Monday, April 14, 2014

Zoya Raven + Revlon 1000 Volts

I feel like I've been saying this forever, but I got sick the morning after the Weezer concert (spring, I want to love you, but dem allergies, GODDAMN). Like, it-is-basically-a-miracle-that-I-went-to-see-"Winter Soldier"-and-went-to-work-for-3-days sick. I'm behind on blog stuff, so this post got moved up for today because I wanted to post something.

And I know, I know, black ... for spring? Normally, I'd agree with you, only I've been seeing black manicures everywhere -- on women at work, on random bloggers, on women at the grocery store -- and I was starting to wonder if there was a memo I wasn't getting. But I didn't want to wear a true black creme, and I didn't want to try my new bottle of OPI 4 in the Morning, so Zoya Raven won out.

Raven looks like a black creme in dull and low light, but sometimes, you can coax out the fine silver shimmer and you get this:

Three coats with Cult Nails Wicked Fast.

Either way, I'm really into this polish. According to Janice, Raven is a dupe for Chanel Black Satin (hey look, Scrangie says so, too ... it's basically canon); Raven is superior as far as both cost and formula are concerned. I don't own the Chanel, but I have to agree -- I will take a $9 polish with a great formula over a $27 one that's iffy. (I must admit I prefer Dior polish to Chanel ... but that's not really the point here. Also: Remember when Zoya was $6?)

Raven's formula was typical of most Zoya cremes and shimmers, which is to say that although it might seem a little thicker than OPI/China Glaze/Orly/Essie, it's still very easy to work with. (I think this might be a resin thing? This happens to me sometimes with RBL shimmers.) Two coats are all you need for opacity, but I used three. Dry time was fast with my favorite Zoya top coat, Cult Nails Wicked Fast. I wore Raven on its own for four? five? days and I was completely smitten with it.

If you want this polish, it's $9 on the Zoya site, but I'd advise waiting for the Zoya Exchange so you can get it for half that. I cannot recommend it enough. If you are looking for a new black polish to add to your stash, get Raven. If you are too apprehensive about wearing a glossy black creme and you want a little somethin' extra, get Raven. If you do not want to pay for Chanel Black Satin, get Raven. If you missed out on the discontinued RBL Iconoclast, get Raven. (Note: Raven's shimmer is silver; Iconoclast's shimmer contained green and pink.)

Okay, so you know I think Raven is pretty great.

But you know what else is great? The new Revlon Electric Chromes, a.k.a. the Spider-Man 2 tie-in polishes, that's what. They should be widely available now, but I didn't find them immediately when they first came out, and I was so afraid I would miss them that I asked Anna if she could clean out her Meijer's display for me. She was a dear and was able to get me four colors, including 1000 Volts, which Steff blogged last week.

When T at LacqLustre swatched the Electric Chromes, she added some nail wheel swatches of those polishes over black to showcase the duochrome. I thought Gwen's Crush, Electrified Web, and 1000 Volts looked the most interesting over black, so I decided to try 1000 Volts over Raven. Shown below are 2 coats of 1000 Volts.

I tried to capture some of the green under the OttLite:

Over black, 1000 Volts reminded me A LOT of Peridot and its Peridupes, none of which I own. I had Peridot for a hot second until I realized I hated it on me, so I swapped it. Y'all, it is INSANE how much I love 1000 Volts over black. IIRC, Peridot was a straight up metallic chrome, so it looked kind of flat; the difference with 1000 Volts (and the rest of the Electric Chromes) is that it has more sparkle and glass fleck packed into its finish, which completely changes everything. I don't know if that made any sense to you, but I am all about it! Let's hope 1000 Volts looks as nice on its own as it does here over Raven ... I guess we'll find out next month. :)

I'm pretty interested to know what you guys think about Zoya Raven and/or this layering experiment. Did you get any of the Spidey polishes? What are your favorite black polishes? Is there a particular color you've been seeing a lot lately on others that you like?

Oh, and speaking of Ravens, obligatory:

I *think* Raven was throwing shade at Nicole Paige Brooks. (But let's be real, if you're reading this blog, you probably already read a bajillion other nail blogs and we all can agree that acrylic nails with white french tips are nope nope nope!) Raven was one of my faves from that season.

Moving on to a different Raven:

(source? Please tell me if it's yours!)

This .gif FTMFW. The first time I saw it was on ONTD right after "First Class" came out and I don't know who made it, but I still laugh like a hyena every time I see it. (Side note: Either "Days of Future Past" is going to be an epic win, or an epic fail. I can't decide which. There's too damn much going on already, so it better be like the first two "X-Men" movies and not like the third one, which I like to pretend did not happen. Considering what Bryan Singer's last two movies were and how they turned out, I'm a little scared.)

O-kay, I'm out. Thanks for reading, and HOPEFULLY I can get it together and have some other posts for you this week. These allergies are a nightmare. Between the antibiotics, Robitussin, Zyrtec, and ground ginger root tea, I am going to be SO FUCKING PISSED if I'm still sick this weekend.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Shopping My Stash: That rainy day is here

After this winter, I imagine Steff and I aren't the only ones who are ready for spring. --Let me be clear: I actually hate spring because my allergies have a terrible way of ruining everything (I couldn't go to work yesterday or today because I can't stop coughing :/). But this winter was brutal, so I'm not opposed to the idea of warmer days ahead.

With spring on the brain, Steff picked our Shopping My Stash theme: April showers. I think my response was to text her back with "BAMBI!!!!!" And then I immediately started humming this:

There are many covers of this song, although Mel Tormé's is one of my favorites. But Mel generally is one of my favorites.

I knew right away that I would use Illamasqua Raindrops for this theme. Oh sure, I have many polishes with names that refer to rainy days, but none of them were as untried or as old as this one. And to be honest, I don't know why I waited so long to put on Raindrops.

Three coats with SV.

Isn't this beautiful? I adore light greys, but they don't always play well on me. I'm happy to say that Raindrops does -- and those tiny silvery/white flecks are a bonus, to boot! They really shine with that jelly base. As far as application goes, this one is quite sheer on the first coat, but it builds up nicely at three coats, which is to be expected of anything jelly-based. I promise it's worth it. 

The best thing about this polish is nothing you haven't already heard before: It looks exactly like what it's named for, raindrops falling down a window. (A Seattle monorail window, to be exact! Also, OMG, I love Seattle.) Back in 2010, Illamasqua had a contest asking the entrants to provide a photo and a 50-word description of their dream color. There were over 6,000 entries; instead of choosing two winners, as originally intended, Illamasqua chose three. Raindrops was the most popular among those three polishes then, and I think it's safe to say it's still the most popular one now. Raindrops even inspired a pink version which was not quite as successful, IMHO. Anyway, this was discontinued for a while and went for crazy prices on blog sales and eBay, but the good news is that it's core now at Sephora and Bloomingdale's, where Illamasqua now retails for $17. It was $14 back in 2011 when I ordered it ... I either got it from Sephora or directly from Illamasqua, back when they still shipped polish to the U.S. (I don't believe they do that any more).

Any thoughts on Raindrops? Did you get it back in its heyday? If not, would you consider getting it now? And since we're on the subject of springtimes, my friend Courtney (formerly of the blog Polished Casual) posted this to my Facebook wall recently. It is so accurate:


I guess as the song says, just keep looking for the bluebird.

This is all for me today. Don't forget to visit Short 'n Chic to see Steff's April showers pick! Hers definitely is older than mine, but it's one of my favorite polishes. Oh, and if you think you know what next month's theme is, you're probably right. ;) In the meantime, enjoy my favorite remix of my favorite song about rain. Usually this song sounds almost like a melancholy dirge, but this Koop remix completely changes its mood. Just take my word for it ... it's the best.

Thanks for reading! Have a good weekend, and the Zoya posts will resume next week. See ya then!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rescue Beauty Lounge Yellow Fever

Remember that time I was bitching about waiting forever to get a Weezer ticket?

... I got one! :D The show actually was last Thursday, but I figured you would want to see what I wore, and I could kick off the 2014 Stuff Concert Series (ha!).

I usually do a whole spiel about why I love a band as well as the significance of the polish I chose. However, if I have to explain why I love Weezer ... well, if you were alive in the '90s, I shouldn't have to! And if I have to explain why RBL Yellow Fever, then I'm going to assume you have never listened to "Pinkerton" once in your life. It's one of my favorite Weezer albums, one of my favorite '90s albums, and one of my favorite albums, PERIOD, but it's a little creepy.

You know what else is creepy? Being told by the guy who's checking IDs and slapping on 21+ wristbands that he likes your nails. I was like, "UHHHHHHHH THANKS" and practically ran for the lady scanning tickets, I was so weirded out. For some reason, I cannot deal with it when men compliment my nails. Women? Sure, no problem. Hell, I'll even tell you where I got it. Men, though?

I really don't think the guy meant anything by it, but I have to give him some credit. RBL Yellow Fever is probably my favorite yellow I've used so far.

Four coats with SV. Explanation after the photos.

You know, after going through my stash and looking for some polishes with surf pun names, I was set to wear Sinful Colors Beverly Hills, but I changed my mind because I wasn't feeling the color (or the song) AT ALL.

Now that we've had a minute to giggle over the name (which actually reminds me how much I want to watch "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" this weekend), let's talk yellow. As we all know, yellow polishes are famous for having terrible formulas. I'm talking about neon yellow, light pastel yellow, and sunny, almost egg yolk yellows like Yellow Fever -- generally, yellow is not an easy color to work with, so I am not exaggerating when I say I gritted my teeth as I was applying this because I was dreading the worst.

I shouldn't have worried because Yellow Fever is old school RBL, and therefore it was pretty easy to apply. My mistake was trying to load too much polish on my brush for my first coat and not waiting long enough to apply a second; this led to slight patching that I had to cover up with a generous third coat. This third coat would have been the final coat of color if I hadn't noticed more patches on my right hand ... I could have let that go because that's not the hand we care about for photos, but at that point, I'm not sure what I was thinking. TL;DR: You only need three coats. Polish carefully. The formula actually reminded me a bit of some of the GOMMs, mostly Faraway, Abi and Santa Fe, all of which also contained a secret shimmer. I'm not sure how this compares to NARS Amchoor, formula-wise, but I can say that Yellow Fever was worlds easier to apply than Chanel Mimosa. Dry time was fast with SV, and I wore this with no chips and minimal tip wear for four days.

I got this bottle last November in the 50% off RBL sale, but you can pick it up on the RBL site for $18. I think they're doing free worldwide shipping this month, so you should jump on it if you have other RBLs on your list. I know a couple of weeks ago I said I don't love the brand as much as I used to, but in all honesty, this is a REALLY good yellow.

And with the nice weather at the end of last week, this color was a lot of fun to have on my nails. I even might be a little guilty of looking at my nails a couple of times at the show during the opening act! (Whoops.)

You know how sometimes you go to a concert and while you didn't have a bad time, you were so caught up in feeling weird or crappy beforehand that you didn't get to enjoy it as much as you wanted to? That's how I felt. The show was a lot of fun, and I basically live for concerts that are 1500 people doing a group singalong, but I didn't get to the venue early enough to find a good vantage spot, which put a damper on my evening. I'm sure I've said this before: I love tall dudes, but sometimes I want to kill them when I'm at shows that are SRO because I did not pay $40 to look their fucking shoulders for two hours or have their beer slosh on me. (Some guy next to me actually did drop a beer that DID slosh all over my left leg and shoe, but he apologized profusely and moved, presumably out of embarrassment.)

"My Name is Jonas"

I also was cranky that day because the past 24 hours had been a total clusterfuck, BUT! I survived, I got to pick up an epic poster, I can scratch one of my favorite '90s bands off my bucket list, and now I can start saving to go on a Weezer cruise. (Yes, they do a cruise every year; the 2014 cruise was two months ago, in February.)

BTW, here's the set list and here's the Vyclone video of "Surf Wax America" from the show I went to:

I think the best thing that came about that night was confirmation that Brian Bell is indeed an ageless beauty. Sigh. (I had the mandatory 5-minute teenage crush on Rivers, but I quickly saw the error of my ways, i.e., I really listened to "Pinkerton" and BYE, FELICIA.) Scott and Pat sang some songs too, including a cover of Blur's "Song 2," and at the end of the show, all four of the guys picked up some sticks and got on the drums.

The other best thing about that night was confirmation that "Buddy Holly" has the power to cheer me up about almost anything. That was the last song of the night, and I was sorry it had to end just as I was starting to chill out and have fun. (Isn't that always the way?) Ah, well. The last time Weezer was anywhere around me, they were playing a chili festival in D.C. in 2011, but I'd already made plans to attend my friend's wedding that day, so despite my initial bad mood, I'm thrilled I was able to see them this time. Barring any changes in the job field and/or my marital status, I think I'm going to make my 30th birthday present to myself either a Weezer cruise or a Prairie Home Companion cruise ... which leaves me with a little over two years to start saving.

Aaaaaaaanyway, what do you guys think of RBL Yellow Fever? If you have a favorite yellow or have one to recommend to me, please share it in the comments! (Next up for examination: NARS Amchoor.) Are there any other Weezer fans in the house? I have to say, "The Blue Album" and "Pinkerton" are the strongest ones, but I have a soft spot in my heart for "The Green Album." What's your favorite Weezer song?

I've posted this before, but this is my favorite Weezer music video:


Thanks for reading! My next concert post will be in June (maybe the end of May if I decide to get tickets for some other things), but while you wait, the April edition of Shopping My Stash goes up tomorrow. I'm pretty excited. :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy Rex Manning Day!

You call me on my car phone with that je ne sais quoi,
You say you need a little of my ooh la la,
I know you get lonely in your canopy bed
Well, say no more baby, I'll be runnin' every red.

Oh Rexy, you're so sexy! But what's that? You'd rather kill yourself than meet Rex Manning? But ... it's REX MANNING DAY!

I knew Madeline and I were going to be good friends when we found out how many geeky interests we had in common (for instance, we own the same Captain America plush!). But when we discovered how much we love the '90s, I think things quickly elevated themselves to another level. So it's no surprise that we both have "Empire Records"-inspired posts to celebrate Rex Manning Day today!

For those of you not in the know, "Empire Records" is a 1995 movie about one day in the lives of the employees of a small town record store that is in peril of becoming absorbed by a corporate record store chain (THE HORROR). On that day, April 8, famously washed-up pop singer Rex Manning visits the store for a meet and greet with fans.

Has liking "Empire Records" ever been cool? Because we don't like it -- WE LOVE IT. I have to be totally honest: One, it would be almost instantly panned if it were to be made today because it's kind of a mess, plot-wise; the characters are broad sketches but whatever, this is not cable (#idcurr). Two, I was not into watching movies aimed at my demographic back in the '90s, and I actually didn't get around to seeing "Empire Records" until the early aughts. But man, it is on point. And that '90s alt-rock soundtrack gets me so excited, that much like Corey Mason (Liv Tyler's character), I could almost choke on a pretzel.

But before I wax poetic about the gang at Empire, I must quote Lucas (Rory Cochrane's character) and say, in the immortal words of the Doors, the time to hesitate is through. --Time for some swatches, I mean.

(Madeline, am I overdoing it yet? I probably am.)

I knew I was going to do a layering combination and I had the perfect glitter in mind, but I couldn't settle on a base color. The one I wanted at first was too dark, and then the other one I really wanted to use was AWOL in my room. So I grabbed Urban Outfitters Crowded because I really couldn't find a polish that matched Liv Tyler's sweater in the movie.

Three coats with SV.

Oh, and the sweater in question:


Liv's sweater is more faded in the movie, but apparently I have *nothing* that is even close to it.

Anyway, I *really* loved wearing Crowded. I tend to forget how much I like Urban Outfitters' polishes because I don't wear them that often, but this ... I must have had Cult Nails Casual Elegance on the brain or something, because Crowded reminds me of a slightly dull version of that, as well as Models Own Beth's Blue. I was afraid it was not going to apply well because it's a pastel, but it wasn't too bad to work with at all. Dry time was super fast with SV.

And then it was time to add the glitter layer. I used Wet n Wild Stick It to the Man from the new Mega Rocks line that came out in, what, January??? Funnily enough, Madeline also had this polish in mind for a Rex/Empire post, but she opted to blog something else. GREAT MINDS.

Shown below is two and a half coats of Stick It to the Man + NYC Grand Central Station.

Ugh, I loved this combo. I liked that the silver, blue, and teal hexes popped against Crowded's pastel base, but it was the iridescent square glitter that sealed the deal for me. (IDK what's going on with me and iridescent glitter.) Just ... love.

Stick It to the Man is one of those polishes that my boyfriend aptly would describe as "confetti and glue." He's right. This one requires lots of patience because you have to wait a little while between layers (I didn't, and I got a couple of bubbles). After two coats, I wasn't entirely convinced I was "done," so I dabbed on a little more glitter, hence the extra half coat. This dried surprisingly smoothly with NYC GCS, which was great. I wore this combo for two? three? days (sorry, I forgot) with no chips and barely visible tip wear. :D

If you're interested in either of these polishes, Urban Outfitters polishes like Crowded go for $5, or two for $8. I haven't been to a UO in forever so I couldn't tell you if they're in stock at an actual store, but they're definitely online. Again, I feel like UO polishes are underrated because the only times I didn't like them is when I didn't like how the color ended up looking on me. The formulas generally are pretty excellent. As for the Wet n Wild Mega Rocks line, I've seen it in the core WnW displays at drugstores, so you should have no problem finding any. They're $2.99 a pop, and if there's a Wet n Wild promo, you could score it for a buck. Good stuff. I can't wait to use Stick It to the Man on a dark blue or a black polish next!

Stick It to the Man seemed like the quintessential "Empire Records" polish to me because of this:

Madeline and I also agree that no one was cuter than Ethan Embry in the '90s, even when he was eating special brownies.

A few "Empire Records" things that I wanted to note:
  • Coyote Shivers, who plays Berko, was Liv Tyler's stepdad at the time the movie was shot and released. Huh.
  • According to Gwar frontman Dave Brockie (RIP!), also known as Oderus Urungus, his line about Mark joining the band was dubbed over by someone else because the original line was deemed "too crude." (Side note: Gwar is based in Richmond ... if you come for the Gwar-B-Q, let me know. I'm not metal enough for Gwar-B-Q, but I might be able to recommend some good spots to eat and sights to see.)
  • Remember that cheesetastic music video at the beginning of this post? The producers needed only 17 seconds of video to use in the movie, but the music video director went for it and gave them the whole thing.
  • Rex Manning = Maxwell Caulfield, the guy from "Grease 2." And in real life, he's married to Juliet Mills -- or, as some of us might remember her, Tabitha, the witch from "Passions." (I must have laughed like a hyena over that show so. many. times. in ninth grade, SO RIDICULOUS.)
  • If April 8 is Rex Manning Day and Corey only *just* received her letter from her dream school, I'm guessing she did not apply early admission, which seems like something she would have done.
  • Although there is a dog in the poster, there is no dog in the movie. I'm assuming this was either a marketing ploy of "animals are cute" or maybe there WAS a dog in the movie, but it was cut from the final footage in post production.
  • Excluding boss man Joe, there are EIGHT Empire Records employees. That seems like a lot to me because I never saw that many at one time when I would go to indie record stores growing up, but whatever.
  • Although no one will be as qt as Ethan Embry (Mark) was in the '90s, I was insanely attracted to Anthony LaPaglia's character, Joe. What can I say, I love old dudes.
  • This isn't really a factoid either, but if you want to know who I think won the aging game among the "Empire" boys, I'm gonna have to go with Johnny Whitworth (AJ).
  • One last definitely-not-a-factoid: One of my biggest regrets in life, besides not having a plan for my career path out of college and not seeing "Obsessed" when it was in theaters, was never getting the chance to roll up a joint and watch this one of my best friends from high school. I guess it's not too late, but as we are now semi-responsible "adults," it's not ideal, either. #dayenu

Oh, wait. I almost forgot to tell you that some people don't recommend watching the extended Remix: Special Fan Edition DVD because it's supposedly not as good as the original theatrical cut. I've never seen the original theatrical cut, so unfortunately the former is all I know. Just putting this out there. But I'm kind of attached to my DVD for obvious reasons, as well as the fact that my mother bought this for me. My mother is the kind of woman who will buy me things, as long as those things are things I need ... and DVDs are not things she thinks I need (or nail polish, for that matter). The day she bought this, she was in an unusually good mood; this was in the $3 bin at Wal-mart and she let me put it in the cart, along with two other DVDs I can't think of right now.

Part of the reason I love "Empire Records" so much is, well ... I don't think it's specific to my generation, but working in an indie record store was definitely a fantasy for me (although the way Warren goes about it in the movie is REALLY not the way to do it). Or maybe the fantasy wasn't even about the record store per se -- maybe it was just being able to be a young person with coworkers you liked and a boss who you respected and who, in turn, wanted you to succeed. I've been lucky to have had two jobs like that. But life sets in, and as Joe points out, Lucas is 21. He (Joe) is not. Watching this movie as I inch closer to 30 is also a little depressing because I understand that line -- and Jane's "I don't know what I'm doing. I used to be a much more interesting person" -- more and more now. 

But we musn't dwell. Not today. We can't! Not on Rex Manning Day! 

Now that I can't let myself quote this movie any more, it's time to end this post. What do you think of this layering combo? Do you love "Empire Records" as much as Madeline and I do? Who's your favorite character, or what's your favorite quote? There are so many that I couldn't work into this post, but believe me ... I'll quote this movie aaaaaaaaaaaaaall damn day.

Thanks for reading! I'll try to be back before Friday, but if I'm not, Shopping My Stash will go up then. Until then, don't forget to visit Madeline's blog, Quest for the Holy Nails, and enjoy this timeless '80s classic, which is played at the end of the film. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Zoya Neely + FingerPaints Colorful Dream

Happy April! Did you guys say "rabbit, rabbit" this morning? I did, and I'm crossing my fingers that April is sickness-free! March was too full of nastiness. To cap off my sickness-ridden month, I got food poisoning late Sunday night and into the early hours of yesterday morning, which ... ugh.

As a result, the post that I wanted to have up today will not be happening, so I moved a different post up. :) Before I start posting my Zoya Awaken picks, I wanted to show you Neely, from last spring's Lovely collection.

Three coats with Cult Nails Wicked Fast.

I was afraid this color was going to be horribly stark and lobstery on me, but it really isn't (Orly Jealous, Much? contains more blue and is not quite as creme as Neely). There's a pinch of yellow in Neely that makes it quite wearable for many skin tones. It is probably the lightest mint/seafoam green color I own; technically, it's been described as a pale spring green.

Neely's formula was pretty awesome, which is a huge deal, considering that it's a pastel. Dry time was quick with Cult Nails Wicked Fast (I finally opened a new bottle, yay!).

I purchased my bottle in last year's Zoya Exchange. Although it's part of the Zoya Lovely collection, Neely initially was part of an LE Peter Som NYFW trio from Fall 2012, which was inspired by "Valley of the Dolls." My friend Janice loves "Valley of the Dolls" and confessed that she wanted Neely mostly so she could quote this immortal phrase:

But then a funny thing happened wherein I DID want Neely to sparkle just a *little*, so I whipped out my bottle of FingerPaints Colorful Dream from the recent FP Kaleidoscope collection. These FingerPaints flakies are far more soft and subtle than the Special Effects flakies from 2012, so if it's a bold effect you're after, the Kaleidoscopes may not be for you. I asked Madeline which Kaleidoscope I should buy if I were to allow myself only one, and she recommended Colorful Dream, since it was supposed to be the most vivid colorful (my bad!). It turned out to be rather subdued, but I was more than okay with it. I had no issues applying Colorful Dream. It looked a bit sparse after one coat, so I added another. Dry time was good with GCS.

Pictured below is two coats of FP Colorful Dream + NYC GCS on top of Neely + Cult Nails Wicked Fast.

Looks pretty good, huh? If you have any layering suggestions for Colorful Dream, I'd love to hear them! Did you pick up any of the Kaleidoscopes, or do you prefer your flakies to be bolder? And if I made you want Neely even the tiniest bit, you can let me know, too. ;) Seriously, though, if you're in the market for a pastel mint green, I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading! Unless I can find time on Friday afternoon, I'm afraid this is going to be all from me this week! I had planned on one more post, but the whole food poisoning and feeling-like-death situation nixed those plans. Whatever the case, there most certainly WILL be a post next Tuesday (one week from today) that Madeline and I are reallllllly excited for. :D