Thursday, December 26, 2013

Summer Flashback with Kiko

Happy Boxing Day to those of you celebrating today! I myself am at work after two days off for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The weather is rather overcast (of course it is; I put on a holo polish last night), and I've got a cough/cold that I've been battling for two weeks now, so to cheer myself up I took a break and was looking through my nail photos from this year to start coming up with my Top 20 for 2013. In the process, I found some Kiko swatches from last summer that I never posted, probably because I was so excited about the Sugar Mat polishes I'd gotten from my swap buddies that I got distracted. These non-textured Kiko colors deserved better from me, so today they'll get to see the light of the internet; better late than never, I suppose.

First up, I have four colors from the Sun Pearl collection, which I believe was limited edition for this past summer: 427 Amable Chartreuse, 429 Blue Spot, 428 River Green, and 430 Chili Pepper Red. Those names do a pretty good job describing the colors; too bad they don't show up on the bottles anywhere (I had to look them up online).

I did Skittles with these colors, index to pinky in the same order as the bottles above. Even though I swatched these four months ago, I did manage to find my notes about them—only to discover that I hadn't written down how many coats I used. I guess I was distracted by those Sugar Mats.

These are all flecked shimmers, with River Green being the most shimmer-packed. Kiko didn't just dump the same shimmer in all of these; each color is different. Amable Chartreuse has a golden shimmer, while Blue Spot has silver.

River Green has brighter green and golden shimmer, and Chili Pepper Red has bright orange.

I also got my first Kiko Quick Dry in those swaps; here's 834 Golden Tiffany, a light Tiffay blue with pearly golden shimmer. I did jot down how many coats I used of this one: 3. I didn't note that it dried super fast, but really with something so pretty, it doesn't really matter. It didn't dry super slow, and that's the important thing.

The shimmer is fairly subtle, but does show up in regular room light.

It has a soft glow in direct low light:

I really am spoiled, that I have so much polish to swatch that I forgot I'd done these. May I never take for granted that I'm lucky and blessed to have made connections with so many great people in the nail polish world that make it possible for me to grow my collection with beauties like these Kikos.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Beautifully Disney Displays

I mentioned last week that I'd gone to Walt Disney World and shared the Mickey mani I wore while I was there, but I didn't have a chance to tell you about the nail polish displays I saw at the World. I knew Disney had a beauty line; The PolishAholic had swatched some minis this past spring, yet somehow I was still surprised when browsing in a gift shop in Animal Kingdom, I came across a whole big display with nail polish in it. There were mini sets, yes, but there were also full size bottles ($11.95 each, though there was a 3/$30 special going on). I didn't want to subject Mr. Karen to my full display mode antics (rearranging bottles, taking multiple shots hoping one will have good light and focus, etc.), but I had to take some photos, of course. Here are the individual full sized bottles lined up in their slots:

Shades, starting at left: Wish Come True, Something Sassy, Spriteful, Something Sassy (again; I think this slot was supposed to be for Star Struck, which will make sense later), Spriteful (again), Ocean Mist, Looking for My Prince, Mistress of Evil, Let Your Hair Down, Just One Bite, Provincial Mademoiselle, Off to the Ball, Enchanted Kiss, Midnight Hour, Diva of the Deep, Celtic Fire, Broken Arrow, You Wish, Celtic Fire (again), Far East Embers.

The tops of the bottles have different symbols on them that tie into the movie that inspired them; for instance, on the far right, there's the seashell on Diva of the Deep, inspired by Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

These polishes (and other makeup) have been released in several collections, and the big World of Disney store had displays and/or mini sets showcasing the different groupings. The latest release appears to the Fantasy in Flight, which has four polishes: Something Sassy, Wish Come True, Star Sruck, and Spriteful.

The initial collection, the one I saw on The PolishAholic last spring, had eight polishes: Off to the Ball, Enchanted Kiss, Looking for My Prince, Just One Bite, Mistress of Evil, Diva of the Deep, Midnight Hour (hmm, didn't see that in the bottles at Animal Kingdom), and Ocean Mist. Those were split into two mini sets.

Unlock the Spell had three full size colors: Provincial Mademoiselle, Let Your Hair Down, and Beautiful Bayou (again, none of that at Animal Kingdom). The mini set had a fourth color: Get Tangled Up.

I only saw a mini set for the remaining collection, Fiery Spirit. This has four colors: Celtic Fire, Far East Embers, Broken Arrow and You Wish.

As far as I know, the only places to get these polishes is at the Disney Parks and via the Disney Store website (though they don't seem to carry most of the line). Looking at these photos, I'm wishing I'd gotten more than the three bottles I did.

More than once I found myself looking at other things in the parks and wishing they were available in nail polish form, like this duochrome floor in a gift shop in Tomorrowland.

I didn't get a photo, but there were scattered holographic floors in Innoventions at Epcot—I wanted those, too.

Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating this week! I moved into my new office in my company's new headquarters building today, and even though I'm off the next two days and won't be around to enjoy it, one of the first things I unpacked was my tiny purple and silver Christmas tree. Gotta have sparklies, you know!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nina Ultra Pro Gold Flake Topcoat

Just a quickie today, since I am once again crazy busy at work. This is Nina Ultra Pro Gold Flake Topcoat, layered over a black creme. It showed up at Sally Beauty at the same time as the Nina matte topcoat I included in my last matte topper comparison, in the same twirly triangular section next to the core Nina display (yet another thing I'm behind on is getting display photos up so I haven't shared that one yet).

I wish I could tell you which black creme and how many coats of the gold I used, but that information got washed away when I spilled Zoya Remove+ on my swatching notebook a couple weeks ago—yeah, as per usual, I am swatching faster than I'm posting. I thought I'd written up all the stuff on the pages that took the most damage, but forgot about this Nina. (You can see some of the carnage on Instagram.)

This Nina delivers exactly what the name promises: gold flakes. Depending on the angle of the light, the flakes sometimes look quite dense and sometimes almost disappear. Also, at certain angles, I was sure I could see a hint of a green cast in them. Though gold is not my metal, I liked this polish.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NOTD: Winter Affair with Mickeys and Mistletoe

Hi, I'm back! I spent most of my time away vacationing in warm and mostly sunny Florida (after stressing out about work right until just about the last minute before we left); Mr. Karen and I returned to cold and snowy Michigan Sunday night. As I mentioned before I disappeared, I expected to be in a new office as of yesterday, but while I was away, that move got postponed and is now scheduled for this coming weekend, which means I'm a bit disoriented right now since I packed up all my stuff before I left and it doesn't really make sense to unpack it all again only to repack it in a few days.

Mr. K and I spent our whole vacation at Walt Disney World, riding rides, seeing shows, taking in the holiday decorations around the resorts and theme parks, and going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party one night. I found the perfect polish for it: Candy Lacquer Mickeys & Mistletoe, a red and green glitter mix in a clear base that includes Mickey Mouse shaped glitters. I layered this over Studio M Winter Affair, a wine shimmer (same as Color Club Winter Affair from last year's holiday collection). I tried out the glitter over red and green cremes, too, but the wine was best to let the glitter pop.

Since I did this mani in a rush late at night, I didn't take good notes about how many coats I used. I think it was two of Winter Affair and two of Mickeys & Mistletoe, with some dabbing and skootching of the latter. Candy Lacquer included a small bag of extra glitters, so I fished some extra Mickey heads out of there and plopped those on the wet polish. For a base, I used Salon Sciences Starting Over After Artificials, which I've been using even though I've never had acrylics and it does seem to be helping my nails feel stronger and peel less. For a topcoat, I used Diamond Dry, which I think was not quite thick enough to cope with the bigger glitters but which I went ahead and used anyway because I trust it not to chip on me.

My nails are pretty curved, so the wider glitters—Mickey heads and stars—didn't sit flush to my nails in all the spots I put them in. The first full day I wore this look, one of the Mickey heads popped off entirely, but that was easy to fix by plopping a dab of some smaller glitters there instead. As the week went on, a few of the ears on the Mickey heads lifted up. I probably could have stuck them back down with more topcoat, but I just clipped them off and let those Mickeys be lopsided; there was enough else going on that I don't think anyone noticed.

I was quite happy with how this wore. I touched up tipwear around day six and got a couple chips around day 10 and touched those up, too. I still have this on my nails now, twelve days in, though I'll likely take it off tonight because the growth gap at the base of my nails is getting a bit too wide for my taste. Mickeys & Mistletoe was the first Candy Lacquer polish I tried; it won't be my last. (Her shop is closed now for the holidays but of course I ordered more than one color; figured I could always swap them away if they didn't work for me.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Orchid Grass Stains and Purple Emerald

A couple months back, my friend Mel (who writes at Delicious Color) sent me a surprise package with some polishes and a very fancy card she'd made by hand. I just recently finally got a chance to try one of the shades she sent, Orchid Grass Stains. This is a deep warm toned green creme that needs only two coats for full coverage. I didn't use topcoat, and it didn't need it; you can see how shiny it is all by itself.

I liked Grass Stains on its own, yet couldn't resist the temptation to plus it by adding another polish I'd gotten from a friend, namely Purple Precious Stones Emerald, a green and holo glitter that was part of the swap I did with Under the Gravity's Nails. Not only did its colors coordinate with Grass Stains, it amused me that both brands were named for colors (and colors other than green at that: Orchid and Purple).

I was very pleasantly surprised to see how dense the glitter in Emerald was once I got it on my nail—one coat was plenty to get lots of sparkly goodness. I did add topcoat for extra shine and smoothness.

In slightly lower direct light, more colors popped from the glitter.

I liked this combination a lot and feel blessed to have friends who send me pretty things like these.

In addition to being blessed with an abundance of pretty nail polish in my life, my cup runneth over in other areas, too, so I am going to be taking another little break from posting here. I have too many other things pulling on my time right now, including a complicated office move to a new building. I have been promised that I and my computer and my furniture will be in my new office no later than the 16th, so somewhere around then I should be back here, too (unless my unpacking goes particularly badly or something). Hoping you all reading this are handling your holiday season stresses better than I am!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wheel J6: Glitters from Hard Candy and Others

Today for Nail Wheel Wednesday, I have glitter, including ones from Hard Candy before the most recent relaunch (but none from the original release). I have many glitter wheels yet to post (and yet to paint as well); I might have to consider doing some Nail Wheel Weekends to reduce the backlog. Maybe that can be one of my 2014 projects.

(all three coats plus topcoat, except as noted below)

1. Hard Candy Break Up
2. Hard Candy Mischief (4 coats)
3. Hard Candy Fabuluxe
4. Hard Candy Hot Pants
5. Hard Candy Sweet P [swapped for this and it didn't come with its ring, which is fine, since I don't wear the rings I do have]
6. Hard Candy Wicked
7. Meteorites Outer Space
8. Meteorites Vulcan Probe [looks like the color on purple bars is flaking off and also bleeding into the base]
9. Meteorites Life on Mars [I guess they have Christmas on Mars, too]
10. Pop Rocks Groupie
11. Pop Rocks Scalper [these Pop Rocks have very vibrant bases that still let the glitter show through]
12. NK Mystical
13. NK Magical [I really should have put these on a topper wheel so I could see them over black]
14. unknown brand, unknown shade [a dusty beauty supply find; basically it's #9 plus small gold glitter]
15. NDB Hazel [looks like charcoal grey in the bottle and from a distance; up close it's multicolored]
16. Jade Martian Sands (4 coats)
17. Q Collection Crystal Glitter [not much glitter in here, actually]
18. Golden Rose Fantastic Color 151
19. s-he Stylezone 454
20. Sephora Piiink French Manicure duo unknown shade names (2 of base color and 3 of glitter at tip)

Bottles 1 through 6:

7 through 11:

12 through 17:

18 through 20:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Seche Gracious and Kind Collection for Holiday 2013

Since I did the FingerPaints holiday collection yesterday, I figured I'd continue the theme and share swatches of the Seche holiday colors today. Six shades here: Warm Hearted, Sparkle Click Kiss, Gracious & Kind, Nostalgic, Collected Moments, and All Lit Up.

Warm Hearted is a darkish red creme, and quite honestly I was not excited about swatching a plain red creme, so I used it as an accent nail with the flashiest shade in the collection, Sparkle Clink Kiss, which has various sizes of red hex glitter in a shimmery metallic gold base. I used two coats of Warm Hearted and three of Sparkle Clink Kiss. I left off topcoat; Sparkle Click Kiss does have a texture to it when worn that way, though with the glitter being large and not especially dense, it's more of a chunky type of texture as compared to the finer grained Zoya Pixie Dust style texture.

The hint of visible nail line under Sparkle Click Kiss showing in some of these photos wasn't that prominent in real life, but it does make me wonder how it would look over a colored base. I wish that would have occurred to me when I was swatching, as I likely won't remember to try it out anytime soon, what with all the other pretties waiting for my attention.

The other four polishes all looked to have a similar metallic shimmer finish in the bottle, so I wore them as Skittles. Left to right below: Collected Moments, Nostalgic, Gracious & Kind, and All Lit Up; all two coats, no topcoat.

Collected Moments is a cooler, more silvery gold than the base color of Sparkle Clink Kiss. Nostalgic is a rich purple, so of course it's my favorite of this quartet. Gracious & Kind and All Lit Up are both berry reds, with Gracious & Kind being lighter and All Lit Up darker. I thought all of these would benefit from topcoat, so I added some; it definitely made for a smoother surface and brought out the sparkles in the shimmer as shown below.

I think three reds in a six shade collection is too many; I'd cut out the darker shimmer and probably the creme, too. I'm also not sold on two golds in a group of six, but if it were silver, my preferred metal, maybe I'd feel differently. Maybe the gold shimmer was intended to be a base for the gold/red glitter. Wish I'd thought to try that, too.