29 October 2011

NARS Mato Grosso

 Happy Halloween weekend!  I hope everyone is having fun and being safe!  I’m laying low this holiday weekend – Halloween was never really my scene.  I know I’ve been a little MIA lately.  I’ve done a lot of traveling these past few weeks, and trust me, it is starting to wear a girl out!  I’m also a glutton for punishment and recently decided to get my but in gear and finally go to grad school for my MBA.  Step one of that process is studying for – and passing – my GMAT exam.  Holy crap this exam is hard!  Did I ever know this much information?  The GMAT makes me feel so dumb I wonder how I ever went to college in the first place LOL.  There’s a lot of demands on my time right now, but I’m working out a schedule so I can keep blogging and sharing my hobby/love with you!

I had a lot on my schedule for this weekend, but my first priority was to make time for a manicure for my poor, abused nails.  I gave them some much needed TLC and reached for NARS Mato Grosso for my polish color.  Mato Grosso is a rich, dark brown crème.  Seriously, this color is so dark, it’s nearly black; it’s the darkest brown can get before it gets black.  There’s a lot of fun undertones to this one, though – when I did the first coat I noticed strong hints of red and purple in the color, and the second coat really solidified the brown color.  This is 2 coats of Mato Grosso, and I used Seche Vite for my topcoat.

This is such an interesting color to me!  Until Mato Grosso came into my life, the darkest brown I owned was OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys from this past spring’s Texas Collection, but Mato Grosso is at least 2-3 shades darker by comparison.  However, I never mistake Mato Grosso for a black polish – which I am not a fan of – so I love that it is shows on the nail as a distinguished brown.  In all honesty, when I saw this polish it totally reminds me of the candy Junior Mints!  I love love love Junior Mints – I’m a total sucker for that mint chocolate flavor! 

photo by Mark Bonica via Flickr

Hahaha, now that I have Junior Mints on the brain, I totally want to go get some Halloween candy to nibble on after all.  Must resist the urge!

NARS Mato Grosso is currently available at NARS counters and online at narscosmetics.com.  NARS polishes retail for $17 for a 0.5fl oz bottle.  I believe this is limited edition, so you may want to grab a bottle while it’s still available!

What do you think?  Is Mato Grosso catching your eye?  Do you like these dark, inky colors that blur the lines to black?  And which NARS polishes do you love?  Sound off in the comments!

20 October 2011

Sephora Friends & Family Sale Is Here!

  Just like Christmas and Starbucks Eggnog Latte, it only happens once a year.  In case you haven't heard, today is the first day of the Sephora Friends & Family Sale!

To take advantage of this great deal, click on the image above to go to the Sephora F&F site.  There you'll need to enter your email address to receive a one-time use code for 20% everything.  There is a limit of one code per email address, but you can use up to 5 email addresses on a single PC to generate a code.

Bonus: You can use multiple codes on the same Sephora account and rack up those Beauty Insider points!  I will become a VIB before the end of the year, mark my words!

If you want to shop the Friends & Family sale in-store - well, you're just going to have to know a Sephora employee or make friends with one quickly.  This code is only valid online at sephora.com, but Sephora employees have a limited number of personal cards to give to their friends and family, so if someone will give you their card, you can use it to shop in-store.

Once you make your purchases, come back here and tell us what you're hauling!  I did my first haul this morning on line, but foresee at least 1-2 more hauls during the sale.  I love sharing hauls, so stay tuned!

19 October 2011

Deborah Lippmann Good Girl Gone Bad

Good morning!  As I mentioned last week, this past Sunday was AIDS Walk Los Angeles.  I made it!  Yes, I managed to walk a whole 10K – and then some, about 8 miles total – and with the help of family and friends, raised over $700 for AIDS Project Los Angeles.  I am excited about this achievement, and can’t wait to do it again next year! 

For AIDS Walk, I wanted a fun mani to keep me going and so reached for a new polish for the holiday 2011 season, Deborah Lippmann Good Girl Gone Bad.  How much do I love the name of this polish?  Good Girl Gone Bad is my favorite Rihanna album, and has my favorite 2 favorite Rihanna songs, Disturbia Breaking Dishes.  But I digress.

Good Girl Gone Bad is described as a ‘cabernet glimmer'.’  The color is definitely a cabernet/red wine, but I’m not sure what a glimmer is – so I’d call this a micro-glitter.  What surprised me about GGGB was the rough texture of the finish – it was very grainy, and you’re going to need a good thick topcoat, like Seche Vite, if you’re like me and prefer a smooth, high gloss finish on your manicures.  This is 2 coats of GGGB:

I wouldn’t say I loved Good Girl Gone Bad quite as much as I expected, but it’s still a beauty!  I used CND Shiney as a topcoat for this mani – before I realized the texture was so gritty and dull – so I’d like to try the mani again with Seche Vite to see if it could really shine!

Good Girl gone Bad was released as a part of the Deborah Lippmann Holiday 2011 Collection.  It retails for $16 for a 0.5 fl oz bottle and is currently available in stores at Planet Beauty and online at lippmanncollection.com.

18 October 2011

OPI Touring America: Swatches & Review

 Happy Tuesday!  Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately!  This has been a crazy few weeks.  So far this month I’ve been to Dallas and San Francisco, heading to Phoenix this weekend, and then Indianapolis in a few weeks!  Whew!  Either way, it’s no excuse for ignoring my love of nail polish! 

Today I have for you a few polishes from the OPI Fall 2011 collection, Touring America.  For the most part this collection underwhelmed me – I thought the collection was bloated, full of colors we’d seen before and names nowhere near as creative as collections past – but, I was shopping a few weeks ago and decided to give these 3 polishes a try.  If you like your polishes dark and vampy, there’s probably something here for you to enjoy.  Read on!

First up is I Brake for ManicuresI Brake for Manicures is a grayish purple crème.  It walk the line between gray and purple very nicely – just when I think it’s leaning more to one side of the color spectrum, I take another look and find it to be dead center between the two colors.  This was 2 coats of I Brake for Manicures.  The formula was great, as to be expected from OPI, but overall I thought the color was not at all flattering on me – very flat/dead, and the gray base just reminds me of ashy-ness! Haha.  Take a look for yourself!

Up next is Honk If You Love OPIHonk, as I like to call is, is an eggplant purple crème.  Again, the formula on this one was impeccable, needing just 2 easy coats for full opacity.  I love crème polishes, and I love me some purple, so does it surprise anyone I find Honk If You Love OPI to be full of all kinds of WIN?

Last but not least is my favorite from the trio, Road House Blues.  Gah, I am on such a blue kick lately!  Road House Blues is a navy tinted blue crème, and while I figured I would, I didn’t have anything like it in my collection!  Everything that I have this dark is much more of a true blue.  This is 2 coats, and I love that this is a dark blue without being near black (since, you know, those kind of colors actually show up as black on me!).  Take a look!

And there you have it!  While I’m still less than impressed with the collection, I’m happy to welcome Honk If You Love OPI and Road House Blues to the Polish & Tonic collection.  I Brake For Manicures may be hitting the gas pedal to my swap/share pile, though.

What do you think?  Am I being too harsh on I Brake for Manicures?  Did you pick up any other polishes from this collection? And have you snatched any polishes from the other OPI collection that’s getting a ton of buzz? (Don’t worry, I’ll be reviewing the Muppets polishes soon!)

12 October 2011

AIDS Walk Los Angeles

Hi Everyone!  I know this is supposed to be my nail polish/beauty blog, but all this week I have been focused on a very non-nail polish subject that is important me, and since this is my blog, darn it, I figure I may just try to use it for some good!

Here are some interesting facts to think about:

  •  There is a new HIV infection every nine minutes in the United States.  In the time it took me to draft this blog post, 4 more people were infected.
  • In 2006, the rate of new HIV infection for black women was nearly 15 times as high as that of white women and nearly 4 times that of Hispanic/Latina women. 
  • 25% of those infected with HIV don’t even know it.
  • In the 28 years since we first learned to diagnose HIV/AIDS, there is still no national plan to fight the epidemic.

These sobering statistics are just a few of the reasons why I am participating in AIDS Walk LA this Sunday, October 16.  While HIV/AIDS awareness does not garner nearly the amount of attention it did in the 80s and 90s in the public media, it’s still an epidemic, education is still an issue as the numbers of new cases reported each year are astounding, and we are still without a cure.
If you have $1, $5, or $10 to spare, then I would love it if you would consider making a donation to AIDS Walk LA through my fundraising page.

Donations to AIDS Walk LA primarily go to AIDS Project LA (APLA), which provides urgently needed food, dental care, safe housing, and much more to people with HIV/AIDS who also face poverty, hunger, and homelessness. APLA also runs the county’s largest network of community education and HIV prevention programs to end the epidemic in Los Angeles.  If you’re not familiar with the amazing work the men and women at APLA do, please check out information here and here.
Thanks for taking the time to read through my babbling!  I will now return you to your regularly scheduled polishing.

Pink Wednesdays: RBL Poco a Poco

 IMG_1433Happy Wednesday!  I’m blogging today from San Francisco!  I had to fly up for a work conference, and since I have my laptop with me, I figured what better opportunity to squeeze in some writing! 

Before I get to today’s post, I want to quickly mention that this Sunday I will be participating in AIDS Walk LA, a 10k charity walk/run to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and help support the amazing organizations in the Los Angeles area who provided much needed food, medical care, and services to people living with HIV/AIDS as well as educational and prevention programs to the community to reduce the number of new HIV/AIDS cases reported.  This walk is important to me, as African-Americans and women are disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS virus, and this is one way I help support HIV/AIDS awareness every year.  If you have a minute, please drop a comment below to encourage and support me in this effort, or stop by my donation page and help me meet my personal goal to raise $500. $5 would be a big help!

On to today’s mani!  The recent RAOK I received from a lovely friend included a polish from Rescue Beauty Lounge’s 2011 fall collection, Poco a PocoPoco a Poco is a dusty pink polish with a gold shimmer.  The color really reminds me of a more grey version of OPI Sparrow Me The Drama from this past spring’s Pirates of the Caribbean collection; memo to self to do a comparison post of the two later this week!  Either way, Poco a Poco continues the tradition of the RBL exceptional formula, as this was very easy to apply.  Below is 2 coats for full opacity.  Take a look!


Of course I love Poco a Poco, and am happy to have it join my RBL collection.  This was a great work-friendly polish and the subtle gold shimmer is stunning!  Absolute love.

Poco a Poco is currently in stock and only available online at rescuebeauty.com  I’ll be picking up one or two of her friends from the fall collection later this week at the RBL pre-order for the Bring-It-Back polishes.  This pre-order will include the re-launch of past RBL faves (Mismas, Orbis, Anne, Scrangie, 360, and Locavore).  The pre-order is a private event, so if you’re interested, please be sure to head over to rescuebeauty.com to sign up to on their VIP mailing list!  You’ll receive instructions Friday morning via email on how to participate in the pre-order.

Make it a great day!

06 October 2011

The Untried Diaries: Zoya Dove With a CND Sparkle

Good Morning!  Is everyone starting the countdown to the weekend?  I’m actually flying to Dallas for the weekend for sorority stuff, and looking forward to the heat!  LOL I know, I know, it drops below 70 degrees one day in LA and I’m ready to whip out the turtlenecks!  Even though I spent my first 25 years on the east coast, living in LA the past 6 years has made me a weakling!

Today I have for you some polishes I purchased last spring but still hadn’t worn.  First up is Zoya DoveDove is a light grey creme with a slight blue hue.  I applied 3 coats for this mani, as the formula was a bit streaky.  This is my first light grey, so I’m not sure if this is just how the color tends to be – like yellows – or if it’s this particular brand.  Either way, I really liked how Dove looked on me!


I think Dove is a great work appropriate grey creme for a paler friend.  It looks good on me, but because it’s so pale I think it contrasts more than a medium or darker grey would, so something darker may blend better and appear more neutral on me.

To have some fun with Dove, I whipped out one of the CND Effects polishes that has been collecting dust in my untrieds, Sapphire SparkleSapphire Sparkle is a layering polish with micro glitter that appears blue or raspberry in color, depending on angle and lighting.  Take a look!



LOVE!  I think the blue hue from Zoya Dove is perfectly paired with CND Sapphire Sparkle, and the raspberry tinted sparkle is a nice bonus!

04 October 2011

Julep Maven: October Sneak Peek Box!

 Happy Tuesday!  It's October, a new day, a new month... and a new Julep Maven sneak peak box!  Once again I was not feeling the polishes picked for my Maven profile, "Classic With a Twist", so I completely skipped out on it to go for another Maven profile - "It Girl":

Edgy and bold, your statement-making look exemplifies the modern rock n' roll chic. You love bright, bold, fun, and innovative cuts and hues for your wardrobe. Inspired by colors and accessories that exclaim anything but ordinary, you're not afraid to stand out

Sounds fun, right?  This month's sneak peek box included 2 Julep polishes, Jaime and Leighton, as well as the Julep Age Glow On Age-Defying Hand Brightener.  


I immediately loved these polishes when I saw the email from Julep back in September.  I had just bought a similar combination of a blue and silver Butter London polish days before, so of course I had to snatch this one up too!  Julep Jaime is described as an “ultra-saturated dark turquoise” creme that dries to a slight satin finish.  To my eyes it’s much more blue than a traditional turquoise, but there is a tint of green that shines through.  Leighton will be released later this month as a part of the Julep 2011 holiday collection.  It’s a bold silver polish with a frost finish.  Here’s a look at both polishes!


There were some side issues with my order, but otherwise this is another winner for Julep!  The company has been having a lot of issues with the launch of the maven program for the first few months, but it looks like they’re finally making a turn for the good and getting the program on track.  I’m so excited, and can’t wait to see what they come up with for next month!

If you haven’t signed up yet to be a Julep Maven and you’re interested, I’d appreciate you clicking through my personal referral link to join!  To check out past Julep Maven sneak peek boxes, click here.

03 October 2011

Cult Nails In A Trance

Good Morning!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I was out in LA at one of my favorite spots to celebrate a friend's birthday, and then Sunday I finally unpacked my last box!  Whee!  Moving is officially over!  Now is the fun part, when I get to start shopping for furniture to fill out the place.

Today I have for you Cult Nails In A Trance.  This is a new brand to my blog - it's a small boutique brand started by Maria, a longtime blogger at www.r3daily.com.  Maria is so passionate about polish that she started her own brand - how inspiring!  I had heard about Cult Nails for the past few months, but made my first purchase when I saw a swatch of In A Trance. In A Trance is an olive green polish with a gold shimmer.  Cult Nails has a great, highly pigmented formula - the first coat fully covered the nail, and the second coat really added 'oomph' to bring out the beauty in the polish.  Take a look!

If you all can't tell, I have been really excited the past few months about finding green polishes that look great on me.  In A Trance is decidedly in the 'love' category with other past faves, and I'm so happy I bought this!

In A Trance was released as a part of the fall 2011 Hypnotic Collection.  It's currently available on the Cult Nails website.  Each polish retails for $10/each, and while only about a year old the Cult Nails line already includes a variety of creme, shimmer, and glitter polishes.  To celebrate reaching 2,000 fans on FB, Maria is offering free shipping on all Cult Nails orders now through Thursday 10/6 11:59PM EST.  If you're interested in trying out the brand, this would be the perfect time!

UPDATE: Maria is currently hosting a giveaway on her blog!  One lucky winner will receive 1 polish in each color from the current Cult Nails collections.  If you're interested, head on over to R3 Daily for the details on how to enter! "and tell 'em Large Marge Amber sent ya!"

What do you think?  Do you have any olive green polishes in this color family?  Are you an instant fan of Cult Nails?  And what polishes are you thinking of picking up while there's free shipping?  Sound off in the comments!