This mani was a mess. I had read about the sheerness with OPI’s Austin-tatious Turquoise, but it was also the only shade in the Texas collection that had really struck me. When I saw it for sale (at Bartell’s!) I pounced.
In the bottle, Austin-tatious Turquoise is a stunner: a teal shimmer polish that goes purple at some angles. I decided to layer it over OPI Mermaid’s Tears in order to combat the sheerness; what is seen in these pictures is three layers of Austin-tatious Turquoise over two layers of Mermaid’s Tears, plus my Sinful Colors topcoat.* That is a lot of polish.
What I had hoped to get was all that beautiful shimmer supported by a solid color, making it more opaque. From some angles, I more-or-less succeeded: while I lost a lot of the purple shimmer, my nails were definitely shimmery and teal.

OPI AT 2

From other angles… I was not nearly so successful. This picture captures it best – look at that streaky, see-through mess. (Remember that this is five layers of colored polish.)

OPI AT 3
While I am unsure how many days of wear I took these photos after (probably not more than two), also look at the chipping and tip-wear. While that may have been due to too much polish, it was disappointing.

OPI Austin-tatious Turquoise

Overall, I was not particularly impressed by Austin-tatious Turquoise, and I am very glad that I did not attempt it without a solid color underneath. Perhaps using a darker color would help to alleviate some of the problems that I had?
While this polish is still in my collection, I don’t know when I will use it again.

* I had to redo my pinky, and I believe that I used one layer of Mermaid’s Tears, not two.

Long time no post! That said, besides this mani, I have pictures of three others to get up here. I’m doing this one first because it is the biggest turn around from my last few posts.
While I was in England a few weeks ago, I picked up several nail polishes. This on, Leighton Denny’s Do Me A Flavour, was actually a free gift with a magazine! (This is something that I think that we need more of in the US. Besides nail polish, there were also lip glosses, eyeliners, eye shadows, etc. sold with magazines. I like.)
Leighton Denny is a brand that I had not heard of, and this was the only Leighton Denny polish that I recall seeing during the trip. However, I did a little research on their website, and it looks like this polish is part of their 2011 Gelato Collection.

Leighton Denny

In my pictures, it shows a little redder than in does in person: in person it is a true, bright orange. This is two coats! While it was a little patchy in places (next time I would do three coats), two coats was quite passable. I also added a Sinful Colors topcoat.

LD 2

After several days of wear, I added Sephora by OPI gold shatter on top of some nails. I liked the effect of this on the orange quite a bit (it was shiny! And glittery! Wooo). I find that this shatter is much more glittery with a top coat (as seen here) than without one.
Overall, I found both of these polishes to be fun and summery, and Do Me A Flavour scratched my itch for a bright orange polish. However… I am very, very glad that I got Do Me A Flavour as part of a four or five pound magazine, instead of paying the eleven pound normal price. That seems quite steep, especially with the US dollar still so weak.

Next up: we’ll be going back into my color family… but it will not be a rave review.

~ Nicole

At the moment I am wearing two colors from the Sinful Colors brand: Gorgeous, a shiny green-leaning teal, and Green Ocean, a green-based flakey polish.

Sinful Colors: Green Ocean

While these polishes are a little too close in color to be terribly striking together, I am fond of this combination! This is one coat of Green Ocean (on every other nail) over three coats of Gorgeous. All nails also have a Sinful Colors topcoat.
Green Ocean can be finicky to apply: the flakeys like to stick up and, especially when multiple coats are used, the finish can be rough. This is a polish that I would not particularly recommend using on bare nails, because the flakeys are suspended in green jelly. The first mani that I did with this polish, I was at university and didn’t have my other colors, so I just slapped in on. The result? Very shiny flakeys on sickly green nails. Oops.

Sinful Colors: Gorgeous

That said, however, this polish gives a nice texture and element of interest to the polish it is on top of. It does flash other colors, including a beautiful blue. Last night I layered it on top of OPI’s Planks a Lot, and was surprised at how well it went with the purple. Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures.
If you run into Green Ocean, I would recommend picking it up – it’s only $2, and it’s a fun novelty polish to play around with!
As for Gorgeous, what can I say? It’s in my color family, albeit on the green side of it (this is another polish that looks greener in inside light than in outside light), and it is very, very shiny. Sounds like a keeper to me.
And, to finish this up, meet Ellie:

Ellie

Ellie is very helpful when it comes to taking polish pictures!

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.

Bad Fashion

June 2, 2011

I have a list of about 16 Fashion Don’ts that I have compiled over the past few days while observing people on public transit which seems to have a few of every kind of person. As I started on my ramble-rant, I realized that I could not comment on all 16 in one post, so I’ll start with 4 of my favorites-the first 4 that came to mind.

1. Denim on Denim: I’m sorry, but this is NOT 1994. There are too many fun and flattering styles for you to ever merit wearing both a top and a bottom piece in uber-casual denim. You do not want to look like a saggy, baggy column of 90s pride. Or worse, clad in an overly tight pair of jeans (hello, camel toe) and a loose fitting jacket. Proportions, people! If you have, by chance, already left the house wearing denim on denim and are reading this page, GO HOME AND CHANGE. Better yet, throw out your denim jacket, give it to your dog, burn it, just get rid of it. There is no excuse. You want to wear jeans? Fine. I’m wearing jeans right now (but they are grey and distressed and legging style and very chic, if I do say so myself-I actually kind of despise blue jeans, but more on that later). Pair your jeans with a cardigan, a boyfriend blazer, a tailored jacket, ANYTHING but a denim jacket. Once I saw a fitted denim blazer at Eddie Bauer. It was a cute cut, but denim nonetheless. Where are you going to wear a denim blazer? To the office? No. Just buy a normal blazer out of normal blazer material. This is called wardrobe versatility. While you can wear the regular blazer inside the work place or out, you are going to find very few acceptable uses for the denim jacket, fitted or not. It’s just a casual fabric. Denim on Denim: Just don’t do it. Not in a light wash, not in a dark wash.

“All the way around the eye” eye-liner: We have all seen this look. Squinty little eyes staring out at you from the inside of a gothy looking frame of black eye-liner. Liner is used to define your eyes, maybe bring out the color and usually it does it’s job well, but, and this may blow your mind, it does not make your eyes look bigger. We’ve all heard that black/dark colors are slimming. This optical illusion does not simply go away when you apply black eye liner. Your eyes will look smaller, tiny if you put it all the way around. So, please, apply sparingly. Use it on the top lid only, draw it out into a subtle cat eye or something. You will still draw plenty of attention to your peepers this way. Want to make your eyes look larger? Use a white, water proof eyeliner all around the lash line. The light will reflect off the white and your eyes will look bigger. The only exception to this rule should be if you’re going to a night club or something because, let’s be honest, you’re going there to make out with cute boys and, frankly, lining your eyes entirely kinda makes you look like a hoe. Fun fact: All the teen moms on ’16 and Pregnant’ wear their eye liner all the way around. For realz.

Lip Liner: Ditto everything I just said above, but replace “eyes” with “lips.” We don’t need you to outline your lips to know they’re there. We see them. Your mouth does not look voluptuous outlined in black or any shade, really, just terrifying. You look like you’re being prepped for plastic surgery. Most women want to look younger, wear lip liner and you’re adding 25 years. Blah blah blah, you say, it helps my lip stick not bleed out. NEWSFLASH: Lip stick is old school. It settles into the cracks and it’s typically matte. Try a tinted lip gloss. I use Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Lip Gloss in Juicy Peach. It’s really good for you and most lip glosses are shiny so they also reflect light and give your mouth the appearance of added fullness. Moreover, they don’t flake and make your mouth look shriveled which is…always a plus. Welcome to 2011, ladies. It’s time to throw out your lipliner and pick up your lipgloss.

Those Ugg Boots that all the Sorority Girls Wear: I get it, all the popular girls have them. And all the popular girls say “Oh, they’re just really comfortable.” And maybe they are. But you know…there are hundreds of thousands of really, really comfortable shoes that do not give you elephant calves. Try Aerosoles. They make a ton of cute and comfy styles. I bought a pair to wear at work and they both adhere to the very strict Banana dresscode and make standing up for 8-10 hours ohhhh so much easier. Banana Republic puts memory foam in the soles of their shoes so you can walk around in them all day long. If all else fails, go to the drug store and get you some Doctor Scholl’s. They do wonders and they are, like 9 dollars. Whoever thought of these shoes should be shot. They make your legs look fat (no really, where did your ankles go?) and are in no way versatile which, regardless of your price point, is really important. Uggs instantly dress down whatever you’re wearing-they are really only appropriate with sweat pants or torn up Abercrombie and Fitch jeans. Bitches everywhere tend to favor the tan variety and those things get dirty unnaturally fast. They’re suede so water leaves spots and you can’t really wash them. Seriously, those things look nasty after a mere week of wear and make an otherwise cute girl look like she robbed a homeless person. Please, for the love of all that is cute and classy, pick a different boot. A sleeker boot in a less blah color. The fashion gods will thank you.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers

May 28, 2011

It is 55* and raining. The sky is grey, not a beam of blessed sun in sight. I’m on the Max and, despite the conditions, I am wearing my Wayfarers…and I feel like a badass.

Everyone from Audrey Hepburn to the Blues Brothers have worn Wayfarers. They are sleek and simple, classy and somehow androgynous, universally flattering. Even better, Ray-Ban has managed to make these glasses even easier to wear by launching the “New Wayfarer” which are slightly smaller (in the lens and frame departments) than the original, perfect for women who tend to have smaller faces or petite sort of fellows. For guys or chicas with bigger features/wider faces, I would stick with the original design as they balance out larger features well. Honestly, either size of Wayfarer will look good on anyway, it’s just a matter of what you’re comfortable with. I have yet to find a face they don’t look good on and, believe me, my Wayfarers have adorned many a face. It’s nearly impossible to set them down without a friend picking them up and trying them on. Something about the classic design make them hard to resist.

Like several of my favorite things, Ray-Ban Wayfarers are not cheap. If you know what size you want, you might be able to find them on ebay for 90ish dollars, but you’re better off going to the store (I like Sunglasses Hut because they can heat up the material and sort of mold the glasses to better conform to your face) and trying them on yourself. I paid 120$ for mine, but if you do a lot of driving, I’d recommend the polarized variety which are about 160$. You can buy knock-offs elsewhere, but trust me, you will never feel as good in the Wayfarers you bought at Forever 21. Furthermore, the cheapies scratch easily while the “designer” variety is much harder to damage. I let my glasses knock around in my purse and they have never sustained so much as a knick in the…year and a half or so that I’ve had this pair.

As for color, most people go for black. Ray-Ban has a TON of awesome colors and patterns to select from, but I’m personally a fan of the tortoise-shell frames. They are slightly less harsh than black and they still go with everything. There are a pair of matte blue Wayfarers I’ve had my eye on for awhile and, for the artists among us, you can buy glasses with blank frames that come with special markers so you can design your own glasses. Pretty neat!

What makes Wayfarers an icon of style is the wearability. They are simple and classic. Wayfarers will pair with literally any style of dress or accessory. They won’t go out of style in the foreseeable future. Most importantly, they will make you feel like a badass, day or night.

To illustrate my point, I will include all six of the facebook profile pictures that these have appeared in…