Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sweet and Stylish

You nailed it! was kind enough to tag me with the Sweet Blog award a few days ago.

Sweet Blog Badge

A few days before that, Amused Polish tagged me with the Stylish Blogger Award.

Stylish Blogger Badge

Thanks so much, ladies! I'm sorry about the delay in acknowledging these; it seems to take me longer to catch up from being gone on vacation than the amount of time I was gone in the first place.

Since I was fortunate to receive the Sweet Blog award once before (people who have seen my cranky side are no doubt chuckling to themselves about that), I'm not going to pass that one along this time.

The Stylish award has these guidelines: list 5 random things about yourself and pass this award onto 5 other bloggers. I'm all for talking about myself (obviously, since I have both this blog and an online journal) and sharing blogs I like, so will not resist this opportunity.

5 things about me:
—I have an accounting degree but work as a computer programmer. There's no way I'd pass the interview process for my job now, but when I started the company was very small and they took more chances. I didn't realize what a big experiment hiring me was until my first review, when my boss told me he hadn't been at all sure I would be able to turn myself into a programmer. Eleven years later, I'm still here, so looks like I did it.

—When I was a child, at various times I wanted to be a ballerina, veterinarian, or truck driver when I grew up. I got too tall and heavy to be a dancer, decided I was too emotional to be a vet, and found out that driving is not as much fun as I thought it would be before I was allowed to do it.

—I've been married longer than some of the readers of this blog have been alive; it'll be 24 years in October.

—I will not be one of those people who gets bored in retirement; I've always had many projects and hobbies outside of work. My top three right now (besides nail polish!) are: knitting, quilting, and downhill skiing.

—A hobby I haven't had time for in recent years is making elaborate Halloween costumes. Here I am in 1999 as Snow White (this was pre-digital camera days, so this is a scan):

Snow White costume

Passing the Stylish Blogger Award on to:

Lissa's Nails
Her nails look elegant whether they're painted in RBL or Wet 'n' Wild.

Konad & Me
She is a whiz at combining multiple nail art elements.

Oooh, Shinies!
Her nails and cuticles are always gorgeous.

She's so creative with nail art.

Fleur's nails&stuff
Her nails look great at any length.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beauty Gems

When I went to Ulta to get that Orly Plastix, I saw something that hadn't been there on my last visit: a new mini set called Beauty Gems. I am a sucker for minis anyway, and this looked like it had some interesting colors, so I grabbed one.


Left to right: Smoky Quartz, Pink Ruby, Emerald, and Amethyst.

I didn't have time to do full swatches of all of them and I couldn't pick just one, so I did skittles.


Oh my. I wish these came in full sizes. I used three coats of each, which is fine, since I really like the colors. Smoky Quartz is a deep gray creme that stays grey in most lighting conditions. I don't own anything quite like it. Pink Ruby is the most conventional of the bunch, a gorgeous ruby red creme. Emerald is a deep green shimmer; I feel like I've seen this before but can't quite recall where—it's silver shimmer instead of gold, so not the Glam Goth green or Project Runway (which I've only seen in photos), but maybe a Sally Hansen. I'll have to look. Amethyst was my favorite, an almost metallic smoky purple shimmer. I plan to wear that as a full mani soon, and am pondering breaking my "don't buy backups rule" for it, since it's such a small bottle.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Plastix Slightly Less Than Fantastic

In a turn of events that likely does not surprise anyone reading this, I went back to Ulta and bought one of those Orly Plastix polishes that was calling to me from the display I saw the other day. Also not a shocker: I got the purple one. But just the one, so that felt like a small victory over the voice in my head that wants ALL the pretties.

Application was fine, as I expect from Orly; I used two coats (over a base of Sally Hansen Age Correct Growth, which has been demoted to swatching duty since I'm still having a fling with Salon Sciences Instant Artificials for my regular manis). I used no top coat because a) I was just swatching and b) this collection is all about the finish, and top coat would interfere with that. The press release on this collection touted "... a unique new formula that coats the nails with a smooth glossy matte 'plastic' finish. The exclusive finish and texture is a first in the nail category, delivering a monochromatic, shiny and rubbery look ..." Glossy matte? Aren't those two things mutually exclusive? In any case, I wasn't blown away with the specialness of the finish—it's satin, which we've seen before. I was half hoping it would look like I'd used a melted Tupperware bowl instead of nail polish, and maybe it would have if I'd piled on a few more coats.


I did like the color—a somewhat darker shade of the blue-ish purple that Zoya Remove+ is. To have a little fun before I took it off, I tried mattifying one finger and glossifying another:


Top to bottom: Topped with China Glaze Matte Magic, no top coat, topped with Orly Top Coat.

Given that I can achieve a satin look with a matte top coat and day or two of my regular hand lotion applications, I don't think I'll be buying the rest of the colors in this collection; I have teals and reds and oranges enough in my stash.


I still plan to share complete stash pictures soon, but in the meantime, here's what it looked like after I dumped an entire Helmer drawer of my collection onto the hardwood floor. I believe my heart actually stopped for a second until I realized there was no broken glass and no puddle of polish spreading out under my feet. Amazingly, there were no casualties at all.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Color Craze

Perhaps I was able to be so restrained on my shopping excursion the other night because just before we left on vacation, I went a little crazy at CVS. The object of my outburst was the other Wet 'n' Wild summer collection, the Craze ones. I wasn't going to buy these. I first saw them in May at the same time as I saw the Wild Shine candy-licious ones, and compared to those, these were smaller and more expensive, so I passed. I continued to pass as I hunted earlier this month for the Wild Shines to make up the second prize set. Then CVS had a sale on Wet 'n' Wild, which weakened my resistance some, but by that point the stock was really picked over, and I didn't want to just buy whatever was left, so I kept passing. Except then, while the sale was still on, I came to a store that had an almost full display. I'm not made of stone; I stopped. I picked up a bottle. I noticed there were pairs of colors: two green, one creme and one shimmer, two blue, one creme and one shimmer, and so on. When I got to the oranges, it was all over; they were named Copa and Cabana. Barry Manilow singing in my head, I scooped up one of each of the eleven colors left and bought them. Then I went to the next closest CVS (in some parts of metro Detroit, there's a CVS every mile or so) and lo and behold one of the five bottles they had left was the color I needed. It was fate.

Wet n Wild

Top row, left to right: Kauai, Sumatra, Barbados, Bora Bora, Cabana, Cozumel. Bottom row: Maui, Bali, Aruba, Tahiti, Copa, Cancun.

I've been so busy since we got back that my nails have just been sporting clear treatments, but yesterday morning I decided I'd be a little late to work and do some color. (One great thing about my employer is no one freaks out when I roll in a bit past my usual arrival time. I do have to stay a little later to make up for it, but that seems fair.) My first thought was purple; it usually is. But I had just worn purple (muted, but still), so I thought I'd do blue. But I wear a lot of blue, too, so I decided on pink. Because Mr. Karen did not spend his youth acclimating himself to the smell of nail polish remover and lacquer as I did and thus thinks it's objectionably stinky, when he's around I try to do my nails outside or near an open window with a fan drawing air out or, as I did this particular morning while he was eating breakfast, in the garage. Yes, it is possible to do a manicure standing up, working by the light of one 60-watt ceiling bulb, and holding the polish bottle in the hand that's being painted. It's not ideal, but it's not the worst conditions I can imagine.

For a base coat, I tried Salon Sciences Instant Artificials for the first time. A lot of ladies on the nail board like this one, so I'd picked it up at Sally's a while back. I was impressed; it applied very nicely and leveled out my ridges almost as well as my old favorite, Seche Base Ridgefilling. Time will tell if I get the same wear out of it as my usual routine, but so far I'm liking it.

Wet n Wild
Product lineup, left to right: Salon Sciences Instant Artificials, Wet 'n' Wild Tahiti, Wet 'n' Wild Bora Bora, Sally Hansen Insta Dri.

I did not like applying Tahiti, the creme. The short brush didn't bother me—I like minis—but the wide cap did; it felt very unwieldy to me, and I couldn't see any way to remove the cover to reveal a more reasonably sized cap underneath as one can with some bottles (I still bless the person on the nail board who clued me in to that trick). Two coats was all I could stand to do; I still had VNL at this point but hoped the shimmer would disguise it. (I did not take time to do clean up before taking a picture of Tahiti alone since I was mid-mani. Compared to how I used to slop polish on my cuticles, I'm really very neat now.)

Wet n Wild

Bora Bora, the shimmer, went on more easily. Maybe I was getting used to the wide cap, or maybe it was because it had a different consistency so I could spread it better. After one coat of Bora Bora on top of the two of Tahiti, I could still see my nail line, but decided to stop anyway since I dindn't want to be crazy late for work. Next time, I'm using an opaque nude under these. There won't be many next times, though, because the bottles are tiny: .22 fl. oz./65 ml. I was really pleased with the look of Tahiti; it's one of those shimmers that has a lot of sparkle to it.

Wet n Wild

If you're looking for these, here's what the display looks like; I came across this one yesterday on my "stores near the nice post office" trip (didn't take a display picture when I bought them because I didn't have my camera with me and my phone's camera is sucktastic). The words behind the bottles in the top row say "fun. outrageous. vibrant."

Wet n Wild

Outrageous? Maybe not so much, but definitely fun and vibrant.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cherry on Top

CaramelCutie0215 of Style and Everything In-Between tagged me with the Cherry on Top Award a few days ago, and I've only just now been able to clear enough off my list to stop and acknowledge that and thank her properly. So, thank you, CaramelCutie! It's always nice to know that what I'm doing here is appreciated!

Cherry on Top Badge

The instructions:

1.Thank the person who gave this award to you.
2.Copy the award and put it on your blog.

Done and done.

3.List 3 things which you love about your self.

This is harder than the first two steps; I had to replace "love" with "like" to get past my inner critic, but that's a discussion for another venue. Here goes:

—I'm creative.
—I'm self-reliant.
—I have cute feet. Maybe someday I'll start a pedi of the week blog.

4.Post a picture you love.

Baby R

This is not the best composed or focused or lit picture, but I love looking at it; it's my first grand-niece, here just one day shy of four months old.

5.Tag 5 people you wish to pass this award on to.

I'm going to tag 6, because I realized I tagged one less than I intended when I got a previous award.

Jackie of Candy Coated Tips
She does great swatches: in different lights, from different angles, often with layering and comparisons included. She's also super nice; we did a swap a little while ago that was pleasant as could be.

Lisa aka Schmut of Rugby Beauty
She doesn't just take pictures for her blog, she creates wonderful compositions with eye catching angles and interesting props that I just love looking at.

KrisInPhilly of My Lucid Bubble
Kris features a wide variety of brands and shows them off in photos that let me really see what the polishes look like. She's my go to source for greens; if I'm curious about a particular green polish, I check her archives first. I also had the good fortune to catch her grab bag sale before all the lots were gone and got the most amazing box from her, full of brands I'd never tried and colors I didn't have.

jaljen of nailpolishuk
I love her sense of humor that comes across in her entries. She showcases a great variety of colors and often includes bonuses like dogs and birds and shoes, and I like those just as much as the polish pictures.

xtinaaj of Polishious
A new blog that's off to a great start, with clear pictures and neat manis and a variety of colors and brands.

Jen of The Polish-aholic
Pretty much every time she posts, I either have the polish already or really, really want it. I love the nail art she does, too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Store Report

Something amazing happened on my way home from work last night—I stopped at one of my favorite strip malls for nail polish hunting, went into TJ Maxx, Sally Beauty, Dollar Tree, and Ulta, yet did not buy anything. I sure didn't expect that. Very strange; who knew I could exercise such self-control?

What I did do was snap pictures of two displays at Ulta which I hadn't seen before. On a low shelf on an end in the drugstore makeup section, I came across an LA Splash Nail Art Glitter display. When I bent down to get a closer look, I saw it had a drawer at the bottom that slid out to reveal a nail wheel showing the glitters in both full nail and funky French looks.

LA Splash

There were 18 different colors of glitter, and each pot cost $3.99. That seemed steep to me, but it would since the only glitter I've bought so far has been at Dollar Tree (six colors for $1) and JoAnn (where I pretty much always have a 40% off coupon to use). Also in the display: a clear red base coat that reminded me of Maybelline Berry Water and something they called "glitter top coat" but I couldn't see any glitter in it; maybe they meant "top coat for glitter" or maybe the glitter was just hiding from me, as I did notice tiny scattered glitter bits above the tips on the funky French examples on the nail wheel. I was a bit confused by the way it says "3 Easy Steps" at the top and then shows 4 pictures, but I don't tend to follow instructions anyway so no matter. If these glitters had been on sale, I might have picked up a few, as I thought they were very pretty. A little flashy for my everyday life, maybe, what with the holo hex glitter winking out from them, but fun for a change of pace.

LA Splash

LA Splash

I also saw the Orly Plastix display for the first time. Being an Orly lover, I was very, very tempted by these. I had the purple one in my hand more than once, ready to head to the cash register, and expect it will call me back to buy it before too long, even though I don't have a coupon and they aren't on sale. I'm very curious to see what this finish will look like on the nail; I've only seen a few swatches and some have looked shiny and some have looked satin, so I'm not sure what to expect.


Looking at the picture again, I'm guessing I'll end up with more than just the purple. The teal is whispering to me, for sure. And the red. And if I get those three, I can't leave the orange, there, can I? It's this sort of rationalization that's filling my Helmers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Second Contest Results

WnW candy polish

Last night I drew names for my Wet 'n' Wild 100 followers giveaway, which ended up turning into my 200 followers giveaway, thus I'm awarding two prizes (while I was on vacation I did find the last color I needed to complete the second set, so both winners will get all new polish). The winners are:

Li Lian of  nails nails nails


kate espinoza (who doesn't have a blog, as far as I know)

I've already heard back from the e-mail I sent Li; kate, message me in the next week, please.

I've already been gathering prizes for my next giveaway; right now I'm thinking of summertime blues theme, but something else sparkly may capture my imagination in the meantime.


As part of the contest, I asked for suggestions to improve this blog, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to add their thoughts on the subject. The most common suggestion was spicing up my layout: adding a header image, background colors, etc. When I get a bit more caught up from vacation, I plan to explore some ideas in that area. I'm a big fan of white space and clean designs so I don't expect I'll be blinging it up too much, but right now it's a bit too plain even for me. Comparisons got the second highest number of mentions, so I'll be continuing those—just as soon as I get some time to sit down and swatch. If there are any particular polishes or color familys you'd like to see comparisons for, let me know in the comments. Nail art took third place; that should be interesting, as I've done so little of it you'll get to see me learn as I go. The only other big vote getter was stash, so I'll be snapping some photos of my Helmers soon. I'm leaning toward reorganizing them and was going to wait until I did that, but given how I tend to procrastinate on things like that, I figured I should just go ahead and show them as they are—then when I do get them re-sorted, I can share them again. I'll likely also be acting on some of the other suggestions; thanks again to everyone who shared them.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Essie Demure Vixen

Today I am back to my regular routine after spending last week on vacation in the Pacific Northwest. Mr. Karen and I went to Washington to see our youngest nephew graduate from high school and meet our first grand niece, then we drove across the state with his parents to spend a few days at our ski condo in northern Idaho. For most of the time, my nails were polished with one of the shades from Essie's Summer 2010 collection, Demure vixen.


Essie's website describes this as an iridescent cocoa mauve. I say it's mostly mauve. I had the same reaction to this as to Revlon Gray Suede; on my skin tone, it can't quite decide whether to blend in or stand out, and I can't quite decide whether I like it.


I know I like the purple flash I see in the bottle; I wish more of that showed up on the nail in more lighting conditions.


This photo shows it in bright sun, and the shimmer is barely visible. I guess that's the demure part. If if were up to me, there'd be more vixen in this.


I will be picking winners for my Wet 'n' Wild giveaway later today; I got a bit behind on verifying the entries while I was away.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nearly Naked

I'm dealing with peelies again, so when it came time to change polish I took some length off my nails and put on Orly Nailtrition, applying on a new coat every day for three days, then skipped a day, then put another coat on. In the bottle it's a shimmery pink but on the nail it's pretty much clear. By the end of those five days, my nails did start to display a bit of a pearly pink glow.


It's too early to say if the Nailtrition did its job on the peelies—five days wasn't enough for them to all grow out—but I think my nails did look better when I took it off than when I put it on. The directions say to use it for two weeks, applying every day, then take a week off, but I don't have the attention span for that right now.

This picture shows one of the things that bothers me about my nails—if I file them so the same length of tip is showing on each, different amounts of the tips of my fingers show. My ring finger is nubbiny while the others are merely shorties. I'm guessing that I might be the only one who notices this, though—except now I've pointed it out to all of you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pretty Ugly Yellows

I'm slowly working my way through the Shrek minis; today I have Fiercely Fiona. (For Who the Shrek are You? comps, go here.) The only polish I could find in my stash that was remotely like it was Sally Hansen Salon Forsythia (oh, old square bottles, how I miss you), so this is a pretty simple comparison. And yes, Forsythia is a shimmer and Fiona is a creme, but it was this or no comp at all, so I opted for this.

OPI Fiercely Fiona (mini) and Sally Hansen Salon Forsythia.

Top to bottom: Fiona, Forsythia, Fiona, Forsythia.

I had a much easier time applying Forsythia than Fiona. Forsythia took three coats, and Fiona took four and gave me fits with streaking all along. It could be I got a bad bottle of Fiona; I might try adding some thinner because it did seem more gloppy than OPIs usually are.

Top to bottom: Fiona, Forsythia, Fiona, Forsythia.

With the shimmer vs. creme issue obviously these aren't dupes, but the colors don't quite match, either. Forsythia is darker and a touch more green; Fiona is brighter and more yellow. Both have that pretty ugly thing going on.


Reminder: You've got until midnight Eastern US time on Sunday, June 20th to enter my Wet 'n' Wild contest. My posting schedule will be a bit more erratic and sparse than usual between now and then due to my taking some time off to spend with family.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Milani Intense Metal Comps

Picking up from my last entry, today I have comparisons to the three Milanis I got from the Liquid Metals Intense Colors collection.

Left to right: Milani Melt Down, Borghese Chianti Wine, Nina Ultra Pro Viva La Velvet, Sally Hansen HD Zip.

Top to bottom: Melt Down, Chianti Wine, Viva La Velvet, Zip.

I used two coats of all of these reds. The Borghese is the closest to Melt Down but it's not a dupe; the Borghese is a shimmer rather than the metallic micro glitter of the Milani. The Nina (from last winter's Crushed Velvet collection) is too light to be a dupe and tends more toward being a foil than the Milani. The Sally Hansen (which came out with Opulent Cloud) is too warm-toned to be dupe, and it's also more of a shimmer like the Borghese.

Left to right: Milani Hot Metal, Nina Ultra Pro Dragon Berry, Viva la Diva 61, NYC Nail Glossies 239.

Top to bottom: Hot Metal, Dragon Berry, 61, 239.

Hot Metal, being purple, has lots of friends in my stash. The Nina (from the Hard Candies collection) has a very similar base color but it has silvery micro glitter instead of the purpley blue flash of Hot Metal. The Viva la Diva (which I got in a swap) looked darker than Hot Metal in the bottle but is really close on the nail—it's got the same purple flash against the plummy pink; if you can't get Hot Metal but can get 61, I think they'd fill the same slot in a collection. The NYC is pretty much Hot Metal with all the glitter removed. The NYC was the only two coater in this group; the others needed three.

Left to right: Milani Molten Rock, Ulta Alter Ego, Nina Ultra Pro Velvet Seas, CHI Hot Ring Illusion Around Saturn.

Top to bottom: Molten Rock, Alter Ego, Velvet Seas, Hot Ring.

Things went a bit off the rails when I got to Molten Rock—you'll see that I have two blues and two greens here, which is not the most helpful comparison ever. The Nina I justified by wanting a Nina in all three of these, and Velvet seas was the closest I had. The CHI just does not belong; I meant to grab the blue from this collection, but it's dark like the green so they look pretty close sitting in a Helmer drawer. Why I didn't notice I had the green instead of the blue until I'd put it on, I really have no idea. Ah well, at least the Ulta was a good pick for this comp; it's just a hair lighter than Molten Rock and more shimmery than metallic but still pretty close. The Nina, besides being teal green instead of turquoise blue, is a foily shimmer, so not really much like Molten Rock at all. The CHI we've already discussed. It's a very pretty polish, but does not belong in this comp. (Molten Rock is three coats; the others are two.)

But wait, there's more ... as jbrobeck pointed out in the comments on yesterday's entry, a lot of companies are doing the glass flecked/micro glitter/metallic-y thing for summer 2010, so since I had the Sally Hansen Ultra HD polishes handy, I grabbed a couple of those to compare.

Left to right: Milani Hot Metal, Sally Hansen HD Byte, Milani Molten Rock, Sally Hansen HD Spectrum.

Top to bottom: Hot Metal, Byte, Molten Rock, Spectrum.

Byte is Hot Metal's lighter, brighter, pinker sibling; they're definitely closely related. Molten Rock and Spectrum are cousins—both turquoise blue, but Molten Rock is darker and metallic while Spectrum is lighter and more glittery. I used two coats of Hot Metal and Molten Rock, three of Byte, and four of Spectrum. (An aside: If you look closely at the hand pic above—or click to see the full size— version), you can just see the end of the scar on my palm that I've had since I was a very young girl; I got it so long ago I don't remember how it happened—I want to say I pinched my hand in a door or something like that.)


A little more than a week remains to enter my Wet 'n' Wild contest. I've been very pleasantly surprised at how much interest it's generated; I'm now over 200 followers, so will turn this into a 100 and 200 followers contest by giving away two sets of the polishes. If I can find the last one I'm missing for the second set, both sets will be new from the store. If not, the second set will be 11 new and one I've swatched on one nail.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Milani Intense Metals

As soon as the first pictures of the Milani Liquid Metal collections showed up on the MUA nail board, I started keeping an eye out for them on my drugstore rounds. The Cool Shades (2.0, Dot Com, I'm Online, Just Browsing, My Network, and PC Girl) eventually showed up at CVS (and I bought them all; I should swatch them sometime), but then weeks passed with no Intense Colors to be found. Swapping to the rescue! Jackie of Candy Coated Tips was able to find two of colors I wanted—Melt Down (cool red) and Molten Rock (blue)—and sent them to me in exchange for some other pretties I had extras of. That just left Hot Metal (purple) to track down, because, in a surprising turn of events, I decided I could skip the other three in the collection: Melt in the Sun (yellow orange), Metal Gear (orange), and Melt With U (warm red). I figured I could find a swap for Hot Metal at some point, but it turned out I didn't need to; before I'd even had a chance to add the polishes Jackie'd sent to my spreadsheet, I came across a display with one purple left--the first and so far only Intense Colors display I've seen around here. Funny how that works sometimes.

Left to right: Melt Down, Hot Metal, Molten Rock.

Melt Down is a beautiful ruby red which applied so nicely I only needed two coats (all swatches today are without top coat but I did use a base coat). The finish looks to me like a combination of a metallic and a micro glitter.



Hot Metal is a plummy pinkish purple; the finish on this one is different than the other two—no metallic flavor but rather a combination of micro glitter and glass flecked. I used three coats of this and needed every one.



Molten Rock is rich turquoise blue; the finish was similar to Melt Down but leaned more toward metallic than micro glitter. I used three coats but probably could have stopped at two.



Tune in next entry for some comparisons featuring these three.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Layering Fun

Before I finally took off Splash of Grenadine, I layered one coat of Sally Hansen HD Byte on top. Even with the wide gap and chip touch ups and tip wear thanks to having the base mani on all week, I really like the look. Byte added such a nice touch of sparkle without being too over the top blingy; if I'd known it would look like that, I'd have done it earlier and worn it to work, too.

Essie with Sally Hansen

Essie with Sally Hansen

If I didn't have so many untrieds, I'd be very tempted to wear this combination again very soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Zoya Exchange

My polishes from the Zoya exchange arrived today. I didn't get a shipping notice, so it was a nice surprise when the admin brought the box to my office. I just *had* to take them out and make sure they were all there, and then they looked so pretty lined up on my desk that I couldn't resist snapping a couple of pics to share. (I don't have a lightbox at work, so these may look a little off compared to my usual photos.)


Left to right: Perrie, Demi, Jacy, Venus, Rea, Hope.

As many purple Zoyas as I already have, I didn't have any of these. I'll be interested to swatch and see how similar these are to other purples in my collection. I know Demi and Jacy look almost like dupes themselves, but Jacy is an eensy bit darker and has a shimmer, so yes, I think I do need them both.


Left to right: Charla, Ivanka, Mimi, Ki, Kotori.

All of these are new to me except Ki, which I do have and like very much, so this bottle will either get swapped or given away so someone else can enjoy its purpley green duochrome goodness.

I am trying to resist the temptation to do another exchange before the 2010 program ends on June 30th, but there are a few more Zoyas I've seen that I'd really like to have, and this is truly a one-in-one-out proposition so my stash won't be getting any bigger, so I'm thinking I might just do it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Candy-licious Swatches

Since there seems to be a fair bit of interest in the Wet 'n' Wild giveaway I'm doing, I thought I'd do some swatches (with my own bottles—I bought extras for the contest, so the winner will get fresh bottles).

I already posted the first five colors when I did skittles with them, but to show all the colors in the same entry, here they are again (I unfortunately didn't make a note of how many coats I used, but I don't recall any of these being annoyingly too many):

Wet n Wild Wild Shine

Thumb: Lemon Drops. Fingers, top to bottom: Sunkist Paradise, Cherry Pop, Berry Jubilee, and Blueberry Fizz.

Here are the remaining warm colors, all over NailTek Foundation II:

Wet n Wild Wild Shine

Top to bottom: Cotton Candy Delight, Bubble Yum Gum, Strawberry Burst, Candy Apple Twist.

Cotton Candy Delight required 4 coats, which didn't really surprise me since it's a light color. Bubble Yum Gum was 3 coats, and I probably should have gone for 4 to even it out a bit more. Strawberry Burst was a 2-coat delight, while Candy Apple Twist took three.

And here are the rest of the cool colors, with one encore performance:

Wet n Wild Wild Shine

Top to bottom: Berry Jubilee, Grape Crush, Tropical Splash, Mint Fusion.

All these were 3 coats (again over the NailTek). I had to redden the photo up a bit to get Grape Crush to show something close to its true purple goodness. I'm thinking Tropical Splash should have a more edible name to fit in this collection, but then again I'm not sure what sweet food is blue-green. The Mint Fusion looks more lime-y to me, but they didn't ask me when they were naming them.

Reminder that the contest runs through midnight Eastern U.S. time on June 20th, so if you haven't entered already, there's still time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Glitter, Glitter Everywhere

Today I have swatches of four glitter polishes ranging from a fairly subtle blend to a multi-color explosion.

Glitter polish

Left to right: Sephora by OPI It's Bouquet with Me, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Rockstar Pink, Finger Paints Wicked Glitter, OPI Mad as a Hatter.

It's Bouquet with Me is the least wild of these four; it's a mix of pink, warm lilac, and silver with a scattering of holo. Rockstar Pink and Wicked Glitter share a more contrasting color scheme; both have blue, red, warm purple, and gold. Mad as a Hatter appears to have a little bit of everything in it&mdash: at least two shades of blue, plus silver, orange, gold, green, red, and purple.

Glitter polish

Once I had these on my nails (three coats of each, no base or top coat), I was evidently too distracted by all the shiny to focus my camera properly; I apologize for the blurry bits in the following photos.

Glitter polish

Top to bottom: Sephora by OPI It's Bouquet With Me, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Rockstar Pink, Finger Paints Wicked Glitter, OPI Mad as a Hatter.

None of these are dupes, though Rockstar Pink and Wicked Glitter are close enough that it's certainly debatable if one person needs both. Rockstar Pink has a mix of glitter sizes, goes on denser, and leans more toward red/purple than Wicked Glitter, which is a bit chunkier.

Glitter polish

Top: Rockstar Pink; bottom: Wicked Glitter.

There's been some talk that Wicked Glitter is supposed to be Sally Beauty's version of Mad as a Hatter, but it's no dupe. They're both similarly chunky, but MaaH is much cooler in tone compared to Wicked Glitter and has a more complex mix of colors.

Glitter polish

Top: Wicked Glitter; bottom: Mad as a Hatter.

If I had to get rid of one of them, it would be Wicked Glitter; not because it's not pretty and sparkly but because it's too similar to Rockstar Pink, and I like that better. If I had to get rid of two, It's Bouquet with Me would also go, despite it having two of my favorite things, purple and holo. It just looks a little flat to me, so I want to try layering it, as that often makes all the difference.