Monday, April 30, 2012

GUEST POST: Essie She's Picture Perfect + a tasty treat from my friend Anna

My friend Anna isn't an official nail blogger (YET *cough cough*), but I always enjoyed seeing her NOTD photos on MUA and hey, if guest posting will inspire her to take the plunge, I'm all for it! She's been a great friend to me and to Stuff, so it means a lot that she agreed to do a guest post here now, especially since she's so busy with school.

I also don't know if Anna and I were drawn to each other on the board because we like a lot of the same nail blogs, polish brands and finishes (Essie being one of our mutual favorite brands). Her short nails are adorable, and besides, we habitual three-coaters need to stick together! We also discovered we have similar tastes in fashion & style (that is, when I'm not in my t-shirt/jeans/sneakers default) and I always appreciate getting a second opinion from her when I need one. I've mentioned her before on Stuff, but usually with the word "enabler" placed closely by her name.

Anna is a talented baker -- obviously I've never sampled her desserts in person, but everything she posts on the board or on Twitter looks delicious! -- and I wish she lived near me. For now, though, I'll settle for some pictures of one of her favorite cookie recipes, which she'll share with you ... after the polish, of course! :)

* * * * * * *

Hello all!

I am so honored to have been asked by Rach to be a guest poster here on Stuff! I’m super excited to show you my polish choice today. =)

I do suppose an introduction is in order, hmm? My name is Anna. I’m a 21-year-old Michigander, attending Central Michigan University and studying Entrepreneurship. I’m just about to finish my junior year and spend my summer working at my new job!

I’m an avid baker, thrift shopper, coffee consumer, organizer and polish addict (just like everyone else here). My closet is very quickly approaching the capacity to allow me to wear a vintage dress or skirt every day of the week and it’s a GLORIOUS thing.

Anyway, enough about me.

Polish and Cookie time.

Let’s do this!




Just the other day I picked up Essie’s She’s Picture Perfect, from the Resort 2012 collection.  It’s a really pretty greyed lilac purple with pink and purple shimmer.






This is 3 coats (I’m a habitual 3 coater) but had I been more careful, I probably could have gotten away with 2. And as always, my topcoat is Seche Vite.

It photographed a bit more blue than it is IRL but to me, it falls somewhere between lilac and blue to purple hydrangeas. Absolutely gorgeous and totally springy! I’d consider it RBL Insouciant’s sister from another mister, actually.

And now, for cookies.

I have more favorite food blogs than I know what to do with, but when it comes to sweets, I usually turn to Jessica at How Sweet Eats. And these are her Brown Sugar Blueberry cookies.





They're super versatile! Sometimes I add a few cups of oatmeal to the batter or in this case, about a ½ teaspoon of freshly-grated nutmeg. Get into it!

Thank you so much for having me! And I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my life.

P.S. If you’d like to follow me on tumblr, please head over to http://aedvk.tumblr.com/. Just a heads up, I blog a lot of Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Christina Hendricks (woooooo, redheads!), Audrey Hepburn, Julie Andrews, vintage and cottage style, along with loads of other things.

P.P.S. If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, check out @aeDvk =)

* * * * * * * 

Thank you, Anna! Those cookies sure look picture perfect to me. :) I hope this guest post experience was a positive one for you!

Also, it's probably a good thing Anna decided to feature this particular Essie, because I only bought one of the Essie Resort 2012 polishes so far, and She's Picture Perfect wasn't it. I'm sure lemming it now!


For a more substantial scoop on Anna's style, recipes and other inspirations, visit her Tumblr and Twitter at the links below.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Stuff's 1st GUEST POST: NerdLacquer Masonic from L. @ Adventures of a Mad Scientist

Today's the day, chickens!

I didn't even have to think about whose post I wanted to share with you first -- the first guest post featured on Stuff just so happens to be the first guest post ever written by my friend L., the proprietress of Adventures of a Mad Scientist. L. and I have been online friends for eight years now (OMGWUT), united on a certain popular personal blogging website through our shared love for British period film, British actors, television shows, a few bands (she makes awesome mixed CDs, btw), 100x100 pixel-sized boxes of PhotoShop art, and Homestar Runner. Among L.'s other hobbies are adventurous eating, avid concert-going, video gaming and hockey watching -- I find all this kind of badass because I fail at 75% of them. I've enjoyed keeping up with her over the years, and I was delighted when she joined the online nail community first on MUA and eventually as a blogger!

Another area in which L.'s badassery far surpasses my own is her tremendous pride for our shared ethnic and cultural heritage. I'm so grateful to have this connection with L. because I don't have too many IRL friends among ~our people~. I think I would enjoy the Motherland much, much more if we went together!

Till that happens, feast your eyes on this polish from one of our new favorite indie brands!

* * * * * * *

Hi everyone! I am L. from Adventures of a Mad Scientist. Rach asked me to write a guest post while she is in the Motherland (which I am kind of jealous about because I haven't been back to the Philippines in almost seven years!), and I am more than honored to be able to entertain you tonight.




Tonight, I have a special Nerd Lacquer for you called Masonic. From Amanda's description:

"MASONIC rounds out the first NerdLacquer Special Edition line. Is it a delicious true brick red? Yes it is. Is it a suspiciously accurate shade of brick red? Why yes! That's because it's MADE OF BRICKS. Brick dust, lacquer base, crap ton of complementary glitters in burnt orange, espresso brown, coppers, and reds. Is it gritty? Kinda! I do double-filter the brick dust before mixing, to remove any offensively large masonic nuggets, but there's still definitely texture there. Personally, I think it adds to the verisimilitude, you know? Yes, it's a novelty polish, but it's also pretty rad lookin'! No, you can't build stuff with it. :("




I used three coats in these photos. It's definitely gritty, but with my one-two punch of Gelous under Seche Vite, it barely fazes me. I love how she used real brick dust. Brick. Dust.

(What, you didn't think I wouldn't use that YouTube video again? Come on! I'm 110 hours into Skyrim and I'll be damned if I don't sprinkle that in every conversation I have!)




Why did I pick this polish to show all you wonderful readers? Well, if you haven't been following me on Facebook or don't know much about me, I am a season ticket holder for the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. The 2011-2012 season is my second year as a STH, and I just renewed for next year. Our hockey team just won their first Pacific Division title, and I as well as many others are So Flippin Excited! WE ALSO JUST ADVANCED TO THE SECOND ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS!!

(I didn't want Rach to kill me dead because I sent this to her almost late, but I just absolutely had to wait until we won the series. Note that I didn't say or had to go to Game 7. This is A Damn Good Team, after all. :D)




Goalies, if they're good, are sometimes called a "brick wall," since they stop the other teams from scoring. This is, of course, A Very Good Thing. Our goalie, Mike Smith, is just that: a brick wall! Masonic may very well be the nail polish equivalent of Mike Smith. (Also see: Rinne, Quick, Elliott/Halak, Lundqvist.)

I can't not talk about the rest of the Coyotes ... Smith can't take all of the accolades. Our captain, Shane Doan, is not only the classiest players in the league, but also a fantastic leader on and off the ice. Our defense is pretty incredible, sacrificing their own bodies to block shots and using amazing stickwork to shut down scoring chances. We win games despite the fact that we don't have an owner, under the pressure of uncertainty that the team may or may not be in Phoenix next year (and this has been going on for almost three years!).




Masonic is also red, just like our jerseys. Ha ha! We call this color "Sedona red." (I like to call it OPI Got The Blues For Red ... but I'm not showing that polish right now!) But isn't it fitting for the playoffs? I've been wearing red and white polish since the playoffs started; I'm not a very superstitious person, but I like to think it's working. :D

By the way, Sedona is totally awesome and if you haven't been, you should totally go and be amazed at its beauty.

I don't want to go on too long about hockey, but I hope you enjoyed this post (and maybe a bit of Hockey 101)! Thanks for reading, everyone! <3

* * * * * * *

Well, DAMN. I don't think brick red is the red for me, but I REALLY like this polish! And HOW GORGEOUS are L.'s nails and pictures?!?! Thank you for the kickass guest post, lady! I hope this is the beginning of many more for you. (Obvs, I would never kill you ded, except for maybe in competitive chili cheese fry consumption.) <3 I would love to visit her in Phoenix and see a hockey game in the next couple of years, wouldn't that be something?


I hope you follow L.'s blog at the link below, where you also can find a link to her AoaMS Facebook page. Normally I say "LET'S GO CAPS," but for now ... Let's Go Coyotes!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tiny violin solo + A SUPER EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT :D

A few posts ago, I said that I was a little stressed out and that some of the only things that would calm me down were blogging and nervous eating (mostly candy -- you'd think I was Fez from "That '70s Show" if you saw me chowing down on a $1 box of M&Ms); I even had a bit of a meltdown on Tuesday. :/

... all because I'm doing this thing where I'm going out of the country to Däs Motherland for two weeks. CONSEQUENTLY:

I'm so excited to tell you that I've lined up
some AWESOME guest posts from some fantastic fellow bloggers and friends in the meantime!

More on this in a second.

First and foremost, this is not a pleasure trip. We are going to visit family (primarily, my only living grandmother). Preparing for this and trying to work around it has been nothing short of a nightmare for my parents, sister and me. On Friday morning, we'll be on our way there, and by Monday I expect to be developing a minor heat rash and major homesickness for Mountain Dew slurpees, Virginia pork barbecue sandwiches and real southern macaroni and cheese.

However, knowing the reason behind this particular trip does little to alleviate my long-standing anxieties about our journey and our stay. I've been three times before -- my last visit was twelve years ago -- and I've never had what I could call a genuinely good time. I always feel like we're rushing, I don't eat much of the native food (here or there), and between the mosquitoes and hot, humid climes, I generally want to claw my skin off. And that's not even going into the seeing family part, which I've always found awkward beyond measure. Adding to this is my stupid but very real fear of being judged ever so slightly for not finding a way to make my American college degree work for me, and OH MY GOD THE FAILURE.

... I sound like a brat and a terrible person, don't I?




(source)


So what does this have to do with what you're about to read for the next two weeks? Why guest posts?
  • One, guest posts will help Stuff from becoming Stale Stuff by the time I get back in two weeks, sun burn, jet lag and all.
  • Two, I've always enjoyed guest posts and never had the opportunity to do them; I thought it might be nice to feature some guest posts for my one-year blogaversary in July, but this trip came first. Additionally, it gives me a way to thank my friends and fellow bloggers for supporting Stuff (and me), and for you, my readers, to get to know my friends, get some new lemmings and find some new reading material!

Now that you know this, I sincerely hope you enjoy the guest posts! I asked some great ladies I know if they would have the time to do it -- they not only got their posts to me before the last day I needed them, but they picked some great polishes as well. I'd like to think I got a good mix of things you would and wouldn't normally see here. Oh yes, there will be glitter, yes. Holos, yes.

Please leave LOTS AND LOTS of comments and follow my friends -- it would mean so much to me and to them, especially because this is the first time some of these ladies have done guest posts! I'm so honored and so lucky that they agreed to take the plunge on my behalf. :)

The first guest post goes up tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. EST (they all will be posted at 9:00 a.m.). GET READY!

Until I come back, you honeybadgers better be good. I will try to do the same.

<3



P.S. Melodramatic, Virgo worrywart me would like you to know that if my any of my planes go down, my friends Krysi and Tara get first dibs on my collection. I also would like this song, this song ("Believe It When I See It" is also acceptable), possibly "Ooh La La" by the Faces and definitely Cat Stevens' "Wild World" and "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" played at my memorial service, in that order. The end.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Digging for (summery) gold: Essie Shift Power + a special golden guest

Re: the title of this post ... it's not Betty White. :-P

The quests for my perfect pink coral creme and my perfect apple-green shimmer merely just began, and though I don't know if adding another color family to the mix is a good idea, here I am anyway searching for a perfect summer gold. The search for this particular shade, I have to say, actually began sometime last year and derailed thanks to glass-flecked polishes. (Note: GLASS-FLECKED GOLD. MAKE IT SO.)

Last year, the Trade Secret/Beauty Express shops in my area slowly closed down and many of what I considered "boring" Essies were on clearance for all of $2 a pop. With that price point, I can find it in me to be boring! Shift Power, also known as "Shifting Power," was one of my clearance finds.

I just think it's funny how an Essie Winter 2008 release became my foray into my perfect summer gold.




Three coats with Essie Good to Go.










I've been sticking to pale yellow and champagne golds, and Shift Power is probably the warmest gold polish I've ever worn. (It's not as lobstery on me as it looks.) I don't know about you, but I tend to associate warmer golds with summer -- it must be all of those makeup sets and compacts advertising bronzy, golden summer glows! I hate getting darker, so polish is as far as I go with that.

The formula was watery and sheer, so I needed three coats for opacity. I had to wait in between coats to avoid bald patches and bubbling, but with top coat, it's well worth the wait!

I liked the color of this more than I thought I would, but the finish is where I got off board. Shift Power's finish is kind of weird: it's a shimmer somewhere between a chrome and a frost. It looks ultra frosty in the bottle but that disappears when top coat is applied, and it ends up looking very smooth. This may be your thing, I don't know (nice if you're after a more delicate look), but I need chunkier shimmer on this one. It's dangerously close to gross without it.

HOWEVER!, if you own Chanel Gold Fingers (as I do) and want to conserve the precious by layering (as I also do), Shift Power makes a most excellent base polish. Observe.



(click to enlarge!)


Now if Shift Power were more like this, you can bet I'd be buying a bottle for all of my girlfriends! (Also, you'll probably see a ton of reviews for Chanel Gold Fingers before I get around to reviewing it here ... but it will happen.)

So while Shift Power is by no means my perfect summer gold polish, it's a good start. What do you think? Any suggestions for a summery gold polish for me, or any faves you'd like to share?


P.S. Please check back tomorrow for a special announcement. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mannequin Hands Reject: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Malt

Happy Sunday, everyone! Y'all having a good weekend? I had a lovely Saturday -- I worked on getting some things together, listened to the Met Opera's NPR broadcast of "Siegfried" (after seeing the HD broadcast last year, I have a heightened appreciation for Wagner and especially tenor Jay Hunter Morris), briefly visited with a dear college friend who was in town for a journalism conference, and watched an awesome movie via Netflix called "Cracks." (Eva Green ... holy crap. I've always liked her, but this movie has converted me to full-on stan.)


Anyway, Malt. If you're wondering why on earth I bought this polish, I can sum it up with one word: clearance!

If you're wondering why on earth I was even interested in buying this polish, I blame the store lighting in Target, which made Malt look like a potential nude polish staple/mannequin hands candidate. I'd already dropped some dollars on two shades from the same Tracy Reese display at the time, so I didn't get Malt until I found it a month or so later in a clearance bin. Since I passed on all but one of the Tracy Reese 2012 spring shades, I figure now is a good time to go back and really examine past purchases.

For the record, this looks waaaaaaaaaaay better in the pictures than it does on me. :/




Three coats with SV.












I don't think this is 100% my mannequin hands shade, but it's close -- it's a closer match to what my hands are like when they're red. It's a bit lobstery in real life. I don't know how to describe it -- band-aid-ish, with red tones?

The formula was okay on this one and it covered the nail in one coat. I honestly think I could have been done at two coats if it hadn't been for the stupid broom brush! Because of the weird width, thickness and shape, I often find myself getting cuticle drag when using wider brushes like these and I have to carefully apply an extra coat to disguise it. I bet this wouldn't be such an issue with a regular tiny brush!

Malt is from Tracy Reese's Spring 2011 collaboration with Sally Hansen. I acquired five of the polishes from her set and one from Prabal Gurung's (which I wound up gifting to Chelsea), and Malt is the third one I've gotten around to trying. PAH-THETIC! Anyway, this shade is still floating around on Amazon and eBay if you're interested in it ... or *cough* you can leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address and we can arrange a swap (if you're in the contintental U.S.) I'm kind of on a time crunch, so this offer is valid for the next 48 hours. *cough*

Questions, comments, concerns re: Malt? Mannequin hands: fug or fashion-friendly? Malt ice cream and milkshakes, or malt liquor?

Although Colt 45 is in every other (alt-)country song ever, I never quite got around to drinking it in college on account of the fact that my school was a PBR school and when it came to 40s, I would go with OE. My most semi-memorable experience with OE was the night I had dinner with a coworker-now-friend at a Chinese buffet/Mongolian BBQ joint (Super King, holla!) before he and I went to another coworker's apartment to pre-game before seeing "Scream 4" at a local second-run movie theater.

WELL
. I was good for the movie, probably because I'd eaten, but then started running into trouble maybe an hour after it because I started going in on mixed drinks another friend was making. I remember telling Mixed Drink Bartender that the 40 was starting to get to me. Somehow it was decided to move the party to Dinner Friend's apartment, so he and I drove a few blocks over and I remember drunk cleaning his kitchen. (WHYYYYYYYY) Things got hazy after that, because then the party moved down the street to another apartment building that was owned by our school at the time and you had to get signed in by a resident if you wanted to visit. That's when the 40 hit me HARD. It was like, "HEY LIZ LEMON, IT'S THE AFTER-AFTER-AFTER PARTY!"

I remember spending practically an hour on the floor and telling someone his roommate was cute and had a great music library before stumbling to the bathroom and throwing up in the most dignified manner a drunk Asian girl can manage. I thought I was fine. Yeah, not so much. I wound up emptying the contents of my stomach right in front of the elevator as I was leaving (I remember someone going, "RACHEL WHEN DID YOU EAT CHINESE FOOD!?!?"). After that night, I was so terrified of going back to that building again lest I get banned for my drunkenness. LMAO. But my friends are still friends with me, so I guess there's that!

/cool story bro


Don't forget that the 2012 Zoya Exchange is underway until 11:59 PM EST tonight! Go place your order if you haven't. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nubar Conserve

Happy Saturday! (And Happy Record Store Day ... I would be partaking, but I just blew a ton of $$$ this week and I don't even know where people go shopping in this town -- all part of my denial that I still live here, really.)

Nubar is one of my favorite brands, but you'd never know it, given that none of his polishes (yep, Nubar is a him) have appeared on Stuff until today. Since Earth Day is coming up tomorrow, I figured I would show you an untried from the Going Green collection of yore. --You know, because 2009 = "yore."




Three coats with SV.












I'm not going to lie: at first, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this polish. I LOVE the base color, but the blue shimmer was throwing me off and looked sort of gross in the bottle. As you can see, Conserve is much better on the nail! Quelle surprise. It's definitely going to be sticking around in my stash! I don't know if there are any dupes, but I think Nubar Earth is very similar to Conserve -- the shimmer on Earth is chunkier, if that makes sense.

The formula was fantastic; I have not had any formula issues with any of my Nubars. This is pretty pigmented and if it were just a bit thicker, you'd need thinner. It goes on easily on the nail. Additionally, I get great wear time using SV over Nubar. A couple of years ago, I went almost a week wearing Nubar Stronghold and with very minimal tip wear to boot!

Conserve was one of the greens in the totally awesome Going Green collection for Spring 2009. At the time, I had never seen this kind of variety in green polish offerings; while this may seem unoriginal in 2012, you have to understand that it was new and exciting back then. Going Green was supposedly a limited edition collection, but you can find these polishes on Amazon, eBay, and at the Nubar site. I got Forest on eBay a few months later, and received Conserve as a generous swap extra this winter.

I'm curious to hear what you think of the Nubar Going Green collection. Any thoughts on Conserve, or favorite Nubars of the past? What about Earth Day polishes?

--Speaking of Earth Day, the 2012 Zoya Exchange is underway from today until 11:59 PM EST tomorrow night! I placed my order ten minutes after midnight, LOL. I think I put together a good mix of older and more recent Zoya releases, all of which I can't wait to wear. :) For more information about the exchange, read this post on the official Zoya blog.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Return of the Stash Swap: OPI Baby It's Coal Outside!

Welcome to the final installment of my current stash swap with Jacqui of The Scholarly Nail!

This polish was the one I was most excited to try -- originally I'd requested another polish, but because I seem to be obsessed with black and grey nail polish this year (I don't know what that's about), I changed my mind and asked if she could switch out my original pick for this. If you knew what my original pick was, you might threaten to take away my nail blogger card, LOL. I can't help it. You show me a sparkly black or grey, and I can't seem to turn it away! Come to think of it, I don't know what it is with me and holiday collections lately, either. Having said this, you'll see one more holiday polish next week.

Jacqui likes to post vintage/older polishes on Sundays, and one Sunday she took requests via Twitter. I don't know who requested swatches of OPI Baby It's Coal Outside, but I was a goner after I saw her pictures.

Notes: I am so sorry about the shrinkage ... it's not that bad in person, I swear! :( My Seche Vite must have shrank overnight. Also, it rained all freaking day when I took pictures, so I had no sun. :/





Three coats with SV.















HELLO, LUVAH. Why do I not own this?!?! It's a fantastic black polish! I think this is the glass-fleck counterpart of RBL Iconoclast; where Iconoclast has a subtle and smooth, velvety-looking shimmer, Baby It's Coal Outside! has teeny tiny microglittery glass fleck which isn't WHAM-POW, but I still like this a LOT.

The formula of this polish was perfect. I had some pooling in the cuticles, but I blame it on my jittery, caffeinated state of being as well as my ancient bottle of Gelous, which I persist on thinning instead of using a new one. It dried smoothly and on record time with SV, although as I said earlier, I had some overnight shrinkage (heh). Two coats will make this opaque, but you know how I am about three coats.

Baby It's Coal Outside! comes from OPI's 2008 "Holiday in Toyland" collection. A quick Amazon or eBay search shows that there are still a fair amount of bottles floating around for a decent price, and unless you can show me a sparklier black glass fleck, this puppy is going on my wish list! (Bonus: these are the first swatches I saw of this polish back in the day that weren't on the MUA nail board.)


Although it took us months to get this stash swap underway and just about as long for me to show these beauties to you, I am so very grateful to Jacqui for sharing some of her stash with me! <3 I really loved everything I wore, and considering that two polishes are officially on my wish list ... that's not too shabby, really. Here are links to the posts showing off the other two polishes she loaned me:



Thanks again, Jacqui! I hope we can do another stash swap in a few months. ;) In the meantime, please follow her blog, The Scholarly Nail, if you aren't doing so already -- once life calms down for her a bit, you'll be able to see her picks from my stash! I know I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Return of the Stash Swap: Essie Bonded

I'm a little stressed out and full of feelings lately, and I've gone into full-blown panic mode. (I think this is worse than Classic Rach Academic Panic mostly because there was a payoff to academia-oriented panicking and I've been finding it harder to justify any of my decisions since graduating four years ago.) Only blogging, "Psych" DVD marathons and nervous eating will calm me. But you know what will make us all feel better?

That's right, too many pictures of my second pick from my current stash swap with Jacqui of The Scholarly Nail! She has quite the collection of vintage finds, and I knew that a stash swap with her required me to borrow one. It took me forever to wear, but when I FINALLY did, well ... helloooooo. /George Takei

I can only preface what you're about to see by saying that I have a red glass fleck problem. Well, Essie Bonded is more of a red jelly with glitter ... think China Glaze Ruby Pumps, only bright tomato red and with smaller silver and pink/red glitter.




Three coats with SV.



















They say that Bonded is the red version of the infamous and elusive Starry Starry Nights (obviously SSN doesn't have the red/pink glitter). Though I will never see a bottle of SSN in person, this knowledge was still nice to have! ***Also, my friend Lizzard says that she satisfied her SSN lemming by frankening a navy jelly like Wet n Wild Nocturnal with Essie Silver Bullions -- I hope this helps someone out there!*** (As far as I know, Jacqui hasn't posted any swatches of Bonded on The Scholarly Nail, but you can see SSN on her here.)

I really like the way the glitter peeks through the red jelly base! The glitter seems kind of demure to me, though -- I think it would shine much more if it were a bit chunkier, like the red glitter in Ruby Pumps and its dupes. Sometimes in low lights, this looks like a red creme.

The formula on this one was perfect, though I think that may be the trademark of non-B3F polishes. It went on the nail perfectly, and three coats will allow you to get this opaque while still receiving the full benefit of the microglitter shine through the jelly base. Dry time was fast with SV, and tip wear didn't occur until the third day of wear. I had some chipping on the corner of two nails at the end of the second day, but those corners have a history of peeling ever so slightly.

Bonded was part of Essie's six-piece Frozen Assets collection from Winter 2004. It's quite htf now, so you'd have to buy a complete set of the collection (which may be available on some sites if you search for it) if you wanted it. I'd advise you to also check eBay, or blog sales and swaps. You never know!

Here are three other blogs with helpful pictures of Essie Bonded:



Once again, a heartfelt thank you to Jacqui for loaning this polish to me! I can't believe it took me so long to wear and even though this glittery hasn't swayed me from my red glass flecks, I'm grateful for the chance to take this vintage baby for a spin. :) I've got my last pick from her stash coming up next, another polish from another older holiday release! Any guesses?

Friday, April 13, 2012

NEW: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Olive Branch

Friday the thirteenth, eh? It seems the next (and last) Friday the thirteenth of the year is in July, so maybe I'll try to show you a "lucky" polish then. ABSOLUTELY HOLD ME TO THIS, GUYS. Please.

Also, new readers! Salutations! (And thank you!)

Anyway, I was on my way out of town on Tuesday evening and decided to stop by the Ulta near Tara's work because I had spent the entire afternoon fruitlessly searching for a new piece of luggage. This search definitely left me in the mood to buy -- never mind that there was an Ulta mailer with a coupon code waiting for me when I got home (this always happens) -- and I saw a new Complete Salon line display of limited edition goodies tucked in the drugstore section. It had been pretty thoroughly cleaned out, and what you're about to see is the only remaining polish that struck my fancy.

I'd completely forgotten about it until I came home and started looking for pictures of this polish, but I think All Lacquered Up posted a shot of Olive Branch on her Tumblr back in September. Seriously, how awesome are the Tracy Reese/Sally Hansen collabs and WHY IS THIS POLISH NOT IN THE PERMANENT LINE?!




Three coats with SV.














First of all, my apologies for no natural light shots. Although I usually do my swatching/polishing at night, I really wanted to get some sun for Olive Branch; however, the sun decided to play peek-a-boo with me on the day I made time for this. Grr.

If you love olive greens or vampy shimmers, you NEED this polish in your life. The color has this amazing way of being both cozy and badass at the same time, which I love. It's pretty dark, but it never looks black (it might have been a blackened shimmer if it were a shade or so darker) and isn't so much black as it is brown.

Application was so-so. Vampies always are challenging to me after not wearing them for a long time, not to mention the headache that is Sally Hansen's paddle brush. (To quote Madeline, I'm trying to polish my nails, not go canoeing.) The formula on this was decent, which I think may be attested to the shimmer. Had the shimmer been more frosty or chrome-y, I think the brushstrokes would be worse, but if you work slowly as I did, it's not too bad. Wait in between coats to avoid bubbling. Lastly, this is opaque in two coats. Due to outrageous user error, I went with three.

I'm guessing Olive Branch is from Tracy Reese's spring collaboration with Sally Hansen. It's $7.99 at Ulta, and depending on where your store places the display, you might have to hunt to find it. I haven't been to a drugstore or a Target in about a week so I can't say if they've already appeared -- but they will be there.

I love the name and how glowy this polish is -- unless a dupe comes out with a better brush, this one is staying with me, fo sho! Are you lemming Olive Branch now, or can you give it a pass? Do you also enjoy the Tracy Reese polishes and do you think more of them should be in the permanent line?

Happy weekend, all! I'll be back with my second pick from my stash swap with Jacqui for real this time -- it's on my nails now and I REALLY hope I get some sun to show you MAXIMUM WIN.