Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Ten of 2011

Hey gals, today I have a little something in store for you. Everyone seems to be doing top 10 or 20 or 25 of their favorite polishes of the year, but I can't narrow down... and also, as I was putting my stash away in my new Helmers, I discovered so many pretties I obtained this year that narrowing it down would be nearly impossible with them all fresh in my mind. Instead, I decided to give you my top 10 discoveries/favorite products of 2011 :)

10. E-tailers/online polish hunting: the day I discovered was a sad day for my wallet. Shortly thereafter came polish hunting on,,,,,,, and many more. Polish hunting from my cozy computer chair in my PJs?! Yes please! I've found some great goodies and brands this way, as well as nail polish jewelry - win!

9. Zoya: maybe this is just me, but when I first started becoming interested in polish (sometime in 2010), the brands were OPI, China Glaze, and whatever I found at the drug store. Zoya came along in 2011 when I realized they had great customer service and amazing promos. Their polishes are great quality and some of my favorites for the year were from Zoya (I'm looking at you, Feel collection).

My first three Zoyas, can you guess which (or find the old post)?

8. Stamping: when I was younger, I got what I now know to be a stamping machine. I was probably about 9, and it was this complicated machine that you put a plate in, and it had various stages of a design (for example, the white part of a candy cane and the red part separately) and you would put your finger inside and then twist it to get the designs on in the same place. It was a pain in the butt, but I'm sad now that I can't find it, because from all the stamping plates I acquired in 2011, I'm sure I could have had some fun and been unique in the stamping world!

One of my first attempts at stamping for Valentine's Day, I had a long way to go ;)

7. Good top coats: prior to 2011, or maybe even 2010, I didn't even use top coat. In my nail biting days, top coat was my only polish! But when I wore color, rarely did I go through the process of base and top coat. In 2011, though, I discovered what a difference a good top coat can have on a de-grittifying a glitter, prolonging a holo, or just finishing off a mani. My favorites are OPI top coat and NYC In a New York Minute fast drying top coat, but I have many more waiting for me to try!

6. Lex Cosmetics: another great discovery this year: Lex Cosmetics! The premise really drew me in: I loved that fans made the polish story, composition, and name and Lex would make the most popular (by vote). I also love that $1 of each polish goes to charity. I'm excited to say that in 2012, my polish is being made (look out for Tuilleries) and I cannot wait!

Lex Cosmetics Seashell
 5. Lynnderella: I bet a lot of you are surprised Lynnderella is #5 and not #1! Well, she definitely holds a special place in my heart and I will forever be a fan of hers, so long as she never starts a line of shimmers or duochromes *shivers* The Glittering Crowd would have definitely been in my top 5 favorite polishes of this year!

4. Twitter: even though I had twitter before this year, this was the first year I realized how valuable it could be! I've met some great gals on twitter, and great people to talk to, including: Jacqui, Radha, Jamie, Steph, Mandy, Amanda/Melissa, Nicole, Dana, Arlyn, Amanda, Robyn, and on and on and on. When I have 5 minutes at work, I check twitter - and it's all because of these lovely ladies and the way they cheer me up.

3. Linear holo: this was a huge discovery for me this year. I remember stumbling upon the OMG collection at the beginning of the year thinking "oh, that's cool" and by the end of the year I was like "OMG I NEED OMG." and I've accumulated a few :) Since then, Glitter Gal, Nfu Oh, Hits, and various others have entered my world and it's a very welcome addition!

Nfu Oh 65

2. Helmers: my dear, dear boyfriend got me two of these for Christmas and they've changed my stash, seriously. I feel so much better and more organized just having them in my room. They look so nice and organized, it's been a welcome change (Thank you, Brandon!!!!).

1. Rainbow glitters: did you all see this coming? I hope so! This was THE YEAR of rainbow glitter, and my stash flourished. I did a post back in the day comparing all my glitters, but since then I've at least doubled my stash of rainbow glitters. Every brand has their take on it, so trust me when I say I own pretty much all of them. If you ever encounter a rainbow glitter, know that I will lovingly accept and use it ;) My favorite of the year? Lynnderella The Glittering Crowd (see, that's why she wasn't #1...).

Just four of the many I own

What do you guys think? Which of my top 10 do you agree/disagree with? What would you add?


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nails Inc Trafalgar Square (Magnetic)

Hey girls... I just realized my blogiversary is coming up! I'll be a blogger for one full year on the 5th of January. Hmm, not sure how I'll celebrate! Any ideas?

Anyway, today I have for you my very first magnetic polish (okay, that's not true - I have four Essence ones that I haven't tried yet because I was waiting for this magnet!). This is from the ever-famous Nails Inc line, and this is the gray one. My BFF got me this for Christmas and I'm IN LOVE :)

I started with two coats of the polish, then right after the second coat was applied, I held the magnet up. You could literally watch the magnet working! So cool. I went with a horizontal stripe pattern since it was my first time trying this out, and it came out really cool.

One of my clients even noticed and she told me local salons were charging $5 per nail to do magnetic nail polish! Boy, sometimes I think I have an expensive hobby, but when you look at it that way, I'm saving money! :)


Monday, December 26, 2011

Rainbows & Unicorns & Non-Christmas

Hey girls, sorry I'm running late today! Forgot I hadn't scheduled any posts after Christmas Day. For those of you who celebrate, what did you do? What was your favorite gift? I got a couple of helmers and a diamond necklace - I'm a lucky gal!

I'm making up for my lateness in GLITTER today :) You may all know my not so secret love for Lynnderella. She is basically the goddess of glitter, and I finally used her (IMO) greatest creation ever: The Glittering Crowd. Over 100 types of glitter all existing in one bottle = magic.

Anyway, before I get carried away... I did 2 coats of Zoya's Kendal from their new Feel collection as my base coat. Kendal is a purple-gray and the formula was really great on this. I could have gotten away with one coat. It's great at self-leveling and just being perfect!

Then I added two coats of The Glittering Crowd and here's the magic:

Artificial light


Round, square, hex, bar, micro, whatever type of glitter you can imagine is in this baby - and that's why I love it! Each nail was so unique and fun, I couldn't stop staring at my nails! The only qualms people tend to have about Lynnderellas are that the glitters hang off your nail sometimes, the bar glitter sometimes curls up (I had this problem, so it'd look like I had hairy nails), and the glitter can clump together (seen above). However, it's all part of the process. My biggest complaint in the brush:

All of my Lynnderella brushes are nothing if not wonky. Kinda stiff, narrow, always curved to the side. It takes some getting used to but I've figured out how to maneuver them ;)

What do you all think? Pretty awesome, right?


Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Evolution of Man...i.

Oh my god. The title of this post is almost too much for me, even. And I'm the one who wrote it! Also, Merry Christmas to my followers who celebrate! Santa Amanda thinks you've all been very good this year, and she's planning a giveaway for you guys to prove it (hint: it's going to include some fauxnad plates).

So, basically, I have a few transformations of the same mani, and I hope you're ready! I'm going to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a polish named Zoya Kristen. Kristen was a lovely blue-gray pastel creme that covered very well in one coat. Her mommy, Amanda, has been having trouble moisturizing her cuticles and asks that you be kind for these photos. Here's Kristen without flash:

And here she is with flash:

So, although Kristen was very nice all alone, Mommy wanted to add something wintry to her, so she decided to do some snowflakes with her Migi pens.

Unfortunately for the evil witch UNA (untalented at nail art), Mommy's right hand didn't turn out as well as the left, and the snowflakes were removed and Kristen was once again alone until a lovely polish sent by Mommy's friend Jacqui came to the rescue, and her name was Revlon Whimsical:

Whimsical and Kristen spent a lovely day alone together, but Mommy was again seeking a friend for them, so she added some fauxnad snowflakes to make them happy and joyful on this Christmas Day (by the way, no, this isn't my Christmas mani... but it made for good reading...) and to complement the sparse glitter from Whimsical.

So, hopefully you enjoyed my little story. If you skipped over it, that's fine too. I'm apparently feeling very punny and rambly tonight, but I hope you enjoy this mani nonetheless!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fresh Snowfall

Hello again, how's everyone's week? It's Saturday, which is awesome because it's the day before Christmas (for those of us that celebrate)! Today I have some wintry nails inspired by snow - which, coincidentally, I despise. Yes, yes, I'm fully aware, I live in New England and I shouldn't complain and blah blah blah but I cannot help where my parents decided to raise me!

I digress... so I started off with Orly Snow Cone (yes, I am such a cheeseball that I even picked a polish with "snow" in the name). This is a lovely periwinkle-ish light blue that covered beautifully in one coat, but I did two for good measure. Here she is alone (and ignore the fact that blogger, again, has tilted the photo beyond my control).

Then I added what I affectionately call Mini Snow Globe, which is The Icing Crystal Heat (I have no idea where they got this name, absolutely none!). It's small, iridescent glitter:

Behold, a close up showing all the prettiness:

I really liked this mani BUT it came off in sheets and was chipping within 24 hours. I don't know if I should blame my base coat, the Orly, or the glitter... actually, scratch that. I refuse to blame the glitter. So this mani lasted about half a work day and one night before I had to peel it completely off because I looked like a moron.

Oh, and just for good measure, here's the two bottles together. Grown up Snow Globe on the left and baby Snow Globe on the right: 

Snow Globe looks so much iridescent-ier than it's baby, but they both are really gorgeous and I can't really complain about it either way. As you can see, I'm very attached to both *tucks them into bed*. Also interesting that they essentially have the same bottle, but different brands. Wonder whose bottle shape came first!


Friday, December 23, 2011

More Christmas Nails...

Two days in a row?! I admit, I'm cheating: I wrote these two posts in a row. But STILL. Give me some credit for trying ;) This mani was intended for a party with my friends from school and we exchanged secret Santa. I liked this idea more in my mind and it looks sort of funny until step two... Also, please ignore my cuticles which are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo drrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I'm sorry.

Anyway, step one: Nubar Reclaim (green holo!) and OPI Log on to Love accent:

Check out this gorgeous linear holo... yummmy!

Then I did a gradient over the Nubar with China Glaze Snow Globe using my Orly Smudge Fixer (basically, drop a dollop of a glitter polish and then paint over it with the Smudge Fixer and voila! gradient). And thennnnn I added China Glaze Ring on the Red over the OPI (sheesh, that's a lot of brands!). Here's what I got:

As you can see, I'm obsessed with Snow Globe. I got a backup bottle from my nail secret Santa and I'm so relieved - I was hoarding my bottle (seen here) and refusing to use it as often as I'd like. Now I will be using this wellllll into the summer, probably year round, calling it Sand Globe or Snow Cone or something so that I can justify it...


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Party Nails

Hi everyone! I'm back...ish. I was really behind on Christmas manis and it's just not the same posting them after the holidays, so I guess the deadline inspired me! These are the nails I wore to my work Christmas party, which was kind of a good idea in my head but didn't work out exactly as planned.

I started off with one coat of Ulta's The Jungle Look - ONE freakin' coat. Below is no top coat, too, and look how shiny! This color reminds me of Mandy because she's always encouraging me to use it ;)

Then I wanted to add some dots. I decided on silver, but my boyfriend also wanted red... but the red didn't really show up and they just looked black in most lights. You can see it below with the flash that it is red, but the first picture they hardly show up. I made the dots using my Migi nail art pens.

And there you have it, really simple holiday mani. I was going to do this with blue and silver for Hanukkah as well, but I've lost track of all time and haven't... but you can visualize, I'm sure.


Monday, December 19, 2011


Hi all, I wonder if you've noticed a bit of a change in my posting or demeanor lately? If not, I'm glad.. If so, I'm sorry. I'm not closing my blog down by any means but this time of year is just hard. Lots of people struggle around the holidays, including myself. However, some of you know I'm a therapist -- that means my workload also increases as others begin to feel the weight of the holidays and winter in general. It weighs on me, too.

I'll be posting as frequently as I'm able and of course I'll be checking in to read and reply to comments, chat on twitter, answer emails, or whatever method of communication you prefer. I have lots of pictures ready to be posted, but lacking inspiration to write at the moment.

Please remember to enter my current giveaway; it's lovely software and I'm glad to have it for myself. You will enjoy it too. My sparkle giveaway winner was April, I'm not sure if she has a blog but if she does I'll add it here.

You'll all be in my thoughts and hopefully it'll be back to normal soon.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Small changes

You guys will notice a few small tweaks. I installed Disqus for commenting, to hopefully make it easier and allow you all to know when I reply to you. The colors are showing up a bit weird for me, if you know how to change the colors within Disqus, let me know.


I'm Not a Nail Artist... Part Three

Hello! How's everyone's day going? Today is my five year anniversary with my boyfriend! I'll be gone for the night to go to my nearest Ulta in Connecticut and just enjoy the sights we don't have in Massachusetts :) Any weekend plans for you guys? I have another nail art attempt today, which didn't turn out horribly but was really much better in my mind. I decided to emulate a Christmas tree, but not drawn on each nail. Instead, I made it so each nail was a part of the tree. For each nail I started with Ulta's The Jungle Look then added some sparkly green from my Migi pens for the branches. Then, I added red candy canes and various colored ornaments to each nail, and a yellow star at the very tip of my middle finger.

I took this picture before top coat because I wanted to see if I liked it better 3D or with topcoat... but the polish wasn't totally dry apparently and smudged to smithereens with top coat, so this is the best way I have to show you. Again, remember I'm no professional and take this as inspiration if you want to improve on it :) What do you guys think of the concept?


Friday, December 16, 2011

Boyfriend's Pick: Wet n Wild Buy Me a Drink

Hey there! It's been a while since I've done a boyfriend's pick mani, which is weird since he has actually picked out my polish but I guess I just forgot to label them as such? Anyway, he picked out a deep red from Wet n Wild's On The Prowl collection, Buy Me a Drink. I used two coats below and it covered effortlessly.

This was a lovely polish and the boyfriend liked it (he always likes me in red even though I'm always meh about it) but it's just not very me. It's vampy and not glittery and kind of shimmery... I don't know. I didn't love it but ended up wearing it for days and days and days because I had no time between work and stuff going on, so I'd go to work, get anxious and chip a nail off, fix it, chip a different nail off, fix it... you get the idea. It lasted about four days that way, and the nails I hadn't chipped off lasted fine!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Memories Suite and Giveaway!

Hi everyone! How was your weekend? Sundays are kind of sad for me because I know it's the last day before I'm back at work :( Today I have something different: a review for you of some software I was sent. My Memories Suite is digital scrapbooking software, but can be used for collages and other things as well. I happen to love scrapbooking so it's perfect for me!

My Memories Suite is a really easy program to use: I didn't spend a minute reading directions and just dove right in without any problems. I started off making an album for my trip to Bermuda in May with my boyfriend. (I just realized no photos of me have ever appeared on my blog, so here you go for those of you who don't know what I look like!) I spent a few minutes fooling around and came up with this:

Click to enlarge; all pictures are my property and are copyrighted.
I played around with it a little more just to get an idea of the backgrounds, colors, accents/embellishments, etc. available and it's very comprehensive! They also have an online store where you can buy different kinds of backgrounds and other items for the software to personalize your albums.

Overall, I found this software really easy to use. It's something I can definitely see myself using to create my own albums, especially now that I've already started one for Bermuda. It could also easily be used to create collages or blog photos. I'm imagining if you were doing a contest and wanted to have all the entries available in a single picture, this would be perfect.

The banner below will link you to my referral, which will give you $10 off the software and $10 to use in the store - which is a great deal!

Finally, My Memories was gracious enough to provide me with another copy of this software to give to one of my readers! The terms are the usual ones listed below the entry form. The contest begins on December 14 and ends December 28th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Products in this review were sent to me by the company, but the thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information, please read my "Disclosure" tab above.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm Not a Nail Artist... Part Two

Hi, I'm back! More nail art! Hopefully you all haven't lost faith in me after the last attempt :/ This one came out much better, but was much simpler. I decided to go for wrapping paper nails. Each nail is themed differently, but I think that made it even more fun! Behold:

For this I used base coats of a basic white, Ulta The Jungle Look, Cult Nails Iconic, and Orly Sweet Peacock. Then I added green and red polka dots on the white, a red bow on the green, green swirls on the red, and silver ribbon on the blue.

This was pretty simple and I liked it a lot! My favorite were the polka dots, they were just so cute! I wish I had done the bow facing out but hindsight is 20/20. Which nail is your favorite?


Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Not a Nail Artist... Part One

Hi gals! Today starts a series of nail art I'm, um, attempting. I decided practice makes perfect and blah blah blah but anyway, I wanted to do some Christmas nail art that perhaps you guys could be inspired by and do better than me. So here we go- part one! I had this idea like enlightenment: it came to me, I thought I was genius... and then found out it's been done a million times before. Oh well, here's my take on Christmas lights.

I started off with a basic white creme and added Orly Winter Wonderland to make some sparkle. Then I used my Migi Nail art pens to make green squiggles, and then the nail art pens in corresponding light colors for the bulbs. These pictures are pre-top coat which is good, since I smudged the heck out of it.

(Remember, I'M NOT A PROFESSIONAL. I don't do nail art very often. Please don't judge me for how poorly this turned out; the concept was so much prettier in my mind.)

Here's a close up of my favorite nail, which is what I wanted the entire concept to turn out like (sorry the picture is fuzzy, my macro wasn't cooperating):

Anyway, it was really simple, and with some practice I'm sure I could do this concept justice. There's lots of other people out there who have done this, so check theirs out too if you need further inspiration!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer is... GLITTER.

Hi all! Today to get you in the holiday spirit, I'm hosting a giveaway!It obviously involves glitter, so hopefully you have your acetone ready to go ;) The prize up for grabs is two Ulta exclusive OPIs: A Sparkle Yule Love (a dupe for OPI Muppets Excuse Moi) and How's It Snowin'? (which is similar, if not a dupe for China Glaze Tinseltown). I'm borrowing swatches from Jen the Polishaholic's blog because I haven't used these to swatch them myself, so thank you Jen. ;) Here's the post she swatched them in.

A Sparkle Yule Love, from The Polishaholic's post

How's It Snowin'? from Jen's post

Rules are listed in the widget but basically: be 18+ or have parent permission, new followers welcome but GFC following is required, US and Canada only, reply within 24 hours or I'll pick someone new, and it ends 12/15/11 at 12:01AM. Good luck! <3

There you have it - happy entering!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bluey Comparisons

Hi loves! Happy Tuesday... except I'm not really a Tuesday person either ;) On Tuesdays I do outreach therapy in people's homes for part of the day which is always interesting, but mostly I don't like working 9am-7pm on Tuesdays. Anyway, enough whining! Call the wahhhhmbulance ;)

MariJo requested that she wanted to see this comparison on my last Butter London Bluey post, so I scrounged up not only Zoya Noel, but a few other blues in my stash to compare. Good news: I may have found a dupe, you be the judge!

I decided to compare these four: Orly Sweet Peacock, Butter London Bluey, OPI Yodel Me on My Cell, and Zoya Noel. Here's how they compare in the bottles (pretty diverse, to us polish addicts!):

And a side view of the bottles so you can see the colors better (in retrospect, I should have shaken Noel a bit more, it looks much more silver and metallic than it truly is).

Here they are in the same order, on a nail wheel. Orly is 1 coat, BL is 2 coats, OPI 2 coats, and Zoya 1 coat.

Close up of Orly and BL:

Close up of OPI and Zoya:

And altogether at a different angle.

So overall, here's the breakdown:

Orly: Metallic/foil finish. The most unique of the bunch; glows from within, color is most similar to OPI. Bluest of them all.
BL: Shimmer/microglitter finish. Similar to Zoya.
OPI: Shimmer/microglitter finish. Similar color to Orly but different finishes. Second most blue of these four.
Zoya: Metallic/foil/shimmer finish. BL's possibly twin sibling, looks pretty similar in these pictures. I would say these are fairly close to dupes, in my opinion. My untrained eye (read: boyfriend) studied these two in the bottle and couldn't notice a difference. BL is a hair greener.

So for the short of it: Orly is kinda dupey for OPI, BL is dupey for Zoya. Could you have all four (like, ahem, me)? Sure, I suppose. I don't think these four are different enough to own them all, and some of these may end up going to other polish mommies from my stash, but definitively: all four are lovely colors :)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Butter London Bluey

Hi gals! Happy Monday... I guess. I'm not much of a Monday person, but at least we're one step closer to another weekend! Today I have for you a rare event: the mani I'm about to show you is my current mani! As in I'm wearing this while you read it! So it's kind of like we're connected somehow ;) I have for you Butter London Bluey, and she's a beauty:

Bluey covered in two easy coats. I know lots of people complain about BL for being so expensive, but I love them. They always apply so flawlessly. For example, the pictures above are without any cleanup. To the naked eye, it looks perfect. I'm sure the pictures up close have imperfections, but seriously - you have to admit it's pretty good for not a drop of acetone! I know most people complain that they chip really easily, and I can't really account for that since a) I'm wearing it now and b) I never really wear manis long enough to vouch for durability.

I really love the color, too. It kind of glows and, even though it's not the most seasonal color, I kind of love it. It reminds me of Zoya Noel, although I haven't done a comparison - would you guys be interested in seeing that?


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Attention: Favorite Polish Ahead!

Hi hi hi hi hi! I'm so excited for this post because I've found my favorite pink ever. I mean it! I got this polish from the wonderful Dolores in Slovenia and as far as I know, it's not a brand we can get our hands on here in the USA. :( The brand is Make Up Factory and the color is labeled 425 on my bottle, but the website says it's called Beauty Cream. It's a very pale light pink that was perfect in one coat, but I used two just in case. You get my right hand debut here since my left hand had a major break I'm letting grow out.

Low light
Natural light
This color is almost mannequin hands on me, but it's definitely pink. In real life, this polish looks slightly pinker but fairly close to what you see here! I don't know what it is, but I just love this color!