Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Zoya Reds

If you're wondering how I've been able to post twice in one week, whereas I have consistently neglected the heck out of this blog over the last year or so, the reason is this: dental surgery.  Yep.  I had a tooth extracted in August '14, and I went in for a bone graft and implant this past Monday, so I got a few days off of work.  To say I was delighted to chill at home with my messed up mouth and play with nail polish would be an understatement.  I go back to work tomorrow, and I'm so sad.  But, work is what adults do, so... there's that.  

I decided to lump my two red Zoya nail polishes into one post, because I feel like that gives it a more cohesive theme, instead of just tossing random brands together, all willy-nilly like.  So, let's take a look at these two lovelies.

I'll start with my unforeseen favorite, Zoya Colbie (which, oddly enough, I can't locate on Zoya's website).  Colbie is a rich, velvety burgundy that has that deep red-on-red shimmer that gives it a beautiful glowing from within quality.  I don't reach for Colbie very often, and I can't really think of any outfits I'd intentionally want to match her with, but believe me when I say I looove her crushed velvet look.

The other red Zoya I rocked this week was the spunky Zoya Nidhi.  Nidhi is a fire engine red with a subtle shimmer... which I totally just regurgitated from Zoya's website, but it's true, so there's the description.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much natural sunlight to bring forth Nidhi's true beauty today, but she's still sparkly indoors, nonetheless.  I apologize in advance for my less-than-stellar picture of her.  The only issue I would note is that the color began receding from my tips within an hour or two.  Don't know why, as I didthe same basecoat + color + KB Shimmer Clearly On Top Quick Dry Top Coat routine as I always do (protects my paint jobs better than anything else I've ever used, so it's a definite staple in my stash).  If I recall correctly, I've had this issue with Nidhi in the past.  It's not the worst thing in the world, and it's definitely not a deal breaker, but you gotta remember that I'm looking for reasons to downsize, so as much as it pains me to do it, I might be adding Nidhi to the giveaway pile.  Eek! 

So, that's one keeper, one giveaway this time around.  I don't know what it is about Zoyas, but I find it so difficult to get rid of them.  I think it's the fact that they all have women's names, so it's almost like you're giving up a good friend, haha.  No?  Just me?  Okay.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Since I've been gone

I'm back after a month's worth of military training, and methinks I should jump right into the continuation of my nail polish downsizing operation.

I would like to say, before we begin, that training was frustrating and rewarding, and although I got to miss out on the worst of the Alaskan winter while I was away, it's sooo good to be back. Even with the deadly icy roads we have in the Alaska Interior due to it raining a couple days ago and then freezing again. Seriously, worst driving I've ever experienced.

First up since my return from the California desert was OPI Igniting LoveAn easy to apply, fun, bright tomato red. Great coverage, but I added the second coat due to some slight VNL from the first coat. A keeper for now, because even though it's not a terrible exciting shade, I find it quite pleasant and user friendly, so it stays!  

This next one is almost laughable, since, duh, it was a no-brainer even prior to swatching a England Briarwood that it was going to be a keeper.  Such a rich, creamy formula.  This is one of those polishes that I'll stare at all day when it's on, and if the sun is shining?  Forget about it.  Instantly distracted.  That gold shimmer kills me.  Two coats to ensure the most depth possible.

 For no real reason at all, I've decided to gift Black Cat Lacquer Poision Apple.  I think this is 3 coats, which helps to even it out.  I must apologize, as I have still yet to replace the batteries on my Nikon, and taking photos with my Samsung is obnoxious, so I just don't bother with multiple angles or anything extra.  My main goal is always to just take a relatively un-blurry photo and call it good.  So, with that being explained, I should tell you that Poison Apple is a thermal, and this black cherry color you see here is the polish in its cool state.  I watched it turn into a lovely lighter red while I was washing dishes in warm water.  Hopefully, my friend who claimed my Non-Keeper reds enjoys it and is pleasantly surprised by its thermal switch when I send those her way.

Here we have China Glaze Go Crazy Red.  Looks a little dull in my pictures, but I assure you, it is not.  There's a shimmery quality to it that's not overbearing, but is just enough to make it interesting.  I like to wear this on Ohio State football game days, because I feel like it's perfect for that.  If I take my time, I can get it looking nice in one coat, but I generally like doing two coats for everything.  I think it makes me perceive it to be more durable.  Keeper!

 Laquerlicious (now Polish 'M) Merry & Bright is another keeper.  I love to watch those glitters pop in the light.  Two coats shown.

Laquerlicious Reindeer Games.  Okay, I am awful at picking up the fun glitters in polishes like this, but I love it nonetheless.  Makes the rare fun shapes very... rewarding, haha.  Two coats here.  Another keeper.

Milani Iced Mango is what I'm wearing right now, and I don't want to take it off anytime soon.  Alas, other reds are waiting to be swatched.  I bought Iced Mango when I bought my truck last year.  My truck is the first brand new vehicle I've ever bought with my own money... er, am buying with my own money.  I love the color, because it's difficult to decide whether it's red, orange, rusty, or the non-committal red-orange.  I'm going with red-orange.  That icy silver shimmer is what really sells it to me and makes it irresistible.  Two coats.  Keeper, for sure.

Whew!  That took a minute to throw together, and I hope you made it this far.  Hopefully, I'll be a little more consistent in my posting now that I'm home again.  Oh!  And I just checked my Keeper Stash and decided that Igniting Love can replace Nicole by OPI Kourt Is Red-y For A Pedi (not swatched here).  It was still a little difficult to let it go, but since the two were so similar, it made the task a tiny bit easier, so hooray for downsizing!  This is exactly what I'd hoped would happen through this process.

'Til next time!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Journey for 2015

According to Blogger, I haven't published anything on this blog since August 2013.  Whoa.  I sure shrugged off blogging for a looong time.  This does not mean I backed off on the collecting of polishes, though.  Id' love to return to blogging in 2015, as it should be a pretty big year of change for me all around.  I plan on separating from the Army, moving to a new state, finding a new job while looking at options of returning to school for a few additional degrees (am I crazy?), and who knows what else will happen between now and next Christmas?

I do know that this is when I finally get serious about my collection.  I want to be more intentional about what is taking up space in my home and make room for more carefully selected unique polishes, which isn't to say that I won't be keeping commercial polishes. For the last couple days, I've been going through my reds and swatching and wearing a new one each day, adding some sort of glitter or topper to spice things up and serve as an extend-a-mani along the way.  Four polishes in, and I've already made a couple tough culling choices, which puts me at a 50% attrition rate, which I like.  Gives me hope that I'll be able to make a sizable dent in this collection this year!

The first two battle losses are Julep Jackie and Crow's Toes Hell Hath No Fury.  Jackie is an adorably squishy red with a somewhat thick and goopy formula, although it still evened out pretty easily.  In fact, I found the finish positively lovely, but I'm letting her go in favor of Nicole by OPI Kourt is Red-y for a Pedi (which I wore to rep Ohio State in the OSU v Bama game on 01JAN15, and then topped with Black Cat Lacquer Holiday in Cambodia [boyfriend recommended and approved!] the next day... sorry, no photos), since I found them similar enough in color, yet Kourt is Red-y for a Pedi was a bit easier to work with in my opinion.  As far as Hell Hath No Fury goes, I truly do love everything that's going on in this glitter from the red hexes, purple-y iridescent hexes, and the orange(!) bar glitter, but this is my third time attempting to use it, and I don't know if I just didn't screw the cap on tightly enough between uses, but I can't seem to get it to lay nicely on my nail.  Some nails finish smoothly while others wind up with glitters stacked up on top of each other, and I just lack the patience to sit there and manipulate it properly.  I'm sure it's perfectly fine for some of you out there who are undoubtedly more skilled at application than I, but I think this is the end of the road for Hell Hath No Fury and me.

If you didn't feel like reading through all that gobbledygook up there, the main gist of this post is that I did not dislike either of the polishes I said goodbye to today, but from here on out, Julep Jackie and Crow's Toes Hell Hath No Fury no longer hold spots in my very limited storage space.

Happy belated new year, everyone!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Essie Neons

Brace yourselves: this is about to get messy.  I know the drill, because it doesn't take long after reading a few nail polish blogs to learn that the best way to wrangle neons is to lay down a white basecoat.  So I did.  And it did. not. help.  I only partially blame myself.  All is not lost, though: one neon was actually halfway decent.  I'll give you the good first.

In sunlight.

How: One coat of China Glaze 'White on White,' two coats of Essie 'Saturday Disco Fever,' and one coat of clear topcoat.  

Verdict: Saturday Disco Fever was surprisingly easy to apply for a neon.  This wasn't my first rodeo with neons, but I haven't ridden many, because neon has burned me before.  Alas, the boyfriend gave me three of Essie's neon hues for my birthday back in May, and with the Alaskan summer quickly fleeting, I thought it was high time I gave them a go.  Anyway, the above photo makes it look somewhat sherbet-y, but I assure you, it was as neon as they come (my photography skills are admittedly lacking).  I paired it with an equally neon orange running tank to my last outing at this year's local fair, and it just seemed right.  This was the good.

   In sunlight.

How: Two coats of Essie 'Blanc,' 2-3 coats (depending on the nail) of Essie 'Bottle Service,' and one coat of clear topcoat.

Verdict: Not the worst, but definitely could've been better.  Not as easy to apply as the orange above, and what a bummer.  But, still, not the most heinous neon I've ever tried my hand at.  This was the somewhat bad.

In sunlight.

How: Two coats of China Glaze White on White, one coat of Essie 'Shake Your $$ Maker,' and one coat of clear topcoat.

Verdict: This. was. a. NIGHTMARE.  The pictures don't accurately portray the terrible coverage, the splotchiness, the insert-words-of-disappointment-and-frustration-here.  The more I look at this picture, the more I wonder why I kept attempting to take a better picture of this mess.  Again, it could be my terrible painting skills, but my word.  This was most definitely the ugly.

In sunlight.

Bonus: Bottle Service was salvageable.  With the help of Different Dimension's 'Comfortably Numb,' I was able to cover up some of the blemishes in this manicure.  My pictures definitely don't do this glitter topper justice.  You can just barely make out the goldenrod microshimmer in this polish, and you certainly can't see the effect of the hot pink hexes and squares against the neon pink background, but I dug this nonetheless.  Comfortably Numb definitely pops much more against a black basecoat, but I'm sure you've already seen swatches like that.  I'm much later on the scene than most (okay, all) other nail polish bloggers, I know this.

Now, a question for anyone out there who may stumble across this blog: I must find a way to whittle down my nail polish collection and put some of it in storage.  My fall season is probably approaching a little faster than yours (just a reality of the Arctic), so I'm taking it as an opportunity to de-clutter the area where I stash my collection.  Tell me: if you were me, what types of shades would you keep out to take you into the fall season, and which shades (like neons) would you package up and put away for awhile?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Orangefest 2013: Part Deux

It was fair weekend up here, so I only had enough time for two manicures (which, heck, is typical anyway for a two-day weekend).

First up for me this weekend was my first half marathon.  Which I didn't train for and didn't even plan on running until pretty much the morning of, when I decided I didn't want to not go since my boyfriend and a friend of ours were going.  I'm the youngest child, so I have a thing about not wanting to be left out...

Feeling super accomplished after the race. 

The first manicure is what I chose to wear for my first half marathon.

Crappy cell phone picture, taken with sunlight coming through the window behind me.
How: Two very easily applied thick-ish coats of OPI 'Schnapps Out of It!' and a topcoat.

Verdict: Schnapps Out of It! was a bit of a confusing shade for me.  I thought of it as a burnt orange, very brown-leaning, but the boyfriend and our friends all thought it was brick red.  What do they know?  I'm sticking with burnt orange.  The formula was great.  It really went on the nail quite well with great opacity.  I'm pretty sure I only needed the second coat, because I have a tendency to apply polish more thickly near my cuticles than my tips.

Taken in sunlight with flash.

How: Two coats of OPI 'Deutsch You Want Me Baby?' and topcoat to protect.

Verdict: I love this orange.  Built up super easily on the nail.  My photo doesn't really do its depth justice.  As mentioned above, I only used the topcoat to protect the mani and speed up the drying process a little.  Deutsch You Want Me Baby? had plenty of shine on its own, and truth me told, I'm really procrastinating removing this shade tonight (which I must do so I can go to work tomorrow), because I'm really enjoying the beautiful, subtle shimmer.

I have a few more recently purchased oranges in my arsenal, which I hope to get put up next weekend.  I hope everyone has a good new week!  Back to the grind....

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Orangefest 2013

Okay, I'm trying like crazy to get all my vacation swatches up.  One theme I noticed while I was back home visiting family was that the orange-lover in me shone through pretty predominantly.  I've been on a real orange kick as of late, so I thought I'd put up a sampling of my newest orange shades.

How: Two coats of Covergirl 'Orange Oasis' and one coat of Insta-Dri Clearly Quick.

Verdict: I found that I had to keep twisting the brush back onto the bottle and giving it a good shake, because it seemed to get thick and clumpy on the brush after a nail-and-a-half.  However, I really dug the finish and could've done without the top coat, as the Glosstini line this summer is actually just as advertised: glossy.  Orange Oasis is a super fun and playful shade of orange, and I kinda wish I hadn't given it to my sister before I left California.  Sometimes it's good to share the wealth, though, right?  

Taken in sunlight, shows golden-orange.

Taken with flash, shows the reddish orange.

How: Two coats of Ozotic '730' with one coat of topcoat.  Went on super smoothly, although the metallic nature of the formula can show brush strokes.

Verdict: I SUPER dig this shade.  It's another one I just kept looking at, moving my hand around to see the different colors.  I'd like to try it over white or black the next time I wear it.

Taken in sunlight.

How: Two coats of Dance Legend 'Papaya' and one coat of Seche Vite topcoat (finally broke down and bought Seche Vite!).

Verdict: This nail polish is SO MUCH FUN.  I really wanted the darker orange version of this, called 'Pitaya,' but the vendor was out at the time, and I simply couldn't wait any longer to try this stuff.  The orange was super bright, like traffic cone bright, but I didn't feel like a walking Halloween display, so that was a plus.  An even better plus was the glitter: SO EASY to get good coverage.  No fishing required.  I wish all glitter polishes were this easy to apply.

One thing is for sure: I need... more... orange.

Monday, July 15, 2013

'Meet Me at Sunset' by Essie

I have a confession to make: I have now gone through 3 manicures I had intended to blog about WITHOUT TAKING ANY PICTURES.  Kinda makes it impossible to review something when you have no evidence that you ever wore it.  The really crummy part?  I let my sister have one of the colors from Cover Girl's summer Glosstini collection, so I'll never wear it again.  There goes my Glosstini collection post.  Oh, well.

I'm here to review Essie's 'Meet Me at Sunset,' because it's the shade that recaptured my affection for this brand.

Taken indoors with flash

How: Two coats of Essie's Meet Me at Sunset and one coat of Insta-Dri Clearly Quick.  Application was surprisingly easy, considering I wasn't a fan of the brush in several of my older Essie polishes; I could be mistaken, but it seems as though Essie has improved their brush to allow for easier application.

Verdict: Considering what I want out of an orange shade, Meet Me at Sunset comes pretty darn close to meeting my purposes.  See, what I look for is a good, rich, orange-leaning red-orange, not too Halloween-y, with just a hint of burnt quality to it.  In the bottle, Meet Me at Sunset looks like it has that burnt-but-not-TOO-burnt quality.  On the nail, however, it doesn't quite cut the mustard.  BUT, I think it's a lovely shade, anyhow, and may shoot to the top of my orange favorites list.  

Can anyone confirm or deny my suspicion that Essie improved/changed their brush?  I was pretty much done with Essie after being really annoyed with what I perceived to be difficulty in applying their shades to my nails (I won't even get started on my disappointment in their summer neon collection), but I stood at Kohl's yesterday, staring at the Essie display, agonizing over whether I wanted to try Meet Me at Sunset or the redder 'Clambake' (I think I chose the better of the two), despite my past let-downs.  I pulled the trigger and am so glad I did.  I just might give Essie another chance.  I mean, they're readily available around town, I love the names of the different colors, and now with the brush in the bottle I bought yesterday, I really dig how the manicure turns out.

Anyway, I'm still on leave, which means I pretty much give myself a new manicure every night before I go to bed (not just on the weekend!), so I'm going to try and do a collection review of a few of L'Oreal's newer Iconic Muse shades and one from their Trend Setter Collection.  That's if I don't get distracted by some other nail polish along the way and abandon that mission.  I have very little self control...