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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OPI Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

As I am continuing in my tradition of striking while the iron is hot (LOL)... I bring you the months-old OPI Pirates of the Caribbean collection.  Unfortunately, this one that got put aside while I had to take a little break and I'm just now able to review it.  However, as the movie is due to be released on DVD in November, I figure I'm still relevant.  Heck.  I'm now ahead of the curve.  :P

Anyway, this was OPI's "Brights" offering for 2011, and that kind of threw me, as their brights collections in the past have been extremely vibrant, and bright hues.  These colors, as a whole, are far more subdued that past collections.  However, I actually think it's a misnomer to call them pastels.  While the are lighter shades, there is still a vibrancy about them that I would not associate with a pastel shade (as when I think of pastel, I think of soft baby-ish colors).

Mermaid's Tears - Mint green creme.  This one has perhaps a bit more blue in it and is perhaps a tad brighter than a traditional mint.  However, it still gave me a dreadful (say that in a pirate voice) case of red-hands.  The color is absolutely beautiful, but I just can't wear it.  :(

Planks A Lot - Slightly dusty, mid-tone purple.  This one is probably on the lighter end of what I consider mid-tone.  However, it's much darker and brighter than what I consider to be a light purple or a lavender.  There is a slight dustiness to it, but I don't think it's a dupe for RBL Purple Haze (though if any one wants a comp, I will be glad to do one).  

Skulls and Glossbones - Pale grey creme.  Yes, this one is a pale grey, but going back to the vibrancy I mentioned above, it's not a color that looks white.  It is most definitely grey.  It's also got enough warmth in the base to not give me dead-hands, but it's not exactly what I would consider to be a warm grey.  It also has a touch of green in there to give it just a slight dirtiness (along the lines of Stranger Tides, but not nearly as funky).

Sparrow Me the Drama - Tea rose creme.  When I was swatching this, I thought it may be a dupe to RBL Smitten, but after looking at pics, I don't think it is.  Sparrow Me the Drama has a smidge of purple in it, whereas Smitten is a true rose creme.  That said, it a gorgeous color, and it looks amazing under Lippmann Glitter in the Air

Steady as She Rose - Pale dirty rose creme.  Again, like most of the other colors in this collection, Steady as She Rose has a slight dirtiness to it.  These colors really do fit in well with the Pirates of the Caribbean theme.  It is a pale pink, so you wouldn't think it would be that unique, but the dirtiness really sets it apart. 

Stranger Tides - dirty, artichoke green.  This color is completely funky and it didn't work with my skintone.  That said, I completely loved it. 

Also, the formula on these was fantastic.  I had no application issues with any of the colors and each color was opaque in just 2 coats. 

I kind of wish that they had included a bright Caribbean blue with this collection (perhaps lose one of the pinks), but I think being a collection based on a movie, it was cohesive and well-thought-out.

Additionally, along with these 6 cremes, OPI released Silver Shatter along with this collection...

Here it is swatched over Stranger Tides with no TC. 

The fact is, I stink at crackles/shatters.  I hate that you have one chance at getting it right.  You also have to have just the right amount on your brush and go in the right direction.  It's just too much pressure.  LOL.  I have problems with getting the right amount on the brush, so I either end up with a thin coat with drag marks or a thick coat that never cracks.  That said, the finish on this one is gorgeous and if you and crackle work well together, I think this would be an amazing option to add to your collection.

This collection is out now and OPI retails for $8.50 a bottle.

these were sent to me for review
Monday, August 22, 2011

Julep Charlotte Revisited

So late last week, I happened to "like" Julep's Facebook page and discovered that they had linked my recent review post of their products.  At first, I thought it was so cool.  Then... I realized that almost all of the comments were blasting me.  :( They thought my application was sloppy, my pictures were bad, and generally, my post was crap.

My immediate reaction was to get extremely upset and vow to cease blogging (I may have even teared up).  I mean, no one likes being the center of negative attention.  I honestly think that most non-bloggers don't realize how much work goes in to a post.  It seems that the entire nail blogging culture (and maybe the blogger-verse in general) is completely different that it was when I first started.  I am not a professional.  Everything I do is through a process of trial and error.  With each post, you learn what doesn't work and what does work.  You try to improve with each week and sometimes it work and sometimes it doesn't, but as a blogger, I am always trying to get better.  Trust me, go back and view some of my older posts.  Those were crap.  LOL. 

Then I got pissed.  :P

So, after licking my wounds and emotionally cutting by reading the replies over and over, I decided that for my own sense of pride, I would re-swatch Charlotte.  I thought the color was awesome, but most of the replies centered about just how bad my swatches were of that particular color.  So, I dug out my old camera (seriously, this Canon and I are not getting along) and took some new pics. 

This is 2 coats of Julep Charlotte.  I used my older Sony DSC-W310 with a filtered flash under a desk lamp.  I also cut down my nails as I just don't think longer nails and I get along. 

If you had an issue with my previous photos, I really hope this shows Charlotte in a different light.  It's a beautiful color. 

Also, I wanted to ask that if you are a nail blog reader, please realize before you trash someone elses' pictures, that attached to those hands is a person.  Yes, it's a person that is taking pictures of her (his) hands and putting them on the internet, but it is still a person.  The internet gives us so much anonymity that we oftentimes forget that we aren't just faceless, emotionless automatons.  This is one of my main issues with the nail blogging community at the moment.  With the rare exception, we are all doing this as a hobby, so please be mindful of that.  Yes, as a fellow blogger or reader, you are entitled to your opinions, but in the immortal words of my mama... "a little decorum never hurt anyone".  :)
Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Julep Maven - Box 1

So last week, right after I showed you my review for Julep polishes, I caved and joined the Julep Maven program.  I thought it was a great deal at $19.99, and also, as nail mail is one of my guilty pleasures, I figured it was a good way to get a box of nail goodies every month.

I received my first box today, and I am very happy with it.  Here's what I found when I opened the box (it was all in a gift bag, btw)...

And here are the 2 colors I received...

Samantha - bright pink.  This one is amazing.  It has a jelly-ish finish, but it was opaque in 2 coats.  

Zoe - bright copper.  Seriously.  This is like the color of new pennies.  This is one of their not-yet-released fall colors.  3 coats.  

This is the "Bombshell" box.  Honestly, I had to do a little manipulation to get this box.  I took the "style quiz" at least twice, and it each time it came back as "All American Beauty".  Well, while that may fit my fashion sense, it's not exactly what I prefer on my nails.  So, I chose the strappy shoes instead of the platforms, Chanel as my designer, rather than J.Crew, and picked Colin Farrell over George Clooney (what?) and voila... I'm a Bombshell.

Also, keep in mind that Julep has a few coupon codes for the Maven program floating around.  I think there is one on Facebook, and also, when I took the quiz, I got a code in my email box to for 1/2 off my first month.  Unfortunately, I had already joined by that point, and I'm still trying to see if I can get that retroactively applied.  So be sure to check for those codes before joining.  

Even with paying full price, I still think this is a great deal.  I know Julep polishes get a bit of a bad rap for being such a small amount (.27 oz, compared to .5 for OPI), but as I have NEVER used a full bottle of polish, I think I'm good.  LOL.  Plus, there are other goodies, and 20% off all other items that you order (I am eyeing Stella) and free shipping (which when I get free shipping, I feel like I've won the lottery, so that's awesome!).

And, if you refer your friends to Julep, you will get $15 when they become a Maven as well.  You can join the Julep Maven program on their website, or by clicking here.

I paid for my own membership to the Maven program.  However, the links within this post are affiliate links.  I will receive $15 when you join by using my link.  When you join, you will get your own link.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rescue Beauty Lounge Look Rich, Be Cheap

Due to some recent nail growth, I am trying to keep my nails polished, which means that I am polishing my nails everyday (I have the attention span of a gnat).  I've been mainly sticking to new releases, as that's what I've had on my desk, but tonight, I brought this one out of the depths of my storage container, and oh how happy it's made me.

RBL's Look Rich, Be Cheap was from the 2009 Spring glitter bomb collection, which in my mind was the catalyst for all the full-coverage glitters we've seen over the past 2 years.  I remember when I first saw swatches of this glitter and her sisters, Locavore and Frugalista.  I fell instantly in love, but still being a newb and balking at an $18 polish, I resisted until the half off sale in the fall of 2009, where I picked them up.  And my love for them has not waned, considering that the glitters and a couple of other colors were the only things I kept when I decided to part ways with my RBL collection (the formula just doesn't play nice with me).   Unfortunately, I just haven't worn them as much as I should have.  Well, lemme tell ya... that's gotta stop.  :P

This one is absolutely amazing.  It's varying shades of gold glitter with pops of bright, purple glitter, and as yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel, the color combo is gorgeous.  The base is clear, and though it looks like there are bald/thin spots in my swatch, the coverage on the nail is actually quite good.  Any thin spots that are on there, don't show up to the naked eye.

This is 3 coats of Look Rich Be Cheap over a coat of CND Stickey.  I also had to apply 3 (!) coats of TC as it still seemed really textured at just 1, or even 2, coats.  Honestly, even with the 3 coats of TC, it's still not smooth, but that's pretty much par for the course with a dense glitter.

Also, I realize I have reviewed Look Rich, Be Cheap already in the past, but as that way back when my nails were recovering nubs and my camera was crap (and perhaps a lot of user error), I figured I'd give this one another showing. 

Look Rich, Be Cheap is the only glitter bomb still remaining in stock on RBL's website (though I think Locavore is coming back).  Price is $18.

this was purchased by me during RBL's half-off sale
Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lex Cosmetics Seashell

You may remember that around the first of the year, Ji offered a RBL fan submission contest.  My entry was for an "oilslick" polish.  Unfortunately, it wasn't selected (it may have been put in her "impossible" catagory. LOL), so I was more than a little excited with Sarah's Seashell/Oilslick inspiration polish was voted to be in Lex's line up of polishes.

I finally got around to getting this one last week, and while it's a very pretty polish, I have to say, that I'm a tad underwhelmed.  :(  This is a deep charcoal base with tons of subtly holo microshimmer.  Again, it's pretty, but it doesn't quite meet what I had in mind.  I expected it to be a duo/multi-chrome rather than a holo, and the black base really took me out of the "inspired by a seashell" backstory.  It's silly, but in my mind, there is a bit of a disconnect between a deep charcoal polish and a seashell (of course, I fully admit that is probably nitpicking).

Also, when you have a polish like this, it comes with the territory that it's going to be compared to OPI My Private Jet holo.  And when you do that comparison, there is no contest.  My Private Jet will always reign supreme (of course, it's now super rare and $$$, so perhaps this would be a good lemming slayer)  However, Seashell seems very similar to Color Club Revvvolution (which I blog-sold or I would compare) and perhaps Diamond Cosmetics Chainmail Charm (which I never owned).

In terms of application, my bottle leaked quite a bit in transit and I think that made the formula a bit thick.  It wasn't impossible to work with by any means, but I just had to be careful with it.  It was a good formula, though, and it dried fast and is super, super glossy with just 1 coat of TC (which is awesome considering sometimes, these kinds of colors have a tendency to eat up TC and end up looking muddy).  I haven't been able to stop looking at my nails today because the finish is so SHINY!  :)

Even with my issue regarding the color and leakage, I still wouldn't dissuade you from picking this one up, especially if you don't have any of the similar colors, and one of the reasons I'm saying this is because of the company, Lex Cosmetics.  First off, this is the only company, that I can think of, that let's their customers decide on their entire color line, not just a couple here and there.  Also, $1 of each bottle sold goes to the charity of the creator's choice.  In this case, Sarah's requested that $1 go to the fight against sexual assault.

Seashell is available at www.lexcosmetics.com, and the cost is $10 per bottle.

this was purchased by me

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

OPI Stranger Tides

I shouldn't love this one as much as I do. It gives me red-hands, and it's not a particular pretty color, but that doesn't stop me from being madly in love with it.  I can't really tell you why.  It's an odd, slightly dirty, artichokey green creme.  However, the formula is fantastic and the application was flawless.  Plus, I like that the color is a bit of an odd duck.  It's not typically "me", but I do like it.  LOTS.

Stranger Tides is from OPI's Pirates of the Caribbean collection that was released earlier this year.  This has been out for several months and OPI's polishes retail for around $8.50.

This was sent to me for review

Julep Polishes

You wouldn't think so, as I am someone that has an undisclosed amount of polishes (read TONS), but more times that not, I have a tendency to get in a rut and find myself only using certain brands.  As such, I absolutely love when I discover a new-to-me brand.  One of these brands, Julep, I recently had the opportunity to try.

UPDATE... Here's a better picture of Charlotte:

Charlotte - Dusty, plummy purple creme.  This color is absolutely beautiful.  It's a dusty purple creme, with enough red in the base, to not be a dead-on dupe for RBL Purple Haze.  That said, as RBL Purple Haze is currently discontinued (though I think it is coming back for a limited edition redux), Charlotte may just fufill and "dusty, mid-tone purple" lemmings you may have.  And since I know you are asking, here's a comparison...

Charlotte is on middle and pinky, Purple Haze is on ring finger.

As much as I love Purple Haze, and I do love it as it's one of the few RBLs I've actually kept, I think I may love Charlotte more.  First off, the formula on Charlotte was EXCEPTIONAL.  Both swatches of Charlotte above are one coat.  ONE.  That's it.  Y'all know how I love my one-coaters.  :P  Purple Haze is a 2-coater for me.  Also, the color just seemed to work so much better on my skin-tone.  If you have super pale pink hands like me, then you may find that mid-toned purples have a tendency to give you dead-hands.  Because of the plummy/red base in this, I didn't get that with Charlotte.

Emmanuelle - Pale, soft baby pink creme.  While I call this one a creme in my descriptor, it actually seemed more like a jelly to me, or at least jelly-esque.  It really reminded me of the soft shades from OPI Femme de Cirque.  However, this formula, again, was so much easier to work with.  I had zero drag with Emmanuelle, and I didn't even have to wait between coats (something I normally have to do with paler shades).  It's a super pale pink, so of course, it's a little on the sheerer side, but it is buildable.  The above picture is 3 coats, and I was able to reach opacity.  However, I bet if you used a sticky base coat, you may actually be able to reach opacity with 2 coats.

Natasha - Bright red-orange creme.  Ahhhh.  Natasha.  I swear, I have been craving this exact shade of red/orange, so when I opened my box from Julep and saw this little beauty in there... I admit it... I squealed.  This one, like Emmanuelle, did have a bit of a jelly quality to the finish.  It almost looks like hard candies.  I was able to reach opacity in 2 coats, however, so it's not a true jelly.  And, I know I sound like broken record, but again, the formula on this one was great. 

All in all, I really like all 3 Julep polishes that I had the opportunity to try.  As it was a brand I was unfamiliar with, during my review, I happened to check out their website, and I was happy to see they had around 70 colors (I'm currently eyeing Stella).  They also have something called "Julep Maven" which is a monthly shipment program.  For $19.99, each month, you get $40 worth of nail polish and treatments (and extra goodies like free shipping).  I haven't joined it yet, but I must say... I am EXTREMELY tempted.  Also, $1 of each bottle purchased goes to Julep's "Powered by Girlfriends" program.  Plus, and this is a HUGE plus, the formula on all of these was fantastic.  It makes me tempted to try more.  :)

Julep polishes are available for sale on their website (and if you are in the Seattle, WA area, I'm guessing they are for sale in-store).  Price is $14/ bottle.

these were sent to me for review
Monday, August 8, 2011

Nicole by OPI I Love You Cherry Much

When I posted my review of this collection yesterday, I was very unsatisfied with my pictures.  However, as soon as I finished my review, I put I Love You Cherry Much on my nails as a full mani, so I wanted to share that picture, as I feel it's MUCH better.

After I've gotten a chance to wear this color as a full mani, I must say that I really love it.  It's also completely unique.  Yes, it's a glass fleck shimmer (a la China Glaze Summer Days) and yes, it also has a metallic element (like the shimmers from OPI Burlesque), but the finish on this is what truly sets it apart.  It was hard to capture with the camera, but this one dries to an almost-satin finish.  That allows the shimmer to become "trapped" (like it is when you put a matte top coat over a shimmer or a glitter), and gives the shimmer much more depth.  Again, that's one of those things that just couldn't be captured with a digicam.  If you like bright, pink-based reds, I would totall give this one a look-see, as it is gorgeous!  Also, in my swatch yesterday, I used 3 coats, and in my full mani, I only used 2.  I do have a bit more VNLs in this one, but they aren't that noticeable. 

Like I mentioned yesterday, these are available at Target now (or at least they are at mine).  And, like most of the other Target-exclusive NOPIs, I am assuming this will also be available at Target.com (though I don't see it now).  Retail is $7.04. 

Nicole By OPI Something About Color Target Exclusive collection Review (Fall Colors)

Back in March, I showed you the Nicole by OPI Spring Target exclusives.  Well, they have come out with 4 additions to this collection for Fall 2011. 

FYI, I got a new camera, a Canon SD1400IS, and I am still trying to work out some growing pains, so I'm sorry if these pictures are sub-par.

Cherry Much In Love - bright cherry red, glass flecked shimmer.  This one is beautiful.  The base was a little jelly-ish, so the glass flecks kind of suspended in the base.  I had no issues with application and the formula, was great, though a little thin.  Three coats

Green Up Your Act - dusty, greyed olive creme.  I struggled with this one.  I swear, I swatched it twice and took a gazillion pictures and I still wasn't satisfied.  The color is definitely unique.  It's not a traditional camo green, or an olive green for that matter, it seemed to have a lot of blue/grey in the base.  It also had a dustiness to it.  I struggled with the formula, as it seemed a bit goopy to me.  Picture is 3 coats, and I had an issue with drag, so it looks lumpy in places.

It's Not Me, It's Blue - Grey/blue metallic shimmer base with purple microshimmer.  This one is amazing.  I saw it at my local Target, and I immediately fell in love.  I promply came home and put it on my nails.  It's very similar to Sounds Grape to Me, it terms of formula and finish, and it feels almost like a foil.  It also has a beautiful purple shimmer that will pop when you turn your hand (there is also some golden shimmer, as well).  The formula was thin, so I did have to use 3 coats, but they dried quickly, so no issues.  Also, this picture was taken with my old camera, so that's why it seems a bit different.

Sounds Grape to Me - Deep purple/burgundy shimmer base with golden shimmer particles.  This one was very reminiscent of OPI Tease-y Does It or Zoya Valerie, but unlike Tease-y Does It, this one didn't seem muddy.  I think this one is my favorite of the 4.  The color is practically mesmerizing.  Formula was good and it reached opacity at 2 coats.

All in all, I like this little addition to Nicole by OPI's Target collection.  Green Up Your Act does seem to be the odd duck, but those of you that like dusty, ugly-pretty colors, will love it.  Also, and this may just be because my were press samples, but only Green Up Your Act had Nicole's new brush, and that's perfectly fine with me.  However, if you are a fan of their new brush, be sure to check your bottles at Target to see if they have them.

These are at Target now and retail for around $7 each.

these were sent to me for review

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You can reach me at megan@apolishproblem.com.



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