A Very Crabby Mani

August 1, 2011

This is a very silly mani.

Crabby Mani

Ingredients: two coats Wet n Wild’s Black Creme, three coats Wet n Wild’s Prancer, a variety of Cina Nail Creations nail stickers from the Under the Sea sheet, and one thick layer of top coat.
The result?

Crabby Mani 2

Amusement.

My other hand has only one sticker: a red seahorse. Pictures… did not turn out so well. Oh well! I still think that it’s cute.

I also have to say, I was very impressed with Wet n Wild’s Black Creme. I had not had good luck with their polishes in the past, and definitely did not expect it to be a one coater. While I used two coats here, I think that a thick single coat would certainly provide opaque coverage. That said, Prancer (from a 2010 holiday collection) already has a special place in my stash: it was the polish that started this whole nail polish thing for me. Prancer can apply however it wants.
As for the nail stickers, they were very easy to apply (even with one of the cats, Truman, trying to help me – he was very concerned with sticker placement). I was surprised that they were spongy, as opposed to… I don’t know… flat sticker-like, but I had never used them before and didn’t know what to expect.

And the look on that crab’s face? Priceless.

Sinful Color’s Savage is a very weird polish, and it was very difficult to photograph. Most of these pictures are not very color accurate.
When I look at Savage, this is about the color that I see:

Sinful Colors: Savage

Savage is a dark, green-leaning teal creme – darker and greener than it is here, honestly. And, without top coat, it isn’t nearly as shiny.
What does Savage look like it when it is first applied? Texture-wise, it looks like this.

Sinful Colors: Savage (no top coat)

I believe that this is three coats of color inaccurate plastic-y chalkiness. And I don’t mean that in a bad way – it’s a very interesting texture, and this polish dries very quickly! I was seriously impressed with it in this respect.
For this mani, I did decide to add top coat, and… Well. Savage sucks up top coat, and it felt like my top coat took longer than usual to dry (although that could be, at least in part, because Savage itself dried so quickly). I ended up using two layers of top coat instead of my usual one layer.

Sinful Colors: Savage 2

Later, I decided to layer Sinful Color’s Green Ocean on top of my mani. A while ago, I did a mani with Green Ocean over Sinful Color’s Gorgeous, and the colors weren’t really different enough to let Green Ocean shine. That was much less of a problem here.

Sinful Colors: Savage & Green Ocean

(Again, Savage is much darker and greener than this, but Green Ocean is pretty accurate.) Look at those flashes of color! Really, really lovely.

For fun, I added up the number of layers in this mani:

3 coats Savage + 2 coats top coat + 2 coats Green Ocean + 1 (really thick) coat top coat = 8 coats

It beats out my OPI Mermaid’s Tears and Austin-tatious Turquoise mani by several coats! Wow.
Despite the number of layers, I have to give this mani props for staying power. Several days later, I have only minor chipping (mainly on two nails that, due to issues with the nails themselves, I expected to chip), and some tipwear. I am impressed. Overall, despite the weirdness, I am going to rate both Savage and Green Ocean as winners.

Let’s take a break from all these teals and blues, shall we?
FingerPaint’s Outta Sight Orange is part of their Peace, Love, & Color Collection, and it is a very, very summery color!

FingerPaints: Outta Sight Orange

Per my new photo policy, I was going to take pictures with and without top coat… but I never got that far. While I did add a top coat later, the Outta Sight Orange that is shown here is three coats sans top coat. Honestly, it is almost as shiny without my Sinful Colors top coat as it is with it!

FingerPaints: Outta Sight Orange 2

(Please excuse the sloppy edges here. I’m wincing, too.)
Look at that glittery, bright orange wonderfulness!
This is a color and polish that I completely approve of. It was only my second foray into FingerPaints, and I am looking forward to exploring their collection further!

China Glaze: For Audrey

July 16, 2011

Last week, I went into a Sally Beauty for a job application… and came out with said application, three (on sale, plus a buy-2-get-1 deal) nail polishes, and a membership card.
This week, I went back in and bought China Glaze’s For Audrey, and I am enamored with it.

for audrey 3

For Audrey is a perfect robin’s egg blue with a gorgeous creamy finish. I can definitely see why this polish is considered something of a classic. It is also a two-coater!
The only nail in this picture which has three is my top nail (which I accidentally chipped before top coat application), and all of my nails have a Sinful Colors top coat. On my right hand, I did do three coats on every finger; I traditionally find it much more difficult to paint that hand.
That said, can you see the difference in these pictures between the nails with two coats and the nail with three?

for audrey 1

Except for a dent where the chip was, I can’t!
Fantastic, lovely polish.

Last week I wore OPI’s Mermaid’s Tears.

OPI Mermaid's Tears

Mermaid’s Tears is a dusty teal, and it is quite lovely. I had some application issues – bubbling, etc – but I applied it to my toenails for this week, and it was fine. I think that it was just a bad mani (which is why I did not post it last week!).
So, if Mermaid’s Tears is lovely and in my color family, I am must adore it, right? Sadly, no dice. I will be keeping it, as it coordinates with a lot of my clothing, but it is not currently on my list of favorites. Out of this OPI collection, Stranger Tides remains my preferred shade.
That said, I am liking it even better on my toes than on my fingers!

CG & OPI

This week, I am also wearing China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint.
Sarah mentioned, after I showed her Mermaid’s Tears, that it looked like a grown-up relative of Sally Hansen’s Mint Sorbet. Since Re-Fresh Mint and Mint Sorbet looked comparable, I wanted to see Mermaid’s Tears side-by-side with Re-Fresh Mint. The result? I agree! I think that, used together, they could make a stunning mani.
Re-Fresh Mint has a special place in my collection: it was my first non-drugstore polish, and it is one of my favorites. I was going to say that it was a pastel mint green, but in these pictures, that’s not quite right! After looking at my first batch, I was convinced that the color was inaccurate, only to go outside and realize, while taking more pictures, that it actually does have more blue tones in some lights.

Re-Fresh Mint inside:

China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint

Re-Fresh Mint outside:

CG Re-Fresh Mint

And, yes, it is nicked. Blame me – or, better yet, blame finals week!
Both polishes are shown in three coats with a Sinful Colors topcoat.

Shatter by OPI

June 4, 2011

Let me just let the cat out of the bag a little early: I LOVE this polish.

When I first heard about the idea of the crackle polish, I was apprehensive. I also sort of had this image in my head that it was a clear polish that you put over a color and then the shatter polish would somehow corrupt whatever color you’d put on and make it all crackly. Not so!

For about 8.50, you can purchase OPI Shatter at most beauty supply places. I got mine at Trade Secret. Most in my area seem only to currently carry the black kind (silver and white are also rumored to exist), but for now that’s enough for me.

Start by applying whatever color you want under the crackle. My personal favorite combinations so far are gold because it ends up looking a lot like animal print and teal, but anything in a medium-light shade goes pretty well because, come on, it’s black. Everything goes! I wasn’t a huge fan of pairing it with orange (too Halloween) or red/hot pink (too pseudo-punky) or anything even close to being considered a dark color because at that point it’s hard to tell you’re even wearing the crackle or if you just have really screwed up black nail polish on.

Anyway, after you have let the under-color dry, paint on a thin layer of the crackle. I have a tendency to apply things in thick coats, but use the crackle sparingly because otherwise it will not give the right amount of shatter and you will see very little of the color beneath. It will look really weird when you first apply it, before it has crackled. You will worry you have done something wrong, but you have not. Unless you are using a cheaper color for the under-color and didn’t let it dry all the way. If this has happened, the crackle tends to kind of grab on to the un-dried color and pull it back as it separates/crackles. The one quirk of Shatter is that it likes to crackle away from the end of your nail ever so slightly. It doesn’t peel up or anything, it just prefers to not hang out in the, like, fraction of a fraction of a fraction of an inch. So let the under color dry or it might get grabbed by the crackle and make a sort of interesting lumpy bit. It doesn’t effect the appearance of the color/crackle itself, but you may notice the lump yourself.

Only apply one coat of the crackle. It will dry matte and looks so much better with a nice shiny topcoat. Two nice things about Shatter: If you have an existing manicure that got dinged or chipped, you can make it last another couple days by applying a thin layer of crackle and topcoat. Additionally, Shatter camoflauges small knicks and scrapes it sustains because of the textured sort of appearance. It’s really nice to have in your collection just to spice it up every once in awhile or, in my case, most of the time.

Please note: I’ve posted two pics of the same application-one in the sun and one in the shade, just to show the sparkle in one and a clearer picture of the crackle in the other.

My new favorite pair of pants! I loved these pants so much I bought them in both “True Navy” which, until about five seconds ago I was convinced was charcoal, and “Neutral Khaki” which I am going to rename Olive because Khaki is an ugly word and kind of an ugly color and not really a good adjective for these babies.

Until this season, I avoided cropped pants like the plague. Most of the options I’ve experienced have been of an awkward, unflattering length, overly casual, and anything but sexy. Working at BR has opened many doors for my wardrobe (posts on white pants and maxi-dresses to come), but these pants are thus far my favorite. While they also come in black and taupe, I chose the navy and the khaki because the colors transition easily between season while black is decidedly a mostly winter color and taupe is just…taupe.

I absolutely adore these pants. They hit me right above the ankle and fit close to the leg from thigh to calf. Some full-length Sloans have a flare, but thank goodness these do not. I would not touch a flared pant with a ten foot pole, but that is just my personal preference. The waistband is wide with a two button closure. The Sloan is a low-rise, Banana’s sexiest foundational fit. After wearing these uber stretchy crops, I never want to put on a pair of jeans again. I feel like I could do gymnastics in these. Unbelievably comfy. Legitimately so as they are comprised of cotton, rayon, and elastane. They fit close to the body, but not like a legging or some other spandex creation. They are tailored, but classy-nicely accentuate the silhouette without showing off the…goods.

Given their cut and fit, the pants have a subtle sort of 60s vibe to them. I could totally see Holly Golightly rockin’ them in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” They wear well for most occasions. Paired with a blazer and nice shoes (not necessarily heels), they would fare well in most office environments and certainly for the “classy casual” look I so favor. With a sassy top and a pair of stilettos, you could definitely wear them out for drinks, though I wouldn’t go so far as to wear them to a formal event. The other great thing about the look of these pants is that no matter what you consider your personal style (artsy, conservative, classic, etc.), these pants will conform to your look. Yes, they have a bit of character themselves, but not so much that they will go out of style anytime soon. They pair just as well with a soft, feminine cardigan and pearls as they do crazy prints and accessories. I foresee myself wearing them both in the more conservative work environment as well as to class where I might dress a little more “colorfully.”

Naturally, there has to be a catch. Yes, before you ask, they are dry-clean only. And this is not one of those dry-clean onlys that you can ignore and randomly get wet/machine wash. In case you weren’t aware, rayon, like silk, hates water. A few sprinklies from the rain might be fine, but don’t be drying your hands on these or standing in a downpour. You will get water spots and they may or may not come out at the dry cleaners depending, it would appear, entirely on chance. If you spill on these pants, resist the urge to use stain remover. Just take it to the cleaners as soon as you can. You’re honestly better off doing that than attempting to remove/pre-treat it yourself. Whatever you do, do not rub dry clean only garments with a towel or something. Upon cleaning, the rubbed spot will frequently fade. If you’re not as clumsy with food as I am, dry-clean twice a year, Dryel often, and use a lint brush. I know it sounds gross, but it works and it’s cost efficient. Dryel has similar chemical properties to dry cleaning formula so it’ll leave your pants clean and fresh between professional launderings.

The Sloan Fit Crops retail for 89.50 at Banana Republic and they are worth every penny. They are versatile, classy, and sexy. Instead of gawking at the price-tag, think about all the ways you could wear these gems. If you’re still suffering sticker shock, check out the BR website and follow them on Twitter for insider info on promotions for 30-40% off. No, Gap Inc. did not ask me to promote Banana. I just love it SO MUCH.

I’ll post pics tomorrow. Until then check em’ out on the website…
http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=65552&pid=830855