Friday, May 30, 2008

Early Morning Hotness: Swatches

I did some swatches of recent acquisitions: OPI Kangarooby, Petites Juke Box, EA Grand Canyon Sunset, and CHI Salsalita y Margarita. I just noticed now though that I mislabeled the pictures! It's not Petites Hot Rod, it's actually Petites Juke Box. My bad! All are with two coats, taken with their respective bottles.

I'm wearing Salsalita y Margarita right now and it's GORGEOUS! Despite the fact that the name is so long, the color is hot! It's a great coral. I'm glad that I got it, initially I was hesitant because the clearance sticker at Ulta said $5.95 but it rang up at the counter for $2.99! I love getting high-ends for the price of drugstore polishes. I also usually love shimmers and sparkles but sometimes cremes are so hot too!

CHI's apply amazingly well, about on par with EA polishes. Next time if I see a color I really want, I may actually be willing to shell out the $8. Despite their small size, they have the same amount of polish as Essie's do. It just looks like they have less because of how unproportional the handle is to the bottle.

Yep, an extra-long, eye-candy worth post this time. It will have to tide ya'll over the weekend, these upcoming two weeks are going to be killer. I uploaded a bunch of pics from my camera and worked on resizing them and marking today, which is the most tedious part. On that note, does anyone know of a good free (or not-so-expensive) watermarking software? I have issues with picmarkr. Thanks!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back to Basics: Nail Health

Though I covered some topics about nail health in a previous BTB post, MSN has a great comprehensive article about nail health here:

What Your Nails Are Telling You About Your Health

It's super thorough, so much that I've decided not to do a follow-up to my last post! Thanks MSN, for making my life a wee bit less complicated =)

I'm really beginning to lose faith in the New York Times. From the same publication that called Heidi Montag of The Hills (if you're staring at the computer and saying "who???".....exactly) a feminist hero, they recently wrote an article about chipped nails being in.

Listen, I have no problem with chipped nails- as a college student I see it all the time. It happens. For people who aren't as obsessive and anal about nail polish, it's sort of a "why bother?" type thing. Which is completely respectable.

But the NYT article talks about how "Instead of signifying manual labor, chipped nails may now connote professional fabulousness." Uh, come again? Kerry Diamond, a vice president for public relations at LancĂ´me says, “It’s not easy on your nails when you’re BlackBerrying all the time,” and here's the part of the article that bothers me:
Recently, a 20-something woman came to her for an informational interview, “beautifully dressed, Goyard bag, Louboutin shoes” with extremely chipped fire-engine-red nails. “It looked like she had definitely been wearing nail polish for two weeks,” Ms. Diamond said, sounding distinctly unhorrified. “This younger generation, it’s not that they’re more relaxed about grooming — they still spend time at the salon — but the grooming rules are different.”

Sure not everyone can take care of their nails. But for the most part, at least keep them groomed and somewhat neat. What may fly for New York and "high fashion" doesn't always apply to us normal people. I personally never think it's ok to walk into an interview with horrifically chipped nail polish...either fix it or take it off. It's not that hard. You're more likely to draw attention to your nails with unkempt and chipped polish than you are with no polish on. Your nails are part of the entire professional polished look- go bare or go with full color.

I also think that there's a distinct difference between chipped nails and nails with a lot of tipwear. The quote about how Blackberrying all the time isn't easy on the nails just seems like a pathetic justification for chipped nails, and is also a blatant quote of elitism- as is the part about the $5,000 bag. There is a distinct style between teens and adults, not only in apparel but in makeup styles as well. Chipped nails may fly for younger people, but not, at least in my opinion, in a professional setting. I mean, come on. When you're in your late 20's, 30's, 40's, you should be old enough to know how well professional attire and an overall polished look can be construed.

The best part about the article only comes at the end, where
Deborah Lippmann (creator of Lippmann polishes) says “A girl with skinny jeans and a great bag looks like she did it on purpose. Those damn skinny girls can get away with murder.” Which is the whole point of the article. If you're young, skinny, rich, you can do whatever you want and pretty much get away with it. But what the NYT fails to understand is that their world and the world of normal people are very, very different. It's obvious who the NYT is catering this piece to.

Best way to sum up this article?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Some Late Spring Cleaning

So my main goal this weekend was to clean my room. It's definitely a lot cleaner than it was before and I reorganized some stuff. Since I also bought a TON of new polishes I decided that I wasn't going to have enough room for all of them and so I should reorganize my Sterilite boxes.

As of right now, I have four Sterilite boxes full of polish. My parents are going to die when I go back home. Hopefully they'll never find out. Of course there are worse habits than nail polish, but, well, Asian parents. You never know. Anyway, I organized everything by brand but then just sorted the brands into random boxes. I figure if the bottle shapes are similar then things will fit better. Well, that's sort of true. Here's my stash:
The sickening part is that while I know that at least for now that I won't be adding on to this that much (oh please, you see that there is clearly empty space in that Converse box!), I will definitely have to buy a new box after China. Bah. This also doesn't include my summer Essie's and my various treatments: top coats, base coats, cuticle oil, cuticle creme.

Impressions: Sally Hansen 2-in-1 Nail White Pencil

My nails endure a lot of abuse- I type a lot, I change my nail color often, I sometimes have wrestling matches with cans and price stickers. Luckily, genetics blessed me with pretty strong fingernails, they're not prone to peeling, chipping, or breaking. This weekend whilst going through a color funk (when you can't decide what color you want to wear), I decided to just slap some base-coat on first and decide what color later and get some laundry done first. I used SH Insta-Brite Nail Whitener as a base (review coming up on that), 2 coats, and it has a very high sheen and soft sparkle so I could get away with my Cheeto-stained nails without them looking completely terrible. However, I noticed that my tips weren't so white anymore.

Luckily, I had run out of change for finishing laundry. After tossing my clothes into the washer, I went to the ATM to get some fast cash and went across the street to Rite Aid to pick up this pencil that I've heard so much about (and subsequently, get some quarters for the dryer).

When I got back home, I still had time to kill so I decided to try this. You're supposed to moisten the tip

Monday, May 26, 2008


Two gorgeous ladies, Natalie Portman and Petra Nemcova came out the other day at amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS 2008 benefit held at Le Moulin de Mougins during the 2008 International Cannes Film Festival in Mougins, France. Though it's nearly summer, these two sported dark, vampy tips. Petra looks like she's wearing OPI Lincoln Park after Dark, while Natalie seems to be wearing just black.

Even though their dresses are white and springy, these two prove that your nail color doesn't always have to match the season. If you still want to rock those vampies, go for it!

Picture Source: Just Jared
Charity: amfAR: Foundation for AIDS Research

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good Morning Sunshine!

Here are pics of Orly Live Wire & Icing Smooth Like Butta for MUAer psychoswim....I think Michy will love these as well.

Orly Live Wire is everything I thought it would be and more. It's a nice soft yellow, not too neon but not too pastel either. It has gorgeous shimmer and maybe on the sheerer side but still very opaque. This is three coats, and with flash...the color is a bit brighter IRL. It's really gorgeous and worth the instant gratification:

Icing Smooth Like Butta definitely did not apply as smoothly as butter, unless you're talking about cold butter over cold, raw tilapia. And since I experienced that earlier, it's neither fun nor easy to do. SLB applied pretty streaky and uneven so I slapped some Out the Door over it which evened it out. I don't use basecoats or topcoats when I'm swatching, so this color turned out more mustard-yellow than neon yellow like in the bottle. Since I messed up my index finger anyway, I decided to try layering SLB over one coat of Pure Ice- Super Star, which is an opaque (albeit kind of streaky) white. The result? From the pic below you can see that layering it over an opaque basecoat (like a ridgefiller) or a soft white (even though I used like a white-out white) really brings out the glorious neon of it.
See you can hardly tell it was streaky, can you? OTD is good stuff, though any good topcoat will do.

Of course, I had to get in the best of both worlds:
Definitely makes Smooth Like Butta less mustard-y, don't you think? The index finger is 1 coat of Pure Ice Super Star, 2 coats Smooth Like Butta, 1 Coat Live Wire.

Live Wire is one of the newer Orly's so it may take a while for it to show up at Sally's. If you can't wait (like I couldn't), you can get them at CVS (though mine didn't have them) or Ulta for $5.99 and $7 respectively. Smooth Like Butta is available only at Icing stores for $3.50.

Definitely time for me to sleep now! Though trying on these yellow polishes made me feel happy for sure. I really hope that more opaque yellows will be available (though I passed on Essie's neon set and MAC's latest one because they both looked too frosty), Michy's really passed on the yellow fever to me! Though recently I've developed orange and coral fever as well. Which is strange because I don't really know what coral is. Colorblindness is the bane of my existence! Well that and my credit card, as evidenced by today (yesterday's?) shameful haul.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Sometimes the best way to express your mood is through color. Yesterday marked the last day of China's national three-day mourning period for the victims of the recent earthquake. Since I'm Chinese, I felt that it was appropriate to honor those who died and those who gave their lives to help save potential survivors by wearing black on my nails.

This is no ordinary black though, for me at least it's pretty symbolic. Sally Hanson Lacquer Shine in Glossy is a black with red shimmer. Since China's national flag is red, it was the perfect color for this occasion. Sadly there was no sun today because Southern California's weather was crazy, and so I couldn't get any good pictures. There were actually tornadoes in the county!

Anyway, for the most part Glossy just looks like black.

*edit*: I'm viewing from another computer and using IE and the above picture was pretty horrific because it has the darkness and the abundant yellow tones going on so I removed it. When I'm able to get a better picture of it that doesn't make me look jaundiced on some screens, I'll post it.

The gorgeous red shimmer comes out more noticeably in sunshine but here's a bottle shot of the shimmer:

Luckily Glossy is still part of their core collection so it's very easy to find.

For more information and ways to help both the Chinese earthquake and their neighbor who also suffered from a natural disaster, the Myanmar cyclone, check out their Red Cross pages:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back to Basics: Acetone vs. Non-Acetone Remover

There are two primary types of nail polish removers out there, pure acetone and solutions of acetone, water and other stuff, in the polish world we refer to them as non-acetone (even though they do have some).

100% acetone, also known as CH3COCH3, is a colorless liquid with a VERY strong smell. Non-acetone removers can be all sorts of colors and some are even scented to someone mask the strong smell of the acetone present. I switch off between the two for various reasons....let's break it down.

Pros: By far the fastest way to remove polish, also strips oil from nail so base coat adheres more. It also costs about the same as non-acetone removers.
Cons: Well, it strips your nails of oils so it can be very drying. Also, it's not really supposed to be used by itself- my Beauty Secrets (from Sally's) bottle of acetone says "manicurist solvent." Being in general chemistry, acetone is kind of a big deal in the chemical world because it's such an important solvent. What is a solvent? According to wikipedia and my chem book, it's a liquid or gas that dissolves a solid, liquid, or gaseous solute (pretty much anything that can dissolve in the solvent, science is pretty repetitive), resulting in a solution. So technically, it's supposed to be blended with something else. Acetone can be used by itself but the reason why it's mostly used as a solvent and not by itself is because acetone is an irritant. Wikipedia has a nice list of the possible long-term health effects of inhaling acetone fumes or even exposing your eyes to acetone fumes. I can vouch though that when we're handling acetone in the chemistry labs, we absolutely must wear our goggles because it can be extremely irritating. I have to stress that if you're using pure acetone though, you really should be in a highly ventilated area!
Fun Facts: Acetone is an organic substance, and it can be found naturally in our bodies. Also, it's a main component of paint thinners. Which means it's a main component of nail polish thinner too! My Beauty Secrets thinner lists it as an ingredient in acetate form.
Recommendations: Beauty Secrets (from Sally's): $2.49 w/o card, $1.99 w/card for 225mL/8 oz.; there are also generic versions you can get at Big Lots.

Pros: Not as scary as pure acetone, it's also less damaging because of added conditioners such as Vitamin E. Since the acetone is diluted with water and other stuff, there aren't as many health risks unless you drink it. And if you do, please call the poison hotline because that's a little scary.
Cons: It's definitely not as fast as pure acetone, and in today's society we are not programmed for patience sometimes. It can be frustrating especially for taking off glittery polishes.
Fun Facts: Take advantage of FDA regulation and check the list of ingredients (I think Canada and the EU have this sort of regulation as well). If the first ingredient is acetone, then followed by water, chances are that the remover will work better than a remover with the first ingredient being water and then acetone. Why? The first ingredient is usually the biggest percentage of what is in the package. If the first ingredient is acetone, there's usually more acetone than water; the reverse if true if water is the first ingredient. So it's still a diluted version of acetone but there's still more acetone than water so it's not as weak.
Recommendations: Onyx Strawberry Scented Remover: 99 cents at Walmart for 118 mL/4 oz; Sally Hanson Moisturizing Remover, Sally Hanson Strengthening Remover.

You can see then why I switch off between the two? Pure acetone definitely helps when I'm swatching a lot of polishes but for day to day use, I prefer non-acetone removers even if it takes longer.

Early Morning Hotness: OPI Shanghai Shimmer

I bought this polish just for the name, and I think this is going to be the only polish I take with me when I study abroad this fall in Shanghai. Clever eh? I plan on doing a lot of polish shopping in Chines though!

My initial reaction was...what a lovely pink! But upon closer inspection (and consulting some of my non-colorblind friends), there's definitely some mauve tones to it. Even though I'm not a fan of purple polish (blasphemous right? Everyone has their polish quirks though) or purple tones, I will grudgingly admit that this is a beautiful polish. It helps that it definitely pulls more towards pink than mauve. Whew.

A contributing factor to how it looks delicate and pretty without being flat and boring is the abundance of green shimmer. It's definitely unique in that sense. With my Asian skin tone, I'm luckily able to pull off pinks and reds pretty well. Well I guess I could add mauve to that too. In most cases at least.

Shanghai Shimmer is luckily part of OPI's core line so it shouldn't be hard to find at all. It applies well with the ProWide brush and I only needed two coats to accomplish the look above. It's going to be perfect for China because it's one of those go-to polishes when you need a quick change of nail color. That means I don't have to worry so much about my nails so I can focus more on exploring the city and working hard in school....until I get new colors to play with!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Early Morning Hotness: Hello, Hello...You Say Goodbye, I Say Yellow

I can't believe I'm still pining over Chanel's LA Sunrise when a) it could very possibly be a dupe for Essie Shorty Pants from the current Essie Neon Shorts collection and b) it's freaking $25 for a nail polish! Even though polish lasts for quite a long time, I'm still very reluctant to pay so much for such little product.

But if I ultimately decide to not get LA Sunrise, I can fall back on my two true yellow polishes, NYC Taxi Yellow Creme and NYX Carnation. The NYX is harder to find, but the NYC is not only easier to find, the price of it is as cheap as nail polish gets: 99 cents.

The thing about the NYC one is that it can be difficult to apply. Cheaper polishes do commonly have this flaw of being too fluid and liquidy because they don't have ballzz, thus being a streaky mess to apply. When I mentioned streaky to my roommate earlier today, she sounded perplexed so here's what streaky means- the polish doesn't go on evenly, leaving some areas of your nail well coated and others not coated opaquely at all. Streaky polishes can be either too thick or too liquidy.

I had this issue with the NYC at first, but then after seeing how fluid it was, decided to leave it open next to my open window for 4 hours. This completely took care of the streakiness issue and applied MUCH better:
It's got a gorgeous gold shimmer to it too (despite the fact that it's a 'creme'). I love the way this yellow looks on me.

NYX Carnation is another nice yellow but for some reason photographed horribly:
It definitely draws out the yellow in my skin, but this photo was also taken during sunset so the lighting is a bit off. No matter how it looks on me, I still love the color. Carnation is a bit more yellow than Taxi Yellow Creme, and I should try this swatch again in full sunlight. Sorry about that!

Yellow can be a difficult color to pull off but it's personally my favorite color because it's so happy and fun. I should wear more yellow on my tips while I'm still young though! If I can pull off certain shades.

If you're going to leave a polish out to thicken it, be sure to check it every hour to every one-and-a-half hour, polish doesn't thicken quickly but you still want to have a good balance of consistency. If you have over-thickened though, that's where thinner comes in handy. It's hard to get a polish just right but patiences begets fruition, right?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

First Look at Chanel's L.A. Sunrise!

Earlier I had expressed my excitement over Chanel's Limited Edition Robertson Blvd polishes. In this month's issue of InStyle magazine, with the adorable Cameron Diaz on the cover, they tantalize us with a look at the yellow polish, LA Sunrise. Selma Blair models this color, and even though the nails are like airbrushed to death, hopefully the color is accurate. It looks FABULOUS on Ms. Blair though, which leads me to hope that this shade is like the Risky Business of yellows- beautiful but wearable for all skin tones. Hey, a girl can dream right? It's like a true lemon yellow, paler than NYC Taxi Cab Creme and NYX Carnation, I believe. When I get this polish (curse you, Chanel!), I'll be able to do comparisons.

I apologize for the crazy alway, click on the pictures for a larger version

I wish I had her skin! But doesn't the yellow pop beautifully?

I was so excited when I saw that this color was LA Sunrise

Close-up of the bottle.....and the price. I really hope this $25 price tag isn't permanent, it's a seriously hefty price to pay. I just hope the other colors suck! (It's a terrible thing to wish for in retrospect but come on, my poor wallet!)

Close-up of the gorgeous color. I adore it.

More posts are coming up! But this has definitely brightened up my day =).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Goodness Gracious!

You know you've got polish on the brain when you type "polish" instead of "policy." That would have been a doozy of a typo to leave in there!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's Going To Be a Looooonnnnnnng Night

School has been a bit hectic lately so I'm not going to be able to post as frequently as I do. I usually feel bad if I can't crank out a post once a day because I feel like I'm letting my (few, but increasing!) readers down, but ultimately school is my biggest priority. I do have some pictures that I've transferred to my computer today so once I've got those marked, I'll be posting those sometime this weekend.

I would however like to point you towards a fabulous makeup blog that I love and have added to my links section, Nessasary Makeup. Vanessa, whom I've corresponded with a bit, is so nice and so pretty and I love that she's not afraid to play with bold colors! Her swatches and her eye colors inspire me to reach for more colors, and to play with ideas for frankens.

Well, I've now got to write an essay and study for a midterm. I'm a lucky girl, aren't I?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Impressions: Avon Midnight

This could hardly be considered as early morning hotness, more like early morning ????????????

I've never bought anything from Avon before, but about three months ago I ordered some stuff online because there was a free shipping over $15 code. I mainly wanted to try their gel eyeliner because it was on sale, and I also really wanted their Women's Empowerment Bracelet. So while struggling to fill up my cart, I naturally turned to nail polish. None of the colors really impressed me and the colors swatches they give you on the website are terribly small. I ordered Avon Midnight because it looked like an ok red and the name evoked something exciting.

Well, it definitely didn't live up to it's name. It's a medium-red with strong brown tones and bronze shimmer (Wikipedia identifies this type of color as "russet".) It looked ok in the bottle, and when I got it I immediately opened it to swatch onto tape. I normally do this with all my polishes, and it looked ok. Nothing too exciting but nothing revolutionary either. However, a couple of days passed and I noticed that my polish was diminishing! Sometimes evaporation happens (I think my Essie Strawberry Shortcake has evaporated a bit, and I know many people who have ChG Moonpool have had this happen too), but I've never seen it happen so fast. I only opened it once and tightly closed it and eventually the evaporation stabilized to this:
Kind of noticeable, eh? I'm sure I could have returned it but online returns are such a hassle. Even returning stuff from, who makes returns very simple (I love them and their preprinted and prepaid shipping labels), can be exhausting and annoying, especially if you're waiting for a replacement. I also don't know any of my local Avon ladies. So, because I'm a firm believer in not judging a book by it's cover, I decided to try it out.

After trying out this color, I decided that it was ok that there was so much evaporation because it just means that there was less of it to go around. Let's just say that my tan Asian skin does NOT go with russet.
Do you see how horrible the polish looks against my skin? It looks, for the lack of a dignified word, like poo on my nails, which isn't helped by the fact that this color is so dull. Since I put this on at night, I allowed myself the 12-hour rule and waited to see how it looked in sunlight. But as soon as I took this picture, I busted out my nail polish remover. While the application was pretty fantastic, it's going to take a while for me to order polish off the Avon website again. It would be helpful if they provided a description of a color instead of a dinky little color swatch. Luckily there was a sale on nail polish and I didn't pay too much for it.

I did however just visit the Avon website and they are no longer selling this color and, I'm happy to say, upgraded their swatches to be a bit more clearer. Still no description of color to accompany the swatches but they are larger and clearer now so it's not entirely necessary, even though I believe in the more detail the better!

Maybe down the road sometime I'll buy some more Avon polish to try, but since I'm not in dire need of any Avon or mark products right now, it will have to wait.

Tricky, Tricky!

I'm not sure why some polish companies choose to do this, but instead of creating a new color with a new name, they will oftentimes just replace a color but not the name. For instance, NYX Las Vegas. The older version is purple, the newer version is green. Quite a difference in color, but instead of putting out the green version as another name (Atlantic City, perhaps?) They chose to discontinue the purple Las Vegas and change production from purple to green. Whatever the reason, it can cause a bit of confusion and also cause a frenzy for those who are desperate to find the older versions of this polish. Recoloring a polish is rarely a good thing, especially for people who love the original one and can never find it.
It can also be tricky for those of us who are well, not so versed in color. I'm color-blind (yes it's incredibly rare for a girl....what can I say, my genes love me) so sometimes it can be confusing and almost like an optical illusion. Take for instance these two Chelseas. Both have the same number and name and are from the same brand. However, one is clearly a dark blue shimmer whereas the other one, the one that people usually talk about, is the green version. Strange, isn't it? Especially since the one on the left isn't green at all! Well in this case it makes sense to change the color, since the name isn't accurate at all. But for the most part, colors that have a new and old version can be very mind-boggling.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Taking Fandom to a Whole New Level

Now, Hello Kitty's cool and all but uh.....this sort of takes the term "fanatic" to a whole new level. To me, those little Hello Kittys look like those edible candy shapes. Being Asian, I've seen my fair share of crazy nail designs but this is one that takes the cake.

Nail designs like these are beautiful and fun but not practical. However, sometimes it's fun to dress up your nails in something other than just colors. For everyday wear though, I'm just going to stick to simple painting. If you do want to dress up your nails a bit, small rhinestones and decals are a way to add a little bit of flash without going overboard.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Link: Scrangie's Beauty Blog

As you guys may have noticed, I added a new link to the "Links" section. Scrangie is a fellow MUAer with a passion for all things beauty-related. Recently, she's started posting pictures to accompany her posts and they are very well-informed and accurate. Not to mention she usually gets all of the newest, hottest products on the market so she always knows what's going on. I'm already in love with some of OPI's Retro Fun in the Sun colors because of her pictures!

Early Morning Hotness: Essie Summer Collection '08

I won't be able to post for a few days because school is getting busy again, so here's a lengthy post to tide you guys over! I was given the opportunity to try out Essie's summer collection. Now, I know that Essie gets a lot of flack for not being terribly creative or innovative with their colors but sometimes you need classic and classy colors(or at least what society thinks is classy, I think anything is fine). Not to mention they can be streaky. Now, when I first saw Essie's new collection, my reaction (and echoed by the nail board) was....meh. But given the opportunity to try it, I must say that this collection comes highly recommended.

True, you probably don't need all the colors, but if you really really want one of these colors, I say take the plunge and get it. The application was surprisingly amazing for all of them (My Place or Yours and Movers & Shakers were only slightly streaky but even then the application was great). I could go on and on about the application and glossy finish of these polishes, I think that's really why I've got this silly little crush on these polishes.
L-R: Escapades, Guilty Pleasures, My Place or Yours, Secret Stash, Movers and Shakers, Risky Business

From the press release:
Escapades: red, red-coral
Guilty Pleasures: pink strawberry bliss
My Place or Yours: a sophisticated pink rose
Secret Stash: dramatic, traffic-stopping fuschia
Movers and Shakers: sassy, bold pink
Risky Business: `glam red meets shimmery tangerine

*click on pictures for a closer view*

I honestly didn't see much coral in Escapades, to me it's like a tomato-red. Though very pretty, it seems like a very familiar color. (please excuse the dark stains, it's from removing DS Fantasy)

Guilty Pleasures is very appropriate for summer, it's a great bright pink. I can easily see this pair with a little black dress or a black bathing suit/bikini for a cute flirty look.

My Place or Yours is, as I've mentioned before, only a bit harder to apply than the others. It's the softest pink in the entire collection and very much up my alley.

Secret Stash is definitely a bold color. I'm not a huge fan of purple tones despite of how it looks on me but this color, I will grudgingly admit, is pretty hot. It's got a great almost jelly-like finish.

Movers & Shakers is yet another pink infused with a bit of neon. I think this is maybe the most neon you can get away with in a stricter work environment.

Finally, I saved the best for last. Risky Business is the only non-creme in this collection, and embodies the great subtle shimmer that Essie's can have. It's a very wearable orange but my only gripe with this is that it's very sheer. Three coats make it opaque, but I found that even with four coats there was still a bit of visible nail line up close. However, it is a very glowy color, packed with gorgeous shimmer. I do wish that this were more pigmented, but I'm wondering if the sheerness is what makes this color so wearable? Or maybe this color would be even greater layered over say, Escapades? Ok I've got to try that! But here is Risky Business alone:

Bottom line? You could probably live without all the pinks, obviously. But I do think that if it's in your budget, you can't go wrong with any polish in this collection. I didn't really get excited about any of the colors until I put them on me....such is the beauty of swatching. By the way, I did all of these swatches without any top coat, so you know the finish is pretty great. Even though none of these colors are incredibly dramatic (except maybe Risky Business), they are still very pretty with great application (I just had to say it just one more time! Application is usually what sells me because painting my nails relieves a lot of stress, except some polishes make it more stressful).

I would however love to see more unconventional colors from Essie. Another green and blue such as Dominica Green and Starry Starry Night respectively couldn't hurt, right? I did hear rumors of a neon set from Essie though, I'll have to check that out next time I go.

The summer collection is in stores now, Essie retails for $8.00 US and C$11.00 CAD, and can be found at Ulta, select beauty supply stores, and online at e-tailers as well was

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Early Morning Hotness: Elizabeth Arden Rodeo Dr. Rouge

Sometimes, I have no idea how my thoughts interconnect. My mind tends to drift off really randomly, and whenever that happens my friends usually stop talking until I snap back to reality because they know I'm not paying attention. Then they ask (always in an exasperated tone!, "Are you done now?" And of course I nod, apologize, and then try to pay attention.

But hey, to quote the great philosopher Popeye, "I yam who I yam."

Erm, there was a point this this. Yes! So the other day I was thinking about how much I am dreading driving to L.A. It's about a little more than an hour away and I kind of have to go so I can get a visa at one of the consulates. So thinking of L.A. reminded me of the Chanel LE collection in this post, and I was thinking about Rodeo Drive, and then coincidentally, I just happened to decide to wear Elizabeth Arden's Rodeo Dr. Rouge. See how everything interconnects nicely?

Rodeo Dr. Rouge is a gorgeous red polish that was a little out of my comfort zone. It has amazing sparkle shimmer with an orangey/red base that was a bit hard to photograph but I think you can see it here:

I honestly can't believe that I ever hated how red looked on me, snubbing it as too odd-looking on me. Red and pink are however universally flattering colors in terms of nail polish in my opinion. Black too! Well not flattering in the conventional sense but more like everyone can pull off black and it works for all skin tones. Wait, I just contradicted myself didn't I? Ah well.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth Arden has discontinued their polish line, which is a real shame. I bought all of mine when Ulta clearanced them, and if you're lucky you might be able to find some left in the clearance bins! I don't know why EA decided to discontinue them, they are gorgeous colors with fantastic application and beautiful bottles! Maybe if their customer service ever gets back to me (within 24 hours my ass! I even checked my spam folder...), I'll be able to provide you guys with an answer.

I would ask Ulta, but I'm currently in the midst of a bitter (and kind of one-sided since their customer service representatives are ALWAYS busy when I have time to call) battle with them over a credit card charge. I'm not going to get into the messy details of that but I do hope that a) my local Sally's gets more China Glaze polishes in soon and b) my local beauty supplies will have the new OPI collections and finally c) that stupid charge gets cleared!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Early Morning Hotness: OPI DS Fantasy

Right now, I'm rocking what might be one of my favorite dark blues, DS Fantasy. It has a dark, almost navy but not quite blue base with a lot of multicolored shimmer. While it's not a holographic polish to the extent of the other polishes in OPI's DS line, it does have a nice subtle holo. As ridiculous as the price is for the polishes in the DS line, I will admit that it's worth it for this one polish. The best part about this polish is that it applies like butter on a baked potato. I know many gripe and complain about OPI's ProWide brush and I'll admit that the ProWide brush sometimes makes for a WORSE application, but for this polish, the application was amazing. Fantasy was opaque in one coat, so I only needed two coats (I usually do three), which I was very happy about.

Unfortunately, the sun wasn't out today so I wasn't able to get pictures of my nails today, but here are some older pictures. However, they were taken during winter so they aren't exactly the best pictures to show the slight holo of the polish. The base color is a pretty accurate depiction though. The first picture gives you a better idea of the shimmer, the second color is a good representation of the base color and a bit of the holo.

Isn't it a gorgeous polish? I'm so glad it only needs two coats, that means I get through the entire bottle a lot slower! Sadly, there is a downside to this gorgeous polish: it leaves notoriously horrible stains, even with the best base coats around. Just be forewarned....but well, we all have to make a sacrifice for beauty, right? I know for sure that once I take this off I'm going to have to whip out my buffer and my Bubble White in an effort to get my nails out of the Cheeto Dust phase. It's so worth it though!

....I'm kind of craving a baked potato now. And Cheetos.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Polish Talk

This upcoming week is another busy one for me, there is no rest during a quarter system! But, let's talk OPI, shall we? The much-anticipated Mod About Brights collection was released a few days ago:
I haven't had time to go to Ulta yet, but I'm definitely interested in Dating a Royal, Green-wich Village, and Mod-ern Girl. I love that OPI has added a cheery yellow polish to this bunch though. I really hope that eventually there will be a nice opaque sparkly yellow, I'm forever on a search for one. NYC has a gorgeous yellow one with subtle shimmer called Taxi Yellow Creme but it was a little too streaky on me.

Er, where was I? Oh yes, the Mod About Brights. The lovely Polish Addict has posted some swatches of half of the collection, and her post links to another site where you can see all of the colors. This collection is all cremes and from what I gathered, semi-sheer as well (needing 3 coats to achieve the best look). I'm fond of all things shiny and sparkly so you'd think that this collection doesn't appeal to be but I do adore the brights trend because it's very reminiscent of summer. Also, sometimes cremes just look amazingly polished and refined. Which means that in typical work settings, they could still be appropriate (but of course, it all depends on each individual work environment).

Overall, I think this is OPI's best collection of the year so far. The India collection was a bit disappointing, as many felt that the colors didn't accurately depict the vividness of Indian fashion and culture. And I think anyone who has seen a Bollywood production could agree with that consensus, not to mention India is among the the most biodiverse countries in the world. The mountains and the scenery could have been source of so much inspiration! After the India collection was the quietly-released and barely-buzzed about Beyond Chic collection, consisting of soft shades. It was nice and different, but the colors were hardly anything to get excited about. Light shades don't necessarily have to translate to every-color-looking-the-same. It was a nice effort for OPI, soft colors are always a staple, and I'll probably want some from this collection, but there's just something about this collection that fell a little flat. Maybe OPI should have take a page from Essie's book and loaded those babies with some mega subtle shimmer? Who knows, but I do still love OPI.

To judge the Beyond Chic collection for yourselves, check out MUA paprheart's post of them here.

I am however really excited for the new LE Chanel polishes coming out! Whoever coined the phrase 'limited edition' is a genius! There's something so enticing about that phrase, mostly because we've all suffered at one point or another from not getting something that was LE and have regretted it to this day (MAC Whirlwind and Lancome Le Magnetique, I'm talking about you two! Ugh). Anyway, to celebrate the Chanel store opening on Robertson Blvd in LA in May (I haven't been able to Google up the exact opening date), Chanel is offering these four great shades:

L-R: Melrose, Rodeo Drive, L.A. Sunrise, L.A. Sunset

I really hope that LA Sunrise will be shimmery/sparkly! Fear not, even if you are nowhere near L.A., you can still purchase the polishes online at in June. The downside? These LE suckers will set you back $25 each (I don't think Chanel has raised their normal polish prices, I think this is just for the LE ones). Which means if you want all four, you have to shell out 1/20th the cost of an average Chanel purse. Which....isn't that bad if you look at it like that.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Early Morning Hotness, Part Deux: MAC Naughty Nautical

Ok, I lied but I will sleep soon! I completely forgot about these pics though, but here is one of MAC's newest LE polishes, Naughty Nautical. The name reminds me a bit of the latest Color Club collection's blue, Naughtycal Navy but the colors are so different! Color Club's Naughtycal Navy was a straight dark navy, almost black creme. MAC's Naughty Nautical is a gorgeous sparkley navy blue...less purple than OPI Russian Navy and a bit darker & richer than OPI Yoga-ta Get this Blue. I think this may be my first MAC polish!

What do you guys think? Are you over the blue trend? I could never be, but I must admit that this does look a bit like almost every blue out there. But hey, if there can be so many variations of pinks and reds, why not blues as well? Now there just needs to be more greens out there...

This post was full of tongue-twisters, wasn't it? Try saying "MAC Naughty Nautical and Color Club Naughtycal Navy both have a naughty nautical theme" ten times fast! I just got confused by just typing them!

Early Morning Hotness: SH Prisms Coral Amber

Yes, I know it's another early bird post. I have bad sleeping habits in general but also because of my class schedule. I slept in today, but as my friend pointed out earlier, hours of sleep don't work like Cingular (now AT&T)'s rollover plan! I'm sleeping soon but before I sleep I'd like to introduce you guys to the magical world of holographic nail polishes.

Sally Hansen is a pretty popular drugstore nail polish brand. Like Essie, they have many pinks and neutrals that are great for conservative workplaces or if you want low-maintenance colors. However, Sally Hansen does do something odd that Essie doesn' has many lines within its core line. There's the Hard as Wraps line, the Opal lines, the Salon line, the Xtreme Wears line, the 10 Day No Chip your head spinning? Well, I'm pretty sure I've forgotten a line or two. I don't really know why SH decided to go with this particular marketing strategy because it does make our lives harder as bloggers since we have to type more but it's a shame that their best line to date (in my opinion) has been completely discontinued.

I'm talking, of course, about the Sally Hansen Prisms line that featured holographic and duochrome polishes. Before OPI and China Glaze jumped aboard the holo train, SH was the brickmaker of every holo-lover's fantasy. And even though OPI and China Glaze do holos really, really, REALLY well, let's face it, they can get a bit pricey if you buy them retail (though sidenote, I am so happy that ChG is going to be available at Sally's! My credit card is going to get quite a workout when more colors are going to be added). Who doesn't love a drugstore deal?

Coral Amber is a gorgeous holo polish with a great coral base color. I'm a huge holo lover because holos are so expressive; it's a kaleidescope of colors and sparkle on your fingertips! It's like being able to wear a rainbow without being labeled a fashion disaster.

However, hope is not lost. Some drugstores still carry the Prisms line for full price (around $5, I think). I've seen some at local Walgreens and Rite Aid's. If you do manage to find them, don't be fooled by how unspectacular it looks in the bottle, this baby comes alive when it's on your nail! I'm sorry I didn't tried it sooner!
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