Friday, May 29, 2015

Illasmasqua Noble

It's been awhile since I featured an Illamasqua polish on the blog! Even though they are currently hard to come by stateside due to Sephora no longer carrying the brand, they have been popping on Hautelook recently. Which is a double bonus because they are discounted! Woo! Who doesn't love that? And so, accordingly, I have bought several *coughcough* many Illamasqua polishes recently thanks to Hautelook. Sorry not sorry. Well, my wallet is a little sorry. ANYWAY... today I have Illamasqua  Noble to share with you!

Noble was actually released in a fall collection (in 2012, wow) and I recall liking it at the time, but never got around to picking it up. Noble is described as a "turquoise blue" and also as a robin's egg blue. This polish is incredibly vibrant and bright, so it was love at first sight for me. Personally, I didn't see the turquoise in this for awhile and it definitely looks more blue in my photos, but it does have a hint of green to it to move it into turquoise territory. The formula was good-- I used two coats here and the polish was easy to apply.

Artificial light (flash):

Personally, I am in freaking love with this shade! Even though this was originally a fall release, the brightness makes it perfect for spring and summer! I even got compliments on this polish from one of the sample girls at Costco while I was wearing this. Bonus! Given how awesome this was, I am definitely looking forward to wearing all my other new Illamasqua pretties!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pahlish Always Bring a Banana

Recently, I was overcome with the desire to wear a yellow polish. This might sound weird to non-polish lovers And conveniently, not long ago I got a new, sparkly yellow polish courtesy of a Llarowe sale: Pahlish Always Bring A Banana. Pahlish is a new-to-me brand, so this the first appearance on the blog and my first experience with the brand. Always Bring A Banana is from Pahlish's Doctor Who collection. Apparently, there are a lot more bananas in Doctor Who than I initially realized, because I was totally wrong about which episode inspired this polish, hahaha!

Anyway, Always Bring A Banana is a bright mustard yellow holographic polish. In the bottle this definitely seemed less mustardy yellow and more sunshine yellow. I was a little bit surprised, but it's not necessarily a bad thing (maybe my eyes are just weird). This does have a holographic finish, though it is not very strong. In the bottle this looks more like a glass fleck. It's pretty, though! I ended up using three coats here, though I probably could have gotten away with two. There was a hint of visible nail line with just two coats, but I don't see any with three coats. The biggest issue was that the formula on this was thick. It seemed to get thicker as I used it. It wasn't terrible to apply, but it was kind of annoying.

Artificial light (flash):

Sorry for the the lack of a clean-up job here, but... I am busy and was probably tired! Though it wasn't quite the yellow I thought it was in the bottle, I really liked it and it was the little spot of sunshine I was looking for! The formula wasn't perfect, but it wasn't horrible, so I would definitely be willing to try more Pahlish polishes in the future!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

LVX Fuchsia

Oooohhh, I have a pretty polish to share with you today! A while back, I won the LVX spring collection from and because of my mountains and mountains of untried polishes, they have been sitting neglected. No longer! Today I have LVX Fuchsia to share with you because last week I was perusing my stash to find something to wear and couldn't resist the shimmer in this! I would describe Fuchsia as a vivid magenta/fuchsia color with a strong blue/violet shimmer.

Aside from my personal issues spelling Fuchsia correctly (I always forget how to spell it!), I had absolutely no issues with the polish! The formula was wonderful and practically painted itself on my finger nails. I honestly can't remember if I used two or three coats here. Sorry! I think I used three to make sure any visible nail line was covered-- while pigmented, this definitely had a slight jelly feel to it.

Artificial light (flash):

Isn't the shimmer awesome?! (The answer is yes.) My photos don't really do justice to this polish-- it's more vivid in real life. But at least it captured the shimmer well, which is very visible. This was my first experience with LVX polish and I was impressed with the formula-- which is good, because LVX polishes retail for $16, so they are not on the cheap side. Have you tried any LVX polishess?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Zoya Stevie

Today I have another Zoya Pixie Dust to share with you today! This time it's Zoya Stevie! (Aside: does the name of this polish recall the character from The Saddle Club book series? Did anyone else read those books? I was horse crazy as a younger girl and I devoured these books.) Moving right along-- Zoya Stevie is a "violet sparkle" and was originally released in the Summer 2013 collection. I would further say that Stevie has a silvery sparkle to it. Like the other Pixie Dusts, this has a great formula and covers nicely in two coats (it is possible I used three, but I'm pretty sure it was just two).

Artificial light (flash):

Honestly, looking through swatches originally, Stevie was not my favorite Pixie Dust. But then I actually wore it and I was amazed by how much I liked it. This is a gorgeous spring color, very reminiscent of the lilacs that bloom in the spring, which are my favorites. This is definitely a winner in my books; I'm glad that my initial reaction was turned on its head when I wore this.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Zoya Arabella

Well, I was going to have a patriotic manicure for the blog today as a way to celebrate Memorial Day, but my plans were changed drastically last night when one of my boys fell down a flight of stairs and had to be rushed to the ER and ending getting seven stitches because. It was pretty scary and stressful, so painting my nails was the last thing on my mind when we finally got home and got the kids to bed. So I am currently wearing a purple polish on my nails which is not particularly patriotic, though it is pretty. 

The closest thing I have is Zoya Arabella. Another Pixie Dust polish, Arabella is described as a "rich fuchsia pink in a matte, textured, sparkling finish." Once again, I can't really disagree with this. This is a deep, rich pink color with a nice sparkle. Like the other Pixie Dust polishes I have tried, this had a nice formula and went on easily. I used two coats here.

Artificial light (flash):

It's so pretty! I love how sparkly it is. This is so pretty.

I hope everyone is having a much more relaxing and less hectic Memorial Day weekend than I did! We definitely didn't get as much done as we intended to do. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

L'Oreal Aux Chandelles

Here we are at hump day already! How did that happen?! Anyway, tonight I have another polish from the L'Oreal Dark Sides of Grey (yes, based on that book). Aux Chandelles, which is French for candlelight, is a pale grey polish that dries to a shiny wax finish. Aside from Masked Affair this was the only other polish that really attracted my attention, because I'm such a fiend for these satin/matte polishes.

Now, after reading a few reviews, I was afraid of Aux Chandelles, because I had read the formula was iffy. Fortunately, having mentally prepared for this, I was able to apply it without any issues! The formula is a little on the thin side and a bit watery, so the first coat was a bit patchy. I used a very light hand and ended up using three coats just to make sure I had complete coverage. Because of the wax finish, it does dry down quickly, but not so quickly that I couldn't work with it!

Artificial light (flash):

Despite my initial fears about the formula, I ended up really liking this polish and am glad I picked it up. It's such a lovely light grey-- perfect for winter, or really any time of year! I'm very happy with this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Julep Janet

Hey all! Hope everyone had a good Tuesday! My day could have gotten off to a better start, but it ended up being ok. Seattle is experiencing a small heat wave (not uncommon for May) so we got our window AC units up tonight-- more for the kids, but we benefit as well, haha! Piggy backing off yesterday's cantaloupe post, today I have another polish along the same color lines. Today I have Julep Janet, which was from the March Maven POP! Collection. In this box Julep introduced a new "soft focus" finish and there was a trio available as an add-on. Being a sucker for these matte/satin finishes, I of course had to pick this up. According to Julep, soft focus means "semi-matte" and these polishes dry to a soft, eggshell satin like finish-- there is a bit of shine to them. This seems very similar to the Essie Cashmere Mattes that were released earlier this year.

Janet is described as a "pale peach soft focus" and I would amend this slightly to say it's a peachy neutral. I think in person it looks a bit more peach, but my photos seem to mute the peachy tones a bit. The formula on this was definitely a little bit tricky-- a little on the thick side and it wanted to streak when I applied it (and it didn't want to self level). A light hand is definitely needed when you apply this! I used three coats here, mainly to even it out rather than because it was too sheer or anything like that. With the semi-matte finish, this does dry fairly quickly, though you do have to be careful not to dent it while it's drying!

Artificial light (flash):

Despite the fact that the formula wasn't great, I do like this semi-matte finish. I like how soft this looks! How do you feel about the semi-matte finish?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wet N Wild Warm Filter

I have a nice, summery polish to share with you today! This is Warm Filter from the Wet n Wild Silver Lake Collection, which was released this spring. I decided to grab the whole collection because at $1.99, these polishes are hard to pass up. Warm Filter is a pretty classic summer color-- a warm cantaloup orange creme polish.

Warm Filter is nicely pigmented, though the formula is not perfect-- it's slightly on the thick side. But it goes on fairly easily and dries pretty quickly. What is interesting is that this polish actually dries much brighter than it looks in the bottle, to an almost neon level of brightness. Sometimes that can be annoying (mainly because you're not getting what you think you are) but in this case I don't mind because I love colors like this.

Artificial light (flash):

Colors like these are some of my favorites for summer! I certainly never get tired of them, in any case. Hopefully I love the rest of this collection as much as I loved Warm Filter!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Born Pretty Store Review: Multifunctional Tweezers

**sample provided for review**

Hi all! Sorry for such a quiet week-- I was busy Wednesday-Friday and I'm really bad about scheduling posts. In fact, I just don't. Sorry! This week should be better! Tonight I have another review of a product from the Born Pretty Store! This is the last product I received, a multifunctional tweezer. These tweezers are described as being made of stainless steel and can be used for many nail art purposes.

These were nice hefty tweezers, a bit bigger than I expected. I would stay that the mechanism is a little stiff so does take a little bit of pressure to open them!

Here's a close up of the end:

As you can see, these have a blunt point, as opposed to pointed ones. These were rather large compared to the 2mm studs I got to review (you can read that review here) and when I tried to use them to put the studs on my nail, I ended up denting my polish. Whoops! Maybe with practice, but I think these would work better for larger nail charms or studs. They were really great in helping me position the water decals I used and I think they will be really helpful for applying and removing striping tape.

Here's a a little peak at what my set up looked like, in case you're interested:

As always, you can use the code CRK31 to receive 10% on nail art products from the Born Pretty Store! I've really enjoyed reviewing these products and looking forward to exploring what else they have to offer!

**sample provided for honest review**

Monday, May 11, 2015

Colors by Llarowe Engorgeous

It's probably fitting that I'm sharing this polish with you the day after Mother's Day-- today I have Colors by Llarowe Engorgeous from the Oh, Baby! Collection that was released back in February (I think). I actually wore this with my Easter dress (so back in April) and fell in love with this polish. Engorgeous is described as a "light to medium baby pink linear holo." This is definitely true, by all accounts. I found there is maybe just a titch of purple in there, making it a soft, gorgeous, girly color.

I had absolutely no issues with Engorgeous! I was worried that because the color was on the light side, it might be a little sheer, but that was not an issue at all. I only needed two coats to make it opaque and the formula was smooth and easy to use. I love it when a polish is easy to use like this one was. No complaints at all! This isn't super linear as some CbL polishes are, but does have a nice linear holo finish.

Artificial light (flash):

And here are my nails with my dress:

For some reason, I had really been craving a pink holo polish, so this was a great addition to my collection. Engorgeous (and the whole Oh, Baby! collection) are beautiful. Did you pick up any of these polishes?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Born Pretty Store Review: Floral Water Decal!

**products sent for my honest review**

Hi there! I have another product from the Born Pretty Store to share with you today! Nail decals are a very popular item from BPS and there are a lot to choose from. I decided to go with these Colorful Motif Flower decals-- there are four designs to choose from and I picked XF1188.

This is what they look like in the package:

There are even instructions on the on the back, which are sort of helpful, but I think could benefit from some clarification.The first time I used these, I browsed the instructions and applied them like a normal temporary tattoo. WRONG! If you do this, the decal will be upside down and your manicure will look like this:

Whoops! That's not right. So I did a quick Google search to see how other bloggers do it and a key step that is left off the instructions (or not very clear at least to me) is that after you get the decal wet, you need to slip the decal off the paper and then onto your nail! Leave the decal in the water for about 30 seconds, then use tweezers or your finger nail to slid the decal off the paper and get it into the position you want on your nail. It takes a few seconds to adhere to the nail afterwards; I recommend using a paper towel (as the instruction suggest) to press down on it gently and suck up any excess water. The instructions suggest using a hair dryer to help it dry and stick-- I didn't find this necessary, though I'm sure it couldn't hurt! Once the decal was stuck go my nail I added top coat and it was perfect!

For my final manicure, I once again used Julep Janet for my base color. I chose two of the designs and put them on my ring finger and my index finger:

So pretty! I love the finished product. I definitely want to get some more decals, especially floral ones because I am on a real floral kick right now.

Once again, you can use the code CRK31 to receive a 10% discount on any purchase from the Born Pretty Store!

Hope everyone had a nice weekend and a happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

365 Days of Color Spring Exclusive Box

Whew, I'm finally getting this up! As per usual, the box is currently sold out, but I was sick with my thousandth cold when this box arrived and wanted to be actually able to smell the products before I posted my review. Now I can breathe again, so here we go! 

As per usual, everything looks wonderful. I also love the labels that Sunny chooses for her products. This box are were some slight packaging changes, and I'm not sure if that's a permanent change or if it was just this time. The lip balm is now in a clear tube and several of the tubs of product, instead of having rounded edges on the lids, now have a straight edge.

All over body balm: Rainbow.  This scent is described as "a very unique fragrance beginning with top notes of pear, green grapes, kiwi, raspberry and peach; followed by middle notes of jasmine and lily of the valley; and well rounded with a base note of white musk."

 This is super sweet and fruity smelling, but to me it recalls some scent from my childhood. It's maybe a little on the sweet side, but overall I like it. 

Bath Whip: Clean Crisp Air. Sunny says that this is scent "reminds you of fresh clean air filled with hints of greenery and soft florals. This complex fragrance begins with top notes of fresh clover and ivy. Middle notes of baby's breath, periwinkle, and lily of the valley. Base notes of ozony fresh notes."

The scent of this in the jar is very light and hard to place-- I haven't used it yet in the shower so I'm not sure how much I love it, but I will try it out soon! 

Cuticle Oil: Sun Moon Stars. This scent has "fresh green notes of clover and ivy followed by notes of jasmine, and vetiver. Bottom notes of green stem notes. Fresh!"

I've been using this a lot lately with my Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream to keep my hands happy and I really like this scent. It's a nice balance between floral and green, without leaning too much either way. 

Hand Butter: Butterfly Flower. This scent has "fresh ozone notes that lead to this light hearted green floral bouquet. A blend of lily and sage is twisted with shimmering greens as tangy tones of cassis create a bright accent for the floralcy. Sweet amber and crisp orange flower are blended with musk at the base of the scent."

 This one definitely has a more green smell to it, but I really like it as a contrast to the florals in this box. It has a fresh, clean scent. The hand butter is pretty much my favorite product, so this is probably my favorite. 

Sugar Scrub: April Showers. Described as having "the aroma of fresh powder, light musk, and just a hint of fresh spring flowers of lavender, jasmine, and tulips."

This one smelled a lot like laundry detergent to me, and unfortunately it was a little overpowering to me. Not a bad scent, but a little too strong for me. I loved how it felt on my hands otherwise, but the scent is not my cup of tea.

Intensive Cuticle Therapy Oil: Spring Rain. This scent is described as a "musky accord enhanced with a fresh floral bouquet of carnations, tiger lilies, alyssum, orchids, and roses, with hints of fresh greenery."

This has a nice light clean smell, just like a fresh spring rain! I really like this.

Lip Balm: Honeysuckle Mandarin. This is scent is described as "a fresh blend of sweet blooming honeysuckle and juicy ripe sour mandarins!"

This was a nice blend of fruit and floral with this one-- the citrus keeps it from being too perfumey. I like it! 

Miracle Balm: Chance: This fragrance is a blend of citron, water hyacinth, jasmine, iris, teakwood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, and white musk.

 This scent of this is pretty light, but nice. Not my favorite, but not bad! 

On the Go Hand Lotion: Breezes and Sunshine. This scent "begins with top notes of blood orange blossoms and sea waves; followed by rose, and sitting on base notes of sea lily flowers and woody notes."

Love the smell of this one! I love this lotion during the day and this smells wonderful. 

Triple Thick Body Cream: Innocence. This scent is described as "a wonderful aromatic blend starting with top notes of powdery peony petals, romantic alyssum, jasmine, and fresh strawberries. Bottom notes of lily of the valley, Egyptian musk, and vanilla beans." 

I love the way this smells! So good! It's light and sweet and just delightful. Definitely a favorite from this box.  

Overall another great box-- I really hope Sunny does a summer box, because so far that's been my favorite.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Born Pretty Store Review: 2mm Mixed Rhombus Nail Studs

*samples sent for honest review*

I have something fun to share with you today! I was recently contacted by the Born Pretty Store to review some items, and if you've never heard of the Born Pretty Store, well... get to the website asap! They have a ton of stuff, but most importantly to this blog, a whole section dedicated to nail polish and nail art. They are based in Singapore, so shipping can take awhile, but the prices are super reasonable and they have a ton of stuff! As soon as I got the email, I knew I wanted to review some nail studs because I have never used them before and wanted to give it go! I chose these 2mm Mixed Rhombus studs which are a mix of shapes and neon and pastel colors. I figured there would be a lot of things I could with them and it was a nice mix of shapes and colors. Win win!

When they arrived, they looked like this:

Just in a little jar, all mixed together. And they are small! Empirically, I know 2mm is not large, but I was surprised at how tiny they were! That may sound silly, but it's true. To actually use them, I dumped out a small amount onto a paper towel in my work area and then turned them so they were right side up. They were a bit tricky to move around because they were so small, but using the edge of my nail or a toothpick worked well. If you have a pair of fine tweezers/forceps, those would work too! I tried to use a pair of tweezers I also got from the store (review to come later) but they were a bit too large for these studs. In the end, using a toothpick with a dot of top coat (not quick drying) worked the best to place them on my nail.

Here's the final look I ended up with! I used Julep Janet as my base color. I then went for a mix of colors-- I was inspired by those enamel necklaces that are popular right now and want to do something reminiscent of that. That's the design on my ring finger. By the end of that, I was having so much fun that I decided to add the circle studs on my middle finger. I love it!

There was a definitely learning curve to using these, but I was able to catch on pretty quickly and once I did, I didn't have any issues! I am looking forward to playing around with these more and creating some different designs-- it's a lot of fun!

If you're interested in trying out some nail art products or need some supplies, I have a coupon code (CRK31) you can use to receive a 10% discount! There is a ton of stuff on the Born Pretty site, so be prepared to fall down a rabbit hole. I believe you need an account to use the code-- once you login there should be a place to enter it! Happy shopping!

*samples sent for my honest review*

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

L'Oreal Skinny Jeans

Hope everyone enjoyed their Cinco de Mayo celebrations-- we whipped up quite the little Mexican insprired feast and I am currently pleasantly buzzed on margaritas. Sounds like a good Tuesday! Tonight I have a polish that has been kicking around since last summer-- whoops! I honestly meant for it to get on the blog a lot sooner than now, but... life. What can I say? This is Skinny Jeans, from last summer's Denim Collection, which consisted of six textured polishes. You've seen a few of them already on the blog. I got the whole collection, but it was this polish that made me want them in the first place!

Skinny Jeans is a periwinkle creme texture. This color is so pretty! I don't recall any issues when I applied it and I'm believe I used two coats here. Like most textures, this dried quickly and had a slightly scratchy finish but that wore down the longer I wore it.

Artificial light (flash):

Natural light (sun):

When texture polishes started coming out, I used to dislike the creme ones (meaning, the ones without glitter) but these cremes have really grown on me. Plus, periwinkle is a great summer color so these hits all the right notes for me! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the Fourth Be With You Manicure!

Hey all! Today is May 4th, or in the pop culture lexicon: Star Wars Day! Star Wars is the second fandom I ever got into and I am still huge fan. When the newest teaser trailer for The Force Awakens was released, I spent all weekend watching it on loop. SO EXCITED!! Am I the only one thinking it would be cool if a polish brand decided to make a line of polishes based on the movie?!

Ahem, anyway.

When the pictures started coming out for the May edition of A Box, Indied and I found out that it had a Star Wars theme, I knew I had to have it. And luckily, I did manage to snag one! I will have a review up later, but I did used a couple of the polishes from the box for my manicure. I've been steadily collecting Star Wars themed polishes from various indie makers and trawled my stash to pick the perfect polishes! I settled on Lacquerlicious Path to the Dark Side, Glisten & Glow Saber This! and Different Dimension Saber That.

Path to the Dark Side is a glitter bomb with a dark blackened base with various silver, blue, and copper glitters of various sizes. I layered one coat of A England Camelot. Then, on one accent nail I used Saber This! which is shimmery blue glow in the dark polish with flakies, representing Luke's (and Obi-Wan's) light saber from the first two movies and on my other hand I used Saber That, which is a shimmery green representing Yoda's green light saber (Luke also had a green light saber in Return of the Jedi).

On my left hand, I used Glisten & Glow Saber This! as an accent nail. 

On my right hand (man, it sure is difficult to photograph your Cinderella hand), I used Different Dimension Saber That as an accent:

I had completely forgotten that Saber This and Saber That were glow in the dark so last night, when I turned off the lights and they started glowing, I was like a little kid. I even turned the light back on to charge them, haha. Now I can admire my nails in the dark! I love how this manicure turned out, with the two light saber colors standing out against the black of the Dark Side. Perfection! Glow in the dark for the two light saber polishes was definitely the right choice-- I love how they glow.

Hope everyone had a good Monday! Did you do anything to celebrate May 4th? Or any pop culture "holidays" throughout the year?