Thursday, December 31, 2015

Playing with polish: red glitters

For my last mani of 2015, I just slapped some layers over what I already had on, so this is messy but it turned out pretty cute:
This is a lot of layers. Let's see:
  1. Nail Nutrition
  2. Bridge the Ridge
  3. Good Girl Gone Bad (Lippmann) (this is pretty on its own, but I didn't stop there...)
  4. I Know You Are But What Am I? (Black Cat Lacquer) - this is sooo pretty, holo glitter in red jelly, but relatively subtle (I need to compare this to Ruby Pumps)
  5. Seche Vite
    -- so the above is what I already was wearing - I wore that overnight, but then I decided it was too subtle for New Year's Eve. So I started adding glitter.
  6. Gold Rush (Cover Girl) - this is an old Cover Girl, a medium-size gold glitter - I like it but once I got it on, I decided I wanted more red, so I added...
  7. Sparkling Wave (LASplash) - dark-red glitter of a similar size. Again, pretty but I was still wanting to go more red so I added another layer...
  8. Jolly Lolly (L'Oreal) - red jelly from the Miss Candy collection several years ago -- and then I was happy but I still had to topcoat again, so...
  9. Gelous - luckily one more coat was enough

I get carried away with the experimenting sometimes. It was kind of crazy to cover up first the Lippmann and the Black Cat after that. You couldn't really see the bottom layers by the time I got done, but the red base certainly made a difference, I think.

Working up to a favorites list

Okay, well, here was the shortlist I made for the first half of 2015:
Aurora Borealis - Lucky 13
Black Metal Dahlia - OCC
Boom - Formula X
BSOD - Pretty Serious
Flake Your Booty - Painted Polish
Harlow - Zoya Matte Velvet
Hot Couture - Color Club
Pretty Gritty - Rescue Beauty
She's Beyond Kelp! - KB Shimmer
Stuck In The Middle - Pretty Serious

For the second half, here's another ten:
Bat My Eyes - China Glaze
Bit Faker - Butter London
Bubblegum Punk - Rescue Beauty
Cinnamon - Zoya
Daphne's Disco Party - Pretty Serious
Dorothy Who? - China Glaze
Elliot - Pretty Serious
Ichi Hanami - Pretty Serious
Lichen - Cirque
Love Potion No.99.9 - Lynnderella
Here is Lichen.
and Zoya Cinnamon, as an example or two.

It'd be fun to do nail wheel or two with all of these on it, if I can manage to get them all together.

Note that I don't limit myself to polishes that were released in the last year. They just have to be new to me, not brand-new. Several of these have been around for several years, but I'm just now getting around to trying them.

Anyway, my favorite will probably come off this list, and I'll probably do a top ten from this as well. (Things that I left off this list are still technically eligible if they were new-to-me this year, but I think the chance that I'll swoop back in and pick something else is awfully slight. I have not actually decided on a favorite just yet, though!)

It's interesting to me that there are so many Pretty Serious polishes here. I also see two from the RBL+R29 collection. And several heavy-duty flakies made this list, from various brands.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gifts, Sephora Play, & haircare empties

FYI: I made a page for Sephora Play, but it doesn't show up anywhere so I wanted a pointer somewhere. Right now that same information is all findable through the Play! by Sephora page, except that they don't make it too easy to find. (If that link doesn't work, try doing a search on Sephora's website.) I suspect making sure they have enough of the same 6 items for every subscriber is sort of a nightmare, and that's why they're rolling it out so slowly.)

Here's what was in December's Sephora Play box - but I don't have pictures since I gave literally half of it away and didn't think to take pictures before I did that. (But here's the picture from Sephora's website!)

Oh what fun!
Sephora Play 04 - December 2015
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes (eyeliner) in Matte Black
  • Dr Brandt Skincare Poredermabrasion
  • Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Duo
  • Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil
  • Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Serum (packet of 7 - presumably a week's supply!)
  • Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb sample
I gave away the first three and kept the second three. I have tons of eyeliner and shadow already, I don't have any interest in "poredermabrasion" (and in fact I'm super-cautious these days about getting anything abrasive anywhere near the very sensitive skin of my face). The Smashbox shadows were pretty but I decided to let somebody else be pleased with them.

For Christmas, I gave away six sets of makeup and beauty products (four to relatives and two to co-workers), and I tried to make sure each set had at least one extra-nice item - the Smashbox duo became one of those. Other "hero" items were from other Ipsy bags & Sephora boxes, as well as a few things I'd bought separately: Tarte bronzer, Buxom lip creamGlamglow cleanser, a Nest hand creme and a rollerball, and in one case a red Pretty Serious polish. And then I filled in with all the other stuff I had - which was a lot. Everybody got five items or more. I used the four Sephora Play boxes I've gotten as gift boxes, and tied them up with ribbon. I used a Ipsy bag for one where the items were all small, and and for the remaining one I used just a small Sephora shopping bag. I knew pretty much everybody I was giving these to would like this stuff but wow, it went over well, even more than I thought. Everybody loved it.

(If you're wondering, the male people I give gifts to almost all got something Star-Wars-related. My husband had told me some things he wanted besides that, movies etc. I got nail polish and some Star Wars items, myself - the best of both worlds. Oh and that Boscia black cleanser, yay!)

Switching gears, I took a picture of some hair items I was throwing away. My hair has changed so much that I just don't use the same hair products I used to use. These are both John Frieda products that I've had for a long time - several years, I bet. And they're both perfectly good products, but I used to have really limp hair and it was always colored (for the last 15 years or so, since it first started having a noticeable amount of gray). Now that my hair is a much larger percentage of gray, it has a lot more texture and oddly I haven't been coloring it much - or not with permanent color, anyway. So I don't really need the color sealer. I suppose the "shine" products would still be fine, but I'm really more into products that moisturize and de-frizz and stuff like that. Probably eventually I'll start coloring it again when I figure out what to use. It's still got a good bit of dark color to it but it's also got a lot of a sort of iron-gray to it. It doesn't look terrible, so I'm just leaving it alone for the moment, while I experiment around with what to do with this whole new texture!

Monday, December 28, 2015

More swatches

The Pretty Serious nail wheel swatches were in the last entry, and I know I showed some Zoya swatches lately, but here's a couple of other assorted things:

This is Butter London Bit Faker with two different (Zoya) undercoats: Cinnamon on the left, and Autumn on the right. Both of them look good, but Cinnamon-and-Bit-Faker was the combination I kept on using.

These are the polishes I got from Sally Beauty a while back: Sally Girl Bling Tree, Nina Pro Boys 'n' Berries, and China Glaze Dorothy Who? The latter is the only one I've actually worn, and it is of course totally awesome. I think I will like the Nina one with topcoat, though. Bling Tree's main problem is it's a bit sparse. (Also, I have more red-and-green glitters than I can possibly wear in the two-week window - at most - each year where I get in the mood for that kind of thing. But then I mostly bought this one because it came in the cute blinged-out bottle anyway!)

And then this is the two Cover Girls that I bought a couple of weeks ago (both of which I had in Glosstini size already), Seared Bronze and Pyro Pink. As I think I said before, both of these were Hunger Games tie-ins, or rather Catching Fire tie-ins, because if you've been following nail polish that long, you probably remember the China Glaze polishes that went with the first movie (Agro, Electrify, etc.). The Cover Girl tie-in went with the second movie, I know that one without thinking about it too much.
Anyway, the Cover Girl ones are very pretty glass-fleck-type things, and they're apparently being discontinued, so snatch them up now if you want them!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pretty Serious mini-haul

I've bought more Pretty Serious polishes than anything else this year, I bet. Like the gift sets, this bunch has been hanging around for a month or two - I think I bought these a while back when they were having a sale.
There's a larger version of this at the bottom, but L-R across the "Pretty Serious" section denoted with arrows):
  • Ninja-lish-ious - dark blue with tons of shimmer (and it's LE)
  • Baphomet's Berserker - speckled black, basically, with a multitude of glitter colors floating in the black crelly-ish base.
  • Elliot, which I talked about some time ago but didn't have a picture of - gorgeous bright-blue shimmer
  • Frogtown - the pictures seem to show it as a blue-green but I wore this at Christmas (with glitter on top) because it just looked like a standard Christmas green to me (here it is on PS's website) ("Green metallic shimmer" is the description on the website.)
  • Nuke The Fridge - I don't remember ever having seen a polish name that's overtly an Indiana Jones joke, but that's what this one is. Kind of similar to Zoya Irene, to my mind (I need to remember to compare - olive green with brown leanings?
  • Stud Muffin (Pretty Serious) - I turned around and gave this one away, even though it was meant to be my own gift, because I decided it was awfully similar to Bird Fling and as well as (probably) similar to ones I already had. I did swatch it before I gave it away, so hopefully I'll be able to do some more comparing anyway. It's a warm-leaning - meaning slightly orange-leaning - bright bright red creme. It's beautiful, I just felt like I didn't need it and I'd give it a better home. (It was Christmas, what can I say.)

Here's the boxes:
(Hmm, there's 6 swatches and 5 boxes - I think it's Elliot that's missing, because I'd already worn it quite some time ago)

I didn't take pictures of the bottles outside of the boxes, for some reason.

This is just a bigger look at the same swatches (actually the same exact picture, just cropped) as above:
 (The brighter blue peeking out on the far left is Zoya Isa, I believe, so you can see that there are definite differences in tone between those two blues. And the brown visible on the far right has to be Cinnamon.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nailkale & Butter London gift sets

I picked up this gift set from Sephora - on sale - because I wanted the NailKale base-coat, which I'd heard good things about, and it was always sold out individually.
It has the full-size "superfood" base-coat, and four minis, topcoat and three polishes.

  • Victoria (top-left) - they apparently call this "dark cherry" - I think I would just call it burgundy.
  • Nailkale top coat (top-right) - I've seen good reviews of these, so I'm really interested to try out both the top- and base-coats. (I laughed at first at the "kale" thing but I'm willing to give it a try.)
  • Knightsbridge Mews (bottom-left) - this is a nail brightener, a peachy sheer.
  • Windsor Mews (bottom-right) - I'm going to have to compare this to Zoya Odette. It's one of those neutral/orchid colors that have been so popular this past year. Maybe the word I'm looking for is "mauve" - mauve has been so out of fashion for so long that I find it doesn't come easily to me. I think it may be brighter than Odette.

And then sometime in November Butter London had a one day "mystery set" for $10.  It turned out to be a lip crayon in Tea with the Queen, a small polish that I really liked (Cor Blimey, a dark purple), a nail file, a "scrubber" packet with a prep wipe, and a really cute bright pink bag to hold it all.
The polish on the left is full-sized, and is Knackered, which I ordered separately. The lighting was not really great for taking pictures today. I gave away the lip crayon (and the nail file) before I took the pictures, and I don't see the Tea With The Queen lip crayon on the website but here's the nail polish, which appears to be just about the same color. Very neutral.

(Here's Pink Sith's very amusing take on Knackered, even if you do have to imagine what the most of the gifs are.)

(additional note: Our normal holiday tradition is to wrap stuff like this up and not open it again until Christmas Day, even when I know perfectly well what it is. And taking pictures of it also has to wait til afterwards. But this year is so screwed up I'm not even bothering.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The latest from Zoya

Here's the latest round of Zoya polishes.
(I just took a picture of the box because I think the box is pretty.)

They had a series of one-day deals, and I snapped up the one I saw that looked like the best deal to me. That was buy a mini Color Lock system for $20, get three polishes of your choice free and free shipping. I would probably not have paid $20 for just the Color Lock box by itself - it's minis of the top-coat, base-coat, and drying drops, plus their remover which I am already on the record as not liking. (It's already in the pile of samples to give away. I think the scent of it is too strong, is my only problem with it. It gives me a headache.) But I did want to try the Anchor and Armor system (and the drops) so I'm happy to have them, and when you lump all those items together, it's a very good deal. So here are the  color polishes I got:
In case you still can't read that (and their print is really tiny), it's Aurora, Ivanka, and Isa. Frankly, I never would have thought to buy Aurora, but I watched a bunch of people's "favorite Zoya polish" videos lately, late one night, and more than one person had it as their very favorite. I am not hugely fanatical about holos but I decided to give it a try. (I might have gotten Dream instead, which as I understand it is the same formula, basically, but since I also wanted Isa I didn't want to end up with two dark blues in the same batch.) The one I am impressed with so far is Ivanka, actually, because it doesn't look like what I thought.
I had the impression it was emerald green, but it's lighter and somewhat more blue-leaning than I was expecting, which as far as I'm concerned is a good thing. I have tons of emerald greens already. (I'm not sure if I misread, or forgot what I read, or what. Wouldn't be the first time.)

Here they are on a wheel:
Isa has some hidden glitter down in the depths that doesn't show up here. It's really beautiful, but I don't know how much that will show up in action. Anyway, I'm happy with what I bought.

(I didn't get a picture of the Color Lock set - if the sun comes out tomorrow I'll add that in.)
(A bit dark - the sun came out, but the angle was bad or something - but you can get the idea, anyway.)

Oh, you want to hear something funny? (or, well, I think it's funny at least!) - I am plotting another January stash run-through. The last... 3 years, I think, I've rearranged my stash completely in the winter/spring and taken pictures - one year I did it by color, the next year by brand, and then last year I did it by finish. And I said I probably wouldn't do it again because my stash has gotten too big. I came up with this new system where I sorted them seasonally and it does work pretty well, but I'm finding that I want to compare things and see if I can get rid of a few things. So I may just go back and do the whole thing by color again. I have so much more polish than the last time I did this that it should be quite different from the last time, and hopefully instructive. I can look for dupes - and then I will convince myself I have to keep them all, undoubtedly. But hey, if I even get rid of a few that'll be an improvement. If I actually do this, I will probably break it down into small similar color groups. It may take forever.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December Square Hue

Here's December Square Hue, which is the last Decades set, for the 2010s:
We have a deep purple, a bright red and a gold.
And here are the names:
(The differences in the apparent bottle size are misleading here; they're all exactly the same size, some were just nearer the camera than others.)
So we have:
  • Baby, Baby, Baby ca.2010 - which I guess is referring to a Justin Bieber song (this is not something I'm up on)
  • Bird Fling, which apparently is talking about Angry Birds since this also says ca.2010 and that's the year that Angry Birds came out
  • Olympiad ca.2018 - which is apparently the year of the winter Olympics, not the summer ones. Which are, I guess in Rio this coming year? I don't know.
And for the record, I have cancelled Square Hue, for the second time. Their polishes are good, and that's not to say I won't start it again later. The new series coming up did not especially grab me, though.

New polishes: Outlast and Nine Zero

So here's the two Outlast polishes I was talking about in the last entry plus the one Nine Zero polish:
These two and at least one more (Violet Flicker, I think? which I already had) were marked as being discontinued. Seared Bronze is supposed to be a Warm & Fozzie dupe - and in any case, these glass-fleck polishes in this line are great (there were at least 6 of them and maybe more, although I don't know if any of them are still in production now) and if you don't have them or something like them I would totally recommend picking them up. CVS is said to have them marked down so they'll probably go fast.

As for the Nine Zero, this was the one that I mentioned a while back, that I bought because it was just like nothing else, and that's this:
(I still had Seared Bronze on my fingers at the time I took this, although now I've switched to Twinkle Lights.) And here it is on a wheel.
This is two, three, and four coats, respectively. You can't really see the silver base color here and I couldn't see it well in the afternoon sunlight, especially against the whiteness of the wheel - which is why I did the fourth coat just to see. But when I put it on my fingernails yesterday I only did three. It's a silver holo base and then the little scattered confetti hexes - but you can see that the hexes go on pretty thick without having to work at it. I was not dabbing at all in these pictures. So it's really a cool and different polish.

In case you're not already aware of this, Nine Zero polishes are from jessface90 of YouTube, who's pretty well-known there, but has just started her own polish line. I've always liked her videos and I felt like she is the sort of person who's not going to put out polishes without testing them properly and such. And I only have this one so far but I think it's awesome.

(And I think I have some more new things, but I'll put that in a separate post.)

Friday, December 18, 2015

NOTD: Seared Bronze (on close-out?)

I picked up two Cover Girl Outlast colors, Seared Bronze and Pyro Pink - they weren't marked down at the time but they had a note that said they were being discontinued soon. I have both of these in the teeny Glosstini bottles from back when they came out (that was Catching Fire, so what, two or three years ago?) I've always meant to buy the bigger bottles and so I went ahead and got them. I've since heard that CVS has them on clearance.
I actually was playing around with layering the two, so this may be pinker than it would be by itself.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Purchases & empties

I saved this picture of the Black Friday Nest trio because it's gone from Sephora's website other than this little thumbnail, now. I happened to get my hands on one (thanks to a Sephora employee who tipped me off that it was there) that was still hanging around my local Sephora this past week. The set has three small but good-sized rollerballs - I believe they're Indigo, Verde, and Dahlia & Vine. I always like green scents so I imagine Verde is the one I'm going to keep for myself. I like Indigo, too, though.

(I know I took my own picture of my set the other day, but I can't find it right now. I'll add it back in when I track it down.) Here we go:

I haven't bought much nail polish lately, as I think I said before, but I did cave on a Zoya "happy hour" promo the other day - if you bought the $20 mini color-lock set you got three free polishes of your choice and free shipping. I hadn't ever tried out Zoya's full Color Lock system, so that's worth having to try (Their remover literally nauseates me, I do know that, so I'll definitely be giving that one away). I believe the polishes I got were two classics that I'd never gotten, Ivanka and Aurora, and then Isa from a more recent collection. (We'll see if I like Ivanka enough to compensate for that name's unfortunate association with the T-word.)

I have one "empty" picture, my old favorite eye serum:
I don't know if this brand is still around at all - I haven't seen it in years, anyway - but it was a good eye serum. I've found good (& cheaper) alternatives these days, though, so I'm certainly not going to try to hunt it down.

I threw away a couple of other things and didn't think to take pictures. One was Garnier moisturizer that's got a gel formula - this or something similar - which I was never crazy about but was determined to use up. And I threw away what was left of that Marc Jacobs blusher that I bought earlier this year, because it was ruined. (Not because I depotted it - which I did - but because I subsequently dropped it into a sink full of water. I wish I'd just left it alone because then I could have given it to a good home, but... well, it's not like there's much I can do about it once it's soaking wet.)

Oh! and I did buy another moisturizer, I almost forgot that - not a replacement for the Garnier one, but I had a sample of LaFresh night creme which was almost empty, and I decided I couldn't live without it and so I forked out for the full-size one. I have several day-cremes that I really like - LaFresh's Good Day is one of them - but I haven't found many night-cremes that I really love. It's probably no coincidence that all of the ones I've liked the most are awfully expensive, which makes Good Night at $40 for 1.7 oz look more reasonable.

Friday, December 11, 2015

NOTD: Bird Fling + Alpha Nail

I got the 2010s collection from Square Hue. The bottom layer of this mani is Bird Fling, from that collection, which is a nice bright red creme. (I had no idea what the name might be referring to, and I googled and came up with Angry Birds. It says 2010 on the bottle, and apparently that's the year that Angry Birds was first around. I can't think of any thing else that involves flinging birds, so for now, I'm going with that theory.)

So I wore Bird Fling for 24 hours, and it looked great but it was chipping, in that way that reds tend to do. Not big chips, but definitely there. So I considered taking it off and starting over, and instead I patched it up and put Alpha Nail on top of it. Two coats of Alpha Nail, actually. You can see the blue shimmer of Alpha Nail pretty clearly here, and to me, it now looks like a bright pink instead of a red.
(Honestly, in the bottle I thought that Bird Fling was on the border between pink and red, anyway. But on the nail, by itself, it looked pretty definitely red.)

(And I'll do pictures of the 2010s collection when I get a chance.)

Random note:
I happened to notice that three years ago, Karen was talking about Nail Paks - that was an idea that never quite took off, wasn't it?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

NOTD: Cinnamon w/matte Bronze Foliage

I bought Bronze Foliage from Virago Varnish on clearance sale back in the summer even though it was terribly seasonal, and then - of course - when it finally was the proper season for it I almost forgot to wear it. And it is really beautiful. (The color on my nails looks right, here, so why are my fingers so red? I never do understand how this works.)
It's big hexes along with pretty heavy small glitter, and it's flashier than I expected because it's all holo. So I put Matte Me Crazy on top to tone it down. You can still see the holo glitter pretty clearly in this picture but in real life it doesn't show up quite so much.

At least this mani gave me another excuse to trot out Zoya Cinnamon. I'm not quite ready to swing into full December mode, anyway.

I've slowed down a lot on the nail polish purchases but I did order one polish from Nine Zero because it just didn't look like anything I had - or anything I've ever seen, for that matter - and that's Twinkle Lights. It looks like it's sort of the same kind of finish as Lippmann Mermaid's Dream, to me, but in holiday confetti colors in a silver glitter base. Or something like that.