynn is a total sweetheart!

  • Piff at Polish or Perish actually makes Lippmann Funky Chunky look good! Like glossy black snakeskin!

  • Jen at The PolishAholic has swatches of the SpaRitual Fall 2011 Wilde Collection, and I'm LOVING Sacred Ground! Glass-flecked gray with hints of gold and lavender! Girls who like straight shimmer might enjoy the other colors as well.

  • Scrangie has the scoop on the new Sally Hansen Salon Effects (Sally Hansen's line of full-nail stickers/appliques with different designs) that will be released for Halloween 2011. Some of them are great - I'm particularly loving the Spun For You spiderweb design!

  • ALU has the first swatch I've seen from Essie Cocktail Bling - dusty blue-green School of Hard Rocks - and I'm loving it!


Streetwear Mrs. Claus: Swatch Picture and Review

Rounding out the last of my collection of Streetwear holiday polishes (the others I have are Elf, Grinch, and Merry), here's Streetwear Mrs. Claus!

I was lucky enough to stumble across Mrs. Claus in a dusty with some friends last year. It's a fairly uncommon holiday Streetwear which I'd been hunting for for a while, so I was giddy when it turned up in one of my little bags of 4-for-$1 polishes! Since Mrs. Claus is a jelly, I used 3 coats to get it completely even and was really pleased with the result. So shiny!


Lynnderella Mercurial: Swatch Pictures and Review

Lynnderella's beautiful polish creations have been popular on the nail board for some time, but until recently, the only way to come by them was to have them gifted to you by the maker herself. Last month, however, Lynnderella began selling her polishes in order to give more people access, which I how I came to own the beautiful Mercurial, part of the First Edition collection!

Mercurial is a fabulously complex glitter: it begins with a smokey gray jelly base, which is packed full of silver shimmer, fine lavender glitter, small lavender hex glitter, small silver square glitter, and medium silver hex glitter, all topped off with a little bit of medium black square glitter!

For the swatch pictures above, I used 3 coats of Mercurial. Because of Mercurial's tinted base and heavy glitter saturation, this polish can be worn alone fairly easily, but I think next time I would take my friend Janice's advice to layer 2 coats over Mercurial over a shimmery charcoal base color, partly to conserve this rare polish and partly to achieve evenness more easily.

I'm absolutely in love with Mercurial - it's uber-glittery without feeling childish, as its charcoal color gives it a bit of an edge. It reminds me of sequined, sparkly armor! Another amazing success by Lynnderella!


Essie Sexy Divide - Swatch Picture and Review

I wore this rich purple shimmer as a base under Illamasqua Boo! in an earlier post:

Sexy Divide (what does that name even mean?) is vibrant and pigmented, reaching opacity in 2 easy coats. If you like purple shimmers, this is a classic!


Zoya Tiffany, OPI Silver Shatter, and Sephora by OPI Traffic Stopper Copper: Swatch Pictures and Review

The other day, I was in the mood for a blingy manicure, so I came up with this!

I began by applying 2 coats of Zoya Tiffany, a peach-copper foil that was released with Zoya's Fire & Ice Collection. Tiffany applied pretty well; the foil particles made it less smooth to apply than say, a creme, but overall the polish had a good texture.

Next, I applied 1 coat of OPI Silver Shatter. This was my first time using Silver Shatter (or any shimmery crackle polish, for that matter) and it took me a few nails to get the application right. In order to make sure that the polish cracked well and my base color showed through, I was doing pretty thin coats of Silver Shatter, but unfortunately they were too thin to crack properly. Once I started using slightly thicker coats, however, the polish "shattered" well.

I really liked that Silver Shatter was more of a foil than a straight shimmer, and I'm looking forward to using it over other polishes (I think it would make for a pretty look over dusty pastels, similar to those in the OPI Pirates of the Caribbean collection it was released with). The only downside to this polish is that it has a tendency to get goopy pretty quickly when it's exposed to air, so if you wipe off your brush on the bottle neck like many of us do, you'll probably need to wipe the bottle neck down with remover before you put the polish away.

Finally, I topped the whole manicure off with 2 coats of Sephora by OPI Traffic Stopper Copper, which I bought after seeing kittytokaren's beautiful manicure of TSC over a nude. Traffic Stopper Copper features both small copper glitter and larger, hexagonal copper glitter in a clear base. The glitter in TSC isn't too densely packed, which makes it perfect for layering, and I though it providing a great finishing touch to this shiny silver and copper mani!


BB Couture Ashes: Swatch Picture and Review

I picked up BB Couture Ashes (from the Saints of Ruin collection), even though it's not my typical shade, because I thought it looked and sounded interesting based on Vampy Varnish's review. Unfortunately, the color I received doesn't look quite like I was expecting to get!

What do you think? To me it looks like a pretty straightforward charcoal shimmer, with a different base color from what I expected and none of the multicolored shimmer I was hoping for. I feel like I got a completely different polish! It applied well and was opaque in two coats, but it's not as unique as I thought it was going to be.

Edit: I've since done a bit of investigating and it really looks like my polish is so different from many of the other ones I'm seeing out there. (Examples: 1 2) I take care to make sure my pictures are accurate to what I see on my nails in real life, so I'm wondering if different lighting may have played a role (I take my pictures in natural light) or perhaps skin tone.


BB Couture Bonnie: Swatch Pictures and Review

BBC Bonnie is a rich green jelly with lots of eye-catching glitter! This beauty is from the Infamous Lovers collection:

Since BBC Bonnie is glitter in a jelly base, it required the expected three coats for full color and opacity. The application was smooth, and with topcoat, Bonnie easily acquired an even, glossy finish. So vivid and sparkly!


Sunday Link Roundup! Festival Glitters, Galaxy Glitters, Cosmoprof, and more!

Here are some of my favorite posts from the polish blogosphere over the past week!
  • Karen posts pics of two gorgeous Nails Inc. glitters, Reading and Glastonbury. Now I want both!

  • Vampy Varnish offers some helpful tips on polish/beauty blogging. She convinced me to open my Twitter up again; click here to follow me!

  • O. M. G. !!!!! Steffels' amazing pics of the glittery Tony Moly Galaxy collection sent me running straight to eBay! I wound up springing for all of the polishes except Earth (and I'm now wishing I'd bought that one too)... oops.

  • The Polishaholic has the scoop on some awesome new upcoming nail polish collections, as seen at Cosmoprof! Check out the pics from Day 1 and Day 2. I've got my eye on sooo many things now, especially China Glaze's Eye Candy collection and Essie's Cocktail Bling collection!

  • Temptalia has pics of some beautiful upcoming Orlys as seen at Cosmoprof, including the reported Merry Midnight dupe from the Birds of a Feather collection as well as the new Mineral FX collection. If the success of the Cosmic FX collection was any indication, these polishes are going to be a hit!
Now that I've started doing this link roundup, hopefully I can stop bugging my IRL friends with random pictures of nail polish. *friends breathe collective sigh of relief* Stay tuned!


Streetwear Merry: Swatch Picture and Review

In my opinion, this is one of the less exciting SW holiday polishes:

Pinkish-red shimmer with a watery formula? Do not want. I bought it to help round out my collection of Streetwear holiday polishes (so far I have Merry, Mrs. Claus, Grinch, and Elf) but as I'm moving away from being a collector and more towards being a minimalist in all aspects of my life, I think I'm getting ready to give this guy a new home.


Illamasqua Boo over Essie Sexy Divide: Swatch Pictures and Review

Finding Illamasqua Boo was such an ordeal for me... it wasn't officially being sold in the US (and I was loath to pay hefty international shipping fees from the Illamasqua website), but I'd heard rumors of a few mislabeled bottles somehow making their way to Sephora! So one freezing New York winter day, just before Christmas, I put on my wool cape (no, really) and set off up the island of Manhattan, on a quest to hit every Sephora in my path. And after half a dozen stops, pausing to hurriedly open up every bottle of "Collide" at each one, I struck gold! One "Collide" was actually "Boo"!

Since Boo is glitter in a clear base, I layered it over Essie Sexy Divide in these photos.

Sadly, my tale has a rather disappointing end: after all that hunting, it turns out I didn't even really like Boo on my nails that much, and I swapped it away to a better home. Recent nailboarders have had it a bit easier in their quest for Boo, as the Holiday 2009 Boo/Baptiste duo recently went on sale on the Illamasqua website for just £10! It appears to be sold out now, but there's always swapping...
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