30 June 2011

Vacation Break!

Hi Lacquer Lovers!

I know it's been quiet over here at Polish & Tonic - and will continue to be so - but I don't want you to think I've forgotten about you! Mama is heading out of the country today for a much overdue (and much deserved!) vacation. I won't be blogging while I'm gone, but check back the week of 7/11 for updates on my crazy rendezvous with London and Paris, all the manis and pedis I sported during the trip, and most importantly - the huge international polish haul I'm sure to be bringing home!

28 June 2011

Rescue Beauty Lounge: No More War

Today I have for you one of my most favorite polishes that I purchased recently. I haven't gotten this excited for a polish in so long! Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War is the color that got me interested enough to buy RBL for the first time, and the perfect example as to why RBL is an amazing boutique brand. I wore this as a pedi a few weeks ago on my trip to Northern Cal, and I got so many comments on it!

If you talk to any polish addict, she's likely heard of RBL. When asked what makes RBL unique, one of the Family Feud-style top five answers will always be "the colors are so unique!" Only a handful of RBL polishes have ever been duped by another brand. RBL No More War is no different. It is the Hilary Swank of nail polish. (If you know me, you know that I joke that Hilary Swank is my favorite ugly pretty Hollywood actress - she's got some less-than-perfect features that make her absolutely pretty and interesting to look at. Cruel, but true.) No More War is like that - at first glance, you're going to love it or hate it; there is no in between, and likely there's no changing your mind. Check it out:

And I was doing a little drinky-drinky when swatching this polish, and thought it would be fun to snap a shot of the polish with my buttery chardonnay:

I am so surprised by how much I like this. No More War is a warm-toned color, which I normally stay away from. The first coat shows a lot of the yellow undertone, and 2 coats would have sufficed, but I used 3 coats for this mani just to really bring out the true beauty of this color. It's a conversation starter, definitely the most unique polish I own, and an absolute favorite!

What do you think? Is No More War ugly, pretty, or ugly-pretty? Do you have any out-there colors that no one has duped, but you polish on and stare at for days? What brand do you think makes the most unique colors? Sound off in the comments!

27 June 2011

Chip Prevention Wear Test: The Verdict Is In!

Happy Monday!

If you remember, last Wednesday I started a wear test to determine which treatment is better at preventing chips, a sticky base coat or a chip skip top coat. I managed to wear Rescue Beauty Lounge for a full 5 day wear test - I was itching to change the color by Friday! - and the verdict is in. Read on!

If you remember, I had Nubar Foundation base coat on my middle and pinky fingers, with a generic top coat on top. I wore essie No Chips Ahead top coat on my pointer and ring fingers, with a generic base coat underneath. Take a look at the mani after 5 days:

As you can see, there is normal tipwear on all 4 nails (expected, as I do work at a computer all day) with a little more-than-expected tip wear on the pointer finger and ring fingers, and a huge chip on the pinky finger. The pinky is misleading - up until 3 minutes before I took this photo my pinky looked just like my middle finger. But then I walked into a wall (yes, I have blond moments, too). I naturally have soft nails, and this is less a chip and more just a piece of my nail peeled off from the impact.

The Winner: Nubar Foundation Base Coat

Here's the thing - I actually thought both treatments were pretty fairly equal until the last day, when the essie protected nails started showing excessive wear, compared to the Nubar nails. If you keep your mani's for a long time, as in over 5 days, go with a sticky base coat like Nubar (or Orly Bonder, another fave). If you're like me and change your polishes frequently, though, I would say either one adequately will prevent chips.

All things being equal, then, I had to go with the Nubar as the winner. Essie NCA felt very thin when applied, and didn't bring a lot of shine to the mani. I'd rather stick with a sticky base coat like Nubar which would allow me to use a high glossy top coat, like CND Super Shiney, which really makes a mani sparkle.

What do you think? Were you expecting both to give similar results? Or are you passionate about one versus the other? And am I the only one who finds it painful to wear the same mani for 5 days in a row?!?!

26 June 2011

Zoya Sooki (True Blood Returns!)

Happy Sunday, Lacquer Lovers!

It has been a quiet and productive weekend here in SoCal - I got my hair did yesterday, did a little nail polish shopping, beautiful hike this morning in Runyon Canyon, and just finished a few hours of swatching polishes I haven't had time to get to. Haha okay, so there was no cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, etc., but the former is my idea of a productive weekend way more than the latter.

In case you haven't heard, season 4 of True Blood returns tonight on HBO! I watched the first 3 episodes already (there are a few perks to working for a studio and having friends in the industry!), and for all you hardcore fans, you will not be disappointed! For fans of the book - well, the more you can distance yourself from the storyline in the books, the happier you will be. Alan Ball has his own point of view for the characters in Bon Temps, and while he respects Charlaine Harris' original work, he definitely is forging his own ideas on the Bon Temps universe without apology.

To celebrate the return of our favorite southern vamps, I changed up my pedi today to Zoya Sooki. Sooki is a bright red creme, released this year as a part of the Zoya Summertime Collection. It was surprisingly opaque in just 1 coat - always a plus! - but I did 2 coats below, just to get rid of any VNL. You know I never force my friends to stare at my piggies, so here's a look at Sooki on my fingers:

The photo above is natural light and didn't quite capture how bright and bold Sooki really is. Here's a shot with artificial light and flash:

Overall, Sooki really reminds me of OPI Vodka & Caviar, one of my favorite reds ever. V&C is much more of a jelly versus Sooki which is a true creme. (Memo to self - must do a comparison soon!) Sooki has a place in my collection now, but if it turns out to be a dupe for V&C, it may be facing the 'true death' and leaving my collection.

What do you think? Do you have any of the polishes from the Zoya Summertime Collection? Are you a True Blood fan? And doesn't Sooki seem to be the perfect polish for Sookie Stackhouse?

23 June 2011

Chip Prevention Wear Test: Part Deux

A few weeks ago I attempted to do my first wear test to determine the best way to extend a manicure and minimize chips - either using a sticky base coat, or a chip preventing top coat. The wear test was interrupted by my office move, and I promised you all I'd re-visit the topic in the future.

The future has arrived.


Wear a manicure for 5 days (that alone is a challenge for me!) in order to find the best weapon in my current collection of top coats, base coats, and treatments to prevent chipping and extend the life of the mani.


Representing sticky base coats, weighing in at 0.5 fl oz, we have Nubar Foundation Base Coat. I realize that Nubar is a less well-known brand, but I'm hoping to inspire you to go out and find them. Really, they make fantastic colors and have a great formula - every polish lover should have a few in their collection!

Representing chip preventing top coats, from a well-known salon brand, weighing in at 0.5 fl oz, we have Essie No Chips Ahead Top Coat. Essie is an easily accessible brand, available at both salons and major retailers like CVS, Target, and Wal-Mart.


If I have to stare at the same manicure for 5 days, you better believe it is going to be a polish I love. I have hunted online and the streets of LA high and low to snag up a bottle of the sold-out Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine, from the fall 2010 The Real Housewives of the Tudors Dynasty Collection (yea, that's a mouthful). Rescue Beauty Lounge is a small, boutique nail polish brand based out of NYC with a passionate group of followers who call themselves ReBeLs.

Catherine is a dark, smokey, blue-tinted purple with a fuschia and teal sparkle. The polish applied flawlessly in 2 coats, however, RBL polishes are special for their colors, and Catherine is no different. Seriously, RBL gives you the most unique colors that you haven't seen anywhere before, and the uniqueness alone makes the price (retails for $18 for a 0.4 fl oz bottle) worth it. Take a look:

Unfortunately, we're in June gloom season in LA, and I don't have any direct sunlight to show you the fuschia/teal sparkle - so sad! However, I do have some close-up shots to show a hint of the sparkle on the nails and in the bottle. Here's a close-up in natural lighting:

And under artificial lighting (sorry for the blurriness, but look at her sparkle!):

So there you have it! The only rules are that I'm not allowed to touch up the manicure (aah!) except to re-apply top coat for shine. I'll be re-applying regular top coat on the Nubar nails, and the Essie NCA to the nails that already have it.

Let the battle royale begin! Check back Monday morning for results!

What do you think? Do you rely on a sticky base coat or hardening top coat to protect your nails from keyboards, dish soap, and all elements that would do them harm? Have you tried any Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes yet? What are you fave colors? Sound off in the comments!

21 June 2011

NOTD: Julep Natalie

Good Morning!

One of the reasons I'm such a nail polish addict is because I spend a lot of time online talking to other nail polish addicts and learning so much about polish! I'm always surprised at how much I don't know. I recently found an online community I love, and the ladies have completely opened me up to nail polish brands I'd never heard of (and never would) before. Yes, you have OPI, Essie, China Glaze, Zoya, Sally Hansen, and others, and all of these brands are good at some things and worse at others. But even beyond these major brands, there are some special polishes out there, and today's post is here to introduce you to a boutique brand out of the pacific northwest - Julep Nail Parlor.

I first learned about Julep from a blogger, and I have been in love with their bright colors ever since I first laid eyes on them. Julep (and most boutique brands) is a bit pricey - each polish retails for $14 for a 0.27 fl oz bottle (about 1/2 the size of what you get from OPI, Orly, etc. for almost twice the price). So a few weeks ago when Lucky Magazine had a deal of the day to pick up 4 Julep polishes for 60% off, you know I had to snatch some up!

The summer set came with four polishes: Amy, Helena, Natalie, and Jennifer. I have for you today Natalie, described as a bright 'honeysuckle pink' on Julep's site. Natalie is a beautiful pink with some orange tones - at first I thought it might be a pink-tinged coral, which is how it appears indoors/low lighting. However, after stepping outside this morning, I knew she was the bright pink as promised. The formula on Julep was really nice - I actually thought it went on a little thick, and I prefer slightly thinner polish. I had nearly full opacity in one coat, but put a second on just because. Take a look:

And here's an up-close shot of the polish:

Julep Natalie is definitely a keeper! Although, in the interest of full disclosure, because it applied so thick, I've already found 2 small chips in the mani after typing at work all day. Sadness! However, I'm still completely in love with this color and brand, and can't wait to take the other 3 colors out for a test drive!

What do you think? Have you tried other colors from Julep? Are you a fan of Julep, or any other boutique nail polish brands? And just how much are you willing to spend on a bottle of nail polish?

16 June 2011

The Untried Diaries: OPI Houston We Have A Purple

Happy Thursday! Two more days till the weekend! It feels like it's been forever since I last posted! Last weekend was a crazy one - I was visiting friends in San Francisco and Sonoma for 3 days, and needless to say, there was a lot of drinking! The drive up I-5 was easy-peasy on Saturday, and seriously the most painful drive ever on Monday - it's amazing what 72 hours of binge drinking can do to the body.

Today's mani is actually the mani I rocked for the weekend - OPI Houston We Have A Purple. HWHAP was released this past spring as a part of the Texas Collection, which included six polishes (including HWHAP) with a "sorbet-like" finish. Read: it's a jelly polish! I had already worn and fallen in love with Do You Think I'm Tex-y?, a bright pink jelly from the collection, so a few weeks later when I was back at Ulta, I had to pick up HWHAP too.

HWHAP is a purple polish with a cool pink undertone; it almost looked like a purple-ish raspberry on my mani. Try as I might, I wasn't able to capture the true purple tint on camera, but below is fairly accurate. As it's a jelly, the polish had a super high gloss finish (Love!) and as expected had VNL at two coats. I did a third coat for a little more opacity, but most people who love jellies would have been happy at two.

And here's a close-up:

But of course I loved Houston We Have A Purple! This polish is right up my alley in terms of both finish and color. It definitely brings a happy summery vibe to my nails, and I won't be surprised to find myself reaching for this polish several times throughout the summer.

What do you think? Do you have any jellies or polishes from the OPI Texas collection? And if you have seen the jellies from the OPI Texas collection in person (www.opi.com), be honest: can you really tell the difference between Too Hot Pink To Hold 'Em and Do You Think I'm Tex-y? I know I can't!

08 June 2011

On Wednesday We Wear Pink: essie Pink Parka

Happy Wednesday!

I'm currently still rocking Zoya Jules for my manicure, so today's Pink Wednesdays is brought to you by my pedicure, essie Pink Parka. How I came to own Pink Parka is kind of an interesting story, so bear with me...

Recently J. Crew had an add which stirred up quite a bit of conversation - check it out below:

Now, everyone had their panties all up in a twist, discussing the appropriateness of what appears to be a mom painting her son's toes a bring neon pink. In some forums it started a whole dialogue on whether polish is appropriate for men, and the one thing I did learn was that there are bold men who actually do wear nail polish colors. More power to them; my (less popular) point of view is that nail polish is one of the few things we women can share and revel in on our own, so while I'll always give props to the guy in the spa chair next to mine getting a nail polish color on his piggies, the odds that I'll ever date him are pretty nil.

Whoa, tangent - on to today's manicure! The pink polish used in the J. Crew add was a limited edition made by essie and only sold at J. Crew stores. Of course that sucker sold out lickety-split, so I took to the interwebz to try and find a dupe. Thanks to other nail bloggers and polish aficionados, I heard that essie Pink Parka may be a dupe, so I picked up a bottle.

Pink Parka
is a neon pink ,which means it is a naturally streaky polish and dries with a slight satin finish. essie's normal streaky + neon streaky = this polish was hell to put on my piggies! Even after 3 coats it hadn't completely smoothed out, but since my pedis are more for my own personal enjoyment (I don't wear a lot of open-toes at work), I didn't fret about it. As a favor to you my readers I don't post pics of my feet, so here's a swatch of Pink Parka on my hand:

I thought this was a very fun color for a very conservative company like essie, and it's the only neon in my collection, which makes it a keeper. However, the application was a real PITA, so I won't be reaching for Pink Parka on too regular of a basis - I'll save it for special occasions that require bright pinks, like the upcoming Grease Sing-a-Long at the Hollywood Bowl!

What do you think? Do you have any neon polishes that you love? What other brands of neons have you tried (I've got my eye on the American Apparel collection!)? And am I completely off base with loving my mani/pedis as a girl's experience, and not wanting my guy wearing my little beauties?

07 June 2011

NOTD: Zoya Jules

Good Morning, Polish Aficionados!

Let's jump right into today's manicure - Zoya Jules. Jules is a champagne gold shimmer that appears to have a slight frost finish. I bought the polish a few months ago at Ulta, thinking it might be a great everyday work-friendly polish; a color that is neutral but still has a little bling to let me know my creative side is shining through. Well, Jules definitely delivers!

applied very nicely in 2 coats with no issues. I really should have used ridge filler on that middle finger - doh! There is very slight VNL, but you have to stare and concentrate on the nail to see it, so I didn't find this problematic at all. I will say Jules dries with a slight matte finish and a more coarse texture - definitely not the smooth glossy finish I'm used to with cremes and jellies. Luckily, the shimmer in the polish brings enough bling to make the polish sparkle without a super glossy finish.

Jules was released as a part of the Zoya Spring 2011 Intimate Collection and is readily available at salon and beauty supply stores. Zoya retails for $8 each, but if you follow them on Facebook, you'll frequently see deals for free shipping, discounted price, or a free polish promo.

What do you think? What colors do you have and love from the Zoya line? And what's your go-to polish when you want a nude or neutral that isn't sheer and adds a little personality to your mani?

06 June 2011

Polish Round-Up: June Releases and Snap Judgements!

It's Monday, Manic Monday! Well, at least it is for me at work - last week was the least productive week I've had in ages (well, the fact that I only worked 3 days certainly had something to do with it). So, this week is off with a roar, but that's okay - I'm heading up to San Francisco and Sonoma this weekend for a few days, and everything is better when you're in wine country!

A lot of new releases will be popping up in stores this month, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a round-up of a few of the new releases for all you polish lovers who actually do have social lives and don't spend you free time in makeup chat forums and talking to other polish lovers. Below are 3 big collections that are releasing this month, as well as my snap judgement on what looks like good buys and what may be more of the same.

OPI Grand Slam! England Release

From the OPI Press Release:

OPI Unveils Three New Shades from Serena Williams’ Glam Slam! Series

joins tennis superstar Serena Williams in announcing the latest three lacquers in the Glam Slam! collection. To celebrate the world’s oldest, most prestigious tennis tournament, Glam Slam! England features two duo-packs filled with sparkle.

The first Lacquer set includes Your Royal Shine-ness, a metallic silver shade, paired with Servin’ Up Sparkle, a shimmer-packed silver glitter. The second Lacquer set also features Servin’ Up Sparkle, along with Grape…Set…Match, a metallic purple.

Snap Judgement: I love the Serena Williams Grand Slam series! Love the purple and silver polishes, and while I'm not normally a glitter person, I will definitely be making room for Servin' up Sparkle in my collection.

OPI Nice Stems

From the OPI Press Release:

Nice Stems! by OPI Revamps Nails with Vibrant Pink Hues for Summer 2011

Stop and see the flowers with summer’s Nice Stems! by OPI, a limited edition collection featuring four new nail lacquers in stunning shades of pink. With whimsical names based on their floral inspirations, these vibrant, flirty colors range from pale, frosty pink to rich fuchsia. Nice Stems! offers fingers and toes a perfectly pink shade for all of summer’s looks.

“These vibrant, feminine hues complement 60’s ladylike fashions, 70’s glam looks, and bold color-blocking, which are the season’s staples,” says Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director. “The Nice Stems! collection also offers an interesting contrast and feminine accent to the punk and biker looks on the runways.”

Nice Stems! by OPI shades include:

Play the Peonies
We’d put our money on this lovely soft-pink.
Come to Poppy
Surrender to shine with this shimmering coral-pink.
Be a Dahlia Won’t You?
Give the gift of fabulous fuchsia—to yourself!
I Lily Love You
Fall head over heels with this light pink sparkle.

Snap Judgement: More pinks, OPI? REALLY? This is an easy collection to pass on - just nothing that I don't feel I've seen before (or already own).

Zoya - Touch Collection

From Zoya's press release:

Zoya Nail Polish presents 3 new, full coverage nudes designed to coordinate with a variety of skin tones. Each softly kissed with a bit of metallic to make them ultra wearable.

"It's not about finding a perfect match to your skin tone but rather about finding the one that coordinates. Our color experts logged many hours creating the perfect full-coverage nude nail polish shades! Since then we've found that most people can wear one of the three new nudes in the Zoya Touch collection no matter what!" - Zoya Media Relations

Minka (ZP561) - latte beige cream with a metallic kiss
Shay (ZP562) - desert rose sand beige cream with a metallic kiss
Pandora (ZP563) - mauve beige cream with a metallic kiss

Snap Judgement: Eventhough I'm constantly in search of the perfect nude/work-friendly nail, nothing in this new collection from Zoya is overly exciting me. I never trust when a company tells me something is 'nude' - because what is nude for my less-pigmented friends is not nude for me. I'm in a bright color kinda summer mood, so I think this collection gets an all-around pass from me.

What do you think? Are there any colors in these collections that really get your blood pumping? Or do you think you're seeing more of the same? Sound of in the comments, and let me know if you'd like to see anything reviewed!

04 June 2011

The Untried Diaries: China Glaze Hot Apple

Welcome to the weekend, everyone! Anyone got great plans? I'm out hunting for some CND polishes this morning (I'm so in love with the effects polish that I just have to temporarily lift my ban), then gym, chores, etc. Hoping to get out and go hike one of the beautiful trails in the Southland tomorrow - we shall see!

I decided to switch up my polish for this weekend, but had no clue what I wanted to try next. Being the tech nerd I am, I went to random.org in order to use their random number generator to pick a polish from my collection to try out! LOL! The generator gave me a number... and I'd already tried the polish. Picked another number... and I'd already tried the polish. This (surprisingly) happened a few more times before I landed on a polish I hadn't tried before. I started to pull it out, but then realized I'd much rather try out China Glaze Hot Apple, and so here we are at the next entry in The Untried Diaries.

Hot Apple is a bright tomato red jelly polish. Quick education session: a creme polish is a polish with no glitter, shimmer, etc. - just the pure color with no added fixin's. A jelly polish is like a creme but is more sheer, almost like looking at jello or jelly (hence the name) and have a higher gloss finish than a creme. Hot Apple applied very easily in two coats and minimal VNL (but a little on a few fingers). Take a look (two coats, no top coat):

I really liked this polish. I normally do not wear reds, and this is only the second red that I have been excited about. (The first was OPI Vodka & Caviar, which is also a tomato red jelly polish. Hmmm...)

To spice up the polish, I added one coat of Nubar 2010. I always struggle with glitters, as I think they just never class you up, but can make you seem young/immature. 2010 though is not a glitter - it's what we call a 'flakie'. While most think of glitters as micro, flakies use a larger reflective flake to show a rainbow of colors; they can be worn over a nude nail or layered over a polish. Not sure if that description helps at all, so take a look:

And a close-up of the 2010 flakies:

This is not the best pairing of 2010, as the reflective flakies tend to dominantly reflect orange and this is a red polish - not a lot of contrast. However, over a blue or green or potentially nude color polish, the reflective flakes would stand out even more.

In any case, both polishes are keepers! I loved the creme formula of the Hot Apple, and application was breezy easy (especially after dealing with streak-master that is essie), and the 2010 adds texture and depth to any polish, making any regular creme or jelly bling without feeling too high school.

Hot Apple is discontinued but is still available online, or you can always pick my favorite option and go hunting for it at local beauty supply stores and salons. Hey Sailor from the recent CG Anchors Away collection may be a dupe (and is easily available), but I'm not sure as I don't have a bottle to compare. 2010 is still available and can be purchased at bynubar.com.

What do you think? Do you like these tomato red polishes, or do you go for reds with a more blue coloring? And how do you feel about bling nails - totally okay, or more a trend for the young'ins?

03 June 2011

NOTD: Smokin' Hot Mani On Fire!

Happy Friday! Are you getting ready for the weekend? Any plans? I only have one - to stay low key! I'm heading up to NorCal next weekend, so am going to try and lay low this weekend, catch-up on reading, chores, laundry, etc. Really, can you believe life in LA is this exciting?!?!

Today's Nail of the Day (NOTD) was a complete surprise to me. Last night I was updating my spreadsheet with recent purchases, and also doing some swatching on a nail wheel just to get an idea about the new colors I'd bought and possible future manis. After an hour or so, as I was heading to bed I got one last idea for a mani - essie Smokin' Hot, which I had been lemming since another blog reviewed it a few months ago, and CND Ice Blue Shimmer, which you just heard me rave about on Wednesday. Not quite sure why I thought the 2 would go together, but decided to give it a try.

Smokin' Hot is a purple-gray creme polish. It applied okay in 2 coats (really, essie should be a 3-coat mani, but I was in a rush to get to work!) with minimal streaking.

(Today's mani was unplanned an in a hurry this morning, so I apologize for the less-than-stellar application and photos.)

Then, I layered on the Ice Blue Shimmer and got this:

This is a less flattering shot of my hands, but shows what the mani looks like in indirect lighting (not quite as electric blue as the previous pic):

AAACK! I don't know why, maybe it's the blue polish lover in me, but this mani is an instant favorite. I love how the blue shimmer catches the light, and takes a winter/cool color and makes it warmer and hip for a a great summer mani. It almost reminds me of dry ice, or the cool air that you can sometimes see rolling off a block of ice when first exposed to warmer air. You know what I mean, right? I will say that Smokin' Hot was kind of a PITA to apply - the more I use essie, the more I know it's not very pigmented, requiring 3 coats always and going on super streaky. Since I didn't have the time this morning to really work with the polish like I normally do, the mani was not my best work.

Smokin' Hot was released as a part of the essie 2010 winter collection and I thought was limited edition - but a new batch has recently showed up at salons and possibly retailers, so you may want to call around and hunt down your own bottle. Ice Blue Shimmer is currently available and can be purchased at salons or online at transdesign.com.

What do you think? Is this mani as great as I think it is, or am I just overly excited by anything shiny? What CND effects do you love (I need to build my wishlist!)?

01 June 2011

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink: CND Plumville

Hey everyone! Hope you all are ready for a fabulous Wednesday! I'm heading back to work this morning after a 4 1/2 day holiday, and I'm not looking forward to it! Fingers crossed that these next three days fly and then the weekend will be here!

For this week's pink manicure, I decided to try out a new (to me) brand, CND. A few years ago CND switched from a typical collection of hundreds of colors to their Colour & Effects collection - 50 colours and 15 effects that can be made into hundreds of combinations to make a different manicure each time. I had seen something similar with Wet Paint on ideeli last week, but was unfamiliar with the brand Wet Paint and decided not to buy. So, when I learned about the CND Colour & Effects, I had to try it out!

All 50 colors in the line are creme polishes - which we know are my fave! - and the 15 effects range from a pearl, shimmer, or sparkle (read: bling!) finish. For today's mani, I picked up Plumville, a warm pink-purple plum creme. It reminds me a lot of OPI Dim Sum Plum, but I think this is more purple/blue and Dim Sum Plum skews more pink.

Here's a look at the mani with just Plumville:

Great color, right? And let me tell you - this polish applied perfectly. CND is a thick buttery polish, and the brush was comfortable to work with, not too wide and not too firm. I couldn't believe it - fully opaque in just one coat! I did apply a second coat to a few nails, but it was mainly to get more coverage closer to the nail bed.

So what would happen when I applied the effect Ice Blue Shimmer over Plumville? Well, take a look:

And here's a close-up of the shimmer effect:

GORGEOUS! I love the blue sparkle the shimmer added to the mani!

The verdict - this mani is hot! I am so excited about both Plumville color and the Ice Blue Shimmer effect. Knowing my obsession, I'm tempted to go out and buy up all the other CND colors and effects, but I'm on a self-imposed ban for June - I have to save up money to snag some UK and France polishes when I go on vacation next month!

What do you think? Have you tried any of the CND colour & effects polishes yet? Which are your favorites? And can you just imagine the possibilities with these effects and the polishes already in your collection? Amazing!