OP-I Love You

I feel like it's been so long, and yet the last post was just six days ago, which is crazy because I feel like I wore Zulu just ages ago.

In that post I mentioned I was having a fling with OPI. For various reasons I wore several OPI colors back-to-back and became semi-obsessed. They're just so darn GOOD. The brush is perfect on my nails and the formula and pigmentation are simply awesome. Around this time I also became somewhat stalker-ish about acquiring the OPI/Ulta holiday exclusives. Now I'm not so sure they're a must-have, but never say never when it comes to nail polish.

In any event, OPI.

OPI,Let Me Entertain You,pink,magenta,shimmer,Burlesque,bottle pic

I did totally swearsies with myself that I would not get any of the Burlesque collection. Call me crazy, but most glitters don't drive me wild with desire. In fact I think most of the Burlesque glitters are kind of a mess, frankly. I know many were over the moon about them, but between the gritty finish and the pain-in-the-A removal process I just can't be bothered. Aside from Ali's Big Break, I didn't feel particularly drawn to any of the other colors, and then? Then I went to Ulta.

OPI,Let Me Entertain You,pink,magenta,shimmer,Burlesque

OPI,Let Me Entertain You,pink,magenta,shimmer,Burlesque

OPI,Let Me Entertain You,pink,magenta,shimmer,Burlesque,bottle pic

Yes. Very very very pretty. Incidentally, also very close to Pomegranate Me A Wish, one of the 2009 OPI exclusives through either Trade Secret or Beauty Brands.

After that, I felt compelled to drag out a 2009 Ulta holiday exclusive.

OPI,Visions of Sugarplum,holiday,holiday 2009,purple,shimmer

Then I received Parlez-vous OPI? in a swap and used it right away.

OPI,Parlez-Vous OPI,purple,dusty,labeled swatch,French Collection

So here's where things started to get sliiiiiiiightly obsessive. I put together an all-OPI cart at Transdesign.com and then thought better of it. However I did find myself at Ulta AGAIN one night recently and purchased two colors I've been wanting for a little while, Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not and You Don't Know Jacques!


I love OPI so much I can't stand it. But next time I'm going to show you what I got in my first-ever BB Couture order, which should be arriving in my mailbox very soon. Hooray!



So originally I was going to tell you about my recent love affair with my OPI polishes, but then I remembered that I promised to show you Zulu.


I resisted liking this polish for so long, even when people were crowing about it nonstop. I bought Illamasqua Rampage, which isn't meant to be a dupe but is very like Zulu. I liked it well enough and thought well who needs Zulu?

And then one day I was doing a Sephora order for some Christmas gifts and BAM Zulu fell into my cart.


I really love it.

I mean, what's not to like?

It's a beautiful, beautiful color and it applied like a dream. This was a can't-stop-staring color for sure.

I got Zulu from Sephora and I am pretty sure it's still available...so if you can't live without it...get after it.


OPI Burlesque

The OPI Burlesque collection is old news to most of you by now. At first I was a little disappointed that this year's holiday collection was one of OPI's promotional gambits (a la the Shrek collection or the 90210 polishes), but people really went crazy for the glitters. For me, that wasn't a draw - glitter is all well and good but I'm not crazy for it. I hate the way it eats top coat, feels bumpy and takes forever to remove.

So, initially I was only interested in one color: Ali's Big Break, a pretty red with gold glitter. But when I saw it in person I was underwhelmed. So I skipped it and ended up bringing home Tease-y Does It and Let Me Entertain You instead.

OPI,holiday,holiday 2010,Burlesque,Tease-y Does It,swatch

OPI,Burlesque,holiday,holiday 2010,Tease-y Does It,plum,red,shimmer,bottle pic

OPI,Burlesque,Tease-y Does It,shimmer,red,plum,holiday 2010,holiday

OPI,holiday,holiday 2010,Burlesque,red,shimmer,plum,swatch,Tease-y Does It

Each time I go back to OPI I remember why I love them so much: perfect formula and perfect brush.

I got something in the mail today that I'm excited to show you soon, too:
Zulu,NARS,green,jelly,bottle pic




Hi there. I've been "working" on a massive Photobucket organization project over the weekend, labeling and tagging my nail polish photos. Years from now, when wise people ponder the decline of civilization, they will point to my efforts and say, Blame her.

So here's what's been up, on my nails anyway.
RBL,Rescue Beauty Lounge,Orbis Non Sufficit,green,creme,swatch,labeled swatch

RBL,Rescue Beauty Lounge,Orbis Non Sufficit,green,creme,swatch

Nicole,Sensational Scarlet,glitter,holiday,holiday 2010,red,swatch,labeled swatch

Nicole,Sensational Scarlet,glitter,holiday,holiday 2010,red,bottle pic

Lastly, you may have heard there's a new Chanel release coming soon (perhaps tomorrow?). Called Riva, it's rumored to cost $39 per bottle. While I highly doubt this I cannot find any evidence supporting or contradicting the claim. It's a very pretty light blue with a bit of shimmer. I saw a swatch on the MUA nail polish board and it looks gorgeous on, though as to be expected it's drawn out the Chanel haters.

I have my share of Chanel polishes. As nail polish goes it's expensive, and if you buy a sold-out limited edition color on eBay long after it's been cleared out of boutiques and online stores you're going to pay a ridiculous amount for it. My rule is that I either get it at retail or I don't get it. Other people have different rules and that's fine. To each her own! It's just nail polish.

What's strange is that the mere existence of Chanel nail polish seems to make some people very very angry, which is...strange to me. As with anything, it's possible some of these people have purchased Chanel polish and been unsatisfied or had a bad experience. Other than that I'm not sure why there's any need to get angry about nail polish. If you don't like it, don't buy it...it's really that simple.

As for me it's safe to say that if Riva is in fact $39 I won't be standing in line to purchase it. I'm very happy with all of my Chanel polishes and have enjoyed them a great deal but even I have limits. (Update: Apparently the retail price will be $27.)

No, it's true, I do.

For your enjoyment:

Chanel,Paradoxal,shimmer,purple,swatch,labeled swatch

Chanel,Chanel Nouvelle Vague,Nouvelle Vague,blue,shimmer,labeled swatch

Chanel,Jade Rose,pink,hand,labeled swatch



China Glaze Pink-Rox-E

A week or so ago I went to a beauty supply store that I like and found a couple of old formula China Glaze polishes.


Much like OPI polishes, you can tell an older China Glaze by the label. The older ones have white labels with black lettering. Newer (3-free) polishes have the opposite: Black labels with white lettering.


I had doubts about this shade of pink at first, but Pink-Rox-E is quite growing on me.



It has a lovely shimmer from the gold flecks throughout the polish.


It's fairly sheer (this is two coats over two coats of Ruby Kisses American Clear Pink AND a ridgefiller, and I can still see my nail line). A more opaque white base coat would do the trick I imagine.


Essence Choose Me!

This jumped out at me while perusing the aisles at Ulta a week or so ago. It's DELIGHTFUL.



Two coats, easy to apply, .99! Highly recommend.



The rumors are true: I caved to Konad. I Kaved! More to come when I'm a little better at it. I assure you this looks highly janky IRL.


Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge with Konad Special Polish in Black.


China Glaze Halloween, Nicole by OPI Holiday Target Exclusives

Hello, friends.

I have a few pictures of some seasonal collections to share. Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?

Let's get the bad news out of the way first. I purchased two polishes from the China Glaze Halloween collection, including Mummy May I, which is a blackened purple jelly with fuchsia glitter.

Would it be weird if I told you that prior to writing this post, I drafted out several paragraphs explaining my complicated feelings about China Glaze? Well, I did, and while I won't bother to repost every word of it here, I will say this: Sometimes, China Glaze really bums me out, which is a shame. They create a lot of excitement about their seasonal collections, and it's nice when you as a consumer feel like the company shares your enthusiasm for the product and "gets" you in that regard.

But...for me...the payoff is never really there. Primarily I think this is probably some weird body chemistry issue - not all brands work for all people - or perhaps it's the base coat/top coat products I use. Getting it on is, quite simply, a struggle. I blame this to some extent on the skinny, moppy brush which prevents me from having any application control whatsoever. But that could be managed if I didn't always find China Glaze's formula to be simultaneously goopy, gummy and runny.

I do have some China Glaze colors (Ruby Pumps, Emerald Sparkle, Stroll) that I love. They've never given me trouble. But sadly my results with Mummy May I were not pretty. First, the application was a total pain. I did three coats, which, when you are dealing with a thick, pasty jelly polish, takes a long time to dry. Plus the glitter makes it lumpy, though a VERY thick coat of Seche Vite remedied that somewhat. Later in the day I had significant tip wear, and a big chip on my thumb about 3-4 hours after applying the polish.

There are just a few things I ask for in a nail polish: For the glitter not to be so thick and chunky that it won't stay properly on the nail, leaving me with jaggedy glitter bits sticking off the end of my free edge; and for it to either be THICK or THIN but not both things at once. How can a nail polish be both impossible to spread over the nail properly *AND* so runny that it insists on flooding your cuticles? How?

So, I removed it. Which of course was a huge pain because of the gritty chunky glitter.

After sandblasting glitter off my nails I was really in the mood for a nice no-drama creme, so I picked Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Gray by Gray.

This is what I am talking about, friends. Really delightful. I was scared at first of the huge paddle brush but it works really well for me. This went on like a dream - Illamasqua or RBL quality, in my opinion. I wore it for four days with no tip wear.

Christmas/New Year collections are always quite fun, and though I've passed on the OPI Burlesque collection thus far, I did pick up a few of the Nicole holiday Target exclusives.

Fell from the Tree, Sensational Scarlet, Pitch-Black Glimmer.


Fell from the Tree. For some reason my pictures of this pull very teal, when in reality this is very definitely green. (Check out Scrangie's pictures of the collection here.)

I guess the next thing I'm excited to see are the OPI holiday exclusives for Ulta and Trade Secret. They're more difficult to get a hold of, but that's part of the fun. I picked up Visions of Sugarplum and Pomegranate Me A Wish from these collections last year, and they're two of my favorite OPI shades.

Are you picking up any holiday shades this year?



I have some manicures to show you.


OPI Diva of Geneva. Honestly, this is the only color from the Swiss collection that I just had to get. And I don't really know why -- it's not green, it's not excessively glittery, it's not a duochrome or a holo...and I think that's why I like it. It's just a really pretty polish.


I loved this.

This is an unnamed LA Colors.
Beautiful green foil.


This set was $3 at CVS - .75 each! I love a cheap thrill, don't you? The only problem I've found with LA Colors is that the greens and blues stain terribly (my skin...not my nails). I use a little cuticle remover and a soft bristle brush to clean up. I've had great luck with the formula, though. Recommend!

That's all for today. Have a great weekend!


Chevron How-to

In my last entry I mentioned the chevron manicure - the only type of nail art, if you can call it that, I can really manage. I've tried water marbling before...once. It actually worked but it's labor intensive and kind of a hit-or-miss technique, because some polishes just don't work with the method. Also, I didn't use cuticle oil on my skin prior to the marbling and clean-up was a total pain.

So anyway, chevrons. These can be done fairly easily and quickly, and they have a retro look that I like. Reminiscent of a moon manicure, the chevron is just a little bit more foolproof because you can use a piece of tape to get a clean, sharp edge.

Please note that this certainly isn't the only/best chevron tutorial out there. I did a quick Google search and there appear to be videos and instructions with pictures. However it's difficult to take a picture of your own hands when...you're using them. So please feel free to ask questions if anything seems unclear, or, of course, check out one of the surely excellent videos/tutorials elsewhere on the Internet.

Here's how I do it.

You'll need:
- 2 colors of nail polish, both very opaque
- Scotch tape
- Scissors
- Tweezers
- Fine tip Sharpie marker or similar (optional)
- Your favorite top coat

1. First, I polish my nails with a base color. Typically, for me, this starts with a regular manicure that I want to change up a little OR that I'm enjoying but is starting to show a bit of tip wear. So my advice to you would be to build the chevron on top of a manicure that you've been wearing for at least a day. This way you can use the tape without fear of botching the base color.

2. When you're ready to do the chevrons, rinse (with plain water) and dry your hands. You don't want to use soap as it can leave a residue. I dry my hands on an old t-shirt so I don't pick up a ton of lint from a fluffy towel.

3. Get your Scotch tape, or cellotape, whatever. I used the wide-width, matte-finish "satin" kind, which seems to work well. Tear off a strip of tape about 1.5 inches long and trim off the jagged edge with your scissors.

4. Place the piece of tape on your nail with one of the corners pointing up toward the free edge of your nail. You can put it as high or low on the nail as you'd like. Make sure the position is as you like it (I center the point in the middle of my nail, you could do it off to the side for an asymmetrical look) and press down firmly.

5. Use the Sharpie to trace a line on the tape along your cuticle. This will serve as a cutting guide. You can eyeball this if you like, and skip the Sharpie step, but I like to have the guide. It's important to have the tape lie flat against your nail. The end result should be a piece of tape shaped like a piece of pie.

6. Cut along the cutting guide and place the tiny piece of tape back on your nail. Repeat for all ten nails. It's easier to do all 10 at once rather than as you go - less chance of messing up your handiwork.

7. Paint your nails with the second color. You want this color in particular to be very opaque, because ideally you only want to use one coat. You don't have to paint over the entire piece of tape - just enough to give you the chevron shape.

8. Allow your second color to dry fairly thoroughly. So, find something else to do with yourself for 10 minutes or so.

9. Using the tweezers, GENTLY pick up an edge of the tape piece and lift off. Do this slowly to avoid ripping off the base color or tearing the tape.

10. At some point, you may want to apply a top coat. Make sure that all of your polish is pretty much dry before you do this, to prevent smearing. I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat in the red bottle, but you can also use a coat of clear followed by a coat of Seche Vite if you like. Just don't put SV directly on top of dry polish.

And there you have it! Chevrons.



chevron,Essie MAY


Birthday Bash

I recently celebrated a birthday and naturally I chose to treat myself to some nail polish. This sounds less newsworthy than it actually is - I haven't been much interested in purchasing a lot of polish lately. For one thing, I'm saving for a new laptop. So when I pick up a bottle of polish in the drugstore and hold it lovingly in my hand, I have to really, really want it. Because otherwise I just think of it as $4 or $6 or $8 dollars that I could be spending on sweet sweet MacBook goodness.

Also...there hasn't really been much in the way of the new collections that's been pushing my must-have button. I never got too excited about China Glaze Vintage Vixen. Barielle's recent collections didn't do much for me. I didn't even get very worked up about the OPI Swiss collection although there are some I wouldn't mind having. But, you know? With more than 400 polishes in my Helmers..."wouldn't mind having it" isn't a good enough reason to buy anymore. The only thing I've really been wild for are the Tudor wives polishes from Rescue Beauty Lounge, and I passed on the pre-order because I couldn't justify the expense at the time.

Chanel always gets me, however. As the saying goes on MUA "there's no regret like Chanel regret" and I have found that to be true. Initially I was tempted by the Soho Story colors but when I saw swatches and heard the initial reports I did not feel a burning desire to own them. I cannot however say the same for Khaki Vert, which is on its way to me as we speak. It was the first birthday nail polish I purchased for myself and I'm very excited for it to arrive.

Anyway...on to the other finds...

My boyfriend very kindly agreed to come with me to Rite Aid on my birthday and I had such good nail polish birthday karma going that I still can't really believe it. They had some Halloween displays (I passed), the new Borghese collection, new-ish Sally Hansen Xtreme line, the new Sally Hansen Insta-Dris and the new Revlon Suedes. What!! This never happens. The only downfall of Rite Aid, really, is that they don't carry Milani. Or at least the ones around here don't.


I chose Powder Puff and Emerald City from the Revlon Suedes. I really wish that "Emerald City" would be retired as a nail polish name, FOREVER. I get it...it's green and sparkly...I don't know, at this point I would accept "Peridot City" in lieu of "Emerald City." At least it would be something new.


I received Mystic Lilac and Concrete in a swap from an awesome MUAer, so I just picked one SH Xtreme: Fireberry Red. To be honest this looks a bit similar to other polishes I have (namely, China Glaze's Ruby Pumps), but it was so pretty that I caved. At about $2.70 each, SH Xtremes have great bang for your nail polish buck.


I almost didn't get anything from the new Insta-Dri line. I keep passing these up, and even the ones I've purchased I mostly end up swapping or giving away. For some reason the colors never really do it for me and the brush is...well... a nightmare. It's huge. Wide. Gargantuan. And...shaggy. But for some reason I felt compelled to buy Metallic Momentum, which someone on the nail board likened to Chanel Kaleidoscope, which, hm, maybe? I don't know. I DON'T HAVE THE CHANEL. Which is something I'm getting very used to saying. Haha.


I used MM to do a chevron manicure - the only form of "nail art" I can successfully execute - over OPI Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ.


I'm a big fan of the chevron look, I just often find myself much, much too lazy to actually do it. I feel like this would be a good holiday combination. MM is a very pretty polish, however, it cements my theory that I am just actually not all that fond of metallics on my nails. But perhaps if you despair of ever acquiring the Chanel, this will quench your thirst.

Finally, here is Borghese's Mediterraneo Sea, from the very sparkly Scintillaire collection.

Boy, Borghese. Talk about a brush I hate. It's like they are deliberately butchered to provide the worst application possible. They are literally terrible. This is why I don't own many Borgheses...it took me a long time to warm up to the $8 price tag, and then when I discovered that awful brush wasn't an anomaly but rather standard issue...well...sigh. But this is a pretty, unusual glitter/color combination.

I look forward to showing you more of these on the nail...as always, thanks for looking!