Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Top 10 of 2017

Last year was another year of not wearing as many new polishes as I had in previous years. I did a lot of travelling, including a lot of working with my brother to clear my mom's house, so most of my manicures were of the strips or fakes variety, since those are easy to do on the road (so easy, I've taken to doing them at home, too). Thus instead of doing a traditional to 20 list, it's just a Top 10 list for me, same as I did for 2016. Below are my favorite polishes I wore for the first time in 2017.

Wet 'n' Wild I Dream of Jean Genie, a dusty blue with gold microglitter. Ah, rememember when Wet 'n' Wild did seasonal LE nail polish displays? I miss those.

SinfulColors Queen of Green, a deep green shimmer.

Morgan Taylor The Last Petal, a deep berry shimmer.

Sally Hansen Color Therapy Bamboost, a greyed green creme.

SinfulColors Namaste the Night, a plummy purple with flakies.

Girly Bits Lost in the PATH, a purple microglitter/shimmer.

SinfulColors If You've Got It Haunt It, a glitter topper with light purple hex glitter, larger copper hex glitter, and smaller gold holo glitter in a clear base.

Over SinfulColors Nut Cracker:

Over SinfulColors Sugar Pumpkin:

China Glaze Sin-derella, a grey with pink shimmer.

Pahlish Twelve Drummers Drumming, the purple jelly with shifting flakies and purple microglitter which you just saw from me earlier this week.

And Dreamland Lacquer Fairytale of New York, the purple/pink multichrome I paired with the Pahlish.

I still haven't made my 2018 resolutions, but I'm thinking one should have something to do with swatching and wearing enough polish shades that I'll have ample material for a Top 20 list. I have no shortage of untrieds to accomplish that, that's for sure.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Nails of Days Past

Having caught up with the swatching I did last year, now it's time for a NOTD spam post with the 2017 manicures still in my photo files.

Let's kick things off with some flash: China Glaze Pre-Glued Nails in Silver Chrome. I got these on clearance at Sally Beauty; for $3.99, I figured why not give them a go. I'm so glad I did, because I really liked these. They were thin as fake nails go, and the glue was great—I had no loose nails and none popping off in the five days I wore them. It did take me a couple nails to figure out which end was the base and which the tip, with the ones I put on wrong way round catching in my hair at the base since the glue didn't extend all the way to that end. Lesson learned. The silver coating did start to peel at the tips after about four days, but with the rest of the nail still being crazy shiny, it was hard to notice that. Plus, the nails were very easy to file, so I could just remove the parts where the silver was missing (until I got to my natural nail underneath, of course).

I still have so very many Essie Sleek Sticks to use up (or throw out or do something with), so I wore Embrace the Lace for a few days. They were hard to put on smoothly, and got tipwear almost immediately (at least that didn't show too much since they were close to my natural nail color).

I did another round of fake nails with some purple Smart Girl ones I'd picked up on clearance somewhere. These were labelled "medium length" but they looked long to me. They fit my nails well and were pretty thin, but the adhesive wasn't as secure as the China Glaze fakes (maybe because it wasn't pre-applied to the nails but instead was in the form of tabs that weren't as long as my natural nails in all cases).

Incoco Nail Polish Appliques in Reckless, a black on purple plaid design, graced my nails next. I wait to use Incoco strips until I need to change my pedicure, since then I get full use out of the package (I haven't had much luck re-sealing the package to use the second half later).

Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips in Disk-o Queen followed the Incoco. This gold glitter with wine half moon design was a bit sheer at the tips and the glitter was not holo as shown on the box, but they did sparkle nicely.

After filing away some peelies, I put a winter favorite on next: Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Snow Bunny.

I finished out the year in Incoco strips in Silent Night, a blue and purple glitter mix. I failed to get a really good photo of these; I liked them very much, so it's a shame this shade has been discontinued.

And now that I've caught up, I can think about doing a Top 20 (or 10 or something list). Then I can move on to 2018 swatches and nails of the day ... only a month into the new year!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Pretty Purples from Pahlish and Dreamland

Last month when I swatched Cirque Colors Coronation, I mentioned that I'd treated myself to a few indies recently. Today I've got swatches of the other two pretties I bought around that same time.

First up is Pahlish Twelve Drummers Drumming, a warm purple jelly with shifty multicolored flakies and purple microglitter. It took so much self control to only buy this one shade from the 12 Days of Christmas collection.

I did two coats of Twelve Drummers Drumming; this surprisingly didn't leave me with a visible nail line even though it's definitely a jelly. At some angles, in some lighting conditions, I would catch a glimpse of VNL but I really had to be looking for it. This wasn't bumpy and didn't really need topcoat but I added some anyway just because I wanted to extend the experience of this polish on my nails.

The other treat I got for myself was from Dreamland Lacquer. Because I've been so out of the loop buying indies, this was the first time I'd seen the cardboard tubes they're packaging in now. Very nice and sturdy.

The polish in that tube was Fairytale of New York, a holiday 2017 limited edition. It's a purple/pink/burgundy multichrome with shifting shimmer.

Two coats of Fairytale of New York was plenty; if I'd been attentive, one might have done it. I added topcoat just because I was on a roll.

It read purple much of the time, which I'm of course perfectly happy with, though the pink was just a tilt of the hand away. I even saw it go completely wine/burgundy colored at one point when I took my hand out of the lightbox a bit and tipped my hand back (see below). Very fascinating to look at.

These two purple beauties coordinated so well that I put one coat of Twelve Drummers Drumming on my index and ring fingers on top of my Fairytale of New York swatch hand. Loved this combination!

I'm so happy to have both of these in my collection.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Essie Leathers Collection

One of my Christmas gifts to myself was this mini set from Essie, the Leathers Collection by Rebecca Minkoff, with four leather effect polishes: Cross-Body Heat, Tote-ally in Love, In Hot Purse-uit, and Back in the Saddle.

Cross-Body Heat is a greyed light warm-toned purple shimmer.

Cross-Body Heat was opaque in two coats and dried to a very slightly textured satin finish. The shimmer was pretty much invisible on the nail in most lighting conditions.

I wasn't that taken with the "leather finish", so added topcoat to shine it up. I liked that better, and the shine did seem to bring the shimmer out a bit more.

Tote-ally in Love is a wine red shimmer.

This had the same sort of slightly textured satin finish, which I didn't like any more than I had the first time around, so I added topcoat to the two coats of color. The shimmer in this is a bit less subtle than Cross-Body Heat, but still pretty hidden.

In Hot Purse-uit is a deep blue shimmer.

I did two coats of color plus topcoat for my swatch. The shimmer in this was more visible than the first two shades, which I liked.

Back in the Saddle is a deep green shimmer.

I did two coats plus topcoat for this one as well. It was the most shimmery of the group, and my favorite.

I also did a nail art bonus: Cross-Body Heat dotted with Tote-ally in Love and In Hot Purse-uit.

This is a nice collection, all Karen colors. I'm not sold on the leather finish; it's too subtle for my taste and doesn't look intentionally textured. I do also wish all four had the shimmer level of Back in the Saddle. Still, I'm glad I bought these.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Matte Topcoat Comparisons, Part 14

It's been quite a while since I tried a new (at least to me) matte topcoat, so when I saw the L.A. Colors gift set that included one, and it was on sale, I grabbed it. As far as I recall, I've never seen a matte topcoat from them. This one came with three creme polishes, which of course I don't need but hey, at least they were cheap (and as it turns out, the black is pretty decent; I haven't tried the other two yet).

For comparison, I put the L.A. Colors up against the first three other matte topcoats I could put my hands on, which are not coincidentally the three I tend to use most often, so they were in my staples boxes on my mani table (which may sound fancier than it is, being the sort of folding table usually seen in church basements for coffee hour). Left to right: OPI, L.A. Colors, Wet 'n' Wild, Butter London.

I used the black creme from the kit for my base, and I liked it a lot. It applied nicely and covered evenly in one coat. Then I mattified; top to bottom it's OPI, L.A. Colors, Wet 'n' Wild, and Butter London.

OPI is the clear winner of this group, followed by Wet 'n' Wild, then Butter London, then sadly L.A. Colors in last place. It went on thick, was slow to dry, and never got as matte as any of the other three. Ah well, as I said before, it was cheap. And I did get a nice black base and a blog post out of the deal, so not a total loss.

One note: the uneven surface on my ring finger is not the fault of the Wet 'n' Wild topper; it's the ridges on that nail, which I really need to remember to use a ridge filler base on more often. My other nails don't need it so I forget.

Links to all the prior installments in this series:

Part 1: OPI, Barielle, China Glaze, SinfulColors, Butter London, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Part 2: Revlon, NYC, Essie, Claire's
Part 3: OPI, Essie, GOSH, Cult Nails, Icing, Ulta, Fing'rs
Part 4: Orly, Salon Perfect, OPI, Sally Girl
Part 5: OPI, elf, L'Oreal
Part 6: Nicole by OPI, OPI, Sally Hansen, Formula X for Sephora, Deborah Lippmann, Dolce & Gabbana, Nails Inc., Nina Ultra Pro, Illamasqua
Part 7: Fresh Paint, OPI, CK One, Wet 'n' Wild
Part 8: Glitter Guilty, Rescue Beauty Lounge, H & M, Kleancolor, Wet 'n' Wild, OPI.
Part 9: Paul & Joe, OPI, Wet 'n' Wild
Part 10: Dr.'s Remedy, Zoya, Hollish, OPI.
Part 11: Julie G, Pop-arazzi, Pure Ice, OPI.
Part 12: Jin Soon, Morgan Taylor, Girly Bits, Colour Prevails, Wet 'n' Wild.
Part 13: OPI, Pacifica, Bliss, Essence

Friday, January 12, 2018

Holding on to Last Year

Happy 2018! Mr. Karen and I celebrated the New Year by getting in the car and driving across the entire width of Washington State (well, after we'd driven south an hour plus to get to the freeway) to his eldest sister's house, where we hung out for a week or so with his mom and his other sister and various other family. We spent three long days of our trip looking at retirement places for his mom (one of them I think I'd like to move into when the time comes for me). Because there's a mountain pass between her house and ours, we weren't sure when we'd be back (the pass sometimes closes when there's too much snow), but here we are on our mountain in Idaho. We've had a lot of snow so far this season; here's me and some snow and trees I was skiing in yesterday:

As far as this blog is concerned, I'm going to extend 2017 for a bit longer. I want to catch up with the swatches and nails of the day in my backlog, then do my Top 20 list (which might be a Top 10 this time), then proceed with new stuff. (Somewhere in there I'm also planning to make New Year's resolutions, one of which will be to be a better blogger.) Nail Wheel Wednesday might be on hiatus until I'm caught up with other things; I haven't decided for sure.

Today I have swatches of some polishes I picked up on my travels in 2017, starting with Fresh Paint Blue Jean Baby. I really really shouldn't be buying cremes, what with having so very many already. I did pass on this one the first several times I saw it, spanning more than one trip, but finally the pretty blue got me and it came home with me. It reminds me of the base color of Essie Bikini So Teeny, one of my favorite polishes. I used two coats for my swatch; the formula was good.

I embellished Blue Jean Baby with a glitter topper I also got at Five Below. This is called Shooting Star and has gold stars, silver holo crescent moons, and turquoise hex glitter in a clear base.

Shooting Star was very well behaved; I didn't have to fish for the shaped glitters, and I didn't have to use topcoat to make it smooth.

Meijer was the source of the next two polishes I have to share, starting with Studio M Good as Granite, a charcoal shimmer. This was almost a one coater, but I did two. I'm not a fan of these new round bottles. They do seem more sturdy than the old rectangle ones, but that they reduced the volume from 15ml in the old ones to 10ml in these new ones and kept the price the same is super annoying. Sure, they're still inexpensive, and I probably will never use up even 10ml, but them being sneaky about a 33% price increase per ounce is sucky. Yet I am weak and still buy the polishes, so they won.

Good as Granite got topped with another Studio M shade, Under the Moon. It too gave up the shaped glitter without me having to fish, though I did add topcoat to smooth out the moons a bit; not sure if that was strictly necessary or just seemed like a good idea due to where the moons fell on my nails with this one.

At first glance, I thought Under the Moon was a dupe for Shooting Star, but there weren't any stars in it, just silver holo moons and turquoise hexes. They sure do look similar, though.

I do like living out here on my mountain, but I do also miss Michigan sometimes, with its Five Below and Meijer stores.