Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: Literary Lacquers Gift of the Magi collection

Happy Wednesday, dear readers!  I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday!  I went out of town with the hubby for a couple days, and we did little more than chill by the pool; it was fantastic!  I haven't seen him so relaxed in quite some time, and it was certainly needed.

I have a new indie collection by Literary Lacquers to share with you today, and I am so excited to share them all with you!  The lovely Amy is the mastermind behind the brand, and it has truly been a delight to work with her!  For those of you that may not familiar with the brand, Amy uses literature as her inspiration for her collections, and her holiday collection is no exception.  This collection is based on the touching short story "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, and I don't think I could have thought of  better inspiration piece.  I don't want to go on with many details about the story- I know you want to see the swatches- but I want you to get a better understanding of the names of the polishes.  In brief, the story is about a married couple that are very poor with little money to their name the day before Christmas, and they sell their own great treasures in order to buy a gift for the other.  The irony of the story is the gifts they have chosen for the other are rendered useless because they are to be used with their now-sold treasures.  It's a beautiful story, and I encourage you to read it.  I hadn't read it for quite some time, and Amy kindly included a print out for me to read and refresh my memory.  Now to the polishes!        

Greatest Treasures (sun and shade)
This is a gorgeous coral-leaning red holographic polish, and it is stunning!  It is semi-sheer, but I had full nail coverage with three thin coats.  I think I may spy a hint of a nail line in one of these photos upon close inspection, but I couldn't see any nail line in person.  If you want to help conserve a little polish or have a bolder look, this would look spectacular over a red creme!  I always have mixed feelings about holographic polishes.  In my opinion, many holos look so dreary if you're not viewing them out in the sunlight (and why I like to include shade photos for these types of polishes), but this one is just the perfect shade of red that it even looks gorgeous when you are indoors and away from the sun.  I actually had swatched this one when I had to run a quick errand, and I had so many people compliment my nails while I was inside the grocery store.  To me, that is the biggest compliment you can give a holo polish; afterall, they always look dazzling in the sun!  This is definitely one of my favorites in this collection, and the application was flawless.  I definitely need to buy myself a full-sized bottle of this beauty once I finish writing up this post!

Bright Spirit (sun and shade)
Oh my goodness, you guys!  This polish is just awesome!  Bright Spirit is a gorgeous aqua blue jelly polish that is just packed with with iridescent and white glitters and so much shimmer!  You are viewing this polish in two different combinations: my ring finger (second from the left) is with Bright Spirit alone, and it is layered over two coats of OPI Thanks a Windmillion on the remaining three fingers.  On my ring finger, I used two plus coats of polish- I did a bit of dabbing and swishing over a single coat, so it is a little more than two coats, but probably not quite three.  For the other fingers, I only used about one coat of Bright Spirit (using the dab and swish method) over two coats of the OPI.  To be honest, I was half expecting the application to be a bit of a nightmare because of the square glitters, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the application was pretty easy.  Glitter came out of the bottle with no effort, and they dispersed very nicely over the nail for the most part.  I occasionally had square glitters want to stick to the brush, as is usual for me with this shape, but it wasn't difficult to work with nor was the application particularly time consuming.  Bright Spirit covered more on its own than I expected it to, and I can barely make out the nail line for the nail without any, ahem, undergarments.  I only really saw the nail line when  I had bright light coming in from behind when I went outdoors.  The main colour is beautiful, but the iridescent glitters are what sends this polish over the top for me.  This is a great icy blue for the winter, but I also see it being perfect for summer days as well with my toes stuck in the sand at the beach.  This one is just remarkable!

Grey Cat/Grey Fence
Finally a grey that seems to maybe work with my skin tone!  Grey Cat/Grey Fence is a sheer grey polish that is super packed with white, black, and those amazing iridescent glitters that I love.  I'm not a fan of visible nail line, and I was afraid that three coats of this polish would be a little too busy with glitter, so I decided to help eliminate the nail line by layering two coats of Grey Cat/Grey Fence over Zoya Loredana.  I found this to be immensely packed with glitters, and there was absolutely no digging for any glitters for this baby!  I'm not exactly sure why, but I felt like I was fighting a little more with this one to get the glitters to break up and not cluster too much on the nail.  It's definitely workable, but you may want to be prepared to work a little more with this one.  Because of all the glitter in this one, my nails felt a little textured, but one coat of top coat smoothed it out perfectly.  Grey Cat/Grey Fence is beautiful to look at, and I am so glad that Amy opted to add those amazing iridescent glitters to her creation!  They add fun little pops of colour to my nails, and Grey Cat/Grey Fence is indubitably my favorite grey polish now.  I'm still not 100% sure grey works on me, but this is too pretty for me to care.  LOL!    

Sudden Serious Sweetness
No need to adjust your monitors, dear readers, yes, I AM wearing pink, and I LOVE IT!!  I'm usually so against light pinks on me, but I have been drooling over this colour since putting it on my nails.  Ok, I'll tell the truth- I was drooling over this polish when I first saw it in the bottle, but I didn't anticipate loving it on me!  I don't know if I got a fluke bottle or if the lid wasn't as tightly sealed as it needed to be, but my bottle was really thick when I opened it.  Because my nails bubble every single time I use a thicker polish, I preemptively added a couple drops of thinner to it before use.  I don't know if it's the heat (and it's still mid 80's here), but neither you nor I want to see disgusting nail warts.  I just wanted to make that disclosure up front since you may not need as many coats as I needed since I thinned it down.  Back to the polish!  I have exactly zero light pink polishes to use underneath this, so I just used Sudden Serious Sweetness by itself.  I used three coats for these photos, and of course now that I'm scrutinizing them, I see a hint of nail line and could have used a fourth.  Without adding the thinner, three coats easily would have sufficed if not just two.  This is a very delicate bubble gum pink polish with fine iridescent sparkles and bluple (bluish purple) highlights mixed in.  The hubby commented on it and said it is the perfect princess pink, and I couldn't agree more.  This colour is truly exceptional, and it just makes me so happy!  I have to say, it's a good feeling to wear a polish that just makes you feel all warm and tingly inside!

Gift of the Magi
Hello, Gorgeous!  Gift of the Magi is a luscious green glitter bomb that just refuses to stop sparkling!  It is made of beautiful emerald green glitters with sparse larger silver and holographic glitters mixed in a green base.  This polish is reminiscent of OPI Fresh Frog of Bel Air, only the glitters of Gift of the Magi are finer and more densely packed.  In my opinion, Gift of the Magi is much better balanced than the one by OPI and the one I would wear again.  I used two plus coats for these photos- I used two coats and then touched up a couple spots that weren't quite as opaque.  I then added two coats of top coat.  I still had just the slightest bit of texture with only one coat of the top coat, although a slightly thicker first coat would have sufficed.  While I'm normally not a fan of glitter bombs, I was just enchanted with the polish, and this one is also on my "Buy after I write" list.  Even my hubby told me repeatedly just how much he loves this polish, so I won't be getting in trouble when I buy a full sized bottle.  Hehe!  For those of you that prefer more "traditional" holiday colours, this one is perfect for you!  I love this shade of green, but the sparkles make it radiant.  I'm also happy to report that removal was a dream using the foil method, so that's one thing you don't need to worry about!  Just watch the road when you're driving, not your nails.  ;)

One Dollar and Eighty Seven Cents
I couldn't think of a better name for this polish or any other polish that fits the name One Dollar and Eighty Seven Cents quite as well as this one does!  This beautiful top coat is composed of silver and copper hexes to represent coins, and pink hexes are mixed in to round out the coins.  I dabbed one coat over two coats Essie School of Hard Rocks to help the colours of the glitter pop.  The application was typical of most glitter topcoat polishes- a little swish here and a little dab there.  No digging for glitters was necessary, and glitters were very easy to manage and place over the nail.  I love glitter polishes like this!  The glitters are thin enough that you can see whatever colour you wish underneath, and it's not too busy.  I find some glitter top coats have too many combinations of colours and shapes, and I'm so glad that Amy knows that "less it more" when it comes to this sort of thing!  This will be lovely over so many colours, and I think I'm going to have to put it over my new favorite pink!

Generosity and Love
Check out this amazing duochrome!  Generosity & Love is an opulent medium dark blue (I'd say it's  darker than royal blue, but a couple shades lighter than navy blue) that shifts purple!  There are also ultrafine gold flakes mixed in, and it reminds me of Zoya Crystal.  Of course Crystal doesn't have the purple shift, so I'm partial to Generosity & Love.  The purple shift is apparent on the nails, however my camera just wasn't able to pick up the different colours no matter how much I tried.  You can see the colour changes a little more in the first picture here if you compare the blue shade on my pinky to the purple shift on my index finger.  The colour seemed super sheer, so I decided to layer it for these photos.  I didn't want it over a black creme for some illogical reason, so I opted to layer two coats of Generosity & Love over two coats of Zoya Loredana.  I actually played with this colour quite a bit, and I found that I needed a minimum of three coats for opacity on my nails.  I managed to ding several nails within seconds of applying a second coat so I never added the third coat and took pictures of Generosity & Love by itself.  This applied like a dream, and the final effect is sublime.

They Are Wisest
Yay!  An orange polish!  They are Wisest is an exquisite light coppery orange colour polish that just glows.  I really cannot think of a better way to describe it, and it reminds me of orange burning embers, and it just makes me all warm and toasty inside.  I used three thin coats for these swatch photos.  It applied smoothly for me, and I was rather happy with the formula.  It's an orange polish, so it goes without saying that I like this one!  It's not as orange as many of my other orange polishes, and I think this one will appeal to those that are a little orange shy.

Final Thoughts
This collection is simply amazing and has something for everyone!  I don't think I have ever seen a single collection have so many choices of finishes, and I am awestruck just by that fact alone.  You will find glitter bombs, a glitter top coat, shimmers, and a holographic polish, and they are all impressive to look at!  Amy undeniably took no short cuts in designing this collection, and I think O. Henry would be rather pleased with her take on his story. 

Links and Other Additional Information
Literary Lacquers is currently having a 777 sale!  All polishes from this and previous collections are listed for $7 for 7 days, ending on Monday, December 3rd.  If you buy 7 polishes, you get free shipping using discount code IBOUGHT7 at checkout.    

Keep an eye on the Literary Lacquers Facebook page for stock updates and previews of upcoming collections!

Phew, that was intense!  Now to do some shopping myself!  Enjoy the rest of your day, dear readers, and read "The Gift of the Magi" if you can!  It'll make you tear up a little, and the story is just as beautiful as these polishes.

XOXO, Jen





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review of SoFlaJo Ballroom

Good afternoon, dear readers!  I hope you have been having a lovely week thus far and those of you in the US have something fun planned for Thanksgiving later this week.  I was sent the gorgeous Ballroom by SoFlaJo to review, and wow, is this polish amazing!  I'm so eager to show you photos of this glorious duochrome, so why don't I do that first and then follow up with my thoughts.
Are you drooling yet?  I know I sure am, and I have it on my nails!  LOL!  Ballroom is part of the new SoFlaJo Party Time collection, and this polish is just stunning.  One minute you will be looking at a beautiful berry-leaning rose, and with the slight tilt of the hand, you are then viewing a gorgeous coppery gold.  I can spend an absurd amount of time watching the colours shift on my nails, and I keep catching myself doing it over and over again.  This colour is just as luxurious as the name implies, and it is sure to dazzle many people.  I applied two coats of this knockout, and it applied like a dream- both smoothly and easily.  You will not be disappointed with this beauty!
One of the things that I love about receiving packages from SoFlaJo is the extra attention to detail, so I wanted to share a photo of my package contents.  The glittery snowflake and tree are just so festive and a nice extra touch to the package.  I know we all like feeling like we're getting a little present on occasion!  :D
Ballroom is just one of several gorgeous polishes from the Party Time collection, and you should check them all out.  The photo above contains the full collection and was provided by SoFlaJo.

Extra Links and Information
SoFlaJo purchases can be purchased from either SoFlaJo.com or etsy.  This upcoming Monday is CyberMonday, and SoFlaJo is going to be having a sale that will include free shipping for purchases on the SoFlaJo.com site with a minimum purchase of $20.  Please note that purchases on etsy do not qualify for the sale.  All collections are included in the sale as long as the purchase total is $20; it includes both domestic and international orders.  Be sure to mark November 26th on your calendars!

You can view more pictures of the SoFlaJo Party Time collection here, and you can view SoFlaJo's Facebook page here.

Which SoFlaJo polishes are you needing for the holidays? 

      

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Different Dimension Polishes Part II

Happy Sunday, dear readers!  On my last post, I mentioned that I have several more Different Dimension polishes to swatch, and today I am showing you the rest of them. Let's do this!

Blame it on the Pain (sun and indoors)

This is a gorgeous navy blue polish with small blue glitter flakes mixed in.  If I look at the bottle just long enough and at just the right angle, it looks duochromy- the blue flakes are purple!  I really wish I could see the flashes on purple on my nails, but I'm not sure that I really am.  Every once in a while I catch a hint of purple sparkle, but I'm not convinced it isn't my mind making my see something that I want to see.  Regardless of this fact, this is a lovely darker polish that I'm sure many of you will absolutely love.  I used 2 coats, and both dried reasonably quickly for me.

Bazinga (sun and indoors)

Bazinga is a yellow jelly polish with red and yellow hex glitters of various sizes.  Not overly complex, this polish is  cute.  I wanted to do something interesting with it, so I just decided to layer it over Over Blame It On The Pain- primary colour action, yo!  It spread pretty evenly without too much work needed to break up the glitters, and I used one coat plus where dabbed a little in very open areas.

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty (sun and indoors)
Ohh!  This is a beautiful creamy grey jelly packed with various sized white, silver, and holo hex glitters.  This colour is gorgeous, and I'm sad to say that I just cannot pull it off quite as well as some other bloggers.  :(  I didn't want to have to put on several coats to get rid of visible nail line, so I started with a coat of Julep Meryl, a grey creme that is maybe two shades darker than Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty (and sadly one of the only greys I have in my collection).  I then added three coats of Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, bringing it almost completely back to its original colour.  I didn't have to dig for any glitters, and the glitters were all pretty easy to break up and lay on the nails.  Even though it doesn't look quite right on me, I certainly enjoy staring at the pretty bottle!  :D

Spencer (sun and indoors)
Oh dear readers, have I been in the holiday spirit already, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet!  I'm usually someone that wants nothing to do with Christmas/Hanukah/Yule/WHATEVER holiday until Decmber 1st roles around- I like to give each holiday it's month, but something has come over me this year.  When I first saw Spencer, I KNEW I had to put it over a green and turn it into a holiday mani!  I used 2 coats of Zoya Veruschka as a base, and I then added one coat of Spencer.  On my ring finger, I opted to use 2 coats of Spencer.  As you can see, one coat adds a fantastic pop of colour, but 2 coats yields almost complete nail coverage.  There is still a hint of green peaking through, but a third coat should cover it up nicely.  Spencer is a fun colour, and it is definitely much more complex than you might guess at first glance.  I've been staring at the bottle and my nails, and I absolutely love the amount of detail that went into this creation.  All of the glitters are small- reds, blacks, silver holo.  The base on this beauty is tinted red, so keep that in mind if you want to be layering it over another colour.

Blue Christmas (sun, partial sun, and shade)


Woot!  A holiday polish!  Blue Christmas is made up of a clear base with white, holo silver, and blue hexes and pale blue kites tossed in for good measure.  I used one coat of this beauty over 2 coats Zoya Tao.  I really dig it over the moody grey (and I figured you could see the colours of this stunning top coat well), and it would look gorgeous over a light blue or white.  The glitters spread out easily for me, and I will definitely be pulling this out again soon!

Final Thoughts
I'm not sure what else I can say about these polishes other than "Wow!"  Missi has definitely put a lot of thought into creating these beauties, and this set was just as gorgeous as the set I reviewed previously.  Even those that seem simple still feel well-rounded and compete.   She has also created gorgeous holiday polishes, called the Santa Baby collection, that I encourage you all to check out.  They are also amazing, and you won't be disappointed!  

Different Dimension links:
Etsy shop
Facebook page

I hope you enjoyed today's post, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend!  XOXO!



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Different Dimension Polishes- Part I

Good afternoon, dear readers!  I have some GORGEOUS indie polishes to share with you today, and I was starting to think I would never get to share them with you.  First, USPS misdelivered my package to a neighbor, and then the neighbor held onto it for an unknown period of time before remembering it and bringing it over.  Then blogger didn't want to behave for me for a couple days.  I'm crossing my fingers and hoping beyond all hope that I can get this post typed out completely, saved, and published!  I have a whopping ten polishes to share with you, all made by Missi of Different Dimension, and in an effort to keep this post from taking too long to load, I have broken it up into two posts.  I'm only going to try my luck with the one post at the moment, but the rest of my swatches should be going up tomorrow.  Now to the polishes!

Sparkles Like Edward
Just in time for the release of the final movie, this one is for all you Twilight fans out there!  I thought about doing one coat of this over a white so the glitters wouldn't be overlapping, but I decided I wanted to just use a few coats of this alone.  I used three coats to cover any visible nail line, although two slightly thicker coats likely would have done it.  I actually prefer this one with several coats- it adds a nice depth to it.  This white jelly polish also has gorgeous pink shimmer than flashes over to gold, and sadly my camera refused to pick up the subtle changes.  You might be able to notice hints of it in these photos, or I could just be desperately wanting them to appear here and I am just fooling myself.  Whatever the case, the duochrome effect is real on the nails!  I cannot look at this polish without thinking about sprinkles; that makes me so happy!  I freaking love sprinkles!  :D Although, I have to admit I had to fight the urge to nibble on my nails- this polish just LOOKS tasty.  Yes, I know, I'm really that weird.  Dry time was quick for this beauty, and it is sure to please anyone that loves white sparkly polish!

Warm Fuzzies (sun and shade)
I couldn't think of a more appropriate name for this colour; I seriously had the warm and fuzzies when I first saw this beauty on my nails.  I used two coats, and it dried quickly for me.  This gorgeous milk chocolate holographic polish is perfect for fall, and I fell in love with it instantly.  Seriously, if you're not sure about browns, or have already decided they're not for you, I think this one will change your mind.  There is no better way to describe this one other than beautiful.  This one is definitely in my top ten polishes this fall!

Fall Me Maybe (sun and shade)
I died laughing when I first saw the name of this polish.  I know some people aren't fans of the song "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen, but no matter what your thoughts on the lyrics, you have to admit it is a catchy tune.  One of the hubby's friends was a tad upset with me when he heard me start to sing it, and then he realized I changed the lyrics and based it around my dog.  Now to the polish.
Fall Me Maybe is composed of small red, orange, and golden hexes and tiny brown glitters in a clear base, and does this polish scream fall!  Since I already had the beautiful Warm Fuzzies on my nails, I thought that would be a lovely base colour for Fall Me Maybe.  I wasn't too sure about how I felt about Fall Me Maybe when I first saw it on the bottle, but oh my, this glitter combination is gorgeous!  The colours remind me of fall leaves, and the tiny brown glitters add an amazing depth to the polish that I wasn't quite expecting.  The combination of these two are gorgeous, both in full light and in the shade.  Go ahead, I'll wait while you commence with drooling for a moment....
I used one coat of this fall topper, and it dried very quickly.

Work Hard, Play Harder (sun and indoors)
This is a gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous olive green with gold shimmer and glassy blue flecks!  Lately I've been finding myself drawn towards green polishes, and this beauty was one I was eager to get on my nails right away.  I knew it was stunning in the bottle, and I am pleased to say that the colour inside the bottle translated beautifully on my nails.  Nothing infuriates me more than having a bottle of polish fail to deliver on the nails, but there is nothing to worry about when it comes to this one.  I used two coats for these pictures.

Social Suicide (sun and shade)
One of my favorite glitter combos is the basic black and white glitter, and Social Duicide is Different Dimension's version.  This clear-based polish is chock full of white and black hexes in various sizes, and I only used a single coat for these photos.  It definitely adds a nice touch of fun to any colour of polish, and I layered one coat of it over Work Hard, Play Harder of course!  I have to say, dear readers, it might be social suicide to NOT have this polish in your collection!
 
Final Thoughts
Deceptively simplistic at first glance, these polishes by Different Dimension have a level of complexity that keeps them from being boring polishes and makes them absolute stunners.  The amount of detail that has gone into each of these polishes is clear and is definitely something the discerning lacquerhead would appreciate.

Different Dimension Links:

Stay tuned for my next batch of Different Dimension polish swatches!  There are even more goodies to come!  Until next time, dear readers, stay good, or don't get caught!  ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

I acknowledge that this is so easy for me to say given that I live in Southern Arizona and rarely have to deal with snow, and I am immensely grateful for that fact!  Some people here sadly cannot handle driving in the rain, and I would be terrified to leave my house if it snowed here.  No matter, I would be perfectly content relaxing in front of my fire place with a hot chocolate in my hands and a dog at my feet.  Just kidding, he'd be on the couch next to me!  LOL!

I know it is a little early to be thinking about snow in general, but I wanted to get this post up for you, my dear readers, so you can see these adorable snowflake glitters.  I was asked by Born Pretty Store to review an item, and I was drawn immediately to these glitters.  I wanted the base colour beneath the glitters to reflect the moody blue grey skies as often seen with snowstorms.  I decided to use China Glaze Sea Spray as a base, and then I lightly dabbed on Julep Dendrie and Revlon Colorstay in Blue Slate.  Once my nails were dry, I used a dab of clear polish and affixed the snowflakes to my nails.  I then mixed a dollop of Essie Set in Stones in a substantial amount of polish thinner on a piece of foil and dabbed the plain silver glitters onto my nails.  I finished off by adding a layer of top coat.  

To the Nails!
Indoors
Full sun outside
In the shade

Phew, was this difficult to capture on camera!  The pictures of my nails indoors and in the sun are accurate, but the one in the shade is a tad bluer than they actually are in real life.  I had numerous "shade" photos that were all a little too blue, but colour correcting the images distorted the appearance of the snowflakes.  Because this post is based around the snowflakes, I wanted to capture these glitters as accurately as possible.

Snowflake Glitters
I'm generally not one for doing much nail art due to a serious lack of skills and even less patience, but I can handle working with loose glitters on occasion.  These snowflake glitters were the first glitters I've used from Born Pretty Store, and the first thing I noticed is that they seem thinner and more delicate than the other nail glitters I have used in the past.  This is actually perfect- the snowflake arms bent and conformed to the shape of my nails, and the glitters would lie flush once I worked a little slower with them.  The first couple I placed on my nails, I didn't hold the glitters down the extra 10 seconds with my trusty pointy tweezers, so the ends of those few weren't quite as flush with my nails as I would have liked.  The others were perfect when I realized I need to spend the extra bit of time with them, and I couldn't be happier with the final outcome.  I recommend these for anyone that wants a flurry-inspired manicure, and here is the direct link to them.  If you decide you do want these in time for the holidays, I wouldn't wait too long to order them.  Born Pretty Store is based in China, and while it only took 2 weeks for these to get to me, it can occasionally take up to 5 weeks.  I also have a coupon code below so you can save 10% on any orders.  Happy shopping, dear readers, and have a wonderful night!  <3