March 28, 2014

Colors by Llarowe - Young Turks and The Mighty Red Baron Stripe Nail Art

I bought Young Turks and The Mighty Red Baron a few weeks ago and somehow haven't done anything with either of them despite their awesomeness. I also bought Sally Hansen - Lick-O-Rich (bluuuughhh) for $.90 at Big Lots to use pretty much for this exact reason. I love texture stripes over regular polish. I heart it!

I used two coats each of Young Turks and The Mighty Red Baron, applied the tape, then carefully painted on one coat of Lick-O-Rich (the formula for the Colors by Llarowe polishes is freaking spectacular, by the way).





I wish my nails were, you know, the same length and all. I have no idea for what occasion I could possibly wear these (oh, you know, a funeral maybe... job interview...) but I like them. And I like feeling them. Since stopping biting my nails I've become a nail-messer-with. I fidget around with them constantly. Texture polish is like tactile crack to me.

The mooore you knooow!

March 27, 2014

Serum No. 5 - Shrinking Violet Swatch & Review

My pinkie nail finally broke. ENDLESS WEEPING. At least the break isn't as deep as my nails usually break, but freaking STILL. The teabag fix worked like a charm for four whole days.

Today I have a Spring-y little polish from Serum No. 5 Love Lacquer (whom I haven't tried before) called Shrinking Violet. It's a very pale pearly pink-lilac base with purple and sky blue hex glitter and gold micro glitter. The formula was pleasant but the polish is quite sheer and the glitter a bit sparse so if you're not into the semi-opaque look it would best be suited over another light color. It does build to opacity but it takes a while though since the formula was so workable it wasn't an endless process.

Shown below is four coats with a layer of Essie G2G.





I had Nicole by OPI - On What Grounds from my March Ipsy bag laying around so I decided to add some textures tips just cuz.



That photo kind of shows the base color a little more accurately. It's pretty but I think it's maybe too dainty for me, especially with the NOPI added. Man, that little pinkie nail is so sad. It's even blurry, to add to its sadness.

March 26, 2014

OPI - I Like Boys-enberries Swatch & Review

Hi! I like hi. I'm sticking with hi.



I received this polish in that Valentine's Day swap I told you about. It's called I Like Boys-enberries, and I guess it's just the renamed, unaffiliated version of The One That Got Away from the Katy Perry collection (you can read more about that here).

On a side note: I didn't know that places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls were a haven for mysterious polishes. I just saw the most beautiful swatch of an Orly texture polish called Pink Crystal (looky here!) which apparently wasn't mass-produced. A mainstream oops! I went to Marshalls today and found nothing exciting, sigh. But then I went to K-Mart and bought a bottle of Essie G2G and Apricot Cuticle Oil for $2 each. So, that ruled.

I Like Boys-enberries is a vibrant raspberry glass fleck. It reminds me of Christmas... wrapping paper specifically, I think. Application was delightful-- no problems to report. There are a few areas of slight transparency in certain light but it's nothing major. For as pigmented as this polish is, I would have guaranteed that clean-up would have left my cuticles pink, but that was not the case, even a little bit.

Shown below is three thin coats with a layer of Essie G2G on top. 





Once upon a time I saw an OPI polish packaged with one of those bangle bracelets with the little polish bottle charm simply called "Blue". I wish I would have got it, as I can't find anything about it online anywhere. Plus it was a nice shade of blue, to boot.

March 25, 2014

Salon Perfect - Bermuda Baby Swatch & Review (round two!)

Hi!
I've been meaning to re-swatch this polish since I grew out my nails because I'm seriously in love with the color. I'm not saying I'm a pro, but I at least have, you know, nails to swatch on now. (The original swatching can be found here, if you were looking for a good chuckle and something to go 'awww, that's precious' to.)

Without further ado...

Bermuda Baby is a bright turquoise creme with sky blue flash that dries matte. This guy dries lightning fast so be precise with your application or wait a minute before going over the same spot twice. At least the wait time between coats is pretty minimal.

Shown below is three coats (though you might be able to get away with two thick ones) followed up with Essie G2G.





This polish screams Summer which is so lame because it's currently blizzarding outside. At least my finkies are all tropical.

March 24, 2014

Ethereal Lacquer - Looking Glass Swatch & Review

Oh, hey. Monday.

The first Ethereal Lacquer swatch I ever saw was of Looking Glass and I remember just being like, uh, yeah, I need that. It took a couple months, but I found somebody who wanted to swap for it, and then I swatched it. For you! I did that for you!

Looking Glass is hard to describe kind of. It's a bit sheer and it's got linear holo and a bright green flash (that, in certain light, looks peachy orange), but I don't know what the heck to call the base. White? Silver? Halp!

Because of its sheerness, I've layered it over China Glaze - Dandy Lyin' Around since it isn't a totally opaque, stark white -- I wanted to keep a bit of the, I don't know, ethereal quality of Looking Glass. The formula was easy to work with but I don't think it would ever build to complete opacity on its own. Or maybe I'm just too impatient.

Meh.

Shown below is three layers of Looking Glass over Dandy Lyin' Around with a coat of Essie G2G on top.





It's a lovely, soft dreamy color that I desperately wish was less sheer. I'm sure it would make a nice holo topper (which I look forward to experimenting with different bases to go with that green flash).

March 21, 2014

Nail Art (Super Loosely) Inspired by Rangoli

Hiya!

Colorsutraa's hosting a giveaway that has two ways to win: via Rafflecopter and by submitting your nail art that's inspired by a category chosen by a blogger. I chose 'Inspired by India' (which was, of course, prompted by Colorsutraa) for many reasons, but mostly because of how freaking awesome Indian color palettes and designs are.

After much Googleage, I found information on an art form called Rangoli, which is where beautiful designs are made on floors using materials like colored rice, flower petals and sand during Indian festivals. There's a lot more that goes into it, but that's the Lazy Brandy description. Anyway, it's awesome, and I totally wish I could have dedicated more time to my design because actual Rangoli is super intricate and stunning and my nails are, you know, neat and all but pretty watered-down. Hence the super-loose qualifier in my title, there. Ha.

I used sixteen colors of polish (most of which were Sinful Colors) and topped it all off with copious amounts of Essie G2G to try to hide the insane amount of teeny tiny brushstrokes. I love this and I wish I was ambidextrous.

Side note: I don't know if it's my hand anatomy or what but doing the claw hurts me. It, like, tugs on this tendon in my arm. My thumb doesn't rotate like a normal person's, or something. Buuut you get the idea, even if it's presented in a gimpy way.






Look. At. How. Crooked. My index finger is. What the heck? I've never broken it or anything. Yet my nail insists on growing straight up, parallel to the rest of my fingernails, like a tree growing on a hill. It's weird how woman-y my hands look in pictures. Is that a strange observation to make? I always thought I had little girl-looking hands. I guess I am almost 30 and all, perpetual sigh/vom.

March 20, 2014

Enchanted Polish - February 2014 Swatch & Review

I don't own very many Enchanted Polish as I believe I've mentioned. That being said, February 2014 is my favorite so far. This seems to be Enchanted's entry into the Radiant Orchid division of the, uh, nail polish tournament of the world.

Just. I don't.

There's a pleasant pink shimmer (that I struggle to describe accurately-- it has kind of a peachiness to it but I can't tell if that's just because of the base of the polish or wut) and, of course, linear holo. The formula was thick and highly pigmented and could be a one-coater if you're like, REALLY good at painting nails, which I am not.

Shown below is two coats with a coat of Unforgettable Moments Fast Dry Top Coat because it was $.80 at Big Lots so what could I possibly lose? The top coat, by the way, worked just fine for swatching purposes, but I wouldn't use it for anything I wanted to keep on long term (ha).





The first picture is definitely the most accurate color-wise according to my computer, but there does seem to be some discrepancy between swatches outside of this blog as to what color this polish actually is. I guess it's just one of those shades that can throw a camera for a loop. My index finger of the second picture also shows that pink flash which is more apparent in real life.

"In real life" is a weird phrase.

I definitely prefer February 2014 to January 2014 but I'm not disappointed in either, and I'm intrigued to see what the months ahead will bring.

March 19, 2014

Colors by Llarowe - Ocean Water & Cult Nails - Baker Simple Nail Art

Foreword: I was once on a search for a teal jelly polish. I am no longer on that search.

The walls in my room are the color of Ocean Water (or, possibly, a touch darker and more blue) and I love it. I plan on painting a room in my house that color, every time we move, because I love it so much. Hopefully we're not going to be moving so much because I really hate painting walls.

I have a pair of sunglasses that are kind of Ocean Water teal with yellow arms. I did this manicure with those colors the other day and it was too much -- the colors look great together, but not with this design. But I liked the design, so I found a pretty nude: Cult Nails - Baker, and it worked, and I like it, all right?

I love hole reinforcements too, FYI.

For this look, I stuck the reinforcements to the top halves of my nails, making sure to wrap them completely around the nail so I could polish all the way to the sides without there being that strange angled gap between colors. I applied three coats of Ocean Water and, after letting it mostly dry, removed the labels. I then carefully applied Baker to the area of nail that didn't have Ocean Water on it (I'd say three coats here too) and then once everything way pretty much dry I put on topcoat.






Just something a little different than your typical half-moon manicure. Like, a reverse half-moon? Upside-down half-moon?

March 18, 2014

Emily de Molly - Monet's Garden Swatch & Review

I'm trying to go through my untrieds but I keep getting more polish. Polish problemz. Today, for example, I got Monet's Garden in the mail and uhhhh had to immediately put it on because green jelly with glitters.

So!

This isn't my first EdM; it's my third, but it's the first one I'm bothering to swatch because the other two I have are Cosmic Forces and Oceanic Forces and my nails are far too, I don't know, lame too stand up to super huge circle glitter. Oh, you know what? I swapped Oceanic Forces. I've got two EdM, then, and here's this one.

Monet's Garden is, if you didn't catch it earlier, a green jelly base with various small-sized glitter in green, lime green, bright green, magenta, purple and blue (some of which is holographic). The formula was nice and work-ably thick though I used pretty substantial coats to achieve the density of glitter I wanted.

Shown below is three coats with Essie G2G on top.





Quite lovely, and the glitter mix is definitely invocative of the polish's name. EdM has a way with glitter! Not that we don't have an insane amount of awesome indie polish in the States, but I often wish shipping cost was, uh, nonexistent internationally because I would definitely have more EdM in my collection.

March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Nail Art

Hey! Hey, guys!

Once upon a time I used to celebrate St. Patrick's Day the only way Americans know how: green wearin' and copious amounts of alcohol starting at the crack of dawn, usually in the form of Killian's, Guinness and Baileys or any creative and shudder-inducing combination of the three. St. Patrick... Patron Saint of hangovers.

Now I'm all old and wrinkly and fun-resenting (but hangover free, bitches!) and I celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making corned beef and cabbage (the recipe is, like, a freaking book and kind of all over the place but i results in DELICIOUS WONDERS). Holidays seem to be the only thing inspiring nail art out of me these days. Meh. Too busy being a grumpy old person I guess.

I started with a base of Essie - Good As Gold and after that was completely dry I used page hole reinforcements to tape off  at the base of each nail. Then I applied two coats of Sinful Colors - Emerald Envy. For the accent nail, I just used my super fancy DIY detail brush and, starting at the cuticle, painted rainbow arches! I had this really great idea to use the reinforcement labels so that the arches would be super crisp and perfect buuuuut no. Nope. Too impatient for that noise.

The rainbow consists of:
Formula X for Sephora - Hyped
Color Club - Wild at Heart
Colors by Llarowe - Young Turks
Sinful Colors - Happy Ending 
Cult Nails - You're My Dandy Lion 
Essie - Meet Me at Sunset 
Colors by Llarowe - The Mighty Red Baron 
..and a coat of Essie G2G





Uh, yep! That's a potato.


March 12, 2014

Daring Digits - Horde Swatch & Review (and some Warcraft nail art)

Back when the baby was immobile, I Warcrafted around with a Night Elf Hunter babe named Pancayk. Then I started working from home (cue quasi-adulthood) aaaaand my days of dungeon crawling were over. *Nostalgic siiiigh*. I first played WoW in the summer of '06 at my friend's house-- it was the first time I really played an MMORPG (as I owned a cute indigo iMac which wasn't exactly suited for online gaming) but that was my only frolic around Azeroth until last year when my boyfriend bought a computer built specifically, seriously, to play WoW from one of his co-workers. Ughhhhh. Some people long after previous lovers, previous jobs, previous living conditions... my heart yearns for the sweet touch of my Razer Naga.

Going right along with my unintentional theme of TV show/video game inspired polishes, I bring you Horde by a polish brand I had never heard of until I saw this polish on Storenvy: Daring Digits. It's from an entire WoW collection which I can basically find nothing on. Oh hwell.

Horde is, of course, a blackened jelly base with small metallic red dots and larger, I want to say, like, satin-finish hex glitter. Application was meeeehhhhh. Trying to get the glitter on in a single smooth coat was akin to finding Ashes of Al'ar-- lots of glitter fishing to be had, and the base was pretty sheer so I would definitely recommend layering it over a black or other dark polish.

Shown below is two coats of German-icure by OPI with Horde applied in a dabbing sort of way (with a thin coat of the base applied between dabs for more dimension). Accent nail is two coats of Zoya - Raven with China Glaze - Xtreme Thrash for the Horde symbol (touched up with Sinful Colors - Cross my Heart). All topped with two coats of Essie G2G (I found it!).







This was my first adventure with free-handing nail art and I'm pretty relieved that it doesn't look like complete poop-poop. I didn't have a super tiny brush so I, um, found the smallest one I had and cut the bristles on the side so just a little tuft remained. I thought that Xtreme Thrash (ridiculous name, by the way) would be too orange-leaning to match the red glitter but it was spot on. I also realized that I don't own a single red creme polish. Is that some kind of crime in nail world? (Also were you completely creeped out by my spider-hand in picture 4? Good).

The formula with this guy definitely left something to be desired, and I kind of desperately wished it included tiny red glitter too to break up some of the glitter-less space, but I do like how it looks on the nail. Definitely evocative of Horde-y things.



March 11, 2014

Rainbow Honey - Heisenberg Swatch & Review

Once upon a time our satellite cable provider (who is just awful) sent us a faulty replacement cable box the day before the Breaking Bad series finale and we didn't get to watch it and had to stream it from some broken-English website the next day. That is my Breaking Bad story for you.

Heisenberg, anyway, is an ice blue fleck-filled polish with tiny holographic glitter. I purchased my bottle second-hand and it was remarkably thick so I did thin it down a bit. From the reviews I'd read, there wasn't anything about the formula being thick so I think it might have just been a result of having been used several times before I got a hold of it. As it was a LE polish from August of 2013, I didn't much care about use. I just wanted it, you know?

Shown below is two layers of Heisenberg over two layers of Orly - Pretty-Ugly as to bring out the lovely crystal blue of the flecks. On top of that is two layers of Orly Sec 'n Dry because where did my Essie top coat go? :/






Sooooo sparkly! The polish can be worn without a base color is how dense it is, but it would probably take another layer or two for opacity. I think Pretty-Ugly was a good base for this polish; similar enough in color but not too dark or too bright so that it doesn't overpower the two thin coats of Heisenberg. I'm really glad I found somebody who wanted to part with this!

March 10, 2014

Liquid Sky Lacquer - 24 Karat Rose Swatch & Review

My boyfriend and I just watched all the Harry Potter movies in a row (except for 2 and 3 which our five year old insisted on watching pretty much daily when we didn't have cable last year) and it makes me want to reread the books. I know I'm almost thirty and all, but what I wouldn't give to find out I had some sort of magical abilities. I would sooooo still totally go to Hogwarts, I don't even CARE.

I really loved swatches of 24 Karat Rose but I had read mixed reviews about the warm color being pretty but maybe too subtle. I had never owned a thermal polish before, mostly because I think a lot of the sweetness of a thermal comes from seeing the effect of both (or more) colors on longer nails. My nails aren't so long, if you didn't know. Luckily I found a mini for sale for super cheap on Storenvy, though after wearing it I wouldn't mind having a full size bottle.

When cold, 24 Karat Rose is a bright rose pink with gorgeous golden shimmer that, when warm, completely loses the pink. The base when warm has, like, a touch of a pale golden hue to it; enough that the nail doesn't just look bare with gold shimmer. It's, um, awesome. Note to self: Google synonyms for 'awesome'.

Shown below is two coats of 24 Karat Rose, with a coat of Essie G2G on top. First set of pictures is when my fingers were cold (which, by the way, I did nothing to achieve. Ms. Icehands over here).





Warm:





And cold with just the tips dipped in hot water:



The formula is lovely to work with. I really have no complaints with this polish. I know some people might be kind of 'meh' about the amount of VNL present with the polish warm, but I quite liked the effect-- in fact, it camouflaged the staining on my nails nicely. A great gateway thermal polish, because I needed another type of polish to lust after.