Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: 365 Days Of Color

(All products in this post were purchased by me.)


I recently made my first purchase of 365 Days Of Color, an indie brand I've been eyeing for a long time. The stars finally came together and the price was right, so I couldn't resist. Today I have three of their lovelies for you, and I'm going to start with the lemming that sealed the deal for me, Gypsy Skirts. :)

Gypsy Skirts is a peach crelly with yellow hexes, and lilac and mint squares. I think this is perfectly named, as it has a soft, hippie, bohemian feel to it; here is two coats:

365 Days of Color Gypsy Skirts, artificial light

This functions as a neutral base for me, with just enough flirty glitter to make it fun. Application was easy; the formula was fine to work with, no problems at all. :)

The next one I have to show you is Vagabond, a neutral beige creme with gorgeous bright cerulean blue hexes:

365 Days of Color Vagabond, indirect sunlight

365 Days of Color Vagabond, artificial light

Again this is two coats; the formula was wonderful, and everything applied really easily and evenly. What captured my attention with this polish is how bright the blue in the glitter is--it's not just another single-note glitter polish. The contrast between the neutral and those gleaming blue flashes is really captivating, at least to me. :)

Finally I have Sparkly Flip Flops, which I showed you a few days back as a base for some nail art. This is a light cobalt-blue crelly with silver glitter flakes embedded throughout; here it is with two coats:

365 Days of Color Sparkly Flip Flops, artificial light

This is bright, summery, and fun. The glitter doesn't sit on the top as it does with Vagabond, it lurks just below the surface giving a depth of flash and light to the polish. It reminds me a bit of looking into deep water and seeing the shimmer of rocks and shells at the bottom that you just can't quite make out. This formula again was just wonderful, no problems with it at all--application was fantastic. :)

I love all three of these polishes and will definitely shop this brand again in the future. You can find the 365 Days of Color shop by clicking here; full polishes are $8.00, and minis are $4.50. They've just come out with a collection of glitter toppers based on the show How I Met Your Mother, so be sure to take a look at those while you're there. :)

Thanks for looking! Hope you saw something you liked. Hugs, and happy long weekend!

(All products in this post were purchased by me.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tutorial: Remember that one time...

Hey everyone!

Remember that one time when I was featured on the Nail It! website? The mani with the stripes and studs? Well, I thought you maybe might want a pin-able tutorial image for that I made one:

Let me know if you'd like me to put one together for the shabby chic flowers manicure I did for Nail It!, too! :)

Hugs and love,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: Jenna Hipp Collection

(All items in this post were purchased by me.)


Recently I stumbled upon this collection of minis at Costco--not normally a place I look for polish, but definitely a place I look for bargains. And this was definitely that--the price came out to just a bit over $1 per bottle, so I was very excited to try them out.

I've never heard of Jenna Hipp before, and wondered if I was just ignorant of something great. But after doing a little research, as best I can figure out, Jenna Hipp is a celebrity manicurist who believe in environmentally friendly alternatives, and this is her first attempt at a collection...however, I may be wrong, and if so, please let me know! She has embraced her celebrity manicurist roots by giving the polishes names that celebrate celebrity, fame, wealth, and Hollywood.

Here's the collection as it looks in the bottles. First, After Party and Hollywood Reporter:

Jenna Hipp After Party and Hollywood Reporter

Awards Season, Editor's Pick:

Jenna Hipp Awards Season and Editor's Pick

Damage Control, Hashtag, Tweet Me, Freshmaker:

Jenna Hipp Damage Control, Hashtag, Tweet Me, and Freshmaker

And finally, Room Service, Private Getaway, Look Hot Feel Cool, I can Afford It:

Room Service, Private Getaway, Look Hot Feel Cool, and I Can Afford It

Now let's get down to the nitty gritty--how do they look on the nail, and how are the formulas? In each case I have two coats of polish, except with the glitters, where I've only used one coat.

In the above two pictures, I have the following:

Index finger: Private Getaway--an orange jelly that reminds me of a Mandarin Orange shade. Lovely formula, squishy jelly goodness all the way home. I don't normally favor jellies, but I love this and Room Service. :)

Middle: Room Service--a pinkish-red jelly that looks more red on the finger than it does in the bottle. The formula on this one was also good, and it settled in really nicely for a jelly.

Ring: Look Hot Feel Cool--an aqua shimmer that didn't quite cover in two coats, but probably would have in three. Other than that, it applied well and was pretty on the nail.

Pinkie: I Can Afford It--a fairly typical blurple shimmer with standard blurple qualities; it predominates purples and flashes/shimmers blue. The formula was great.

Thumb:  Editor's pick--a black crelly with gold glitter. I generally tend to be disappointed by polishes like this and am on a never-ending quest to find one that lives up to how it looks in the bottle--this one does. The gold glitter is beautiful, and I couldn't be happier to own this.

So far so hand:

Pinkie: Freshmaker--Tiffany-blue creme. This, and all of the cremes, were absolutely horrible to apply. No matter what I did, they were patchy, and wouldn't self-even at all. No topcoats helped. The pictures show my best attempt to show these polishes--and as you can see, the results were not good.

Ring: Private Getaway--Soft orange sherbert creme. Also had horrendous formula. Ugh.

Middle: Damage Control--Light pink creme. Third strike on the nasty formula.

Index: Tweet Me--a pretty yellow creme. Of the cremes, this had the best formula, but that really is damning with faint praise. At least I was able to get it to be patch-free.

Thumb: Awards Season--a pretty typical gold. Unfortunately, as you can see, it's crazy streaky and shows every flaw in your nail, even with basecoat.

Wow, that second hand didn't go well...Let's see what happens with the glitters...First up, Hollywood Reporter, a silver holographic glitter polish with hexes of various sizes in a clear base:

Jenna Hipp Hollywood Reporter over the jellies and shimers

This applied well, went on evenly, and was pretty. But, truth be told, you've probably seen this polish about twenty times before...the only thing really unique about it is the larger hexes (see on my pinkie). If you don't already have this polish from another line, it's worth having. :)

And to end the Jenna Hipp journey, here is After Party, a pink, slightly holographic glitter with hexes that range from fairly small to large, in a clear base:

Jenna Hipp After Party over the cremes

On the nail, this looks a bit more rose and less bright pink than it looks in the bottle--from my perspective, that's a good thing, since I prefer the softer rose-type pinks. This applied without fuss, and had a good formula. The downside is that this again is a glitter you've probably seen many, many times before.

To sum up, I was expecting to hate the jellies and love the cremes, and the exact opposite occurred. I really adore the two jellies and can't wait to layer them over textured polishes and use them in glitter sammiches. The cremes frustrated me, and I can't see wearing them again--they'll most likely be put aside for nail art purposes only. Such a shame, because I love the colors (well, except the pink, lol). I suppose they might also be good as undies for glitters, if the glitters can hide the patchiness (as they seem to do in the glitter pictures above). The gold is a throw-away in my opinion--I'm hoping I can use it for stamping, because it's too streaky for me to wear as a base polish. And the two glitters are fine if they aren't dupes of something in your collection, which they are for me. The two shimmers, and the black glitter were really nice, and I'm glad to own them.

So overall, what do I think of the collection? I believe this collection is intended for a casual nail polisher, to give them a range of summer colors and a little bling to throw on top. Unfortunately, the collection is extremely uneven in quality, and I think would end up being at disappointment to most people unless they go in expecting to use only half of the collection. For me, there are 4 polishes I expect to use in the future, and the rest I'll only use for nail art or frankening; so if I were just counting the polishes I actually intend to use as polish, that puts the price at about $3 per bottle--for minis. Since I can get China Glaze, Color Club, Misa, and some other brands for $3 per full bottle, this is not a great bargain to me. However, if you don't already have a blurple, a pink glitter, and/or a silver holo glitter, that would raise the value of the collection to a point that it would be worth buying, despite the poor-quality cremes. I haven't been able to find anywhere that you can buy these polishes in full-sized bottles individually; for that matter, I can't find any polishes by Jenna Hipp outside of this Costco collection.

I really do like most of the color choices that were made here, and I'd love to see the colors she'd put together in a fall collection--if only she works on improving the formula of her cremes. Ah, what I could do with some beautiful fall jellies...sigh...:)

Thanks for stopping by, I hope this has been helpful! Big hugs and good wishes for the rest of your week. :)


(All items in this review were purchased by me.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Before & After: Gobi Nouveau


The students are back in school, and the fall colors are starting to appear in fall collections. It's still warm outside, but there is starting to be that different feel to the air. It's that magical time where summer is starting to turn into's not quite completely summer, and it's not quite completely fall, and as each new day wakes up, it decides on its own which side of that line it's going to stand on.

Here is a polish that I think captures that beautiful transition: Elevation Polish Gobi. It has a soft fall feel in the caramel-brown scattered holo, but summer peeps out in the soft mint-gold flash. I was lucky enough to grab this in one of Llarowe's restocks a while back, and I'm so glad I did--this is one of the most unique polishes I own, and it catches my eye constantly while I wear it. And yet, it it absolutely work-appropriate. This is two coats:

Elevation polish Gobi, artificial light

Elevation Polish Gobi, direct sunlight

A polish this special deserves an equally special type of nail art; so I picked what is possibly my favorite stamping image in the world, from Cheeky Jumbo plate 8, to put over it. I wanted something very subtle to let the magic of this polish shine through, so I only stamped on the ring finger, and I used China Glaze Passion to complement the color in a soft way:

To me, this manicure hints at the coming pleasures of fall, while still carrying the sparkle and light of long summer afternoons. It's peaceful, but has a glowing energy. I love it, and I hope you do, too. :)

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dupe Or No Dupe: Julep Angela vs. Sally Hansen Black And Blue

(Products in this post were purchased by me.)


It's been a while since I've done one of these, and I miss them!

In a recent Julep box, I received the lovely Angela, a dark blue-black-silver-purple duochrome that I love. But as I was swatching it, I realized that it reminded me of something...and finally remembered, Sally Hansen Black and Blue! Take a look at the two in the bottle:

Sally Hansen Black And Blue vs. Julep Angela

Sally Hansen Black and Blue is on the left, and Julep Angela is on the right. The purple shift is more pronounced in the Sally Hansen, but it's possible that's due to the shape of the bottle--if you look closely, you can definitely see the same purple in the Julep.

So let's have a look on the nail. I alternated the polishes, starting with Julep Angela on the index finger, Black And Blue on the middle, Angela on the ring, Black And Blue on the pinky. This is with no underwear, and I put on two coats:

So what's the verdict? No Dupe, but only as a matter of degree. Angela is darker, and has very blackened edges with two coats. Black and Blue is a bit lighter, and shows the shift in a more pronounced way. The difference isn't huge, but it's there. I personally think you only need to own one of these.

So which one should you buy? The first and most important consideration is whether or not you have a color preference; if so, go with that. But if you don't, I think it would depend on which you can get for the better price--Julep tends to be more expensive, especially if you buy the Sally Hansen on sale and/or with a coupon. Another consideration is that while Sally Hansen itself doesn't test on animals, it's owned by a parent company that does. While I'm willing personally to buy from subsidiaries as long as they don't test on animals, if I have an option that is not owned by a parent company that tests on animals, I prefer to go with that, so I'd choose Julep in this case.

What do you think? Close enough that you don't need both? Do you prefer the lighter or the darker?

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you're having a great weekend!

(Products in this post were purchased by me.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: The Lady Varnishes

(Products in this post were purchased by me.)


Today I'm going to show you some polishes from a new-to-me Indie maker, The Lady Varnishes. I actually did these swatches a while back, but since I've been struggling to get caught up with my challenges, I forgot about it! That is not a reflection on the polishes, though, because they're pretty darn cool.

First I'm gonna show you Bog Of Eternal Stench, a dark forest-y green crelly with green and gold hexes. This is two coats: 

The Lady Varnishes Bog Of Eternal Stench, direct sunlight

The Lady Varnishes Bog Of Eternal Stench, indrect sunlight

I love the deep green of this polish, and the contrast of the glitters is pretty without being over the top. However...applying this polish, and the others, was not easy. They were all a bit thick; I struggled to get them to apply evenly, and they didn't want to settle on their own. A bit of polish thinner might help, and I do believe the end result is worth it.

Next up is Castle Beyond The Goblin City, a gray crelly with silver and blue hexes, in small, smaller, and micro. Again, these pictures are two coats:

The Lady Varnishes Castle Beyond The Goblin City, direct sunlight

This was the hardest of the three to apply, and you can see there is still a little bit of patching in the direct sunlight. This wasn't such a big deal in other lights, but it was definitely there. When I try this again, I'm going to try a bit of polish thinner and put on three coats. It's worth another try in my opinion because of the sweet, magical quality that the blues and silvers give to the gray.

Finally, we have my favorite, Such A Nice Beast. This is a reddish brown with gunmetal and brown small hexes, and teeny gold hexes; again this is two coats:

The Lady Varnishes Such A Nice Beast, direct sunlight

I love the rich red of this brown, and I love that the glitter gives it sparkle that adds to it, but doesn't overwhelm it. This also had application problems, but applied most evenly of the three.

So overall, what do I think? I think The Lady Varnishes has a lot of unique polishes that I love, most of them glitters in colored bases, and that ultimately look very good on the nail. I do have to warn you to beware of the application issues--it's possible that I got a bad batch that were just too thick, and that this can be fixed. I don't expect indie polishes to be perfect, and these were not. But, I have placed a second order from the shop, so that shows you the issues were definitely not insurmountable or bad enough to keep my from buying the brand again.

You can find the impressive array of polishes at The Lady Varnishes' Etsy shop by clicking here. Each polish comes with a charm on it, and if you buy 4 polishes, she'll include a chain that allows you to wear the charms as a necklace. I'm not sure what this looks like, but I do wear the charms as dangle rings, for fun flair.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you're having a wonderful day. :)

(Products in this post were purchased by me.)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Before & After: Inspired by Frida Kahlo


It's time for the next installment of my Llama Nail's group 'Inspired by artists' challenge, and this week we're all inspired by Frida Kahlo.

I'd seen Frida Kahlo's art here and there, and knew that she was a rare female artist (for that time and place) who celebrated her Mexican culture within her artwork; for a long time that's all I really knew. But when wandering around Vancouver on a vacation, I stumbled on an exhibit featuring her work (and the work of two other influential female artists) that highlighted a different aspect of her art. Kahlo did not have an easy life, and suffered from illnesses and accidents, one of which ultimately damaged her fertility. She also had a very tumultuous relationship with the love of her life, Diego Rivera. The exhibit focused on the artwork that expressed her deep struggles and pain, particularly with being a woman that couldn't bear children. Much of it is extremely moving, even deeply disturbing, and it changed the way I viewed even the 'typical' self-portraits that are normally pictured when someone refers to her.

For my manicure I chose to focus on the beautiful celebrations of typical Mexican attire and bright, saturated colors, but wanted to be sure to set the stage with that context. :)

Just realized I forgot to put in a picture of Kahlo's artwork! Here's where I pulled my colors from:

I started with a base of Julep Stella, a mustard-y yellow with an orange-brown tone to it:

Julep Stella, indirect sunlight

Next I sponged a gradient on top of Julep Stella and Color Club Mamba onto the nail. I stamped over the border of this using Color Club Mamba and Drikk plate Drk-C. Finally, I sponged a border on the side of each nail with China Glaze Holly-Day:

It's a very different manicure, and I really love it. I love how the stamped pattern shows even over the red part of the gradient because of the subtle difference in color (because the sponging was done over the yellow base);it's almost as though something hidden is peeking out. Also, I love the play of the colors together. Something about it is very energizing to me. :)

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Konad m91 from Nail Polish Canada


Sometimes the stars align perfectly for something I'm doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, I love it. :)

Not too long ago, I was contacted by Nail Polish Canada and asked if I'd like to review one of the new plates Konad recently released. Of course it was a no-brainer that I'd love to review one, and when I checked them out, there was one that was clearly made just for me: plate m91.:

Seriously, how awesome is that??!!? I've seen a lot of image plates, and I've seen a lot of cat images. But these are the little darlings I've been looking for--they're sassy, they fun, they're stylized, but they aren't cutesy. There's a range of positions, but they all match in size and style. And there's paw-prints and a kitty face to boot. Yes, please!

Right around the time I received this plate, I came home to discover a mama cat with 6 kittens squatting in my backyard. You might remember I told you before about my cat Neo that I discovered nearly dead in my backyard--well, I'm pretty sure this mama was also his mama, and I decided it was time for this cycle of feral cat reproduction to stop. So I caught the mama and the kittens and got them all fixed. I am working on finding homes for them; two have been adopted so far, and the remaining ones are four adorable little black kittens.

So of course, I had to do this manicure in honor of them. :)

I started with a base of China Glaze Desert Sun, a butterscotch creme:

China Glaze Desert Sun, direct sunlight, two coats

Then I stamped the paw print as a background pattern with China Glaze Mahogany Magic, and then placed a sweet little black kitty on each nail with Konad Black:

How cat-a-licious is that? My favorite is the little one that's standing on top of the paw print, examining it. :)

Being asked to test a Konad plate is like being asked to review a Michelin-starred restaurant--you know you're gonna be getting something really, really good. And this plate is right up there with the quality I expect from Konad--these kitty designs are small enough so that you can put more than one on a nail, but the details in the tiny areas still show up clearly. Image transfer is easy, and limited only by user error. So let's get the obvious out of the way: yes, I would absolutely recommend this plate, and I'm glad to see that Konad is keeping up their high standards.

I rarely say that something is a must-have, because I don't expect my tastes with respect to designs and colors to apply to everyone. But I believe that if you're a cat-lover and a nail-stamper, this plate really is as close to a must-have as you're gonna get. Excellent quality, as sweet as can be, and all the designs dedicated to cats? You can't go wrong. :)

You can find this plate and the other 4 new Konad plates (not cat-related!) on the Nail Polish Canada site by clicking here. And, they're having a giveaway right now for all 5 of the new plates! Definitely worth a look. :)

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and sweet kitten kisses,

(The plate in this post was sent for my honest review. The other products were purchased by me.)