Oh hey!

The layout of this joint was driving me crazy so I did some minor renovations. Like HGTV but with nails!



Sorry, I can't be any more articulate than that.

I've wanted some Ozotics for a looooong time now, ever since I started hanging out on the MUA nail board. Until fairly recently you could only get them by a) going to Australia or b) getting someone in Australia to send them to you. But now you can get them at Picture Polish, who will send them internationally! All the way from Australia! (The Ozotics are 10% off through July 5, and Picture Polish's international shipping rates are way reasonable as those things go.)

I bought two Ozotics, but let's talk about 511.


I used to think I wasn't a big fan of holographic polishes but OOPS I WAS WRONG.



Just like the Nfu-Oh I showed you, this isn't much in dim or indirect light but in the sun? Yowza!


I guess this is why holos are so fun to wear in the summer. (Duh.)


Nfu-Oh 51

Good morning! Today I finally have Nfu-Oh 51 to show you.

Nfu-Oh,51,flakie,OPI,Visions of Sugarplum

Here I am wearing it over OPI Visions of Sugarplum, which is a glittery purple polish.

Nfu-Oh,51,flakie,OPI,Visions of Sugarplum

I have to admit I've spent a lot of time gazing at my nails. Uh moreso than usual, that is.

Nfu-Oh,51,flakie,OPI,Visions of Sugarplum

This really lights up in direct sun. You can see all this fantastic green and gold microglitter that doesn't show up in my pictures.

Nfu-Oh,51,flakie,OPI,Visions of Sugarplum

Nfu-Oh 51 has a dark purple jelly base and I would like to try wearing it on its own. I'd also like to try it over a red glitter, a dark green like OPI Here Today, Aragon Tomorrow or a dark blue jelly. THE MIND REELS.

One thing I have to say about Nfu-Oh though: I do seriously hate the brush. It's stubby and floofy and pretty useless when it comes to controlling application. Luckily the formula is nice so it doesn't need too much fancy maneuvering.

Next up I hope to be able to show you my Ozotics, should they ever arrive from the distant shores of Australia; a couple of Barry Ms; a comparison of Hard Candy Mr. Wrong and Chanel Graphite (not dupes! jeez) and then I'll be delving into my backlog of untried colors that I should really use before buying MOAR COLORZ.

We'll see how that goes.


Chanel Fall 2011

So I'm on a nail polish diet that started sometime...oh let's say Sunday, immediately after I placed my Chanel order. Since that time I've strolled past the racks at Walgreens, gazed upon clearance items at Rite Aid and grasped CVS ExtraBucks in my hot little hands, all without buying anything. On Tuesday, I got my hair cut at my usual place and I pawed through their basket of OPIs but didn't buy any. They even had the Pirates colors! The very ones I wanted. But I left them there. I reminded myself NAIL POLISH DIET and I walked away without further internal debate.

I'm somewhat fortunate in that a lot of the new stuff falls into three categories: Crackle polish, sheer sparkly top coats and glitter. None of these are my favorite things and so I can definitely live without them. Also, I'm still waiting on my Ozotics, I just got my Nfu-Ohs and the Chanels, so I think I'm good for a while.

Anyway my Chanels arrived today so I have lots o' pictures for you.
Chanel,Fall 2011

Part of the "Chanel buying experience" (even though the box comes from what is probably an industrial park in Tennessee and not Rue Cambon in Paris) is the presentation. Yes it's a regular cardboard box but you open it and see this:
Chanel,Fall 2011

All nice and nestled in tons of snowy Chanel logo-printed tissue. Samples on either side and your goodies in a little drawstring bag. (You can use it for your sunglasses!)

I am a fan of the iconic packaging.
Chanel,Fall 2011,Peridot,green,duochrome,gold

What's better than Chanel?

Anyway I am sure you are more interested in the polish, so here we go.
Chanel,Fall 2011,Peridot,green,duochrome,gold

Peridot...where to start.

Some people doubted the duochrome shown in the promo images would actually be in the bottle.
Chanel,Fall 2011,Peridot,green,duochrome,gold

It is!

'Tis also on the nail.
Peridot,green,duochrome,gold,Chanel,Fall 2011

Peridot,green,duochrome,gold,Chanel,Fall 2011

Peridot,green,duochrome,gold,Chanel,Fall 2011

These pictures show three coats. I used Palladio Fuse bonding base coat and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat (I've not had good luck with Chanel and Seche Vite). The formula was great. It is a leeeeeeetle frosty. Just a tad. The tiniest bit. And really, the brush stroke issue is totally workable. It's more something to be aware of rather than a deal breaker.

I'm wearing Peridot as a full manicure, but I also swatched Graphite on three fingers and it's a real winner too.
Chanel,Fall 2011


This is also three coats with base coat and top coat.

Chanel,Fall 2011
There's something going on with Graphite...yes, it's black and silver, but there are other teeny, weeny, not-necessarily-visible particles of something else in there. Pink? Blue? I noticed it when I took off the polish after swatching. It's not that you can see the other colors as sparkly particles on the nail, it's more that they are buried in there adding depth and sparkle. Behind-the-scenes glitter!

I'm super happy with these polishes. Sadly, the release of these polishes has brought up the usual hating about Chanel - complaints that it is overpriced and of poor quality. I'll give you that it's overpriced...of course it's overpriced. It's Chanel! You are paying for those little interlocked Cs and all the trappings that goes with them. It's an indulgence.

I won't, however, agree that the polish is poor quality. If it doesn't work for you that's one thing. Some brands don't work for me either...so I don't buy them. It's frustrating but...it's just nail polish. There's always another color to try.

I do think base coat and top coat are touchy issues for Chanel and I can see how that would be a pain for some people. I understand being impatient with tricky formulas, but honestly the whinging seems more knee-jerk than based in actual fact sometimes. Patience and keeping an open mind goes a long way!

In any event, Fall 2011 is a big winner for Chanel in my opinion. What do you think?


Nfu-Oh 66

I was going to sit on some of these for a while but who wants one big overblown post when you can have a couple little, appetizer-sized posts? Mmm, appetizers.

So in my quest to try new-to-me brands I ordered two Nfu-Oh polishes from FabulouStreet.com recently. I've always loved the ornate bottles and the stunning holos, flakies, jellies and cremes from this line, but I never took the trouble to make an order until recently. Was there even a promo? I don't think so...I think I just ordered them on a whim.

Nfu-Oh,51,66,holo,green,flakie,bottle pic

I chose 51 and 66 (the colors have numbers, no names). Nfu-Oh (pronounced en-foo-oh) polishes are $12.50 each so although I would love to try some of the creme and jelly finish colors, I took it easy this time around and went with a flakie and a holo.

Nfu-Oh,51,flakie,bottle pic

Honestly, I've been lingering over pictures of 51 since I first started perusing the MUA nail board. LOOK AT IT.

Even considering how delighted I was to finally own 51, I chose to wear 66 first. I'm not holo crazy like some, but I do think they are pretty, and we had been having a lot of sunny days so I figured why not? Of course, now it's raining almost constantly but I did manage to capture a few rainbows indoors for you.



This polish is cuckoo bananas in the sun. Really sparkly, full of rainbows. It's even eye-catching under artificial light.


One of the tricks with polishes like these is using the right base coat. Nfu-Oh offers their own Aqua Base, and you can get similar products from other lines with holographic polishes. Without these bases, the polish will drag and look chalky and patchy.

Some women like to use a matte top coat as a base coat with holos. I didn't buy the Aqua Base this time around and I do have a matte top coat, but because I am a smartypants I decided I would use my ridge-filling basecoat instead. To make a long story short, it didn't work very well. You can see that the finished product looks fine, but up close and in person I can see a bit of patchiness and it bothers me because I am a little bit nuts. So, next time I will try the matte top coat trick and see how it goes. As I said, I'm not holo crazy so I am reluctant to buy the $12.50 base coat for one polish.

I'll post pictures of 51 when I get around to trying it...which should be...very soon.



I've been in need of some calming distraction lately and so I've been perusing MUA with rather more frequency than I had been. There were a few weeks where I just barely even looked at it and now it's like I can't get enough of it.

Anyway, I suppose it would be better for me to wait until these things arrive so I can show you pictures, rather than just talking about how I am so excited to get some nail polish in the mail, but: distraction! Hence: rambling!

Lately I've been thinking I might like to cool it a little bit on the impulse drugstore nail polish buying in the interest of trying new-to-me brands. I think this was all brought on by my recent purchases of Lippmann Bad Romance and the trio of a-englands. Damn you, high-end nail polish!

We've discussed before how I won't buy anything for a while and then I'll go bonkers for a couple of weeks - well, the last few weeks have been a "bonkers" period - I'll discuss that in a moment - so now it's time to lay low. I'm also thinking I might like to get all three of the fall Chanels (I should note: I always think this, and then end up getting one or none) so it would be nice to kind of bank the nail polish budget for a while.

So: going bonkers. I thought I would want all the OPI Pirates collection, and I do want a couple of them, but I haven't been plagued with the burning desire to acquire them to the point where I actually drive myself to Ulta and buy them. I have all the Sally Hansens and Wet 'n' Wilds and Essies I could possibly need or want at this point. I don't buy China Glaze and it's been ages since I had to have a Zoya or an Orly. So, WHAT DO TO.

Obviously, ordering pricier polish from smaller companies and/or foreign shores is the answer. Consequently I am waiting on polishes from Nfu-Oh, Cult Nails and Ozotic. I only purchased two from each, so it's not as if I completely lost my mind, but factor in shipping charges and that's a whole lotta Wet 'n' Wild.

Anyway, all this to say that I'm going to try and take it easy until the Chanels are released. Which...I actually don't think is too long from now. But it's good to have goals. Right?


LOL, the Chanels went up today. I ordered Graphite and Peridot.


Another winner from a-england

A while ago I told you about the polishes I ordered from a-england. I really hated to take off Tristam, it was so pretty and it wore really well. But this is the cross I must bear as a nail polish hoarder.

Last night I took off Revlon Polished.
Revlon,Polished,Top Speed,pink,creme,sheer

This is from the Top Speed line. It took four coats to even out the streaks and get this degree of opacity but I quite like it.

Revlon,Polished,Top Speed,pink,creme,sheer

A nice subtle color with a little difference.

Prior to that I had on SpaRitual Health, Wealth & Happiness, which I ordered in the Aveyou.com 40% off flash sale. So happy I stumbled into that!
SpaRitual,Health Wealth Happiness,blue,purple,duochrome,shimmer

I am told (and my independent Googling confirms) that this is a dupe for Orly Royal Velvet. Just FYI.

SpaRitual,Health Wealth Happiness,blue,purple,duochrome,shimmer

Pretty. My only complaint is the formula - quite thin, so you need lots of coats to build opacity. But the coats aren't uniformly thin, so you end up with quite a bit of polish on the nail and that = chips. Also I would recommend a B3F top coat.

So back to a-england. After I took off Polished I wanted a little more color but I wasn't quite ready to go full purple holo with Lady of the Lake after wearing HW&H so recently. Instead I chose Guinevere, a dusty light purple creme.



This is two coats. Looking at my nails today, I could have done a third, but after four coats of HW&H and four coats of Polished I just couldn't bring myself to pile on the polish. Two is very sufficient for Guinevere. It dried super shiny with Seche Vite.

You couldn't pay me to say a word against a-england, however, I will say that if you have OPI Done Out in Deco, you might be okay without Guinevere. All I have is this weird NOTD picture with me holding a Moon Pie, but you can see the color so whatever:
OPI,Done Out in Deco,labeled swatch,purple,creme

I'm not sure how similar those look on your monitor and I haven't swatched them side by side, but in the bottle they are pretty twinny. DOiD is only slightly lighter that Guinevere.

Have you tried any of the a-englands yet? They're still offering free international shipping through the end of June, so now is a good time.


At Last!

A while back I mentioned that I had a story to tell you about Milani. This is that story! It has all the elements of a classic: longing for HTF shades, triumph, redemption...and of course, nail polish.

Way back when I discovered the nail board on MUA, there was a Milani collection called (I think) Vintage that had been out for a while and was just beginning to disappear from stores. As you may know, limited edition collection from normally ETF brands (Milani, WnW, Maybelline, Sally Hansen) can actually be quite HTF in a way, due mostly to the peculiarities of distribution in different parts of the country. Add to this the differences in which product lines are carried in which stores and you may find yourself wandering like a lost soul from Rite Aid to Rite Aid, searching high and low for a temporary display of $2 nail polishes, which often only contain 1 or 2 bottles of each color and are rarely restocked. It's maddening, to say the least.

I have the most luck with Milani (which is actually $5 nail polish) at CVS. Walgreens carries the line, but the ones around here don't seem to get the special collections, and Rite Aid doesn't carry the line at all. So although I looked and looked, I came up empty on the Vintage collection. Primarily I wanted the gray, light blue and green from the collection. I put them on my wish list and tried to swap for them, but to no avail. Someone did eventually swap with me for Vintage, the taupe from that collection, but I could never get hold of the other three colors.

Then! I was on MUA the other day and someone mentioned that Milani had re-released the whole Vintage collection. It took about point-one seconds for me to order the three colors I wanted from the Milani site. Happily, they arrived over the weekend.
gray,blue,green,Milani,Vintage,bottle pic

Timeless, Antique, Original.

Milani,gray,blue,Vintage,taupe,green,bottle pic,Timeless,Original,Antique

Here they are with the Taupe, called Vintage.

Milani,Vintage,green,bottle pic,Dress Maker,Original

This is Original on the left with Dress Maker on the right. Dress Maker is reportedly a dupe - or near dupe - to Chanel Jade.

I haven't tried any of these shades on yet, but I was very happy to find them!


And now, for something completely different

One of the things that amazes me about nail polish is that no matter how many brands you try, there is always something new and amazing you've never seen before. Lately I've been much more interested in trying new-to-me brands, particularly those available exclusively overseas.

It is, of course, possible to get almost anything stateside, whether it's through eBay or a blog sale or a friendly pal in Europe or Asia who will send things to you. Getting polishes across the ocean, however, can require you to throw a great deal of money out the window on shipping. Most of the time that is unavoidable.

Happily, some brands do sales and promotions that make it a little easier to splash out on non-US brands. a-england is a UK brand that's doing a sale this month with totally free international shipping and while the polishes are not what I'd call cheap, I was only too willing to take advantage.

a-england's Mythicals ocllection includes 15 lacquers named after characters in the Arthurian legends, as well as a basecoat and topcoat. I ordered three polishes on June 2 and received them in my mailbox on June 8, which was super awesome especially considering the free shipping.


Lady of the Lake, Tristam, Guinevere




Tristam and Lady of the Lake are holos and Guinevere is a dusty-looking creme. I decided to wear Tristam first because the base blue color is pretty unique in my collection.


These polishes are crazily pigmented and apply really well. I don't have a base coat that's specifically for holos, but I just used my good old Palladio bonding base coat and it was fine.



a-england polishes are £9 (or about $14.60), so these polishes are on the higher end of the price spectrum with Illamasqua or Deborah Lippman. Throw in the free shipping and the price is a bit easier to swallow.

Next I'm planning on trying some Ozotics from Australia and perhaps some UK-exclusive Illamasquas...fun!


Sally Beauty Favorites

I used to rarely set foot in a Sally Beauty. I always found the stores somehow overwhelming, I suppose because most of the merchandise is pretty unfamiliar to someone who typically only shops at mass market retailers. Then I got laid off and decided to forgo salon haircuts and highlights and do all that myself. I went to Sally and spent about $15 on scissors, color, developer and a little brush and mixing cup. I even got reasonably good at cutting my boyfriend's hair and I do still give him a touch-up from time to time.

Now of course Sally sells nail polish but I have to admit it's not my favorite place to buy polish. For one thing I don't like China Glaze and for another thing, you could go into a Sally on 20 different occasions and find all of the exact same colors every single time. Holiday is a special collection bonanza time at Sally but aside from that it's kind of a bust.

However there are a lot of products I've discovered at Sally that I truly adore, so I thought I'd babble on about them here.

Coloresse Smooth Shampoo

I recently went to Sally's to stock up on a different Coloresse product, but this caught my eye and there was a $2 coupon, so I bit. I love this shampoo! I noticed a difference in smoothness the very first time I used it. It lasted into the second day, too, and my hair smelled very clean and felt very soft. I am bonkers for this shampoo. At about $8 it's more than I would ideally like to pay for shampoo, but if you work your Sally's card and any available discounts you can knock down the price a little bit. (Coloresse is the Sally version of the Pureology line, if you're familiar.)

Beyond the Zone Turn Up The Heat Protection Spray

I bought a sample size of this product on a lark and it worked so well I picked up the full size a few weeks ago. I'll save the sample bottle for travel. This is a slick-feeling spray that I spritz on my wet hair before combing it out after a shower. Sometimes I put a little bit more on the ends after blow-drying and before flat-ironing. My hair has been much easier to manage and seems to suffer less from the effects of the flat iron, too. The one drawback of this is the faux-grape, Fruity Pebbles scent. It doesn't really bug me but it is a little cloying. However, I don't notice it in my hair once it's dry. This is also about $8, but the trial size is $2.79.

Palladio Fuse Nail Bonding Base Coat
I feel very strongly about this base coat, and I feel it gets approximately no love on the nail board. I like the consistency of this product, it's about $4 with my Sally card and I can typically get 5-6 days out of a manicure if I need to. Excellent product.

Palladio Flexi-Strong Ridge Filler
Another winner from the Palladio line of treatments is this ridge filler, which I use with any creme-finish polish. My nails aren't terribly ridged but this definitely helps prevent a good deal of staining and provides a nice smooth surface for the polish. I do the ridge filler first and then the Fuse base coat. Never had a problem with any brand of polish, regardless of the formula. The only time I wouldn't use this is with a glitter polish but that's only because any nail imperfections are less noticeable with glitters and foils.

Customer loyalty and the Sally discount

Naturally, Sally offers more significant discounts to professionals, but regular consumers like you and me can still get the Sally card. It costs $5 up front, but you receive a $5 coupon in return. You also get discounts on certain products - for example, without the card, the Palladio products I mentioned are $4.49; with the card they are $3.99. In addition, if you spend $25 during a given month, you'll get a 15% off coupon to use the following month. I also receive Sally mailings that often include a 15% off coupon. So the opportunity for discounts is there. I also look for the tear-off pad of coupons during promotions for different products - you can usually use them in conjunction with your card.

Are you a Sally fan? If so, what are your favorites?