Friday, January 31, 2014

Year of the Horse

Happy Lunar New Year! According to ~extensive Google searching, the year of the horse is supposed to bring health and prosperity to those of us not born in horse years (I'm a tiger). Health and prosperity? Yes, please!

Red, of course, is good luck. I recently combed through my stash for some appropriate reds and happened upon China Glaze Red Stallion, which I'd set aside for some other reason. With a name like that, there was no way I *wasn't* blogging it today.

Three coats with SV.

Shame on me for keeping this one untried for forever. It's AMAZING! Red Stallion is a warm tomato red metallic with gold shimmer. As you can see in my photos, it is incredibly glowy, which basically makes it the perfect polish to wear at the very peak of the winter doldrums. Just ... WHOA.

The formula on this one was thin, yet very pigmented and easy to work with. Dry time was fast. I removed this after swatching, so I can't share any thoughts on wear (today). If you work carefully, you won't have much to clean up, which is always nice when dealing with a red polish.

Red Stallion comes from one of the greatest -- if not THE greatest -- China Glaze fall collections of all time, the Rodeo Diva collection from Fall 2008. While I'm not sure if Salon Perfect released a dupe for Red Stallion, the real thing is readily available online and I bet you could find it at a dusty. If you can get your hands on it (the polish or the entire collection), I cannot recommend it enough. I'm pretty sure I got my bottle from a blog sale many moons ago at pal Rachel Marie's, along with some other Rodeo Divas. Totally worth it.

Aaaaaaaall righty. What do you think? Is this red lucky enough? Are you wearing anything fun on your nails for the Lunar New Year or the Super Bowl? Should I post more of my Rodeo Divas? I have three more, plus the Salon Perfect dupe for Gussied Up Green. Then there's another polish that could be the Salon Perfect dupe to Cowgirl Up, but I'm not entirely sure if that's accurate. I'll have to investigate.

Ugh, I can't believe January went by so quickly! This month has been a weird time for me, so you have no idea how elated I am that it's over. Things have been very hard. But hey, at least this weekend will be fun: Tomorrow my friends and I are celebrating my friend Krysi's birthday early, and I'm going to watch the Super Bowl with B on Sunday (I really only care about the National Anthem -- Renee Fleming's gonna be great -- and the Puppy Bowl. Speaking of, have you completed your Puppy Bowl Draft picks?). I can't wait to see everyone and get kitty kisses from Sterling Meowlory Archer! Oh, February sounds so good already.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a good weekend! And as a lover of the wonderful city of Seattle, I can't believe I'm saying this, but ... go Broncos!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Simply Supreme: Laura Mercier Bewitched

If you love watching TV as much as I do, then I don't have to tell you that the "American Horror Story: Coven" finale is at 10 p.m. tonight because YOU ALREADY KNOW. And have set your DVR. And have made snacks. And may be preparing to land in Twitter jail. You know, typical finale stuff. I'm not doing anything because I'm four episodes behind in my cable-less purgatory, but this post should be enough to show my excitement. (I hope.)

I'm pretty sure I made my feelings about Ryan Murphy clear on this blog (polite summary: I canNOT. Why can't more showrunners be like Bryan Fuller??). I could not with "Nip/Tuck," I HATE "Glee" with the fire of a thousand burning suns, and as for "AHS" ... well. I haven't watched the first two seasons, and I don't intend to, but based on what I've seen on "Coven," I think the show benefits from having a contained number of episodes per season. I also think "Coven" is really Murphy and Falchuk's way of pushing the envelope not necessarily with the sole purpose of being creative, but to see just how much trolling they can get away with on basic cable. I'll be hanged (or burned?) if I don't enjoy this, though. When Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates signed on for "Coven," I thought that could be cool, despite having no intention of actually watching it. I held out as long as I could -- so, one day after the "Coven" premiere? -- before caving like a bad tent. And here we are.

But you don't care about all that. You [might] care about what's on my nails, and as it happens, it's some real good shit. Because, really, can't you imagine Fiona Goode vamping about, wearing this polish? I can.

Three coats with Gelous + NYC Grand Central Station.

Oh, Bewitched. This polish is what I wanted OPI Live and Let Die to be. The base color of both polishes, a smoky blue-toned pine green, is very similar. As gorgeous as LaLD was, its golden flecks pretty much dulled and died on my nail within two or three days. I no longer own LaLD, but from what I remember of it, the glass fleck particles in Bewitched all smaller, finer and a pinch more vibrant compared to LaLD. I think that's why I like Bewitched so much.

The formula on this polish is awesome. It's easy to work with (I bet that's helped by the small, non-paddly brush) and is opaque in two coats -- I have heard tell of people using one coat, but that's just crazy talk in my world. I added a third because that's just how I roll. Dry time was fast, this barely required any clean-up, and I was snapping swatch photos in no time at all. However, I removed this to swatch another polish, so I can't talk today about wear time/experience or whether the sparkle dulled after a day or so. (I'm willing to bet it doesn't.)

Bewitched was released last fall as one of two polishes in the limited edition Dark Spell collection, but it may as well have been the only polish in that collection because the other is a frosty mess. This goes for $18 and it's worth every penny, IMO. It still might be available online on the Saks and Belk sites. I actually bought mine online from Belk last year while there was a free shipping promo, which was verrrrrrry exciting.

Since this didn't become a full NOTD (long story), I'm saving it for a day/weekend when I want something ~special. What do you think? Do you prefer OPI LaLD? More importantly, IS BEWITCHED WITCHY ENOUGH to be worthy of La Lange? Is this less Samantha and more Endora, or the other way around? I need to know!

And re: "Coven,"
  1. Who do you think is/should be the next Supreme? If it's Zoe ... *Kyle scream noises* I think it should be Misty. Or Queenie. Or ... Kyle. Basically, ANYONE BUT ZOE.
  2. Which non-Jessica Lange actress is the season's MVP? I'm torn between Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, and Frances Conroy! All three of them have been KILLING IT consistently.
  3. What was your favorite storyline/moment of the season? Conversely, what was the lamest? Favorite storyline ... oh geez. Let me finish the season and I'll get back to you. As for the lamest, it's the Axe Man shit by FAR. Danny Huston is good at creepy, but I'm afraid the Axe Man crossed the line from Interesting to Lame.
  4. Who was your favorite guest star? A certain cameo aside, I have to be shallow and say Josh Hamilton (Hank), because after all these teenage boys, I needed an actual dude to look at who wasn't a frickin' minotaur. Also, he was in one of my favorite '90s post-grad semi-mumblecore movies of all time, so I had that going for me.
  5. Best quote of the season? Anything said by Queenie, Myrtle, Marie Laveau or Fiona at any given time. But Nan, Delia, Misty and Madison had a few hilarious zingers, too. I can't even start quoting this show. I'd be here all day.

Don't worry about spoiling me -- I read recaps every week -- but if you think you might spoil a comment for other readers, you can always shoot me an e-mail. (I mean, it'll take me another month to get back to you because my correspondence practices have been SO BAD lately, but I'm working on it!)

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the finale! I'll be back on Friday, but daaaaaaayum, 2014. Look at you go!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Illamasqua Swinger

Short post today, and a rather late one, too. At first, I didn't think I wanted to post today, and then when I fiinally made up my mind this morning, I had some internet issues (oh Comcast, fuck you very much).

But, Swinger.

Three coats with SV.

Not a whole lot to say about this one. Cool gold foil, with barely perceptible specks of holo glitter. I'm talking MICROSCOPIC. You won't know it's there until the light hits it, and even then ... well.

Formula was good, dry time was good. Wear time, I don't know, because I took this off as soon as I swatched it -- I have so many gold foils, I think this one is going to go live with my favorite bartender. :)

Funnily enough, Swinger is from Illamasqua's Summer 2012 offering called ... wait for it ... Naked Strangers. I can't be the only one who cracked up at this! You can buy this at Sephora for $17 if you reeeeeeeally want to. I wouldn't, mostly because Orly Luxe is the only gold foil you *really* need. In fact, the only reason I own this bottle is because it was a replacement for some OOS shades in a massive Illamasqua haul I did with Janice and another girl this time last year. (Good job on Illamasqua's part to offer us replacements free of charge on regularly-priced items  -- but too bad they didn't yet have the polish I wanted most at the time! Ah, well. It's okay.)

That's all for today. Not very exciting, I'm afraid, but I have something on Wednesday that should make us flip out. *I* flipped out, anyway. :)

Thanks for reading! Hope you all have a good start to your week.

Friday, January 24, 2014

butter LONDON Dosh

For once, I have some good news. Remember my new car, the car that I kvetched about having to buy and haven't really talked about yet? I've paid off 1/4 of it! YEAHHHH, BOYYYYYYYY. As the song says -- and I'm completely switching rappers here -- I've had my mind on my money, and my money on my mind. (But no gin and juice. Or weed, for that matter.) (Side note: I miss college.)

Enter butter LONDON Dosh. In case your intake of Brit lit, film and TV is limited, "dosh" is British slang for money or cash. For the purposes of this post, I felt it was HIGHLY APPROPRIATE.

Four coats with Gelous + NYC Grand Central Station.

The ~official~ butter LONDON description for Dosh is on point, as it is indeed "a molten metallic apple-green nail lacquer shot through with gold." Yep. Not much more to add on to that.

I will say that Dosh had an interesting formula. It was not as thick as I thought it would be for some reason, but it wasn't hard to work with at all. I applied my standard three coats and didn't feel anything about it. But then I decided to cover up a couple of bald patches with a fourth coat, and whoaaaaaaa, HUGE difference. I *loved* it after that. I can't tell you about wear because I got so excited about another polish, I removed this after getting photos. Heh.

Dosh was released for the bL 2011 spring collection and has since been part of the core bL line. However, I think it's one of the "last chance" shades on clearance for $7.50 right now (EDIT: Sorry, guys! I forgot the deal ended last night). If you like apple green polishes and collect bLs, I recommend it.

It's been freakin' cold here lately, so Dosh was a nice little way to add some spring color to my week. I'm not the only one who feels this way -- check out Elizabeth's swatch on Did My Nails!

Oh, and uh, I couldn't decide which of my favorite late '90s hip hop/R&B songs about money should play us out for the weekend, so enjoy.

Thanks for reading! Have a solid weekend and I'll catch you next week.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gift of Fab: Maybelline Color Show Lavender Lustre

Sorta cheating today since I'm posting this polish more than one month since I wore it, but I've had the pictures ready to go for a while! Here's another polish my friend Danielle sent me last year.

BTW, Maybelline, you're hilarious. If this polish is "holographic," then I'm going to grad school, okay? Because it's NOT. (And I'm not. You couldn't pay me to go back to school. I loved undergrad, but my portfolio/reel/whatever is basically nonexistent and I am a horrible standardized test taker, so the very *idea* of the GRE terrifies me. /confessions)

Three coats with SV.

But, this polish. I unexpectedly really liked it! As you can see, it's 100% not holographic. I would say it's a very faint duochrome -- sometimes it's silver, sometimes it's a very cool lavender. I wasn't sure this combination would flatter me at all, but it works very well. It's different, a nice alternative to silver, and verges on the frostier side of metallic shimmer.

Oh, and the formula? Also really nice. Lavender Lustre is surprisingly opaque after two coats. I didn't need to go for a third coat, really. Dry time was fast, and wear was good after a day and a half. No chips, no tip wear. I was sufficiently pleased, enough to say that I am keeping this polish and it will get worn again. Thank you, Danielle! :)

I believe Lavender Lustre was released last summer as part of the Maybelline Color Show "Holographic" line. There are four other polishes in said line, which you can find in any core display of Maybelline Color Show polishes. Real talk, though -- as much as I like this polish, I can't imagine it being sought after (I never would have picked it up if Danielle hadn't sent it to me), so get it if there's a Maybelline promo or if you have a crazy good drugstore/Ulta coupon.

Okeydoke. Danielle sent me six polishes, so Lavender Lustre puts her at 2 for 2 so far (check out my post on SH Lustre Shine Lava from last November). I'm pretty excited to try another one from her package, so hopefully we'll see it soon. Can you tell another of my 2014 blogging resolutions is to blog more polishes that were gifted to me? I'm pretty sure some of my RL girlfriends have forgotten giving me some things, too, and I really am working on making some headway with Mount Untried. (It's like Mount Doom, but with less fire.)

I have no idea what I'm talking about any more. Grad school? "LOTR"? This is a good place to end for today, so I'll see you back on Friday. I should be more coherent then.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Skinny Dipping (With Friends): Color Club Who Are You Wearing?

Happy Monday! Thanks for joining Anna and me for a new year of Skinny Dipping. :) After my holiday hiatus, it's good to be back.

One of my blogging resolutions this year is to blog more rarely featured brands around here, particularly Color Club. While that brand is responsible for one of my favorite polishes of all time (Pucci-licious), it also wears like crap on me -- within one day, I get chips and insane tip wear. So I wanted to play around with my base and top coats to (hopefully) yield better results. I mean, there is just no point hanging on to my few Color Clubs if I'm never going to wear them.

I'm happy to report that I TOTALLY NAILED IT. But I totally could have chosen a less troublesome polish to start with!

Four coats with Gelous + SV.

Who Are You Wearing? is from the Rebel Debutante collection of Spring 2010, making it a true oldie in my eyes.

As to whether it's a goodie ... that's debatable. You have to remember, back in 2010, colors like this were hard to come by! If we're going in terms of color, then it's a resounding YES. Light nude cream with a hint of grey? Are you kidding?! It's great. And certainly I think it looks pretty good on me.

Its formula, however? Total PITA. Oh my God, so bad. It was sort of runny, which meant I had to work very carefully -- guessing how much polish to load up on brush was kind of a game. (You want to go thin on coats 1 and 2, and then you can thicken up at 3 and 4.) It also was fairly streaky after my standard three coat treatment, so I had to go for a fourth coat. I put on a coat of Gelous and another coat of SV over that, and strangely, the whole thing didn't take as long to dry as I was dreading. I'd give it an average dry time. Even more strange is that it wore freakishly well for three days. ZERO chips, barely visible tip wear. I'm confident I could have gone the whole week in this, but I desperately needed some color on my tips after an emotional low point last week and removed it.

Normally at this point in the post I would tell you that you could easily buy Who Are You Wearing? online, but honestly, I don't know if I could recommend this polish to anyone! Other mainstream salon brands like OPI, Essie and Zoya have been cranking out perfectly lovely nude shades on the regular, and if you've tried OPI nudes since ... Holland, I think, then you *know* how good the formulas for those polishes are. Unless you possess a gargantuan amount of patience, Who Are You Wearing? is probably not going to be for you.

I'll hang on to my bottle for now. Despite the aforementioned formula issues, I love the color and I'm quite thrilled with the success of my Gelous + top coat trick on this Color Club polish. This gives me more enthusiasm to blog my paltry collection of the brand.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to visit Business Lady Polish this morning for Anna's Skinny Dipping post! I'm already plotting which nude polish to showcase next month ... so many choices!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sally Hansen Sugar Shimmer Mint Tint = the lamest texture I've tried

You guys, it finally happened: I wore a texture polish I didn't like. So although I intended to post this on Wednesday, I figured I would save it for today, because there wasn't a whole lot I liked about this week, either. It was not great.

Anyway, when my friend Madeline finally tried a texture polish, she said it gave her a wiggins. Until I wore this polish, I had never experienced said wiggins with any textures.

But I know exactly why I felt that way. Pics first, and then I'll spill that tea.

Three coats.

I should have started this post by saying that Sally Hansen is my absolute favorite drugstore polish brand. Last spring, SH started to get into the texture game, but those polishes seemed to have disappeared from stores just as suddenly and mysteriously as they arrived. Closer to the end of 2013, SH took a second stab at textures, even renaming their texture line "Sugar Shimmer" (it was originally "Sugar Coat"). I got WAY too excited about the Sugar Shimmers, and bought four.

Mint Tint makes me think Sally Hansen could have waited a minute before (re)releasing more textures.

Want to take a stab as to why it sucked? It sure wasn't the color! What a shame, because this shade of mint green is just beautiful, probably more on the neutral side of mint. Anyone could wear it.

--Anyone who likes polishes that look like cottage cheese, anyway. Ew. Wow. And herein lies the problem with Mint Tint: It was in fact *not* a sugar shimmer (that is, a shimmery base), but had a creme base. Creme-based textures are a huuuuuuuuuge problem for me, and there was no way of knowing this polish would look like cottage cheese on the nail when I saw it in the bottle. You can't even see the golden shimmer on the nail, which blows. So I'm telling you now, do not buy this one, DO NOT PASS GO. Good? Good.

Okay, that's it. I have the rest of today off and I'm planning to swatch, work on some posts for the next couple of weeks, write some emails, catch up on my shows, marathon some "Hannibal" Season One episodes for background noise (you know your life is weird when "Hannibal" is a comforting background noise), and maybe break in my new credit card. You know, some books, some jeans, and maaaaaaybe some polish. The essentials.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you on Monday, I promise! Skinny Dipping will be back!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Highway to the (Formula X for Sephora) Danger Zone!


Guess what day it is. Go ahead, I'll wait.


It's the fifth season premiere of "Archer" on FX!

I'm sure we've all seen this promo by now. TOO. EPIC.

My glamorous cable-less lifestyle means I won't get to see it unless I'm desperate enough to stream it, or, more likely, that I'll have to wait until the next time I visit B ... and Sterling Meowlory Archer. I mean, that cat's name may be one of my greatest accomplishments. *Obviously* you can tell B and I are huge fans!

So when I walked into one of Flatiron District Sephoras last October and saw this polish in the new, MASSIVE Formula X display, I didn't care if I was going to be late meeting my sister at her office. I HAD. TO. BUY. IT.

I'm not sure that a bright orange-leaning coral with pink sparkles screams "danger zone" to me, but the truth is that I cannot resist an "Archer" reference, especially now because of my own precious Sterling.

Usually I save my description of a polish for after the pictures, but Danger Zone looks so different at times, I have to break it down. Sometimes it looks orange coral:

Sometimes the pink shimmer peeks through and makes it pink:

And back to coral again under the OttLite:

Totally worth all those pictures. Totally.

FYI, Danger Zone was shown above at three coats. Pretty good, huh? I really liked the formula on this one. As with most neon shimmers, this one is on the thin side and dries semi-matte, so it's best to work quickly. You don't have to wait long in between coats, maybe just one minute tops. You can stop at two coats for opacity, but I liked it best after three. Dry time was super fast with Gelous + SV. I've had this polish on since Friday afternoon/evening, and the wear has been fantastic: no chips and barely visible tip wear! I'm so pleased.

If you decide you need this polish, then you can nab it at Sephora in the gigantic Formula X display! (Note: When I was at a JCPenney Sephora on New Year's Day, I didn't see it.) Danger Zone is part of Formula X's Electrics color family, and retails for $10.50. Kiiiiiind of on the pricey side, but I'm really happy with its performance so far. In fact, I'm really happy with both of the Formula X polishes I've tried, and I have one more to show you. It's probably the least unique one among the three I bought last October, but I'm pretty sure at least *one* of you will want it after you see it on. ;)

So don't forget: "Archer," FX, 10 p.m. ET tonight. I cannot wait to see how this season works out!

Oh, and thank you to everyone who fretted with me about Sterling Meowlory Archer's poor infected behind! He's healing just fine and he's feeling frisky. Actually, this picture B texted me over the weekend should show you *just* how frisky he is:

Yup ... that's our little duchess.

Thanks for reading, watch "Archer," and I'll see you on Wednesday. Kbye!