Saturday, August 31, 2013

Petite Blossoms - Seche Bright and Bold Nail Art

It's no secret that I am obsessed with Seche Vite topcoat for my nail art. It's thick, glossy, doesn't smear, and dries so fast. So when I heard Seche was coming out with a line of lacquers? My curiosity was more than piqued!

I had the opportunity to play around with the Bright and Bold collection, which includes six lacquers in purples, pinks, and red-oranges. They all look beautiful together and the purples are so up my alley.



I began with a base of Seche Not Easily Swept Away, a lighter lilac shade. The formula was impressive; I achieved full coverage in just two thin coats. I think if you had a heavier hand with your coats, you could even get away with one. That's a big deal for lighter shades like this!

Then, I added small flowers using Seche Wild One (the orange) and Seche Pretty Little Heartbreaker (the pink). To finish off the look, I added dots in the middle of the pink flowers using Seche Scorchin' Hot, a fiery red.

Based on my experience using the shades in my nail art, I would venture to guess that Pretty Little Heartbreaker is similar in formula to Not Easily Swept Away, and Wild One and Scorchin' Hot would only need one coat when worn alone.


I know floral isn't exactly groundbreaking (for spring or otherwise), but I just can't get enough of these little full nail floral patterns. They're easy, take almost no time to do, and look fresh and fun.



Overall, I was really impressed with my first Seche lacquer experience. Of course, I topped the whole manciure off with a generous coat of my bestie -- Seche Vite!

Seche lacquers are available on Ulta.com, though this particular collection isn't on there (yet?). You can also find them on Head2Toe Beauty, and in professional salons and beauty supply stores. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter for more info.
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Geek Chic Cosmetics - Dream of the 90s, Specimen, and Star Stuff

In today's review, I have a few new Geek Chic Cosmetics lacquers to share with you! These all have geeky inspirations from a wide variety of sources. I'm sure there is something for everyone here!


Dream of the 90s is a neon glitter topper in a clear base. The polish has bright blue bars, pink hexes, smaller neon green pieces and squares, and black shreds. I've layered one coat here over China Glaze Happy Go Lucky for a look that is maybe a little more 80s than 90s -- though it's ridiculously fun either way. Inspired by Portlandia.



Specimen is a mix of blues and golds, including microshimmer and circle glitter! I think the microshimmer in this really makes it special, though the dot glitter doesn't hurt, of course. I've layered it here over black to show off the shimmers, but I know this one would also look stunning over a navy blue. Inspired by Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite.



Star Stuff is a iridescent glitter and microshimmer topper that flashes pink and turquoise. What I really like about this one is the fact that while the shimmer takes over in the sun, the iridescent glitters really pop in the shade. One coat shown over OPI Ski Teal We Drop. Inspired by Carl Sagan.



I think all three of these are very strong offerings from Geek Chic Cosmetics. The formulas were easy to use and they are all nicely varied. Which one do you like the best? If you could create a polish inspired by a geeky source, what would you choose?

Geek Chic Cosmetics lacquers are available to purchase on geekchiccosmetics.com. You can also keep up with them on Facebook & Twitter.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

31DC2013: Bring It On Edition

Can you feel it? That energy in the air, that tingle running down your spine? That's right, it's almost September, which means that it's time to step into the ring with the 31 Day Challenge!

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the Challenge involves producing nail art based on different themes every day for 31 days. Of course, it doesn't have to be in September, but I like to keep things consistent! This is the third year that I've done the 31 Day Challenge, and the past two years have really helped me push myself and improve my nail art skills (see: 31DC2012 and 31DC2011).

Of course, all of you are invited to participate as well! I'm gonna need some support here, people! For me, doing them consecutively is a big part of the challenge, but if you don't think you can do one manicure per day, feel free to space the prompts out.

I've made some new images (square for you Instagram artists) to celebrate the occasion, including a hashtag that we can all use to check out each other's artwork. If you're not feelin' these ones, check out last year's images. Don't forget to click to enlarge!

Get ready for a crazy ride -- day one begins on September 1st.


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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cirque Arcus Collection Holographic Lacquers

I'm always excited when Cirque Colors releases a new collection. The polishes Annie makes are always so beautiful! When she released her last collection, Objet d'Art, I highlighted the holographic polishes separately, and I thought I'd do the same for her newest collection, Arcus.


Bejeweled is a killer royal blue with a very strong holographic effect. It's deep and rich and beautiful, indoors or out. It doesn't have the "greyed out" problem that plagues many other holos. Two coats.

Cirque Colors Bejeweled

Cirque Colors Bejeweled


Vesuvius is a strawberry red with an equally strong holographic effect. In person, this polish looks a tiny bit more warm and coppery. It's beautiful indoors, and then you go outside and you are basically blinded by the holo. Two coats.

Cirque Colors Vesuvius

Cirque Colors Vesuvius


These polishes are really great, and I think they will hold up nicely when compared with other holos. Unfortunately I haven't wear tested these yet, so I can't tell you how long they will last before chipping. What I CAN tell you though is that these polishes apply beautifully, without streaking, patchiness, or bald spots. No aqua base needed!

As with all Cirque polishes, they are scented with lavender and clary sage essential oils. The scent is faint and just replaces the icky smell of nail polish.

These holographic polishes retail for $15 at CirqueColors.com. You can also order Cirque via their international stockists. For more information, keep up with the brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Zoya Fall 2013 PixieDust Textured Polish Swatches


I know I say this every time I post textured polish swatches, but I LOVE THE TEXTURED TREND! I think when everyone is over it (heaven forbid), I'll still be gobbling them up. Zoya is really doing a great job in keeping up with this trend, and for Fall 2013 they've released six new textures that are bound to delight!

BONUS: Zoya is running a buy one get one free promo from now until 8/25, so be sure to use the code "SCHOOL" if you are going to purchase any of these! Details here.


Arabella is a lovely fuchsia with silver shimmer accents. It's a nicely pigmented shade and appropriately fall-like without being too muted. Two coats.

Zoya Arabella


Carter is a blackened purple with tiny pink glitter. I definitely expected this one to be my favorite, and while I do like it a lot, a few of the others from this collection stole my heart instead! Still, a beautiful shade and I know a rich purple is something that has been missing from the texture spectrum. Two coats.

Zoya Carter


Chita is a forest green with gold sparkle. The sparkle is really abundant in this one and the green shade is SO fall. I wore this one for a couple of days and really enjoyed it. Two coats.

Zoya Chita


Dhara is a popsicle orange with heavy gold shimmer. This feels like more of a summer shade to me but I'm not complaining because I'm obsessed with this one. The orange is so vibrant and gorgeous! Two coats.

Zoya Dhara


Sunshine is described as a "Van Gogh blue" which is actually pretty accurate, in my opinion! While I don't understand the naming logic here, I still like the denim effect of this deep navy. Two coats.



Tomoko is a pale champagne-colored metallic. This is my favorite in the collection. I have a thing for light polishes with my pale skin, and I just think that this color is so beautiful. I imagine that this would be flattering on most other skin tones, too. Two coats.

Zoya Tomoko


The formulas on these polishes were easy to use and easy to control. They weren't thick or clumpy at all. I was able to use two coats on all of them, which is great because I feel like anything over two coats on a textured polish makes it take too long to dry. Maybe that's just me though. :)

So... I'm basically obsessed with these. Tomoko and Dhara are my top picks, but I think they are all worth checking out if you are a texture fiend like me.

Zoya Fall PixieDusts can be purchased via Zoya.com. Again, if you are purchasing between now and 11:59pm EST on 8/25/13, use the code "SCHOOL" to take advantage of their buy one get one free promo!
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Touched by an Angle - LCN Shades of Desert Nail Art

LCN is bringing the heat for summer with the Shades of Desert Collection. While the four piece collection boasts a bold red and a sexy magenta, the two less feminine shades in the collection jumped out at me immediately: a spicy burnt orange and a cool, dusty turquoise.


For this look, I began with a base of two coats of LCN Fiery Cumin. The formula on this yummy toffee shade was wonderful and buttery, just like I've come to expect from LCN polishes.

Then, I grabbed my small nail art brush and LCN Blue Oasis. I painted on lines and right angles for a sort of random-yet-rigid effect. I really like the way that the pattern turned out and I know I will be doing more of these looks going forward! Like Fiery Cumin, the formula on Blue Oasis was without fault.





What do you think of this look? Are these two colors that you would wear together on your own nails?

The LCN Shades of Desert Collection is available now via the LCN Boutique. They are available as a box set of all 4 polishes for $24.90 or individually for $7.50 each.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sally Hansen #IHeartNailArt Grand Finale

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of flying out to New York City to judge the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art finale round. I was excited and nervous and curious -- what was the final round going to be like? What would the finalists come up with for their designs? What would it be like to meet Sally Hansen Nail Ambassador Tracylee? And, maybe most importantly, WHAT WOULD I WEAR ON MY NAILS?

I arrived in New York on Monday night, and shortly after checking in, I headed out to a restaurant in the Meatpacking district to meet up with some nail friends for the first time. I met Carly from Lacquered Lover, Amy from Gotham Polish, Annie from Cirque, and Marisa from Polish Obsession, and we talked and laughed and ate a lot of guacamole. I loved the opportunity to attach faces and voices to the nails (though looking at the nails was great, too!).

Clockwise from top left: Marisa, Carly, Amy, me, and Annie!

Tuesday was the day of the event, so after spending too long getting ready, I headed up to the rooftop event space at the Gansevoort Park Hotel. I tried my best to act professional as I was distracted by cupcakes, endless rows of polish, and photographers.

I was introduced to the finalists: Mackenzie (@pretty_squared), Nina (@nina_nailed_it), Azusa (@azusanail), Lishelle, and Galdina (@nailuscious). They all expressed their nervous excitement to get the competition underway!

I also met the other judges, who were much more glamorous than I: Tracylee, Leandra from Man Repeller, and Nola from The Glam Network. Before I knew it, it was time to start the competition!

Leandra, me, Tracylee, and Nola, photo via Sally Hansen

For round one, the theme was New York City. The finalists had 5 minutes to plan and 25 minutes to execute their design. These ladies stayed strong and worked hard as everyone got up in their business -- but how can you blame us? It was amazing to watch them work! When they finished, the four judges went around and we scored their designs based on cleanliness, execution, and difficulty.

Round two's theme was Inspired by a Destination. From Vera Cruz to Utah, their creativity was inspiring! We followed the same judging procedure from round one as the contestants breathed a sigh of relief that it was now out of their hands.

Mackenzie, Nina, Azusa, Lishelle, and Galdina


The gorgeous nail art -- rounds one and two!

After totaling up the scores (trust me when I say they were very close!), Galdina from Nailuscious was named the Sally Hansen Nail Art Sweetheart! Photos were taken and hugs were exchanged, and as things began to die down a bit, I rounded up the contestants and asked them if they'd like to join me for dinner. We didn't have a lot of time to chat during the event, and I wanted to get to know them better.

We walked a few blocks down the street and settled in for a delicious meal at Sarabeth's. I asked them about the experience of doing nail art under pressure, and they picked my brain about blogging. It was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip!

My event nails nails, using all Sally Hansen lacquers of course! Get the look with my Sugared Stars Tutorial.

photo via Sally Hansen

I have had such an amazing time being involved in the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art initiative, and I know I will never forget the people that I've met. I want to extend my congratulations not only to Galdina, but to all the finalists; you are all wonderful and extremely talented individuals.

(1) The sugar star nails I ended up wearing, and my view (2) @Nina doing some planning in round one (3) A sea of Sally Hansen just waiting to be used in the final rounds
(4) All of the lovely contestants planning their designs (5) My nails on the mini red carpet -- how adorable! (6) Tracylee and me, she is just the sweetest!
(7) The contestants' final designs (8) The winner Galdina and her daughter (9) The view from the Gansevoort Park Hotel event space
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

KBShimmer Summer 2013 Collection

I'm always excited when KBShimmer releases a new collection. The formulas are always exceptional and the colors are always delicious. The Summer 2013 collection is no exception! This group of nine is just begging to come home with you, so let's take a look at the shades.


24 Carrot Bold is one of my favorites in the collection. First of all, the name is awesome. Second of all, it's matte! Third of all, the gold shimmer is totally prominent and great! This is three coats, and while you can see a little bit of nail line in the photo, it was invisible in person. It dried fairly quickly, which is important to me in a polish that I won't be using Seche Vite with.

KBShimmer 24 Carrot Bold


Blinded by the Bright is a green-leaning yellow neon with assorted glitters. It's nice and bright at three coats, and the glitter density is just right.

KBShimmer Blinded by the Bright


Don't Pink Twice is the second matte in the collection. This bright pink is accented by iridescent blue shimmer (which I had a tough time capturing in a photo). I love that KBShimmer is embracing mattes! This is three coats. Like 24 Carrot Bold, it dried pretty fast!

KBShimmer Don't Pink Twice


Grayscale is a delightful black, white, and grey glitter topper. It's nicely dense, this is just one coat here over China Glaze Are You Jelly?. The glitter applied evenly and easily. I love the short white bars, in particular.

KBShimmer Grayscale


It's Razz-ical is a lovely berry shade with tons of sparkly holographic bits. Definitely gorgeous and totally razzical. Two coats shown.

KBShimmer It's Razz-ical


Pimp My Pride -- seriously KBShimmer is killing me with these names. This one is a white jelly base with red and blue glitters of different sizes and shapes. The formula was lovely and easy to use, which is extremely important in these white based polishes! Three coats.

KBShimmer Pimp My Pride


The Dancing Green is a gorgeous green with fuchsia, blue, and green glitters. I had to do a lot of work to get this photo even remotely accurate -- the original photo was SO TEAL! CAMERA FAIL! Anyway, I like this one a lot. Three coats.

KBShimmer The Dancing Green


Totally Tubular is a swimming pool blue-green with fuchsia, aqua, and blue glitters. Note the circle glitters -- you know you love them! Three coats shown.

KBShimmer Totally Tubular


What's Your Damage is a squishy white based polish with black, neon pink, and neon green glitters. There are also irregular black shards in the mix! The consistency of the white polish is nice, like Pimp My Pride, and I also used three coats here.

KBShimmer What's Your Damage


Overall another great release from KBShimmer. My favorites include 24 Carrot Bold, Grayscale, and Pimp My Pride. I'm always impressed with the quality of formula and the thoughtfulness of the polish compositions, though by now I don't expect any less!

KBShimmer is available for purchase from KBShimmer.com in the US and Harlow & Co for international orders. You can also keep up with the brand on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nicole by OPI Gumdrops Textured Collection

Nicole by OPI is coming in strong on the textured trend with six (plus more?) sparkly, candy-inspired shades. I can't remember the last trend that I fell this hard for; I just can't get enough textured polish and the Gumdrops Collection is a winner. When I swatch a textured polish collection, more often than not, I will actually wear each of them for a day or two rather than just put them on for the swatch and then take them off. This is why sometimes my nails are different lengths in my textured polish swatch posts!

Let's take a look at the six polishes in the original release, and then at the end we will discuss the additions!


A-Nise Treat is a textured black with tons of silvery sparkle. This looks like beautiful asphalt. Definitely one of my favorites in the collection. I used two coats here.

Nicole by OPI - A-Nise Treat


Blue-Berry Sweet On You is a pretty periwinkle blue with a metallic finish. It kind of reminds me of frosty denim... not that that's a thing! Two coats.

Nicole by OPI - Blue-Berry Sweet On You


Candy is Dandy is a pink shade with silver shimmer and glitter. There are some chunkier glitter pieces in this one that I think are really interesting. This one did have the sheerest formula, though. This is two coats and I had some visible nail line, though that was minimized as the polish dried down. I could have done three coats but I really try to keep all my textured manicures to two to keep dry times as short as I can.

Nicole by OPI - Candy is Dandy


Cinna-Man of My Dreams is a spicy pink-toned brown. It's deep and rich and beautiful. There are all sorts of different colored flecks in this that give the polish so much dimension. Another favorite in this collection for me. Two coats.

Nicole by OPI - Cinna-Man of My Dreams


I Lilac Gumdrops is a lilac with silver shimmer and irregular silver flecks. I have a weakness for this type of purple so of course I enjoyed this! Two coats.

Nicole by OPI - I Lilac Gumdrops


My Cherry Amour is a deep magenta with holo glitter. I like the color of this one but I have to say that I preferred the way it looked glossy, before it dried down to its textured finish! The holo glitter lost some of its oomph as the texture took over. Still though, a great addition to the collection, and I'm obsessed with the name of this polish. Two coats.

Nicole by OPI - My Cherry Amour


So -- those are the six polishes from the original release. But I've seen some reviews of this collection that include two other polishes! The two polishes are That's What I Mint (teal) and Lemon Lolly (yellow). I believe these shades are additions to the collections that weren't included in the blogger packages, but that are available in stores.

Luckily, I spotted That's What I Mint at CVS two days ago and snatched it right up. Unfortunately, I haven't seen Lemon Lolly yet. I hope I can find it soon! I love yellow.

This collection was rolled out within the last few months to retailers like Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Kmart, Kroger, Ulta, HEB, and Duane Reade. Like I mentioned, I saw all of them in stock at CVS two days ago, so you should still be able to find them!
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