Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breaking News

We are sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled Zoya Intimate swatches to bring you breaking news.  Barilla seems to have been taken hostage by alien beings, and replaced by a clone nail polish. 

Reports are hazy, and the language barrier has been difficult to overcome, but the aliens seem to be indicating that they were simply looking for some polish brands not carried on their home planet, and will return their captive as soon as they're through with their mani/pedi's.

Base:  Maybelline Express Finish Tutu Tango
Glittercoat:  Kleancolor Pinky Moon

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Let me slip into something more comfortable

Zoya Intimates, Part 1

I, like so many others, took Zoya up on its recent offer of purchasing the entire Intimate Collection for $25.  I, like so many others, will blog it!  I'm gonna do this in two parts:  purples and unpurples.

Here's Danii.  She's a pink-based purple with lots of silver shimmer.  With this mani, I experimented with Out the Door topcoat rather than using Seche Vite (since I have HORRIBLE experience with Seche and Zoya).  I'm not sure if it's because of Danii herself or because Out the Door is just not as glassy, but something about the fnish of this did not impress me.  I really want to try it again, though, because I love the color.

Ladies and gentlemen, Marley.  She's a very, very light greyish lavender.  I really loved this one with Nfu Oh 40.  (See previous post.)

Last but not least, Caitlin indoors and outdoors, with Shatter and without.  A lot of people are calling Caitlin Kelly's little sister, as blue-grays, but I gotta call these grurples.  Grurples?  Yeah, there's definitely some purple gray going on here.

I'm currently conducting a wear test on Caitlin.  I want to love Zoya for the range of colors and their customer service, but I have had the crappiest experience with durability.  I'm curious to see how switching topcoats affects the wear, since I know there are chemical reasons why Seche doesn't play well with 3-free formulas.  It's just really disappointing when Zoya touts itself as the longest lasting natural polish, and I can't get it to last a day.  I can tell you this, I will never pay full price (which is now $8) for a Zoya.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New and Improved Pinks and Purples, by Nfu Oh 40

I remember when I found Sinful Colors Green Ocean, and discovered that flakies were the awesomest things ever.  Then I bought Nfu Oh 40, and realized that the love I felt for Green Ocean was but a drop in the sea of nail polish affection.  *Sigh*  Seems like it was just a few weeks ago.  Oh, it was?  Huh.

I'm working my way through Zoya's Intimate collection, and in the process have learned what Nfu Oh 40 can do for delicate pinks and purples.  I'll be presenting you with actual Intimate swatches in the fairly near future, but I just couldn't wait to show you evidence of my discovery.

What you see above is a coat of Nfu Oh 40 over (from top to bottom) Zoya Marley, Caitlin and Mira.  (Mira is from the new Summertime collection, but that's another story for another day.)  Aren't these beautiful? 

Looking down on the nail, the flashing color change from the flakies is very subtle, but impressive when the light catches it just right.

I think my favorite was over Marley, though it was very difficult to photograph because it IS so very subtle.  I love doing nails like this, where the unusual aspect is so hard to notice that it's like your little secret.  Makes it even better when someone DOES notice it, too!

Between the Nfu Oh 40, OPI Shatter and various glitter topcoats, I really do find myself torn on what "effect" topcoat to use when I want to extend the life of my manicure! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hello, Holo!

I'm baaaaaack!  Just got back from a wonderfully relaxing vacation in Long Beach, California.  I got to visit my best friend, who's also spent some time obsessing over nail polish.  Of course, I had to rifle through her collection.  She's been getting professional manicures for awhile now, though, so I wasn't sure what I would find.  Sha-BLAM!  I was blown away to find a gorgeous holo!  Check out OPI DS Sapphire:

Please excuse the quality of this manicure.  I was on vacation, okay?

I took a sampling of my collection and got my friend hooked on Seche Vite, so we went drugstore-hopping to find a bottle for her.  At CVS, I picked up a Milani "holo."  I put that in quotes because I was skeptical about the true holo factor in Milani's Hi-Tech.  It just didn't look very holographic in the bottle.  But I gotta say, I am pleasantly surprised!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Zoya Kelly, and why work will make me fat

If you've spent much time reading more than one nail polish blog, you've seen Zoya Kelly.  She's a popular one for good reason, even if she doesn't sound like much to describe.  Dark bluish gray.  Whoopdie doo.  But I'm telling  Now, since Kelly's been seen on so many fingers in the blogging community, I decided to change things up a bit and add my favorite glitter coat (Pure Ice Don't You Wish):

I got quite a few compliments on this, including one from the girl at the cupcake shop.  Check out this blurred one for some crazy glitter action:

Double rainbow!  What does it meeeeeean????  It's so intense!

Ahem.  Sorry.

Now, nothing washes down a delicious cupcake like...a Diet Coke!

Yeah, I have seriously got to cut back on the snacking at work.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Céad míle fáilte! Lots o' pics!

A hundred thousand welcomes to my St. Patrick's Day blog!  I's not March 17 yet.  But I'll be on vacation on the holiday itself, and I wanted to provide some time for you to be inspired as you choose your celebratory manicure.

Without further ado, a whole mess of greens!  

Nfu OH-how-exciting!  I finally got my hands on my very first of this brand.  This is Nfu Oh 55.  It's probably three coats.  More would probably lend better results, but as a rule, if it takes more than two coats, I don't have the patience for it.  I made an exception here.

Essie Sew Psyched.  Lovely color, terrible picture.  There's a reason I didn't do a whole blog out of this mani.  Never got around to taking decent pictures.  This polish is well worth your consideration, though.  As much as I love the wear I get from Essie, Sew Psyched may well end up being my St. Patrick's Day mani.  That way I won't have to worry to much about doing my nails again while I'm gone (if I don't want to).

Zoya Ivanka.  This one is a green-lover's dream come true.  A pure green with a gorgeous, almost-foil finish.  I also learned by accident that this one is great for celebrating Mardi Gras.  I just happened to wear a purple sweater in to work that day, so with the addition of the gold beads pictured above, I was good to go!  Let the good times roll!

Sally Hansen X-Treme Wear Emerald City, with an accent of Wet N Wild Party of Five Glitters.  I'm not so nuts about this one.  I've had Emerald City for ages, and even though it's wonderfully representative of my favorite color, I remember now why I rarely use it.  Application is fine...wear is terrible.  I feel like I had tip-wear five minutes after application.  That could just be me.  I wasn't as crazy about the accent on it as I expected I would be.

A refresher of three greens you've already seen (it rhymes!  Go make a limerick out of it.):  Avon Jade, Zoya Shawn, China Glaze Zombie Zest.

Last but not least, my latest pride and joy, my very first true holo...

Nfu Oh 66, a very pale green holo.  Excuse the questionable quality of some of these pics, but you really do have to see the polish in different settings to appreciate the multi-faceted quality of the holo in it.  It's impressive (if not super-duper green).  The downside to these is that everything you've read about application of Nfu Oh holos is true:  it's ghastly.  Three coats is absolutely necessary to cover up the inevitable bald spots that show up as you apply the polish.  I've truly never seen any other polish behave the same way.  With patience, though, the end result can be gorgeous and unique.

I adore anything and everything Irish, including Éire herself, so St. Patrick's Day holds a really special place in my heart.  Even I, however, am kind of tired of applying a different green polish every day, so I'm really looking forward to sitting back and admiring all of the beautiful green and creative manicures the nail-blogger community puts out there!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quickie: Free Essie

Here's a quickie that may add a little extra yippee to your Friday...Essie is apparently partnering with TOMS as part of their "One Day Without Shoes" campaign to raise awareness for the hardships children in developing countries encounter in their daily lives. 

Just sign up on Facebook, and they'll send a bottle of a limited edition Essie polish your way!  This is while supplies last, of course.  I signed up, and I'm really not sure if I'll get a bottle or not, but it's a great cause run by a great company.  I adore TOMS shoes...and Essie, of course!

Check it out!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't go searching for a mermaid if you don't know how to swim.

Today's lovely was a pain in the tail (haha, tail...get it?) to photograph.  It's Sinful Colors Green Ocean over American Apparel Passport Blue.

This photo doesn't begin to capture its charm.  Nevertheless, here's another yourself a favor and click to magnify:

Shimmery!  Green Ocean is a very sheer pale green jelly with blue-green flakies and blue-green iridescent glitter suspended in it.  I tried it over a few dark colors - black, green and this navy American Apparel Passport Blue.  It really popped on that blue!  When you move your hand in the light, it flashes from blue to teal to green and back again.  It's downright mesmerizing!

Good thing it IS a lovely, because the formula leaves a lot to be desired.  I opened up a bottle in Walgreens to peek at the texture, and it was gloopy and stringy.  I tried another bottle and it was just gloopy, so I bought it.  After several drops of Zoya Renew, it was at least usable, but it was difficult to place the flakies.  Some fingers barely had any.  The ones that DID have a lot were bumpier than an Arkansas freeway, so I covered everything with one coat of Zoya Armor and another of Seche Vite.  This smoothed them out quite a bit.

Now, a word on American Apparel polishes:  I don't love them.  A lot of nail bloggers do, and I'll admit, the formula is great.  Every one I've tried is a one-coater.  But...the bottle SUCKS!   Check this out:

Sure, its simplicity is aesthetically appealing and the shape makes it easy to store, but the brush has to be so long to reach the bottom of the bottle, that TONS of polish slides down the stem and ends up pooling all over your nail!  It's a total mess to use and to clean up.  I'm learning the trick though:  Clean the brush completely against the neck of the bottle, and suspend it over your nail until enough polish slides down the stem to go ahead and apply.  It just irritates me that I should have to learn by error to use this otherwise excellent product.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Needs more Tronica!

Okay, I didn't realize when I did the first post that there would be a part two of the Tronica series.  But I just love this collection that much! I must once again address the Tronica haters by saying this:  I know it isn't a true holo.  But it still floats my boat.

This is High Def.  Pretty!  This one reminds me of a glitzier version of Zoya Jo.  Love those cornflower blues.

I'm sorry, I just had to give you three pictures (indoors and out) of Gamer Glam with OPI DS Coronation because...well...LOOK AT IT!  Is it legal anywhere to marry this manicure?

PS:  Did you know China Glaze is two-for-ten at Sally all through March? 
PPS:  Does anyone else's pinky finger want to hide behind the ring finger when you curl your fingers against your palm?  Just curious.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

For Daddy

We lost Dad back on November 8 to a long battle with cancer.  It was hard in the last few months to watch him lose his ability to do things for himself, let alone do the things he loved to do, like working on cars and old radios.  He never lost his sense of humor, though, and I think he really loved how all the women in his life gathered around him more than they ever had before.  My stepsister Ashley was around a lot, and would sometimes bring Avon catalogs for us to flip through and order from.  Once while she and my stepmom Valerie were sitting at the table with Dad, they had him pick out nail colors for each of us.  For Valerie, a pink.  For Ashley, a fire-engine red (which he always loved on her).  For me, a jade/mint/seafoam green.  He knew I loved off-the-wall colors.  Ashley ended up buying all of them for us.

I tend to call the one he chose for me Cadillac green.  It reminds me of the sorts of colors they used to paint cars in the 50's, and Dad LOVED vintage cars.

Happy birthday, Dad.  We miss you.

Colors:  Avon Jade, Sally Hansen Gentle Blossom

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The zed-word! Don't say it!

China Glaze Zombie Zest has been sitting on my desk waiting for me to try it for a couple of weeks now, and I just didn't feel the need to put it on.  But lately I've had this nagging feeling that the zombie apocalypse is coming, and that I'd better start preparing.  So, I trimmed my nails (let's face it, they're just gonna get in the way) and prepared to paint them booger-green.  Yes, if you've never seen Zombie Zest, it is booger-green.  You're not going to see it in its natural state here, though, because vanity got the best of me.  I realized it would look much more awesome over black (American Apparel Hassid, to be specific).

Good luck to all in the forthcoming apocalypse.  And don't forget to kill Philip!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Drink your gin and tonic-a! Paint your nails with Tronica!

Two things about the China Glaze Tronica collection bother me:

   1.  If it's a Tron tie-in...dude, it's kinda late.  That movie hit most of the world in December.
   2.  If you're gonna be a holo, BE A HOLO.  These are not holographic polishes, as the press releases would have you believe.  These are more like...polishes with super-dense vaguely holographic microshimmer.

Luckily, they're GORGEOUS polishes with super-dense vaguely holographic microshimmer.  First up, Cyber Space:

I reeeeeeally love this polish!  To the casual observer, it looks like a basic, classy, work-appropriate taupe.  Then, take a closer look and...PAKOW!  This may become my go-to polish when I want to have a nice, finished manicure but with quick application and no tedious cleanup.  Although application was a breeze, I do want to point out that it's not very forgiving to the imperfect nail.  My tips tend to peel badly, and the polish settled right into a section where the top layer had peeled away.  This was even after a coat of Zoya's ridge-filling base coat.

Now onto Hyper Haute:

(This picture is why nail bloggers love sunny days.)  Hyper Haute was equally ZOMG, although it had the same unforgiving texture.  It's seriously beautiful, though.  It really makes me want to go back and fetch the blue Tronica color.

And finally, as a part of my continuing mission to improve the already-awesome with the addition of Black Shatter:

 Yep.  Still works.