Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Choosing Colors for the Nail Polish Minimalist

Above: Top L-R-OPI Tickle My Francey, Finger Paints Peaceful Pink (pale neutral cremes), OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress and Bottom L-R- OPI Little Red Wagon (reds), Cosmo-Not Tonight Honey, OPI Princesses Rule! (neutral metallics, shimmers).
Above: My suggestions, a pale neutral creme, a shimmer or metallic lighter color, a red.
Below: But why stop there, add some colors like this to enhance the seasons and start your collection growing!
Last week, an acquaintance of mine commented on my nail polish (Misa Dirty Sexy Money always draws attention) and we began a lengthy discussion on the topic. She noted that she seldom wears polish (I hope she didn't see me cringe!) but would like to start. After indicating that she had no idea what 'starter' colors to buy, I suggested she choose a pale neutral creme, a red and perhaps a lighter shimmer in a fairly neutral color. And of course, a topcoat and base coat. She looked a bit perplexed, but promised she'd report back with what she bought when I see her later this week. I didn't have time to really formulate an answer for her, I just spoke off the top of my head. In the days following however, it got me thinking...'what are the basic recommendations for such a question, and why?' My answers were based on the fact that I thought she should start out with colors that would cover a)the season b)the occasion and c)her skin tone. A neutral creme would be versatile for a, b and c. As far as a red, well everyone needs a red with no explanation needed! That would fall more into the 'occasion' category, as well as getting her used to a brighter color on her nails. The lighter neutral color with a bit of shimmer or metallic look would not only get her interested in various nail color finishes, but give her something a little less conservative than the neutral cremes. Did I advise her wisely? I don't know, but I didn't want to lead her down the path that I'm on...yet. Most of you are very familiar with that path, the one filled with what to some, may look like 30 polishes of the same color (but we know and love their differences!), and so on. But I do think it would be nice for the 'newbie' to expand with a bright coral or fuchsia for Summer, a strong purple, burgundy or brown for Fall, and maybe a couple of polishes to do a classic French manicure. And that's how it starts, expanding on the basics. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on recommendations to someone new to this polish love of ours.

Monday, March 30, 2009

New York Summer: Amaranth and Word Origins for $100, Alex!

This morning finds me still trying to defy the 18 degree temperature we had last night and longing for warmer weather. What better way to do that, than by painting my nails a bright, summery color! New York Summer Amaranth is definitely one of those colors. A rich, medium Kelly Green, often used as a base color to franken the elusive Nars Zulu, it's perfect for summer. It takes a good 3 coats to make this color opaque and a topcoat brightens it up considerably, giving it a jelly-like finish. You can get this line (45 colors) at Transdesign.com for only $1.59. For you word origin buffs, Amaranth is actually a plant. Some species are used as an edible grain crop, some as a leafy green vegetable that is high in nutrients, and others as ornamental plants. So there you have it: Body & Soul, not only a source for your nail polish hobby but also a source of useless information!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Misa Summer Sun, Nfu 041~What Winter Storm Warning?

Above: Misa Summer Sun and Below: Topped with Nfu 41.
Today I'm ignoring the snow that is blowing around taunting my poor little daffodils and tulips trying desperately to rise out of their winter hibernation and enjoy some warmth and sunshine. Unfortunately, there is no sunshine. To counter this cold, snowy forecast, I painted my nails with Misa Summer Sun, which is a lovely medium/light yellow and the tiniest bit of shimmer. In the bottle you can see a a slight flash of pale blue duo chrome which, once on the nail, is more of a subtle pearly white flash. It's difficult to capture in a photo, but this is one of my favorite yellows because it isn't too bright, nor is it too pale. The shimmer and flash give it a little something extra and it applied well in 2 coats. I usually have a bit of total coverage issues with yellows, but not so with this Misa. Just for fun, I added a coat of Nfu 41, but I think I prefer the Misa just by itself. The 41 flashes a pale green with it's flakies. Not exactly the look I was going for, but it's better than looking at the snow outside! Don't forget to e-mail your beauty tips (see 'Tip Jar' in right hand column) for a chance to win the China Glaze Summer Days collection. The deadline is midnight on March 31. I hope you all have a great week and as always, I look forward to reading your comments and blogs.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prize WInning Mare & Lasso My ♥

I'm still playing around trying to do a gradient manicure that's post-worthy. I'm having some success, but not enough, as far as I'm concerned! Earlier this week when I was looking for polishes to talk about for my post regarding lesser-known polish brands, I came across so many untried's and polishes I'd completely forgotten I had...some were ones I don't even remember ever getting. That's not a good sign now, is it. Among those finds was the China Glaze Rodeo collection, one of their finest releases in my opinion. I'm certain I have never even tried most of them, but here are a couple that managed to make their way from the shelf to my nails: Lasso My Heart and Prize Winning Mare. LMH is shown with only 2 coats and I think 3 would've been perfect. It's a very pretty medium purple with a touch of gold veining. Unfortunately, the veining is more evident in the bottle before shaking it than on the nail, but I do love this color. Prize Winning Mare...now here's an intersting shade of gold--or is it beige? I don't dislike it, but maybe it lends itself better to a pedi color, or perhaps a darker skin tone or a Konad stamp color? It's a bit muddy or dull, but redeems itself slightly with a shiny topcoat. But it is different and unlike any other color in my collection, so it is welcome to stay.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hidden Treasures: "Other" Brands of Nail Polish

Some of the 'others'~ Top L-R: Nina Ultra Pro (Sally's) Mermaid, Pure Ice (Walmart) Rosebud, New York Summer (Transdesign.com) Fire Red Glitter, Savvy (Sally's) Chocolate, Bed Head (various online hair supply stores) Dumb Blonde, MK (various nail salons and beauty supply stores) Jamaica Reggae. Bottom L-R: NYX Girls (various beauty supplies, Rite-Aid) Show Girl, Wild and Crazy (various beauty supplies, dollar stores) Wasabi, G-1 (various beauty supplies) #105, Ruby Kisses (various beauty supplies) Twinkling Mauve, Tropez (Rite Aid, Walgreen's) Luau Lilac, Sation (Transdesign.com) Suede Shoes.

How many of you get caught up in the newest releases from some of the bigger manufacturers? I think China Glaze, OPI, Nubar, Essie and the like, conspire against us by releasing collections at the same time, knowing we will want them all! Or how about spending $15.00 or more for one bottle of polish (which I think I've regretted almost every time, except for my beloved Chanels!)? I sometimes get caught up in the madness and feel the need to have the entire collection of a manufacturer after seeing posts on Makeup Alley or some of the bigger blogs, but lately, I've been enjoying some of the more unheard of polishes in my collection. Mind you, that's not to say I have never caved to these collections, sadly, I have, more than I'd like to admit. By unheard of, I mean perhaps less expensive and/or ones that have little or no marketing behind them. While there is something to be said for the quality of the more popular brands, there are plenty of other brands that wear just as well and sometimes even better. For the most part, just about any polish will give you good application and wear when combined with a decent base and top coat. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but I have some higher end brands that I have had issues with as well. So if you don't have access, either financially or geographically, to a new collection or a craze (think Nfu!) you come across, go to a local beauty supply, Sally's, or even a drug store and see what you can find to satisfy that desire. Do a Google search for beauty supply stores and you'll find brands such as Adoree', Duri, Ruby Kisses and many, many more. I find my Ruby Kisses brand polishes at a local asian-owned beauty supply for .99 each. I can spend $10.00 and come away feeling satisfied...that is, until China Glaze unveils their latest collection! I'd love to hear some of your recommendations for brands and specific colors that may not be the voted 'most popular' by the mainstream, but still manage to impress you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Misa Decadent Drifter and a Subtle Orly Sparkler

Above and below: Misa Decadent Drifter
Below: Orly Shine on Orly Diamond over Nicole You Go, Girl
Good morning, fellow polish phobes! Today is a busy day for me as I do Volunteer work on Thursdays and my darling daughter has a Doctor's appointment. Therefore, I don't have much time to post or read all of my favorite blogs until later, but that will give me something to do this evening to relax! I must add, I have really been enjoying everyone's blogs...so much knowledge and creativity out there, so I thank you for the reading pleasure and pretty pictures. I'm going to do tomorrow's post on some lesser-known and seldom talked about polish brands, so I have been going through my stash looking for some of those. In doing so, I've realized two things: I really need to organize my stash and, I have forgotten about so many lovely polishes! I wanted to share with you a couple of pictures/polishes I came across that I'd forgotten about, as they were pushed to the back. The first is Misa's Decadent Drifter, a subtle, yet stunning pale blue with a pink and gold cast duochrome. To me, this is the shy cousin of Misa's Dirty Sexy Money. As usual, the application is flawless, as I've found every Misa to be thus far. The other one I wanted to share is Orly's Shine on Orly Diamond. I love glitter and bling, but for adding just a bit of sparkle to any base color without having your nails scream "Look at me!", this is a great choice. It's shown here over Nicole's You Go, Girl. In the bottle, as you can see in the photo, it is densely packed with millions...well, maybe not millions, but alot of tiny colored particle bursts (click on the picture for the intensity!). Once applied, it is simply a beautiful little addition of sparkle to your manicure. It is less glittery than I anticipated in looking at the bottle, but a welcome addition to my collection of layering polishes. Check out Brooke's blog, getchanailsdid, as she mentioned that a tutorial for all of us Konad-challenged ladies was in the works. Thanks, Brooke, for helping us out with this!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Konad: If Practice Makes Perfect, Then I Need Practice!

Above: Finished! I'm satisfied, but not happy with it. I need practice! It didn't line up as well as I'd hoped and my topcoat smeared the 'special' polish. Nothing 'special' about their polish.
Below: The items I used. I much prefer an old credit card to the metal scraper. It doesn't scratch the plate and seems to scrape away the right amount of polish better than the metal one.
My love/hate relationship with my Konad needs work! I've had the kit since the beginning of January and have only used it once or twice. One of my first posts was about my Konad and I don't think I've touched it since. I always admire everyone else's ability to master this little wonder tool, but am starting to doubt my own. Perhaps I'm being too critical...I am at times, my own worst enemy. Today I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Flashy Fuchsia for the base, plate #m65 and Konad Special Nail Polish in white. I will say about the special polishes from Konad (the white is the only one I have), in my opinion, they don't dry very well. I applied my topcoat after about 10 minutes and it smeared the design to the point where I had to do them over again. Applied with a lighter touch the second time around made no difference, as it still smeared. I didn't have that problem with any previous attempts, always using other polishes than the 'special' one. But I'm not giving up! I will continue my quest to conquer the Konad and someday, success will be mine. Here are some reasons I call it a love/hate relationship:

I love the challenge, I love the look (when it comes out right!), I love the versatility and the endless options you have for designs/color combinations, and for the price, it's a very reasonable and enjoyable form of entertainment!

I hate dragging everything out and cleaning it up (there's not that much to it, but I'm lazy!), I hate when I can't get it lined up exactly, I hate when I don't get full coverage or there's the slightest imperfection, and I hate that I keep seeing more and more plates that I *need*! Hmmm, it seems that my hates reflect more upon me than on the product :)

It does seem that some colors are more forgiving of imperfections because these bright cremes I used today show every little mistake as compared to the darker shimmers and lighter frosts that I used in my previous post. A topcoat also seems to diminish some of the errors. Practice seems to be the key here and I am going to attempt to spend more time bonding with my Konad. But in all honesty, I love this little thing. It's fun, it's a great way to play up your nails, it allows you to be creative and most of all, it makes me happy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brand Focus: Finger Paints Nail Color

Above L-R: Shall I Illustrate, Original Orange, Bada Bing Bada Blue
Above L-R: Berry Shiny, Brushstroke Blush, Pink Dawn, Shall I Illustrate, Peaceful Pink, Curator's Coral, Impressionist Rose, Coral Collage, Original Orange.
Above L-R: Shades of Dark, Divinely Deranged, Be A Pal-Ette, Gallery Glam, Black Gumdrop, Plum Crazy, Artist's Sapphire, Bada Bing Bada Blue.
Below L-R: Maroon Macaroon, Butterscotch Cookie (a great gold for Konad stamping!), Red Marzipan.
I thought it might be helpful to my readers to focus on a particular brand every couple of weeks as both my review of it as well as general information about it. There have been many times that I have found a polish brand that I never knew existed and it has become one of my favorites. Finger Paints is certainly one of those brands. As far as I know, this is exclusive to Sally Beauty stores. Have any of you seen it elsewhere? The application of this brand is great, although I will tell you, I have had a couple of the cremes disappoint me because they seemed a bit too thick and the application was not the best for me. There is some streaking that doesn't seem to disappear until at least the third coat, and coupled with the thickness of the formula after three coats, it's not the neatest of applications. Mind you, not all of them are like that, but I have come across this problem a time or two (namely Shall I Illustrate and Original Orange, pictured above). It may be that I just got a few bad formulas, because I really do give high praise to all of the others I've tried, including a number of cremes. They have a wide range of colors (I count at least 70 on their website), some rather unique, and they come out with seasonal collections several times a year. They offer a base and topcoat as well, although I have never used them. These are priced at $4.99 or $4.49 with a Sally card and can often be found on sale. Through the end of March there is a coupon in the Sally flyer available both online and in-store for $1.00 off 2 polishes. Many of the seasonal polishes go on sale for $2.99 after the 'season' is over. If you go to Fingerpaints.com (click 'view shades'), it allows you choose your skin tone and then "try on" the colors to get a better idea of the shade. The quality of this formula is quite superb, with good coverage and excellent wear (with the exception of few cremes I have had a problem with). The handle is a bit longer and narrower than many brands, adding to the ease of application. The brush is a little on the thin side, but that doesn't seem to hinder the application. This is definitely a brand I would recommend if you haven't already tried it. If I had to pick a favorite from this line it would be difficult. Bada Bing Bada Blue (pictured above) however, would surely be one of them! This is a polish that every time I wear it, gets me compliments.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sandal Season: Are Your Toes Ready?

Above: Avon's Foot Works Exfoliating Bar Soap and below: Foot Works Foot File & Pedi-Peel.
Do you give your feet the same attention as your hands? I know I tend to ignore my feet during the colder months, keeping them polished most of the time but seldom treating them to cuticle removers, creams, detailed filing and so on. While I obsess over the slightest imperfections on my finger nails, my poor feet barely get a glance from me. But now that sandal season in upon us, at least in my geographic location, I have been giving my feet a bit of pampering and once again starting to incorporate the same basic routine with them that I use on my hands year round. I wanted to show you a couple of products I've been using and have been very impressed with. They're all from Avon and although I don't use much of their face makeup, I think their skincare products are excellent. Here's what I'm using and loving to get my feet ready for their Spring/Summer debut:

♥ Foot Works Exfoliating Bar Soap. This looks like a regular bar of soap except that it has some pretty powerful and densely packed lava grains in it for great exfoliating action. I use this daily for about 2 weeks, then about 2-3 times a week once my feet are in good condition. This has really helped to smooth out some of the rough edges and soften problem areas (heels, edge of toes). $3.99 and often on sale for $2.99

♥Foot Works 2-Sided Exfoliation Double Action Foot File. An easy to handle file with a course and fine side. Again, I use this daily for 2 weeks and then a couple of times a week to maintain the results, focusing on problem areas. $2.99 and often on sale for $1.99

♥Foot Works Pedi-Peel. The main ingredient in this is glycolic acid and this is used on the problem (callused) areas specifically, although initially, I use it on the entire foot. It really leaves my feet much softer and smoother. I use these daily for a week and then about twice a week to maintain. I absolutely love these! $4.99 and often on sale for $2.99.

They have several other products to treat your feet in their Foot Works line, but these work well for me. There's a Thermal Exfoliating Scrub that warms on contact that I'd like to try, but I'm extremely satisfied with the results I'm getting from these 3 products. I've also been using Sally Hansen's Cuticle Remover on them weekly and Creative Nail Design's Cuticle Eraser daily, which is the same process I use on my fingers. After spending a few weeks on my poor neglected piggies, they are looking pretty good. I should have taken before and after pictures. It would be like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon...well, maybe not quite that dramatic. Who knows, I may even get up the nerve and post an 'after' picture of them!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I ♥ My Fellow Bloggers!

Thank you Nessa at Contests and Such for for this award! It means so much to me that you enjoy my blog and share it with others. I appreciate all of my readers and am inspired by my fellow bloggers to learn and become more creative every day. I truly enjoy sharing a passion of mine with all of you. And I'm just happy to know that someone reads my blog!

GUIDELINES: List 7 things that you love, and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you love! Be sure to tag them and let them know that they have won. You can copy the picture of the award and paste it on your sidebar letting the whole world know...you are Kreativ!...

7 Things That I Love...in no particular order!

1. My Loving Husband & Precious Daughter

2. My Family

3. Writing, Reading & Learning

4. Cosmetics: Nail Polish, Make-Up, Hair Stuff!

5. Lazy Sunday Mornings

6. My Pets: Max, Greta, Gizmo, Matsu & Misho

7. A Good Cup of Coffee

7 Bloggers I Love Because of their Talent & Dedication!

Thanks ladies for all you do! I love reading your blogs and so appreciate all of the time and effort you put into them. There are alot of great bloggers out there in addition to these so check them out and some of the blogs they follow and you'll be amazed at the talent!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

NOTD: Revlon Passion Punch Shimmer

I hope everyone's enjoying their first day of Spring! This color gives me hope for warm weather, even though it was only in the 40's here today. I love the shimmer in this one, it's very subtle in the bottle but really adds a glow to the base color once applied. I did my toes today using this polish...now if only it were warm enough for flip flops, I'd be happy! Tomorrow, according to my husband, we're raking and doing yard work so I imagine I'll ruin this color soon enough, but I'm enjoying it now. Just a reminder to e-mail me your beauty tips for a chance to win the entire set of China Glaze Summer Days (see 'Tip Jar' in sidebar). I'm really enjoying reading everyone's tips and you're giving me some great beauty hints to use on myself!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Feeling Crafty? Sponge Your Nails!

Some of you may find this a bit odd, but one day when I was bored and doing some dishes, I was inspired by the sponge (obviously, it doesn't take alot for me to be inspired). This was before I had my Konad, so I had to utilize what I had available at the time. I was wearing China Glaze Gussied Up Green and I thought, 'hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I put polish on the sponge and 'stamped' my nails?" So here's what I did:

*I took a bottle of Pure Ice polish in Jaguar (a mid-tone gold shimmer) and painted the edge/side of an O-Cello sponge, using an area a bit wider than my nail. I used a dampened sponge, getting it totally wet and then squeezing it completely out. You can use any porous sponge, but these worked well for me.
*Make sure and pick an area of the sponge that is evenly porous. Don't use an area that has one big gap/hole, but rather, an area that has even density, if that makes sense (this whole idea doesn't make any sense, so who am I kidding?)
*Take the sponge, line up the area you painted with the edge of your nail, then using a moderate amount of pressure, roll the edge of the sponge from one side of your nail to the other. Paint the same area of the sponge again and continue on to the next nail. When applying the polish to the sponge, I used 2 coats because obviously, the sponge is absorbing the polish so you want to have enough on the surface when you apply it. The area around the nail cleans up easily with polish remover and a Q-Tip.
It makes kind of an interesting pattern, don't you think? I've thought about using 2 different colors to get more of a marbled look, but I haven't yet been that inspired! I find myself looking around at other things (like lace) and wondering what that might look like if I painted it and applied it to my nail. I did this all in the presence of my husband who at first looked at me like I was crazy (not the first time I've gotten this look from him), but when I got done he actually thought it looked rather interesting, and not necessarily in a bad way...or at least, that's what he said. He was probably thinking otherwise!
For those of you interested in SpaRitual polishes, Skinstore is having a 4 day sale starting today which gives you 20% off and free shipping over $49.00. The regular price is $10.00 per bottle so they'd be $8.00 each. Use code BEST20.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do You Think of Nail Polish as an Accessory?

Do you think of your polish as a cosmetic item or as an accessory? I like to think of it as more of an accessory, similar to jewelry, shoes, scarves and bags. A little something to draw an outfit together, complimentary to the color and overall look, but not necessarily 'matching.' There are some people who feel their polish has to match their top or dress perfectly, and that's fine, but it can be much more than that. I'll use Misa Push Upon It from the Living on the Fast Lane collection as my example. It's a slightly muted fuchsia creme, but a strong color. In the pictures above, you can see it looks nice with a top that has a similar color in it, and really dresses up the outfit because the majority of that ensemble is black, other than the multi-colored top worn underneath. Pairing it with another bold bright color like the kelly green top looks bright and summery, yet in no way does it 'match.' The brown and blue print top lends itself to the obvious brown or blue polish, but the Push Upon It looks just as nice and adds a little something extra. Experiment with a few looks...even if it doesn't 'match', if you like it, wear it! With summer coming up you can double your color impact on your toes, and guess what? They don't even have to match what's on your nails!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MAC Pigments: Quick & Easy Nail Polish

Above: The finished product, 2 coats using MAC pigment in Silver Dusk. The pigment color in the jar intensifies quite a bit when converted into a polish.

Below: The items needed to make a quick one-time use pigment polish: Something to mix in (I use a pigment cap), a clear polish (I usually grab something I don't use on a regular basis), a toothpick, eye shadow pigment.
Many of us mix our own nail polish (commonly referred to as 'frankening') as a means of creating that perfect color we're searching for or to duplicate a sought-after color we're unable to get our hands on, for one reason or another. Or perhaps we just do it because it appeals to our curious and creative side and it's just plain fun! I am certainly guilty of this little past time, but if I don't want to go through the hassle of mixing polishes, making a bit of a mess, getting all the necessary items out (mixing balls, bottles, several shades of polish, etc.), I like to resort to using eye shadow pigments with clear polish. The main reason I like to do this, is honestly, I don't need more bottles of nail polish. Also, I don't necessarily want to use up polish that I have a 'like' for to end up, after experimenting, with a polish that is, well, not at all something I'd wear! When I'm in the mood, I love mixing polishes. It's really fun and rewarding when you hit the color ratio just right, but if your time is limited and you don't have spare bottles, or you have a pigment color that you don't use for whatever reason, turn it into a bit of polish. This makes just enough to do my nails with 2-3 coats. If I don't like it, I haven't spent too much time or product mixing it. If I love it, then I may make more and fill a bottle with it. I usually just use a cap (see picture) to mix in, a toothpick, some clear polish and the pigments. I sprinkle the pigment in the cap, add approximately 20 drops of clear polish, then mix it up with the toothpick, getting all of the pigment into the polish until it's smooth. Sprinkle just a bit of pigment in for starters, then add more to the clear drops until you get the consistency of a standard polish. Try mixing a couple of pigment colors together for a unique look, or add a drop or two of a colored polish into the mix.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day-Share Your Manicure!

My first attempt at free-handing the tip (pre-cleanup, sorry!)
I hope you all have a fun-filled day today! I didn't do anything colossal for my mani today, but I did try experimenting doing my tips free-hand and it came out pretty well. I still need practice, but I sometimes think using the stick-on tip guides looks almost too perfect and I prefer the look I got free-handing it. It's not too hard to do if you hold the brush still and then roll your nail against the brush instead of pulling the brush across your nail. I used Sinful Street of NY (shouldn't it be plural, 'streets'?!!) for the tip, one of my finds from nail polish hunting last week, and Nfu-Oh #036 over the entire nail. Of course I had to use a little shamrock sticker to complete the look! If you did a St. Patty's mani, I'd love to see it so e-mail a link or a pic and I'll post some of your creativity. For those of you interested in the newly released MAC Peppermint Patti (a lovely mint green creme from the Sugar Sweet collection), MAC has free shipping right now with no minimum. Use the code 'sugarsweet'...it would have been nice of them to release it before St. Patrick's Day?!! Don't forget to send me your 'tip jar' beauty tips for a chance to win the entire China Glaze Summer Days collection.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Massini Nail Lacquers-A Meijer Exclusive?

Above: Massini Purple Medallion (you must click the pic for excessive sparkles!)
Below: Massini Drama Queen
Below: Massini Brown Velvet. The gold sparkles are much finer and less evident in this one.
Below: The elusive Massini's, l-r: Drama Queen, Purple Medallion, Brown Velvet
Massini Nail Lacquers are truly unique polishes but their availability seems to be very limited. The only place I've seen them are at Meijer stores (similar to Walmart and Target). Meijer stores are only found in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky, according to the store locator on their website. Luckily, I have a Meijer a couple of miles from my house, although that doesn't really help the rest of you looking to purchase this majorly bling-tastic polish! There has been some talk of the possible fact that this is manufactured by Forsythe Cosmetics, the manufacturer of Color Club polishes, but after doing a bit of research, I can find nothing to verify that. In fact, I find very little information on Massini at all. The bottle states that it is distributed exclusively by Wholesale Merchandisers in Grand Rapids, which is also where Meijer stores are based. Maybe one of you readers can enlighten us with more information on this elusive brand. What I like about Massini's is the fact that not only are their polishes very different and major sparkly, but unlike a lot of other glitter polishes, the base color is extremely well-defined. 2 coats and you have a solid base with a ton of sparkle. The price is right as well, at only $2.99 per bottle. If you ever see a Meijer store in your travels, I definitely recommend turning that car around and picking up a few of these gems to add to your collection!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Thrill of the Hunt: A Guide to Nail Polish Hunting!

My "kill" for the day top l to r: Old Sinful polishes, Street of NY, Soft Mink, Surf N' Blue all for $1.00 each!
Below l to r: Birthday Babe, Calling All Goddesses, Ti-Tan Your Toga, Berry Berry Broadway, I Don't Do Dishes, Dazzle Me, Give Me The Moon all for $2.00 each! They had them clearanced for $3.75 then final clearanced for $2.00. Such a deal.
Whenever I get the chance I like to check out less obvious stores to see what hard to find or unusual polishes they may have. It's kind of like going hunting or antique shopping...you just never know what, if anything, you might find. It's a relatively inexpensive sport, providing you don't go crazy and buy everything you see. It's good exercise, all the walking, bending to see what might be hidden behind other products, and it really gets your adrenaline pumped when you spot your prey. I live in a fairly small town so there aren't too terribly many places to hunt, but I can usually find something that makes me think it was all worthwhile. I spent about 2 hours yesterday 'hunting' and spent a grand total of $17.00. The OPI's pictured were all $2.00 each and the Sinfuls were only $1.00. I feel kind of silly going into some of the nail salons asking if I can just look at their polish, but they are always very accommodating. I felt even sillier sitting on the floor dumping baskets of polish marked $1.00 each out for inspection. But it was fun and worth it to me. Nothing compares to that rush of euphoria you get when you spot a rarity! Here are some ideas of places you might want to seek out in your town:

~Chain hair salons like Regis. They often have some older OPI's on clearance.
~Asian Beauty Supply stores. They are famous for having some really pretty and unique polishes and even though many of the brands are unheard of to me, that doesn't diminish the prettiness.
~Family owned or non-chain drug stores. You can often find very old polishes in these, usually brand name typical drug store ones.
~Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and the like. Their stock changes rapidly, so if you're ever near one, check it out. I've found Colorama, Maybelline Mattes and so on.
~Tanning Salons. I've found that many of these carry nail polish and usually have a clearance area. I scored 14 OPI Designer Series polishes at one several months ago for $4.00 each.
~Nail Salons, especially Asian-owned ones. You'll find not only brand name polishes but often some cool glittery foreign polishes to add to your haul.
Happy Hunting!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

NOTD: OPI A Dozen Rosas and 'Tip Jar' Prize Announcement

I've been out nail polish hunting today, which was great fun and productive, but more on that another day. The Nail Polish of the Day is a soft pink from OPI called A Dozen Rosas. It's been so cold here lately, but the sun was out today giving promise to warmer weather, so I wanted to wear a more 'summery' color. I like this color for just a simple, everyday look. The prize for the random 'Tip Jar' drawing (to be held April 1) will be the 6 piece set of China Glaze's Summer Days collection, the perfect collection for summer! All you have to do is e-mail me a beauty tip, anything you do or have done that you recommend. It can be very simple or more complex, it can be a product recommendation, anything at all. So send me your tips, your name will be entered in a random drawing (this will be a monthly, on-going contest each month and prizes will be announced a few weeks before each drawing), and I may use your tip in the Tip Jar' column (see right hand column), giving you credit, of course! The drawing will always be held the 1st day of the month and all entries received the prior month are eligible. My e-mail address is mej0620@hotmail.com. If you're not familiar with the Summer Days collection, do a google search and you'll see what I mean when I say it's the perfect collection for summer!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More Pretty MAC Polishes

I posted earier this week (see Tuesday's post) on some MAC polishes I got at the Cosmetics Company Outlet and I wanted to share the rest of them with you. Their creme polishes apply so well, I was really impressed by the coverage I got in just 2 coats and was amazed by how quickly they dried. I absolutely love the bright orange/coral one! It's called Kid Orange. The dark purple one is called Lady Minx. These are the 2 cremes. The frost in violet/pink is called Violet to Plum, although I'm not sure where the 'plum' part comes in to play. More MAC cremes are going on my 'I want' list after trying these out. I wonder, are most of their cremes this nice when it comes to the application? Don't forget to e-mail me your beauty tips (see 'Tip Jar' in column to right). I'm narrowing down the prize for this months drawing, which will be held April 1 and all tips submitted during March are eligible for the drawing. I'll announce the prize tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Easy-To-Find Greens for St. Patty's Day

Same colors, different lighting. Click pic to view larger. Color names and descriptions in post.
Here are 5 more greens that are fairly easy to find, should you still be searching for your St. Patrick's Day manicure ideas. The thumb shows Pure Ice First Time, which is carried by most Walmart stores. It's a frosty metallic shade and for $1.99, you can't go wrong. The index finger is China Glaze Gussied Up Green which in some locations, can still be found at Sally Beauty or ordered from one of the e-tailers listed to the right. Revlon Lush Lime, found at Walgreen's, resides on my middle finger and although a lighter shade of green, it is unique in that it has a myriad of tiny colored silver sparkles within. My ring finger is something I made by taking any clear polish, adding just a few drops of a darker medium green (I used Sinful San Francisco) and then adding in quite a bit of green glitter (I got mine at Michael's). It's really quite festive and worth the bit of mess I made! On my pinkie is NYC Big Money Frost, found at Rite Aid and Target. So there you have it, 10 (5 today and the 5 posted on Monday) greens for March 17. I'm still not sure what my polish of choice will be for March 17. I'd love to hear what you're planning!

I wanted to show you these rice powders I got at Sally the other day...isn't the little box cute! I've never tried this brand, and like many people, I was drawn to the packaging. I also picked up the eye shadow in "Fairy Pink", a shimmery medium pink. Palladio brand cosmetics are herbal and vitamin enriched, and they're fairly reasonably priced. The powders run $5.00 and the eyeshadow is $4.00. I got the powders in Transluscent and Natural. The transluscent is great for setting makeup, and the natural I use as my foundation. Rice powders are nice if you have slightly oily skin, as they absorb the oil. They looked a bit powdery upon application, but after blending with a kabuki brush, left a smooth, almost flawless finish. I'm sorry the picture isn't clickable to enlarge...I'm too new at blogging and haven't figured out how to move the picture from it's original placement and still have it be clickable.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

MAC Polishes from the CCO

Top row: Beiged Bliss (for a neutral, I love it), Fireball (natural light)
Bottom row: Fireball (flash, look how glowy it is!), Violet Femme (it has tiny gold pretties!)
~click pic for close-up

If you've never been to a Cosmetics Company Outlet (CCO) and you're a cosmetics junkie like me...well wait, if you're reading this blog I shouldn't have to defend my obsession to you because guess what? You're one too! As I was saying, if you've never been to one, see if there are any located near you. Or the next time you take a trip, do a little checking and perhaps you can locate one in your travels. They carry many, many lines produced by Estee Lauder and the prices are usually 30-40% off of retail. I've had pretty good luck finding some of my favorite MAC limited edition eye shadows and lipglasses/lipsticks, along with lots of other great products at great prices. They change their stock frequently and some locations are better than others when it comes to the quantity on hand of certain brands. If you go to Outletbound.com and type in 'cosmetics company store' or 'estee lauder' in the store locater, you'll find all of their locations. These are some of the polishes that I got for $7.00 each. I'm not a huge MAC polish fan, although I must admit, their formulation is improving. I needed 3 coats on all of these, but they do come out with some unique colors every now and again. I'll be posting the other 3 colors I got later this week, along with another post highlighting some more easy to find greens for your St. Patty's Day manicure, so check back soon!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Easy-to-Find Greens for your St. Patty's Day Manicure

Left to Right: Thumb=Sinful San Francisco, Index=Sally Hansen Jumpin' Jade, Middle=Maybelline Jade Flash, Ring=Sinful Show Me The Way, Pinkie=Orly Green Apple

There's only about a week left until St. Patrick's Day and in case you're in need of some polishes for the occasion, I thought it might be helpful to show you some colors that are fairly easy to locate, at least in the U.S. I'm always 'green with envy' (get it...green!) at the colors some of my international readers can get their hands on, but it's one of those...'the grass is always greener' things. Okay, I'll stop with the green references and get on to the descriptions and where you can find these! The Sinful colors (thumb=San Francisco, ring finger=Show Me The Way) are both shown in 3 coats and are in the regular stock of Sinful colors at Walgreen's ($1.99). The Sally Hansen Jumpin' Jade (index finger) can be found at both Rite Aid and Walgreen's for $5.29. On my middle finger is Maybelline Jade Flash, which I picked up at Rite Aid last month for $3.99 and lastly, on my pinkie finger, is Orly's Green Apple, which is part of the core stock at Sally Beauty and runs about $4.50. All polishes, with the exception of the Sinfuls, are shown in 2 coats. If you have any other 'quick finds' in greens for our readers, please share them in the comments or the chat box in the right-hand column. I'll have some more Easy-to-Find greens for you later in the week.

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Rachel B. of Indianapolis, IN!!! Your bucket of green will be on it's way to you shortly and I hope you enjoy everything. Thanks to all of you for entering and for reading my blog. Watch soon for April's contest...I had so much fun with this one tht I'd like to do one every month. Don't forget to send me your beauty tips for the 'Tip Jar' (see right-hand column) where all tips submitted will be entered in a random monthly drawing. I'll announce this month's prize later in the week.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nfu-Oh #68 and #46

Above: Nfu-Oh #068 and below, topped with Nfu-Oh 46. (click pics for larger image)
Nfu-Oh #68 is a lovely dark violet or medium purple with a bit of a metallic look to it. Two coats is all you need and it applies neatly without streaks. In the bottle you can see very fine silver shimmer, but unlike some of the NFU's it does not reflect any color other than the purple. Before I removed it I topped it with #46 which is considered one of the flaky colors, although this one has a heavier base color than many of the other flakies. I've worn it alone and it's a really nice true red with plenty of sparkle.
Don't forget to e-mail me your entry for the St. Patty's Day contest which ends at midnight tomorrow! E-mail your beauty tips (see side bar titled 'Tip Jar') this month for the April 1 drawing! Send all entries to mej0620@hotmail.com. I'll announce what the prize is sometime this coming week.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Nfu-Oh #62: Holo Magic!

Click pics for close-up

This week I've been posting the non-flaky Nfu-Oh polishes and today's is a holo extreme! In the bottle it's a lighter silver color with flashes of red. It doesn't look too spectacular just sitting in the bottle but once you get 2 coats of this on...WOW! It has the tiniest little shimmer specks and when viewed close up, it almost appears to have a velvet texture to it. To me, the finish is very similar to the OPI Designer Series. I find if I use a top coat on this it dulls the holographic effect, so I generally don't use one. There are special topcoats made to enhance holo polishes, but the Nfu-s wear very well, so I'm satisfied with leaving them plain. I've just got one more Nfu to show you (a purple) and then I will have shared all of the ones I have. I'm very impressed by these and may just have to order some more of the non-flakies. ***Just a reminder...get your entries in for the Body and Soul St. Patty's day contest! The deadline is midnight this Sunday, March 8th, 2009. Scroll down a few posts for more information.