Monday, December 30, 2013

Loaded Honey Holiday Duo

Greetings, nail babes! I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas, and is gearing up for their New Year's celebrations (and manis!) Today I have an awesome holiday duo to share with you from Nail Honey and Loaded Lacquer.

Polish provided for review.

The collaboration set comes with two lovingly hand-made polishes that complement each other perfectly, but can also stand alone. Also, the set isn't exclusively "Christmas-y," making it appropriate for year-round wear!

Nail Honey's contribution to the duo is Sleigh of Steel, a rich, slate gray with lots of silvery, cool toned shimmer. It's no secret that I'm a HUGE supporter of Nail Honey and adore her formulas; this was no exception. This one could definitely be a one-coater if applied carefully, but the photo above shows two coats without topcoat. On its own, the polish dries to a satin, semi-matte finish. This is a perfect winter neutral!

Loaded Lacquer's half of the duo is this gorgeous glitter topper, Giddy Up Jingle Horse. The topper is comprised of metallic magenta and silver hex glitters in various sizes. The photo above shows two coats on my ring finger with minimal placement of some of the larger glitters, and one sponged coat on the rest of my tips. Though I did choose to place a few glitters because I'm crazy and a control freak, it is absolutely not necessary for achieving a dynamic look. Each brush stroke had a good variety of glitters, and applied evenly. I've topped this entire look with Seche Vite topcoat to even out the glitter and add glossy shine.

Of course, I also HAD to mattefy this mani! I used one coat of OPI Matte Top Coat. I love matte glitter, and I think the muted shimmer in Sleigh of Steel is really apparent once I added the matte topper. Just beautiful!

The Loaded Honey Holiday Duo is still available in Nail Honey's online shop, so pick it up while you still can! You can also follow both Nail Honey and Loaded Lacquer on Instagram for future releases and updates.
Friday, December 20, 2013

Show Stopper

There's a good bit of of controversy surrounding red polishes: too standard, difficult to match to skin tones, staining issues. I personally love reds and pinks; they're classics, reminiscent of the time when nail art and unexpected colors were totally unacceptable. Not that I'm about to put away my nail art brushes, glitters, or beloved blue polishes anytime soon, but there's something so satisfying about a solid red. Today I have a red polish to share that I believe could turn a lot of anti-red polish lovers: Show Stopper by Smokey Mountain Lacquers.

Polish provided for review.

Show Stopper is a warm toned red metallic polish with scattered holo shimmer throughout. Photos show two thin coats with top coat.

I absolutely adore this polish! Formula was great, and the polish applied and spread evenly. As with any metallic polish, there were some visible brush strokes, but applying thin coats and smoothing them out with the brush kept that to a minimum.

Just look at that holo sparkle! Subtle enough for everyday wear, but still unique and--true to its name--a real show stopper!

Show Stopper will be released soon, so be sure to follow Smokey Mountain Lacquers on Instagram for updates. You can shop her current collections online here or here!
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy

Today I have different post from my normal swatches or nail art. I've recently added a new product my nail care routine, and wanted to share it with you: Glycerine Hand Therapy in Midnight Monarch by Camille Beckman!

I received a sample of this hand cream in my December Birchbox, and it was one of the first products I tried out. I've been a Birchbox subscriber for about six months, and have always been satisfied with the contents of my boxes. I choose to subscribe to try new products and brands, and to be introduced to things I ordinarily wouldn't buy for myself. However, I have only ever ordered one other product in full size after receiving a Birchbox sample before this one, so that should speak pretty highly of my impressions.

Glycerine Hand Therapy is a blend of natural ingredients that you'll find in most moisturizers, specifically for hands or otherwise. There are a few things that really set this cream apart:
  1. SUPER fast absorption - Since I received this sample (and subsequently, my full sized bottle) I have been using this product immediately before taking nail photos. To chagrin of most nail bloggers and instagrammers, the optimal moisture balance in up close, high definition nail photos can be difficult to achieve. Obviously dry patches are a no-no, but greasy nail beds are just as bad. This product absorbs almost immediately, leaving NO greasy residue.
  2. Delicious smell - The sample I received was the "Midnight Monarch" scent, which is described on the Birchbox website as having, "notes of jasmine and bergamot over a base of patchouli and sweet vanilla amber." What that translates to in real life is a nice blend of sweet and spicy, with a hint of florals without being at all overwhelming. I have found myself re-applying throughout the day just for the delicious smell!
  3. Immediate results - Okay, okay, I get that this sounds too good to be true. But, as seen in the photos below, applying this product has noticeable, immediate results, making my cuticles look smooth and healthy:


I have now been using this product for just over a week, and have no reservations in recommending it to nail lovers and product junkies alike. A word of advice, though: take the Birchbox instructions to apply "liberally" with a grain of salt; I've found that only a small amount is necessary for optimal results, and over applying only makes it more difficult to massage into your skin, especially around your cuticles and nail beds.

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy is currently available through Birchbox and directly from the Camille Beckman website

Want a Birchbox subscription? Sign up here!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Glow Glow Purple!

Hi everyone! I apologize for my hiatus, but I needed to take a small break from blogging to devote my time to school for finals and the end of the semester. Now that it's over, I have a whole month to make up for lost time!

Today I have another gorgeous polish from Smokey Mountain Lacquers to share with you!

Polish provided for review.

Glow Glow Purple is a sheer purple polish with slightly shimmery undertones. This photo shows two thing layers with top coat. Application was easy and very even. The polish dried with a bit of fine, grainy texture, which smoothed out easily with one coat of top coat.

And it glows!! This was my first time trying to capture glowing polish. I think it need some practice :-/ I took this after holding my hand near a lit bulb for about 45 seconds. The glow stayed charged for the entire 5 minutes I tried to get a decent photo!

I LOVE jelly polishes, and this one is no exception! This photo shows how versatile they can be. I prefer the "squishy" see through of 1-2 coats, but as you can see it's totally opaque in three. Adding a fourth coat adds some depth an richness.

Here I've topped Glow Glow Purple with one dabbed coat of Lumina Lacuqer - Moon Child.

And here's the best part about jelly polishes-- jelly sammiches!! Here I've topped the glitter in the photo above with one more thin coat of Glow Glow Purple and OPI Matte top coat. Squishy perfection!

Follow Smokey Mountain Lacquers on Instagram, and you can shop her polishes online here or here!
Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Nail Art Round Up

November was the first month in quite a while that I was able to make time for a good amount of nail art...unfortunately, I wasn't quite as good at making time to blog about my designs. So here's a review of some of my favorite manis from November!

Striping tape accents featuring Mermaid Lacquer - Nude Beach and OPI DS - Extravagance.

Peacock gradient nails featuring China Glaze - Too Yacht to Handle & That's Shore Bright and OPI - Fly topped with Nail Honey - All Gold Errthang and some gold studs! These were definitely my favorite this month.

Neon leopard print with China Glaze - Yellow Polka Dot Bikini and OPI - Don't Pretzel My Buttons. Fierce!

My Catching Fire nails! Featuring Painted Polish - Girl on Fire & District 12 and Hunger Games inspired details.

Which was your favorite?! Let me know in the comments! And be sure to follow me on instagram for more!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Smokey Mountain Lacquers Duochromes

As you may have noticed, I love championing independent small business owners, and often use my blog as a vehicle to promote emerging or little-known indie makers. Today I am fortunate enough to not only show my support for an indie maker I hold utmost respect for as an entrepreneur, but who is also from my very own home state of Tennessee! Kim of Smokey Mountain Lacquers captured my interest immediately by evoking what I believe to be one of the most beautiful parts of our country in her brand, and these duochrome polishes are just as complex and unique as the region they come from.

Polishes provided for review.

I had the great pleasure of swatching and reviewing these two beauties, Sparks Will Fly and Over the Moon. I love the detail of this pretty packaging, so I just had to share!

Over the Moon is a green/blue to silver duochrome. Photos show two coats with top coat. Formula was great, and built to full coverage very nicely. You will notice that brushstrokes are slightly visible, as is common with many metallic polishes. 

This photo shows the silver angle of this polish, and the subtle cool blue/green shimmer throughout. 

My apologies for the orangey-skin on this one -- it was the best light in which to show the green shift. The gradual fade from silver to green is really lovely to view in different light.

I couldn't capture the blue/purple undertones so well using my normal hand poses, but I think this photo really speaks for itself. If I hadn't taken it myself, you'd have a hard time convincing me that it's of the same polish! 

Sparks Will Fly is an incredibly complex duochrome that mainly shifts from a purple-toned red to a silvery blue, with gold/orange undertones. This one was slightly more sheer than Over the Moon, and looked best with three thin coats with top coat. This polish is simply stunning! Almost every photo shows some shiftiness!

Though slightly out of focus on the left, I absolutely adore how this photo shows to shift from a warm color palette to more cool shades. 

Again, the shift is quite strong and apparent in this polish. 

Can you tell this one was my favorite of the two?! So incredibly dynamic, and perfect for fall. Reminds me of home!

These are available for preorder at a discounted price through 9pm today, and will be available at normal price afterwards. Kim is also running several other promotions this weekend, so be sure to follow her on Instagram for updates and details! You can shop her collections in her online shops here or here.
Friday, November 22, 2013

A Very Laquerlicious Christmas - Indie Maker Spotlight

It's time for another indie maker spotlight!

I have talked about my aversion to premature Christmas spirit before, (here) but when Michelle of Laquerlicious offered to share some polishes from her holiday collection with me, you can bet your grandma's secret cookie recipe I said yes! I hope you'll enjoy these festive swatches, and learning more about this glitter guru.

Polishes provided for review.

A Letter from Santa is my favorite polish in this collection! It's a glitter bomb of red, white, green, and pink glitters in a variety of sizes and shapes. It reminds me of peppermint ice cream, and I really love the light pink snow flakes. This photo shows one coat plus some minimal placement of larger glitters over a green base, topped with two layers of top coat. Application of this glitter was even and smooth after giving it a good shake.

How did you decide to start making polishes? How did you come up with the name for your line? What is your favorite color you've made?
Being a manicurist for the last 20 years, I have always custom blended colors for my clients. When chunky, multi colored glitter became popular to put in acrylic I knew I wanted it in polish as well. Then, when I found out there was such a name for this (Indie Polish), I was thrilled! Thus, Laquerlicious was born :) I purposely left the "C" out of Laquerlicious because it was already such a long name and I didn't think anyone would miss it. But a lot of people still spell it Lacquerlcious. I stopped correcting a while ago, and figured if they want to find me, they'll find me.

Twinkling Lights is SO appropriately named! It's a super dense silvery glitter base with multicolored glitters and some holo dots. Photo shows two thin coats on its own with two layers of top coat. It was really easy to achieve full coverage with this polish, but the finished product was slightly textured. The top coat evened that right out! I wore this one all day and got tons of compliments on it.

What is your favorite color you've made?
Princess Jemma Bleue and Barbie Girl are my 2 favorite polishes to date.

What polish brands are your favorites?
China Glaze and Zoya are my forever faves.

Lead the Way Rudolph is a super pigmented red jelly packed with red, green, and iridescent glitters. Photo shows two thin coats topped with top coat. The sheerness of the base created a really complex look, and the glitters applied evenly.

What color/polish type/brand do you have wayyyy too much of in your stash?
You can never have too much polish! Haha but really, probably China Glaze.

Naughty List is a shimmery white crelly with iridescent and purple glitters throughout. Photo shows two thin coats over a base of white topped with top coat. If this is what the naughty list looks like, Santa can go ahead and move me on over! This polish is really elegant, and reminds me of a snowy, moonlit night.

What's your favorite thing about making polishes?
I love creating glitter combos. Glitter bombs are my favorite to make.

What is the hardest thing?
Throwing out a glitter mixture I "thought" looked good in my head but didn't actually work together.

Mistletoe Kisses is a minty green crelly packed with red and green glitters. Photo shows two coats with top coat. Application was smooth and even, and it was really easy to get even distribution of the glitters. This one reminds of Christmas cookies with sugary sprinkles!

Is there a Mr. Laquerlicious? ;)
There is! His name is Jim. We've been together 13 years and just celebrated our 10 year anniversary on Halloween.

What is one of your most cherished holiday traditions?
A Christmas Story!! Yes, I watch the 24 hour marathon EVERY year on TNT!

Crazy Christmas is a fabulously festive glitter bomb with a variety of shapes of red, green, gold, and silver metallic glitters. This photo shows one coat over a navy base with some placement of the larger glitters. It was easy to grab lots of glitters with each stroke.

What’s your holiday shopping style—are you in line at 5am on Black Friday, or running around on December 24th trying to find something for everyone on your list?
Definitely both! I start out with good intentions by trying to have everything done in a timely manner but end up scrambling at the end!

White or multi-colored lights on your tree? Angel or star on the top?
Multi colored light and a star!

All of these and others are currently available on the Laquerlicious website, and you can follow Michelle on Instagram to learn about future promotions and releases!
Saturday, November 16, 2013

Delush Polish - Slice of Life Collection

Today I have a compilation of all of the swatches I've done over past few weeks using the Slice of Life collection by Delush Polish! I was a Dexter fangirl from the very beginning through the brutal, bitter end, and I am physically unable to resist any collections referencing or inspired by pop culture references relevant to my life. I ordered this full collection in minis so I could try them all, and truly fell in love with each one! 

WARNING: This post is going to be littered with Dexter references. Non-watchers proceed with caution!

Born in Blood
This was my Halloween mani! What's more terrifying than Dexter's origins? It's a bright red jelly polish with red dot and hex glitters in varying sizes, and scattered holo micro glitters. Photo shows three thin coats topped with Seche Vite. As I did with all of these polishes, I stored this one upside down for about 10 minutes before use, and had no trouble getting even coverage and easy distribution of glitters.

A Very Neat Monster
Black jelly glitter polishes have my heart forever! This one has small square glitters in varying shades of green, bright green microglitters, and big green holo dots. Photo shows two coats topped with Seche Vite. I paired this polish with Black in Mirrors from the Maybelline Color Show Brocades collection, and a cool shaped stud accent from the Born Pretty Store.

Here's a close up. Swatching these reminded me how desperately I need a macro lense! Will you look at those big dots?! Be still my heart. Again, no fishing for glitters, and easy full coverage in two coats. This is might be my favorite from the collection!

Dark Passenger
This polish is a dark blue-green jelly with hex and microglitters in a variety of colors. Photo shows three coats topped with Seche Vite. This one is super buildable and squishy! The color of the base jelly is very unique, and definitely appropriate for embodying Dexter's twisted and mysterious compulsion to kill.

Here's a close up that captures the complexity of the glitters in this one better. Again, I NEED A MACRO LENSE!!

Time to Kill
This polish is a really nice complement to Dark Passenger. It features rosy-hued dot, hex, micro, and square glitters in a plum jelly base. My middle and index finger show three layered coats topped with Seche Vite, and the index and pink show one coat over a subtle metallic gradient.

Angel of Death
This dark and mysterious polish really impressed me. It contains white and red microglitters, and larger white and grey hex glitters suspended in a black jelly. I love how the lighter glitters stand out even with multiple layers of the black polish (photo shows three thin coats). I paired it with China Glaze - Ruby Pumps to highlight the red microglittters. 
Also, please forgive me for that terrible piece of fuzz on my pinky. I didn't see it until I had already removed the polish and was editing photos!

Tonight's the Night
Another front runner for my favorite polish in the collection! Again, three cheers for black jellies! This polish calls to mind the many scenes showing Dexter prowling the Miami area for targets, neon lights ever present in the background. And those big holo dots! I die. 

Master of Disguise
Last but certainly not least is this fabulous mix of gold, orange, and copper glitters in a chocolate jelly base. This polish is so incredibly unique! Like the others, application was easy and even, and I loved the look achieved by layering this polish. This is my third pick for favorite in the collection. :)

Close up shot to really show the complexity of this glitter. So beautiful!

These and other masterful indie collections are currently available on the Delush website. You can also follow Delush on instagram.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mrs. P's Nail Potions

I'm very excited to share some of Mrs. P's Nail Potions today! When I reached out to Bree about doing some swatching for her extensive line of indie polishes, I told her to surprise me with colors that she either really wanted to see swatched, or that hadn't been chosen by other bloggers. I figured I was in good hands based on the amazing range of colors and polishes on her site...and I was right!

Polishes bought at a promotional price in exchange for review.

First up is I Guaranteal it, which was one of my favorites when I first browsed the site!
This polish is an electric, slightly duochromey, metallic teal. Photo shows two coats without top coat.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with metallic polishes; I always love them in the bottle, but hate when it's impossible to avoid visible brush strokes. I found it very easy to achieve even, opaque coverage without lots of strokes, making this one a win-win. 

Next is Falling Deeply, a rich coppery metallic with cool toned shimmer (blue/green mostly) throughout. Photo shows two coats without top coat.

What a fabulous and unique combination of colors! It really does bring to mind the shades of the season, and I love the hidden cool duochrome in this warm color. This is one I definitely see being used a lot for simple manis and nail art alike.

Last one is Blurred Limes, a vibrant green metallic. Again, I found it easy to apply without visible brush strokes. Photo shows two coats without top coat.

Usually I'm not a huge fan of green polishes that don't have blue undertones, but I really love how this one looks, and oddly thought it complimented my skin tone really well. (Greens usually make me look so red!)

Mrs. P makes a spectraflair top coat, and lot of the polishes on her site are shown with some holo goodness on top. So, I was tempted to try it out!

I LOVE this combination. I used the spectraflair top coat by Polished by Kpt.

All of these polishes exceeded expectations when it comes to formula, pigmentation, and originality. Also, I found the dry time to be notably shorter than I've experienced with other indie/3-free polishes. Usually I just slap some Seche Vite on top to speed the process, but I wanted to photograph these without since they have such a glossy finish on their own!

These three polishes are currently available along with many others on Bree's Etsy shop, and you can follow her on Instagram for information about promotions and upcoming releases!