Friday, March 30, 2012

Return of the Stash Swap: Illamasqua Load

Jacqui, the proprietress of The Scholarly Nail, has become one of my dearest MUA nb friends thanks to our 140-character conversations about everything from the worst reality TV shows, law school (she's pretty set on this, I'm not), candy, and popular '90s movies. One night last December, she posed a general question: "What are the crown jewels of your stash?"

I don't remember what else I responded with, only that I started singing my praises about China Glaze Paper Chasing, saying she HAD TO try it ... and then a stash swap was born. We picked three from each other's stashes but between her classes and my general job/life crazy, we didn't have the time to do this properly until recently. (The answer is YOU MAKE THE TIME.)

This was the first one I knew I wanted to borrow! It's actually more flattering on the nail than you'd think. (Edited to say that today = National Cleavage Day. Yeah ... it's a thing. Also, LMAO.)

Note: These photos were taken after two days of wear. My nails looked pretty horrific right after I painted them, so I went to bed and then didn't have the time to do pictures when I woke up.

Four coats with SV. Yes, four.

As we all know by now, Load is an off-white shade (creamy or not creamy? DISCUSS) that carries a bit of yellow in it. I didn't think it was really that white until I put it next to one of the palest yellows I have. It's more like the off-white of, say, a kitchen appliance.

L-R: LeChat Dare to Wear Rue St. Vincent, Illamasqua Load, American Apparel Butter

Normally, Illamasqua's formulas are thin and wonderful and require two coats. Of course, this being a pastel, there were some ... complications. Load was streaky and uncooperative as all hell. Jacqui said I could thin it if I had to, but I get really weird about messing with other people's stuff, you know? I'm not sure if it was my top coat, but I got little fuzzies and stuff on my nail, too. It dries kind of lumpy, but use a self-leveling top coat -- it'll be fine in a few hours. All in all, I liked the final result on me and I would not be surprised if this polish jumped into my next Sephora cart! Thanks, Jacqui!

Load was part of last February's Throb collection from Illamasqua. It's currently available in the U.S. at That link should take you right to Sephora's Illamasqua nail varnish page.

And here's a bonus picture with my favorite soda at the moment. (That's "Psych" Season Four on DVD in the background, whaaaaaaaaat? I'm not sure why I have the sudden need to catch up on this show for serious ...)

So what do you think of Load? Illamasqua names, God love 'em? Stash swaps? Stay tuned next week for my other two picks!

Any exciting plans for this weekend? A local high school is putting on "Little Shop of Horrors" and my parents and I are planning to go tomorrow night. They have never heard of this play or seen the movie before, so I might have more fun watching their reactions to things than watching the play. My parents are too busy to take in a good deal of pop culture, and it's fallen on me to be an ambassador, so to speak.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

OPI Dim Sum Plum

Today I have another swatch from my Purge Pile for you: Dim Sum Plum, the last of my OPI Hong Kong minis! (The other two I've previously posted were Red My Fortune Cookie and Suzi Says Feng Shui.)

I don't have much to say about Dim Sum Plum other than it's lovely, but not exactly unique. The only reason I find it not quite to my liking is because it leans a little warmer than a shade I juuuust picked up! :3

Two coats with SV.

The formula on this one was perfect -- it's hard to top two flawless coats from a mini bottle! I suppose my earlier struggles with adjusting to polishing with an OPI mini had lessened significantly once I got to this polish, and I had no issues this time around.

Dim Sum Plum is part of OPI's core collection, so it's quite ETF from both brick & mortar and online sellers. Dudes, I can't believe it's been two springs since the Hong Kong collection ... I remember stalking Ulta and our now-closed Trade Secret in anticipation!

Any thoughts on this color? Would you be interested in having me swatch my two full-sized Hong Kong picks in the future?

Hell, do you even LIKE dim sum? I'm okay with it. I wouldn't go to a dim sum place on my own, as I usually have a better time if I go with a group of people. My first legit dim sum experience was when I lived in Seattle for a few months, and my family would hit up this one place after church. Well, I don't know if you've noticed, but when you're Asian and you go to an Asian restaurant, the only customers not using chopsticks are generally NOT Asian. After a few Sundays of having to beg my waiter for a fork, I finally taught myself how to use chopsticks ... so it's not really the food that I remember, but the chopsticks! ~MEMORIES.~

Monday, March 26, 2012

Essie Cute as a Button

One color that I was majorly on the hunt for last summer was my perfect pink coral. I went out and added a few to my stash, never wore them, and hereby am not allowing myself to go hunt for a summery gold polish until I give some of these pinky corals a try, damn it.

Here's the first one up to bat, the headliner from Essie's Summer 2009 Cute as a Button collection. (It's NOT the resort collection that gave us the North Fork collection or the neons that came out that year -- based on a few years of observation, I think Essie releases an annual resort collection as well as a regular summer collection.)

Three coats with Essie Good to Go.

I was prepared to hate this, but I fell HARD. This pink coral is lighter and a bit more salmon/peach pink than the deeper, slightly more reddish corals like OPI I Eat Maine-ly Lobster, Rescue Beauty Lounge Coral, and even Essie Peach Daiquiri. I'm really, really digging it! The formula was classic Essie and went on smoothly and evenly. I would just wait a couple of minutes in between coats to avoid any bald spots and cuticle dragging.

I see myself using Cute as a Button more as a mani shade than a pedi shade, but either way, it would be killer on a tanner complexion. I wasn't too wowed by this collection when it first came out, but when you're looking for your perfect shade, you'll try anything!

Cute as a Button is a core polish in the Essie retail collection -- I think my bottle came from Target, but you can score it at any drugstore that carries the core Essie retail polishes as well as at WalMart. I imagine you also can find it at salons and beauty supplies, and it's really ETF online. (As a bonus, here are the blogs that had some of my favorite swatches of this collection -- and others -- back in the day: The Polish Addict and Steph's Closet.)

UGH. I really love this. There's a reason it's a core polish, damn it! Totally a surprise favorite for me.

Any opinions on this Essie? Pink coral polishes? What colors will you be hunting for this summer?