Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Grim Grinning Ghosts duo from The Lady Varnishes and Sweet Heart Polish (plus a bonus!)

(Press Sample)


Today I have a very fun pair of polishes to show you, a collaboration from Kirsten of The Lady Varnishes, and Cassandra of Sweet Heart Polishes.

The set is a Limited Edition pair based on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland...Now, you all know I love Halloween and anything to do with it, but you don't know that the Haunted Mansion ride is one of my very favorites, ever. The thought of a pair of polishes based on the ride just tickles me, and I very much needed to touch them and pet them and love them. :)

Kirsten's contribution is from the beginning of the ride, and is called Welcome, Foolish Mortals. It's a sage-green crelly with gold hexes of various sizes, along with cerulean blue iridescent glitters, and some sort of magic that makes the whole thing soft and luminous:

The Lady Varnishes Welcome, Foolish Mortals

The Lady Varnishes Welcome, Foolish Mortals

The Lady Varnishes Welcome, Foolish Mortals

The Lady Varnishes Welcome, Foolish Mortals

The Lady Varnishes Welcome, Foolish Mortals

This shows two coats. The formula was fine--I tend to get a little streaking with the first coat, but it goes away completely with a second. This is packed with gorgeous glitters, so you'll want to use a topcoat if you want a smooth surface (as with all glitters like this). The color goes just a teeny bit darker when in regular indoor light. Each bottle contains one hidden Mickey Mouse glitter, to appear at random and brighten your day when you least expect it. :)

I love this polish to the depths and breadths of this earth. There is something about the way the light dances off of the iridescent glitters, along with the combination of glitters here, that makes this look like a beautiful opal to me. I just bought a skirt that is green with blue accents, and this will go with it perfectly--so it's very on-trend in terms of current fashion color combinations right now. But I keep coming back to the play of the light over the surface; it's a magical water-lily pond for the finger tips.

And as is fully appropriate, since the beginning of the Haunted Mansion ride plunges you into darkness...It glows in the dark!!

The Lady Varnishes Welcome, Foolish Mortals--in the scary, scary darkness

To represent the end of the ride, Cassandra designed Hurry Ba-ack, a black-tinted jelly with a slew of bright matte glitters, in lime green, cobalt blue, and masterful magenta (all present in teeny and not-so-teeny varieties) along with a stunning gold shimmer. It's designed to either be built up on its own or to be layered over an undie as your heart desires; I put it to the test by layering it up with no undies:

Sweet Heart Polish Hurry Ba-ack

Sweet Heart Polish Hurry Ba-ack

Sweet Heart Polish Hurry Ba-ack

Sweet Heart Polish Hurry Ba-ack

Sweet Heart Polish Hurry Ba-ack
This is three coats, and as you can see, I got full coverage with no problems. The polish is a bit thick, but here's why I don't care about that one bit: it didn't apply like it was thick, it applied beautifully. In fact, on my first coat I had absolutely no unevenness with this polish, something that I've had happen so rarely with pure jellies (that aren't crellies), that I honestly couldn't tell you the last time it did. Very impressive. This polish also includes a hidden Mickey Mouse glitter, ready to pop out and charm you when you least expect it. :)

My obsession with night-sky polishes is no secret, and I'll admit I squeed a little bit when I saw this. This isn't just any night-sky polish--it's what Rene Magritte or Salvador Dali would have put together if they were making a night-sky polish. How can something be bright and fun and dark and mysterious at the same time? No idea, but this is. I included an angled shot to help you see that you do get depth when you layer this polish, something that I think is very important if you're going for a night-sky sort of look, you want that depth like you're looking through many light-years of stars, and this gives it. But there is enough going on that one coat over an undie will still give you a great look, too. I think what really pushes this over the top for me is the beautiful shimmer you get to the polish because of the teeeeeny gold glitter.

Kirsten also sent me a third polish to try out, but to be clear, this polish is is not a part of the Limited Edition set, only the two above polishes are. This one is Matte Adore, and I'm going to refer to it as a specialty matte topcoat, because my suggestion is you let it work its magic over undies. It's a slightly frosted-white matte with a green-gold shimmer. Here it is over Welcome, Foolish Mortals; I've put it on every nail except the accent nail for contrast purposes:

The Lady Varnishes Matte Adore over Welcome, Foolish Mortals

Over a light color, you can see the effect is subtle, with a little shimmer and a little mattification. Over darker colors, you get a more dramatic effect; here it is over Hurry Ba-ack (I've put it only over the ring finger in this case):

The Lady Varnishes Matte Adore over Sweet Heart Polish Hurry Ba-ack

 And here it is over I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop, a blurple duochrome with red-rust edges:

The Lady Varnishes Matte Adore over I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop

The Lady Varnishes Matte Adore over I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop
I don't know what else to say about it other than there's your magic in a bottle right there, folks. :)

As mentioned, the Grim Grinning Ghosts duo, which sells Welcome, Foolish Mortals and Hurry Ba-ack as a set, is Limited Edition, and consists of 30 pairs only--15 pairs will be sold in each maker's shop. The duos will release at noon PDT today (30 April), so if you're looking to buy, don't hesitate. And if I have my way, there will be only 29 pairs available, because I'mma be stalking my refresh button trying to get me my own full-sized set!

You can find these lovelies starting at noon in either shop:

The Lady Varnishes Etsy Shop
Sweet Heart Polish Etsy Shop

And don't forget to check them out on facebook:

The Lady Varnishes Facebook Page
Sweet Heart Polish Facebook Page

While you're there, don't forget to check out their other polishes, which are all 5-free, cruelty-free, and vegan; The Lady Varnishes currently has some amazing mattes (matte duochromes, anybody?? Dwimorberg and Orodruin both make me very happy) and Sweet Heart Polish has some lovely holos as well as an entire Disneyland collection (my favorite is Disneyland Or Bust, the namesake of the collection).

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great hump day!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Blues & The Neverending Pile Challenge: Cygnus Skittle


Today again we are going to stretch the boundaries of Monday Blues with a Blurple duochrome that turns red and bronze at the edges. I give you I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop, which is also the most expensive untried in my pile (today's theme in The Neverending Pile Challenge):

I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop

I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop

I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop

I <3 Nail Polish Cygnus Loop

I've been in a skittle state of mind, so I decided to skittle this lovely, inspired by the colors she flashes:

For the index finger, I stamped using MoYou London Greek Mythology collection 02, and Sally Hansen Red-io Active. For the middle finger, I added a coat of Different Dimension Penny!!!. For the pinkie, I used red and rust and orange-copper glequins, and a light purple triangle sequin. And of course, I left the ring finger plain, so the original polish could shine on through. :)

So there you go--a sexy skittle to help you through your Monday. Hope you're having a good (or at least short) one!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: Barielle Vibrants collection

(Press Sample)


I'm back today with the second of Barielle's two Spring collections: The Vibrants collection. This is a lovely set of spring cremes (and one jelly) with a brighter edge to them, perfect for transitioning you into summer's brilliance.

Let's take this in alphabetical order, and start with Designer's Shoes, a periwinkle-blue creme that looks a bit more blue in direct sunlight, and a bit more purple in inside light:

Barielle Designer's Shoes

Barielle Designer's Shoes

Barielle Designer's Shoes

Barielle Designer's Shoes

This is two coats, and the formula on this was wonderful. I didn't have issues with streaking or pulling, everything settled beautifully. Not to thick, not too thin, just right. :)

Next we have Fire Me Up, a bold tangerine jelly:

Barielle Fire Me Up

Barielle Fire Me Up

Barielle Fire Me Up

This is my favorite in the collection; I love how saturated and squishy this orange is! This is two coats, and again the formula was perfect.

Following next in the line-up is First Class Ticket, a clear sky-blue creme:

Barielle First Class Ticket

Barielle First Class Ticket

Barielle First Class Ticket
Doesn't this just make you want to walk through a meadow or fly a kite? I love the crispness of it. The formula was perfect, and again I have two coats here.

Here we have Money Talks, a soft, pale, minty green creme with a blue lean:

Barielle Money Talks

Barielle Money Talks

Barielle Money Talks

I think this is a version of mint is different enough from the typical to make it interesting for spring. I did have a tiny bit of chalkiness with this, but it evened out well by the second coat (there are two here).

Our penultimate polish is City Apartment, a dove gray creme with a purple lean:

Barielle City Apartment

Barielle City Apartment

Barielle City Apartment
Guess what? Two coats, excellent formula. :) I think this is another great slight twist on a classic to make it just a bit more interesting than your standard grey. It has a very sophisticated look, I think.

And finally, we have Take Me Shopping, a pinky-leaning coral creme with a bang:

Barielle Take Me Shopping

Barielle Take Me Shopping

Barielle Take Me Shopping

I love the depth to this; it almost seems to glow from within. And, when you put it in sunlight, it gets even more glowy. I am partial to corals, it's true, but this is so pretty and will compliment so many skin tones. :) Two coats again, with a wonderful formula and application.

To sum up: I think this is a beautiful, fun spring collection with just enough of a twist or an amp-up to each of the colors that makes it not just a run-of-the-mill spring collection. And I absolutely love it when a collection of cremes has near effortless application.

You can find these polishes anywhere Barielle is sold, and of course you can buy them directly from the Barielle site.

Hope you are having a wonderful start to your weekend!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Before & After: For Kim & Alyssa


I mentioned last time that my cousiniece (TM) was in the process of being born, and sure enough, she has officially come to join us, and I decided to make a special mani to welcome her to our lovely planet.

I started with a skittle manicure using Zoya Destiny (a rich tangerine texture polish) on my pinkie and ring fingers, and Zoya Rica (a golden-brown orange shimmer) on my middle and index fingers:

Zoya Destiny and Zoya Rica

Then I stamped using MoYou London Artist collection plate 02, and Sally Hansen Coco-A-Go-Go, and I used my dotting tool to add mustard and red acrylic paint accents:

Hush little baby, don't say a word

Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird

All of the different textures in the manicure made this a challenge to photograph without getting a massive glare on the baby's face, so I apologize that the hand positions are a little unusual. The top picture captures the colors most accurately.

Welcome, little Alyssa: may you have a very long and very happy life. I will always be here if there is every anything you need.


Your cousauntie Michelle

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: Pueen Stamping Buffet Set

(Purchased by me; affiliate links)


I hope everyone is having a wonderful week...My cousin-in-law is in labor as I write and I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my cousiniece (it's a word, I swear. I may have been the one to make it up, but it's a word nonetheless!). The nervous energy from that along with a raging head cold is making me feel a little loopy, so I am going to apologize right off the bat for any silliness. :)

Hey guess what? Pueen has put out another set of plates, and these are the collage-style plates that have recently become popular. If you've been interested to try plates like that, but find some of the more intense ones like the ones MoYou makes a little intimidating to start with, this set may be perfect for you. :)

First up, the de rigueur video:

This is how the set comes packaged:

The pink case is cute, but what I really like about it is the individual pockets don't swing out like the previous Pueen sets did--I think these are more stable, and the holder will last longer without ripping. Great improvement!

But let's face it, what we really care about is the plates. So let's take a look at those:

Pueen 50: Fashion words--I love it!

Pueen 51: Dandelions, hearts, and brocade

Pueen 52: Geometrical 

Pueen 53: Environmental stands are rare in stamping plates, lol

Pueen 54: meshes and flowers and bee-hive-y things

Pueen 55: Leafy, circle-y, heart-y goodness

Pueen 56: a stripedy mash-up of swirls and flourishes :)

Pueen 57: I love the bottom part that looks like a cobblestone road

Pueen 58: gently geometric

Pueen 59: Dainty flowers and florals

Pueen 60: Starry, starry night 

Pueen 61: Flowers and butterflies and retro flashes

Pueen 62: Music falling from the sky...

Pueen 63: Bubbles of hearts and stars and such. :)

Pueen 64: Lace 'n' flowers are the new boots 'n' pants

Pueen 66: Orchid delight
(In my video I said I thought the flowers on this might be too big to be useful, but I was wrong--see my test below!)

Pueen 66: This makes me think of patchwork sewing

Pueen 67: whimsical instruments

Pueen 68: A patchwork of heart patterns
Pueen 69: The cutest garden ever

Pueen 70: Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...

Pueen 71: Diamonds and dots--great for use with studs or glitters :)

Pueen 72: Happy flowers

Pueen 73: Roses amid climbing vines...

Hey? How big are these images! With plates like this, it's hard to measure the size of the images, because there are all sorts of elements of different sizes. But to give you a general feel, here are some shots of the plates next to a standard Konad plate:

Pueen Stamping Buffet vs. Konad

Pueen Stamping Buffet vs. Konad

Pueen Stamping Buffet vs. Konad

And of course we want to know if they stamp well...I stamped plate 65 and 66 each on a different hand, to show you my first attempt at stamping with the plates:

Stamping test of Pueen 65

Stamping test of Pueen 66
The images come out well, although there is a little cat hair and smudging on the first picture, both my fault. I wanted to test out the size of that ginormous flower on plate 65 (well, the smaller of the two), and you can see that it worked well, despite my initial skepticism. I also wanted to show you how even just stamping on random parts of the plate produces a pretty manicure.

With Pueen 66, I wanted to give you a feel for the 'patchwork' type of effects you can get, so I stamped where the patterns intersected. the ring and pinky show the intersection of two patterns, while the middle and ring show the intersection of three--I love that effect best, I think. Very fun. :)

So what do I think of the set? The downside is that they don't lend themselves to as many artistic opportunities as other collage plates do, but I don't think that was their intent. What they do well is make it easy for you to get some of the types of manicures that collage plates do well, in an easy, non-intimidating way. Patchwork manis, manis that transition from one pattern into another, manis that have the same general patter without repeating the exact pattern each time--all of these will be very easy with these plates.

There is a fair variety of patterns across the plates, although (as with most plate sets) there is a general uniformity to the style.

So, overall, I think this is a great set of plates for the price, especially if you're looking to get into this type of stamping and want a gentle introduction. :)

I got my set from Amazon, and it's currently priced at $20.99.

Thanks for stopping by!