Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mermaid Lacquer, Part 2: Indie Maker Spotlight

I'm so very proud to be sharing another indie maker spotlight and the second part of my Mermaid Lacquer swatches! Jacquelynn is a fabulous Cali mermaid with a lot of heart, and I hope you all enjoy learning more about her as much as I did.

Polishes in this post were provided for review.

How did you decide to start making polishes?
Well, I've always loved polish and have always pretty much gotten my nails done or did them myself. It didn't kick into an obsession until the last year when I realized how much it was helping with my anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed in my early 20s with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and in the past few years it had become really bad and a nuisance in my life. I was having up to about 4 to 5 really bad attacks a week and it was really making life hard and not enjoyable. Remembering that distracting yourself was something I was told to do when I felt an attack coming, I turned to doing my nails and nail art. After realizing I cut down to about 3 attacks a week, I was hooked. I felt so lucky because it was something I loved helping me instead of medication. Everything just fell into place after that. I discovered indie polish and did the research and decided since I spend so much money buying nail polish, I might as well make it. My polish making polish journey has gotten me down to maybe one panic attack a month, which is amazing.

Under the Sea is a glitter bomb in a shimmery silver jelly base, packed with teal and pink hex, teal stars, and scattered multi-colored hexes in purple. gold, and red. Photo shows two coats over a mint Color Club polish topped with Seche Vite.

Where do you find inspiration for your colors? 
Inspiration for my polishes comes from my life, memories, and everything I have and am experiencing. I’ll be thinking of a memory, and next I start thinking how that would look as a polish.

What polish brands (mainstream or indie) are your favorites?
I really have to say one of my favorite mainstream brands is Essie, but being in world of indies, I haven't bought many in a long time. My very first indies were from Nail Polish Addict Nail Color and they were really what got me hooked and wanting to make my own polish. Her brand will always have a special place in my heart.

Glitter application was easy and very even, no fishing necessary!

This photo shows three thin coats on its own. I was inspired by Jacquelynn's response, (below) and wanted to see this on its own since I had already swatched it over green!

What is your favorite color you've made?
My favorite polish I've made is Under the Sea. It’s an awesome grey tinted jelly/glitter bomb. It reminds me so much of the ocean with the murky color and all the gorgeous glitters. It really is beautiful on the nail. 

What kind of polish do you have wayyyy too much of in your stash?
I have way too much pink and gray polish. Pink is my favorite color, so I am always on the hunt for a good pink. I love how gray can go with anything, so it is also a favorite. I have tons of different shades in my collection.

Do you have a "day job?" What did you want to be when you were little?
When I was younger I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, but as I got older I really loved working with kids. I ended up getting my B.A. in Child Development. Right now I have two day jobs Mon through Friday: I work for the state of California Air Resources Board with the environment and clean air regulations, and teaching kids in an after school program. I am typically gone from 6 in the morning till 8 at night, and then I do polish until about 11 or 12. 

What's your favorite thing about making polishes?
My all time favorite part of making polish is getting to name them. I have always wondered what it would be like to get to name all the pretty polish that gets created, and now its possible! I also really enjoy mixing glitter for the pigments I create. What girl wouldn’t love playing with glitter for hours?

High School Sweetheart is a pink jelly polish with pink and white hex glitters, hot pink and purple dots, and pink hearts. Photo shows three thin coats topped with Seche Vite. Amazingly even application, and SO MUCH GLITTAH!!!

There seems to be a whole lot of mermaid love on Instagram, Pinterest, and beauty/fashion blogs lately. Where do you think that comes from, and how does your line fit within that “genre?”
For me, the love of mermaids comes from the love of the oceans and sea life, and the beauty of it all. I think the obsession of mermaids in our culture is this sexiness and mystery of mermaids that every girl wants or wishes to be like. I think every girl has a mermaid deep inside them. Also, my generation grew up with Disney's Ariel and now the sudden popularity brings back that childhood memory of wanting to be like her and the joy you felt watching her on TV. I mean, who wouldn't want to be a sexy mermaid that gets to zip around the ocean and have grand adventures?! I have tried to portray that with Mermaid Lacquer. I want women to feel sexy and mysterious when wearing my polish but I also have polishes that remind us of being a kid and the many memories we have. I try to make polish that just makes you feel good when you wear it, whether it’s for a classy dinner, a crazy night out with the girls, or even work—it can be appropriate, but still let your personality shine through.

Once Upon a Time is light pink speckled creme with neon green, pink, and purple hexes, and neon pink butterflies. Photo shows two coats and some glitter placement, all topped with Seche Vite. Since the base is so opaque, multiple coats hid some of the glitters, which was why I did the placement on top. I think this one would be better off as one coat over a white or light pink undie, which would really make that lovely speckled pink base pop!

You’ve already made a Little Mermaid inspired polish, and have talked about an upcoming Disney princess line. Which princess is your favorite? What kind of polish would best embody her?
My favorite Disney princess is (of course) Ariel, and second would be Belle. I think a polish that embodies Belle would have to have an array of brown, gold, and yellow glitters to capture the gorgeous ball gown she wears. I don't want to give too much away, but I think my polishes will represent the princesses very well.

Funky Revolution is a light blue crelly with black and white hexes and bar glitters, and tiny blue bar glitters. Photo shows two thin coats topped with Seche Vite. Again, application was very easy and even, and there was no fishing for glitters necessary!

You make such an array of polishes…crèmes, holos, crellies, glitter bombs—which one is your favorite to wear? And which is the hardest to make?
My favorite type of polishes to wear are crellies. I just love the ratio of pigment to glitter and how it is just the right amount of color so it doesn't drown out the glitters in them. I also think crellies are the hardest to make, because you have to get the perfect balance of pigment and glitter. It takes time to make and decide on a color scheme or type of glitters. I spend a lot of time brainstorming and experimenting before I actually make or release a crelly to be worn.

Jacquelynn, thank you so much for sharing your passion and your polishes with me!
Please follow Mermaid Lacquer on Instagram for information about promotions and new products, and you can browse her shop to order these and many other handmade polishes!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mermaid Lacquer, Part 1

I am very, very excited to share the first half of my swatches of Mermaid Lacquer polishes that creator Jacquelyn was kind enough to share with me! This indie brand is both new on the scene and new to me, so I really had no idea what to expect. Spoiler alert: they're freaking great!

Polishes in this post were provided for review.

Nude Beach is a creamy nude polish with perfect full coverage in one (yes, one!) coat, shown here topped with Seche Vite. Amazing! I am a total sucker for nude polishes, and this one just shot to the top of my favorite non-sparkly nudes list. Because I have a list of nudes, and a separate list of sparkly nudes. Don't judge.

Can you believe this is one coat?! I was truly impressed with this one. The formula appeared thick when I first opened the bottle, but it actually applied very evenly and without any trouble. The thickness wasn't goopy or sticky, and I think the formula was a big reason why this polish was so opaque after just one coat. However, if you're a stickler for two coat application, (I know you're out there!) you would probably want to add some thinner to this polish. But personally, I wouldn't want to mess up a good thing!

This beauty is You Can't Sit With Us, a lavender crelly with scattered silver holo glitters. Here I applied to thin coats, and topped with Seche Vite. Again, I was blown away by the quality of the formula and the appearance of this polish. This is a rare case of the holo/glitter showing up way more on the nail than in the bottle.

Also, I'm sure many of you recognize the name as a Mean Girl reference. Mermaid Lacquer has a trio of Mean Girls inspired polishes! You go, Glen Coco!

Here is How I Wonder, a glitter topper with matte white, gray, and yellow hexes, white bars and stars, and scattered silver microglitters. Photo shows one coat of polish layered over You Can't Sit With Us and topped with Seche Vite.

For anyone who didn't pick up on it, this is, again, ONE COAT! Per my usual glitter application routine, I sat the bottle upside down for about five minute and gave it a good shake before application. Each stroke produced a workable amount and a nice variety of glitters. This swatch required absolutely NO placement, as in the variety shown is exactly what came from the bottle. Also, I'm not generally a fan of bar glitters, but they somehow work here. And I love how the yellow pops with the bright lavender!

Another polish from the Mean Girls trio, this is THE Regina George, a hot pink metallic with silvery shimmer. Photo shows two thin coats topped with Seche Vite. 

Another perfect formula. I find that metallics very often show brush strokes, but this one did not. On Wednesdays we wear pink indeed!

And here's the last one for now, Material Girl, another glitter topper in a clear base with medium sized neon blue, pink, and green hexes, a few sizes of matte white glitters, and white microglitters. Photo shows two coats over Regina George, topped with Seche Vite. 

What can I say that isn't totally repetitive and makes me sound like a weird cult member? I am seriously obsessed with these polishes. Once again, absolutely no fishing for glitter was necessary, and those bright pops of color always appeared in a good ratio to the amount white glitters. I would love to try this one over black!

The second half of my swatches and an indie spotlight on Jacquelyn of Mermaid Lacquer is coming soon! In the meantime, you can follow her on Instagram and browse her shop
Monday, October 28, 2013

NOTD: Sparkles!

Hey ladies! I have a quick NOTD post that I did last night using a fabulous glitter topper from The Juice Box Lacquer called If I Still Had Eyes.


I hadn't seen this glitter over a light color, so I paired it with Nude Beach by Mermaid Lacquer. This is two even coats of If I Had Eyes topped with Seche Vite. Wow! Who knew all these colors were hiding in the midst of those iridescent and holo sparkles!

It looks much more blue/green in the bottle, and when layered over a darker color, which I think is a really gorgeous look as well! Glitter was easy to apple evenly, and I always got a variety of colors without fishing. 

I love how simple but unique this is! It's fun, but I totally rocked it in the office this afternoon and only maybe raised a few eyebrows. 

I think it kind of looks like sprinkles! What do you think?

Unfortunately, I recently snatched this pretty up in an epic clearance sale, so it is no longer available. But the good news is that many new glittah bombs are in the making over at The Juice Box Lacquer, so follow her on Instagram for updates!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkins and Spiders and Glitter, Oh my!

It's beginning to look a little spooky here in the Capital! I'm not as much of a Halloween aficionado as many of my fellow nail bloggers and instagrammers, but I'm no party pooper--for me, Halloween is an excuse to continue the debauchery of my younger years in a funny outfit, and that's entertaining enough for my interests!

My boyfriend and I went shopping for our costumes last night, so that put me in the festive mood. I decided to do some really quick and simple Halloween mani. This is pretty different from my normal style, and I definitely wouldn't take this one to the office. Since I'm on campus all day on Wednesdays, I deviated from my regular, somewhat office-appropriate aesthetic. I love how it turned out!

For this mani I used two colors from the Wet'n'Wild Popart Craze collection (Stand the Test of Lime & The Clock Strikes Orange) and the glitter is Daria by Pinwheel Polish from her collection inspired by the show of the same name. Black details were done using a black Sinful Colors polish, and the spider eyes were done using glitter from Daria.

This shot shows Daria in the bottle. The polishes I bought from this collection were some of my first indie glitter bombs! When I first used this, I immediately thought it would be perfect for a Halloween-inspired mani. 

What are your Halloween plans? Do you think Halloween manis are well done or over done?
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NOTD: Blue & Gold Nail Art

Today I'm sharing a mani I posted on Instagram last week that I only felt lukewarm about. The idea was great in my head, but I didn't love how it looked on my nails. 

I love this color scheme and will have to use it again soon! The gold shown is Orly - Luxe and the navy is Cult Nails - Time Traveler. Chevrons were done free hand using a nail art striper, and the flowers were done with a dotting tool with a stud or glitter placement for the center.

This design was originally for a contest, but I ended up not entering because I wasn't pleased with the outcome. I ended up getting tons of positive feedback, which is why I'm posting them here. Sometimes we're our own worst critics! What do you think?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

NOTD: Color Club - Holiday Splendor

Like any other red blooded, vaguely Christian American lady, I absolutely LOVE Christmas. The time with family, the food, the crafting (!!!) just takes me to my happy place. However, as much as I love Christmas, I have absolutely NO tolerance for pre-emptive Christmas spirit. If I hear Christmas music anytime before the day after Thanksgiving, someone is going to get it. When I was a counselor at a boarding school, I gave students who sang Christmas songs too early extra chores. (They called me a Grinch, obviously. But whatever)

Today, I am breaking my own rule, because I've had a revelation in the form of a polish from a past holiday themed collection. What kind of epicness is required for me to break this long standing personal rule? See below:

Color Club - Holiday Splendor
This polish is from their 2011 Beyond the Mistletoe collection, and I found it just sitting on a polish rack filled with other more recent releases. I had no idea it was a holiday polish, (obviously didn't read the name before throwing it into my basket) or that it was from so long ago. All I knew was that it was green, sparkly, and holo-y. I've had it for a few weeks now, and just got around to trying it...I have NO idea why I waited so long!

Holiday Splendor is an emerald green jelly polish filled with green and holo glitters. All of these photos show three thin coats over one coat of black polish, all topped with Seche Vite. Formula was easy to apply, and the glitter spread evenly, making it easy to achieve full coverage. 

I think this photo comes the closest to capturing the true emerald of this shade in real life. No filter, but I realize the lighting makes my skin look pretty lobster-y. 

Check out the holoooo! Even though the polish is described as having "scattered" holo, I find the holo effect to be quite strong and visible on the nail (and in the bottle). I see way more holo than I've seen in swatches of the China Glaze or Color Show "holos."

One more, just because. I took so many photos of this polish, because it look different (and beautiful!) in every possible light. I love the shade of green, and though it could easily be incorporated into a Chirstmas-themed mani, it doesn't immediately scream "holiday" to me (which is good--means I didn't break my rule too badly!)

As this polish is from 2011, I have no idea how available it is. I found it on a Color Club rack in a local nail supply shop. Happy searching, polish addicts!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Indie Crush Manis

Hi everyone! Today I have two manis from earlier this month that I never posted. They both feature "bigger" indie polishes that I had on my must-have list for awhile, and was lucky enough to find through a blog sale! As a burgeoning nail blogger, I tend towards the smaller and lesser known indies in hopes of us growing together, but I can't deny that I am often drawn towards the more established brands, if only to find out if they live up to the hype. 

Take away message: they do!

Moon Child by Lumina Lacquer
This is the second glitter bomb by this indie trailblazer I have gleefully added to my collection. In addition to pink and silver microglitters, this amazingly complex polish contains a dreamy mix of large hex, star, diamond, moon, flower, heart, butterfly, and dot (!!!) glitters in pink, white, purple, and holooooo. This photo shows two dabbed coats over a Color Club mint polish, with some placement for the sake of evenness and variety. Since so many of the components of this polish are relatively large, I noticed some curling of the glitters that were placed on rounded areas of my nail (you can see it most notably on my thumb). I don't believe this to be a flaw in the polish, I would just recommend that anyone working with this or a similar polish finish it off with a generous coat or two of top coat.

The Worst is Over by Happy Hands Nail Polish
I love the cute, homemade looking labels of this polish line, and have admired several collections from afar (most notably, the Arrested Development inspired line....I'm such a sucker for any polish-pop culture crossovers!) This polish is a lovely lavender crelly with micro and small hex glitters in several shades of blue and orange. Application with this one was perfectly even, the brush grabbing a variety of glitters in each stroke. The mani shown here is three thin coats of The Worst is Over with an accent nail of OPI Liquid Sand - Tiffany Case. 
Hope you enjoy! Are there any "big indies" that you've been dying to try?
Monday, October 14, 2013

Circular Reasoning

Happy Columbus Day my polished friends! Especially after reading this infographic by the Oatmeal, I don't really understand why this holiday is observed, and I don't even get a day off for it. Lame.

Anyhoo, today I have some shots of the other polish I ordered from the Juicebox Lacquer's "Alive" collection, Circular Reasoning. Based on my aforementioned love for circle glitters, I'm sure this doesn't surprise anyone.

Circular Reasoning is a glitter bomb in a clear base featuring a rainbow of circle and hex matte glitters in a variety of sizes. Here I have two dabbed coats over a no-name teal polish by Color Club, topped with Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure top coat.

I love how whimsical and fun this polish is, and I imagine it would complement a variety of colors. I will say it took me a few coats to get used to the formula and to "grab" a good amount of glitter for each stroke. I don't necessarily think this qualifies as having to fish for glitters, and I think the process was more labor-intensive (ha!) since I was working with a mini bottle. As with many glitter-laden polishes, you just have to figure out the best way to work with the formula. I achieved the best results with this particular polish by giving it a good shake in between coats/fingers, and swiping the brush in a circular motion in the bottle.

If you follow The Juicebox Lacquer on Instagram, then you should have seen that she'll be coming out with a new line of glitter bombs sometime this fall/winter. I would recommend this polish and will likely be picking up a few more. She creates some really unique and interesting glitter combos!
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Paint Job Nail Lacquer Swatches & Art

Today I have some polishes to share with you that I recently picked up from Paint Job Nail Lacquer. When I first began my trip down the rabbit hole of polish addiction, Paint Job was one of the first indies I found on Instagram. Their polishes were unique, cleverly named, (they entire line follows a car theme) and had a ton of variety and options. I don't know why it took me so long to add some Paint Job polishes to my collection, but I must say they were certainly worth the wait!

Junk in the Trunk
A neon pink jelly packed with multicolored square and hex glitters, show here with three thin coats with no top coat.
When I first received this polish, I instinctively tried it (on one finger) over a white base, which I usually love, especially for neons, but it really didn't work with this particular shade of pink. Pairing with white, in my opinion, hid some of the complexity of the glitters (there really are SO many in here!) and just made the whole look kind of juvenile. I think it would be adorable over white on someone younger, but for me, I'll stick with the squishy, jelly look for this one. 

The amount of pigment in the jelly base made this polish easily buildable, and with the amount of glitter, you could definitely get way with one even coat for a more subtle, sheer look.

A bright royal blue jelly with blue and iridescent glitters in varying sizes. Shown with two coats over Sally Hansen - Blue Me Over on every nail except the index, which is three coats on its own. My camera really dropped the ball on capturing this one; you can see the complexity of the polish much better in the bottle here, but in real life it transfers to the nail beautifully. As with Junk in the Trunk, I was surprised to find that I preferred this one without undies as well, though the blue base really does make the color pop!

A deep charcoal crelly packed with silver and holo microglitters. It might actually be more of a jelly, but it's so pigmented that I achieved full coverage in two easy coats without a base. This one is definitely my favorite--a perfect fall shade, but it's a lot more interesting to look at than basic black. 

Being a neutral, but still complex, Camber is perfect for incorporating into nail art without being too flashy or over the top.

Here, I added some gold studs and accents of Lacquerlicious - Glittery Glam. The multicolored shards in Glittery Glam were the perfect complement to the rainbow of holo the Camber reveals in the sun.

This one is a somewhat abstract interpretation of turquoise, inspired by these lovely studs from the Born Pretty Store. I applied the studs using Seche Vite over a base of Milani - Almond Bliss, and did triangle accents of using Camber over OPI - Fly. One of my instabuddies was clever enough to coin the phrase "macroise" to describe this (like macro turquoise? get it?!) but I also like meta-quoise, (as in meta-turquoise) because there's actual turquoise, and also the abstract version, and....I'm a nerd. Hope you like it :)

All of these polishes are currently available from Paint Job Nail Lacquer, and you can follow them Instagram for promotions and new releases!
Monday, October 7, 2013

Beauty Queen

First of all, a huge congratulations to IG@ale1mtz for winning my blog launch giveaway! Thank you to everyone who entered and celebrated the start of my blog. 

Tonight I have a dynamo of an indie polish to share with you. I saw some early swatches of this polish a few weeks ago and was immediately enamored. I couldn't resist picking it up on presale, and had to swatch it immediately upon arrival! This is Beauty Queen by The Juice Box Lacquer, a black jelly polish with a mix of magenta, gold, and holo glitters.

This is two thin coats topped with Seche Vite. The jelly achieved full opacity very easily, and there was no fishing for glitters. I did dig out a few extra of those big holo circles, because how couldn't I. Real talk: I am quickly developing a circle glitter addiction, and this beauty certainly has not deterred my thirst!

Bottle shot -- this polish is truly unique. The shapes and colors of glitters really stand out in the black base, and there's a perfect ratio of glitter to base in each stroke. As I do with all polishes like this, I sat the bottle upside down for about 5 minutes and gave it a good shake before application.

Another angle to highlight the complexity of this gorgeous polish.

This polish is from the "Alive" collection by The Juice Box Lacquer, and is currently available, along with many others. You can see all this lovely label has to offer by visiting their website or following on Instagram.