Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Zoya Dhara (PIXIEDUST!!!)

Happy hump day, ladies. Anyone made any executive decisions re: your Zoya exchange carts? Remember, PixieDust shades are half off this year -- and there are so many killer ones to choose from! In case you're having trouble finding something to add to your cart, I have another suggestion for you today. ;)

I wasn't tempted by Zoya's first batch of Pixies that were released last spring, but the summer and fall ones were more my speed. Oh mah gawd, the fall Pixies ... While I knew I NEEDED all of them, limited edition holiday polishes were a higher priority, so I was elated when I eventually lucked into four of the fall Pixies on clearance at Ulta. This was either at the end of December or at the beginning of January, I don't recall exactly, but I scored Arabella, Carter, and Chita in one trip and found Dhara a week later.

I love orange, I love Zoya, and I love textures, so you'd better believe I knew I was adding Dhara to my collection as soon as I saw the PR images.

Three coats.

This polish is JUST. TOO. GORGEOUS.

Dhara is the second stab at an orange PixieDust shade, as Zoya released Beatrix in their summer Pixie collection. Beatrix is a lighter, more tangerine orange, while Dhara is more of a summer-to-fall transition shade of orange. I think the official description of Dhara uses the words "fiery" and "copper." Fiery, YES. Copper, not really, but perhaps a little when compared to Beatrix.  I think if Zoya Amy were a PixieDust, it would be Dhara. (And you know how much I loved Amy ...)

Everything about Dhara was perfect, including its formula and application. I always wait a minute or two between coats when using textures to make sure each coat is completely dry; I wouldn't have had to wait too long with Dhara, but I kept getting distracted by my "Chrisley Knows Best" marathon (don't judge me! Or judge away, it's all good). This is opaque in two coats -- I'm sure by now you know I only use three out of habit. ;) I haven't done a wear test with this, but textures generally last a work week on me.

Dhara usually goes for $10 on the Zoya/Art of Beauty site, but scoop it up for $5 this week! It's crazy beautiful, and I can't wait to actually wear it as a full mani.

What do you think? Will you be putting Dhara (or any of the other PixieDusts) in your Zoya cart? Here's what I'm getting, for sure:
  • Lauren
  • Sunshine
  • Solange
  • Rikki
  • Rocky
  • Thandie

OTOH, here's what I'm debating, i.e., the shades I feel that I do not need right this minute. Any input you have would be appreciated until Thursday night, so please advise!
  • Taylor
  • Chantal
  • Beatrix
  • LC
  • Seraphina
  • Cassedy
  • Tomoko
  • Chyna

I should be back on Friday with one more post from the ~reserves~. Until then, thank you for stopping by (and happy shopping)!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Skinny Dipping (With Friends): Zoya Kennedy

Did you guys have a good Easter? My aunt and I went out to lunch, then she came over to my place and we watched "Frozen." So it was a good day. (Considering what goes down in that movie, what I'm about to say is going to sound so effed up ... but the more I watch it, the more the king makes me laugh -- the voice actor also voiced more than a few memorable "Futurama" secondary characters and I CANNOT. STOP. VISUALIZING THEM.)

Anyway, Skinny Dipping. True story, Anna and I very nearly forgot this was even happening today. Merp.

My original plan for April was to push Zoya on you in anticipation of the Zoya exchange, which begins today! (See this for more details.) Zoya's put out many wonderful nude polishes over the past few years, and being that I own quite a few, I wasn't sure at first which one I should blog for this Skinny Dipping installment. But I decided to give Kennedy a moment, given my bad luck with shades that begin with the letter K.

Three coats with Cult Nails Wicked Fast.

Well, this is one K shade I'll happily endorse.

Kennedy is rather heavy on the pink tones, isn't it? I wasn't certain if it was going to look good on me; in reality, my skin is a lot more yellow than it appears in these swatches and yet ... I didn't hate it. I don't think I will ever hate a nude as much as I hated what I call The Four Horsemen.* I would say that Kennedy is probably the most pink-tinged nude I will let myself wear -- any more pink, and it will (1) look terrible, to the point where (2) I might as well let myself wear pink. But I really, really liked it a lot. Even better, Kennedy (supposedly) is very close to OPI My Very First Knockwurst, a polish I have been coveting for a while.

I had no problems with formula or application. If memory serves correctly, Steff tried it and was not pleased with her bottle's, but I didn't find mine to be bad at all. I did need three coats for everything to even out; dry time was speedy, as always, with Wicked Fast.

Kennedy was part of the Feel collection that was released either in late 2011 or early 2012 (I don't remember seeing it in person until early 2012). In any case, my guess is that the Feel collection was released after the success of Zoya's Touch collection in the early summer of 2011. I've noticed Zoya tends to put out a nude collection between the holiday collection and the official spring collection, and although I don't recall them doing one for 2013, Cho and Farah DID make it into the official spring collection that year.

I digress. But now you know how much attention I pay to Zoya's nude shades! I have Chantal and Taylor from this year's Naturel collection in my Zoya exchange cart ... I'm not sure what I'll actually pull the trigger on when I do it for real on Thursday night, so we'll see. I have a couple things from last year's summer collection in there, and a couple of PixieDusts I missed. Also, you have no idea how happy it makes me that PixieDust shades are included in the exchange this year! A girl can score only so many on clearance at Ulta. ;)

Any thoughts on Kennedy? Do you like pink-tinged nudes? Most importantly, what's going in your Zoya exchange carts? (I've actually had my reject polishes ready to go for a while -- all I have to do is bubble wrap them after I place my order!) If you gave up buying nail polish for Lent (you go, Ali!), then this exchange is one hell of a way to get back into the game. Oh, and stop by Anna's blog to see what nude polish she has in store for today. For the first time in forever,*** neither of us know what the other is blogging!

Thanks for reading! I hope I can get at least two more posts up this week, but don't be surprised if it doesn't happen. I feel like I've been a terrible blogger lately. Here's the thing, though. When I got that stomach bug + cold back in March, I powered through it. When I got food poisoning at the beginning of this month, I powered through it. So I guess it makes sense that when spring and the subsequent allergies from hell came knocking, I had nothing left to give. Can you imagine what I'm going to be like if I ever get knocked up? Hooooooooly shit.** Just know that I am feeling like a functional human being again, and that I will do what I can to make sure May isn't entirely dead space. :)

* The Four Horsemen of the Nude Polish-pocalypse: (1) OPI Barefoot in Barcelona, (2) Sally Hansen CSM Malt, (3) Zoya Cho, and (4) FingerPaints Bare No Secrets.
** I am such a dramatic sick person. Every phone call to my boyfriend starts with "I'm dying," or, if I have a cold, "I'B DYIG."
*** "Frozen" reference, BOOYAH.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Zoya Sarah (a.k.a. your "Orphan Black" season 2 reminder post)

Long time, no post. These allergies have had me feeling like shit, you guys. But consider this (very late) post your reminder that the second season of BBC America's "Orphan Black" airs tonight at 9/8c.

I could write a blog post singing the praises of lead actress Tatiana Maslany, but I wouldn't have anything to say that you would not have already heard, sooooooooo ... here are some sad swatches of Zoya Sarah. Much like Sarah Manning, Zoya Sarah is very tricky to capture.

Three coats with Cult Nails Wicked Fast.

SO HARD to capture. This looks sorta berry, but I swear to you that Sarah actually is a very rich, lush red. It was part of Zoya's 2010 holiday collection (Fire and Ice), so it truly does have a bit of a cool, sorta velvety holiday red feel. It seems a little rich for this time of year, but it's gorgeous. If Sarah had been a shimmer, it wouldn't be all that unique, so I love that it boasts the foil/glass fleck finish that Zoya does so wonderfully. If Sarah looks a little pink in my photos, it's probably because the camera only would pick up the reflective sparkle.

I had no issues with formula or application. You can get it opaque in two coats; I just added a third because of habit. I have to note that Sarah looks different at two coats from the way it looks at three coats ... if anything, it appears to be a slightly warmer red, but I think I'm just splitting hairs at this point. It dried quickly with Cult Nails Wicked Fast, and I had no chipping or tip wear in the three days I wore this polish. It didn't stain my nails, although the sparkles are a little hard to remove (but nowhere near as hard to remove as some glitterbombs).

If you're interested in Sarah, it usually goes for $9 on the Art of Beauty site. However, the annual Zoya exchange promo starts this week, so you can buy it for half the price, and you can wear it while you're trying to decide which "Orphan Black" clone you are. According to this Zimbio quiz, I'm Sarah ... but Sarah would never wear this polish. Zoya Sarah strikes me as more of a Katja Obinger shade, tbh.

Confession: My favorite clone is Alison for so many reasons I cannot even begin to list here, but especially because I love the way she interacts with my favorite non-clone character, Felix.

Any other #cloneclub members in the house? Who's been your favorite guest star? Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Michiel Huisman this season ... I couldn't get into him on "Treme," but on "Nashville"? WHOOBOY. I wanted to climb that like Mount Everest. I'm also looking forward to more Felix, and I hope we can find out more about Mrs. S! Oh, and I wonder if we'll get more of Vic (the dick) and I would realllllllly like it if Art got more screen time. I rewatched Season One recently, and I don't know if it was the cough medicine, but I think Art is an interesting character and he is a good foil for Sarah. Certainly he's a lot more interesting than Paul, even if his character has a completely different function.

Anyway, enjoy tonight's premiere! Oh, and happy Easter, to those of you who celebrate. I hope I can get back on track blogging in the coming weeks -- I wanted to do more, but I simply ran out of steam, as can happen when you're sick. Let's see how it goes.

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. :)