Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July mani!

I'm not dead! It's hard to convey how much I want to be blogging right now, but just can not spare a lot of (or any) time for my blog. I'm not quitting, but am trying to figure out how I can blog with more frequency. So sorry for my long absences-- I am still around! You can follow me on twitter (@lacquerland) or on Instagram (catray); I am fairly active on both of those social media outlets, though it's not always polish related.

I wanted to do a manicure to celebrate the 4th of July because, let's face it, I don't have much time to do creative manicures these days. So I actually did some nail art! It took two days, but I did it! I was tossing around some ideas and finally settled one what you will see below. I used Cult Nails Tempest as my white base on four nails and Colors by Llarowe Rubies & Rednecks on my ring finger as an accent (who knows when I will review this polish-- it's awesome!). Then I taped off the top of my nail and used OPI Wharf! Wharf! Wharf! on the bottom half. Pretty easy, but it did take two nights because I wanted the white base to dry so I didn't have to worry about ruining it when I applied the tape. 

This manicure also has a nautical feel to it, but that seems to fit with the 4th of July. I'm just happy I was able to come up with a themed manicure and I think it turned out pretty well! Hope everyone has a happy 4th!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Zoya Rebel

Man, I haven't posted about a Zoya polish in for-ev-er! Craziness. Zoya Rebel is a polish from Zoya's spring collection, Awaken. They had a St. Patrick's Day sale were you could get a free green polish with the order of any two other polishes from the site, so I used it as an opportunity to get all the shimmers from the Awaken collection, which were the only only polishes in the collection I was really interested in. I know everyone has seen these swatches by now, sorry! They were sitting on my shelf for a bit, but I had a craving to wear a blue polish and so I grabbed Rebel. Zoya describes this as a "full coverage blue sky metallic with a silver shimmer." The only quibble I have is that Zoya rates this as a 5 (out of 5) on their opacity scale, which to my mind means it should be a one coat polish. I used two coats here (at least, I'm pretty sure... again, no notes) and two coats gave good coverage. You could use a third coat to really make the color pop and I seem to recall that I wish I had used a third coat because I had some thin spots on my nails-- just something to keep in mind!

In any case, I think this is a lovely polish and nicely bridges the winter/spring divide. The blue is a bit bright, but the silver shimmer gives it a slight iciness that is evocative of winter. Very pretty! 

Artificial light (flash):

One thing I do remember about this was that I had major shrinkage the day after applying this!! I use the Essie Good to Go top coat and typically do not have any problems with it, but for some reason, combined with Rebel, the polish shrank! Honestly, this is the first time I've had this problem. Very strange-- I'm not sure if anyone else has had this problem with this particular polish, but for whatever reason I did experience some problems.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cult Nails Lethal

Today I have another polish from the Cult Nails Passionate Dreams collection-- Lethal! Lethal is a silver foil polish, though when it dries it has a matte chrome like finish. This will be brief, because I don't really take notes anymore when I "swatch" so I'm going from memory here. To the best of my recollection, this is two coats of Lethal and I no issues applying the polish at all.

Artificial light:

Natural light:

For some weird reason, even though I wear a lot of silver jewelry in my day to day life, I find myself more attracted to gold polish instead of silver. I'm not really sure why that is, but it was a thought that crossed my mind the other day. But when I wear a silver polish, I'm like a magpie and incredibly attracted to how shiny it is, and Lethal is no exception to that. This is a great silver polish if you're in the market for one! Which color metallic polish do you like wearing the most?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May The Fourth Be With You!

Better late than never, right? Most of you will probably see this on May 5th, but whatever. If you are a Star Wars fan, May 4th has become something of a holiday in the fandom-- also known as Star Wars Day. Like most things, I had grand plans for a May the Fourth manicure, but real life (mainly, twin babies) gets in the way. So I took the easy route and used one of my May the Fourth Be With You trio polishes-- Rebel Alliance by Liquid Sky Lacquer. I saw this trio advertised on Instagram and knew I had to have because I'm a huge Star Wars fan and I love polishes based on the movies.

Rebel Alliance is my first Liquid Sky Lacquer and the creator, Carolyn, does a lot of thermal polishes (this is also my first thermal polish as well)! While not a new thing, there seems to be a trend in indies to make thermal polishes and there are a lot of gorgeous ones out there. As the name implies, a thermal polish changes color based on temperature. In this case, Rebel Alliance, changes from a cool gold when warm to a vibrant green when cold. Due to the color changing pigment (I assume), the gold does have a slight green tinge to it, especially at angles. This applies fairly easily, though with the color change (it started changing on my nail) I found it difficult to accurately assess if I had any thin/bald patches. It was a little on the sheer side, so I used three coats here, plus a top coat.



The green is actually a lot more vibrant in person-- the flash is washing it out, which sucks. It's so so so SO pretty in person. The color change is also pretty quick-- almost as soon as you dunk your hand (or nails) in cold water, green appears. But the change back is also quick; you can see in my photos that the color is already transitioning from green to gold on some nails.

In any case, as my introduction to thermal polishes, I love this one and have been trying to find excuses to dip my hands in cool water just to see the color change. I do wish I hadn't trimmed my nails earlier in the day before apply this, because if I had a little more free edge there might be more green on the tips. Oh well, next time!

What's your verdict on thermal polishes? Yay or nay? I haven't gone out of my way to get anyway, but now that I own one I'm definitely curious to try a few more!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

L'Oreal I Like It Chunky

Ok, first of all... WTH is up with the nail of this polish?! Are they referring to peanut butter? Because that's the only thing I prefer chunky. Even though the name is terrible, this is such a pretty polish. I Like It Chunky is a another textured polish from L'Oreal-- now part of their permanent collection. It's an orange texture with gold and pink glitter.

Like The Statement Piece, this polish was extremely easy to apply. The brush was a touch stiff, but not difficult to work with. Here I have used two coats and that gave nice opaque coverage.

Artificial light:

Natural light:

I really like this. On the nail, this polish isn't super orange; it has a strong brown tone to it. It's a pumpkin orange. In my opinion, this color is pretty unique for textured polishes-- I don't think there's another company that has a textured polish this color. I could definitely see myself wearing this during the fall-- this polish definitely has an autumnal feeling to me.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cult Nails Angel Whispers

Today I have a polish from the most recent Cult Nails collection. (I am so behind on everything!) a recent Cult Nails collection, Passionate Dreams. This isn't the first polish I've worn from this collection-- I wore Kiss for Valentine's Day but didn't get a chance to photograph it for the blog. I decided I needed to paint my nails and reached for Angel Whispers. This polish is a very soft, light pink (almost white) with a shimmery silver glitter/texture. It dries to a slightly gritty feel, but because the glitter is so fine, it feels like sandpaper (to me, anyway). If you didn't like the texture, a layer or two of top coat would make this smooth-- you don't have to wear it as a textured polish and though slightly gritty, is not extremely textured. 

I was only able to get flash photos of this polish, sadly. The day that I planned on photographing this in natural light (and sun!), the polish on one nail completely flaked off, so these are the only photos I have.

Here's the thing: I'm torn about this polish. Part of me loves it and part of me really dislikes it.The color is great. I like that this can be worn as a texture or not, very easily. The formula isn't as great-- it's very thick and gets a little goopy. I used three coats here, but in the future would do two coats and live with the slight visible nail line. But overall I still really like this, despite the formula issues.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Julep Lola

Today I have Julep Lola to show you. This polish isn't new new, but it did come out in the November It Girl box. I grabbed this to use with my Seahawks Super Bowl manicure, and after using it there I really wanted to wear it as a full manicure (technically, this has yet to happen... unless wearing it on four fingers counts! Twin mom life, yo!). Lola is a "moonlit night blue satin" which is another reason I wanted to wear this-- I knew I wouldn't need a top coat. Anything to save time!

Despite not needing a top coat, I would strongly recommend using a base coat. Blues are notorious for staining because of the pigment so I went ahead and used two coats of my base coat to avoid any potential staining. I did not have any staining, so take what you will from that. I like being on the safe side, just in case. Stained nails are awful! The formula on Lola was good-- almost a one coater, though I used two to get complete coverage. Lola goes on shiny and then dries to the satin finish. It didn't take too long to dry, either, which is nice.

Artificial light:

The natural light pictures were taken after a few days of wear (or at least overnight; I can't remember). You can see (if you blow up the pictures) that without a topcoat there was some denting/scratching of the polish.

Natural light:

One of the best things about Lola was that it did wear like iron. I wore this for several days (on only four fingers-- yeah, I know. Don't judge me!) and barely had any wear on my nails. So that is awesome! These days I tend to wear my manicures a lot longer than I normally would so if they are still looking decent by the time I take them off, I'm happy. 

So in summary: love the color, love the satin finish, love the wear time. Wish it hadn't gotten nicked up, but I still really like it. This is definitely a new favorite!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Urban Outfitters Green Holo

For St. Patrick's Day I wanted to wear something green on my nails to help celebrate, so I managed to squeeze in a polishing session on Sunday night. I decided to pull out a polish that is long untried-- Urban Outfitters Green Holo. I bought this soon after it first came out but it's just been sitting around so it was time to wear it! (Of course... now it's almost April, blargh.)

Green Holo (original name, right?) is a silvery green holographic polish. I keep wanting to call it celadon green, but that's not really accurate. The green seems much deeper in the bottle than it does on the nail. The holo is incredibly strong, to the point of almost overwhelming the base color.

I did find this polish to be a little patchy-- best to let the polish dry first and not go over areas you have already polished. I used two coats in my pictures, but in the future I would use three coats. However, given how strong the holo is, it covers up a lot of flaws! I had some patchiness on my ring finger, but it only showed up in low light. The formula is a little thin and I am not a huge fan of the brush (too small for my giant nail beds) but it did dry incredibly quickly.

Artificial light with flash:

I wore this for several days with only minor tip wear and minimal chipping. The pictures I took in natural light are after 3 full days of wear, so please forgive the wear.

Natural light - sun:

You can still see the holo in the shade, which is pretty amazing-- though obviously it is not quite as strong.

Natural light - shade:

To be honest, I'm not sure if this polish is still available. It's not on the Urban Outfitters website, but might pop up there again. You may be able to find it stores. These polishes seem to come and go, so there's a chance it may be available again!

Where do you fall on the holo train? Yay or nay? Do you prefer them to be a strong linear holo or a more scattered holo? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Julep Lip Buff Scrub and Luxe Lip Conditioning Treatment

This is a slightly different post than normal for me. I have been a Julep subscriber for a long time-- basically since they started their Maven program. I know a lot of people have issues with Julep for various reasons; fair enough. I am not one of those people, so feel free to skip this post if you are. I initially joined Julep for the nail polish and was a bit put off when they started expanding their line to include other beauty products-- especially when they turned the American Beauty box into the Modern Beauty box. I wanted nail polish, damnit! Yet, as I have gotten more into makeup thanks to the gateway drug of polish, and the fact that I have limited time to wear and swatch polish these days, I find myself glad that Julep has expanded their horizons because I can pick to get beauty related items instead of polish that will lanquish in a drawer until I have time to get to it (though let's not kid ourselves-- I still buy polish of course!).

I haven't talked much about my personal beauty regime on this blog, but I'm a relatively simple person. My biggest beauty struggle is probably my lips-- they dry out extremely quickly and I usually exacerbate the problem by picking at them and making them worse. I try and wear chapstick constantly, but will absentmindedly pick at my lips (and not drink enough water), leading to a chronic problem of ugly, scarred, flaky lips. Pregnancy (and now post-partum), to my surprise, has actually helped solve this issue to an extent-- I am constantly drinking water and this has definitely improved the condition of my lips. So when the March Modern Beauty box had these two lip products in it, I decided to take a chance and try them!

Julep Lip Buff Scrub is described as an "exfoliating, hydrating scrub makes it easy to de-flake on the go—just massage on and wipe off. Your lips will look and feel better right away." The scrub has fine sugar crystals, vitamin B5 and shea butter to exfoliate, heal, and moisturize. It's a pen/wand with a felt applicator and you twist the bottom to get product.

It took me quite a few twists to get any product out (like 10+ at least)-- at first I thought I had a dud because nothing was coming out! So if you got this and got really ticked off (I was getting there, believe me), try twisting it a few more times. Now that I've gotten it started I only need one twist to get product out. Once it comes out, it goes on the lips smoothly and has a nice consistency-- slightly on the thick side but thins out as it is absorbed into the lips. There doesn't seem to be a ton of sugar crystals in here (or they are very very fine) so my personal opinion (not in any way verified) is that this is gentler on your lips than a normal sugar scrub and you could probably use this every day if you wanted to. Julep recommends leaving this on for five minutes and then wiping off. After wiping it off (which I do gently with a tissue) there is still some residual moisture on my lips.

Julep Luxe Lip Conditioning Treatment is basically a fancy lip balm. It is described thusly: "enriched with natural ingredients that soothe, hydrate, and plump lips, this silky-smooth moisturizer sets a new bar for balm." This has a metal applicator and a slight coconut smell to it (at least to me).

The balm comes out easily and goes on smoothly. It has a slight pink color to it and doesn't feel too thick on the lips. I usually apply both these products before bed so I can let them work their magic while I sleep, but they are a nice size for throwing in your purse if you feel like you would use them during the day. When I put it on at night, I can't necessarily feel it on my lips the next morning but my lips don't feel dry.

Overall, I'm not sure if these products have miraculously made my lips better, but I like how they feel on my lips and they certainly do seem to moisturize, which is what my lips need.

These two product are available individually or as a duo on Julep's website. Quite honestly, I'm not quite sure how the prices compare to other similar products on the market-- many companies make lip scrubs, and you can even make your own if you're a DIY kind of person. Lip balms are almost a dime a dozen, depending on what you prefer. Since Julep is a boutique brand, I think the prices are a little on the high side, but since I got them together in a Maven box, the price was okay with me! Will I purchase these in the future? Well, maybe if there is a sale on the set. While I do like them, I think you can find similar products that work for less money, depending on what you like and what your budget is! 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rescue Beauty Lounge Moulin Rouge/Cerise Noir

Tonight I have another Rescue Beauty Lounge polish to share with you-- Moulin Rouge. Actually, that's the old name for this polish; it was renamed Cerise Noir when it was re-released. To avoid confusion, I will just call this Cerise Noir. My bottle is the old version, but both are described as "black cherries wrapped in dark chocolate. Decadant, luscious, and just a bit dangerous."

Cerise Noir is a deep vampy red with hints of brown, but despite the darkness of this polish, you can't mistake it for black. This was an easy polish to apply-- 2 coats was all I needed. This went on incredibly smoothly and dries to a glossy finish without a top coat.

Artificial light:

Natural light:

This is a lovely vampy red brown. I think it's rich, sexy and sophisticated.