Tuesday, August 30, 2011

butter LONDON Royal Navy: "A hit, a palpable hit!"

The following post is not an official endorsement, just some good old-fashioned enabling!, so do not fret. :)

In case you haven't received the butter LONDON mailing list email or haven't checked out their Facebook page, they're currently running a promo for a free Royal Navy polish with any order placed until tomorrow night! Here are the details, straight from the e-mail I received this past Saturday:
"Receive a complimentary Royal Navy lacquer with absolutely any butterLONDON.com purchase. No restrictions. No minimum. Simply enter ROYALAUTUMN at checkout. NOW through August 31st."
Sounds like a smashing deal, doesn't it? I'd probably spring for this if I hadn't already received Royal Navy in their "The Dark Side" four-polish set that I bought last November. Here it is!

Two coats with Essie Good to Go.

This is a creme finish, not as creme-CREME as MAC Spirit of Truth (my favorite navy), but not jelly-creme, either. It definitely dries darker than it looks in the bottle, which you may or may not like, and on a scale of "I can tell it's blue!" to "vamp," it reminds me of a blue ink ballpoint refill (so ... somewhere in the middle?).

I LOVE how glossy it is, though! So chic! The formula was a dream to work with and I don't have problems with the teeny tiny brush -- I had some trouble, but again, I'm just out of practice with dark shades. Use a good base coat combo, because I predict there will be some staining upon removal.

Edited to add that there was no staining on me with Essie Fill the Gap and Gelous. I used a felt square for removal and made sure to remove polish with unstained areas of the square. Hope this helps someone!

I'm not sure if Royal Navy was a piece in a particular seasonal collection, since it seems to be one of bL's core classics. If you decide to opt out of this deal but want to try this polish, there's a good number of places to get it. There's butterLONDON.com, Nordstrom, Ulta, Zappos.com and beauty.com. Zappos has free shipping, but Nordstrom has testers in the store ... it sounds silly, but testers are awesome!

Now that I've admitted Royal Navy doesn't strike me as the most unique navy creme out there, it still has a place in my heart and my Helmer. Why? The name, of course!

Also, there's this guy:

Oh, it's only Horatio Hornblower, the primary reason behind my obsession with all things nautical (especially British Regency era naval history), the inspiration for Enterprise captains James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard ... and, since 2004, the ACTING COMMANDER OF MY HEART. <3

Six years ago, I could have named you all of C.S. Forester's Hornblower books and movies in the correct order off the top of my head, as well as Hornblower's naval rank in each one. Now, not so much. The movies in the A&E television series were so well-done that I started reading the books, which are wonderful (if somewhat dry); I think the television team did an excellent job of remaining faithful to the source material while going in its own direction. It's a crying shame that more Hornblower movies weren't made after 2003 -- I think production costs were mostly to blame for that. Ioan Gruffudd's new U.S. TV project probably won't be as epic, but it'll be good to see him again in Sarah Michelle Gellar's new show, "Ringer" (premiering on the CW on Sept. 13).

If I haven't moved you to grab Royal Navy, I hope I've at least moved you to check out the Hornblower movies on Netflix or at your local library. I promise you won't regret it, but I can't promise that you won't share my obsession with nautical polishes as a result! :3

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stash Swatch Swap: OPI Russian Navy (and a case of the Mondays)

This is the second polish from my stash swap with Courtney of Polished Casual. We started out by choosing two polishes in finishes out of our polish comfort zones, and OPI Russian Navy was my second pick. I'd always waffled over it at Ulta. I love the OPI Russian collection and I love Ulta's OPI B2G1s and coupons, but in my three years of collecting, I have never yearned for this polish. The stash swap with Courtney gave me a chance to see if my instincts are right, or if I'm missing out. Coming down from my unexpected love for butter LONDON Wallis, I was really pumped up about this one.

Only, Monday caught up with me. Have you ever had one of those days when you cannot do anything right with a polish, from applying it to trying to photograph it? That day = today.

I think the crazy began when I couldn't sleep and decided 3 a.m. would be a great time to polish. With the exception of my Gelous being in its last few manis and my failure to apply a vampy polish properly, I got the job done and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning ... ew. My right hand looked like my friend's three-year-old had painted it and cleaned it up. My left hand was great, except for a finger with a dent and another finger with sheet marks. So I re-did those two fingers and trotted out to take pictures ... only there's no sun in SW VA today. >__< I took some experimental photos in my room and then proceeded to dent my two fingers on the wall when reaching for my charger.

There's no way in Hades that I am painting those two fingers AGAIN, and I'm not going to subject you to a banged-up mani, so you get the experiment photos. They really aren't so bad, except I don't have a lot and I have no outdoor pictures and I really would have liked to get some of those.

On the positive side, I forgot how chic vampy shades are on my shorties. :D

Two coats with SV. This next picture is what it looks like on me most of the time. :/

(click to enlarge)


The formula on this one was pretty good! It leans a little on the thick side, and it pooled a little bit on me. This was kind of annoying, but it could have been because of my pathetic Gelous application or because I am out of practice applying vampy shades! It dried on record time with SV, and the only reason I botched it so quickly was because I went to sleep pretty much immediately. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. :/

I can't decide half the time if "Russian Navy" is a misnomer. The polish looks indigo/purple in the bottle. Only when I applied my first coat did I see the navy base, and after two coats, it just looks like an inky black or indigo in low natural light on me. Low indoor light picks up the lovely pink, purple and blue shimmer rather well, and this shimmer is what sets it apart from your typical navy shimmers. The shimmer is extremely subtle to boot, and doesn't really pop until you get out in the sun. Eh. If I'm gonna wear a shimmer, it better freaking shine like one of Lil Wayne's grills, you know what I'm saying? I don't know what it is, but shimmers like this don't look glossy or metallic, and that kind of bothers me. Hmm.

After its debut in Fall 2007's Russian collection, this polish has become part of OPI's core line. It's ridiculously easy to find, so where you decide to purchase this one simply comes down to whether you'd like to get it NOW NOW NOW, or wait for a coupon or sale. OPI Russia is one of my favorite (OPI) (fall) collections -- I have six of those shades to prove it!

Between my off day and the lack of sun, Russian Navy gets a pass from me, though I certainly can see why it's become a core classic. The thing is, I'm not really into super vampy shimmers because they look almost black on me 90% of the time! I honestly think it's down to skin tone and personal preference, because I can wear vampy cremes like they're my job. The shimmer just gets lost on my coloring.

Colors like Russian Navy look much, much better on my ~alabaster goddess~ friends like Courtney. ;) A HUGE thank you to her for letting me try this one out! I've got the last polish from our stash swap to show you soon, and it is EPIC WIN. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

OPI Houston We Have a Purple, a great gift from a great friend

I think "Apollo 13" was probably responsible for showing me my first Kevin Bacon shower scene and definitely responsible for my short-lived Ed Harris fixation, but this post is not about that.

No, this post is about the ultimate act of enabling. Do you have some friends who are first-rate enablers? It so happens that my friend Krysi is Olympic-grade! I find myself needing her opinion when clothes shopping, although our tastes are on different ends of the spectrum. I think this is pretty significant, because she's like a Disney station on Pandora -- she has never steered me wrong.

One Sunday my boyfriend and I didn't get out of bed until later than humanly acceptable (I'm pretty sure a "Dog Whisperer"/"House Hunters" marathon was involved). When we finally got out of the house, I didn't think I could persuade him to gun it to Ulta before it closed. I missed my chance to see the then-new OPI Texas collection in person, resulting in -- of course -- a bigger lemming. A couple of weeks later, after I told her about a JCPenney BOGO half off deal, Krysi scooped up a few shades ... including Houston We Have a Purple ... for me! I merely mentioned the deal out of my duty as a fellow enabler, my only intention being to share the joy of a good deal on a new collection. I must have squeaked on the phone when she told me about this, because I remember my boyfriend rolled his eyes at me. (OK, I kid. He rolled one eye. The lazy one.)

I'm wearing this one because, weather permitting, I'm planning to hang out with her tomorrow. She's about to get her master's degree in bioinformatics and I'm so proud of her! This polish is just one of my many reminders of our mutual love for our favorite fictional Texan, Tim Riggins, and a reminder that I'm lucky to have her as a friend. Thanks for this one, Krysi! I <3 you, girl. TEXAS FOREVER.

Edited to add: HOLY SHIT SHE GOT ENGAGED. Congratulations, lady!

Three coats with SV.
OMG, this polish is squishy.

You can click on this last photo to make it bigger!

I'm sure every polish enthusiast, blogger and NBer who knows about this polish knows that it doesn't show up as "purple" on the nail. I was pretty impressed by my boyfriend's assessment of HWAP: "It's purple! ... it just has a lot of red." (Believe me, this guy is not good with colors. We have been looking at paint samples for his living room for a year now.) Like the rest of the OPI Texas polishes, it's not the most unique color or the most unique take on it if you have a fairly extensive collection already. That's just my opinion. Still -- it makes a bitchin' gift if you're an OPI purple hoor. *delicate Zoolander cough*

I'm also sure (ah, split verbage -- somewhere, my Intro to Newswriting professor just spit out her coffee ... or wine ...) that nearly every polish enthusiast, blogger and NBer who knows about the Texas "sorbets" knows that they are really jellies. Oh, Suzi. Nice try. I mentioned this in my Orly Green with Envy post, but I like my polishes very opaque and I generally do not go gaga over jellies. I get the appeal, and the squishiness is kind of nice for a change. However, as with all polishes that are not two- or three-coater cremes, I have to be in the mood to deal with them first. HWAP had one of the best jelly formulas I've ever used in terms of consistency, ease of application and opacity. I wasn't expecting that!

So what are your feelings about this or any of the other Texas sorbets? I've got two more waiting to be worn, and for now, let's just say I ended up with those two purely for their names.

For the record, I don't think this iconic phrase ever would have been uttered if Kevin Bacon hadn't messed with the service module -- think about it. You *know* Gary Sinise would
never fuck with that shit!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My "Hurriquake" Haul

Greetings, friends and new readers! In case this is TL;DR ... there was an earthquake, therefore I bought a lot of polish. I apologize for the odd picture quality -- I'm still on a ridiculous learning curve with this thing! I debated sacrificing pictures and not posting, but what is a haul post without pictures, even if they are not good?

I'm sure you might have experienced or heard about the East Coast earthquake yesterday afternoon. Incredibly enough, it turns out that the 5.8 magnitude quake's epicenter was in Mineral, VA (Louisa County), about half an hour away from Richmond, where I'm visiting for the week.

I was actually dustying -- of all things -- with T, a local NB friend, when everything started shaking. We thought it was an eighteen-wheeler, but the force of the quake was much stronger than that! It was kind of hilarious that T's immediate reaction was to put down OPI Glacier Bay Blues and grab me. Isn't she sweet? LOL. (I have no idea if my own stash suffered any casualties at home ... it can't be too bad, but we'll see in a few days.)

The dusty owners ushered us outside to wait it out. The next two minutes were a little scary and exciting, but after checking in with people to see that they were OK, we decided
TO HECK WITH IT, WE ARE BUYING SOME POLISH, NATCH. Not our exact words, but my friend walked out with Glacier Bay Blues and I with this little beauty:

OPI At Your Quebec & Call, Zoya Kotori (this one was an early birthday "stash donation" from T)

This polish has never really appealed to me before, but after wearing butter LONDON Wallis and loving that olive-gold foil, I decided I needed AYQ&C in my life. Also ... um, earthquake.

I didn't have cash on me, but luckily T did -- the phone lines were down, which subsequently meant that registers were down and weren't taking our cards! I bought her Zoya Neeka later that afternoon to make up for it. :) But, lesson learned =

In addition to what local Tweeps are dubbing as the "hurriquake" (Hurricane Irene threats + the surprise quake), I've been Cranky Crankerson McCrankyPants for the past two and a half weeks. When I am in a bad mood, I either hunker down in bed with junk food and DVDs ... or if I'm feeling like getting out of the house, I buy things. Lots of things. Like polish. Plus, T and I are each other's "lucky charms" when shopping for polish -- we score more than we don't together. So yeah ... I bought some stuff.

For the record, I didn't buy any polish this month. And unless something crazy unique or LE comes out, I won't be buying any next month, either!

Ulta Trip #1 (solo excursion Mon. afternoon):

OPI Uh-Oh Roll Down the Window, Zoya Cynthia, Essence Choose Me!, CHI Sultry Nights (on clearance for $3.99)

Ulta Trip #2 (Tues. afternoon, post-earthquake with T):

Orly Lucky Duck, Orly Sea Gurl (no Fowl Play or Sweet Peacock, but I can wait.)

Forever21's Love & Beauty polishes (names in parentheses are what I could get from the F21 site):

Hot Pink (Hot Pink), Purple/Gold (Violet Shimmer), Purple (Royal Purple), Blue, Sage, Dusty Blue


Claire's Mood polish in Hyper/Relaxed (a.k.a, the Story. Of. My. Life.)

Then T and I parted ways and I sped off to happy hour with a college friend ... with a little Target detour:

Nicole by OPI Green Up Your Act!, I Love You Cherry Much

And then as if that hadn't been enough, I went back to my BF's house (no quake damage, whew) and spent every penny of my AveYou Groupon that I'd bought in July. I'm not going to bother posting that list right now, but I will say that many SpaRituals and OPIs were involved for a wonderful price. :) I also caved this morning to a terrific Amazon Gold Box deal -- the complete DVD set of HBO's "The Wire" for ~$72.

I enjoy haul posts as much as the next person on the NB. I used to share mine more often, but have fallen out of the habit and only have been posting my purchases from sales from brands that are fairly new to me or hard to get a hold of (Cult Nails, BB Couture and Illamasqua). I don't think they make for the most substantial blog posts, at least not for me, though I'm thinking it's all right if I don't do it every time I buy something. Do you have any opinions on haul posts? Honestly, I'd never considered them until now.

Thank you for reading! But more importantly, I hope you, your loved ones, and your polishes fared well in the quake, and that you stay safe if you're in Irene's path this weekend! <3

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stash Swatch Swap: A fall fling with butter LONDON Wallis

It's slowly beginning to feel a little bit like autumn in Virginia, but I'm not completely ready to relinquish my brights! However, I received this shade on loan from my friend Courtney at Polished Casual in our stash swap, and instead of holding on to it for another couple of weeks, I thought I'd wear this while visiting some friends this week. If any polish is going to turn any heads, it'd have to be Wallis, right?

These are the first pictures from my new phone, by the way! What do you think? Sorry about the cuticle oil ... I was trying to get it in as many lights as possible because Wallis changes with the light.

Two coats with Essie Good to Go.

The bL site describes Wallis as "tarnished, metallic olive gold." Well, that's pretty on point. The finish is unique to me -- it's a sort of foily in texture, with the metallic olive shimmer particles suspended in a smoky black base. I needed two coats for full coverage. I put it on on Saturday night, and am just now getting a little bit of tip wear. Whoohoo!

This polish photographed a bit more olive green in many official press releases and some bloggers' photos, but it really is more of a tarnished yellow gold in person. I actually saw this for the first time at Nordstrom during their July anniversary sale and passed. Admittedly, department store lighting is not the best for polish or make-up in general -- what's up with that? :/

Wallis was custom created for Betsey Johnson's show at New York Fashion Week, which is coming up soon! I think it matches Betsey Johnson's design aesthetic, just as butter LONDON Marrow was perfect for Vena Cava last year. I feel obliged to say that I think bL's fall collection this year is a little weak, with only three original shades. No More Waity, Katie was supposedly limited edition this spring, and Knees Up was from a previous holiday collection, from two years ago I believe. It's great that you can get these colors if you missed them the first go-round, but I would have liked to see something new.

You can buy Wallis from butterlondon.com, Nordstrom, Ulta and Zappos.com. It sells for $14. Some say that's a bit pricey for a Seattle-based polish company and I know some people hate the brush. I love Seattleites, I love most things U.K., and I have no problems with the brush, so it's worth the $14 to me.

Just as bL creator Nonie Creme has a penchant for naming her polishes after very British Britishisms and cultural icons, my inner Anglophile has a penchant for providing a little bit of commentary about each one --

The first time I had ever heard of Wallis Simpson, I was in grade school and I was reading
this magazine. I don't know if the copy has changed since then, but I always remembered the very tiny blurb about Edward VIII of England abdicating the throne to marry this American socialite. I didn't think much of it until a few years ago when I briefly thought of renting the Acorn Media movie "Wallis & Edward" and even more recently when I saw "The King's Speech" this February, where this relationship was flat-out ballyhooed throughout the entire film. I had never seen quite a reaction like that before, probably because I had never sought out more of the history, and mostly because I would rather romanticize the idea of Stephen Campbell-Moore or Guy Pearce giving up the throne and -- ahem -- royal corgis for me.

But yes. You can see how this unusually captivating polish (to me, at least) was appropriately named after an unusually captivating woman who led a very colorful life. You either hate it, or you love it. I happen to plead guilty to loving it, even though I can't decide if it looks good on me. Thank you, Courtney, for giving me the chance to try it!
(This is how great Wallis looks on her. I'm jealous.)

A little bit more now about the stash swap, if you haven't read about it already on Polished Casual:

As a girl who enjoys enabling, I HAD to let Courtney try OPI Conquistadorable Color after she commented on it in my post a couple of weeks ago. How could I not, right? I LOVE enabling, I love Conquistadorable Color and I suuuuper love Courtney. I've gotten to know her through MUA over the past year ... she's funny, also loves "Jersey Shore" and "BSG" and (OMG) she's semi-local -- I hope to meet her IRL one of these days! :)

So I sent her this and two other colors, and she kindly offered to send me three of hers as well. The idea became to send each other colors out of our comfort zones, and we both wound up sending each other two polishes we usually wouldn't pick for ourselves, and one polish in our favorite finish. In her case, I sent her two cremes and a shimmer, while she sent me two shimmers and a creme. The ones she sent me are all so gorgeous and fall-ready that I feel like I'd be jumping the gun to put them on!

This "stash swap" miniseries was not one of the features I'd alluded to in my one-month blogaversary (ugh) post, but I'm very excited to be bringing it to you all the same! I'll be wearing the other two polishes next week, so please check back for those posts.

In the meantime, you can see Courtney rocking the hell out of Conquistadorable Color here -- I told you it would look stunning on an alabaster goddess! ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stalling all summer with OPI Stranger Tides

Thor's balls. Work has been crazycakes for the past few days because of the back-to-school rush -- you would never believe how many people have ALL FREAKING SUMMER to do something really, REALLY important, yet wait until school practically starts to do it.

Wearing OPI Stranger Tides was a lot like that (minus the urgency, depending on how you are about polish). I took off AA L'Esprit and wearily slapped this on late Tuesday night before bed. I bought this in MAY. What the fack was I thinking by not wearing it?! This is perfect creamy pistachio goodness on me ... and reminds me of this awesome pistachio cake my aunt in Montreal brought last September ... oh no. I would really like some pistachio cake now. *stomach rumbles*

I don't know what that white stuff is on my pinky. Weird. And I apologize if my cuticles look a little bit jankity. I have no idea why -- I put on some Mango Mend before snapping these pics starring the return of my dominant hand:

Three coats with SV.

Ah, another satisfactorily slain lemming from kittytokaren on Polish or Perish! Seriously, so many of my lemmings come from that blog and from her, it's ridiculous. But they cannot be (and usually are not) denied.
Anyway, it's a great polish! No complaints. Formula was good for an OPI pastel, not that that says a whole lot. Maybe it was my jankity "I AM LE TIRED" application, but I needed my usual three coats to smooth it out. I think SV makes it dry a hair darker than it is, though that actually works to my advantage on my skin. :)
Stranger Tides is from the "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" tie-in with OPI's summer brights collection this year. I think it's still very ETF at places like Trade Secret, Ulta, local beauty supplies and e-tailers. If your skin tone favors yellow and you do not have it (or a similar color like Essie Da Bush and Sinful Colors Seaweed), it is worth trying! I love, love, LOVE Stranger Tides and I am ecstatic that it wasn't fail whale on me, like Planks a Lot. That always helps.
In other news, I have a new phone and we're going to activate it tonight. It's a used Droid Incredible, the same phone my boyfriend has. While I'm excited to have a fully functioning phone again, I only hope the photo quality is as good if not better than my Eris, otherwise I'm gonna be saving up my birthday dollars for a new camera! >__<

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekend Nail Fail Tale starring American Apparel L'Esprit

Yeah, no catchy title today. I'm all out.

Polish-wise, not a whole lot has gone right for me and lot of other folks this weekend -- the phrase I keep seeing on Twitter is "Mercury in retrograde," whatever that means in astrology-speak. To me, this roughly translates to
"Y U NO WORK, NAIL POLISH?!?!" Pretty much right after posting about SH Model Behavior and Spectrum yesterday, I removed it. Later that night, I was so crampy and lazy I didn't bother eating dinner. I had, like, a banana and crawled into bed ... and decided to do my nails. It took me more time to crawl in and out of bed than it took to choose a polish for once, which was kind of nice. I wanted to use FingerPaints Aren't You Gladiolus? but that was too far in the back of my Helmer drawer, so I grabbed American Apparel L'Esprit instead. I told you. Lazy Rach is lazy.

But not too lazy to thin it, apparently. Believe me when I say YOU NEED THINNER for this one ... but the color payoff is beyond worth it. --Not that you can tell here, because it looks way too blue! It's more lilac/lavender on my wackadoo skin tone. And absolutely gorgeous.

Two coats with SV. It's an overcast day in Southwest VA, y'all. Boo on that, too.

And now for something SHOCKINGLY a touch more color-accurate:

I took a shower this morning, and noticed two tiny chips. FAIL.
This didn't surprise me, since AAs tend to chip very quickly on me. I don't think I should have used SV as a top coat, but because SV is self-leveling, it really smooths out difficult polishes. This goes doubly for L'Esprit because it's a pastel.

I have such mixed feelings about American Apparel. Yeah, their CEO is sketchtacular and their ads are like softcore porn. Yeah, hipsters (but I used to live in Hipster Central, VA, so nbd). Yeah, the polish wear time on me isn't so good. But I love the color range, I love the creme finishes (no glitter or shimmer, MWAHAHA) and I love the formulas, when they get it right. I remember Poppy being rather perfect. I'll have to wear it again and see. Darn. ;)

L'Esprit was released last summer with four other American Apparel colors, but all are now part of their permanent collection. You can get it for $6 online and in-store -- I don't think they do this online, but in-store you can buy three AA polishes for $15. If you can brave the hipsters, it's worth it. I am too chubs for and too allergic to AA clothes, but this I can do! (It also helps that my closest store is located next to a chocolate shop that sells my favorite Dolfin masala-flavored bars, but ... hey.)

Also, I think this might be dupey to Essie Lilacism as well as my FP Aren't You Gladiolus?, but I don't have the Essie and ... yes ... my FP is way too far back in my drawer. Let's add this one to my future comparisons list. Not sure how the formulas on those two are, either, though I'm willing to bet the Essie is streaky and thin, and the FP might need more thinner than this did.

On an unrelated note, thanks to Madeline over at
Girl Germs, I have had Britney Spears' "Lucky" stuck in my head since yesterday afternoon. 0__0 OMG. I hated that song when it came out. HATED it. That song was a cry for help, yo. And "Lucky" is a dog's name, not a girl's! Let's be honest. But now, it is catchy as hell. Someone please stop me from myself before I start listening to "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know." PLEASE.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Layering with Sally Hansen CSM Model Behavior + Sally Hansen HD Spectrum

The more I thought about My Birthday of Impending Doom (I think about things too much), the less I was really feeling Conquistadorable Color. In the interest of wearing blue and de-duping my collection, I thought I'd take Sally Hansen Model Behavior for a little turn on the catwalk. *snort*

PLEASE tell me I am not the only one who IMMEDIATELY thought of the Disney TV movie classic "Model Behavior." You know what I'm talking about -- Justin Timblerlake's ~acting debut~. I actually don't remember too much about that because I was more horrified/transfixed by Kathie Lee Gifford and her son. (That kid ... eughhhh. Apart from being portrayed in a Zac Efron "SNL" skit, I guess they were never able to make him happen! How awful. NOT.)

I must've been really tired, because I went to bed wearing Model Behavior without top coat and woke up with sheet marks and a little bit of bubbling. I wasn't going to take pictures of it, let alone take it off, and it really needed fixing, but what to do? My newly-clearanced bottle of Sally Hansen HD Spectrum came to the rescue, and like any good NBer, I thought I'd give layering a try.

My right hand is going to make an appearance for a change! Lefty got messed up when I accidentally smudged Poshe on a couple of fingers.

Two coats of Model Behavior and one coat of Spectrum with Poshe. I think two coats of Spectrum might have been better for full coverage.

This is just a fraction of how VIVID this is for reals. Holy cats.

I really liked the effect of Spectrum as a layering polish. It's a bit sheer and takes something like four coats for opacity on its own, but when layered, you can totally see the depth a base color brings to the turquoise glass fleck. It's got a little bit of duochrome in it, but not so much that it would make creme hoors like myself antsy. I'm stoked to layer it over other polishes. Definitely, DEFINITELY the best Target clearance purchase I've made in a while! I picked it up as a possible swap extra, but it never made it to the swap box. :)

Model Behavior was from this summer's limited edition Complete Salon Manicure collaboration with Tracy Reese and Prabal Gurung. I really want to say Model Behavior is a Prabal Gurung shade, but I don't have any proof to back this up. :/ I liked the color a lot, but I thought it was too dupey to Sephora by OPI Slushied to keep. That, and more practically, I really can't hang on to a dupey shade with a wide-ass brush -- a skinnier brush that can double for easier pedis will almost always be guaranteed a spot in my collection, "Glee" hatred notwithstanding. (Don't even get me started on this. Just ... don't.)

Just so's you understand how big of a deal this layering experiment was for me -- I'm a creme hoor, and I'm not too big into layering. I also really don't like the idea of owning polishes that aren't opaque and awesome on their own. I got lucky this time on almost every level -- I found an epic color combination, killed two untrieds with one mani, and most importantly, stopped thinking about Birthday of Doom for a little while! Not bad for a Friday. :)

And if you want to relive the magic that was "Model Behavior" or want to experience the crazy for the first time, I believe someone has uploaded it in segments on YouTube. I'd say there goes my afternoon, but I have to catch last night's "Jersey Shore"!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A touch of Spain: OPI Conquistadorable Color

My mother is the lone Gemini in our family. My younger sister, my father and I are all Virgos whose birthdays fall with five days of each other's. (Fun fact: I was originally due on Sept. 11, which I guess is pretty freaky now when I think about it.) Mom wants to do a huge birthday blowout -- but not the DJ Pauly D kind of blowout -- for Dad's 60th next month. Since partying is not his preferred type of fanfare, she's decided that while we can afford it and while we can still stand to be together, our family needs to jet off to Spain for a few days. Where exactly, I don't know, but that's her pet cause right now.

I wasn't totally in love with the idea, mostly because living at home and working for my parents makes me spend more time with them than I like sometimes, but I'm slowly warming up to it.

One, I'm not paying for this trip. Two, Spanish shoes. Three, polish. Who needs Spanish polish when you can have SPANISH SHOES!?!?!?!? Clearly, I have priorities. But I also have a pair of Gaimo espadrilles I bought at Marshall's, of all places, that make me feel like I can walk all over D.C. and it wouldn't be a problem. (For the record, I have done this. That's how good those shoes are. Those Spaniards know what they're doing, I tell you.)

I thought this would be the perfect excuse to bring out one of my OPIs from the Espa
ña collection, Conquistadorable Color.

Two luscious coats with SV. Conquistadorable Color is deeper in tone than it looks here.

Ah, what lovely creamy OPI goodness! This polish practically applied itself and I hardly needed any clean-up, which is amazeballs for a red creme -- they tend to be messy. Also, I think the color is deep enough to be part of a fall collection, not spring or summer!

Oh man. Sometimes I'm convinced I'm too vanilla for the nail board, but this polish is so fan-fuckin'-tástico. I wasn't wearing this color family back when this collection debuted, so I
didn't get Conquistadorable Color until this spring when I was placing a humongous order from that-which-was-formerly-TD. I'm glad I have it now. It's quite delicious, and the perfect raspberry creme on me. It'd be stunning on my alabaster goddess friends!

I know sometimes OPI goes overboard with naming its polish, but "Conquistadorable Color" is ... well ... conquistadorable. And it's kind of funny to me on a personal note, because we also have Spanish ancestors on my mother's side of the family. Very cool, right? I'll probably want to investigate this later, but honestly I'm at the point in my life where I kind of just want to stay up late, watch TV and eat cheetos. I know. I've sunk so low, you guys. But there's a new "Jersey Shore" tonight, soooooo ...

Poor España collection. Sure, it's not as epic as OPI Russia, and I remember it getting a lot of flak for being "boring" when it came out, but I thought the rich, sultry shades were very fitting and cohesive. I only wish there'd been a couple more shades referencing sunflowers (my favorite flowers) and Valencia oranges. Two years later, though, it's nice to see shades like Ate Berries in the Canaries and Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees getting a bit more love.

Confession: I've never been to Spain, let alone Europe (Busch Gardens DOES NOT COUNT). After all this time, I'm sort of scared to go for a number of reasons, including my vexing transformation into a reluctant traveler and a picky eater. This is sad, considering my sister studied abroad in Granada for a semester, majored in Spanish and is fluent in it. I haven't used my Spanish in quite some time, but we'll save that story for another Espa
ña polish.

Maybe it's time to brush up. ¿Qué piensan, amigas? What's your favorite color from OPI Espa
ña? Also, if this trip actually materializes, how many pairs of shoes do you think I can bring back without getting badgered by customs? I mean, damn. I just really love shoes, you know?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tuesday on a Monday: Funky Fingers Mint Montauk

I've been pretty bad about wearing neons this summer and after loving Punchy Pink, I wanted to wear another one. As I was about to keel over when I made this decision, I didn't want something that would take four (or more) coats -- I'm looking at you, China Glaze neons! I hadn't worn green in a while, so I giggled at Funky Fingers Mint Montauk and called it a night.

Why the giggling?

The summer before I began junior-level coursework in my undergraduate program, I got a summer job working for my university as an orientation assistant. Apart from my ability to talk while walking backwards, I couldn't tell you now if I was any good at it, but I remember that was an exceptionally fun summer. To this day, some of my fellow OAs (and one of my freshmen) are among my closest friends, and even though I haven't talked to our boss lady in forever, I know she's there if I need her.
We wore five different colored shirts each week, depending on the day. I think Monday was light cornflower blue, Tuesday was lime green, Wednesday was royal blue, Thursday was a burnt orange, and Friday was yellow. I wasn't into polish then, but I used to coordinate my fishnets and sneakers to every shirt. I used to tell my kids that if they ever lost me, they could find me easily because quite simply, NONE of the other OAs were dressed this ridiculously.

When I saw Mint Montauk last summer at Five Below, it immediately reminded me of our t-shirts, and I pretty much had to have it!

What you're about to see is what happens when, in my opinion, neons decide to be like petulant pets or children who don't want to be photographed properly. Here the neon doesn't show up, and this looks more like a mint than a neon. POOP. :(

Three coats with (top-bottom) Poshe, Essie Good to Go, and SV. I'm testing to see which top coat lasts the longest.

My super apologies for these pictures, y'all! This is by far the worst neon I've tried to photograph, and of course the one I'm posting about. BLEH. I've got to go back and try these again when I can. :(

I actually like the Funky Fingers brushes, though because of the way the bottles are shaped, how I'm going to get to the polish when I make serious dents in my bottles is going to be a doozy! The polish applied well with the three coats I did on my left hand, which is about when it started to streak and lump a little. Before I started on my right hand, I grabbed my thinner (Beauty Secrets thinner, B3F, available at Sally's) and added approximately ten to eleven drops until Mint Montauk reached a nice, creamy consistency. I polished with a medium touch and made sure to wait to do my next coat to cut down on mega bald spots and bubbling. This unsurprisingly dried matte, but that's par for the course with neons.
I bought Mint Montauk last summer at Five Below, where they sell Funky Fingers polishes with a 3 for $5 deal. (I have no idea what they cost individually, $2? I always buy three at time.) As far as I know, there wasn't a name for this particular collection, but the other colors available at the time all tied in to a "Hamptons" theme. I also have Cottage Stripes and Southampton Seafoam.
Most, if not all, Funky Fingers polishes are repackaged Color Clubs, and if you are closer to Five Below than TJ Maxx or Ross, you might be able to score certain colors from recent Color Club collections there. I'm not sure which Color Club is the dupe for Mint Montauk, but it's either Twiggy or Rebel Debutante. I don't own those, so I can't tell you. Also, I think Five Below rotates their Funky Fingers stock, because it changes every season. The last time I went (this June), they had scented neons. If you see something you want, you'd better grab it while you can!
I love this color! It reminds me of slightly more carefree summers (man, you know when getting up at six was your worst problem, you had it good) and I think it looks smashing on me, though these photos aren't the best indicators. Not too much yellow. Awesome! Not-so-funny story: for the longest time, I kept calling this "Mint Me in Montauk" in my head ... but I think that was all "Eternal Sunshine." IDK. Montauk in general always makes me think of The Long Secret, the sequel to Harriet the Spy. (The book is more about her mousy rich friend Beth Ellen than it is about Harriet, but she and her family definitely have a presence.)
The thought didn't occur to me until this morning, but this little blog has been up and running for a month! I still don't think of myself as a blogger -- and I'm probably not -- but I'm getting used to the process and aside from obvious camera issues, I'm ironing out kinks as I go. I've got a lot to learn yet! Thank you to each and every one of my followers for indulging me and making me feel like I have something worth sharing. I don't get that feeling much, and it means a lot! :)

Sorry about that super awkward hug! ;) But I do have a couple of new features in mind that may start in the next couple of weeks, so please check back in for that.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Essie Punchy Pink: It's Jersday (bitch)!

First order of business: My sweet friend Noelie just broke 100 followers and is having a giveaway with some pretty rad gifts. If you aren't already following her, go do so, and enter the giveaway here. You still have four days to enter! (LOL this is in no way my entry -- I'm just really excited for her!)

This is less of a confession, more of a proclamation, and certainly nothing to be proud of, but I love, love, LOVE "Jersey Shore." IT MAKES NO SENSE. All I have to say to that is, hey ... sometimes love doesn't make sense, especially at the Jersey Shore. Ronnie knows what I'm talking about. (Also, because we can't have nice things in American television and primetime's comedies are painfully unfunny, "Jersey Shore" fills that slot for me.)

Tonight marks the show's fourth season premiere, with the kids heading off to wreak havoc in Italy. (I'm sorry, Italy.) Since I wasn't about to get duck nails for the occasion, I thought a neon pink would be quite apropos, as the girls usually sport neon pink acrylic horrors. First I pulled out China Glaze Shocking Pink, but oh no.

No, no -- the color for me was definitely going to be Essie Punchy Pink.

Punchy. Literally. Like something J-Woww and Sammi would wear to a girlfight. This was too good NOT to happen.

Four coats with SV.

Heyyyy. The neon freaked out my phone, but not as badly as I thought it would! I'm kinda impressed.

Formula wasn't too bad. It wasn't typical neon (thin and watery), a little more pigmented but still streaky, and you can see my bald spots in my photos. I think the ultimate neon formula belongs to Orly Va Va Voom -- well, it was amazing, for the two minutes I owned it! But Punchy Pink wasn't exceedingly difficult. The only thing that made me go for SV this time instead of Essie Good to Go (I usually use this with my Essies) was SV's self-leveling quality. Like neons, it dries matte, but your top coat will fix that in a jiffy.

I'm not completely sure what compelled me to get this one, since I normally like my neon pinks a little deeper than this, color-wise. The only other Essie neon I've worn before is Bright Tights, which I loved! Punchy Pink is from Essie's Neon 2009 summer collection, and I bought this one on AveYou a couple of months ago when I was buying an f-ton of Essies.

Also, I'm wearing dark clothes today, so this is a quite nice contrast and change for me. :) I need more pinks in my life. I wasn't crazy about pink, and I'm still not, but I think I manage to pull it off pretty well. And can we talk about the insta-tan I get with this polish? I know it's not bronzer and a tanning bed, but I think J-Woww and Snooki would approve. Maybe.

Tell me about your favorite neon pinks! Have I forever tainted Essie Punchy Pink for you? (I'm sorry. Kind of.) If you watch, what's been your favorite season of the "Shore" so far? Who's your favorite cast member, and are you as excited to see MVPD do their thing in the motherland as I am? Will we see the return of Single Ronnie? Will Vinny ever find a nice Italian girl to wife up? Oh my TV gods, I hope so. I HOPE SO.

Couldn't think of my favorite moment precisely, but this video very craftily combines elements of what make this Must-See TV at Casa de Rach.

And because I love it when people combine things I already love: The other night, my friend Matt started comparing the "Jersey Shore" cast members to "A Song of Ice and Fire" characters. The Situation = Littlefinger, Sammi = Catelyn, Vinny and Pauly = Sirs Renly and Loras, J-Woww = Khal Drogo (... I am dying right now. You don't even know), Angelina = Joffrey, Ronnie = Hodor. Not sure about Deena yet, and I don't even know who Snooki would be. Tyrion would be the obvious answer, but ... there are others.

Wow. This post is a little sad, actually. I need my life back! Oh well. *fistpumps*