Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nail Mail Haul and Untried Challenge - Barry M Bright Pink

I received some awesome nail mail from the UK and Spain today and as its officially "Pink Week" in one of the many polish groups I'm in, I decided to pick out one of the colors I received for my Untried Challenge today.

First, the haul:

And I also got this earlier in the week from a couple girls in my Birthday club since we're talking about nail mail:

I absolutely LOVE the Starbursts from the UK, mostly because they have a lime flavor we don't have here and Smarties are like the yummy chocolately cousin of M&Ms.  I'd never tried Maoams but they turned out to be awesome too!

Now back to the polish:

2 coats Bright Pink over 1 coat of Essie Flawless finished with a coat of Seche Vite for extra shininess!
I picked out Barry M Bright Pink.  Now, if there is one color that I absolutely love, its pink.  I have a TON of it in my stash and am constantly on the lookout for more so it was no surprise that I should want this particular color ESPECIALLY since I also love Barry M.  But I think of all the Barry M pinks I own, this is now my favorite.

Before this, I had been wearing Coral, also by Barry M and loved it as well.  There is just something about this brand that makes me squeal like a little schoolgirl when I see them in my nail mail.  Formula wise, this particular color was fantastic and gave me the opacity I wanted in 2 coats over 1 coat of Essie Flawless (which was originally going to be my "pink" for this week but changed my mind at the last minute).

They're about £2.99 if you buy them online at and if you're in the US like me, the flat-rate shipping isn't terrible.  I'm fortunate to have some great polish pals in the UK who gladly send me some from their local Boots and/or Superdrug so I haven't yet experienced buying them online but this is a brand worth trying if you can.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Untrieds Day Two/Three?

Sorry I've been a little behind so I have a few swatches to show y'all that I'm really excited about!

First up, is Illamasqua Jo'Mina.  This has been a huge lemming since I thought it was the purple Lydia wore on The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) but it turns out she was actually wearing MeMeMe Cosmetics in Gorgeous.   Check it out:

Formula wise, it was excellent.  It only took 2 coats to build up to opacity and was smooth and beautiful unlike other similar cremes of this shade from other brands.  Illamasqua is worth every penny based on the three that I've tried (Jo'Mina, Lament, and Nomad).  I thought I had a similar nail polish color in Love and Beauty by Forever 21 and Julep, but it turns out this color is lighter and more red-toned.  Illamasqua is available in the US exclusively at Sephora and retails for $14.  Love and Beauty in "Purple" (yes, unfortunately F21 has really generic color names) and Julep Anne are good alternatives at $2.80 and $14 respectively.

Next up is P2 Color Victim in Electric.  I got this in a swap with a polish pal in the Netherlands who actually picked it up in Germany.  It's one of those jelly-creme, or crelly hybrid and took 3 coats to adequately build up in opacity for me.

Also a beautiful color, this was a decent formula to work with.  However, if you aren't able to get this from a friend in Europe then Nails Inc Portobello ($14) is a great alternative.  It really exemplifies the Pantone 2012 Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango.

I saved my favorite for last.  Mostly because its pink and it's actually the first Nails Inc I've ever bought domestically (99.9% of my Nails Inc have come from swaps from the UK and other countries.)  Notting Hill Gate is another crelly that was a joy to work with and built up in 3 coats.

It's not as neon as I thought it would be but I was happy that it didn't dry to a satiny, almost matte finish that a lot of my other neon-ish colors dry.  Not that makes a huge difference since a quick swipe with Seche Vite would turn any matte/satin/sueded polish uber shiny, but for the girl who isn't necessarily interested in top coating it, this is certainly the neon pink shade for you.  This is a new shade that's available at most nail bars in Sephora stores or you can find it online at  Retail price is $9.50.

All in all, I'm really happy with all three polishes.  If you like bright shades, these are three that you definitely want to consider owning.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Million Dollar Baby - Untrieds Month Day One

So I decided to participate in a challenge of sorts proposed by one of the wonderful gals, Helen in my nail polish birthday club called the Untrieds Month for two reasons: 1) I've been sorely neglecting my blog and 2) I've just got a ton of untrieds begging to be worn.

I just finished doing my nails in probably the most fab color of the season, Nails Inc Baker Street.  Its a bright but rich blue that Beyonce wore post-birth of her baby Blue Ivy!

Anyways, one of my other lovely gal pals in the birthday group, Zoe over at Obsessive-Compulsive Nail Painting Disorder sent me a bottle and this is how it turned out on me:

I don't normally wear blues this shade but OMG this was absolutely gorgeous.  So much so, I've now worn it twice in one week which almost always NEVER happens.  But because it wasn't necessarily an "untried" since I'd already worn it once, I decided to try one of my many "toppers" to go with it as part of Day 1 of my Untrieds Month.

This is Million Dollar Baby (MDB) by Catrice, a European brand that I've managed to acquire from swaps with polish pals in The Netherlands.  

MDB is part of the Million Styles Effect Top Coat and is a very light gold? glitter topper.  Its a combination of matching larger hex and finer glitter.

One coat of Million Dollar Baby over Baker Street:

Application was brilliant; I didn't have a lot of issues having to fish glitter out of the bottle and placing everything individually on my nails which can sometimes happen with glitter in my personal experience.  The lightness of the gold shade sometimes makes me think its silver and sometimes reminds me its gold and makes a good foil to the bright blue of Baker Street.

I really like this topper; its a lot easier to use formula wise -- not as goopy as others I've used in the past -- and it gets a lot of glitter on the nail without fuss.  I kind of wish I had only done an accent nail because it looks sort of odd across the entire hand but I'm not necessarily a big glitter girl to begin with.

The biggest downside is probably that this is a limited edition and in the world of Catrice, means it won't last long if you can get your hands on it.  For girls unable to get Catrice easily (like in the US where it's not sold at all) suitable alternatives include Deborah Lippmann Boom Boom Pow ($20) although it looks a bit more yellow and NYX Prismatic Gold ($3), though this one has a large iridescent hex as opposed to a solid metallic gold hex.

Lastly, do check out the other girls in the group participating in the Untrieds Month challenge:

Alyssa B. at Fancy Phalanges
Nicole at Not Skin Deep
Helen at The Nail Newbie

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Do Often Get Around...

I did a guest post for a good gal pal in my Birthday Club.  Check it out and take a gander at the rest of her blog as well!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kissing Cousins and My American Apparel Haul

Well today was a long day; I woke up with a migraine and felt a little out of whack.  We were out of ibuprofen so I thought I'd tough it out and I'm so glad I did!  I had a much anticipated girls' day with a friend of mine that I haven't seen since my quarter life crisis about six months or so ago that went incredibly well -- mostly because I practiced some discipline.

I told myself early on that I was only looking out for American Apparel nail polish in one color: Malibu Green.  This is due to my obsession to finding dupes for colors unavailable to me and because I love all things teal.

Anyways, we went to Fashion Valley which resulted in four bottles of polish for me totaling less than five bucks.  Two of them were kissing cousins to a couple colors I already had -- OPI Fly and Nails Inc Belgrave Place; the latter of which I actually received in the mail when I got home today.  So all in all, an awesome nail polish haul it was this weekend.

First things first --
American Apparel Mount Royal:

This was an absolute pleasure to put on.  I've been drooling over this color and Malibu Green for quite some time now so I was excited to pick it up.  We were really fortunate to have been told by one of the girls working in the store that they had a whole bin full of AA polishes that were marked down to $1 so me and my friend went to town -- sort of.  I tried to be responsible and picked out three of my favorites.

American Apparel African Violet:

I can say with some confidence that I don't have a color like this yet...which sort of surprises me.  I'm an utter creme polish freak and I love purple (don't you know, its the grown-up pink!) and this color is gorgeous.  My friend and I had flip-flopped over who would get the color and after she had second thoughts, I decided I'd get it since it was the last one of its kind in the bin and I didn't want it to miss its kin!

Malibu Green was also another lemming of mine which I was able to acquire for $1 but that was swatched with OPI Fly:

Index & Ring - OPI Fly, Middle & Pinkie - AA Malibu Green
This was the color I originally went to the store to get and it also didn't disappoint.  As you can see in this picture, it's OPI Fly's "kissing cousin."  They look a lot closer to one another in real life so if you  missed Fly, Malibu Green is a nice alternative.  It definitely leans a little more green than Fly does, but I think it's a gorgeous addition to a teal lover like me.

Mount Royal also had a kissing cousin in Nails Inc. Belgrave Place:

Index & Ring - AA Mount Royal, Middle & Pinkie - Nails Inc Belgrave Place
Again, if you're a fan of navy blue, having both colors wouldn't hurt.  Mount Royal dustier than Belgrave Place but both are equally beautiful.

All of the American Apparel polishes this time around were like butter to apply.  I didn't have any issues with formula and all of them only took two coats to reach opacity.  They were definitely worth the price.  Each bottle normally retails for $6 each and the AA I went to carried the full line.  These particular colors were actually part of the current line but they had separated more than the others in the regular display which is why they were being clearanced out.  Honestly, that doesn't bother me much since it just takes a little shaking to mix them back up and there were no problems with streaking or color.

If you can get your hands on these lovelies without ordering them online, I would highly recommend it.  Even if you have to order them online for full price, the quality of the formulas are definitely worth $6 a bottle for a full 15mL/0.5oz.  The store I went to also had "discontinued" polishes on another rack for $3 each so if if I'm able to, its pretty likely I'll be back soon.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Meisie's Nails Polish Giveaway

Aside from the fact that I LOVE Catrice, and would LOVE to win this giveaway (despite having never ever won a giveaway ever,) Meisie's Nails probably has some of the most gorgeous nail art I've seen yet.

As it is, she's giving away a limited edition set from Catrice called the Hidden World collection made up of three absolutely gorgeous polishes for Spring as part of her 500 followers celebration.

These are the polishes courtesy of Meisie's Nails
It goes for another 27 days or so which gives you, dear readers, plenty of time to enter.  So what are you waiting for??

Just visit her page here to enter.  She won't be emailing the winner; instead, she's thought of brilliantly posting it on her blog to "reward those who actually read [it.]"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Double Whammy - Spring Has Sprung

My two favorite polish colors at the moment fall into the orange and pink families.  I was fortunate enough to score a ridonkulous amount of nail mail which included polish from two awesome girls (including Zoe over at Obsessive-Compulsive Nail Painting Disorder) who sent me colors in fantastic shades.  The two colors I've got to show you today are Mavala Toulouse and Butter London Minger.

MAVALA Toulouse -

This is an aboslutely gorgeous shade of coral the leans decidedly pink.  It's described as a cream (as you can clearly see on the bottle above) but it was a little sheer, requiring 4 coats to get to a decent opacity.  I thought at first Toulouse referred to the artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec but looking at the rest of the Mavala polish line that features a ridiculous amount of polishes named after cities around the world, I'm pretty certain it was named after the French city rather than the hyphenated artist.

Either way, it's a gorgeous color and perfect for spring.  I don't have any color that I can comfortably call a dupe although I do have a few shades that are in it's family.

Unfortunately, Mavala is a Swiss brand not readily available in the US although you can purchase it from BeautyBay, which ships worldwide, sometimes for free.  The bottles are a mere 5mL each but cost $4.10 each.  They're the perfect size for trying out new things and they are pretty cute, but at $4.10, without the free shipping, it'd be harder for me to justify purchasing them outright.  This color however, is absolutely beautiful, right up my alley, and looks fantastic on olive/yellow undertones so if you're a huge pink/coral fan like me, it's worth every penny or at least finding a super nice person from Europe to send it to you as a very pleasant surprise.

Butter LONDON Minger -

My love affair with Butter LONDON started with a bottle of Wallis and it's been my obsession to own every single color.  Minger is one of those colors.  Unfortunately, this is discontinued (it's from the F/W 2009 collection) but I was lucky enough to swap for it on MUA and I absolutely don't regret it.

A "minger," according to Urban Dictionary, is described as

a male or female who fell out of the ugly tree at birth and hit every branch on the way down
but I would definitely describe this polish as far from ugly as possible.  In fact, as someone who owns a few "ugly-pretty" shades, Minger is the complete opposite of ugly and a lot less bright and saturated as a lot of the swatches available online.

Unlike it's brighter and not-yet-discontinued counterpart, Jaffa, Minger is subdued and the perfect shade of pumpkin orange that looks gorgeous in Spring or Autumn, or really anytime you feel like adding a pop of color without being too loud about it.  Formula wise, it's typical Butter LONDON -- thick but not too goopy although it still took three coats for opacity (at least to my standards.)

Again, I don't have anything like it in my collection although I'm sure you could find something in OPI or China Glaze's extensive line; especially since it is discontinued.  Butter LONDON typically goes for $14 a bottle and they're readily available at beauty stores like Ulta as well as on the Butter London website and high-end department stores like Nordstroms.


Overall, these were both excellent shades for me; they're not embarrassingly bright and wearable for girls with yellow/olive undertones.  If you're looking for two perfect shades for Spring, you can't really go wrong with these two.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Love A Good Dupe But An Original Is Just As Grand

So after seeing Polish Fixations post on Deborah Lippmann's I Know What Boys Like, I knew I had to have the color in my stash.  But, at $16 a bottle, it was hard to justify the purchase.  I managed to get a bottle of it on using a coupon and free shipping and I am so glad I did, although as you'll see below, there are a few other shades that could easily be substituted for a fraction of the price.

Here's DL I Know What Boys Like:

 This shade is a deep dusty blue that leans purple, or a deep dusty blue that leans purple depending on your preference.  It's a beautiful alternative to wearing a straight blue or purple and its hard to find another shade that I could comfortably call a dupe.  But, of course, the thrill of the hunt is half the fun so here are some of the comparisons I found in my stash:

Index to Pinkie : I Know What Boys Like, NYX Girls True Navy, Finger Paints Grape Gumball, Zoya Caitlin
Index/Ring: DL I Know What Boys Like, Middle: OPI Dating A Royal, Pinkie: Sinful Colors Zeus

 There are similarities to a few of the polishes -- namely NYX Girls True Navy and Finger Paints Grape Gumball.  OPI Dating A Royal looks close in the photo but is more navy blue than the dusty deep blurple IKWBL is.  Grape Gumball is like a shimmery version of it and Caitlin is a lighter, greyed out shade of it.

True Navy comes the closest to being a dupe, with my husband being unable to tell the difference between the two in low lighting.  They're similar formula-wise with DL being slightly better two apply but both took 3 coats for full coverage.

All in all, this is a gorgeous color.  I don't regret buying it; especially on special.  HSN shipped fairly quickly and I received it within a few days of ordering it.  But, like I said, it is a pricier polish ($16) so if you're looking for a less expensive alternative, NYX Girls True Navy would probably do the trick at around $2 - $2.50 a bottle on Ebay, or I got mine in a Pink Zone store in one of my local shopping malls.