Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sinful Colors Cheshire China

A few weeks ago, Steff and I were rapidly texting about something or other when the conversation drifted toward new nail polish, which, given the nature of our friendship, tends to happen. She was really enthusiastic about a new Sinful Colors polish from the new LE Porcelain Matte collection. I'd found the new Sinful Live in ColorLand display at Walgreens, but no sign of these mattes; when I went back to that Wags last week, Live in ColorLand had been replaced by the Porcelain Matte and the Play Your Cards Right displays. YASSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Only one teeny-tiny problem: I couldn't remember which polish Steff had mentioned. So I tried scrolling upward through our texts (omg ugh so lazy and omg SO MANY TEXTS) before I gave up and texted her. Then I crouched down in front of the Porcelain Matte display to look at the names of all the polishes, hoping one of those names would jog my memory. None of them did, but Cheshire China, the pastel periwinkle, caught my eye. I mean, (1) see current pastel polish jag and (2) if this had a decent matte formula, I wouldn't need to be so meticulous before adding top coat if I just wanted a regular pastel manicure (which is a lie because I am always meticulous). I grabbed a bottle of Cheshire China for me and one for my friend Jess, then wandered around the store scrolling through texts until I successfully found the name of that daggone polish: Glazy Sunday. Wags had one bottle left, which I bought because damn it, the text scroll struggle is real.

I didn't think I was going to be wearing Cheshire China so soon, but the polish I wanted to use for my Easter nails would not freaking cooperate and I didn't want to waste the precious. By 3 a.m., Cheshire China started looking more and more like a good option. I'm happy to say that my aforementioned theory about decent matte formulas checked out. I will never wear any matte polishes as is when I can add top coat, but I'm glad to know the option not to exists.

Here's three coats of Cheshire China in its intended matte state.

Seriously, the formula on this was AMAZING. If Glazy Sunday is this good, then sign me up for more Porcelain Matte polishes! As with all mattes, you do need to work quickly, but since this is pastel and thick, you also need to work extra carefully so it doesn't end up drying lumpy. And of course, make sure that your base coat situation is good -- it's harder to disguise a botched base coat layer with a matte finish. I thought coverage was just okay at two coats ... I think you could stop there if you really wanted to, but it still looked patchy to me. Three coats FTW!

Once I was done admiring the matte finish and congratulating myself on choosing an unfussy polish, I added a coat of NYC Grand Central Station, since that seems to play well with my Sinfuls.

Yes, good polish choice. The hostess at lunch really seemed to think so, too! Some polish lovers might find the porcelain mattes too streaky or thick or annoying, but I've dealt with much, much worse. (*cough* Zoya Mitzi *cough*) I'm still wearing Cheshire China as of ~press time. No chips so far, just a little bit of tip wear and my NYC GCS looks a little rough. I do wonder how this would have worn without top coat, however. If you've worn this polish as is, I'd love to hear how that went!

If your nearest Porcelain Matte display isn't picked over, you need to get this polish STAT because it's LE! Plus you can't beat the price point. $1.99? Get out of town. I'm way more stoked to try Glazy Sunday, and if I can find Mad Matter this weekend, I'll grab it too (but I would rather grab the green texture, Sweeten the Teal, because that was gone from Wags, sadface).

I don't think this is the end of my pastel obsession for the year, but I'm gonna lay off them for a moment because I'm starting to have a yen for colors that are brighter, deeper, and generally more saturated. Having said this, I guess it's pretty appropriate that I'm posting a periwinkle today because the 2016 Pastel Obsession also begun with a periwinkle. Granted, Pahlish Soft and Sweet was more on the blue side of periwinkle whereas Cheshire China is more purple, but eh. I have room in my heart (and my stash) for both.

I don't know if I'll have time to post again before this week ... it would be a real Hail Mary at this point, since we have company coming and family stuff and I would prefer to file my taxes by the 31st and just be done with them, you know? Anyway, I hope those of you who celebrated Easter last weekend had a good one. Did you wear a fun Easter polish? Did the Easter bunny bring you any polish? (LMAO, I can't believe this is a thing if you're over the age of 12, but according to Instagram, it is.) Anyone else enjoying these Porcelain Mattes as much as Steff and I are? --Damn, I really miss our Shopping My Stash posts. :( I wonder if I should do a solo version. Thoughts?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cult Nails Evolution

Cult Nails, RIP. Sometimes I think they were gone too soon; sometimes, I think they liquidated and cut out at the right time (by "right time," I mean "the right time for them"). Even so, that doesn't stop me from wishing I had a couple hundred more bottles of Wicked Fast stashed away because nothing works half as well on my Zoyas as that top coat did!

Anyway, I feel like a dick for posting something that you can't even buy any more, but what's a pastel rainbow without a peach? I considered Essie Peach Side Babe but I just blogged an Essie, and then I couldn't find my bottle of China Glaze Pack Lightly, so I thought I'd put up a quick swatch of Cult Nails Evolution instead.

Three coats with SV.

When Cult Nails was around, I would drool over other bloggers' pictures and fill up a cart so fast, that I never remembered much about the actual polish reviews. I was too dumb to Google again, and was shocked when Evolution ended up being not a creme, but a buildable sheer peach, too sheer for me to call it a jelly-creme. Whuh? At three coats, it's really soft and pretty, not quite as stark as Google would have you believe. If peach polish tends to blend in with your skin tone, I don't think this is a good one to have, especially when you factor in the sheerness of this one.

About those three coats, though. You can use one if you want a natural, sheer look. (I didn't.) And as you can see in my photos, it's still streaky at three coats, even with the customary wait to avoid dragging. I'm thinking I should have gone for a fourth, but I wonder if that would affect the squishy look of this polish.  Dry time with SV was fast, as always. This is only a quick & dirty swatch, so I can't comment on wear ... yet.

I can't believe Evolution is a two-year-old polish, part of an LE pastel trio for Spring 2014, called It's a New Day. I'd purchased the other two polishes in this trio, Falling Hard and New Day, that summer, but I didn't grab Evolution until well into the fall. Now that Cult Nails is no longer, I'm hesitant to purge this polish from my stash since I can't buy it again if I change my mind, so I'll most likely revisit Evolution as a full NOTD when I'm in the mood for a peachy sheer. Guess it helps to know what a polish actually is before you wear it. Derp moment for sure.

I wanna come back with my Easter nails and a Sinful King Kylie polish, but we'll see how this weekend goes. Hope you guys have a good Easter, and a good spring break if that applies! --OMG, so spreaking of spring break: last night, I was in line at a convenience store grabbing ginger ales and Bugles when I realized I was standing between two groups of college kids buying beer. I was dressed as crappily as they were, but I felt ancient, to say the least. I just wanted to shake them by their dumb shoulders and tell them to enjoy everything and make the most of college, because that's time you don't get back. It was all very existential and weird. I should've grabbed a 40 while I was at it.

So that I don't end this post on a totally weird note ... anyone going to see the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" sequel this weekend? I have a feeling I'm going to end up going with my aunt. And I've kept seeing Windex promoting this movie on their coupon sheets -- I think it's kind of cute that Windex is still trying to work it. The best product placement! :) Anyone else have a nail polish derp moment lately? What about any favorite polishes from Cult Nails, or hell, any other brands that are gone forever? Any favorite peaches? IMO, Orly Prelude to a Kiss still is the one to beat.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Urban Outfitters Left Bank (LEFT SHARK)

Happy spring! As promised, I'm sharing a fab green for St. Patrick's -- juuuust a few days late, but that's how it is right now.

I really hoped I'd love this polish, because what I went through to get it last summer was not pretty. My sister and I had a nearly four-hour Amtrak layover in New York City, and she wanted to hit up Koreatown real bad. I was sleepy, hot, and hangry, and the absolute last thing I wanted to do was sweat my way through Midtown because summer in NYC is extra disgusting when it's a gross day and you're as out of shape as I am. But since taking a nap in Penn Station was out of the question, we left our bags with Amtrak's parcel check? customer service?, and I stumbled behind my sister in 3.5-inch platform wedges because I made a poor footwear choice that day and I really, really do not love myself.

We made a pit stop at the giant Urban Outfitters store in Herald Square, which I'd been super excited about because (1) AIR CONDITIONING and (2) I wanted to see its epic beauty department for myself. I'm all about the polish, of course, but I really enjoyed perusing the skin care products, too! Anyway, I didn't want to leave without taking advantage of Urban's 2 nail polishes for $8 deal (I'm 90% sure it's 2 for $8?), but the indecision was real. So I let my sister pick. We looked at the name of this polish and although one semi-unrelated song immediately ran through my head, I blurted out, "OMG LEFT SHARK!" We cracked up all the way to the register.

TL;DR: My sister picked this mint polish, which shall be referred to as Left Shark from this point forward.

Three coats with SV, but this is good at two! Also, I promise it is not even as lobster handsy IRL as it is in my first picture, which I had to color correct because it truly looked like ass. Just FYI. The rest of these photos are completely legit:

As you can see, if you're looking for a mint green with a prominent shimmer, you'd better keep shopping because Left Shark ain't it. This didn't bother me at all, because after so many disappointments with secret shimmers, I just accept it as the norm (I shouldn't, but it is what it is). OTOH, I think Left Shark has a warmer, more flattering cast on me than it would if it didn't have its golden shimmer -- I got plenty of room in my heart for all varieties of mint green, but it really helps when they're flattering (that is, not overly blue).

I'm also willing to bet the shimmer is why the formula on this is so great! It leans thick and is easy to work with -- without the shimmer, I think it would be super chalky, so I'm glad it's easy to apply even if the shimmer is invisible on the nail. It does dry sort of ... demi-matte? semi-matte?Whatever the correct verbiage is these days, you're gonna need top coat. Give yourself a couple of minutes between coats, and if you're careful, it'll be opaque and top coat-ready in two!

See more on Know Your Meme

So far, so good. I'm loving the price, I'm loving the color, and I'm loving the formula, which meant there was only one major criterion left: wear time. I applied this on Wednesday night and kept it on until last night because I couldn't stand how long my nails were getting. In those four days, I had extremely minimal tip wear and only two tiny corner chips from where my SV didn't get close enough to the sides of those two nails. I did lots of glove-less dishwashing on Friday night, so this is no small thing! Like, what kind of witchcraft???? Again, I have to say that I'm really, really glad Left Shark didn't have a chalky formula, or it would have chipped right the fuck away. 

The UO website is kind of lame, and neither Left Shark nor the second polish I purchased that day are listed there. I haven't been to the Richmond store in forever because the mall that houses UO is a retail traffic nightmare -- and what I mean by this is that I don't know what the nail polish selection is like at locations that aren't as huge as Herald Square store (I'd consider the Tysons Corner location up in NoVA a little more on par with Herald Square). But it's worth checking out, because every time I wear a UO polish, I end up loving it; UO might not be duping Lippmann as much as it used to, but their other polishes are pretty good. The 2 for $8 deal or whatever it is doesn't hurt either (every brand of nail polish seems to have undergone price inflation since I started collecting -- wish I hadn't shredded my receipt!). IMO, $4 is a perfectly reasonable price for a house brand.

Having said all this, it should be no surprise that Left Shark Left Bank is my new favorite mint polish, and definitely worth the sweaty hike in impractical shoes! (NGL though, I was ready to hurl my sister's MacBook Air out of my tote bag when she realized we'd walked a block or two in the wrong direction.) If you love mint green polishes and are able to find this one, YOU MUST BUY IT. (And if you hate it, send it over to me because I will take good care of it.)

Oh, and here is the song that I almost started singing when I turned this bottle of polish over to read its label. Such an oldie but goodie! This album and the subsequent one were in constant play for me when I started college (WUT). I don't know too much about what came after "Picaresque," and I'm not as into The Decemberists as I was then, but I'd still love to see them live.

Do you have a favorite mint green polish? Did you wear anything fun to celebrate St. Patrick's Day or the official start of spring? We're having a cold snap after two great weeks of warm, sunny weather, but I think I'll live if someone can please get me an inhaler!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Essie Meet the Parents

Kind of cheating today, because I actually wore this polish around this time last year and didn't blog it because hiatus. I remember being unable to decide whether to purge or stash it for good, so I decided to revisit it when I came across it the other day since pastels are very much a thing for me right now.

My hang-up with Essie Meet the Parents is this: I like this color a lot. It's very calming and very beach house, and I remembering telling B last year that he should paint his bedroom in this color because it's GOOD. But I wasn't certain if I could make it work as a polish, since it's a little bit muted. What do you think?

Three coats with Essie Good to Go.

I don't know how to describe Meet the Parents, other than that it's everything I wanted Essie Truth or Flare to be. And like I said, it's a dusty, slightly muted pastel blue that I think would be a stunner on someone with a skin tone that's darker than mine. Don't let the photos deceive you -- Meet the Parents really looks like ass on me IRL, but dammit, I like it!

As for application & formula: People who've blogged this say it's opaque in two coats. I don't remember how many I used last year, but this time, I definitely needed three (not sure if that's because my bottle of Gelous is on its way out?). It's a little watery compared to thicker cremes, but as long as you work slowly, it's nowhere close to being the nightmare that was Essie The More the Merrier. I wore and originally swatched this with SV, but it wouldn't cooperate for shit (current bottle is also on its way out) so I gave up and dug out a bottle of Essie's Good to Go top coat and it looked better. I remember this top coat helped this polish last perfectly for at least four days last year; this time, I wore it for three days, with Good to Go on my left hand and leaving SV on my right. That right hand looks like a disaster, with tip wear and chipping on two nails on Day 2. Da fuck? I think part of the problem is that my nails are pretty weak right now (to me, anyway), so I'll have to make some changes to my routine. :/

Meet the Parents is the only polish I snagged from Essie 2014 Bridal -- if you like pastels, bridal collections are very good for this sort of thing (sidebar: have you seen pics of OPI SoftShades 2016? HEART EYES, MOTHERFUCKER. Also, someone please remind me to dig out my butter LONDON Sweet Somethings set). I bought my bottle at Ulta last year during a "B2 polishes, G1 free Essie nail treatment" promo when I needed something else to get a free bottle of Good to Go, my favorite Essie top coat. It's not HTF online, and I see it at TJ Maxx every now and then.

The name of this polish will never not make me think of one Nurse Gaylord Focker, so here:

Despite knowing nothing about "Godspell" except for this song, this scene always cracks me the hell up. I used to watch this movie a lot in high school for some reason, and even now I'll leave it on if it comes on TV. Like, "Meet the Parents" never will be selected for film preservation or anything, but it's good comfort movie/background noise material for me, and that's what's up. Maybe I'll put it on while I do my laundry ...

Well, it looks like this Essie is a stash FO SHO. Compared to other Essie blues, Meet the Parents has such a weathered look that I don't know if I'd recommend it as a wedding day "something blue" option, you know? I feel like lacquerheads would opt for a color with something a little more ... more. (For example, Essie Saltwater Happy was Anna's choice and I'll always associate that blue with her wedding.) But I'd love to hear what you think, because taste and aesthetics are subjective and I know a lot of brides IRL who defaulted to French tips on their big day. (I WOULD NEVER.) So sound off with a comment about this polish, bridal polish collections, the polish you wore (or think you'd wear) for your wedding, the Fockers, whatever. I wanna know.

Hope y'all are doing well, especially knowing that spring is most definitely on its way! Things are still cray cray over here, but now that Daylight Saving Time gave us another hour (translation: YASSS EXTRA NATURAL LIGHT), I think it will be easier for me to do a little bit more here in a pinch. \o/ Next time on Stuff: my 2016 St. Patrick's Day green, because why wear green clothing when you can have green nails? #priorities

Oh, and Happy Pi Day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Deborah Lippmann Shoshanna

Happy March! I wanted to make good re: what I said last month about dropping in, so here's the pastel I've worn for the last week because I haven't gotten a chance to do my nails. And if you're all, "GIRL. Oy with the pastels already!" then you might be relieved to know that I'll ride out this obsession through Easter. NGL, I'm sorta curious to find out what I'm going to latch on to next.

Until then, have a springtime pastel on me! I'm not 100% happy with these pics, but (A) there comes a point when you get sick of looking at the same color and (B) this color has been a BFD since Spring 2013, so you know what it looks like by now. Deborah Lippmann's version was Shoshanna, OPI's was You're Such a Budapest (Euro Centrale collex), and Sinful Colors had Candy Coated (LE Sugar Rush collex). I own all three, but I do appreciate it when colors are available at various price points, don't you?

Here's DL Shoshanna, at three coats plus SV.

And here's another set of pics that I felt weren't quite right but damn, they were pretty.

Shosh's official DL description is "virtuous vivid violet," which fits. At first I was not here for people immediately categorizing it as periwinkle, but I'll allow it since there's quite a bit of blue in there. The tiny silver shimmer particles in this polish, while larger than the usual secret shimmer particles, unfortunately don't translate to the nail. I'd say the shimmer factor faded within the day; this looks like a creme, for the most part.

This polish is a little more deceiving than I thought it'd be -- I had OPI You're Such a Budapest out a little while ago, and I thought this Lippmann would be just like it. Nope, Shosh actually is darker than Budapest (especially when you add top coat), but without having my OPI in front of me, I can't tell you which one is worth hanging on to if you really want to purge. What I CAN tell you is that while I was surprised to see how dark Shosh looked on me, I really liked the formula. As with most pastels, I anticipated a streaky, fluffy mess fest, but also was surprised to discover that application was nothing like that at all. It's a bit sheer on the first coat, evens out a little with the second, and looks opaque at three. Under my OttLite, it looked a little patchy, but not enough to bother me once I added SV. I wore this for a week with average tip wear, a few cracks on the sides of my nails, and one hugeass chip on my chippy finger on Day 3 (I lost a battle with a zipper, sigh).

Shosh was part of a four-piece Lippmann set also released in 2013, inspired by the HBO show "Girls"; each polish in the set is named after one of the four main characters. (I don't remember exactly where I read it, but apparently "Girls" star and creator Lena Dunham is a Lippmann fan.) Supposedly the "Girls" set was LE, but I've seen the polishes pop up on destashes & blog sales from time to time (both in a set and individually) and my friends say they've even seen them sold individually at TJ Maxx, etc. If you're into Lippmanns (YUP) and/or "Girls" (NOPE), I think it's a pretty cool set -- provided you don't pay full retail. I bought mine from Janice a while back after she said the Lippmann Girls were "very Rach." Ha.

I guess waiting so long to post Lippmann Shosh ended up being timely, since the Shosh in Japan episode of Season Whatever-This-Is aired this past Sunday. I haven't watched it yet, nor have I watched any episodes from this current season ... I hate watch "Girls" and I haven't had the time or energy to do it lately. At this point, I know the characters are meant to be awful and not relatable, so I have no excuse now, LOL. I live for Elijah, though, and the show's scored some perfect NYC-based guest stars and cameos, which even I can't hate. I'm just dying because someone on ONTD commented that Shosh looks like a full-blown weeaboo in Japan ... and I have a feeling I won't be able not to remember that comment when I finally get to that episode. :/

If you have any thoughts about Shoshanna (the polish or Shoshanna Shapiro), spill 'em. Anyone else hate watch "Girls" -- or any other show(s)? Do you own any dupes for this polish?

Things are pretty cray right now, so I don't know how soon I can post again. I'd like to think I'll be able to share a green for St. Patrick's, at the very least! Just know I'm still loving pastels, and that I hope it's getting warmer where you are. Spring's almost here!