OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest

I wasn't initially jazzed when OPI released the Germany collection for fall 2012. I didn't see a whole lot that intrigued me...and then I started seeing swatches of two of the vampy shimmers, Every Month is Oktoberfest and Germani-cure by OPI. I ended up getting both of those, along with Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine! (oy what a name), the blue-based murky gray creme.

EMiO is a dark purple with red, purple and gold shimmer. The purple base is really purple, and not as blackened as it appears. This polish is much more interesting that you might think at first glance.
 So perfect for fall! The gold shimmer really catches the light and add a lot more interest to this polish than I was expecting.

Formula was perfect. Super easy to control. I know some people aren't fans, but I adore OPI's ProWide brush. It works with my nail shape and I end up doing very little cleanup.

This is two coats of EDiO with Palladio Fuse base coat and one coat of Sally Hansen Diamond Flash Fast Dry Top Coat.
OPI Every Day is Oktoberfest


Zoya Codie

I've ordered rather a lot of Zoyas over the past several months. They just kept having sales or promos that appealed to me (BOGO and free ship? SOLD).

One Zoya that I've hemmed and hawed over for months and finally bought is Codie, which is described on the Zoya site as a "blackened espresso brown creme with subtle olive undertones." Now, I must confess: I normally steer clear of brown polish. As in...I never buy it. Ever. It's the one category of color that just doesn't do it for me at all. I've owned exactly two brown polishes - Essie Little Brown Dress, because it came in a set with three other colors, and Dr.'s REMEDY Desire Dark Brown, which was sent to me for review. I virtually never reach for them (and in fact I think I may have passed Desire Dark Brown on to someone else).

But Codie intrigued me, with those "subtle olive undertones." So, I finally pulled the trigger. Can't beat half price, after all!
There was a little bit of drama with Codie. I opened my bottle to do a manicure last week and found...a mess. The polish was stringy like whoa. These fine, wispy hairs of polish would float all over the place when I pulled the brush out of the bottle. Huge clumps of polish were clinging to the brush and brush stem. It was just...really bad. Ordinarily if a polish is slightly thick I just suck it up and get out my trusty Seche Restore but this seemed very far gone. Happily, when I wrote the company they responded quickly. After sending a picture of the compromised bottle Zoya sent out a replacement right away.

So here I am with my new, formulaically perfect bottle of Codie and what can I say? I really quite like it. It's dark and chic without screaming BROWN or BLACK. Must be those olive undertones. Perhaps you can get a better sense of them here:
There's a certain murky quality to it that I really like.

The formula for Codie was great. A bit thin, maybe even watery on the first coat but the second coat makes it perfection. I've been so impressed with Zoya's formula in the last several collections, particularly their cremes. Wonderful and opaque, even self-leveling in some cases (this is a quality I prize above almost all others in nail polish).

I bought this on Zoya.com. The price is $8 but I used a promotion code and got it for half price. Whee! Codie was part of the fall 2011 Smoke & Mirrors collection.

Zoya Codie


Jade Vermelho Surreal

Confession: I'm more picky and fussy about buying polish than I've ever been before. I barely throw it a glance when I walk into a drugstore. This morning in CVS I didn't even look. I've been wearing a lot of my older favorites lately (today: Misa Cherry Topping).

But that's not to say I'm immune to a charming stranger, like Jade Vermelho Surreal. This is a dark red linear holo, and it just so happens that "dark red linear holo" is music to my ears. I have plenty of red linear holos and holo sparkles in my collection but I can almost always find room for another (you can see a comparison post of other red holos here).

Anyway: Jade Vermelho Surreal.

It's a nice, dark red. I haven't compared it on the nail to Hits Ares, but in the bottle Ares is just a bit brighter.
Mmmmm, holo.

I liked it on the nail a lot.
I have about enough holos in my collection at this point...I think I'm burned out on all the pastel holos, and the deep colors I like (red, purple, green) I have pretty much covered, though I'd still like a nice deep green linear holo, swoon. But I'm glad I picked up Vermelho Surreal. It's a good strong holo, and the formula is really nice. I found Hits Ares to be a little on the sheer side (maybe "jelly" is a better way to describe it) and it needs at least three coats. This is not really uncommon with holos, but Vermelho Surreal would probably be good at two coats with careful application. The brush and formula are both good enough to make this possible.

I did not use an aqua base with this and it didn't seem to need it. I used it over my usual Palladio base coat and finished it off with a coat of Seche Vite, with no dulling. (Incidentally, I recently bought a bottle of Sally Hansen Diamond Flash Fast-Dry Topcoat, which is rumored not to dull holos, but I haven't tried it with any of my pickier holo lacquers just yet.)

This polish has a distinctive odor that whispers "not B3F" but I'm not 100% positive about that. Just keep that in mind if it's something you are concerned about.

I bought my bottle from shop.llarowe.com for $10 plus very reasonable shipping; in checking the website just now I see the price has dropped to $7. It is also available on Ninja Polish for $7.50. Both sites are out of stock at the moment. The bottle size is 8ml. For reference, a bottle of Zoya is 15ml.
Jade Vermelho Surreal


Okay okay okay I PROMISE to try and do better. I'm still polishing, still buying, still loving all things nails but truth to tell I have been a little lax with some things. For instance I am at work right now with polish peeling off half of my nails. NOT COOL.

I still Instagram most of my manicures and while I realize that's not the best way to photograph polish for accuracy and attractiveness, I'm going to use it as a basis to touch on some things and preview some others.

First off I've somehow, through sales and well-connected friends, managed to get hold of a lot of the Zoya Beach and Surf collection. This is Kimber.
The sparkly shades from this collection are really pretty. I am wearing Carly on my toes right now and I've worn it as a manicure a couple of times as well.

I also ordered a couple of shades from Zoya's fall release, FeiFei and Evvie. Here's FeiFei.
This is a really gorgeous color and I can't wait to try and photograph it with a real camera to try and capture all the little colors within it. Part of my nail polish issue right now is that nothing I'm seeing feels very unique, and while I'm certainly open to buying similar colors or even dupes to get a superior formula or that slightly different shade that makes me fall in love, I'm more likely to be picky about it. FeiFei is the first thing I've seen in a while that seemed to me personally to be unique.

In a similar vein (and a similarly terrible picture), here is Sally Hansen Insta-Dri In A Flurry.

This is also quite beautiful. It's a fall release and it represents the first time in forever that I've felt driven to hunt down a drugstore unicorn. As you know these particular creatures can be very elusive, but I eventually ran across this one in—as usually happens—a drugstore not on my usual beat, where I hadn't planned to be. I'm really sorry for the horrible quality of this photo but again, I can't wait to take real pictures of it. (In the meantime, Google Scrangie's swatch and you will be the amaze.)

I also want to tell you about the polishes I recently ordered from Cirque. This is what you might term an "indie" brand and what I've seen so far is super awesome and impressive. I ordered Tibetan Nights, a deep blue jelly with teeny tiny silver/holo glitter, and Never Nude, a nude-toned linear holo.
The purple holo from this line is also outta sight, and the packaging and service when you order are nothing short of top notch.

What else have I unearthed? Well, through the kindness of a long-distance nail polish friend I finally laid my hands on OPI Tucumcari Boys 'n' Berry. I also want to tell you about Chanel Frenzy, which may be the perfect neutral.

More to come soon!


Rescue Beauty Lounge Aqua Lily

Wayyyyy back on March 24 I pre-ordered my choice from the Rescue Beauty Lounge Fan Collection: Aqua Lily. I finally received it this week, so I wanted to share some pictures.

Aqua Lily is an opaque turquoise with a pink/lavender shimmer.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Aqua Lily
It's difficult to see the shimmer in the picture above, but it really looks beautiful when you throw a little light on the subject.
This type of shimmer is, in my opinion, very typical for an RBL polish. It's more like a vein of color through the polish than straight-up shimmer. It's subtle, like a Chanel shimmer. This isn't always something that makes people happy...including me, in the case of Piu Mosso. If you click that link, you'll see that the picture of that gorgeous copper shimmer looks incredibly similar to the picture above.

My experience with Aqua Lily was much better than my experience with Piu Mosso, however. For one thing, the formula is much better. It's very pigmented, and I didn't experience any of the dragging that I did with Piu Mosso.

Plus, the shimmer shows up a lot better.
In some lights, it looks practically duochrome, though I was hard-pressed to capture that on camera.
I did very, very little clean-up with this manicure. In that respect, it's worlds apart from Piu Mosso.
A couple things: I'm still getting the dull-ish finish that I got with PM. And it's not Seche Vite's fault, either, because for a while now I've been exclusively using Cult Nails' Wicked Fast quick dry top coat (which is amazing and warrants an entire post of its own, but I'll get to that another day). I also got a huge chip about six hours after putting this on, but I fixed it and since then I've just had minor tip wear/miniscule chips. Definitely more chippy than most polishes on me, though.

Overall, this is a beautiful color with gorgeous pink/purple shimmer that I find delightful. The subtlety of it doesn't bother me, though it wouldn't hurt, of course, if it was more prominent.

Did you buy any of the fan collection colors? What's your take?


Quick NOTD: OPI Don't Touch My Tutu!

Here's a quick phone cam shot of OPI Don't Touch My Tutu from the New York City Ballet collection. I reviewed some of the other polishes in this collection here. To reiterate, this collection is fantastic and I consider most of these colors must-haves. They're classic, and almost more important, the formula is beautiful.
This is three coats. There was some very, very faint streaking after two coats but it was so negligible I almost hate to mention it. I'm wearing it over one coat of nail strengthener with Cult Nails Wicked Fast top coat.

I may eventually end up with this entire collection. I just ordered Care to Danse, the soft lavender shade. OPI really hit a home run with this!


NOTD & OPI New York City Ballet Collection

I've been excited about the OPI NYCB collection for months. When I had the opportunity, I purchased four shades: Pirouette My Whistle, My Pointe Exactly, Don't Touch My Tutu and Barre My Soul.
Pirouette My Whistle
My Pointe Exactly, Don't Touch My Tutu, Barre My Soul
I did a manicure with Barre My Soul almost immediately. What strikes me about these polishes is that they are not streaky, a rare quality in these kinds of sheers.

For today's manicure, I chose to pair My Pointe Exactly with the glitter, Pirouette My Whistle.
Here's some closeups of Pirouette, which is gorgeous just in the bottle.
I did a base coat and then began with Pirouette, followed by My Pointe, another layer of Pirouette and another layer of My Pointe.

I love love love this. I think Pirouette would look fantastic with any of the shades from this collection, as well as any number of other sheers/jellies.

Have you purchased any of these? What are some layering combos you have done/want to do?


Cult Nails Divas & Drama collection - photos & swatches

Back in March I preordered the Cult Nails Divas & Drama collection, which consists of four lacquers: Scandalous, a coral/salmon jelly; Enticing, a delicate shell-pink shimmer; Manipulative, a buttery turquoise creme with a silvery micro-glitter/shimmer; and Seduction, a sheer reddish purple jelly with red and blue multichromatic flakes. Seduction is available as a limited edition shade; the rest are listed with the core colors on Cult's website.
Scandalous, Enticing, Seduction, Manipulative
Before I show you these quick swatches - all were swatched over a a quick coat of ridge filler, with no top coat - please understand that my hands/cuticles are dry and, it must be said, kinda gross in these pictures. I Photoshopped away the worst of it (not the polish though, just my own skin) but honestly they are just so dry. Blame the acetone or blame not wearing gloves for the last couple weeks (I refuse!) but anyway, blech and I am SO SORRY. Someone's been very bad about her Lanisoh of late.

I'm wearing Scandalous as a full manicure right now and it's super pretty.

This swatch actually does have topcoat - Cult's Wicked Fast, which I am just now trying for the first time. This is two coats of Scandalous. You can still see some visible nail line, but it's honestly so faint and right now I'm really having a moment for sheers and jellies. This is a fruity, fun, summer candy color although in real life it is slightly pinker (and less orange) than it appears here. Gorgeous formula, which was true for all of these and an improvement over the Cult colors I have tried before.

Enticing was the surprise hit of this collection for me.

AIEEEE CUTICLES. Ahem, sorry. Typically these delicate ballerina pinks make my hands look dirty or weird but this is a real beauty. It reminds me of the inside of a seashell, plus there's a subtle shimmer that softens the overall effect (you can see it in the nail on your left). This is three coats. It's sheer-ish, but very buildable. Any streaks that I noticed while I applied it leveled themselves out. It's an impressive formula.

Manipulative is a dusty turquoise opaque cream that has a lot in common with Chanel Nouvelle Vague. NV's shimmer is more of a silvery pearlescent one and Manipulative's is beautiful little micro-glitter or micro-shimmer.
This is two perfect coats. Gorgeous formula, better than NV's hands-down. If you wanted Nouvelle Vague and never got it, save yourself the money and the headache and pick up this instead. NV is maybe the tiniest, tiniest bit more green, but it's worth it for the beautiful formula.

Some of you won't be mad for Seduction because it's a flake and you're over flakes, or they're not your cup of tea or whatever. But these are really, really good flakes. They lie nice and flat and just look at the rainbow in that bottle!
I layered Seduction over OPI Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not (a polish I happen to love that never gets any love on MUA or anywhere else that I've ever seen).
This is two layers of LMLMN and one layer of Seduction. For a full manicure I would probably do at least one more layer of Seduction, but here you can see that the colors really do flash and flare nicely. The base of Seduction is a reddish purple, but it's quite sheer so you probably wouldn't want to wear it alone, though of course you could!

Overall, I'm extremely happy I preordered and got this collection for $30. It's currently priced at $40, or you can buy the individual lacquers for $10 each. It's certainly worth $40 but I feel like I got a great deal by preordering. Honestly it's difficult for me to say which of these are my favorite - I'm fascinated by Enticing just because I've tried and rejected so many colors like it. I'm in love with jellies right now, so loving Scandalous is a given, and the formula on Manipulative is to die for. The only negative thing I can say about Seduction is that it does bear a lot of similarities to Nfu-Oh 51, but they're not twins.

Will you be ordering any of these?


NOTD: Lynnderella Mercurial

I've been after Mercurial for a while now. I didn't order it way back when Lynnderellas first went up for sale, and since that time it's been more difficult to obtain them. Luckily I was able to go in on an order with a friend, so Mercurial is finally mine mine mine all mine.

Black, silver and lavender square and hex glitter in a sheer gray base with lavender/teal shimmer. Yes I said teal. It's hard to see in the bottle but that's what I'm seeing over the base color I used, so I'm sayin' it.

Now originally this is not what I was going for. I wanted a gradient-type look, with the glitter clustered at the bottom of my nails, but it didn't work out. Maybe 2 out of 10 nails looked the way I wanted them to. So, I went back and did a second coat of Mercurial to spread things out a bit.
Oftentimes with glitter polishes like this I have a hard time picking a good base. I try things I think will look good but something gets lost in translation. I'm better with dense glitters, where the base just sort of fills in the blanks, but with these more random glitters I have a deficiency. I feel like I chose well with Rescue Beauty Lounge Stormy, though.

I used one coat of Palladio Fuse bonding base coat, two coats of Stormy, two coats of Mercurial, two coats of Gelous and one coat of Seche Vite. And what do you know, it actually dried. The danger for me with manicures this thick is that in a day or two I will get an overwhelming desire to start picking at it, because they tend to peel off in sheets. I got in a bad habit of doing this with a couple manicures in a row and it did Very Bad Things to my nails. So once the urge to pick pick pick starts that's when I'll know to haul out the acetone.

 I'm pretty pleased with the smoothness I was able to get with the two coats of Gelous/one coat of SV. I hate, hate, HATE gritty glitters, I have no patience with them whatsoever and this has stopped me from buying dozens of nail polishes, particularly lately. The China Glaze Prismatics, WnW Be Jeweled, the WnW holiday glitters, OPI Burlesque...hate. I cannot stand gritty feeling nails and in the event that Gelous/SV doesn't work, well, then I've just wasted a lot of time and effort putting on a disgusting-feeling manicure.

Sorry to be so strident but we all have our pet peeves...sandpaper nails is mine, I guess!

Anyway, I have run into this with Lynnderellas and I find that doing as few coats as possible (one, if at all feasible) and doubling up on the Gelous under SV works fairly well. I've never tried her Glitter Tamer so I can't speak to the effectiveness of that. I do think that the results you get with Lynnderellas tend to be worth the effort.

Do you have any tricks for smoothing out gross, gritty glitters?


Essie No More Film

It took me a long time to warm up to Essie, a brand I always associated with pale pinks, bridal whites and classic reds. Essie is good at those things, it's true, but they've responded to the uptick in demand for "different" and more unusual colors. Some of the best greens are from Essie...Pretty Edgy, School of Hard Rocks, Going Incognito, Absolutely Shore and of course Greenport are some of the best polishes in my collection.

You might even say that I have a problem.



I purchased No More Film from the 2012 Resort collection.

It's an incredibly vibrant violet or blurple, if you prefer. It's very, very pigmented and yes, it is definitely a one-coater.

I used two coats.

This is one of those "hard to photograph" colors but I think you can see (or at least, I can on my monitor) that the purple comes through pretty strongly. It's more purple than Road House Blues by OPI, which is a comparison everyone seems to be interested in. Whether you "need" both would probably be determined by a formula preference or perhaps your skin tone.

This applied very well...cleanup was a bit of a bear just because of the high level of pigmentation. Every time I swiped at some stray polish with my brush, it spread all over my skin. Easily remedied, though.

This is a super gorgeous polish and I'm glad I picked it up...will you buy it?


Zoya Gemma

Look! A real post!

Today I wanted to show you my NOTD, Zoya Gemma. I purchased this during a promo a while back and still hadn't worn it.

Gemma was released with the Intimate collection for Spring 2011. Zoya describes Gemma as a light muted olive green with an overlay of blue and violet duochrome shimmer. One thing that I really like about Zoya's product descriptions is the opacity scale, on which Gemma gets a 4 (1 being sheer, 5 being opaque). It took me three coats to get to the opacity I wanted, so that seems accurate.

It's easiest to see the blue/violet flash in the bottle.

On the nail, the blue flash is most visible.

Gemma is quite beautiful. I love green lacquer so this is a slam dunk for me, but if olive tones suit you this is definitely an unusual shade worth checking out.

I've been in love with Zoya's formula lately, particularly the Feel collection and the four shades I bought from the Smoke and Mirrors fall 2011 collection. Gemma predates these efforts, plus it is a duochrome so it's inherently more sheer, but the formula is very workable. Very sheer on the first coat but not watery or difficult to control.

Thanks for looking!


Blog sale notes

I want to extend a huge thanks to everyone who has written asking to purchase something! Some items went out yesterday and some today. I went for more mailing supplies today so another bunch will go out tomorrow.

If you bought something and haven't received an invoice from me yet, let me know.

And thanks again!


Loving lately

In an attempt to make this blog somewhat useful or at least entertaining again, I thought I'd write a roundup of products I've tried lately and what I thought of them.

Revlon Lip Butter
I've mentioned this before as one of my favorite products and I haven't changed my mind. I am OVERJOYED that these are permanent (for now, anyway). Pink Truffle is still my favorite shade, but I've also bought Tutti Frutti, Red Velvet and Candy Apple. I love them all.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm
Let's call this a grown-up version of plain lip balm. It's in the same vein as Revlon Lip Butter, both products are excellent though I personally feel the Revlon is longer lasting. I have Caramel Comfort and Plush Plum - the caramel is much more sheer than the plum but both provide just a little bit of tint with good hydration and shine.

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo
Without going into a 10-paragraph dissertation about my hair and all my issues with it and all the things I've tried to overcome/subdue those issues, suffice to say it's fine and naturally curly. I wear it straight now and have for several years, but it's a fight and any BARE HINT of humidity means my hair turns into a wad of cotton candy.

There are several products I've used and loved over the years, among the best being the Kerastase Oleo-Relax serum and Aveda's Dry Remedy conditioner. Because I am at heart a cheapskate, I'm always looking for the lower-priced dupe for either of these and unfortunately I've come up empty (though I am a fan of Sally Beauty's Coloresse Smooth shampoo and conditioner). Enter this shampoo (and the conditioner, though I'm finishing up my Coloresse right now - like I said, I'm a cheapskate). Not only is my hair smooth as glass but it's incredibly shiny. WIN.

Ultra CHI Ceramic Flat Iron
I finally finally FINALLY replaced my old flat iron, which I didn't even buy but was handed down to me. I used coupons and sales to get the price down to about $70 and I'm very happy with it, it's so much better than the other flat irons I've used. It's an Ulta exclusive, whatever that means, but it works very well. (Can you tell I'm on a bit of a hair high?)

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo
I heard some good buzz about this and bought Tough As Taupe because I am nothing if not a huge sucker for taupe eyeshadow. It's...all right. I found it very difficult to apply to my eyelid - with a brush, with my finger tip - without the results being patchy and draggy and just generally...not good. I do, however, really like it as a liner. I apply it with a little liner brush and it's great (with excellent staying power).


More nails...

Sorry for the continued hiatus! My nails are in much MUCH better shape now, but the light here is still totally crummy and I've been too busy to get my OttLite out very much. Here are a couple of quick iPhone shots...some are a little blurry but you'll get the general idea, I hope.

First here's a picture of one of my Helmer drawers. I had to reorganize recently as I um...outgrew a couple of my brand-specific drawers. This is Essie, Zoya and Misa.

Here's the Jessica Disco Diva set - the special base coat and the silver holographic polish, which is stunning.
Jessica Disco Diva

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the choices I have in my nail polish collection (boo hoo hoo, right) that I go to an old favorite. OPI Big Apple Red is one of those favorites and it's a great polish, too.

OPI Big Apple Red

Recently I wore Zoya Sarah which I ordered because...my name is Sarah.

Zoya Sarah

Not long ago I saw a picture of OPI You're A Doll (from the 2008 Holiday in Toyland collection) and I was seized with the desire to have it. It's discontinued, but readily available on eBay for about retail (I got mine for $7.50 with free shipping).
OPI You're A Doll
It's a really strange polish - kind of a sheerish mauve-y gray shimmer with flecks of reddish microglitter. This is three coats and in certain lights I can still see my nail line, but in most lights it's opaque. It's an interesting twist on a neutral and certainly very work-friendly with just a little bit of interest to keep you from being bored.

I have a lot of new stuff to share - Layla holos, new a-Englands, the Chanel Gold Fingers Las Vegas exclusive...so let's hope the days start getting longer and the light gets better!