Saturday, March 26, 2011

Essie Retail Swatches

So Essie was went retail and is now available at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Target, Meijer, etc. etc. ... which is both great and irritating.  Essie wasn't readily available here, so I'm excited to be able to get my hands on them without ordering, but it does suck to see destroyed displays.  Since Essie has been available at, my collection has tripled - free shipping, so I can order 1 or 2, not feel guilty, and not have to actually set foot in Wal-mart - it's a dream come true!  ;)

Today I have for you a bunch of the retail exclusives that I've managed to pick up - Dive Bar, Sweet Talker, Mochacino, Jamaican Me Crazy, Devil's Advocate, and Mango Bango.  There are 5 I don't have - Oui Madame (pearly/frosty white shimmer), Trophy Wife (teal pearly/frosty shimmer), Beach Bum Blue (cerulean pearly/frosty shimmer), Miami Nice (hot pink shimmer), and Master Plan (neutral/taupe cream) .  I doubt I'll be picking any of those up - maybe Miami Nice, but it's doubtful.  None of them really appeal to me.  If you have one and love it, tell me why - convince me!!  ;)

Now on to the ones I do have... we'll start with Dive Bar.  Check out these bottle pics!

I saw that purple shimmer mixed in with the teal and about died - it's so gorgeous!  On the nail though...

Where did that purple go?!  I wore this for 2 days and held my hands every way I could think of with every light source I could and never saw any purple... none.  Such a disappointment... I kinda want to swap mine away, but I would feel bad, since there is no purple!  Others say they see it though... am I blind?

Once this was on my nails, I realized it wasn't all that unique.  Here it is compared with Too Rich For You by Nicole.

The Nicole is in the center... these two are super-close.  TRFY has a few more sparkles than Dive Bar, but the colors are dead-on dupes.  No muggle would notice the difference!!

Sweet Talker is a pretty pale blue, perfect for spring time!  Makes me think of Easter and daffodils... and bunnies!  ;)  You can barely see it, but it does have some shimmer, not just a plain creme.

When I received Sweet Talker, I immediately thought I had a Hard Candy Sky dupe on my hands - both are sky blue and have the same aqua shimmer.

Once swatched though, it's obvious the two are quite a bit different.

Sky (middle) is very milky and so danged sheer and streaky, you really have to use very thick coats.  Sweet Talker isn't fantastic in the application department, but it is better than Sky.  Could probably use a little thinner - it was a bit thick.

Mochacino is a gorgeous neutral/taupe with little flakes of silver running throughout.  This is probably my favorite of the retail exclusives, one of my favorite Essies ever, and probably in my top 20 polishes.  I just adore it!

It's perfect for work, but the little flecks of silver keep it interesting and edgy.  I wore this one for a week straight and didn't get sick of it one little bit.  I don't have anything to compare it with... let me know if you can think of something!

Jamaican Me Crazy is a fuchsia shimmer - so shimmery the particles are almost foily, but it's not a foil.

My camera absolutely hates colors like this - these berry-ish shades never show quite right and the crazy amount of shimmer made every other pic blurry.  I like it a lot and was surprised, I usually shy away from pinks.  Maybe I'm branching out?  I think this will look great in the summer, especially on toes!

Devil's Advocate is a really dark purple - practically black.  It's extremely shiny!

I don't have OPI - Lincoln Park After Dark (blasphemy, I know!), but I'm thinking this is really darned close.  I do have William Tell Me About OPI, which is a less black version of LPAD, so I compared the two of them.

WTMAOPI is lighter and always appears purple, where Devil's Advocate looks like black in most indoor lighting.  It was smooth and easy to use, but I bet it could stain cuticles like a mofo!

Last today I have Mango Bango - my first coral creme!

I never thought I could pull off coral, but I was proved wrong - I can!  :D  Mango Bango probably isn't all that unique, but I absolutely loved the color on me.  It's such a happy spring/summer color, I think I'll probably use it a ton.

I picked up Elf's Summer Ready Nail Kit after seeing it reviewed at Polished Pirate, mainly because of that coral, so when I got it, I had to compare it to Mango Bango.

Elf's Coral is lighter, pinker, and kinda jelly-like, where Mango Bango is deeper, more saturated, and definitely a creme.  Gahhh I love them both so much!  I've suddenly become a huge coral fan - give me your must haves!

I have to say, when I swatched this one, I was oohing and ahhing over the formula as much as the color - it was so smooth and easy to apply.  I wore it as a full mani earlier this week (so a couple of weeks after originally swatching it) and I really had a time getting it even.  I'm assuming I just need to add a little thinner, but dang, that was quick to get thick!

These retail exclusives are available wherever Essies are suddenly showing up - Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Meijer, CVS, etc., and retail at $8.00.  The price varies on where you get them, but I haven't seen them cheaper than $7.75 in store.

What are your favorites from the retail exclusives?  I LOVE Mochacino and Mango Bango, and like Jamaica Me Crazy quite a bit, but I could have skipped the others.  I can't wait until they put out new retail exclusive shades!  :)

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: none
Number of coats: varies - 2 to 3

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Zoya Ivanka - My St. Patrick's Day Mani (a little late!)

My mom was still in the hospital on St. Patrick's Day, but I did manage to squeeze a mani in - White Kwik Silvr was looking so terrible by then that I had to do something, and I couldn't resist painting my nails green!  I had a ton of bottles sitting out on the coffee table and was having trouble deciding.  I asked hubby, but he doesn't care, so finally I started looking through clothes to figure out what I was wearing and which green would match it the best... and suddenly I thought of Ivanka.  I've had it since the summer and it is still untried (I'm embarrassed at how many untrieds I have!), plus it was a perfect match to the cardigan I was wearing.

In the bottle, Ivanka is gorgeous.  On the nail... I was speechless!

WOW.  No words to describe her beauty!  I couldn't stop staring at my nails for 2 days straight.  It is such an intense, vibrant color that practically glows.  Check out this low-light pic to see what I mean!

Even in super-crappy lighting, Ivanka still glows and stuns.  The finish is amazing too - it's sparkly like glitter, but flat particles that are extremely foily.  The Sparkles collection by Zoya is full of these, but Ivanka (and Charla) are truly the stand outs.  My macro setting isn't as amazing as some peoples *looks over at Cilucia at Spaz & Squee* but I did get a close up of these flat foil flecks...

I normally have a bit of trouble with the Zoya formula - almost all of them are pretty runny and I don't know that I have any that are one coaters (I don't even know of too many two coaters!), but this one wasn't too bad.  I believe this was 3 coats, dry time was great, and it looked great for 2 days.  I ended up slapping Black Shatter over it on day 3 and it looked pretty cool.  No pics of that though, my Shatter job wasn't so great!

It doesn't seem like Zoya does many limited editions, so this one should be available for quite awhile.  If you don't have it, I suggest picking it up during the next Zoya promo - Zoya Exchange perhaps?  *crosses fingers*

Basecoat: Essie Feed Me + Instant Artificials
Topcoat: Poshe
Number of coats: 3... I think!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nicole by OPI - One Less Lonely Girl Collection

I rolled my eyes when this collection was announced, but then I ended up getting 4 of them... and I keep talking myself out of a 5th!  I don't hate Justin Bieber or anything, I don't really have an opinion of him - hell, I didn't even know who he was for a long time, just the name.  One of the girls I worked with had Bieber Fever and when I told her I had no idea what he sang, she played "Baby" for me.  Ooops, I had heard that song, but I thought it was a girl!  Needless to say, that's not really my kind of music.

I am typically a big fan of Nicole polishes even though they don't seem to get a lot of love anywhere else, so I started hunting for the collection when it came out.  Wal-mart's website has a feature where you can see where items are in-stock, so I had to drive to Urbana to find these.  Yeah, yeah, Champaign and Urbana are sister cities, but from my house to the Urbana Wal-mart is like 20+ minutes!  :P  I found OMB!, One Less Lonely Glitter, and Me + Blue there - I had to order My Lifesaver online, as it hasn't appeared here quite yet.

So first up is my fave, OMB!

Red is my favorite color, but I typically don't love it on my hands.  However, OMB! is so amazing that I didn't want to take it off - evar!  I have never seen a red foil like this.  It is intense!

When I rooted around through my collection, I thought this looked pretty similar to I Stop For Nicole, also by Nicole.  In the bottle at least.  Not so much on the nail.

As you can see, OMB! is a deeper, more true red than ISFN.  The finishes are totally different too.  I don't think I've seen anything quite like OMB! before - have you?  I'm thinking it will make one sexy pedi!  Application was superb - 2 coats went on flawlessly.  Might be able to get away with 1 if you are careful!  Super-quick dry time because of the foil finish.

My Lifesaver is a mint green that doesn't seem all that unique, but it has just the right undertones to be flattering on those who mint is usually a problem for.

I have to admit, I ordered this because of hype.  Lots of people on the NB were saying how great it was and I caved.  It's pretty, but I didn't super-love it.  The formula seemed a bit thick and you can tell in the application.  :P

It's not an exact match for anything in my collection, but I think I might like the squishiness of Turquoise & Caicos better.

Next is One Less Lonely Glitter, a pretty lavender glitter-bomb...

Wow, look at all the sparklies!  A unique color too, at least in my collection.  I don't have anything even remotely similar to this one, so here's a close-up where you can see the different shape/sizes of glitter.

Can you think of anything this might be dupey to?  *stumped*

And finally I've got Me + Blue.  AKA Me + Lumps.

So when I re sized this, it made it not look so bad.  I should post another close-up so you can see how lumpy this one is, but I won't... it's too scary and gross.  Me + Blue is a gorgeous blue with silver holographic glitter, but the glitter sinks to the bottom and just makes everything look rough and bumpy.  Here it is again with 2 coats of Gelous:

Me + Blue + Gelous = still bumpy.  :P  Maybe if I thinned it?  It's pretty danged thick, so maybe that's the problem.  I'll let you know after I try it.

Nicoles also introduced a new brush with this line - it's very similar to the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure brush, but the stick is short!  I was super-excited when I saw this because I do like the CSM brush, but hate the long funky sticks SH puts everything on.  I think the new brush works great on everything but creams - i.e., My Lifesaver.  Maybe my brush is a bit wonky, but it seemed to bring out the flaws in the polish and make it really hard to get an even coat.  No problems with the others though - I will have to try another cream and see if I have the same problem.

Apparently My Lifesaver is from the second round of these polishes, but it was available before the rest of the collection, which is kinda weird.  I have to talk myself out of Step 2 the Beat of My Heart every time I see it.  I have Honey-Dew You Love Me?, which is a teal version of the same thing and I haven't had much luck with it, so I keep saying NO to S2tBoMH, but I know I will eventually cave.

Did you pick up any of these?  What were your faves?

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: none (Gelous on Me + Blue)
Number of coats: 2 for all but One Less Lonely Glitter - that was 3

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm back!! and China Glaze - White Kwik Silvr

Mom went home from the hospital yesterday and is doing very well, but unfortunately she lives 30 minutes away, so I won't be getting to visit her much.  Thank you all so much for your kind words and well wishes - you have no idea how much I appreciate it!

So now that I'm back... omg, where to begin?  I have tons of pictures I haven't posted and I have been hauling like crazy because I've been stressed and that's what I do!  ;)  I haven't had the chance to swatch anything though, so there is a huge backlog of polishes waiting to be tried.  Hopefully I can get to them verrrrrry soon.  :)

I actually managed to wear the same polish for 12 days - yes, 12! with only one little touch-up, so that's what I'm going to start with today to ease myself back into this.  I wish I had taken shots of this before I took it off - I couldn't believe how well it held up after 12 days of me!  I normally have no luck with China Glaze - if I can make it more than 48 hours with no chips, I'm happy.  White Kwik Silvr only had a few small chips after 12 days (if you don't include when I hit my pinkie at work day 2 and chipped part of my nail off - that was my one touch-up).  I don't know if it was my basecoat/topcoat combo or if it was the non-B3F formula or what, but this one was like iron!

Even though I have Frosty from the 2010 'Tis the Season collection, I've been lusting after White Kwik Silvr forever.  I finally broke down and ordered it from an etailer a couple of weeks ago.  It arrived a couple of days after my mom got sick and it was perfect timing.  I was really down that day and it felt so good to get a big box of goodies in the mail!  I figured this was a great work-appropriate shade and *hopefully* it wouldn't show too much damage since I didn't know when I would get the chance to do my nails again.  I didn't expect 12 days!

It's a hard little bugger to photograph, let me tell you that.  It's not just a straight white shimmer, there are little bits of color in there, much like Sally Hansen's Fairy Tale Ivory and China Glaze's Knotty.  It's subtle, but it gives it a little something extra to keep it from being just a bland white.  I thought it would be a dupe to Frosty, but they are a bit different, and to be honest, I prefer White Kwik Silvr.  I didn't do a comparison, since ALU did - check out her post here (scroll down a bit). Fantastic photo - she really captured what I'm talking about - there is a warmth to WKS that Frosty doesn't have... which is appropriate, since it is named Frosty!  ;)

Sorry for the scary hand, but honestly, this was the best shot I could get of the glass flecks.  My camera freaked out on this one a bit and couldn't get a nice crisp shot no matter how many times I tried.  For all my raving about how well it held up to me and the hell I put my hands through, the best part was that I really loved the color.  It's elegant and classic, which are not words I usually use to describe anything about me, on me, near me, etc.  ;)

Now... onto the not-so-hot stuff... this is a really sheer polish.  It took 5 coats to get what you see here.  Dry time was great though, being old formula non-B3F.  It did stay on 12 days, but by day 9, I had some major tipwear and a couple of tip chips, plus my right index had a huge crack in it.  I was afraid I would hit it and the polish would all come off in one piece, but it stayed put, just looked awful.  Fortunately, only I noticed.  Polishes like this are great for those times when you don't have time.  Chips aren't very noticeable and this color goes with everything!

I think I'll be getting a backup of this one... and I only currently have 1 other backup.  It's Orly's Galaxy Girl, if you were wondering!  ;)  I think I am getting a backup of Barielle's Elle's Spell and possibly Urban Decay's Bruise (pretty sure it is my fave color, ever!), but I don't usually do backups.  I think that I will be wearing WKS often though and since it is long discontinued, I need to get it now while I can!

Basecoat: Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Basecoat
Topcoat: Essie Good to Go + Beauty Secrets Fast Finish
Number of coats: 5 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

another quick update

Wow, I've gained so many followers since I've been away!  Welcome all!  :D  I promise, I will be getting back to posting ASAP!

My mom is still in the hospital, but it sounds like she will be coming home in the next few days.  It's been 2 weeks!  She was sent home after a week, but was back in the ER within 24 hours, so that doesn't really count.  She had an acute case of pancreatitis and has been very sick every since.  It hasn't been life-threatening, but lots of other complications keep coming up and she just isn't healing very quickly.  She has been on a clear liquid diet for the last week and was getting to move onto low-fat solid foods today - yay!  My mom is my bestest friend, so this has been pretty hard on us.  I really want to thank everyone for your comments and well-wishes - I truly appreciate it!

And... in case you didn't see it, I won the $25 Apothica gift card giveaway at My Lucid Bubble!  I'm so excited!!  I have really needed a pick-me-up after all of this, so I get a little shopping spree with no guilt!  :D  I will let you all know what I get and will definitely be sharing swatches!

Hope to see you all again VERY soon!  ;)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

update and apologies

I just wanted to post a little update and say sorry for not posting.  My mom suddenly became ill last week and has been in the hospital since.  She isn't dying or anything *super* serious, but she still is there and won't be coming home for awhile yet, so I've been spending all free time there with her.  I have lots to post about, so when she gets a little better and gets to go home, I will be back!  Thank you for your patience!  :)