Saturday, May 29, 2010

Second Contest Ever

***CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED***; winners announced here.

I'm happy to see that it's now time for my 100 followers giveaway. If your name is chosen at random from among all the entrants, you will win the complete Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shine summer collection, twelve bottles of "candy-licious" colors.

WnW candy polish

Left to right: Cherry Pop, Candy Apple Twist, Sunkist Paradise, Lemon Drops, Mint Fusion, Tropical Splash, Blueberry Fizz, Grape Crush, Berry Jubliee, Cotton Candy Delight, Bubble Yum Gum, Strawberry Burst.

Most of these are cremes; the exceptions are Mint Fusion, Tropical Splash, Grape Crush, and Strawberry Burst, which are shimmers (very slight in the case of Mint Fusion). You can see five of them on the nail in this post.

WnW candy polish

How to enter--all residents of Earth are welcome:
1. Be a follower of this blog. Google Friend Connect is my method of choice, but if you prefer to follow in another way, indicate what you're using in your comment.

2. Make a comment on this post. If clicking on your name in the comment won't show me a way to contact you, please include your e-mail in your comment. (For instance, you don't have a public blog linked to your profile.) If you don't feel comfortable including that information in a comment, you can e-mail it to me--the.karend at

3. Get an extra entry by linking this post from your blog or twitter stream; include the link in your comment.

4. Optional but much appreciated: include a suggestion for what change(s) you'd like to see on this blog. Maybe you'd like fewer comparison posts. Maybe you'd like to see my stash. Maybe you'd like a fancier blog design (couldn't really get less fancy). I can't promise to implement all the suggestions--I suspect some will conflict, actually, but I'd like to know what you all think. If you have a suggestion but don't want to be entered in the contest, that's fine; just let me know in your comment that you don't need them or don't like them or don't do drugstore polish or whatever.

I'll be taking entries until midnight Eastern U.S. time on June 20, 2010. Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 28, 2010

My First Catrice

I've been fortunate to be able to do some swaps with lovely ladies overseas, and recently I wore Catrice polish for the first time thanks to The Lacquerista. She sent me several colors; the one I chose for this first outing was Blue's Brother, a turquoise with a hint of green flash. Here is it in the sunshine:

Catrice polish

And here is in indoors; you can perhaps see a bit of the green flash on my pinkie finger:

Catrice polish

Application was smooth; I used two coats. Wear was good, though it is not bulletproof--I managed to get one chip by banging my hand into a wall (which I really should be more careful about, I know). I'm looking forward to trying the other colors I have.


As of now, I'm only one short of being able to do my 100 followers giveaway: a complete set of the Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shine summer collection. Keep thinking about what change(s) you'd like to see around here, as I'll ask when you enter the contest.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Opposite of Green

After all that lime in the last two days, I though it would be a good idea to switch things up and go to the other side of the color wheel. Thus today I have red--red glitters, to be specific. A few weeks ago, The Frankenerd did a NOTD post with Sally Hansen Red Carpet, which reminded me that I had it in my untrieds, along with a Claire's of the same name. Of course those weren't the only two red glitters in my stash, so I pulled a few more out to swatch as well.

Red glitters

Left to right: Milani Ruby Jewels, Claire's Red Carpet, Sally Hansen Red Carpet, Orly Star Spangled, Essie Rubies Slippers.

Here they are on the nail, all 3 coats with no base or top coat:

Red glitters

On thumb: Milani. On fingers, top to bottom: Claire's, Sally Hansen, Orly, Essie.

The Claire's surprised me by drying nearly matte--definitely need a top coat with that one, unless matte glitter is your thing. I could probably have stopped at two coats for the SH Xtreme Wear and the Orly. The Essie was definitely the chunkiest and sheerest of the lot; I do not know how this mini labelled "Rubies Slippers" would compare to a full size Ruby Slippers. You can see the textures in this shot (as always, click to see bigger):

Red glitters

Top to bottom: Sally Hansen, Orly, Essie.

I put one coat of SH Insta-Dri on just the Claire's finger and that shined it right up (other nails in picture below are still without any TC):

Red glitters

Top to bottom: Claire's, Sally Hansen, Orly, Essie.

So, do we have any dupes here? Not quite. The Essie is unique. The Milani is a touch lighter than the SH, and the Orly is a touch darker. The Claire's, with top coat, is a touch darker still. Still, the four non-Essie ones are close enough that one wouldn't need all of them. My pick is the Sally Hansen, with Orly close behind.


As of now, I'm four short of 100 followers; when I get there I plan to have my next giveaway: a complete set of the Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shine summer collection as featured in this post. To enter, I'll be asking you to suggest a change you'd like to see to my blog, so start thinking about that, please.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lime Shimmers

When looking through my stash for limes to compare to Who the Shrek Are You?, I came across more shimmers than I expected, so figured I'd do a comparison of those as well.

Lime shimmers

Left to right: L'Oreal Shocking Green, Revlon Beach, Zoya Tangy, Maybelline Key Largo Lime.

Before I could get polishing to try these, I had to fix a problem with the brush on the L'Oreal:

Lime shimmers

Lime shimmers

Top to bottom: Maybelline Key Largo Lime, Zoya Tangy, Revlon Beach, L'Oreal Shocking Green.

As you can see, none of these are dupes. Starting at the top, the Maybelline needed five (!) coats; it's the darkest of these four. Next up is three coats of the Zoya; what looks like visible nail line there is a problem with the nail underneath that I usually disguise better with gobs of ridgefiller. Revlon Beach was the lightest and yellowest of these; I used four coats. Finally, the L'Oreal was the least shimmery; I used three coats. I'm not sure which is my top pick here. I like the color and finish of the Maybelline the best, but five coats is right out; I suppose I could layer it over my favorite of the lime cremes, SH Grass Slipper.

Sweet Blog Award is Sweet

Steph at Imperfectly Painted surprised me yesterday by tagging me with the Sweet Blog award. Thanks, Steph!

Sweet Blog Badge

The instructions that came with it were:

1) Make a post about the award including the picture and mention the person who gave it to you.

2) Put the award on your blog.

3) Give this award to 10 sweet bloggers.

4) Let your nominated 10 know you've awarded them by leaving a comment.

As Steph said, it's hard to pick just 10; I've found so many great nail blogs and had the pleasure to interact with so many sweet ladies as a result. After much consideration, here are the ones I chose this time:

Susie's Home and Hobbies
Susie was one of my very first followers; she is so supportive of other nail bloggers as far as leaving comments and getting the word out about new blogs (at least half of my reading list is thanks to seeing links she posted).

Amused Polish
I met this kind lady at MUA; she showed tremendous patience and understanding after the swap package I sent her in early April went missing. Perhaps it got swallowed up the volcanic ash cloud--we gave it weeks and weeks to turn up and not once did she get even the slightest bit cranky or demanding with me. (I am extremely relieved to report that the replacement package I sent last week did make it there safely!)

Pretty in Dayton
Winning Have You Seen My Limo? in a contest on her blog was part of the reason I started this blog--it seemed like a sign. She's just the friendliest person in e-mail and comments.

I first met Denise through her online journal (those came before blogs) years ago. I keep hoping I'll eventually get around to trying even a tiny, tiny fraction of the cool scrapbooking stuff she does.

A Day in the Life
This is another blogger I met at MUA when we did a swap fairly early in my swapping career there.

She has been so kind as to start writing blog posts in both Italian and English so people such as me can do more than just look at the pretty pictures she posts.

Iceomatic's Nails
I am in awe of the nail art she does, like the recent mani she did based on a piece of vintage fabric--rooster, and cowboy, and flowers, oh my!

The Nailasaurus
Her blog title makes me smile, and I'm planning to copy a bunch of her nail art designs when I finally make the time to start playing in that arena.

Crystal Visions
Another person I'm planning to copy when it come to nail art.

I think a few of these ladies may have already been tagged, but I wanted to give them a shout out anyway. As with all memes I do, I will not be upset if my tagees decide not to tag in turn.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lime Cremes

I bought the OPI Shrek minis, which was enough of a reason to do some lime green creme comparisons.

Lime cremes

Left to right: Sally Hansen Grass Slipper, OPI Who the Shrek Are You?, Finger Paints Lucky in Love Lime, Piggy Polish Wicked FUN.

Lime cremes

Top to bottom: Sally Hansen Grass Slipper, OPI Who the Shrek Are You?, Finger Paints Lucky in Love Lime, Piggy Polish Wicked FUN.

Starting from the top, we have Grass Slipper on my index finger. It's ever so slightly darker and less yellow than the Who the Shrek Are You? on my middle finger. On my ring and pinky, it's Lucky in Love Lime and Wicked FUN (why the caps, Piggy Polish--is this an acronym for something?) , but it might as well be the reverse, as I can't tell the two apart. They're lighter and a bit more yellow than the first two limes. In slightly less bright light, the differences show up somewhat less strongly:

Lime cremes

Left to right: Piggy Polish Wicked FUN, Finger Paints Lucky in Love Lime, OPI Who the Shrek Are You?, Sally Hansen Grass Slipper.

Since I only needed two coats of the Sally Hansen to three for all the others, and I think the shade is slightly more flattering on my skintone, that's my top pick of these four.

Monday, May 24, 2010

OPI "Sheer" Your Toys

Here is the polish I wore most of last week. I needed something fairly conservative because I was working at my employer's user conference and would be talking with customers and prospects and partners. I also needed it to coordinate with the purple shirt I was issued to wear (the company colors are purple and black, with accents of brushed chrome and lilac). After much pondering, I decided on OPI "Sheer" Your Toys.

Once I started applying this, it became clear why they put sheer in quotes in the name. It's not really sheer at all--I only used two coats. The color confuses me--just when I think it's gray, the light changes and it looks periwinkle or even lilac. What the tiny copper sparkles are doing in there, I have no clue; in most lights they're invisible, and even in full sun I had to really get up close to see them.

Here it is in my lightbox; that's a typical heather gray sweatshirt peeking out in the corner so you can see how the color compares.

OPI Sheer Your Toys

Here it is in full sun after a few days wear:

OPI Sheer Your Toys

This one's a keeper for me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blue and Glittery

I hope you can stand just a bit more from the Orly Viva collection, because I liked La Playa so much that after doing all the comparison swatches in yesterday's entry, I put that beautiful blue back on and wore it until I had to switch to something more conservative to work my employer's user conference. Because I sometimes have trouble leaving well enough alone, I topped it with Finger Paints Sapphire Shimmer, which was way prettier than I'd expected. Taking a page out of Susie's blog, here's what I used for my mani:

Orly and Finger Paints polish

Starting at the left, I put on one coat of Orly Nailtrition. I'm trying this out as a possible replacement for Sally Hansen Age Correct Growth, which has been my treatment of choice but which SH decided to discontinue. I do still have a stash of bottles of the SH stuff but thought I'd feel better if I had a plan for when they eventually run out. Next comes Seche Base Ridge Filling, which I started using when L'Oreal stopped making the ridgefiller I used to like. Next, you'll notice I got the bottles in the wrong order again--obviously I put the Orly La Playa on first and then the Finger Paints glitter. I only used one coat of La Playa under two coats of glitter--it has excellent coverage. Last there's my favorite top coat, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip. I like this so much that I'm really surprised SH hasn't discontinued it, too, like she did my treatment base coat (and a lot of other people's holy grail base--Nail Quencher). When I was done it looked like this--some of these are bit out of focus, the better to show off the sparkly bits of color in the Sapphire Shimmer:

Orly and Finger Paints polish

Orly and Finger Paints polish

Orly and Finger Paints polish

I admit I was a tiny bit cranky about Finger Paints releasing a multi-colored glitter and a blue glitter so close on the heels of OPI's Alice in Wonderland ones--surely they could come up with something different, I thought--but they didn't just copy OPI. Sapphire Shimmer is beautiful and not at all a dupe of Absolutely Alice. I was fascinated with the pops of color that showed and was sad to take it off.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Orly Viva Comparisons

Today I have comparisons I did between the colors in the Orly Viva collection and polishes I had in my stash. I didn't do any for La Playa, because I found I had no blue cremes that were anywhere close--maybe having graduated from Michigan State has blinded me to certain shades of blue thanks to their use by our arch rival, the University of Michigan.

I did have several pinks that were sorta kinda similar to Fiesta, so let's start there.

Orly polish

Left to right: Revlon Bubble Gum, OPI La Paz-itively Hot, Maybelline Candy Coated, Orly Fiesta.

Revlon Bubble Gum is a creme, not a shimmer, but I figured I'd include it since the shimmer in Fiesta is fairly subtle; color-wise, Bubble Gum is just a touch darker than Fiesta but it's right in the same vein temperature-wise. La Paz is cooler than Fiesta and has a blue flash that Fiesta does not. Candy Coated (from the Sweet Thing collection) is also cooler than Fiesta; it has a tiny hint of blue flash but is not as rich as La Paz. So none of these are dupes, but if I had to pick only one to keep, it would be La Paz-itively Hot.

Here are the pinks in their bottles; I apologize that they are not in the same order as on my nails (or even in reverse order)--when arranging them for their close up, I got distracted by how nicely the OPI bottle snuggles up against the Revlon and didn't think about which bottle was where compared to the polish on my nails.

Orly polish

Left to right: OPI La Paz-itively Hot, Revlon Bubble Gum, Orly Fiesta, Maybelline Candy Coated.

Moving on to the coral-y orange, Olé, I only had two polishes in my stash that looked similar to me in the bottle.

Orly polish

Left to right: Borghese Maraschino, Orly Olé, Maybelline Coral Cabana.

Orly polish

Left to right: Borghese Maraschino, Orly Olé, Maybelline Coral Cabana, Orly Olé.

Compared to Olé, both Maraschino (from the Tutti Gelati collection) and Coral Caban (from Salsa Sun) are just a hint darker, with Maraschino leaning a tad more toward red. Still, the differences aren't dramatic. If I had to keep just one of these, it would be the Borghese, with the Orly very close behind. The Maybelline gave me fits trying to apply it smoothly--there seemed to be a window of drying time during which if I tried to apply another coat, it got all gunky. Thinner might help, but since I have similar colors that already apply nicely, I might not bother.

Orly polish

Left to right: Finger Paints Art Dealer Teal-er, Orly Bailamos, Sally Hansen HD Pixel Pretty.

Orly polish

Left to right: Sally Hansen HD Pixel Pretty, Orly Bailamos, Finger Paints Art Dealer Teal-er, Orly Bailamos.

The lighting here shows two different looks of Bailamos--it's on my ring and index fingers. Both Pixel Pretty and Art Dealer Teal-er are more green (and more shimmery) than Bailamos. If I had to keep only one, it would be Bailamos, but fortunately it hasn't come to that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Orly Viva Collection

Today I have (finally) swatches of Orly's Summer 2010 collection, Viva. I justified buying the whole collection because a) it's only four polishes and b) I have a nail blog now and need to fill it with something. (Please do not point out that I could fill it quite nicely for some time with just the untrieds in my stash.) I found these at Sally Beauty, each color packaged with a mini Top 2 Bottom basecoat/topcoat, but I've since seen them at Ulta as well.

Orly polish

Left to right: Fiesta, Olé, Bailamos, La Playa.

Let's start with Fiesta, a bright pink with a fairly subtle shimmer. This was the only one of the four I had trouble applying. It was very thick, even after I added thinner, but I might have just gotten a bad bottle, as none of the other three were like this. I used three coats (all of these swatches are without top coat).

Orly polish

Orly polish

Olé is a coral creme that leans toward orange; I had no issues with application and used 3 coats.

Orly polish

Orly polish

Bailamos is a teal-y turquoise shimmer; again, three coats. This one gave my camera trouble, so I had to adjust the settings to get the polish right, thus the change in my skintone from previous shots.

Orly polish

Orly polish

La Playa is a deep blue creme. The formula was bit thin--again, don't know if that's just my bottle--but I only needed 2 coats.

Orly polish

Orly polish

La Playa is my favorite of this collection, in part because I don't have very many blue cremes, but also because it reminds me of what is perhaps my favorite blue, OPI Yoga-ta Get This Blue, just without the shimmer. I don't think there's a bad one in the bunch, though; I would wear any of these, even the orange, which I usually avoid. I just need to see if I can thin out my Fiesta some more and make it play nice.

I did do some comparisons with this collection, but I'll save that for another entry since this one's already photo-heavy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Revlon Gray Suede

I know I said I'd get the Orly Viva collection up next, but I forgot I hadn't yet posted my nails of the end of last week: Revlon Gray Suede from the Daydreamer collection that came out this spring. I can only imagine this is called Gray Suede because "Gray Suede Couch Left Out in the Sun for Many Years" was too long to fit on the label, as it's not remotely gray.

In the three days I wore this color, I kept going back and forth on whether I liked it on me. It almost but not quite blends into my skin, and the not quite part sometimes pleases me and sometimes annoys me depending on the light I'm in.

Revlon polish

Here it is next to my mannequin hands shade, Sally Hansen Café au Lait; Gray Suede is a bit darker and maybe a touch warmer.

Revlon polish

Just before I took it off, I went outside to see if I could capture the shimmer in the sunshine. The shimmer (like that in Café au Lait) is very, very subtle, so I didn't have much luck. If you look closely, you might be able to the see the lines I scored in the polish while pinning quilt blocks together on Friday night.

Revlon polish

Even though I think this one walks right up to the fugly line on me, I'm keeping it in my collection for now.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I spotted some Orlys new to the core display at Sally Beauty the other day. I did not buy any, as I wanted to get the ones in the limited edition Viva collection before they disappear. (I swatched those earlier today, and will get an entry up as soon as I can process the photos.)

Two blues--Blue Collar and Royal Navy:

Orly polish

A green, Green Apple, and two yellows--Spark and Hook Up:

Orly polish

An orange, Crush on You:

Orly polish

There were some other new core shades as well--including Rage and Luxe from the Foil FX collection--but these brights and near brights were the most intriguing to me. I bet several of them will find their way into my stash the next time Sally's has a sale on Orly.

Friday, May 14, 2010

OPI Ocean Shades

I must have been overheated and looking to cool down the last time I was at the nail supply, since I got all five of these blue and green shades.

OPI polish

Left to right: Can't You Sea?, Ocean Love Potion, Sea You Later Sailor, Dazzle Me, Call My Cell-ery

Since I knew I wasn't going to wear SH Iced Coffee on its own, I thought I'd try layering these over the top. As you'll see, a nude base is maybe not the best choice for some of these. (All swatches are three coats of OPI over 2 coats of Iced Coffee.)

OPI polish

Thumb: Can't You Sea?; Fingers, top to bottom: Ocean Love Potion, Sea You Later Sailor, Dazzle Me, Call My Cell-ery

Next time I pull out Can't You Sea?, I'll try a turquoise base. Ocean Love Potion and Sea You Later Sailor look fine to me over the camel. Dazzle Me might look good over just about anything--it's very sparkly. Call My Cell-ery might be a good pair with the new Shrek green, which I have not yet decided if I'm going to buy. I do have SH Grass Slipper, though--maybe I'll try it with that next time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sally Hansen Ultra HD

Earlier this week, someone on the nail board posted pictures of a new Sally Hansen HD display, then a day or two later, someone else posted some bottle photos. Both of those ladies had spotted these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so I took a very slight detour on the way home one night to see if my BB&B had them. They did not. The next night, I stopped at a Walgreens--they'd been the first stores to get Hidden Treasure around here so I figured they might have the SH hookup, and sure enough, there was the display, nearly full. Unfortunately, the SH sale that was on did not cover HD, but I went ahead and indulged anyway. Better for my health that I spend my disposable income on nail polish than chocolate and cheesburgers.

Sally Hansen HD

Sally Hansen HD

Left to right: Byte, LCD, Wavelength, Hue, Resolution, Spectrum, DVD, Laser.

Byte is a fuschia glass fleck that flashes bright pink with hints of blue. I put this one on over a semi-opaque base coat (Seche Base) and needed three coats to cover my nail line. After this one, I stopped using the base coat so I could see what the polish alone was like.

Sally Hansen HD

LCD is a bright pink that flashes blue. After four coats there was still a hint of visible nail line. However, it wasn't streaky, even at one coat, so I can see using this for an interesting French mani or for layering.

Sally Hansen HD

Wavelength is a pinky coral. It's much more pigmented than LCD, and even a bit more than Byte; at two coats with no base coat, there was just tiny bit of VNL at certain angles, and with three coats I got full coverage.

Sally Hansen HD

Hue is a buttery yellow. I had streakiness and brushstroke issues with this one. The color is very glowy, though, so if it complemented my skintone better I might put up with the issues to wear it. Swatch is three coats, which isn't so bad for a yellow.

Sally Hansen HD

The green, Resolution, is the odd polish out in this collection; it doesn't have the pronounced glass fleck that all the others have to some extent (Wavelength and Hue have less of it than the others, but it's still there). The finish on this is more like Opulent Cloud and the original HDs. The first coat of this was streaky, but a second evened it out. I could have stopped at two coats--no VNL at that point--but I went ahead and did three. I ended up liking this one quite a lot; it's got a subtle glow to it.

Sally Hansen HD

Spectrum, the turquoise, was pretty sheer; I used four coats and probably should have gone to five to completely banish VNL. It's very sparkly, on the micro glitter side of glass flecked in my eyes (like Byte, LCD, and the two to come--DVD and Laser).

Sally Hansen HD

If I could have only one from this collection, it would be DVD. No surprise, it's the purple one--or really, the blurple one, as it has a purple base with a very pronounced blue flash. The swatch is four coats, though I probably could have stopped at three. Unfortunately, it's a hard one to capture in photos.

Sally Hansen HD

Laser is DVD's close sibling, blue with a purple flash. I did three coats of this one.

Sally Hansen HD

For me, the three must haves from this collection are Byte, Resolution, and DVD, with LCD, Spectrum, and Wavelength not far behind.