Thursday, October 1, 2015


My camera gave up on its will to live months ago, so I have no recent photos. But let me say that Zoya Salma is a beautiful color, dare I say fierce fall gorgeousness encapsulated on your nails. No photo I've seen has truly captured its beauty. I would describe it as "apple cider metallic". Its fiery flash will help get me through this dreary week.

I've also tried my single Zoya Satin, Brittany. Brittany, Rue, and Kennedy all appear to be light nude pinks in the bottle, but turn mauve on me. I wore Brittany on its first run to a job interview, and Kennedy has been my interview go-to for a while. Rue's purpleness, on the other hand, felt too risque for the interview I almost wore it for in December. The stakes were higher for that one, so it could've been all in my mind. Anyway, I loved Brittany's eggshell textured finish, and it held up shockingly well in my tough-on-nails job. I went straight from work to the interview without a chip, and that is rare.

OPI Vampsterdam (clearance at Ricky's NYC!) would probably be frosty on fingernails, but is GORGEOUS on toenails. Recommended next time you visit the salon! Or if you see it on sale for as cheap as I did.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Zoya Oceane swatch

I was at Ulta yesterday to use my first of two coupons for the month, and I was all set to buy a reasonable amount of products when my sister spotted the new Zoya summer display off on the more hidden, forgotten shelf in the drugstore section, where they used to keep the Kardashian line (which has now been moved to a much more prominent position next to Maybelline, I believe, God help us). So I impulse-bought Genesis and Oceane and went $20 over budget. Oops! I had been thinking beforehand about getting Genesis despite the lukewarm online reviews, and Oceane had been only secondary, but it was looking very pretty and ocean-y in the store. All the shimmers in the collection (besides Genesis) have prominent glitter flakes in the bottle, and it's very enticing.

I don't think any of my photos captured the color correctly. It's a vivid aqua foil-metallic, blue with a green tint. It looks very similar to the L'oreal teal eye liner I just picked up. I believe my photos don't depict it with enough green, and they also don't capture the larger flakes. The sky has been overcast and will stay overcast throughout the weekend, I think, so this is as good as my lighting is going to get!

The closest colors in my collection are OPI Yodel Me on My Cell (darker, moodier, different finish) and two oldies, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Marine Scene and Cover Girl Electric Blue (both much, much thinner, and with a different finish). Zoya Oceane requires only two coats, and is covers well with one, which is very unusual with marine shimmers in my experience. No visible brushstrokes. If you like gorgeous, glowing jewel tones with depth, I highly recommend this shade!

My last manicure [not pictured] was Zoya Katy, a fuchsia with purple-ish subtle shimmer that makes it more purple than the average fuchsia. I own a lot of fuchsias, and this is unique! But of course I only got it when I excitedly stumbled upon Zoya for the very first time in a Seattle nail supply store because it has my name. They even spelled it correctly. It was obviously named after the pop star with a color that matched her then-current pin-up girl aesthetic, but still. It's designed for me.Two very, very, easily controlled coats and good dry-time. I used this for a rare matching toes and tips last weekend because I was going to a very special event and needed something easy. It matched my Mac Viva Glam Miley, so I was high-rolling like a boss. Katy is a lesser-known Zoya; check it out!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday swatch

You would not believe how effectively this song has stuck with me. Unh-unnnh, jazz it up!

Everyone knows Happy Birthday. I believe there are different variations of it; mine came from a mini-duo that was on clearance at Ulta (which I then got half off, woohoo!). It was paired with Raining Men and came with a make-up pouch covered in Happy Birthay-esque glitter. Unfortunately the people who designed the pouch did not cover the glitter with a "top coat" and only left it simply glued on, so little bits of glitter come off every time you touch it. My version of Happy Birthday is heavy on the silver, fuchsia, and green, but red, orange, yellow, and blue all factor in. I've layered on 3 coats here. My very first Deborah Lippmann!

My birthday was kind of shitty. It wasn't nearly as grand as such a milestone event deserves, and to top it off, the day itself has been filled with the digestive consequences of my week's indulgences. I guess that's one way to start off my old age. My birthday last year was MUCH more fun. Last year a bouncer outside of a strip club checked my ID and went, "Ooh, it's almost your birthday!" with an excited expression. Not a single person checking it said a thing this year. I want special attention like a child, dammit. A bartender on my first night out (I had two due to some of the complications that made the weekend kind of shitty) assured me that "your 30s are so much better" and gave me a free drink, so there's that! And even though my second night out was not what I wanted it to be, I'm glad I did it, because it was the last time I would see the friend I went out with for over a month (and she really needed a drink).

Friday, May 22, 2015

OPI Teenage Dream swatch


Boy you put your hands on me in my skin-tight jeans, be my teenage dream tonight B|

A pink (not as silvery as my photos make it seem, I think), sheer, somewhat-frosty glitter filled with chunky silver holo glitter.  Good in 2 coats, but I used 3 for to fill out any patches.  You don't truly need the third coat because the polish is so sparkly, it's hard to notice the scant patches even if you're looking.

OPI Teenage Dream looks like a giant glittering diamond of a girly cupcake, and that's why I'm wearing it for my birthday weekend.  My birthday is in the middle of next week, and it's a big one, so I'm claiming this weekend (and possibly the entire prior week?) as included in "my birthday", and so far it's a shitty one.

Tangential story: I lost a few pounds two years running on a treadmill in my basement while listening to Katy Perry's album "Teenage Dream".  Let me tell you, it is a pop MASTERPIECE.  A guilty pleasure one, that is.  It's no Madonna's "Like a Prayer", but it is great for cardio.  The title song itself is a good warm-up, getting you pumped.  Usually when I start to falter, the beat of "E.T." re-energizes me.  Just thinking about the song "Teenage Dream" right now makes me want to go jogging and make my afternoon less shitty.  [Edit: I later did, and ended up injuring my ankle. That's the way it goes!]

From this collection, I was also a fan of The One that Got Away, appropriately named because I passed on buying it, then yearned for it for years until I found it recently in a CVS.  Too bad OPI didn't include a Let Me See Your Peacock as well.

Also, notice the price label on that OPI:  $8.50 from Trade Secret.  Remember when OPI was actually semi-affordable?  Now they're creeping up to $11, which I believe is what they are at CVS, at the least.  Don't even get me started on Zoya upping to $9.  And is Trade Secret still around?  It's where I first found OPI and Essie after starting my full-blown nail polish obsession (even though Essie and OPI are everywhere (though they were less so back then)).  A few months later, the store closed down.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wet n Wild Wear Skinny Jeans swatch

Ahh, those raggedy cuticles.

Wet n Wild Wear Skinny Jeans is, based on all sources, a dupe for Essie Bikini So Teeny with a superior formula. A beautiful, vivid periwinkle with a shimmer you see as you apply, but disappears as soon as it dries. Brighter than it looks in the bottle and an easy two coats. Wet n Wild's wide brush made it so I only needed one stroke on some fingernails, though I was messy at the cuticles. I think the polish at the cuticles also stretched out as the nail grew. What was most surprising was how hardcore it held up. I put a lot of damage on my nails, and this polish stayed strong. It only started to chip after almost a week.

This is from the Silverlake spring 2015 collection, which I excitedly looked for but have yet to find anywhere outside of the Christmas Tree Shop, where of course I've only found the collection incomplete. A friend spotted it at an Air Force base commissary, but that's been it. The hipster names of the products are hilarious (my favorite is Warm Filter), and I love that it's named after a presumably hipster neighborhood in LA, which I hope to visit this summer.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas Manis and Top Polishes of the Year

First, an end of the year recap:

One of my favorite new polishes this year was Zoya Rebel, a sky blue shimmer that I only got to wear for a single day because I suddenly had a job interview scheduled the next day. This color made me sooo happy to look at, and it was a pleasure to apply. Other favorite blues was the not-new Zoya Blu (powder blue, dream formula!!! unbelievable for such a pale pastel), Essie In the Cab-Ana (bright pool liner blue, super summery), and China Glaze So Blue Without You (bright blue foil, gorgeous, but stains like a mutha).

I loved funky greens this year: Urban Outfitters Gotta Have It (you really do gotta have it), China Glaze Highlight of My Summer, China Glaze Be More Pacific, Finger Paints Margarita Mambo, and China Glaze It's Alive! I believe I was also a fan of China Glaze Grass is Lime Greener and China Glaze I'm With the Lifeguard.

My favorite collections were China Glaze's Spring Flourish and Crinkled Chrome. I may very well be the only person in the world to say either. I got all the Crinkled Chromes I saw on clearance (use two coats and apply a top coat to prevent chips; the aluminum foil texture will stay intact). I eventually got almost all of the Spring Flourishes besides the ones that weren't ultra bright. My favorite was Lotus Begin; I went nuts over it. I was also a huge fan of Spring in My Step, a peachy-pink I believe China Glaze will come very close to replicating a few times during their 2015 spring collection.

And assorted: OPI Do You Have this Color in Stock-holm? and Snow Globetrotter.

Other older ones: China Glaze High Hopes (electric guava, perfect formula), OPI Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ (finally I swatched this! my new favorite vamp, and it doesn't require 2 coats, praise), and Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Diamonds and Rubies (easy and opaque, perfect retro red).

And dun-dun-dun, favorite indies: KBShimmer Pine-ing for Yule (sure to be a Christmas favorite for years to come) and Sand in My Stocking (a summer fave, despite being a Christmas glitter). Speaking of...

Christmas manis:

China Glaze Phat Santa
I know you love my indoor, nighttime, flash-lighting photo. This is pretty color-accurate. A much darker red than SH Diamonds & Rubies, but still glamorous. I was very frustrated to find that it requires 3 coats, but the application wasn't difficult, and now I find the 3 coats tolerable.

OPI Christmas Gone Plaid topped with Urban Outfitters Champagne Toast
 Christmas Gone Plaid is a very dark cool green, I daresay a bit too dark for me. Champagne Toast is a glitter topper with white in varying sizes and large gold. The gold sometimes sticks out, so I would use two layers of top coat next time. I was going through a "evergreen with popcorn garland" look, and I believe I accomplished that.

Jindie Nails Candy Cane
Sheer white with red and green glitter.  I used 3 coats on most nails, but my right middle and ring have 4. You may notice that those look the most white. Next time I would layer this over a white polish. A white polish may require as many coats to get looking decent, but I would rather have that than covering up the glitter. I would prefer a glitter topper in a clear base, but overall it was a really cute peppermint bark look, even though some of the nails looked more pink up close.

Jindie Nails Noel over China Glaze Holly-Day
Noel is micro glitter in red, white, and sparkly light green, easy to apply. Holly-Day is a comfortably dark green creme that needed 2-3 coats. Together they were a subtle, but suitable Christmas look. I associate this manicure with a failed attempt to have an ultra-Christmasy night out. Nothing went my way! I missed out on the hours that the Willard Hotel sold their amazing mulled wine (it is pure heaven that cannot be explained), the White House Christmas tree was fricking turned off by the time I got there (what the frick!), and the Four Seasons hotel bar did NOT stud the orange peel in my drink with cloves. Those cloves were the reason I ordered it! None of the drinks I ordered that night were worth the luxury-level prices, but the one my friend got at the Four Seasons was. Of course now I can't remember what the name of it was, but it was a dessert, and it was luxurious.

Wet 'n' Wild 2% Milk
Another gorgeous nighttime indoor photo. This was for another job interview. Whether or not I got it is still up in the air.  3 coats, and the streaks were pretty minimal for a sheer. My bottle leans towards beige, I believe, and it comes out as lighter and brighter than my natural nail color, though conservatively so.

My go-to Christmas manicure! OPI In My Santa Suit with silver stripes (Sally Hansen striper), China Glaze Jolly Holly and Mingle with the Kringle topped with Party Hearty. The OPI and the gold are among my favorite polishes, Party Hearty is something I use every single year, I love the wrapping paper look it has over the gold here, I love the candy cane look, aaaaand I need to use Jolly Holly way more this season because it is a wintry green that does NOT look black under any light.

Zoya Ginessa (silver shimmer that is a lovely sheer at 1 coat, and completely opaque at 2) topped with KB Shimmer Pine-ing for Yule. PfY, which was a Christmas gift, has smaller red stars, holographic green triangles, and holo silver glitter in various sizes. Two layers of top coat made the pointy edges not stick out off of the nail. This was worn post-Christmas during NYE, because guess what? That's still the Christmas season. I loved it. Another KBShimmer I received for Christmas and wore the weekend after the holiday was All Decked Out; next time I would layer that over another green, because it requires many coats for an even, opaque color, and use two layers of top coat.

China Glaze Peace on Earth topped with Urban Outfitters Midnight KissPeace on Earth, a Christmas gift, is a metallic shimmer that varies between bronze and olive. Easy formula. It feels very similar to the base color of all those Chanel Peridot types from recent times. Midnight Kiss is glitter topper with gold hexes and holographic silver shards. The mixed metal was a good combo with the warm tone of Peace on Earth, and the two together are carrying on a holiday festiveness (both are holiday polishes) without being too overt.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Diamonds and Rubies

Only one photo because the bottle shot color was inaccurate
I figured I had enough red cremes, and only purchased Diamonds and Rubies on clearance at Ulta as a Christmas present for a friend last year. A few days later, she complained to me about how a monthly subscribed cosmetics box had sent her "another red", which she was tired of. I thought, "Oh?" and went back to Ulta and bought her some snazzy Zoyas and kept Diamonds and Rubies for myself.

It's a nice red! A classic retro shade with a very easy formula. One coat for a bright and almost completely opaque color, two for deeper (but not deep) and full coverage. This is my first time using the Diamond Strength line, and I love the firm, skinny (that's what she said) brush. Normally while applying a red creme, the polish would run everywhere and stain my skin, but not so with this brush. It led to a very easy application.

The most similar red in my collection is Zoya Sooki; Diamonds and Rubies is darker, though perhaps not substantially. I may be the only person in the nail cult world who isn't a fan of Sooki despite its cool cherry tone, because my bottle has a jelly formula requiring three coats for an even color, and 2 coats versus 3 leads a very different shade, so god help you if you get your polish amount uneven nail to nail.

Diamonds and Rubies chipped during my second day of wear after two hours of book-handling at work. That job is often hard on nails (I make sure I keep them painted partially to protect them), though the OPI manicure featured in the last post held up strong against it. OPI is tuff.

In addition to this, my other favorite retro red creme is Zoya America, which is lighter and brighter.