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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Autism Awareness Manicure

*Nothing to disclose*

Hi there!  Long time, no see, huh?  Sorry about that.  I haven't felt much like blogging lately...been a bit burnt out.  But I definitely wanted to share my Autism Awareness mani with you guys!  As many of you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month and quite a few bloggers show their support by doing blue manicures or manis with puzzle themes.  I decided to combine both for my design!


Everything show is done with polish and I'll include a list at the end of the post of the polishes I used.  I created the interlocked puzzle designs on my thumb and ring finger by taping off sections of each nail and painting them a different a shade of blue.  Then I used a large dotting tool to create the interlocking part of the pieces.  It's a fairly easy technique, but a little time consuming to get everything lined up just right.

I freehanded both the puzzle Autism ribbon and yellow puzzle piece with different colors of polishes and dotting tools, then did a simple sponged gradient on my middle nail.  I love the way this whole mani came together!

Thank you so much for reading!

Polish list:
Base color: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear~Breezy Blue
Gradient and Interlocking Puzzle Pieces: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear~Breezy Blue & Pacific Blue, Orly~Snowcone, Sinful Colors~Into The Blue
Autism Ribbon: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear~Breezy Blue & Pacific Blue, Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shine~Red Red & Get Lucky
Pinky Nail Puzzle Piece: Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shine~Get Lucky
Black striping polish

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Above the Curve Nail Polish LE We Are The World

*We Are The World provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*

Hey there!  I promised at the end of my last post that I'd have another Above the Curve polish to show you and I'm keeping my word!  ATC is ever a brand for supporting charities and every once in awhile they come up with something extra special for a specific cause.  Today's polish definitely fits the "extra special" bill!


We Are The World is a Limited Edition polish made to celebrate Earth Day.  I cannot even begin to describe the depth of love I have for this polish.  I mean, just look at it!  Is it not the perfect deep ocean blue?  It reminds me very strongly of images captured of the Earth from space.  Angel and Shawn have gone above and beyond with this beauty!


We Are The World is somewhere between a jelly and a crelly base (is there a name for this??) loaded with blue, green, and holographic glitters in different sizes and shapes, including my beloved dots!  ATC could not have made me a custom polish more perfect than this one...deeply, beautifully blue with dots...simply perfection!  The cerulean shade of this polish is similar to Sinful Colors Endless Blue, but does not have the nasty smell that I associate with that one.


The formula was also perfection, opaque in 2-3 coats and super smooth.  You may have to do a bit of fishing for the large dots, but all the other glitters popped straight out of the bottle with no trouble.  I'm showing 3 coats of We Are The World here with one coat of Gothic Gala Lacquers Smooth Me Over top coat and one coat of Seche Vite.

*We Are The World provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*

Not only is this polish special because of its beauty, it also has the distinction of being a charity polish for The Sierra Club Foundation.  This Foundation is all about America leaving fossil fuels behind to replace them with clean energy (solar, wind, etc.) which makes it a perfect organization to support for Earth Day!  Angel and Shawn are donating $2 of each bottle of We Are The World sold to The Sierra Club Foundation.  You can purchase this polish (and all their other lovely creations) on ATC's Big Cartel site.  We Are The World is a very reasonably $8.50 for a full size bottle...you really don't want to miss this one, folks!  You can keep up with Above The Curve's Facebook page to keep abreast of new releases, swatches, and other good stuff!

Thanks so much for reading!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Above the Curve Nail Polish Spring Collection

*All Above the Curve products mentioned provided for honest and unbiased review. All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*

Good evening, everyone!  I'm excited to report that my bf will be coming home from the hospital on Wednesday and he's been doing so much better.  It's a good start to the week here and I have some great polishes to show you as well which makes it just that much better!

I was thrilled when Angel and Shawn from Above the Curve Nail Polish emailed me to tell me that my blog had finally come up to review their next collection.  I'm a huge fan of their polishes and they're both just the nicest folks!  In fact, ATC is one of the first indies I ever bought  and they, therefore, hold a special place in my heart.  They've got a new Spring collection coming out and were nice enough to send me three polishes to review.  The collection is called Power To The Polish Peeps and features some lovely pastel shades.


Let's start with Have Your Peeps Call My Peeps, a delicate petal pink creme with a fuchsia shimmer and a twinkling of holographic sparkle.  I'm not sure we can get much Springier than this one, folks!  The color, the sparkle...it calls to mind little buds opening for the first time.


The formula here was good but you'll definitely want to make sure each coat is dry before starting the next, I went a little too fast and got some dragging.  That's most likely due to my own impatience though...just a good tip to remember :)  I'm showing 3 coats but you can probably get away with 2.  I did use one coat of Seche Vite to top things off.   


HYPCMP is just a pretty, pretty polish and the holographic sparkle just gives it a little something extra.


Twin Peeps (I had to say it out loud before I got it lol) is a barely-there pink crelly packed with tons of pastel dots in different sizes, pink butterflies, and baby blue stars.  Though I really love the glitter mix in this polish, I do kind of wish it was in a clear base rather than a crelly.  I found that the glitters got covered up rather quickly in this base and I wish they'd show through a little more.  That said, it's a very Spring-y color combo.
 

 I had no other formula issues with this one.  Again, I've applied 3 coats with one coat of Seche Vite and because of the bigger glitters, you'll want a good top coat to smooth any bumpiness.  There is a bit of fishing with this polish for the larger glitters, but if you turn the bottle upside down a few minutes before application, you should breeze on through!


Overall, I really like Twin Peeps.  I think the colors are perfect for the season and I'm always a fan of the crelly glitter bombs.
 

Peepers Creepers is my favorite of the three.  A beautiful minty green creme with a pretty holographic sparkle, Peepers Creepers exudes Spring-y refreshment.  My love of polish in general began with the hunt for the perfect minty green polish and this one could definitely be a contender!
 

A beautiful formula here, opaque in 2-3 coats.  I'm showing 3 here with a coat of Seche Vite.  We finally had a warm day here in Chicago and when I broke out my flip flops, I grabbed this polish to wear on my toes...I just love it!


*All Above the Curve products mentioned provided for honest and unbiased review. All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*

The quality of these polishes is just what I've come to expect and love about Above the Curve...they just do great polish!  Additionally,for each bottle of polish they sell they donate $1 to Shriner's Hospitals for Children.  These three polishes plus the other four in the Power To The Polish Peeps collection are currently available at Above the Curve's Big Cartel site for $8.50 for a full size bottle.  I also encourage you to follow Angel and Shawn over at their Facebook page to keep up with new releases, giveaways, and all sorts of good stuff!

I have one more Above the Curve polish to show you guys, but it's pretty special so it's getting its own post later in the week.  I hope you've enjoyed this one and thanks so much for reading!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Spellbound Nails Easter Eggs Gone Holo Collection

*Spellbound Nails products provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*

Hello Readers!  Spring is in the air!  Well...maybe not here in Chicago, but somewhere, somewhere I'm just certain it is!  To that effect, we're starting to see some lovely Spring and Easter themed polish collections from the fabulous indie makers out there.  This means pastel, pastel, pastel and in the case of Spellbound Nails, holo!

Ashely was kind enough to send me a few samples of her Easter Eggs Gone Holo collection to swatch up.  The collection releases this weekend and is very well suited to the season ;)


We'll start out with one of my favorites from the collection, Bunny Bait!  This pastel blue holo has an almost icy feel but that holo keeps things warm for Spring. 
 

Bunny Bait is fairly sheer, but built up nicely in 3 coats which is what I'm showing here.  The formula was great with no dragging or streaking.  While it's subtle, the linear holographic on this polish is so pretty...it almost gives Bunny Bait a pink tone, which offsets the blue very nicely.
 

I'm a sucker for a pretty blue polish...you throw in a holo and I'm done for!  Bunny Bait is definitely a favorite and totally worth nabbing before it's gone!


Carrot Top is the most unique polish in the collection, in my opinion.  I don't think I have anything quite like it in my stash and haven't really seen anything lately that compares.  My photos are showing this a bit more orange than it appeared to me in real life, but my camera was being a pain so we'll just have to wing it!


A coral-ish base with a pink shimmer, Carrot Top is further enhanced by a subtle scattered holographic effect.  I'm showing 3 coats of the buttery smooth formula here with a coat of Seche Vite.  I found that most of this collection dried to a semi-matte finish, so you'll probably want a top coat for shine. 


I'm just drawn to this polish for some reason.  If you're in the market for a unique holo, I don't think you could go wrong with Carrot Top!
 

Easter Grass is somewhere between gold and lime green in color and has a scattered holo effect.  I have to say, I'm loving all these colors that Ashley has come up with!  When I saw this one in the bottle, I really wasn't sure about the color but once I applied it I kind of fell in love.


Another beautiful formula here, opaque in 3 coats and topped with one coat of Seche Vite.  Look at the holo sparkle!
 

I know Easter Grass won't appeal to everyone because of it's greenish tones, but it really is a lovely color!
 

Hands down, Hoppy Feet is my favorite of the collection!  I mean, it's a lavender holo...what's not to love?!  The holo in this one creates that gorgeous glowing aura that you only find in a well-made holo...I wish I could describe it better, but if you've ever seen it, you'll know what I mean.
 

Hoppy Feet is another sheer one, but was mostly opaque in 3 coats and you can always put undies on if you'd like less layers.  The formula was a breeze as expected.
 

If you're like me and love a purple holo, you'll definitely want to grab a bottle of Hoppy Feet!
 

Finally we come to Twitchy Little Noses, which is my favorite name of the collection because of the Buffy reference.  I'm not sure if that's where Ashley was going with it, but every time I see it I think of Anya's bunny solo in Once More With Feeling :)


A delicate blossom pink holo, Twitchy Little Noses just kind of disappears on me lol  The scattered holographic is lovely, but the color is just not my favorite.  It would look lovely on someone with a darker skin tone than mine, I think.  No other complaints though, the formula was spot on and it was mostly opaque in 3 coats.
 

*Spellbound Nails products provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*
 
I'm not sure of the exact release date for the Easter Eggs Gone Holo collection, but it will be at some point this weekend and will be available on Storenvy and Etsy.  I believe they will be retailing for around $9 for a full size bottle.  You'll also want to follow the Spellbound Nails Facebook page to keep up with new releases and such :)

As always, thank you so much for reading!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer Storms of Arendelle Collection

*All Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer products provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me*

Hi everyone!  I hope everyone is having a great week.  I'm ready for the weekend!  We're moving our studio space at work and I just can't wait for it to be done...not only is moving tedious, tiring, and time-consuming, the possibility of breaking a swatching nail is too much to bear!  

I have a great collection from Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer to show you today!  The Storms of Arendelle collection is a Frozen-themed set that launched this week.  Now, I'm probably the only person (other than my boyfriend) in the U.S. who hasn't seen this movie but I've decided that's a good thing.  It means I won't be prejudiced for or against certain polishes based on the names ;) 


Let's start things off with the hit number, shall we?  Let It Go is a clear-based glitter topper with small periwinkle hexes, blue holographic micro glitter, and blue flakies.  It definitely gives off an icy vibe and I just love the iridescent shimmer from the flakies!
 

I was trying to go with the icy theme for these swatches, but I'm afraid I went a bit beachy with this one.  However, I love it so much I can't be mad!  Actually, I think it helps to see polishes in different ways...you might not look at Let It Go and think beach, even though it's a perfect topper to pull this sand and shore gradient together!  I used Essie's Blanc, O.P.I.'s My Vampire is Buff, and Barielle's Magna Cum Laude Turquoise for the gradient and then 2 coats of Let It Go on top.  


Let It Go is not a super chunky glitter mix, so I used one coat of Seche Vite to add some shine but didn't need any more than that to smooth things out.  The formula was smooth and I didn't have to fish for any of the glitters.  Is this polish worthy of an Oscar-winning song?  I definitely think so!


Next up is Anna.  This glitter topper is packed with large green squares, large lavender hexes, medium blue hexes, and tons of small pink glitters.  


I'm showing Anna over a gradient of Sinful Colors Sugar Rush, Outrageous, and Truth Or Dare.  I also did an accent nail inspired by Anna's dress in the movie...I may not have seen it, but I can Google with the best of 'em!
 

Again, the formula is great.  I used 2 coats of Anna over the gradient with one coat of Seche Vite.  You may have to do a little fishing for the larger glitters, but I didn't find it to be too much extra work to get the coverage I wanted.  This is definitely a unique color combo with gorgeous results!
 

Elsa is the other leading lady of the film, I believe.  This polish is one of my favorites of the collection.  Elsa has bright purple squares, blue and silver holographic hexes, and itty bitty purple bars.  I've mentioned before that I dislike bar glitter, but since it's so small here, I actually kind of love it!
 

When I looked up pictures of Elsa online, her icy blue dress and white blond braid jumped out at me so that's what I used for inspiration here.  The base color of this mani is Essie's Absolutely Shore and the "braided" accent nail was created using Essie's Blanc, O.P.I.'s My Vampire is Buff, and Victoria Volainna Polish Designs' City of Gold with Kleancolor's Texan Cowboy to accentuate the lines.  
 

Once again, I used 2 coats of Elsa with one coat of Seche Vite to smooth everything out.  The formula is wonderful and again, a unique color/glitter combo seals the deal on a beautiful polish!


Prince Hans is the next polish in line.  The darkest of the collection, this polish maybe reflects the character's true nature, despite his charming appearance.  Like I said, I haven't seen the movie, but there are a lot of spoilers out there so it's not too hard to figure out who the bad guy is. 


Prince Hans has large bright blue squares, large silver hexes, smaller blue hexes, and little black squares all in a clear base.  I decided to show this over Barielle's Slate of Affairs because of its greyish tone...I thought a bit of murkiness was required ;)  My accent nail is inspired by Hans' uniform-esque suit in the movie.


Again, great formula with easy application.  This wasn't a favorite of mine because the color mix was a little tame for me, but I do think it reflects the character well with the shiny silver glitters hiding in among the darker bits.  Two coats of Prince Hans with one coat of Seche Vite to top it.  Ignore anything that looks like curling in my photos, it's a trick of the light or the camera as I observed no curling at all whilst wearing it.


Here's the comic relief!  Much like its namesake, Olaf is a bright, light-hearted polish.  A mix of white squares, orange, black, and white hexes, and a fun iridescent micro glitter with a green shimmer, Olaf is pretty darn cheery!
 

I chose to show Olaf over a subtle gradient of Barielle's Magna Cum Laude Turquoise and Sinful Colors Burning Bright with an accent nail of Olaf himself.  He's such a cute, silly character (who I'm certain has a heart of gold and offers tons of support to our heroine) that I couldn't resist recreating him in polish!
 

Olaf is another favorite for me. Again I used 2 coats of Olaf with one coat of Seche Vite...sound familiar? ;) The formula is perfect and I love the color combo!  It'll actually be a really great Halloween polish in the future...you all know how I love versatility in a polish!
 

Finally we come to Coronation Day, which I guess is a little backwards but whatever, it's my blog!  This is a clear-based glitter topper with large icy blue flowers, large turquoise hexes, purple squares, baby pink hexes, and a silvery holographic shimmer throughout.  Very celebratory, indeed!


I did my best to capture the holographic shimmer here, but you really need to see this one in person to get the full effect...it's gorgeous!  I went simple with Coronation Day, just showing it over 3 coats of O.P.I.'s My Vampire is Buff, because there's already so much color and sparkle going here I didn't want to take away from it.  You may have to fish for the larger flower glitter, but everything else was a breeze to apply.  I used 2 coats of Coronation Day with one coat of Seche Vite in these photos.


*All Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer products provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me*
 
I really can't say enough nice things about Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer's polishes!  I'm fortunate to be a swatcher for Cherish because her creations are always so beautiful and well-crafted.  If you're interested in purchasing the Storms of Arendelle collection (or any other of her fabulous creations), they're currently available on Etsy for $6 for a full size bottle.  She's got some of the most reasonably priced indie polish out there and she doesn't skimp on quality!  Be sure to follow Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer on Facebook as well, to keep up with new products, sales, and other pertinent info!

Thanks so much for reading!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Quick Announcement



Hi everyone.  I posted about this on Facebook a few days ago, but in case you don't follow me there I thought I'd make a quick post here.  If you've noticed my absence, it's due to the fact that my boyfriend has been in the hospital for over a week now following 3 extensive surgeries in rapid succession.  I won't go into details because I'm not one for splashing personal business every where, but it's been a very rough week.  It's about a four hour round trip to the hospital he's in, so I just haven't had time for much of anything other than work and going to visit him.  He's had a very rough time of it and complications continue, so my blogging has just had to take a backseat.  I'm very hopeful this nightmare will be over soon and that he and I will be able to get back to our lives, but until that happens I won't be posting as often.  If you've sent me swatching polishes, do not worry!  Those will definitely get done but any "for fun" manis won't be posted til he's in better health.  I appreciate your patience and support and I hope you'll stick around until I get back in the groove!  As always, thanks so much for reading :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer's TMNT Collection (Photo Heavy)

*Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer products provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*


Hello there!  I've got a fun collection to show you today from Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer.  One of the many things I love about indies are their fandom polishes.  If you've fallen in love with a T.V. show or a comic book series, chances are at least one indie has a polish line to go with it.  Today's collection was inspired by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  If you're as old as me, you might remember watching the cartoon in the late 80's and early 90's.  I loved the Turtles and even went to the theater to see the live action movie in 1990.  So I was thrilled when Cherish asked me to swatch this collection.  Her TMNT collection consists of 5 glitter toppers and one shimmer.  Four of the glitter toppers are named after the Turtles themselves and are made up of their signature face mask colors. I knew I had to do a little extra outside of your run-of-the-mill swatches for these guys, so take a look see and let me know what you think ;)


Up first, we have Raphael.  Raphael is a clear base with red hexes in several sizes, red microglitter, and a sprinkling of holographic glitter.  I'm showing it here (and all the other polishes in this collection except April O'Neil) over a gradient created with O.P.I.'s My Vampire is Buff and Wet 'n' Wild's Get Lucky.  My accent nail was created with Essie's Mojito Madness, black striping polish, and Wet 'n' Wild's Red Red.  Innit he cute??  :)


As always, Cherish's formula was great.  The base is a perfect consistency and I had no trouble getting the glitters out of the bottle.  This is two coats of Raphael with a top coat of Seche Vite.


This collection is actually quite versatile, besides being named after a Ninja Turtle, there is nothing to stop you from using this as a Christmas polish or as a great red accent.


Leonardo is a blue glitter topper in a clear base.  The glitter mix in this one consists of bright blue squares, blue holographic hexes and baby blue microglitter. 


Leonardo was also a dream to apply, not gloppy or weird in any way.  Again, two coats of Leonardo with one coat of Seche for a topper.  None of the glitter toppers in the collection are exceptionally rough, but I do suggest a good top coat to smooth out any uncooperative bits.  Also, in my photo it looks like the squares might be curling, but I assure you that I had no issue with glitter curling at all and it's just some strange camera thing. 


Another winner in my book!


Next up is Michelangelo.  Another single color glitter topper, Michelangelo has matte and metallic orange hexes in a couple of sizes.  This actually turned out to be a favorite of mine.  I've noticed that with the long, drawn out winter we're having that I'm gravitating much more towards warm oranges and yellows in the hopes that spring and summer will finally arrive.


I'm afraid we're going to get a little broken-record-y when it comes to formulas on these polishes.  Cherish just has a great base for her glitter toppers and Michelangelo follows suit.  Again, two coats with one coat of SV.


If you like oranges (which I know not everyone does), Michelangelo is definitely worth adding to your collection!


The last Turtle-named polish is Donatello.  It's no surprise that this is another favorite for me with my affinity for purple.  Here we have bright purple squares and large lavender and fuchsia hexes suspended in a clear base...what's not to love?


Another great formula and another 2 coats shown with one coat of SV.  I guess I should copy and paste these descriptions at this point lol  


If you're a purple lover, Donatello is a great topper for you!  Radiant orchid is this year's Pantone Color of the Year after all ;)


April O'Neil was the Turtles' friend and sidekick on the show and that's certainly how she comes across here.  A cheery golden-toned yellow shimmer (the color of the character's signature jumpsuit), April O'Neil compliments the collection nicely.  


This was another good formula, especially for a shimmer as they can be streaky.  I didn't have any trouble with streaks, dragging, or anything else here.  I'm showing 3 thin coats with a coat of SV to top it.


I created April's face for my accent nail out of O.P.I.'s My Vampire is Buff, Sally Hansen's Copperhead, Wet 'n' Wild's Get Lucky and Temptation, black striping polish.  She was actually a lot easier to paint than those turtle faces, believe it or not...I had to redo those guys like three times before I was happy!  lol  


The final polish of the collection is fittingly called Turtle Power.  TP is the fifth glitter topper of the collection and consists of different sized hexes in green, yellow, and copper.  This was my favorite in the bottle and I love how it translate to the nail.  However, I can't say that I love my TMNT logo so much here lol  I tried my best, but fonts just aren't my thing! 


Again, no formula issues, though I did find the glitter a little sparser in this combination.  I am still wearing 2 coats, but I had to fish a bit for the larger hexes.  Not a big deal, but you may want to turn your bottle upside for a few minutes before application. 



*Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer products provided for honest and unbiased review.  All other products mentioned were purchased by me.*

Overall, I really love this collection!  Cherish's glitter toppers are always a treat to apply and she's got such fun combinations.  If you're interested in purchasing any of these fantastic polishes, you can find them over at Shirley Ann Nail Lacquer's Etsy store.  I'd also recommend following her on Facebook to keep updated on new releases, sales, and giveaways.

Thanks so much for reading!