27 July 2011

Pink Wednesdays: OPI Blushingham Palace

Happy Wednesday! (Really, every day is happy for me this week!) I'm up an at 'em early this morning, doing laundry and packing for Virginia Beach. I'm hoping to actually do a lot of blogging today to keep you all happy while I'm gone for the next few days - fingers crossed I get it all done!

It's another Wednesday, which means another pink polish! Today I have for you OPI Blushingham Palace. Blushingham Palace is a soft mauve-y pink with a pearl finish. I have to admit, this is not normally my kind of color - I usually do not like pearl finishes, as I constantly imagine they're something my mother would wear, and I don't normally go for (what I thought was) red undertone pinks; I prefer cooler blue-based pinks. So how would Blushingham Palace turn out? Let's take a look!

Here's the close-up:

...and another look, with flash:

Initially I thought Blushingham Palace had a red/warmer undertone, but as I was writing this I really am seeing a lot of blue/purple, especially under the flash, so the polish is much cooler than I thought. I definitely loved wearing this polish, and found myself checking out my nails throughout the day. It is a very sophisticated nail - perfect for work, or attending events where you want to show style without being overly 'look at me!' (think 'guest at a wedding').

Blushingham Palace was originally released way back in 2003 as a part of OPI's British Collection (I would have drooled over the entire collection, I'm sure, if I was into nail polish then - I love all things English!). It was discontinued at the end of 2010, but you can still find it fairly easily if you don't mind doing a little bit of searching. Online retailers such as Amazon, TransDesign, or AveYou are you best bets. Or, you may want to head to your local Trade Secret or Beauty First salon, as this is where I found my bottle in a clearance bin (even better!).

What do you think? Are you feeling this delicate pink color? Do you have any similar colors or dupes for Blushingham Palace, since it's now discontinued? Or are you still in the mood for the bright yellows, blues, and corals of summer? Sound off in the comments!

26 July 2011

Comparison Swatches: Battle of the Blurples

Hi Everyone! It's Tuesday, Tuesday! Why am I so happy for a Tuesday, you ask? Well, in my mind, it's actually my Thursday - tomorrow is my last day of work, then I'm headed back east for a long weekend at Virginia Beach with the family. I'm super excited as I haven't seen a lot of my family since last fall (I rarely go home for the holidays - it's too cold!), but am a little leery of the heat wave that's been blasting the east coast. Must remember to pack a LOT of natural fibers and skirts!

Today I have for you a few comparisons - what I call the battle of the blurples. If you didn't know, I hang out a lot over at The Purse Forum talking nails with the awesome ladies on the board, and recently we've discussed known nail polish dupes. I had for a long time heard that the colors in today's review maybe/maybe not were dupes of each other, and so I decided to finally swatch them out. Up for battle are OPI Funky Dunkey, Rescue Beauty Lounge Mismas, and Butter LONDON Marrow. All of these polishes are purple with a blue undertone (hence, blurple), which is pretty much my favorite color of all time - I love purples because they're work safe but still have personality; the blue undertone goes well with my cool skin-tone; and they work in all seasons - spring, summer, winter, and fall. As a matter of fact, Funky Dunkey was released in Spring 2010 as a part as OPI's Shrek Collection, while Mismas was a part of the fall 2009 Bloggers Collection from RBL, and Marrow released in the Butter LONDON Fall/Winter 2010 Collection. It's a timeless color that never goes out of style or season.

I swatched all three polishes on a nail wheel (2 coats each, no top coat) and then proceeded to take dozens of photos to try to capture any differences. Take a look at a few shots:

(Funkey Dunkey, Mismas, Marrow; indoor artificial lighting, no flash)

(Funky Dunkey, Mismas, Marrow; outdoors, direct sunlight, no flash)

To my eye, Marrow is noticeably darker than the other two with more gray in it's color, making it almost an 'ashy' blurple. It's so dark that while I think you could pull this off for a summer mani, the color feels much more cool fall/winter than the other two. It's definitely not a dupe, and a keeper.

Funky Dunkey and Mismas, though, are really really close. I will say there are definitely formula differences - Mismas went on beautifully, in true RBL fashion, and didn't need a 2nd coat (although I did apply one). Compared to Mismas, Funky Dunkey was noticeably less pigmented per coat and felt a little more watery, but was fully opaque in the typical OPI-required 2 coats. It's definitely the same color of blurple; they even separated the same in the bottle. Mismas may be a hair darker than Funky Dunkey, but I also question if that isn't just pigmentation; with a 3rd coat, I think Funky Dunkey would be even more close to Mismas.

The verdict - their dupes. If I had to keep on or the other, it would be Funky Dunkey - same color for half the price, leaving me a spare $9 or $10 to go pick up another polish!

Funky Dunkey was a limited edition release. You can find it at various online retailers (retail price $8.50/bottle), and it was recently placed on clearance at ULTA for $4.99 (along with the rest of the fantastic Shrek collection). Mismas is currently sold out at rescuebeauty.com, but fans rallied for the recent Bring It Back vote, so it should be making another appearance some time in 2012. Marrow is currently available at ULTA, Nordstrom, and other places where Butter LONDON is sold; retails for $14/polish.

What do you think? Could you spot a difference between Funky Dunkey and Mismas? Do you agree this is an anywhere, anytime kind of polish? Do you have any other blurples in this color family? Sound off in the comments!

25 July 2011

The Untried Diaries: Color Club Fashion Addict

Happy Monday!

Friends, we have a problem - my nail polish collection has BLOWN UP over the past few months. I bought an IKEA Helmer, which is a popular storage unit among nail polish addicts to store my polish, treatments, and nail-related goodies, and was traumatized to realize I had enough polish to nearly fill the Helmer. On a much more personal level, I also have decided I need to re-evaluate my priorities - or, at least, make living a healthy lifestyle more of a priority. I love nail polish, and could converse and blog and paint all day if I had the time. However, I need find a healthier balance in my life, so I joined Weight Watchers to help control my eating, and will be banning myself from shopping for polish, except as my reward for meeting weight goals. I'm still debating how to setup the reward system, but I want to tie my healthy goals to a non-food reward, and of course nail polish was the first thing to jump to mind. A polish for every 5 pounds lost, or a shopping spree every 25 pounds, I'm not sure yet, but stay tuned (and I hope you don't mind I use this blog to keep myself accountable and occasionally go off topic!).

If I'm going to seriously start working through my addiction, what more appropriate place to start than with Color Club Fashion Addict. Fashion Addict is a light lavender holographic polish. This is the first CC polish I've worn, and I promise it will not be the last! Fashion Addict applied smoothly with 2 easy coats; the brush is a little firm, and I did have issues with drag on a few nails because I didn't give it enough time to dry between coats. Don't make the same mistake! It was fully opaque in just one coat, but out of habit I did 2, just to ensure perfection. Take a look!

Fashion Addict in shade (surprising, I know!):

...and here is the holo goodness in sunlight:

...and another amazing shot:

What a fantastic holo! This is so much better than the OPI DS Coronation that I reviewed a few weeks ago. Fashion Addict was released in the Spring 2009 collection and sadly was limited edition. However, there are several available on eBay, or you can also do a search on Google shopping and find a few that are available.

What do you think? Do yo love this holographic polish as much as I do? What holos do you have - any I should be on the lookout for? And how would you suggest I use nail polish as a reward for meeting my healthy living goals? Sound off in the comments!

24 July 2011

Nails Inc Queensgate Terrace

Happy Sunday!

It's glorious here in LA, and I should be out walking the streets, looking for a new apartment. Instead, I'm online checking out nail polish, working on the blog, and enjoying a fantastic glass of chardonnay. Oops.

Today I'm playing around with some of the many untried polishes I have, and picked out one from my euro haul, Nails Inc. Queensgate Terrace from their Spring/Summer 2011 Collection. I've worn a few of the Nails Inc polishes now, and I am in love with the formula! Queensgate Terrace is a cornflower blue creme that leans a little purple, depending on how you look at it. I used 2 coats for this mani, but I will say this is my least favorite application - the first coat went on very streaky, and you can see on the nail I did have some bubbling problems. I won't completely blame the nail polish yet, though - I did shake the bottle before applying (as opposed to rolling between my hands, the better way to mix polish) and that could cause the bubbling. Take a look:

(natural lighting, in sunlight)

(natural lighting, in shade)

And the close-up:

Overall, I love Queensgate Terrace, I just am not sure I love it on me. Normally I lean towards darker blues, and this one feels a little 'out there' on me; it's constantly catching my eye, and I'm not sure in a good way. Oh well - I'll put it back in my collection for now, but it may hit the swap/share bin in the future.

What do you think? Did you have any of the other blues in this family, like Essie Coat Azure? How do they work on you? And are you still wearing summer polishes, or, like me, are you ready to start ushering in all of the fall colors?

21 July 2011

My European Vacation: Part III

Good Morning! It's almost the weekend! Anyone got plans yet? I fear this is one of those weekends when I have to act like an adult and tick off items on my to-do list: cleaning, laundry, car wash, apartment hunting... you know. The boring stuff.

Continuing on my vacation series, I have for you today Nails Inc. Aldwych. Nails Inc. is a London-based brand which has gotten a lot of buzz in the US. The brand is mainly carried in department stores such as House of Fraser, Debenhams, and Selfridges, but I had a chance to visit their flagship store off Bond St. and had a great time picking out polishes with the ladies there! After about 4 days in London I was bored with looking at RBL Decorous, and so decided to spice things up with my color of choice this summer, coral. Aldwych is a bright orange-leaning coral with a gorgeous light blue and pink shimmer. Another blogger once compared Nails Inc. formula to that of Rescue Beauty Lounge, and I have to say - it's equally as awesome as RBL. Nearly opaque in 1 coat, below is a 2 coat mani of Aldwych:

And for the close-up (definitely click on the pictures for larger views!):

Let me tell you, this shimmer had me staring at my nails constantly! I am so happy I indulged myself with this purchase! I didn't actually pick this polish out - it was a free gift with purchase. Given my current infatuation with corals, as soon as I saw it I had to have it, and so bought a few more polishes just to qualify for the gift! (Yea, I'm that crazy shopper). This polish is definitely a keeper!

Sadly, Nails Inc. is currently not available in the US. However, Michelle at All Lacquered Up posted a few weeks ago that Sephora will begin carrying Nails Inc. this fall, so keep an eye out for it!

What do you think? Have you heard of Nails Inc. before? If you've tried it, how do you think it compares to the infamous RBL formula? And seriously - am I the only one obsessed with corals this summer?!?!

20 July 2011

Pink Wednesdays: OPI Do You Think I'm Tex-y?

Happy Hump Day!

I have been slacking off on celebrating Pink Wednesdays lately. Seriously, if I was really one of the Plastics, they so would have banned my arse by now. But I really do want to be one of the cool kids in school again, so I have for you today OPI Do You Think I'm Tex-y?. DYTIT was one of the six "sorbet-like" polishes (read: jellies) from the OPI Texas Collection released this past spring. I reviewed Houston! We Have a Purple a few weeks ago from the collection. DYTIT is a bright raspberry-tinted pink polish with the high gloss finish we've come to love from jellies. We also know jellies apply very sheer, and for the photos below it's 3 medium coats and still a lot of VNL showing. Take a look:

And the close-up:

I actually wore this mani a few months ago - it was the first sorbet/jelly I tried from the Texas collection. I initially loved it, but when I swatched the polish, and looking also at these photos, I realized the VNL drives me CRAZY. I just hate to see the nails underneath - blame it one too many french manicures in my past. I guess I could use a white base coat, like a ridge filler, to minimize VNL, but I still don't think it would completely go away. As much as I love this color, I fear it's going to have to make it's way to the swap/donation drawer of my awesome new Helmer. Too bad.

What do you think? Am I just being too intolerable of VNL? Have you tried any of the other polishes from the Texas collection?

18 July 2011

My European Vacation: Part II

Good Morning! Did everyone have a great weekend? I definitely did. Sarah McLachlan at the Hollywood Bowl led to some unplanned partying late Friday night, which then turned into a killer hangover on Saturday. I managed to pull it together for Sunday though, and got an an insane amount of cleaning, laundry, and other chores done - including picking up my first IKEA Helmer! Oh yea, the polish collection is officially out of control, so I bought myself a Helmer as a birthday treat. Can't wait to put it together tonight!

Continuing in my Euro vacation series, I have for your today Rescue Beauty Lounge Decorous, which was my manicure to kick off the euro festivities. (I know, I've been reviewing the RBL polishes a lot lately, but this is it for a while, I promise!) Since I had a ll kinds of purple fun going on with my pedicure, and because of the varied styles and colors of my clothes, I really wanted to go for a neutral color on my fingers, as I didn't want to have to worry about colors clashing. Enter RBL Decorous. From the RBL site, Decorous is described as '...imagine if a cup of chai latte had a baby with a malted milkshake. A shimmery cocoa to add a chic suede finish to any outfit.' The color description is spot on, and Decorous had the same great formula I've come to love from RBL. Two coats and I was ready to go!

There wasn't any really great sunlight yesterday in LA, so here's another shot of the mani, just to give you an idea of the polish's color:

I love Decorous, and should probably add that this was at least the second or third time I had worn this mani - it's becoming a staple in my collection, for sure. If I have one complaint, it's that the light blue shimmer in the bottle and in photographs does not translate well on the nail. Disappointing, but it's still such a great light coffee color that I'm of course keeping it in the collection!

If you're interested, Decorous is still available from rescuebeauty.com. Like most of their polishes though, it is limited edition, so you may want to pick it up while you can! Ji Baek, the owner of RBL, has hinted that the Fall 2011 pre-sale will be coming up soon on July 29th, so you may want to hold off and do one big order (shipping does add up after awhile!); I know I likely will be picking up a few in stock items with the fall collection at the same time.

What do you think? Do you have any other RBL polishes where the pretty shimmer just doesn't translate well in a manicure? What's your favorite neutral - but not too neutral - polish? And are you also scrambling to get through all the summer polishes you picked up before the fall colors roll in next month?

16 July 2011

Last Night's Nails: Rescue Beauty Lounge Drifter

Last Night's Mani: Rescue Beauty Lounge Drifter
Last Night's Drink: Challis Lane Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Saturday! #Carmageddon is officially on here in Los Angeles! I was out early this morning with no traffic woes. From what I've heard so far carmageddon may have been severely over-hyped, but will see how the rest of it goes. Either way, I'm happily bunkering down in my little neck of the woods - pool parties, shopping, and DVD marathons are all on the agenda in my hood this weekend!

Last night was an impromptu night out on the town - I scored tickets to see one of my favorite artists, Sarah McLachlan, perform at my favorite venue, the Hollywood Bowl. Seriously, if you live in LA or come to visit, the Bowl is hands-down my favorite experience/thing to do in LA. There's nothing like picnic-ing with good wine, cheese, sweets, great friends, and amazing music as the soundtrack to a fantastic night. Sarah did not disappoint - I cried when she sang Angel, so beautiful!

Anyway, I had been sporting bare nails for the past few days - shock! - but decided to throw on an appropriate polish for the occasion, Rescue Beauty Lounge Drifter. Drifter is a dark plum-ish burgundy creme, the perfect color of red wine, so of course I had to wear it to my favorite wine drinking occasion! Drifter continues in the famous RBL formula - it applied like a dream. I know RBLs normally give full coverage in 1 coat, but to my eye it should always be a 2-coat mani; the second coat is needed to really bring out the richness and depth to any RBL polish. Take a look (in sunlight):

And here's another look with natural lighting in shade:

This polish is an absolute keeper. It's the perfect dark for me, because I love that while it's dark and vampy, it still has a discernible color and doesn't fall flat and just appear to be black (as many dark colors do on my skintone). Drifter feels more like a fall color, but I had to bring it out for the Hollywood Bowl, just for it's wine-like coloring. Expect to see more mani's with this puppy in the fall!

Unfortunately, Drifter is sold out on the RBL website, and won't be coming back any time soon as all of RBL's polishes are limited edition. If you're in CA, you may have some luck hunting for it at Planet Beauty shops - it's where I found mine - or head over to evil Bay to see if a rare bottle pops up.

BONUS: Last night's drink was the Challis Lane Cabernet Sauvignon. I love this vineyard - all of their whites and reds are great, especially when you consider they retail for about $9/bottle. If you're in CA or AZ, get thee to BevMo this weekend for the final days of the 5 cent sale! Pick up Challis Lane Cab Sauv and a few others while you're there. Sale ends Monday - I'm heading out this weekend to pick up a few bottles - er, cases!

13 July 2011

My European Vacation: Part I

Good morning!

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, this week we're taking a look at all the mani's and pedi's that were during my London/Paris vacation earlier this month. Up first is my pedi - OPI Funky Dunkey and Butter LONDON No More Waity, Katie.

Funky Dunkey is a bright purple creme that shows a lot of blue in its base. It's highly pigmented which is wonderful - some will get away with just 1 coat, but I applied 2 thin coats to get full coverage and no VNL. No More Waity, Katie was originally a limited edition release from BL for the royal wedding this past spring (everyone was cashing in on it!). It's a purple glitter packed into a purple-gray base. For the pedi, I applied 2 coats over Funky Dunkey to get maximum glitter coverage. I swatched the pedi on my hands - take a look!

The first pic is a look at the mani in natural light. You can see on the ring finger that I applied an additional coat, just to show how the purple-gray base of NMWK really grayed out Funky Dunkey. Here's another look in artificial light:

All in all, I was quite happy with this pedi! It lasted the full trip, with one minor nail getting chipped from a drunken night out on London's cobblestone streets. What can I say? Crazy is how I roll!

OPI Funky Dunkey is currently available. Even better - ULTA has the entire OPI Shrek Collection currently on clearance for $4.99 each. Get thee to an ULTA, stat! (And while you're there, I'd also recommend picking up Ogre the Top Blue, another fave of mine from the collection.) Butter LONDON No More Waity, Katie is now a part of its permanent collection (yay!) and is also available at Ulta. 2 beautiful colors, one store - what could be easier than that?

What do you think? Have you tried any colors yet from the OPI Shrek Collection? Is NMWK a must have? and were you into the hype of the royal wedding?

12 July 2011

Happy Birthday Mani!

Hello Lacquer Lovers!

I am BACK! And I missed you all sooooo much! I had the most fantastic vacation in London and Paris, filled with lots of sights, laughter, beer, wine, and most important - FROMMAGE. Oh, the Frenchies love some wine, cheese, and bread. Gosh, I could totally move there. I did a few mani's while I was away, and also did a lot of shopping and came home with a bounty of international nail polish! Oh, the haul was fantastic. This week I'll be focusing my blog on all things vacation, but first...

yesterday was my BIRTHDAY! Happy Birthday to me! I'll probably start lying about my age Hollywood-style in the next year or so, so I can't tell you how old I am. But, I spent the day being thankful and grateful for all the blessings I have received, including an amazing family, friends who are family, and a wonderful job that I love and lets me travel to London and Paris for vacation.

For my birthday, I wanted to throw on some nail bling. Normally I don't wear the glitters to work - but I also normally don't work on my birthday - so for this day I decided to make an exception. For the mani, I started with one of my most favorite colors ever, OPI Dim Sum Plum. Dim Sum Plum was released last year as a part of the Hong Kong Collection (I believe this was S/S '10) and is still available. It's this perfect pink-purple creme that is highly pigmented. The polish applied easily and some people can get away with 1 coat, but I did 2 just to eliminate any VNL. To bling out the mani, I did an accent nail on my ring finger with Rescue Beauty Lounge Frugalista. Frugalista is a silver and purple glitter packed into a clear jelly base. I used 4 coats just to get full coverage on the nail. Take a look!

And an up close look at all the glitter in its glory:

Oh. Em. GEE! How cute is this mani? I'm actually still wearing it for the second day - I just can't bring myself to take it off. While Dim Sum Plum is still available, unfortunately Frugalista is sold out on the RBL website. I found my bottle at Planet Beauty a few weeks ago, so if you're in CA, you may want to call around to your closest PB and see if they have any in stock!

What do you think? Are you feeling the metallic/glitter accent nail trend? Do you have any colors from the OPI Hong Kong Collection that you j'adore? And what vacation plans do you have for the summer? Sound off!