Sunday, September 25, 2011

A few updates!

Hi all -
I know most of you follow through Google Reader, so you probably haven't noticed the few little updates to my site.  In the sidebar, I'm now linking to my Spreadsheet, Wishlist, and Swaplist (though that one is still a work-in-progress).  My Spreadsheet hasn't been updated since late July (yikes!!), but feel free to browse and if you see something you want swatched, either leave me a comment or hit the Contact Me button.  Sometimes I'm not sure what to try next - the current thing you are seeing everywhere or something totally different?  Let me know what you want to see!

Also, I'm trying to get into Twitter.  I just don't get it though.  I mean, I do... but how the heck do you keep up with everyone?  I'm only following 22 people, but I can't keep up!  Suggestions?

I don't have a Facebook account, but I'm trying out Google+ to see how that goes.  You can add me by email I think... it's threnodynx @ gmail . com.

While I've always been a big fan of technology and being social on the web, for some reason I am really struggling with all this social media!  I hated MySpace (only had one because a friend made me, I deleted it 2 years ago), I don't like Facebook (I'm a boss - I don't want my employees to know all about my personal life, mmmkay?), and Twitter is just like WTFBBQ?!!>?! when I start looking at my stream.  However, it's important in this day in age to be visible on something, ya know?  Email just isn't enough!  *shakes head*

It's been especially different since the whole MUA Nail Board split thing.  I think I moved to the new one.  I say think because I don't really feel like I'm a part of either community now.  I don't lurk on the new one as much as I did on MUA, but I also haven't developed that close bond that so many others have.  I'm leading a Lynnderella group order though, so maybe that will help?  I haven't posted on MUA since the split, and I haven't even read the board in a few days.  Trolls galore and the community has just changed.  A lot of lovely ladies I have gotten to know are not posting on either board, and I think that is part of the problem for me.  I can't keep up with all the different subforums on the new one, but I don't like MUA anymore.  *sigh*  So now I need some kinda social media to stay connected.  *grumbles*

My blog turned a year old Labor Day weekend, and I also hit 100 followers the week before.  Plus I turned 30 two weeks before that.  I promise, I am going to do something to commemorate such a special occasion, I just haven't gotten to it yet.  What would you guys like to see in a giveaway?  BN or swatched once?  HTF or LE seasonal collections?  I have access to Meijer, which usually gets LE drugstore collections when they are HTF throughout the rest of the country.  Frankening supplies?  Makeup?  I'm actually quite makeup-addicted, though I don't feature it on this site.  I have A LOT to learn about applying it, so don't worry, you won't be seeing it here.  Foreign polishes?  I would appreciate any feedback you might have.  I'm always broke, so I want my one year giveaway to be something special - there won't be another one for a long time!  :D

I want to say THANK YOU to all my followers - it means so much to see your little pictures in my sidebar.  I especially want to thank those early supporters who inspired me to keep going - Jaybird, Kris in Philly, Lindsay, Cilucia, and many others.  If those of you who had blogs hadn't followed, a) I wouldn't have any followers, and b) I probably would have given up early on.  I know what I have here isn't top-notch, but I am proud of it and the work I've put into it.

In personal news, today is Daniel and I's 7th anniversary!  He has to work all day today though, so not much fun.  We are going to see Elsinore tonight, which is an amazing band, plus they are local, so it's the best of the best.  And I got the tickets free through my work!  We are both on vacation starting Monday (well, mine started Saturday), so yay for no work!  Daniel is taking me on a mystery vacation from Tuesday-Friday - I have no idea where we're going!  If you knew Daniel, you would realize this is totally out of character for him, but I'm loving it!  I know that we're staying in the state, that we haven't been there before, there will be wine there, and he expects us to be able to walk wherever we want to go.  ?!?!?!?  I'm totally clueless!  I was assuming we were going to the bed and breakfast we stayed at on our honeymoon and we were going to hit the wine trails of Southern IL, but he said we'd never been to this place before... and we can walk everywhere.  That is definitely not Southern IL, as he lived there for 5 years, we visit often, and there is no way you can walk to anything down there.

Sooo... I won't be posting or anything until at least Friday.  That shouldn't be a big deal, considering I go weeks without posting!  lol  I will try to check emails, but it might only be once a day, so if you do send me feedback on everything I asked for up there, please understand I might not get back to you until I return.  I thought about scheduling a post while I was gone, but I don't think I will have the time.  I put the Google+ app on my phone, so if you are interested in finding out where I'm going, add me - I'll be updating on my way!

I hope you all have a great week.  Thank you all SO much for your support!  *hugs*

Orly Mineral FX Collection

As a follow-up to last year’s Cosmic FX collection, Orly has released Mineral FX for Fall 2011.  These also carry the higher price point ($7.99 at Sally Beauty, $10 everywhere else), but they also have some extra-special finishes that makes them worth it.  Think of the FX series as Orly’s version of OPI’s DS series.  You pay a little more, but it’s worth it!  Or is it…??

While last year’s FX collection was mostly unique, or was the cheaper option if there was a dupe, this year it seems that there are a couple of dupes and you will be paying the same or more for the Orly, depending on where you get it.  I did not purchase Rock The World or Rococo A-Go-Go for this reason.  While not an exact dupe to either, Rock The World is VERY similar to Zoya’s Faye and OPI’s Rally Pretty Pink, just a bit darker.  Rococo A-Go-Go is pretty much a dead-on dupe to Zoya’s Valerie (which is almost dead-on to Zoya’s Jem too).  The PolishAholic has done great comps on these – you can see Rock The World here and Rococo A-Go-Go here.

So let’s move on to the ones I did buy, the non-dupes!  :D


Emberstone is a glowy, orange-leaning sparkly red with tiny gold and purple flecks.  I’m not sure if you can see them, but they are there and that’s what makes this one unique.  Great formula too – two coats to perfection!


I’m not so sure it’s a fall color, but I do love it!  Too bad it wasn’t around this summer, I would have worn it half to death.  The shimmer is a larger particle, smaller than a normal flakey, but it is more like little flakes than your typical shimmer. 


For a sparkly red, it’s actually pretty unique.  I have seen it mentioned to be dupey to Hard Candy – Lava (ring) and Zoya – Kimmy (index), but as you can see, they are a little different.  First off, Lava is a glitter, while the other two are shimmers.  Lava’s glitter is much less dense than the shimmer in Emberstone and Kimmy, so it looks kinda patchy by comparison.  Kimmy is similar in its base color and density of shimmer, but it’s the shape, size, and color of that shimmer that sets Emberstone apart.  Kimmy has the standard shimmer, straight gold, while Emberstone’s is larger, more flake-like, and it is purple and orangey-gold.  You can decide for yourself if you need all three, but I’m not sure I can part with one!


Rock It is a deep wine shimmer with a bit of gold in it as well.  The sparkle and glow on this one is intense.  I absolutely love it and will be wearing it a lot this fall!


It’s close to a foil, but not quite.  Intense, densely-packed shimmer with a great formula – this could be a one-coater if you were careful.


Yes, Rock It has something quite similar… OPI’s The One That Got Away (on ring and index, Rock It on middle).  They are a bit different though.  For one, Rock It is a bit deeper in color, and a tad warmer.  For two, the shimmer in Rock It is more densely-packed than TOTGA.  While TOTGA looks super shimmery on its own, almost foil-like, compared to Rock It, it just looks like a regular shimmer. See below!


See?  The Orly looks crazy-glowy compared to the OPI!  I love them both, but if I had to choose, I would choose Rock It.  Thankfully, no one is making me!  :D


Stone Cold seems to be the fan favorite of the bunch.  A rich blue with larger blue flakes – it just barely misses the mark of being called a flakey.  The flakes are larger than the ones in Emberstone, but still not quite as large as a true flakey (flakie?) polish’s would be. 


The flakes give it such an amazing depth – I don’t see too many polishes like that.  It’s like the light glinting off of ocean waves.  Two coats, and it’s kinda thick.  I’ll add a bit of thinner next time.


Extra pic because… well, to be honest, I’m trying to love it, but I’m just not sure I do.  I don’t wear a lot of blue polish to begin with, and this color of blue least of all.  I guess I wish it leaned a little more green, a little more purple, or it was darker overall.  I really appreciate and respect it – I mean, the flakes are gorgeous, it really does remind me of the ocean, and I can see why everyone loves it.  I just don’t love it on me.  I’m going to try it at least one more time before I swap it though, the flakes are beautiful and I would hate to have regret!


I thought it looked awfully similar to last year’s Lunar Eclipse (ring) when I bought it, but when I compared the bottles, I realized LE leans much more purple, besides that whole flake difference thing.  I have seen a lot of questions asking if OPI’s Swimsuit… Nailed It! is dupe – as you can see, it isn’t.  A little greener, plus totally different finishes – the OPI is a foil.  SNI entered my top 20 (maybe even my top 10!) the first time I wore it and is by far my favorite blue, so you can figure out what I would pick if told to choose!


Another pic… because I am still trying to convince myself.  Am I crazy?  I totally prefer SNI here!  Then LE… and then Stone Cold.  Gahh!


Last up I have Rock Solid, a foily gunmetal with larger holographic glitter.  I haven’t ever seen a polish quite like this one!  The texture of the foily base is unique on it’s own (at least I don’t have anything similar), and to toss the holo glitter in with it?  Unheard of!


Rock Solid is also getting a lot of love, and again, I can see why.  It’s different and it’s really pretty.  However, again, I’m not totally sold.  If the holo glitter wasn’t in there, I would be all over this one.  “Like a duck on a beetle”, as Robert Jordan has said in Wheel of Time so many times (have I ever mentioned I was obsessed with this series?!).  While I love holographic polishes, I don’t find myself loving holo GLITTER polishes, especially not ones with such large glitter as this.  I’m keeping it though, as it is really unique and I might change my mind – it is quite pretty and sparkly!


I tried to find some similar polishes in my collection and came up short.  The closest I got was $OPI’s If You’ve Got it, Haunt It (from last year’s Halloween collection), and LA Girl’s Heavy Metal (from the Rock Star collection).  Maybe if you mixed the two together, it would be similar to Rock Solid?  IYGHI is a DENSE black and silver glitter with a sparser amount of… is that holo glitter in there?!  If it is, it primarily flashes blue or green with an orange flash every once in awhile.  It was a limited edition from Sephora last year and is quite HTF these days.  I haven’t seen it up for swap, on eBay, or in a blog sale… so maybe Rock Solid will be close enough to squash the lemming?  Heavy Metal is a much deeper base with multi-colored shimmer.  It isn’t a foil, but once applied, it kinda looks like one.

So, what do you think?  Have you picked up any Mineral FXs?  Are you planning on it?  Which is your favorite?  Am I cray-cray for not being head over heels for Stone Cold?!?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Julep Maven Program – Review Part 2

I really liked my Intro box, except I wasn’t super-crazy about frosty Alfre, but the September box was awesome for me.  Would you like to see?


Same heavy black box, but inside this month was a card telling me what was in it, plus a little flyer about the program.


Different colored ribbon this month, but packed the same in this cute shopping bag.  Boxed items are just in the bag, unboxed items (such as nail polishes) are wrapped in tissue paper.  Sorry, I had it unwrapped in about 2 seconds, so no pic of that!  ;)


All items, unwrapped/unboxed.  I accidentally ripped the tissue paper, so I didn’t unwrap it all the way, but I wish I would have, this is a weird pic.  :P

This box contained a full-sized Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream ($28 retail – 3 oz), a full-sized Essential Cuticle Oil ($18 – .29 oz), and a full-sized bottle of a new for fall polish, Boris and Nicole ($14 – .27).  Retail value of this box is $60.  Would I pay $60 for these items?  No.  But $19.99 isn’t too bad.  I didn’t mind that.

We’ll start with the hand cream, since I mentioned it last post.  It is 3 oz, which is a pretty decent size, and it contains SPF, which, I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time finding in a hand lotion.  Everyone mentions how important it is, but I don’t see any hand creams laying around here (and trust me, I have many) that have SPF.  The product itself has a slightly sunscreen smell that dissipates a few minutes after rubbing it in and that’s it – I don’t smell anything else, which is a nice change.  Usually I have to ditch lotions with a strong smell, my head just can’t tolerate them.  As there is sunscreen, there is a bit of a greasy feel when you initially put it on, but again, gone in a couple of minutes.  I am able to use this one at work, which is uncommon – most lotions leave my hands too slippery to use at work.  I work with paper all day every day and if my hands are too soft or lotiony (I think you know what I mean), I can’t grab anything.  Everyday SPF 30 isn’t the most moisturizing product I’ve ever used though, and that is its one downfall.  It does help – it’s better than not using anything, but I wouldn’t rave about it’s moisturizing properties.  It’s not bad though – it’s on par with most lotions out there.  Good, but not GREAT.  It is the only one I own that I am able to use at work though, and I appreciate it for that.  Plus the SPF isn’t something I find everyday, and there isn’t the strong scent that I get with most hand creams.  I’d give it a B.  Maybe a B+.

I don’t usually use cuticle oil, as I find it to be extremely messy, but I was intrigued by Julep’s Essential Cuticle Oil – it’s got a rollerball top, so I can just roll it on around my cutes and be done.  No brushes, no dripping.  I LOVE the rollerball.  It is so easy to roll it on really quick at work before I start the next batch of work.  It does have a stronger smell, though not overwhelming.  It contains Vitamin E oil, as well as Jojoba seed, Sweet Almond, Caster, Rosewood, Lavender, and Ylang Ylang oils.  I think what I’m smelling is a combination of Lavender and Ylang Ylang.  It’s a woodsy, herbal scent that I can’t quite put my finger on.  I’m not a HUGE fan of the scent, but it isn’t totally off-putting either.  I keep using it, if that means anything, and my head hasn’t protested yet.  If you have had a messy experience in the past, Julep’s Essential Cuticle Oil might be worth looking into.  It isn’t going to replace my Lemony Flutter for nights, but I love using it during the day.  It’s easy and quick to apply, no mess, and it does a great job of sinking in and moisturizing my cutes.  The rollerball applicator makes it easy for me to actually moisturize at work, which I never did before!

Finally is the polish, which is what we all want to see.  Boris and Nicole (named for hottie Boris Kodjoe and his gorgeous wife, Nicole Ari Parker) is THE color of fall.  Honestly, I was blown away.  It is so damned gorgeous and looks like fall in a bottle.  Is it super-unique?  Well, no… but the idea is absolutely perfected in this polish.


It’s a deep red with gold shimmer… like I said, not the most unique idea, but I haven’t seen another similar polish that is good as this one.  It’s a warm red that pairs perfectly with the gold shimmer, and there is exactly the right amount.


This is 2 coats – formula was perfection, again.  I have only tried 3 polishes from Julep, but the formula has been fabulous on all 3.  It’s a pretty dense shimmer, but no brush strokes.

To be honest, my breath caught when I opened the tissue and saw this one.  I LOVE these kinds of colors.  LOVE.  But then I was like “man… that is a dupe for Essie – Wrapped in Rubies." and I didn’t rush to put it on.  But guess what my lovelies?  NOT DUPES!  :D


Wrapped in Rubies (middle), is a much cooler, more burgundy color, with less of that gold shimmer showing on the nail.  Formula was also thinner and I needed 3 coats for opacity, compared to 2 for Boris and Nicole.  I know I shouldn’t keep both, but I probably will anyway!  ;)

I haven’t comped B&N to OPI – Russian to a Party on the nail yet (since RtaP is HTF, I don’t usually go for the HTFs first), but on paper, whey are pretty similar.  RtaP is a tiny bit darker, cooler, and the gold shimmer blends a bit more with the red base, it it seems more like a warm red shimmer than a warm red with gold shimmer.  Pretty danged similar though… again, I don’t think I would need both.  RtaP was hard for me to get ahold of though, so it isn’t going anywhere!  ;)

Overall, I was quite happy with my September box – a good lotion, easy to use cuticle oil, and a gorgeous polish.  I know some would think $19.99 was steep for that, but I think it’s about right.  I don’t think I could go to Target and buy a lotion with SPF, cuticle oil, and polish for much under $20, let alone things that I am happy with.  To each her own though, right?

A quick word on this… I am not being paid or compensated for this review.  Julep doesn’t even know I did one!  I just wanted to share my experience.  Yes, if someone clicks my referral link and signs up for the Maven program, I will get $15 credit, but I don’t think that’s quite the same.  I paid for the products, I like them, I’m sharing.  I have seen a lot of negative reviews about Julep and unsatisfied customers, but I did want to put one positive review out there since I do like the program and plan on sticking with it for a bit.

Thoughts?  Nice ones?  ;)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Julep Maven Program – Update & Review – Part 1

I apologize for the delay in posting – I had to learn my new camera (still working on that part), and after the whole fiasco with Julep’s referral program not working correctly, I wasn’t sure if I should post this.  However, Julep has fixed the problem, given me an acceptable solution, and I am happy with the service I have received from them, so I’m going to go ahead.  Please don’t leave me hate spam for supporting them if you do not agree.

I signed up for the Maven program on August 14th and after taking their little style quiz (which I kept retaking until I got the polish pack I wanted!), I was “American Beauty”.  My order shipped on August 16th and I received it August 23rd, so right at a week.  My second box, however, shipped on August 26th and it was in my mailbox on August 29th.  My first box came Parcel Post, the second Priority Mail, which explains the difference.  We will see in October how they ship!  My October box will be free, however, so that may mean we’ll be back to Parcel Post… maybe not a good indication of how they will ship in the future.

So yes, my October box is free.  If you haven’t already heard all of this, I will do a quick explanation.  One of the perks of the Maven program is that for each person you refer, you get a $15 credit to your account, as long as they click and buy through your referral link.  However, the original links given to customers did not work.  They went to Julep’s site and people could sign up, but the links didn’t keep track of who referred them and such, and therefore the referral program was pretty meaningless.  I learned of this from Noelie, but later there was a backlash after Jen from The Polishaholic posted about it.  I do agree with Jen – as soon as Julep realized there was a problem, they should have emailed, tweeted, Facebooked, whatever, and let people know there was a problem.  They just kinda sat on it though.  I don’t know if it was because they didn’t know what to do or if it was trying to be sneaky – I’m not sure what went on.  However, Julep did issue an apology email the day after Jen’s post.  Maybe it was because of Jen’s post – I don’t know.  I’m sure they noticed how many people cancelled the program that day, that’s for sure.  I didn’t cancel, however… I decided to wait and see what happened.  I’m glad I did.  As an apology, Julep is giving us the October box for free.  I think I only had one referral, so that is plenty sufficient to please me.  They were offering other solutions for people who had more than 1 referral and it looks like they were pretty good.  I saw a huge Julep haul on The TraceFace Philes that she was able to get from referral credits.  Maybe someday that will  be me!  ;)

So, now with all the drama behind us, let’s talk about the boxes, shall we?

When they say you can send these as a gift, they mean it.  Really well packaged and they look like a present!  Here is the nice, heavy black box they are shipped in:


(Sorry for the wonky picture sizes in this post, I’m used to working with nails and cropping – I didn’t take these pictures quite right for that!)



Inside is a heavy-weight paper bag with Julep’s logo on one side and the other…


Julep’s motto, “Powered by Girlfriends”.  $1 of every polish sold goes to charity.  The charities change monthly – you can see which one is being sponsored this month here.  One of the charities they are sponsoring this month is Dress for Success, which helps disadvantaged women purchase professional attire (as well as support and career development tools), which in turn will help them find jobs and remain employed.  Lia Sophia has been working with this program for several years and I usually purchase the Dress for Success pieces, of which the proceeds go to this charity.  I was pleased to see Julep working with them!  :)

Inside the bag is where you will find your monthly goodies:


If they aren’t boxed, you will find them wrapped in tissue paper.  They don’t bubble wrap or use packing peanuts, so there is a possibility of breakage, but it looked pretty good to me and I doubt they will see much of that unless a box gets smashed or something.

So in my first box I received a full-sized tube of Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub, a sample of the same scrub and one of their Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream, a full-sized basecoat, Cameron, and Alfre.  Full-sized scrub is 3oz and retails for $32.  The basecoat and polishes, full-size, are .27oz, which, yes, is small.  Very small.  A regular polish is .5oz, Chanels are .4oz, Mac are .34oz, Glitter Gals are .3oz, and an Essence Color & Go is .16oz, if that helps you out at all.  At $14 a pop, these polishes are quite expensive for the amount you get.  However, I used those coupon codes I mentioned before to get my intro box for only $4.99, which was a steal.  I have $74 retail + the two samples in here and I didn’t pay shipping costs.  If each box was like this, the $19.99 normal price would be a steal.  But we’ll get to that!

I tried out the Facial for Hands immediately and I really liked it.  It smells like oranges and wood – not like the woods, but like a new package of orange sticks.  Or toothpicks.  Something like that.  You should probably shake the tube first – I didn’t and it came out kinda watery and separated, but it sat out in my mailbox for a few hours at 100º temps, so it could have broken down a bit.  Anyway, give it a good shake and then apply a dime to quarter-sized amount on damp hands.  Rub it between your hands and don’t forget your knuckles and cuticle areas!  It’s full of little scrubby particles (looks like walnut shell and that kinda stuff, same as in CO Bigelow’s Lemon Body Scrub) that gently exfoliate your hands.  When you are satisfied, rinse and pat dry.  Follow up with your favorite hand lotion.

Now, I won’t tell you this is the *best* scrub I’ve ever used or anything, because that honor goes to Mary Kay’s Satin Hands set.  If you haven’t tried it, get on it!  It’s pricey, but usually not terrible on eBay.  My friend gave me a full-sized set for my bday one year and I’m still using it… that was like, 7 years ago.  Satin Hands is amazing, but there are 4 steps to it, which can be a bit cumbersome if you are in a hurry.  Julep’s scrub is REALLY nice and it’s only 2 steps.  When I’m going to pamper myself, I’ll pull out the Satin Hands, but for everyday use, I’m using Facial for Hands.  It smells great and gets the job done in half the time.

(I tried the sample of the lotion, but I’ll review it with the September box, since I received a full-sized lotion with it.)

The polishes are why we are really here, so let me get to them!


L-R: Basecoat, Cameron, Alfre


Cameron is a yellow-based bright pink crème.  My new camera can pick up purples ok, and even teals, but pinks?  Don’t even think about it.  Please forgive me – these aren’t even close.  The pics say blue-based almost neon, and that isn’t right at all.  It is totally unique to my collection, though I can imagine that a pink collector will be able to find something similar.  The closest in my collection was Revlon Top Speed Jelly, but it is deeper and more orange than Cameron.  I don’t have a comp photo because my camera hates pink.  It wouldn’t be accurate and you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.  Pink is tough, ya’ll.


This was two creamy, dreamy coats.  Amazing formula.  Absolutely easy to work with.  Dries super-shiny, so no topcoat in this swatch.  However, I do have to complain a bit about the bottle itself.  It’s tall and thin, so VERY easy to knock over while reloading the brush.  I love the polish though, and it’s a great brush, so I won’t complain *too* much… but a different shape would be easier to work with.  I think I’m going to have to use Silly Putty to stabilize the bottle while I’m working.

I’m going to switch to the basecoat real quick here because I used it under Cameron and did a wear test for you.  It was tough, but I wanted to see what the quality was like on the basecoat and polish itself.


Hey, it’s naked nails!  First time I’ve showed those off – be kind!  Julep’s basecoat is thin and VERY shiny for a basecoat, I even double checked to make sure it wasn’t topcoat!  It dried quickly though, no bubbling.  I used one coat of BC and two coats of Cameron on my left hand, one coat of Nail Quencher on my right and 2.5 coats of Cameron, as it didn’t want to flow as well over NQ, which is a problem I’ve had in the past.  I decided to wear it until one hand chipped and declare a winner.  I was expecting this to be short contest.  I haven’t had a lot of luck with anything that isn’t “moisturizing”, and this one doesn’t say it is.  In fact, Julep has a moisturizing basecoat, so this is different.

It took a full friggen week before one of these babies chipped.  Seriously… a week of the same polish.  It was kinda hell-ish, especially because I had the time and drive to swatch, but I couldn’t!  Both hands had tipwear within a couple of days (I was hell on ‘em), and on day 4 I started to have some lifting around the cuticle on my right middle finger (writer’s bump and a permanently dry cuticle).  I did not get an actual chip until day 7, during an extremely physical day at work.  My Julep hand did end up chipping first, but I ended up with a chip on the NQ hand a little later in the day.  I will say though, it wasn’t a small chip – about half the polish on the index finger cracked and fell off.  But neither was the NQ hand… by the end of the night, my hands were looking toe-up!  >.<

I really was impressed with the Julep Basecoat and am using it right now on both my hands and toes.  I wore my next mani for 5 days with only tipwear and only one tiny chip after another extremely stressful day.  It was also a Julep polish, so I’m currently wearing it with a different brand (OPI Skull & Glossbones with Lynnderella Connect the Dots on top – AMAZING!) to see how it goes.  After 48 hours, it still looks perfect – like I just did it today.  And I’ve spent 16 hours on the computer today, so that’s no small feat.  I will keep you guys updated on it, but right now, it’s my go-to BC.

Finally, we have Alfre.  In the promo pic I saw before I placed my order, she looked like a smoky purple, kinda like a Zoya Kelly.  I’ve been craving smoky, work-appropriate colors lately, so I was pretty excited.  In the bottle pic above, you can see it’s a metallic… but when I looked closer, I began to get concerned.  Is this a freaking frost?!?!


Why yes, yes it is a frost.  But… it’s not as bad as it could be.  Actually, my ring finger looks great.  You can really see the brush-strokes on my middle finger though.  Ruh-roh. 


On the upside, it dries so shiny on it’s own that you can see my reflection in my middle nail!  Depending on how thick your coats are, this is a 2-3 coater.  It is a beautiful smoky color – a gunmetal mixed with lavender, which is a great idea for the fall.  It reminds me of a cross between Nimue and Tao, both from Zoya’s Mirrors collection.  I don’t have either to prove that, and I don’t think they have as much frosty shimmer as this one, but they are close.

So Alfre was kind of a let down after the awesomeness of Cameron, but don’t fear – the next box made up for it!

Stay tuned for the next post where I share my September box, review Julep’s Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream, and give you my overall review of the Julep Maven program thus far!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Julep Maven Program

If you’ve been around the blogging scene or the nail board the last couple of days, you’ve probably seen people mentioning the Julep Maven program.  It’s basically like Birchbox, where they put a little box of samples together for you to try each month for a fee.  The awesome thing about Julep’s program is that it is all nail related.  I have been interested in trying the brand since I saw them posted on a few blogs (last week maybe?) and this seemed like a great chance.  It’s $20 a month, which seems steep, but you will get $40 worth of products – their polishes are $14 each, so if you get 2, you’ve gotten your $20 worth.
The thing that really drew me to the Maven program is that you get to see what they are going to send you – a little preview – and if you don’t like it, you can request a “shelf pull”, and they will redo your box.  You can also choose to skip that month and you won’t be billed.  Or, if you see it say “that’s pretty, but it’s not me… but mom would love it!” or something similar, you can have the box shipped to her instead.  I liked the flexibility Julep provided with this program, unlike some of the other ones I’ve looked into.  Maven members also get 20% off and free shipping on all orders!
If you’d like more information, you can look into the program on their website – click here.  Julep does have a referral program, so if you end up joining through my link, I will earn $15 towards a future purchase.  I didn’t want to try to be sneaky, so there it is.  If you join, you can also earn $15 for each friend who joins.  Not bad, eh? 
To figure out what products you will be interested in, they do a short quiz to figure out what your style is, and at the end, they show you some colors that fit that style.  If you click from there, you can see the exact box you would be getting for your first.  If you don’t like it, no big deal – go back and retake the quiz.  I did this several times until I found a box I LOVED.  I can’t wait to get it!  :D

The best part?  Coupon codes to get your first month for a discounted price!  BeautyStat will give you $10 off that $19.99, or smh9oxu will give you $15 off, making your first month only $4.99.  I’m trying it out – I will let you know about it when I get my box, but I wanted to share since a) I’m excited and b) there are coupon codes working right now!  :)

Orly Pure Porcelain + Barielle Buddha-ful, and a camera update!

This was the last mani I took pics of before my camera died (it’s not so ugly it broke it… right?), a very light and neutral one – not usually my thing!


So here is Pure Porcelain by itself.  I had thought to pass on this entire collection, but Cilucia posted a comparison of Sapphire Silk and other teals that I love, so that one ended up coming home with me, and I kept hearing raves about Pure Porcelain, so I finally bought it when doing a group order at work.  I didn’t find the formula of PP to be as great as everyone claimed, but a little thinning will probably fix it up.  It was thick, and though not exactly streaky, it wasn’t the most opaque and smooth polish I’ve ever worked with.  I think it actually looks ok on me – it isn’t my *perfect* nude or anything, but it doesn’t seem to clash too much.  There is a bit of pink, but not enough to make my hands look dirty or sick.  I guess it’s just an ok one, which probably means I should ditch it.  It’s about the best I’ve found in these kinds of shades though, so I’m waffling.  It was such a nice blank canvas, I decided to top it with Barielle - Buddha-ful, from their spring collection.


OOOOH look at the flakies!  :D  So pretty with their little green glints… I <3 flakies!


But um… honestly, I don’t like this combo on me. Buddha-ful has a milky/nude base which adds just enough pink to Pure Porcelain to make it… well, icky. I wore this mani for 3 days only because I couldn’t find the time to change. I really wanted to though! :(


Even in the shade, the little flakies show their pretty green side!  I really need to find a way to wear Buddha-ful, ‘cos I really like it.  That damned hint of pink in the base kills it for me though!  :(

I actually have the entire Barielle spring collection, just waiting to be swatched and have pics taken… but no camera yet.  I did order one today though!  :D  Yesterday was my birthday (the big 3-0, yikes!  I’m wearing La Boheme to celebrate, but boooo no pics!), so I got money from my family and didn’t have to spend very much.  Wanna see what I got??


Fujifilm S2950

It isn’t at all what I went looking for, but I think I’m going to really like it!  :D  I looked at so many reviews and website last week and I thought I had one all picked out and was planning on ordering it as soon as I got some $$.  I looked at Best Buy’s website to see if they had what I was looking at in stock so I could go play with it, and they didn’t have that one, but had a very similar model that was a bit newer methinks.  My family gave me some $$ yesterday, so I went in to Best Buy today ready to buy.  I played with that camera for awhile and um… yeah, I didn’t like it.  At all.  I couldn’t figure out how to get it into macro mode.  Apparently a ton of these new point and shoots don’t have a wheel like my other ones have, with the macro  settings clearly marked with the flower.  Most of them have the flower on an edge of round button-thing on the back, including the Fujifilm above that I purchased.  Some of them are also auto-macro, so they detect it and then switch over.  The camera I went in looking for never switched into that.  I figured out how to manually put it in to macro mode, so then, like a crazy person, I started taking pics of my hands.  I never could get it to focus, no matter how close or far away I was, and all the close-up shots I took were blurry.  I was SO disappointed.  I know I could probably figure out how to use it, but I want something that isn’t going to take a million years to learn to use.  My first digital camera (which does work, but the macro doesn’t) is like that – it has a ton of bells and whistles, but it can’t just take a regular picture without having to mess with every setting.  It’s around 7 years old (and was $600 at the time!), so I wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t intuitively obvious on how to use it.  However, I figured most P&S cameras in the $150 range would be easy to pick up and start shooting.

I went around testing every camera they had out and was having the same troubles on most – macro would not focus.  The macro wasn’t great on my Kodak that died, but it was better than the ones I kept picking up, in the same price range.  I finally ventured to the other side of the aisle, where the more expensive cameras are.  I had to pass over everything that was $250+, but then I stopped at this one, which was only $200.  It fit well in my hand and was very comfortable, not too heavy, and it has an awesome viewfinder thingie, plus the screen is huge.  No macro on the wheel, so I almost put it down right away, but I decided to try out the macro button on the back.  I was in pretty low-light, but I snapped a couple of pics of my nails anyway, and lo and behold, they were really nice!  Very detailed, crisp and clear.  I tried several different angles and distances and all of them came out very sharp.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like under my OTT light!  :D  I tried some pics around the area and all of them were fab.  There was only 1 left on the shelf, but I picked it up all happy and excited… but then I remembered how Best Buy’s price is usually higher than Amazon’s, so I looked it up on my phone. $25 difference, plus I had a $25 Amazon gift card leftover from xmas.  That’s $50 right there.  It was REALLY hard to put it back and walk out of the store empty-handed.  I wanted to cry, since it was my bday and I wanted my present NOW!  LOL

I came home, did some research on it, and ended up ordering it from Amazon – by the time I got the camera, memory card, and rechargeable batteries/charger, I still spent less than what I would have spent on just the camera at Best Buy.  Then I had that gift card, so that made it even better.  I am paying $19 more than what I have received for my bday, and I’m actually having a bday party next weekend, so I’m sure I’ll end up with a bit more cash.  YAY!  Delivery estimate is Thursday… I’m going to go crazy waiting for it!  :D

Thanks to everyone for being patient while I am camera-less!  I just found out that I am at 95 followers – whoa, when did that happen?!  I might have to do something special when I reach 100!  :D  <3 you all!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finger Paints – Peace, Love & Color Collection - Summer 2011

I wasn’t so sure about this collection, so I waited until Sally’s put it on clearance before I bought.  I have only bought a few Finger Paints before, and they haven’t really thrilled me (swapped one, two awaiting new homes!), but this collection seemed special, so I couldn’t resist for $.99 each!

Before I post the swatches though, I gotta tell you guys about my experience in purchasing these.  I got an email from Sally’s saying their clearance stuff was 1/2 price online and I’d been eyeing these, so within 2 minutes of getting the email, I had placed my order for 8 Finger Paints (Artistic Azure, Give Pink a Chance, Psychedelic Sunshine, All You Need is Color, Outta Sight Orange x 2, and Peaceful Purple x 2 – extras for a co-worker), so $7.92 for 8 polishes, plus $5.95 shipping.  The shipping was really hard to swallow, but I wanted to make sure I got them all, so I just went ahead and paid it.  Who knows what would be at my store?

I got a shipping notice from Sally’s a few days later, nothing unusual looking – it didn’t have any notes or anything, so I just tracked the package.  When it arrived, it only contained 4 polishes – Give Pink a Chance, All You Need is Color, and Outta Sight Orange x 2.  I checked my invoice and it said “w93” in the spot for the other polishes, which was printed at the bottom saying "item was not available in warehouse at time of shipping” or something really similar.  I was like WTF… are they out of stock or something?  I checked their website and they were all still listed and I could add them to a cart.  I then looked at my shipping notice again and sure enough, it only listed the polishes I received, not the other 4 I had ordered.  Nothing was stated in that shipping notice to say if they were out of stock or anything.

I started looking around on Sally’s website and found that if an item is out of stock at the time of shipment, Sally’s will notify you, but they will not ship backordered items.  They are dropped from your order and if you would like them, you will have to place a separate order when they are available again.  That is about the craziest policy I have ever seen.  Most places will contact you, and then give a choice of holding your order or cancelling the items, and some nice companies will even ship backordered items later.

The thing that really bugged me is that Sally’s never notified me that they did not have the items I ordered.  No little note in the shipping notice, nothing.  I was furious at this point – I paid $5.95 for shipping on $3.98 worth of merchandise?  If I knew I was only going to be able to get a couple, I would have just went to the store and taken my chances!  I shot off an email to their customer service – not too mean, but I complained that their website says customers will be notified of OOS items and that I found it unethical to cut over half the merchandise from the order without informing the customer.

I didn’t expect a response, but I got one within 24 hours – and a refund of my shipping charges!  I am usually not one to complain to companies about how bad they suck, but I might have to start, since Sally’s worked to fix their mistake.  The letter I got back apologized and said they would be speaking with the shipping department to find out why I wasn’t notified.  I don’t know if anything will change, but at least they are now aware that customers are NOT happy.

Fortunately, I did stop by my local Sally’s later and found the missing polishes.  I do have a gripe there too though – the summer display was still out with the new stuff and was not marked clearance in any way, so I assumed I would be paying full price.  Finger Paints were buy 2, get 1 free in July, so I got Psychedelic Sunshine and Peaceful Purple from that display, then chose Sketch n Etch from the regular display, since it seems to be dupish to Essie’s Dominica Green.  I figured getting 3 for $10 wouldn’t be that bad, so I trudged up to the counter and paid.  My total seemed really cheap, but I hadn’t really paid attention to the Beauty Club prices on a couple of the items I picked up, so I didn’t really look at the receipt until I got home.  Those summer Finger Paints were clearanced for $1.98, so I paid $4.99 for the regular one, $1.98 for 1 summer, and got 1 summer free.  It seems like a great deal, but had I known the summer ones were that cheap, I would have picked up one more clearance polish instead of the one from the regular display and would have gotten 3 for $3.98!  Argh!!!

Sally’s sucks!  >:P  Anyhoo, thanks for reading my rant (if you did – if you didn’t, I don’t blame you!), here are swatches as a reward!  ;)


Give Pink a Chance is a pinky-corally crème – I think it really depends on your skin tone what color tis one is on you.  For me, It’s pretty pink, but Scrangie said it was red-orange-coral on her.  Formula on this one was pretty smooth and opaque in 2 coats.  Maybe a hair thick.


I do have some similar colors in my collection – Essie Too Too Hot (ring) and China Glaze – High Hopes (index).  They aren’t dupes though, surprisingly enough.  Too Too Hot is a bit more red and is more of a jelly finish, while High Hopes (which I hate, btw… one of the worst formulas I’ve dealt with!) is brighter and more orange.  Give Pink a Chance is a great pedi color for me, I will use it often!


Outta Sight Orange is a glass fleck orange with almost duochrome flecks – sometimes it’s gold, sometimes it’s red!  I <3 it!  I’m sorry for the glare on the pic, my camera hates me.  It’s dead now though, so haha, I get the last laugh.  Or maybe it does, cos now I have to buy a new one.  Ugh, read on for more info on that situation.  Anyway, back to Outta Sight Orange… the formula on this one was fantastic.  2 coats to opacity.  If this one looks familiar to you, that’s because it is VERY similar to Nicole – Fresh Squeezed in the bottle.  However, Outta Sight Orange is the winner of the two.  It is what I hoped Fresh Squeezed would look like!


4 coats of Fresh Squeezed on the index and it still isn’t opaque.  I’ve went up to 6 before, and I don’t think it ever got there.  It’s streaky too – not a fave.  I also put China Glaze – Orange Marmalade on the ring so you could get an idea of what the base color looks like.  Outta Sight Orange has become a fave orange for me, and I <3 oranges!  :D


Psychedelic Sunshine is a really gorgeous and unique color – sunny yellow jelly with iridescent glitter.  I don’t have anything in my stash like it.  I’m not sure there *is* anything like it out there!  The glitter is small and sparkly and the yellow is such a happy color.  Gorgeous!


Slightly less blurry to see the glitter bits.  My camera did not like how sparkly this one was!  I don’t have anything similar, so I didn’t compare it to anything.  In my pics, it kinda looks like China Glaze – Lighthouse, but next to each other, they aren’t very similar, especially since this is glitter and the ChG is glass fleck.


This one has some big flaws though… it is so thick, I don’t think it would be useable if you didn’t own thinner.  I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a polish so thick before.  It’s syrupy and chunky and kinda gross actually.  I have added a TON of thinner, I even have had the bottle overflow twice and it still is really thick.  I dunno if it isn’t making it all the way into the bottle or what, but it is a mess.  It also dries extremely lumpy.  I dunno if you can tell in this pic or not, but it is dull and gritty.  It looks beautiful until it dries and then it’s like WTFBBQ IS THAT?!?!  A coat of Gelous before your regular topcoat will fix the problem, but it’s pretty blechy until without topcoat!

Next up in the collection should be Groovy Green, but it looked frosty, so I skipped it.  Frosty is icky!


All You Need Is Color is a gorgeous glitter, pretty opaque too.  I don’t have another teal glitter to compare it to, can you believe that?  However… I’m pretty sure this is a dupe to Butter London’s Henley Regatta.  I purchased it for a swap and noticed that it had a mix of teal, green, and cerulean glitter – I really wanted to keep it at that point, but sent it off.  When I got All You Need Is Color, I noticed it had the exact same colors – it isn’t just a straight teal glitter!  Woo hoo for cheap dupes!  :D  This one is also very thick, though it has taken well to being thinned and is perfect now.  This is 3 coats and a topcoat.  It’s a bit gritty without one, but it isn’t a hungry glitter, so one topcoat should be enough!


Last up we have Peaceful Purple, an opaque purple glitter.  This one is just straight purple, no other colors hidden in there.  This is two coats, but it looks a bit patchy on the edges, I probably should have done 3.  Also very thick, but was perfect once thinned.  Again, I didn’t have a purple glitter that was similar.  Weird, eh?  Scrangie says it is a dupe for Urban Decay’s Xanadu, which is in that new Rollergirl mini set I refuse to buy.  I got one the Apocolyptica one and felt like it was a rip off.  Those bottles are TINY!

This collection was perfect for summer – now I’m a bit said I didn’t pick it up until summer was almost over!  If you can still find some of these at your Sally’s, get them – they should be cheap and they are all gorgeous.  Make sure you have thinner though!!!  If you don’t… well, don’t bother.  You won’t enjoy them at all.

This might be my last post with lots of pics for awhile – my camera (which is less than 2 years old, I might add), worked fine on Tuesday this week, but would not turn on on Wednesday morning.  It won’t even charge.  I bought a new battery thinking that would fix the problem, but it still won’t charge.  The only other thing I can think to try is to buy a new cable for it.  I’ve contacted Kodak to see if they have other suggestions, but I doubt they will.  Of course, I am broke (as usual!) and really didn’t want to spend money on a camera.  :P  I kinda need one though… do you guys have suggestions?  I am trying to spend less than $150, looking for a good macro setting and something that can actually take decent indoor pics – I haven’t had a camera that could do that yet.  :P  I’m thinking about the Canon Powershot A3100 IS – what do you guys think?  Let me know if you have any experience with it, or if you know of something else in my price range that you think will work well!  :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

China Glaze–Metro Collection

I picked up a few polishes from the Metro collection this week – yay for not buying an entire collection!  *pats self on back*  I have been so overwhelmed with life (and polish) that it is honestly a relief to only be getting 4 from this collection.  Normally the fall collections kill me, but this year doesn’t look like it’s going to be too bad!  I’m planning on getting 4 from Zoya (Neeka, Yara, Petra, Cynthia), 3 from OPI (A Color to Diner For, I Eat Mainely Lobster, Uh-oh, Roll Down the Window), one from Finger Paints (Cordur-Orange), and nothing from Essie or Color Club – woo hoo!  :D  I’m sure I’ll end up with a couple more than I named, but at least I’m not planning on buying all of them from the start – that’s an improvement, right?

I’ve lured a couple of the girls I work with into the addicting world of nail polish, so now I have ladies to split the shipping with, and I can pass on a bit of knowledge here and there.  It actually makes it harder NOT to buy more stuff, but I am doing ok.  I received my biggest lemming a couple of weeks ago and since then, polish buying has tapered.  I purchased the Metro polishes on Thursday, received Monday… and I haven’t bought anything else since Thursday.  I also didn’t buy anything for over a week on Thursday when I purchased these.  Maybe I’m finally starting to get a handle on this mad, mad, mad, mad hobby?

Trendsetter is one of those ugly polishes that you either love or hate.  I tend to like these really funky ones, they are so unique that I can’t help but buy it.  It’s a baby-poo greenish mustard color with a heavy dose of multi-colored shimmer.  The shimmer leans gold, but it also flashes green and a bit of red, so I don’t think I can truly call it a gold shimmer.  It also has a bit bigger particles than the typical shimmer.  Formula-wise, this one is pretty danged thick – but not unmanageable.  It did have some self-leveling issues (which you can see in the pic), but it has been insanely hot and humid in the Midwest, so I won’t write it off just yet – maybe it will be ok when the weather normalizes.  The idea of this polish is very similar to Classic Camel from last fall, but the color is quite a bit different.


I went searching my stash for similar things and didn’t really find a lot.  I even pulled all my uglies, but this one is pretty unique!  I ended up going with American Apparel – Mac Arthur Park (ring), and since I mentioned that Trendsetter is this year’s Classic Camel, Classic Camel (index).  Classic Camel is a totally different color, but they both contain the same kind of shimmer.  Mac Arthur Park has a swoon-worthy formula and is actually the closest thing in my stash, though they are pretty different.  I wonder if you mixed Classic Camel and Mac Arthur Park, you would get Trendsetter?  I’m not a frankener, but it is an idea!  I also pulled Butter London - Bumster and Barielle – Aura Angora – both are too yellow to really compare, more yellow than Classic Camel.  In the bottle, China Glaze – GR8 is similar in hue to Trendsetter, though it is a totally different finish.  However, on the nail, GR8 shows much more gold compared to Trendsetter’s green, and the finishes are so different, I didn’t include it in a pic.


Traffic Jam really isn’t all that unique looking – a berry crème – but I don’t have a dupe and the formula is fabulous.  I only wear pinks, reds, oranges, corals, berries, etc., on my toes – no crazy colors!  I’m weird like that… most people will try the odd ones on their toes, but not their hands, and I am the exact opposite.  I painted my mom’s toes green recently and it was so weird!  It looked cute on her, but I couldn’t handle it.  I’m pretty much crème only on toes too.  Occasionally I can handle a shimmer, but usually I take it off before it even has a chance to dry.  *shrugs*  I bought this polish for pedis, and I think it will get A LOT of use.  It’s a great non-seasonal color and I think it would flatter just about every skin tone.


I was sure I was going to find a dupe in my collection, but surprisingly, I didn’t.  Apparently it is a bit more unique than we think.  The closest I had was OPI – Dim Sum Plum (ring) and OPI – Houston, We Have A Purple (index) – actually, HWHAP and Traffic Jam look nearly identical when you compare the bottles.  However, HWHAP is a jelly and Traffic Jam is a crème, so they don’t turn out to be dupes at all.  Here’s a bottle pic though, just to prove I’m not crazy!  ;)


Next up is one of the more anticipated polishes in this collection…


Skyscraper has been getting a lot of buzz as a possible Starry Starry Night dupe, but they are really just similar ideas, not really similar in look.  Skyscraper has a deep blue (with slight purple leanings) jelly base and is packed with silver glitter.  The first coat looks like it is going to be really sheer, but 3 coats makes it totally opaque.  I have a slightly wonky brush, so it doesn’t really want to apply evenly at the tips, but it really is a nice formula and wonderful polish.  It isn’t an SSN dupe, but it might satisfy lemmings for some!


The color of the jelly base makes this a hard polish for me to compare.  I don’t have anything similar to that color with glitter, so I chose two other blue with silver glitters to show you how different Skyscraper is.  Deborah Lippmann – Lady Sings The Blues (ring) is obviously darker with different shaped glitter, and CM – Midnight Imposter (index) also has a darker base with different glitter, but the differences are more than just that.  The glitter in Skyscraper is quite small – not as small as SSN (which I do not have, but I do have Essie – Bonded, which is the red counterpart to SSN, so I have seen the tiny glitters), but still quite a bit smaller than the usual glitter polishes out there.  It also has a jelly base, so the glitter really does show and doesn’t get buried in the base like LSTB and Midnight Imposter.  The are all beautiful, but Skyscraper is more like the midnight sky in a big, busy city with tons of lights.


The last of the Metro collection I have is Midtown Magic – a very deep burgundy/brown with that same gold / multicolored shimmer that appears in Trendsetter.  Another great formula – you might be able to get away with one coat, but I suggest two for this amazing color.  I am totally smitten and this will be on my nails often this fall.  When I initially saw promo pics, I swore this was going to be a dupe to Side Saddle, from the Rodeo Diva collection, but was proved wrong when I saw swatches.  Then I decided it was a dupe to OPI – DS Mystery.  Again… wrong!


While DS Mystery is definitely similar, the base color is different, plus the shimmer is more like little flakes and is more sparse.  It is that same color though – gold that leans green and flashes a bit of red.  Mystery’s base is a deep royal purple, while Midtown Magic’s is more brown.  Side Saddle is a burgundy / purple with a gold shimmer that is the typical shimmer size in comparison.  Midtown Magic is more what I wanted DS Mystery to look like – it really is gorgeous and is a perfect fall color.

Since I don’t have all the polishes from this collection, I can’t really make an overall opinion, but I did only buy 4… and I think that is my statement.  I love the ones I have, but I wasn’t overly thrilled with all the colors China Glazes went with this fall.  I have the entire Spring and Summer collections by them for this year, so I was a little disappointed with this collection.  I can’t really put my finger on it – I have dupes to a couple, and I’m sure a few won’t look so good with my yellow/green undertones, but overall, this collection was just meh to me.  I have seen CG In The City in person and wasn’t wowed, even though it does seem to be a unique glitter.  It’s just kinda dull and all the colors just blend together, at least in the bottle.  One of my co-workers bought it, so I’ll let  you know if that opinion changes when she wears it.  Formulas on all of these were nice – thick, but not too thick, though I did have some trouble with Trendsetter self-leveling.

Any you are lemming?

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: Beauty Secrets Fast Finish on all but Traffic Jam, which has no topcoat
Number of coats: 2 except Skyscraper, which was 3