Sunday, January 30, 2011

Que Suerte! China Glaze Carnival Lights

China Glaze Carnival Lights is one of my glitters from their Specialty Collection. I love wearing this polish - I've already gone through half my bottle! This is one of my favorite polishes and, as of this past Friday, it's my official Good Luck Polish!

Carnival Lights is a medium pink-magenta jelly base glitter filled with tiny square silver glitter and larger multicolor hex holo glitter. This glitter lays so smooth on the nail - no grit at all! The silver glitter is very prominent with indoor lighting, so it looks like sugar sprinkles on a pink cupcake. In brighter light, the holo glitter stands out even more and the base looks lighter.

I think this would make a pretty layering polish - I would try purple or blue first - but I haven't worn it layered yet because I love the look of jelly-base glitter too much. The pictures above are with 3 coats for full opacity with no VNL. I'd prefer the look of 2 coats, but it seems to wear longer with 3.

I wore this polish on Friday to keep my spirits high while we waited for a phone call and we ended up getting the news we've been waiting for - more details in a bit when everything's official and planned. Carnival Lights was the perfect polish for me to wear when I wanted to feel happy and bubbly inside and out. It's my luck polish!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Laced Up

I've been trying out the new Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips this week. I found my first display of these new strips in a CVS about two weeks ago. Then I found them in more CVS and Walgreens stores but I wasn't able to find Laced Up until I finally found a hidden display on the top shelf at a Rite Aid last Friday.
TA DA!!! 
First, the packaging - the manicure comes in a tiny plastic box that lets you see the contents inside and the manicure pattern on the side trim. Ingredients and brief directions are on the outside for the shopper's convenience. These strips are Big 3 Free - no DPB, Toulene, or Formaldehyde. It also appears to be free of Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor.

Box Contents - Cuticle Stick, Mini File/"Buffer", and 16 Polish Stickers
The strips themselves come in two packets of eight different sizes. You peel off the clear top layer, take the bottom tab off, decide which side fits your cuticle shape the best, peel off the bottom layer, and stick it on your nail.

I've used Inoco strips for a few years and I've never had an application issue with them. These strips were just as easy to use and I was able to put my entire mani on in less than 20 minutes.  
Day 4
I love flowers, I love lace, and so I loved this design. I also realized after I put the strips on that the base color itself was very pretty. It's a light tan nude shade - think Orly Country Club Khaki with a touch more brown. The base shade with the design definitely evokes the feeling of a lace slip.

I definitely recommend using a separate top coat to seal these strips on. I didn't have a top coat with me when I applied my strips and I did get a bit of curling at the cuticles. Top coat also gave the strip a smooth glossiness that it didn't have on its own. Maybe it was the design, maybe it's their dry polish formula, but it definitely needed a shine booster. I got the top coat on as soon as I could get to one - it stopped the curling but couldn't reverse what had already been done. I was able to seal my nail tips and the nails that still had the remnant of the strip wrapped under when I put the top coat on are still sealed by the strip at the end of Day 4!

These strips are a little bit pricey at $10 a manicure, but completely worth it. I feel the drugstore availability, wide range of designs, long-lasting wear, and custom cuticle fit option make SH Salon Effects Polish Strips the new front-runner of the dry polish pack.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Party of Five Glitters vs. Gems

The universe knows when you're happily wearing a new polish that you don't want to change. That's when you find the new displays of polishes that everyone has been talking about. And those displays are full. How does the universe know?!

While I skipped around Walgreens looking for some new conditioner wearing My Kind of Cool Aid, I found the new Wet N Wild Fast Dry polishes. I picked up a few, including Party of Five Glitters, which is another potential drugstore dupe for Lippmann Happy Birthday. I left MKoCA on a few more days and finally have some comparison shots of Party of Five to share.

Party of Five Glitters is a clear-based polish filled with large silver hex glitter, medium light blue and fuschia hex glitter, and smaller red, green, and gold hex glitter. Isn't that 6 glitters? Maybe the tiny gold glitter is really a reflective silver? Back to the real question - This $2 option is better for your wallet than a $16 polish, but is it worth the savings against the $5 Milani Gems? Comparison Time!

Party of Five looks significantly more pink than Gems 
when the bottles are side by side.

I used one coat of Wet N Wild Black Creme as the base 
to make the glitter nice and visible.
1 Coat, 2 Coats, 3 Coats, 1 Coat of Party of Five Glitters
Party of Five has a thick clear base and it makes getting the glitter on the nail challenging. I thought the first coat of this "fast dry" polish was sufficiently set so I put on a second and third coat to get more glitter on the nail. What happens when you pile coats of thick polish on top of wet polish? Bubbles. And I didn't get enough glitter on the nail to cover these major bubbles up.

2 Coats Gems, 2 Coats Party, 1 Coat Gems, 1 Coat Party
Gems has a slightly different color combination of large and small hex glitter - no fuchsia, more green - but the difference is definitely less visible on the nail than it was in the bottle. Gems has a thinner base and it feels like there's significantly more glitter landing on the nail in every brushstroke. It seems that Gems also dried faster, smoother, and shinier than Party of Five.

I think with a little thinner and some more drying time between coats, Party of Five Glitters could be a fun glitter polish to use again. If I wanted to save some money, I would buy Party of Five instead of Happy Birthday. If I could only walk out of a drugstore with one glitter polish, though, I'd definitely pick Gems over Party of Five. I don't need an odd fuchsia hex here and there as much as I need the sheer density of the glitter bomb fiesta that Gems provides in two coats. Pow!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Tagged With Blog Awards!

I've been tagged!! I feel so lucky to be recognized by these awesome ladies - Tracey from GingerKittyDesigns, Miranda from Mirannie's Nails, and Cheryl from Legally Polished. Check out their blogs - Tracey has the coolest jewelry designs, Cheryl is so creative with layering and nail art (see the Sesame Street mani), and Miranda knows how to show off all the angles of those duochromes!

I didn't even know what a blog award or tag was back in April when I was tagged with the Sunshine Award from How Doth The Little Crocodile. I've learned a few things since then, so this time I'm ready to play!!

~ The Stylish Blogger Award from Tracey and Miranda ~
The Stylish Blogger Award Rules
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

~ The Sunshine Award from SeeingSunshine ~ 
The Sunshine Award Rules
1. Post the logo within your blog or post.
2. Pass the award on to several other bloggers.
3. Link the nominees in your post.
4. Let the nominees know they have receivd the award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person whom you have received this award from.

~ The Blog Award from Cheryl ~

The Blog Award Rules
1. Post about this award and copy the rules.
2. Link to the person that tagged you.
3. Choose 3-5 blogs you would like to tag and link to them, too.
3. Leave them a comment on their blog to notify them.
Important: This award is for unknown blogs, so don't tag a blog with 3000+ readers :)

Cheryl also added - I'm also going to change the rules a little, all bloggers that I tag must answer these 3 questions.

So here are the 7 things about myself, starting with her 3 questions:
1. When and how did you start your love for polish?
My favorite aunt used to give me manicures when I was little. After I played outside all day, I'd come inside and get to sit down with her. It was such a special ritual for me to have my nails cleaned and prettied up into "girl hands." I've loved polish since I could remember, but I really got back into it in high school. It's an escape I give myself to relax and get away from a hectic schedule.

2. If you could choose to do anything in the world, what would it be? (Eg. Ski in the Alps, fly in a fighter jet, create a unicorn, etc.)
Travel around the entire world. Pack a few bags, grab our passports and a camera, and take off for a year to see everything!

3. What's your favourite love story?
How Adam & I fell in love! We met on the 1st day of grad school and I could barely stand him - heck, he's from Jersey so I could barely understand him - the 1st year we knew each other. But we got to be better friends and, by our 2nd year of grad school, I realized I couldn't stand to go a day without him. I could go into more sentimental, mushy, schmaltzy details but you get the idea of how this is my favorite love story.

4. Adam & I adopted our 1st family dog from North Shore Animal League in September 2009. Suzette is a toy poodle they rescued from a puppy mill. She's about 6-8 years old now, only has 2 teeth left, and she's the absolute cutest thing ever. Ev-er!!
This is what she looked like after her 1st bath and 6 months later. Awww, Suzie!

5. I've been crocheting for over 20 years. My mom and her mom know how to crochet, so they taught me when I was in 2nd grade. I played with scraps of random yarn making coasters or something until I was comfortable enough to make my 1st blanket when I was in 4th grade.

6. I'm a registered member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. One day, I'd like to be fully trilingual in English, Spanish, and Yoeme.

7. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with minors in Sociology and Latin American Studies. I have a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Local Government and Non-Profits. I swear I didn't get an education based on how many syllables could be squeezed in the title! For now, I work in Human Resources for the Department of Education, but I would love to have a career in court administration.

Now to share 7 tags because I just shared 7 things about myself - many of the blogs I follow were recently tagged, but I'm still listing them here so I want to share their links!
1. The VeroBlog
2. LadyLuck Beauty Blog
3. Dizzy Nails
4. Nailspotting
5. Silence is Loud
6. Va-Va-Varnish
7. Playing With Polish

To my stylish and sunny taggers - Muchísimas Gracias!!!

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cult Nails My Kind of Cool Aid

The first polish by Cult Nails is here!! Maria from R3Daily has made her dream a reality and launched her very own polish line this year. Her spring collection kicks off with My Kind Of Cool Aid a "purple/gray creme polish with a delicate shimmer." I normally babble first, but I'm so excited with this polish that I have to rush right on to the pictures!

The Lovely Bottle - Isn't that some pretty font?

Sunlight - Looks Gray

Indirect Sunlight - Looks Gray with a Touch of Lavender

Lamp - Looks Grayish Lavender.
Under fluorescents, it looks even more completely purple.

The brush is long and flexible and the polish formula is just right, so My Kind of Cool Aid flowed on my nails without pooling or drag.

Now it's time for enthusiastic babbling... I didn't even need a top coat with My Kind of Cool Aid because it dried so fast and shiny. Really fast. After putting on other polishes that claim to be top speed, 50 seconds, quick dry, express finish, and all of that, this polish actually dried faster than all of them without even claiming it would. I wonder if that was planned or just a happy surprise resulting from an awesome formula. I eventually put a top coat on because I love this shade and I want my mani to survive weekend housecleaning.

My Kind of Cool Aid isn't a duochrome, but this purple/gray color - it's a chameleon! Depending on the lighting, it ranges from a light gray to an edgy gravender to a medium dusty lavender. I kept checking my nails all night to see what color it looked like and it was slightly different every time I looked. The delicate shimmer looks mostly silver except for direct sunlight where it looks multicolor. Even the shimmer changes color.

I can't think of one thing I don't like about this polish. I don't have another color that even comes close to resembling this shade, the formula is ridiculously easy to work with, it's B3 and Camphor Free, the bottle looks pretty, and it arrived quickly in recycled mail packaging. I think the cotton ball initiative is brilliant. Maria has great customer service, so don't let international borders stop you from thinking about ordering a bottle for yourself.

Living Water and Iconic, the other shades in the spring collection, look equally unique and awesome. I can't wait for more polishes from Cult Nails!!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Arizona - Barielle Falling Star

I was born and raised in Phoenix, and I lived over 6 years in Tucson while I went to school for my undergrad and grad degrees. Both sides of my family have lived in Arizona for the last century. AZ is never far from my mind, but I couldn't think of anything else this weekend since the tragic shooting in Tucson on Saturday morning.

After all the news coverage and phone calls with my Arizonans, I wanted to step away from the shock and sadness. This isn't a political blog, so this is a polish post dedicated to peace for my home state. 

Arizona became the 48th state on February 14, 1912 (yep, Valentine's Day!).
In 100 years, the State population has grown from 200,000 people in 1910 to over 6 million in 2010. 
The State Economy's growth and development is attributed to our 5 C's:
Cattle, Cotton, Citrus, Climate, & Copper
Phoenix is one of the sunniest cities with an annual average of 85% possible sunshine and 8 inches of rain.

Falling Star is from the Barielle Fall 2009 All Lacquered Up Collection. This shade is a medium blue creme base with small round copper glitter.  In some indoor lighting, it takes on a darker dusty cornflower hue.

This polish is thick and runny so I had a learning curve trying to get it on nicely. Practice helps and, after a few manis of experience, I'm able to get it on smoothly and opaque in two thinnish coats.

I'm learning how to use my new Ott!
As soon as I saw the preview of this polish, I knew I had to have it. This is a pretty shade of blue and a unique glitter-base color combination. The formula might not apply like butter, but this is still one of my Top 10 Favorite Polishes from 2009.

I see copper - I think of the 5 C's. I see a deep medium blue - I think of the afternoon sky after a summer monsoon rain. I feel like I have a little piece of Arizona on my nails when I wear Falling Star, so I'm going to wear it a few more days as a personal visual reminder of hope for a future without violence.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blue Mooooon

This was a random draw from my Untried box this morning - Wet n Wild Blue Moon. It was one of the new Wild Shine shades released last year in their main collection.

My husband's been playing Fallout New Vegas recently. Blue Moon is one of the very few songs that plays on the game's "radio" and I had been planning on wearing this shade soon. I kept putting it off because I figured it was going to be a plain, maybe even a little boring, navy shimmer. I put two coats on... and when I look the moon had turned to gold... lol - ok, not really, but Blue Moon really is very pretty.

It gleams, it flashes and it doesn't look black in any light.  I'm so glad it was sunny for a bit before the light snow we're supposed to get today so I could see all of this awesome blue and green shimmer. 
Sunlight - The Gold Shimmer doesn't make it from the bottle to the nail
but the Teal/Green Flash does.
It's affordable, easy to find, and I personally haven't seen a navy shimmer this interesting to look at since OPI came out with Russian Navy (which this isn't a dupe of - RN is darker with a pink/purple shimmer).  For a buck, everyone should have their own bottle of Blue Moon.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Milani Silver Dazzle

After I found Gems, I took a better look at the other polishes in the Milani Rockstar Heavy Glitters collection. I love dark gray polishes. I've always liked the shade before, but lately I have to have a polish if it's charcoal, gunmetal, or steel, so I picked up Silver Dazzle.

Silver Dazzle is a charcoal gray glitter with silver and black microglitter throughout. It dries rough and dark like fresh asphalt, but it becomes a cool almost-blue shade with a shiny topcoat. In the sunlight, it looks like it has blue and green sparkles at times, but there isn't any blue glitter in this polish. It's all gray sparkly goodness!

Here it is with one full coat and one touch up coat of polish and Gelous + Poshe on top.

Indoor Lighting - No Flash - It leans so blue inside!

Sunlight - More obvious Charcoal Base with Blue/Green Sparkles
Blurred & Focused to show off the Sparkle
After seeing the fabulous-ity of Silver Dazzle, I really really want Purple Gleam, too. I'm so glad Milani is going to be making this collection part of their permanent line this year. Glitter for everyone!

My coworkers have renamed this polish, too - it's now Steel Magnolias (but I've really been calling it Be Steel My Heart in my head -shhhh....)

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