Friday, July 24, 2015

The NOTD That Wasn't: Smitten Polish Ignis Opal

I might as well accept right now that I'm always going to have a backlog of photos to post here, and I'm not always going to want to write about things in the order in which I took the pictures. Which I'm saying now because I have some photos from mid-June to share today. This is a nails of the day look that never made it out of the house through no fault of its own.

I started with Smitten Polish Ignis Opal. If you look at the Smitten webstore now, you'll see Ignis Opal is a bright warm nearly neon pink with iridescent flakies, but what's in the bottle I used was the orange you see below. There's a good explanation for this: the batch I bought from had some pigment that failed. I hadn't even noticed it yet when I was contacted by Smitten explaining the problem and saying a replacement bottle with a stable pigment would be sent out, which it was. I didn't have to do anything but open the package when the new bottle came. It's that sort of customer service that's contributed to Smitten being one of my favorite indie brands. A potentially bad situation was turned into a positive; I've now got two bottles of pretties to use instead of one. This pigment may have failed, but it failed into a nice summery shade.

I laid down a base of Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator and Salon Sciences Instant Artificals before doing three coats of Ignis Opal. An accent nail got two coats of Sally Hansen Triple Shine Pearly Whites, then all nails got topped with Diamond Dry.

The pink side of the flakies showed up more in lower direct light.

Sadly, not too long after I took these photos, I had a mishap that scraped the polish almost completely off two of my nails and damaged it on a few more fingers (the fingers and nails themselves were fine). Trying to redo that hand without messing up the other one was more challenge than I could take on at that moment, so this poor manicure never got to go out in public. I took it off and decided to try something different after a suitable cooling off period.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Aveniro Glass Nail Files

Sample provided for review

At the beginning of June, after exchanging email with a company representative, I received several samples of glass filing products from Aveniro, a source I'd not heard of before. They're based in the Czech Republic, which is known for its glass products, which is one of the reasons I agreed to review these.

Among the items I received was a matched set with a mini purse-sized nail file, a full-sized nail file, and a large foot file, all with plastic sleeves to store them in.

I was most interested in the foot file from this set, as it is sandal weather now. A feature I really liked about this file was that it has two different textures. One side is rough, with a coarser texture than a typical file; this was good to take down the calloused areas on my heels. The other side is smoother, more like a regular nail file, to do the final smoothing with. The foot file is made of thicker glass than a nail file, so I didn't worry about breaking it even though some spots on my feet required some heavy pressure to smooth out.

The nails files that came in the set with the foot file are good quality glass files, perfectly suited for shaping nails without damaging them, but I spent very little time using them during the time I was evaluating these products, as Aveniro also sent another nail file with the handle decorated with with pretty crystals. This one came with an opaque sleeve for storage that had a nice soft feel to it, almost like velvet.

You know I like my bling, so I've used this file pretty much exclusively for the last six weeks. It's a good qualilty file, leaves nail tips smooth, and is not too delicate to carry around in a purse.

Like all the files Aveniro sent, this is etched glass, which means the texture is part of the file, not sprayed on like some cheap files. The texture is not going to wear off; it just needs washing to restore it to its original state after regular use. I don't know if it's clear enough in the photo below, but you can tell an etched file by the way the filing surface is slightly lower than the handle when the file is viewed from the side.

All the files I received for review are double sided, so that means more filing time before washing is needed to restore the surface, which is a nice touch.

The last product I received was even more intriguing than the two-textured foot file. It's a dual ended manicure stick. This came in a hard plastic tube with a cap for storage. One end has a flat angled tip and the other is pointed; both are etched like a nail file.

I found this manicure stick quite handy to deal with rough skin along the edges of my fingertips along my nails. It was much easier to work into those small areas than the flat side of a nail file which had been my usual approach until this tool came into my life.

I wish I could direct you where to buy these products, but as of this writing Aveniro does not have an online shop. They do sell to other retailers, so you may want to check out their website to get an idea of what to look for when you're out and about.

The products shown in this entry were provided free for review purposes. The content of the entry was not dictated by the provider, and I get to keep the products for my own use.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm Baaaack

Wow, that might have been the longest blogging break I've taken in the five plus years I've been posting here. I didn't intend for that to happen; I just vastly underestimated how very busy I'd be my first two full weeks of retirement.

I did have an inkling that I'd be taking a week long break, as Mr. K and I celebrated my retirement with a trip to Chicago and Milwaukee, interspersed with family visits. We saw six bands in bars, a Cubs day game, an outdoor concert, both our moms, and an old friend. We ate stadium food, Chicago style pizza, and many crepes (after we discovered a great place for them very near our Chicago hotel). My nails were adorned the whole time with Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Tattoo Much, which has birds, hearts, and flowers done in tattoo style with bright colors and black on a white background. I went back to an old favorite for a base to wear under the strips, the discontinued Sally Hansen Age Correct Growth Treatment (which I have hoarded numerous bottles of).

Silly Wrigley Field shot with the tiny plastic guinea pig that is my sometime travel companion.

My rarely seen right hand, seen as we were heading home at the end of the week. There's some wear showing but the busy pattern means it's not obvious to the naked eye.

As soon as we got home from the trip, we stepped up the family reunion preparations. Not a small part of my contribution to the effort was getting my nail polish and nail art and makeup stashes in some sort of order. (Mr. K does not consider random stacks of boxes holding the overflow from the Helmers to be some sort of order.) I thought I'd have some time in there for blogging but no, even though I didn't take breaks for swatching or posting, I didn't quite get my part of the prep for the reunion done to my satisfaction, but at least all the boxes are on shelves now, and I know what's in most of them. For the record, I have four red Helmers, seven off white ones, a two-drawer Melmer for frankening supplies (remember frankening?), and many cardboard boxes. Just the thought of figuring out what to destash to get that hoard down to something more manageable makes me tired, so I'm putting off thinking about it for right now.

I did find a bit of time during that week of cleaning and straightening to put on a new set of Sally Hansen Salon Effects. This time it was the Out of Line design, which I've worn before. This one also has a white background but a more geometric design, with pastel triangles arranged in horizontal lines. This time I used Duri Rejuvacote as a base.

Yet another set of Salon Effects strips served as my manicure for the family reunion weekend, which started on Friday when our four houseguests arrived, continued through Saturday when we had 28 people here at the peak of the festivities, and ended just a few hours ago when the last family members left. I am not sure what the correct name is for the floral design of these strips. The ones I wore are in the middle box below, which has the same name as the box on the left (Girl Flower) but whose motif more closely resembles the box on the right (Whoopsy Daisy).

Girl Flower was the first design I wore (way back in 2011), and the middle design is not a match for that despite what the box says. Yet it's also not a match, at least in color scheme, with Whoopsy Daisy. Dunno. It was pretty, and I liked the colors so I wore it. I used Orly Nail Defense underneath the strips.

Now that the reunion is over, I hope to find time to get back to swatching and blogging on a more regular schedule. I do know where my lightbox is, even though I haven't set it up in a few weeks, so I've got that going for me.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Patriotic NOTD

I have a very good reason for not posting this week until now: Tuesday was my last day at work and now I am officially retired! Monday and Tuesday I was packing up my office, wrapping up last minute tasks, and celebrating the end of my working life while riding an emotional rollercoaster that had me sad to be leaving people I'd built relationships with over 16 years but excited about the next stage in my life. The past two days I've been busy at home as Mr. K and I have been planning our adventures for the next couple months and readying the house to host his family's reunion. But I did take time out yesterday to put 4th of July inspired polish on my tips and toes, so figured I'd take a little more time out to share while it was still timely. Those photos in my backlog will just have to wait a while longer.

For the featured polish in my mani, I chose the most recent red, white, and blue glitter to join my stash: L'Oreal Raise the Flag, which is so new I haven't even had a chance to get it into a display post yet. It has tiny bar glitter in the colors of the US flag packed in a clear base.

Choosing a base for these sorts of polishes can be challenging. Too light, and the white blends into the background. Too dark, and the blue disappears. I went with a medium blue creme, High Tide, from the same L'Oreal display that I found the glitter in. I used two coats of High Tide over a base of Duri Rejuvacote and Salon Sciences Instant Artificials, then topped with one coat of Raise the Flag. The glitter needed a light hand to prevent dragging the bars to and even off the tip of the nail but otherwise was easy to apply. Diamond Dry topcoat finished the look.

In ideal lighting conditions, the base/glitter contrast for this combination is good. Much of the time in real life, though, the blue glitter blends into the base visually, but since the overall effect is still red, white, and blue, that's okay.

For my toes, which I won't redo as soon after the holiday as my tips, I chose to go with a simple classic red creme. This is also from, but from an earlier era: Big Apple Red, in the elegant subtly curved bottle with the dark purple cap. I think this particular bottle actually joined my stash in the 1980s rather than being something I picked up via swap or dollar store later, as I remember putting this shade on my nails for a vacation with my mom during the time when I only wore pale neutrals on my tips to work, so bright bright red was a signal I was truly off work and ready to have fun.

In deference to those of you with foot phobia, I'll make these next two photos smaller than usual (as always, click for bigger). First, a progress shot; I wear these ratty old sandals while I paint my toes so I can walk around while they're drying and not get my feet dirty (out of deference to Mr. Sensitive Nose, when the weather is nice I usually do the polish part of my pedis on the patio, sitting on the back steps).

Tips and toes ready to celebrate:

I hope those of you have a long holiday weekend have lots of fun and stay safe!