Thursday, April 30, 2009

Revlon Raspberry Rapture and Body & Soul's New Monthly Contest

Above: Raspberry Rapture, one of Revlon's scented polishes.
Above: To go along with the raspberry theme, look at the picture from an e-mail I received from Dairy Queen today. Yes, I'm a proud member of the Blizzard Fan Club. It's Raspberry Truffle, their May flavor of the month. The description was "rich truffle pieces with raspberry topping mixed into creamy vanilla DQ soft serve. One bite and you'll experience raspberry-drizzled cocoa-covered nirvana." I'm always up for a little nirvana so you can be sure I'll check this one out! But that's not can also get an entire cake of raspberry truffle!
Below: I added a Nailene BeDazzle nail decal.
I'm still trying out all of my Revlon scented polishes so today's NOTD is Raspberry Rapture. This is a bright cream that is more watermelon in color than raspberry, but is very pretty no matter what color it looks like! It applied very nicely in 2 coats and does have a faint raspberry scent. Unfortunately, the scent is all but lost when a top coat is applied. Maybe we could add a few drops of raspberry extract to the topcoat? This is a very eye-catching color and perfect for summer. Now that we're heading into May, I'd have to say that this collection is probably my favorite acquisition for the month of April. The colors were all very different and the scent factor just makes them fun. What were some of your favorite things you acquired in April?
Speaking of a new month, I'm going to make a bit of change to the 'Tip Jar' column and contest on your right. Last month I introduced the column and received over 100 e-mails from readers with beauty tips, which automatically entered them into a drawing. The prize was a complete set of the China Glaze Summer Days polishes. This month I only had 3 e-mail submissions. I'm very happy that my readership is growing, so I'm not sure why there were so few entries. At any rate, I'm going to continue to maintain the "Tip Jar' with tips that I come across and think you may be interested in, and also include other types of 'tips' such as discount codes, sales, and that type of thing. I'm going to introduce the Body & Soul Monthly Contest which will be located in the upper right hand corner. Every Friday during each month, beginning May 8th, I'll hold a random drawing for the prizes announced on the 1st of that month. RULES: Beginning May 1, all you need to do is e-mail me your name (address is optional, if you win I'll request it in an e-mail back to you), e-mail address and put 'Body & Soul May Contest' in the subject line. This contest is only open to followers of my blog. If you're a winner, you can only win once per month. All e-mails received will remain in the drawing pool for the entire month (unless you already won during the month) and you can enter up until the final Friday. I'll announce May's prizes tomorrow along with a picture.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Estee Lauder Polishes and an Eyeshadow!

Above & Below: Bronze Goddess from their Bronze Goddess 2009 summer collection. Perfect application, this is a stunning deep gold shimmer.
Below: Rosa, Rosa is a classic lighter magenta shade with a cream finish.
Below: A close-up of the colors in the eye shadow duo. Pale Moon and Mocha Cup.
Below: Swatches on my hand. Pale moon is a delicate pink with a hint of lavender (on left) and Mocha Cup is a medium mocha color. Both are subtle, yet shimmery.
There's something so rich and elegant about Estee Lauder polishes, perhaps it's the bottle or the smooth application. Whatever it is, I definitely like it! I don't have very many of these and that would be due to the price ($18.00). Rich as they may seem, I am not! I've seen them here and there for less on questionable websites, but these are from our local Estee Lauder counter. The sales associate was very kind, applying the polish on her own nails so I could see what they looked like. Her nails looked like Skittles by the time we were done, but I appreciated it and she seemed happy to do it. I asked her if she had any samples (I was just thinking of a little one-time-use packet of eye cream or something) and she showed me a lovely eye shadow duo and asked if I'd like that. Of course I would! We had a nice little chat about nails and nail care, so it was a pleasant little transaction. I'd be interested in hearing if you have any Estee Lauder polishes and if so, what some of your favorites are.

Barielle Reviews: Nail Rebuilding Protein & Ultra Speed Dry Manicure Extender

Today I'll be sharing my thoughts with you on some more of the products I'm reviewing for Barielle. Earlier in the week I posted a review on their Extra Gentle Cuticle Minimizer and Nail Strengthener Cream. To update you on their performance, I'm just now starting to see a bit of cuticle regrowth and it has been one day short of a week since I used the product. I have been using the Strengthener Cream daily and am quite satisfied with the condition of my nails and the surrounding skin. On to today's products...the Nail Rebuilding Protein is recommended for soft, peeling nails in order to build them up and strengthen them. It states that it is ideal for nails that have been damaged from acrylics. I don't have any of those issues thankfully, but it can also be used as a base coat, which is what I'm doing. I have an arsenal of base coats in my rotation, from Sally Hansen Nail Quencher, Orly Bonder and a host of others. The difference I have noticed with Barielle's is the finish I get using it. It seems to be a thicker coat that actually fills in ridges and imperfections. It leaves my nails totally smooth and even, which when using other base coats, I have noticed that any ridges are still somewhat evident. When I hold my nails at an angle under a light, the hand that has the Barielle products is completely lacking any ridges whatsoever, while the hand that has no product on it shows both vertical ridges and a few horizontal bumps, for lack of a better word. It's like a coating of polyurethane on my nails that somehow magically levels everything out. It's main ingredients are keratin, vitamin E and wheat protein and it's scented much like a nail polish. It's price is high at $17.00, but I honestly think I would spend the money for it. I buff my nails once in a while to get rid of ridges, but buffing basically thins out your nails, which can't be a good thing. I am extremely impressed with the finish I get from this and over time with continued use, I imagine that my nails will be stronger and in better condition, overall.

The Ultra Speed Dry Manicure Extender is a high gloss, quick-drying formula that is chip resistant. It also has a UV absorber that according to the packaging "prevents dark colors from fading and light colors from yellowing." The box states that it is dry in 60 seconds, which I found to be true. As far as the UV absorber, to be honest with you, I never leave a polish on more than a day, so I can't judge it's ability to keep colors intact. I can tell you however, that it does dry very quickly and leave a high shine. I have read several reviews on this product and it seems to perform very well for many people. It too is priced at $17.00 which for this product, I doubt that I would pay that much, simply because I change my polish so often. I do believe it would be worthwhile for the person that does their manicure with the intent of leaving the polish on for a week, as the reviews I read praised the fact that the users were getting 5-7 days of wear before any noticeable tip wear.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

L'Oreal Summer of Safari 2009

Above: Desert Dawn, a bright bronze-gold with a hint of pink. It has an almost metallic finish with tiny multi-colored glitter (click pic). Pre-clean up.

Below: Exotic Expedition, a fire engine red with my favorite glass flecked finish. Click pictures for detail. This is very similar to China Glaze Cherry Pie. Pre-clean up.

I spotted these last week and picked up 2 of the 4 polishes that are part of the display. The display reads: "Bronze Gone Brazen, Summer of Safari 2009". It includes some lip glosses, eye shadow quads and bronzing powders, as well as 4 nail polishes. I only have 3 or 4 L'Oreal polishes and I thought these colors looked nice, so for the good of my collection I thought it best to pick them up! How could I not when they were BOGO and I had 2 $2.00 coupons? My total cost was .99 so I didn't feel too much guilt. The makeup is geared toward coppers and bronzes, while the nail polish includes a bright bronze-gold (shown above, Desert Dawn), a bright fire engine red with glass flecks (shown above, Exotic Expedition), a bright gold which I didn't get (called Tribal Treasure) and a dusty rose with a hint of beige, which I also passed on (called Safari Sunset). They applied well in 2 coats, and although L'Oreal polishes have a somewhat stiff brush and a thicker formula than what I'm used to, they gave me no problem. Speaking of safari's, my brother-in-law is going to Africa on one this summer and I'm thinking about asking him to look for nail polish for me. Something tells me he wouldn't be too enthusiastic about my request!

Monday, April 27, 2009

OPI Colorcopia

Above: L-R: Shoot Out at the OK Coral, Sahara Sapphire, D.C Cherry Blossom, Copper Mountain Copper, Venus Di Violet, Florentine Fuchsia. On my nails: Mediterranean Moonlight.
Above: Mediterranean Moonlight with no flash, indirect sunlight. 2 coats, good application.
Below: Shoot Out at the OK Coral, 3 coats, and still not as good as I'd like. A bit streaky, but I do like the color.
These are the recent re-releases of some of OPI's LE shades over the years. I wasn't wowed by this collection, but still thought it my duty to pick up a few to share with you! There are 12 polishes in this collection, 5 of which I already had, so I just got these 7. I really don't feel moved by these enough to write alot description wise, isn't that terrible? So to liven up the entry, I posted a picture of my feet. You can blame OPI, if they had come out with some of the better, more unusual LE shades they have issued in the past, I wouldn't have to resort to feet pictures just so I had something to add to my post! Now had they included in this collection, say Jasper Jade or Black Magic Mountain, you would be reading a much longer, more impassioned post and it probably wouldn't need feet pics as filler! My feelings are fairly indifferent toward this collection, for the most part. I like Sahara Sapphire, but it's similar to other polishes I have, and the same with D.C Cherry Blossom and Florentine Fuchsia. Is it just me, or was anyone else not terribly impressed with their selections?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Review: Barielle Extra Gentle Cuticle Minimizer & Nail Strengthener Cream

Above: Naked nails! After using the Cuticle Minimizer and Nail Strengthening Cream.

Last week I posted about how Barielle was kind enough to send me some wonderful products in exchange for a review on them. I began using them on April 23, starting with the Extra Gentle Cuticle Minimizer and the Nail Strengthener Cream. I normally use Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover once or twice a week and have been satisfied with the results. Barielle's product is similar, in that you apply a line of product around your nail's edge at the skin and leave it on for 2-3 minutes. I always leave the Sally Hansen on for longer than the directions say, so I left this one on for about 5-6 minutes. Barielle's comes with an orange stick and they recommend pushing the cuticle back after the allotted application time. I actually use a damp wash cloth to push mine back with, so that's what I did. I'm not just saying this because I feel like I have to, but I was impressed. I want to give an honest review for your sake, so if I find a flaw during my usage, I will be sure and mention it. With the Sally Hansen I normally have to go over my nails a couple of times to clean the cuticle off, but with this product, it was all off in the first swipe. The product itself is a thin liquid gel, with little to no scent. I used a bit less than my usual product, simply because the applicator has a smaller opening, but obviously it was enough to get the job done. The box states that it is moisturizing, which I always appreciate, and that it can be used daily, although this is day 3 since I last used it and my cuticles still look great. This is priced at $10.00 for a .5 oz. tube.

After washing off the cuticle remover with soap and water, rubbing my cuticles clean, then rinsing again, I applied a small amount of the Nail Strengthener Cream to each nail and massaged it in on and around the nail. What impressed me about this product was how shiny it made my nails and how soft it made my skin. I rinsed the dishes, loaded the dishwasher, wiped the counters, washed my hands, and my nails were still shiny and my skin was soft. This product was originally developed to condition the hooves of racehorses. The box states that the 'formula helps nails grow healthier and stronger while resisting splits, peels and breaks.' My nails are strong and luckily I don't have problems with splitting and breaking for the most part, so I'm using this in place of my usual product, which is Creative Nail Design's Cuticle Eraser. It states that it can be used several times a day, so as I do with CND, I'm applying it in the morning and evening. I realize that this lacks the AHA exfoliant that CND has, but it seems to be working fine, as far as the appearance of my nails goes. This is a white lotion, rather thick, also with little to no scent. It is fine to use over polish, in fact it seems to enhance and freshen the look. Glycerin, lanolin and protein are some of the ingredients found in this product. This also is priced at $10.00 for a .5 oz. tube.

I will continue to use these during the upcoming week and report my thoughts and results to you as to how they're working for me, but so far, so good. I am happy that my cuticles look as good today as they did 3 nights ago when I used the Cuticle Minimizer. I am equally happy with the results I'm getting from the Strengthener Cream, finding my nails still shiny every time I have removed my polish, which is something I do daily. I've also been using the Nail Rebuilding Protein and the Ultra Speed Dry Manicure Extender since last Thursday and will be reviewing them in the next day or two. My final post for these products will be later in the week when I do a 'Brand Focus' and share some of their Shades polish colors with you.

NOTD: Berry Jeweled Revlon & The Rest of The Mini-Haul

Above and Below: Revlon's Berry Jeweled. A cranberry shimmer with a lot of sparkle in real life. It almost has a metallic look to it and flashes a light gold in certain light. This polish is packed with glitter/glimmer, which looks very chunky in the bottle and during application, but has a smooth finish. Click pictures for detail of the glitter goodness!
Below: The complete haul for $11.50. The Dark Pleasures from L-R are #780 Talk Dirty, #785 Midnight Affair, #745 Rendez-Blue and #800 Steel-Etto. I think #745 will work great as a layering polish. It's a lighter version of Misa's Decadent Drifter. Click to see the duo-chrome beauty in #745. Revlon's are named in the next picture.
Below L-R: Copper Gleam, Sheer Innocence, Twinkled Pink, Sheer Bliss, Passion Punch Shimmer, another Twinkled Pink that I had to get due to the packaging, Berry Jeweled.
I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! Here are the items I picked up at Big Lots recently for a grand total of $11.50. There are a couple that I wasn't interested in, but the way they're packaged made it impossible to select the ones I did want. For $11.50 though, it really didn't matter, because I did get the Dark Pleasures I wanted, along with the Berry Jeweled, Copper Gleam (which I showed you in yesterday's post) and Passion Punch Shimmer (one of my favorite colors for Summer). The Dark Pleasures in Talk Dirty (dark olive green) probably started my heart racing the most, followed closely by the Berry Jeweled, which is my FOTD for the day. I seldom find anything at our Big Lots, so I'd consider this my first successful haul there. I'll be posting my review tonight on the Barielle Extra Gentle Cuticle Minimizer and their Nail Strengthener Cream, as well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

NOTD: Copper Gleam LE, Revlon

The weekend is here and I hope you're all able to relax and have some fun with it! Our weather has been beautiful, in the 80's yesterday (finally) and near that again today, so I suspect some yard work is in my plans. I don't have as much time on Saturdays to play with my nails (you know, paint, photograph, clean, repaint...) as I do other days of the week, so I thought it might be fun and informative to you if I started doing a little recap of my week as it relates to nails and cosmetics and at the same time, give you a little random sampling of what some of my favorite bloggers have been up to. I have really been inspired by, and grateful to so many of you, not only because of the information you provide, but especially how we all help each other out by the comments that are left and mentioning each other in our blogs. I love finding new blogs and I am so happy when a new blogger starts getting noticed. I keep adding myself as a follower to many of them, such that my reading list takes me quite a while to get through each day! I also try to update my blogroll two or three times a month, adding the new ones I've discovered and am following.

My week was fairly productive in the fact that I scored 11 polishes (Revlon regular polishes and Revlon Dark Pleasures) at Big Lots for $11.50, which if you ever saw my Big Lots, that's unusual! My husband was with me and he was very patient, even helping me dig through the mess of bins to find some of them. I live in a small town and the great polishes that everyone else finds at their Dollar Trees, Big lots, etc. never seem to make it our way, so I was thrilled to find what I found. My NOTD is from that little haul and I'll post the others next week. Things continued to improve when I won 4 Zoya polishes from the Casual Lavish Earth, Wind & Fire giveaway for Earth Day, sponsored by Art of Beauty. And then to cap it off, I received a very generous package of products to sample in return for reviewing them on my blog from Barielle. How was your week for finding some new things?

Some of the blogs I've enjoyed this week and why, include Brooke at Getcha Nails Did because she not only posts great pictures and specifics about her nail looks and related products, but she is a champion for providing links to new blogs for our viewing pleasure. She shared some great Konads with us this week, the fact that she fell off her 'no buy wagon' (I had to mention that!), and also posts pictures of her beloved Dinky, that always make me smile. Nessa's blog at Contests and Such informs us of a multitude of beauty product contests we can enter and she is very diligent about gathering as much information as she can on a daily basis. I entered a few myself, thanks to her posting them. She also posts information and photos about her NOTD's as well as product reviews. A new blog that I was recently made aware of is Little Fairy Nails. Celine is in France, but luckily for me, writes her posts in both English and French, which I appreciate. She shared some hauls and Frankens with us this week, as well as a NOTD using Rodeo Fanatic (one of my favorites). She updates her blog daily it seems, with great photographs of her nails and the products she uses.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Barielle Products I'm Sampling

Above: Products received from Barielle for review L-R, Extra Gentle Cuticle Minimizer, Nail Rebuilding Protein, Ultra Speed Dry Manicure Extender, Nail Strengthening Cream. Shades polishes L-R, Flirtini, Lemondrops and Mysterious. Click on picture for more detail.

Good morning and Happy Friday! I'm very excited because Barielle contacted me recently and stated that they had come across my blog, liked what they saw and wondered if I'd be interested in trying one of their products in exchange for reviewing it. I have been following Brooke's 'Barielle Wednesdays' column, as she too received some products from them, and have been impressed with her progress in using them. I do not have any Barielle other than 2 Shades polishes, and although I have certainly heard of them, I wasn't too familiar with their products or philosophy. The e-mail I received from them stated "The best part about Barielle is their problem-solution approach to skin care. If you have a skin problem, Barielle can help you identify the best product to treat it." I visited their website but was unsure of what product to choose, so I figured they could, as they stated, help me to identify what I needed. I told them that I really didn't have problem nails and also mentioned that I do a 'Brand Focus' column each week, but didn't own enough Shades polish to accomplish that, so some polish would be fine. I was surprised and excited when a box arrived from them yesterday and I must admit, they did an excellent job, not to mention generous, with choosing not just 'some polish' but also including other products that seem to fit my needs. Today I wanted to share with you what they sent me and over the next week or two I'll be reviewing the products and posting about my opinions. Check out their website and see what they have to offer. They seem to have something for everything when it comes to nail, hand, foot and skincare problems. They have been around for over 30 years and are currently offering 10% off orders over $60.00, free shipping at $50.00, a free sample with every order and buy 2 polishes get 1 free. They do ship internationally and also have a store finder on the website for buying their products locally. I'd love to hear your thoughts on Barielle as I learn more about them also, and thank you to Barielle for allowing me to share your products with my readers.
***Update on international shipping: One of my European readers commented that she was having trouble contacting/ordering from them so I called and spoke with Sharon in their New York office. She advised me that they were working with their UK/European distributor on a new website that should be up and running in 2 weeks. She will keep me posted on the progress and I will in turn let my readers know as well.***

Thursday, April 23, 2009

NOTD: Revlon's No Shrinking Violet

Above: Indoors, with flash. Below: Outdoors, full sun, no flash.
This is a new color from Revlon that I picked up while tracking down their scented polishes. It reminds my of a frosted grape or Grape Crush soda. Our region is known for it's grape vineyards and small, but award-winning wineries. There's nothing like the smell of ripe grapes on the vine in September/October with the smudge pots burning to keep the frost at bay! The formula seemed a bit thick, but applied nicely. I was concerned about the brush strokes I was seeing, but they disappeared during the drying process. Two coats was all it took. Many polishes look better outdoors in the sunlight, but this is one that seems prettier and more enhanced indoors, as you can see in the pictures. I've always been impressed by Revlon's polishes and I'd have to say, I think they're probably my favorite drug store brand. They come out with new collections monthly it seems, and their color range is terrific. This is a shimmer finish and I could swear I saw the tiniest flake of red glitter every now and again while applying it, although I see no evidence of that now. I'm very happy with the finished look and if you like it, remember, they're on sale at Walgreen's this week, buy one get one free.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brand Focus: Nicole by OPI

Above: L-R Respect the World and Blue Lace, both shimmers. RtW is more green-based while BL is more blue based.

Below: L-R Deeply in Love, You Go, Girl! DiL is a beautiful blood red creme, YGG a dusty rose shimmer.

Above: My small Nicole collection L-R: Deeply in Love, Volunteer Cheer, Respect the World, Blue Lace, Change the World, You Go, Girl!, The Right Thing, One Voice.

Above: L-R Volunteer Cheer, Change the World. Very similar colors, both are shimmers. In real life VC is little bit more red-based, CtW is more pink-based.

Below: L-R The Right Thing, One Voice, both are shimmers. One Voice is a bright pinkish-orange coral.
Nicole by OPI polishes are not mentioned too much in the nail polish world, even though they are manufactured by possibly the world's largest and most dominating name in the field, OPI. Their marketing tag line is 'Colors with a Conscience'. Not only are they Big-3 Free, they also have a philosophy of giving back to society and the environment in which we live. They make monetary contributions to these causes, do not test on animals and use recyclable glass packaging. Many of their polish names reflect their attitude toward global issues, both human and environmental. On their website they state that 'At Nicole by OPI, our favorite color is green' in referencing the 'green' environmental movement. That's a great philosophy to have, and their contributions are certainly appreciated, but shouldn't they offer more green polishes then? I say that half-kidding, but I do think they should! This line does not have a big color range and although they do come out with collections and new colors, the choices are still rather limited. The formula applies very well and the staying power is right up there with the best of them. I used only 2 coats in all of these pictures with the exception of the yellow, which is 3 coats and still a bit 'patchy'...common with most yellows I have, no matter what the brand. They also offer a top coat and a base coat, although in print, they don't look like anything special. These are available at many store chains including Walgreen's, CVS, Target and Meijer and retail for between $6.00-$8.00. I am fortunate enough to live near a Meijer and every couple of months I stop in to check their polish stock. I find they often have a few Nicole's on clearance for $1.59, which is a great price for the quality. Are they worth $8.00? Not in my opinion, but if they came out with some greens? I'm sure I'd change my opinion!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sinful Dream On #113 Neon~I'm Re-naming it Streak On #666

Above: Sinful's Dream On #113, five coats later and with a topcoat because it's very flat/matte.
Below: Before applying the topcoat. It looks like a satin finish in the picture from the flash but is much flatter and duller in real life without a top coat.
A few days ago I posted about a mini-haul I made in order to get some of the Revlon scented polishes. I also picked up one of the new Sinful Neons and am thankful I chose only one. It was a small display, separate from the main Sinful's that Walgreen's carries and I believe it was the Neon Summer '09 collection. There were 7 or 8 polishes in all and I debated about getting more than one because the colors in the bottles were bright and looked ideal for summer. I used Orly Ridgefiller as my base coat thinking it might help with the application. I don't think anything will help this polish! The first coat was hideous...streaky, uneven, you name it. The second coat wasn't much better as I could still see my bare nail in spots. I then waited for the second coat to dry and 'touched up' the bare spots. Not once, but twice I did this. I applied a third coat and by the time the fourth coat was dry I had to 'touch up' a few spots again and then apply the fifth and final coat. The color is a bright, fuchsia-purple shade and is true to the bottle color, after 5 coats. It dries flat or matte but shined up nicely with a top coat. The price was only $1.99 but in my opinion it is not worth anything because it's ridiculous to have to apply 5 coats from a time limit standpoint, not to mention the fact that it never really dried enough to actually wear it. I usually have no problem with Sinful's other than that some of them are very sheer, but I use those as layering polishes with great success. Save yourself some aggravation and steer clear of this one. Dream On~ha, ha~this was a nightmare!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Revlon Not So Blue-berry~Smell This!!!

Above: I think I found the perfect prop for this polish!

Above: Put your nose up to the monitor and smell the blueberry scent. If your computer does not have this function please click on the picture for a more detailed look.
Below: Bonus pic of one of my 5 fur babies (3 dogs, 2 cats), this is my male Persian. His real name is Matsu, but we call him Stewie. Do you see the resemblance? He acts like Stewie Griffin, which is frightening at times!

I never should have bought these Revlon scented polishes...they're way too entertaining for me! I posted about Coconut Crush yesterday, but move aside Coco because I found my thrill on Blue-berry Hill. This one smells just like a blueberry pop tart or a blueberry muffin. I love blueberries...pies, cobbler, first entry as a young child in our local 4-H fair was a blueberry pie. We live very nearby the self-proclaimed blueberry capital of the world, South Haven, Michigan, where they host the Annual Blueberry Festival every summer. This was the polish I wanted most from this collection, for obvious reasons. I wish you could scratch and sniff on your computer monitors because it smells divine. This one applied wonderfully in 2 coats and the color, although a bit violet blue in the bottle, is a more of a medium denim blue in reality. It has a lot of teeny, tiny multi-colored sparkles suspended in the polish which are subtle, yet evident once applied. They appear as silver and blue sparkles on the nail, even though they look multi-colored in the bottle. I still have 2 more to try (Mad About Mango and Raspberry Rapture), but they're going to have a hard time living up to this one! Heavenly scent, gorgeous color, endless entertainment~what else can you spend $3.49 on and have this much fun
Note: Check out the 'Mini Bar' to your right as the products have recently been updated.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

NOTD: Revlon Coconut Crush Scented Polish and Revlon Mini Haul

Above: Revlon's scented polish in Coconut Crush.
Below: My Walgreen's mini-haul L-R: Sinful Dream On from their new neon display, Revlon's Coconut Crush, Mad About Mango, Raspberry Rapture, Not So Blue-berry (these 4 are all scented) and No Shrinking Violet (not from the scented collection).
I stopped at one of the 4 Walgreen's within 5 miles (yes, 4, and I live in a small town!) of my house yesterday hoping to find the scented polishes and they had them. I picked up 4 of them and a couple of other polishes. I tried on Coconut Crush this morning and now I can't stop smelling my nails! They don't smell strongly of coconut, but they certainly smell yummy. I would describe it as more of a clean, perfumed scent with a hint of coconut. The color is an off-white frost with a pearlescent finish. It sometimes appears as a light silver-white color in darker lighting. I found some $1.00 off Revlon color product coupons a few weeks ago in those Sunday newspaper coupon inserts, so after collecting 4 of those from friends and neighbors, my price was $3.79 each. I wanted to wait until they had a BOGO or something, but these polishes seem to be going quick, so I thought I'd better get some while I could. I feel like Robert in the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, the way he has that odd quirk of touching his food to his mouth before he eats it, only I keep putting my nails up to my nose! The polish smells pretty much like any polish until it dries, and then the scent is evident. These are fun polishes to have with a nice selection of colors. I believe there are about 7 in the collection. So now my nails not only have color, they also have smell. Such a deal :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mermaid in the Shade~Sephora by O.P.I. Swatches

Ariel gazes longingly at the collection, top L-R: Blue Grotto, Underwater Fantasy. Bottom L-R: Mermaid to Order, Just a Fairy-Tail, Lagoon-a Beach, Water Baby.
Above: Indoors with flash L-R: Blue Grotto, Underwater Fantasy, Lagoon-a Beach, Mermaid to Order, Water Baby, Just a Fairy-Tail.
Above: Laying sideways in a window with full sun, no flash L-R: Blue Grotto, Mermaid to Order, Just a Fairy-Tail, Lagoon-a Beach, Water Baby, Underwater Fantasy.

These are quick swatches, no top coat was used. Pardon the flaws in my technique and my cuticles! I tried to take a picture with a flash and another in the sun coming through a window for each color in order to show you their true colors. Click on pictures for detail.
Above is Underwater Fantasy, on left with flash on right, no flash in sunlight. 3 coats.
Below is Mermaid to Order, on left no flash in sunlight, on right with flash. 2 coats.

Above is Blue Grotto, flash used on left, no flash in sun on right. 2 coats.
Below is Lagoon-a Beach, flash used on left, no flash in sun on right. 3 coats, needed 4!

Above: Water Baby with flash on left, no flash in sun on right. 2 coats.
Below: Just a Fairy-Tail with flash on left, in sun no flash on right. Again, 3 coats, needs 4.

Below: Layered over Blue Grotto. Index=Lagoon-a Beach (works much better as a layering polish!), Middle=Just a Fairy-Tail, Ring=Underwater Fantasy, Pinkie=Water Baby.
Here they are, some pictures and swatches of the Mermaid in the Shade collection from Sephora. All in all, I really like this collection, although a couple of them (Just a Fairy-Tail and Lagoon-a Beach) need 4 coats if you don't want visible nail lines. Other than that, I have no complaints! Those ultra-sheer ones make nice layering polishes, so not all is lost on them. I love the fact that 3 of them are glass-flecked polishes, which I didn't realize when I ordered them. Underwater Fantasy, Lagoon-a Beach and Just a Fairy-Tail are glass-flecked, Water Baby is more of a frost, Mermaid to Order is almost a foil and Blue Grotto is the lone creme of the collection. The application was fine, drying time was normal and the polishes are more on the thin side formula-wise, but the coverage was fine, other than the sheerness of the two I mentioned. Let me attempt to describe the colors for you (I said attempt, this is not a strong point of mine!)...Blue Grotto is a bright darker shade of royal blue and very shiny on it's own. Mermaid to Order is a true turquoise with tiny, tiny silver speckles, while Water Baby is a whitish-silver color, again with very small silver speckles. Just a Fairy-Tail is a true silver with bright silver glass flecks, Lagoon-a Beach is a baby blue with blue and silver glass flecks and my favorite one, Underwater Fantasy, looks like a shade of periwinkle with a hint of lavender in the bottle. However, once applied, it is a much more blue in color and when holding the bottle under a light I see various colors of glass flecks, including silver, green and pink. I'm happy with this collection because the colors are quite a bit different from many of the other Spring/Summer ones that have come out recently and personally, the colors caught my eye as some of my favorites, not as nail polish colors necessarily, but as some of my favorite color shades in general. And of course because my daughter is a huge fan of The Little Mermaid, I really had to get them!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Base Coats & Top Coats

Above: My rotation of base and top coats L-R: Rock Hard (hardener/base coat), Orly Ridgefiller, Orly Nail Armor, Sally Hansen Nail Quencher Hydrating Base Coat, Orly Glosser, Orly Bonder, Orly Won't Chip, Orly Nails for Males (matte top coat), INM Out the Door and Essie 3-Way Glaze. Currently for me, SH Nail Quencher and INM Out the Door are working well on my nails as a base and top coat.

This may be considered a rather boring topic and I apologize for the lack of pretty colors in the pictures, but I thought it might be an interesting topic, nonetheless. I always cringe to myself when someone tells me they don't use a base or a top coat because they don't make a difference. They do make a difference, especially when you find ones that work with your nails and their characteristics. Our nails are actually skin cells made up of a protein known as Keratin. Just as some of us have dry skin vs. softer skin, dry, porous hair vs. soft, shiny hair, and so on, our nails too are a product of our bodies genetic make-up and our general state of health. A particular base coat may work well for me, but it may cause poorer adhesion of polish or more staining of your fingernails when you use it. It's important to try different ones until you find the right ones for your nails and their needs. I have found two or three that always work well for me, but that's not to say I don't continue trying more! I have found many more that simply don't work on my nails. The same goes for a top coat. I don't recommend products that market themselves as a 2-in-1 base and topcoat. They are 2 different products with different purposes, so 1 product cannot logically do the job of both. The base coat serves several purposes: it acts as a primer for your polish giving it something to adhere to, it acts as a barrier between the nail bed and the polish to prevent staining and it should also replenish the nail, thereby giving it strength to help prevent breaking, splitting and peeling. Some base coats focus on ridge filling, some on strengthening, etc. I use different types, depending on my the condition of my nails. The purpose of a top coat is to add shine (or a matte finish, depending on the top coat), enhance the color, and protect the polish from chipping and scratching. As you know, some top coats dry faster than others, just as some protect better than others. Most wood surfaces have a primer and a protective finish, automobiles have a primer and a top/sealer coat, why not our nails?!! Experiment with a couple of base and top coats until you find a combination that works for you and your nail type, while keeping in mind that as our bodies change due to sickness, age, diet (vitamin deficiencies) and so on, the requirements for your top coat and especially your base coat, may change as well.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brand Focus: Orly Nail Lacquer

Above: Orly Terra Cotta (way more pink/coral than terra cotta!)
Below: Orly Close Your Eyes
Below: Orly Gimme The Scoop
Below: My Orly Collection: Top L-R: Close Your Eyes, Total Knockout, Glitz, Walk Down The Aisle, Green Apple. Bottom L-R: Glam, Sweet Tart, Terra Cotta, Santa Fe Rose, Strip Down, Pretty Please, Gimme The Scoop.

Below: Top L-R: Love Each Other (this is amazing over dark colors), Clear, Shine On Crazy Diamond (another great layering polish). Bottom: Some of the Orly French polishes L-R: Pointe Blanche, Angel Face, Sheer White Tips, Beverly Hills Plum. (click pics to see what I mean about the layering polishes, color-filled sparkles!)
Below: Orly Glam
Below: Shine On Crazy Diamond layered over Nicole You Go, Girl!
Below: Orly Santa Fe Rose
Orly Nail Lacquers were invented in 1975 by Jeff Pink, who also invented the original French Manicure. Their website,, has a section on French Nail products and looks if you're interested in learning more about that process. Orly polishes are DBF-free and have a unique gripper brush handle cap. They feel a bit awkward at first, but are easy to get used to. I have always found the Orly brand to apply very well with great coverage and long-lasting wear. As with most brands, every now and again I have found one where this wasn't the case, but that is a rare find within this brand. Their core colors consist of over 150 choices and they do introduce seasonal collections several times throughout the year. I am also quite fond of some of their nail treatments, including Orly Bonder base coat and Orly Won't Chip top coat. I have 4-5 other treatments from them, but I haven't had a chance to use them enough yet to form an opinion. I usually purchase my Orly products at Sally Beauty (where they're buy 2 get 1 free this month), but I believe they can also be found at Ulta and various beauty supply stores. Several e-tailer suppliers such as and also carry this line. They range in price generally, from $3.00-$4.00 dollars per bottle and they're a bit bigger (.6 fl. oz.) than most (OPI for example, are .5 fl. oz., which is the most common size) other popular brands. Although this brand doesn't seem to get the hype that many other brands get in the nail polish community, I think their quality, combined with a reasonable price, put them in the top 5 as far as brand satisfaction, in my opinion. They don't come out with huge collections, nor do they come out with one-of-a-kind colors too often, but they certainly offer a very good range of colors and some unique ones, as well. Their newest collection, Tiki Time, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. With only 4 colors, it certainly doesn't rival the China Glaze Kicks collection with 12 colors, but Tiki Time offers 4 great seasonal colors, including Mint Mojito, which is a very popular shade for the upcoming summer months and is one of the hottest shades this season as far as polish color. If you haven't tried this brand, I certainly recommend it, or if you're curious about some of their shades check out this web site, They have an excellent list of Orly colors and bottle pictures, many of which I have never seen anywhere else. *Disclaimer: I have never ordered from this site so I cannot comment on their availability or service*. I hope you've found this 'brand focus' interesting and/or informative and I'd love to hear your thoughts on Orly and some of your favorite shades.