Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nicole by OPI Kardashian Collection Part 1 - Cremes and Jellies

   There are a couple of ways to divide the Nicole by OPI Kardashian collection.  One is by Kardashian, but honestly I can never keep them straight so that's not a good option for me.  The other is by finish.  This works much better for me so that's how I'm splitting the reviews.  The first part is the cremes and jellies.  There are 6 polishes in this part versus 8 polishes in the shimmers and glitters part.  For all of these swatches I used Beauty Secrets base coat and Diamond Dry top coat.  Unless otherwise noted, these are 2 coats each.

All Kendall-ed Up

   All Kendall-ed Up is a bright pink creme.  The formula is a bit thin and can have a bit of cuticle drag if you don't wait a few minutes between coats.  In person this polish is just a little bit more blue toned than the pictures show.

Direct Sun



Kourt is Red-Y for a Pedi

   From the bottle Kourt looks like an orange leaning red creme, but as soon as I opened the bottle and looked at the brush I realized it is actually a jelly.  1 coat gives good coverage, but 2 is a little more opaque while still retaining sheer squishy look that makes jellies so fun.  I used 1 coat on my pinkie, middle, and thumb and then 2 coats on my ring and index fingers.  The longer I had the polish on, the more I liked it.  I think because of the squishy feel.

Direct Sun



Happy New Year and Giveaway Update


   Welcome to 2012 everyone!   I hope it will be a year filled with happiness and new adventures for everyone.  I know it will be a year of big changes for me and David with him graduating, hopefully, with his MFA and us moving to California over the summer.  But change is good, at least that's what I'm trying to learn, and I really think this will be good for us.  
   The entry period for my Muppet and Kardashian collection giveaways has now ended.  I will be reviewing the entries today and tomorrow and should have the winners announced Monday evening.  I am editing my Kardashian swatches and writing my reviews now, and will have those up by the end of the day.  I do have to work for a few hours today so part 2 might be up late in the day.
    I don't do resolutions.  Too much pressure and expectation associated with them and to me they just feel like setting yourself up to fail.  But I will say that I am going to try my best to get a more regular posting schedule going now that the Holiday craziness is dying down.  But do keep in mind I'm planning a cross country move in about 6 months so the closer to that time it gets, the busier I am likely to be so posts will probably become sporadic again.
   I wish all of you lovelies a wonderful year.  And if there's something you'd like to see on here, like a brand I haven't covered much or some shade comparisons or anything else, please just ask and I will do my best to cover it.

All the best,

Friday, December 30, 2011

OPI Muppets Part 2 - The Glitters

   Part 2 of the OPI Muppet Collection is The Glitters.  These are "Look at me! I'm shiny!" glitters.  Big, chunky, bold glitters.  With the exception of Excuse Moi!, all of these are a clear base with colored glitter and best used for layering over other polishes.  
   With all of these polishes I again used Beauty Secrets base coat and Diamond Dry top coat.  Because of the nature of these polishes I wanted to show them to you both alone and over other polishes.  And I wanted to be consistent about it.  So all pictures are 1 coat of just the polish on my pinkie, 2 coats of just the polish on my ring finger, 1 coat of the polish over 1 coat of WnW Black Creme on middle finger, and 1 coat of the polish over 2 coats of WnW White Creme on my index finger.  I did this with Excuse Moi! as well and am SO glad I did, but you'll see why soon.

Rainbow Connection

   Rainbow Connection contains multiple sizes and multiple colors of hex glitters.  It is very reminiscent of Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday polish.  I don't own Happy Birthday to compare, but while they aren't dupes, the two are very similar.  Rainbow Connection's base is a bit thin so try to keep your brush strokes to a minimum or you'll wind up pulling all the glitter back off your nail.  Coverage is very sparse on the nail.

Direct Sun



See the rest after the jump

OPI Muppets Part 1 - Not the Glitters

   This first half of the OPI Muppet Collection is what I'm calling Not the Glitters.  They aren't cremes, but are distinctly not part of the glitter half of this collection.  This half consists of shimmer, mini flake, glass fleck, and foil finishes.  For all polishes I used Beauty Secrets base coat and Diamond Dry top coat.  Unless otherwise stated, all swatches are 2 coats.  I think.  But I'll explain that later.  I apologize for the crappy out of focus-ness of some of these photos, the shine and sparkle were freaking out my camera and I didn't have time to re-do them.

Wocka Wocka!

   Wocka Wocka is a pink leaning red shimmer.  The shimmer itself might be pink.  I had no application issues with this one, but it does dry flat so you will need top coat to bring it to life.  I used 2 coats on my ring and index fingers, but only 1 on my pinkie, middle, and thumb.  The pigmentation is strong enough you could get away with 1 coat just fine, but I think 2 gives more depth.  Because of the strong pigmentation though, the polish will stain your skin and cuticles 

Direct Sun



See the rest after the jump

Sunday, December 25, 2011

China Glaze Glittering Garland

   Merry Christmas and Happy Channukah everyone!  I must say it's a bit weird to be celebrating both in the same week this year. I was planning to post this last night, but when I got home from work I got distracted by the decorating elves that hit my apartment while I was gone.  
   For my holiday mani I wanted something festive, but not too bright.  So I decided on Glittering Garland from the China Glaze Let it Snow 2011 collection topped with Cover Girl Goddess to give a twinkle lights on a tree effect.

   Glittering Garland is a Holly/Emerald green micro-fleck polish.  The two-tone effect with the micro-flecks really give this a Christmas tree effect on the nail.  
   Coverage was good, I used 2 coats, but you could probably use just 1 thick coat and be fine.  The formula is a little thin however, so a thicker coat could lead to flooding your cuticles and extra clean-up.  For my base, I used a coat of Barielle Nail Rebuilding Protein followed by a coat of Gelous.  I used Barielle Manicure Extender as my top coat, but only after Goddess.

Direct Sun



   You can see the two tone effect of the polish best in the shade photo.  I promise it is much more visible and lovely in person.  My camera kept freaking out and not wanting to focus on the polish.  Remember, these pics are without top coat.
   Glittering Garland is very pretty and festive by itself.  But I was attempting to resurrect my Holiday spirit which means one thing.  GLITTER!  And holo glitter at that.  So I grabbed my bottle of Cover Girl Goddess

   Look at the sparkle.  I used one THIN coat of Goddess followed by top coat.  You'll notice my ring and middle fingers have a bit of a silver tinge to them.  This is because I had too much polish on my brush for those two fingers.  After those two I started wiping almost all the polish off the brush before applying.  This left just enough sparkle to look like twinkle lights without leaving much of the silver tint.  I didn't take a shade picture, but in the shade Goddess is just like any other holographic polish and looks like a fine silver glitter over the green.

Direct Sun


   For the last three days I haven't been able to stop looking at my nails.  I love the way Goddess really twinkles in any light, just like a Christmas tree would. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Crazy Week

   Hi lovelies!  This is just a quick note to update everyone on a couple things.  First of all, welcome to all my new readers.  I hope you are enjoying my blog so far.  But mainly I'm posting now to let you know that my posts will most likely be very sporadic for the next week.  I work retail, as essentially an assistant manager, so with it being Christmas week I will be working my ass off.  I'm talking almost a full 40 hours of crazy busy shifts helping customers, especially clueless guys waiting til the last minute, running out of products, AND trying to plan our big semi-annual sale that starts 2 days after Christmas.  Not to mention driving to the in-laws 1.5 hrs away for Chanukah and father-in-laws' birthday.  So by the time I get home each day, I will be exhausted.  I will try my best to get a few posts up, and maybe another recipe this weekend, but it most likely will be only 1 or 2 posts.  My plan right now, is to use Christmas Day, after a movie and chinese of course, to do a lot of the edits I need to get done so I can get up the Muppet and Kardashian swatches I owe you guys first thing next week.  After the first of the year, my schedule should calm back down for a little while and I can get on a regular posting scheme.  But in the mean time check out my older posts and enjoy your holiday celebrations however you see fit.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Homemade Weekends - Loaded Mashed Potatoes

   I haven't done one of these in a while so I thought it was time to bring it back.  I can't say how regularly I'll be able to post these again, but I'll try to do them more often.  Unless you guys would rather not see food posts.  Let me know in the comments if you want the occasional food post or not.
   This is probably going to sound a bit conceited, but I make awesome loaded mashed potatoes.  A few people have asked for the recipe in the past so I figured here was a good place to share it.  I made a batch for Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago and actually remembered to take pictures.  
   My recipe is for a family size portion, approximately 5-8 people, so if you're making these for a just a couple people you should probably cut the recipe in half unless you want a lot of leftovers.  Which you might or if you're like me and eat 2  people's worth yourself.  You can also double/triple the recipe if you're cooking for a big gathering.  Here's the ingredients:

   I also used salt of course, but forgot to add that to either picture.  These are the ingredients I use, you can add or take out anything you want for your potatoes.  The most important thing is to start with a good base.  If your plain mashed potatoes aren't good, it does not matter what you add to them, they will never be as good as they could be.  So taste and season your base before you start adding anything else.  
   First step is of course cooking the potatoes.  I peel mine, but if you like a more rustic potato you can leave the skins on, just make sure to thoroughly wash them first.  Cut the potatoes into small pieces approximately the same size.  This will help the pieces cook evenly/be done at the same time and speed up cooking time a little as well.  I drop the pieces into a large pot as I go to free up space on my cutting board.  Once all the potatoes are cut and in the pot, fill with water to cover.

   Boil the potatoes until they easily break apart with a fork, stirring occasionally.  If you leave your spoon in the pot it will help keep the starch in the water from foaming up and boiling over.  Once cooked, drain and return to the pot.  Add 2 sticks of butter and begin mashing.  I recommend a masher that is S or sine wave shaped not the standard waffle shaped one.  I like the S one because the potatoes don't stick in the holes. 

   When the butter starts melting and the potatoes start melding, add about 1/2 cup heavy cream.  You may want to add a little less at first to see how the consistency is first.  Also add salt to taste at this point and finish mashing until you get a nice creamy texture.  I usually leave a few lumps but that's a personal choice.  Your basic mashed potatoes should look something like this:

   Make sure you taste the potatoes now and are happy with them.  If you wouldn't want to eat the potatoes as they are at this point, adding more stuff won't fix it.  I know I'm repeating myself, but this is really important.  
   Now it's time to start adding other yummy stuff.  Basically, anything you want.  I go with bacon, cheese, and sour cream.  Green onions could be another good option, but I don't like them so I don't use them.  If you add bacon, make sure it is cooled and crumbled ahead of time.  

   Doesn't that just look tasty?  I am a big fan of bacon and cheese, so I add lots of each.  This is about a full pack of bacon and I used about half a bag of cheese in the potatoes.  Sour cream is again to taste.  I'm more fond of it than most people so I kept that down, using around a cup.  The sour cream can make the potatoes a little on the thinner side, so if you are serving immediately either cut down on the sour cream or use less heavy cream when mashing for a thicker starting consistency.  However, if you are making these in advance, which is perfectly acceptable and probably a good time saver, and will need to reheat before eating being thinner is actually good because the potatoes will firm up again in the oven.

   You could be done at this stage.  Just pour into a serving dish and bring to the table, I used foil because we were driving with these to Thanksgiving lunch at another couple's house so it was safer for travel and disposable to save on dishes.  OR, if you're like me you need more cheese still.  I added another half bag of cheese to the top before reheating.

   Depending on how cold the potatoes are when you reheat them, will depend on how long they will need to go in the oven.  And I highly recommend reheating in the oven, not the microwave.  I made these the morning of Thanksgiving and never had them get refrigerator cold so they only needed about 10 minutes or so to reheat.  Really just long enough to melt the cheese on top.  But if you make them the day/night before you will need to put them in for longer.  Just check on them every so often to make sure the cheese doesn't burn.

Ingredient List:

5 lbs potatoes-these can be standard baking, yukon gold, or a mix of the two
2 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
1 lb crumbled bacon
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese- I used two different blends but straight cheddar or other cheese is fine too

Aside from the potatoes and butter, all measurements are approximate and can be varied to taste.  I make no claims for these to be low fat, low carb, or anything else besides comforting and delicious. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter Hand Care Tips

   This post is going to be a little different than normal.  But I hope some of you will find it useful or get some ideas of your own.  Every year, I can tell when winter is here.  Not just the first cold snap, but the full, here to stay winter.  How you ask?  My knuckles.  Not in an achy way, but in a they turn bright red, chap, crack, and try to bleed way.  I'm talking bright enough red Santa could guide his sleigh by them.  This is rather painful.  So this year I'm trying out some new things to maybe stop this from happening, or at least not be as bad.
   What's my plan?  Well here's a pic of the main ingredients:

   Step 1:  Drink more water.  This is the most important part.  If you keep yourself properly hydrated your skin will be less dry to start with and less prone to chapping.  Not to mention feeling better in general.
   Step 2:  Use a moisturizing hand soap.  These will be less hard on your hands and add moisture back into your skin.  Also make sure to fully dry your hands after washing- water and cold do not mix well and will prevent lotion from fully absorbing.  I've found that hot water, which you should be using to wash your hands anyway for better germ control, just feels better on chapped, dry skin.
   Step 3:  Moisturize frequently.  Right after washing your hands is a good idea, but really just whenever you think about it throughout the day.  The best time I've found to moisturize though is right as you go to bed.  It should be one of the last things you do.  This is also when you should use your thickest, heaviest moisturizer.  By using it right as you go to bed you don't run the risk of touching a lot of things and just rubbing all the lotion right back off.
   Step 4:  Gloves.  You're probably wondering why I have 3 different pair in the photo.  Well the blue pair are to wear overnight in bed.  First you moisturize like I mentioned above, then put the gloves on to really seal in the lotion.  And they keep your hands warmer which can make your pores expand and let in the moisturizer deeper.  The purple pair are just to wear when I'm outside to keep my hands warm and out of the wind.  The wind is one of the biggest factors in chapping.  At least for me.  The grey pair of gloves, which you'll note are fingerless, are for me to wear while swatching.  I was outside the other day taking pictures of several polishes and my hands were freezing.  Outdoor pictures require being outside for quite a while over the course of a swatch session.  But I can't wear regular gloves since they would cover my nails obviously.  But then I had a brainstorm, hey it happens occasionally, that fingerless gloves would keep most of my hand warm, but still let my nails show so I could keep taking outdoor pictures.  So you will start seeing swatches with me in gloves in the near future.  Trust me it is for the best of my hands.

   So that's my plan to try to keep my hands healthy, or at least healthier, this winter.  Do any of you ladies have any other tips or tricks to keep your hands soft and hydrated in the cold?  If so, I'd love to hear them in the comments below.  

   I have a couple notes about the picture.  First, you might have noticed the purple gloves have weird looking tips on the thumb and index finger.  These tips are special because they allow you to use a touch screen device, like say a cell phone, without taking your gloves off.  I tried them at the store and they work with my phone.  My question is why the heck did it take so long for these to come out?
   Second, the JR Watkins lotion, which btw smells JUST like lemon cake, is on a crazy amazing deal this week at Rite Aid.  All JR Watkins products are 2/$3 through Saturday!! The lotion above is normally $8.99 a bottle!  If you've never tried their stuff, check out some of G's reviews over at Nouveau Cheap here and here.  Her blog, which is awesome, is where I found out about this sale and I am so grateful.  Even though I want to eat my hands right now cause they smell so good.
   Third, I am not promoting using BBW hand soap, it's just what I have at home since I work there.  I really try not to use or mention stuff from work on here, even though I truly do love a lot of our stuff, because I feel it is a conflict of interest and I might come off a bit biased.  I'm also not saying you have to drink Smart water.  Again, it's just what I had on hand because it's what I tend to drink.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

China Glaze Colours of the Capital Swatch Sheet

   I'm sure by now you've heard about the upcoming China Glaze Colours of the Capital collection.  If not, it is a tie-in with the upcoming Hunger Games movie.  For more information see this post from Nouveau Cheap.  Below I have the official swatch sheet from China Glaze for the collection.  I really want to see several of these in person, but most especially Luxe and Lush.

  Remember to click for a larger image.  

   Which of these look the most interesting to you ladies?  Besides L and L, Agro and Harvest Moon look like they have the most potential to me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nicole by OPI Kardashian Collection GIVEAWAY!

   Here's the second giveaway.  This one is for a complete brand new Nicole by OPI Kardashian collection.

Again sorry about no swatches I promise they're coming soon.
How to enter: You must be a follower of this blog.  You must be 18 years of age and a resident of the US.  I'm sorry to not be able to offer this internationally, but shipping rules for nail polish are tricky and I usually run into issues with customs with books.
If you have any issues or questions about the entry form, please contact me or leave a comment on this post.  I am trying out a new app for raffles, but I think it should make entry pretty easy.  There are a couple mandatory entries and few non mandatory for extra entries.

The giveaway will end at the start of the new year eastern time.  So you have 2 and a half weeks to enter.  You can tweet every day to earn extra entries.  Just come back to this post and the giveaway form. The form can be found after the jump.

OPI Muppet Collection GIVEAWAY!!!

That's right! I'm doing a giveaway.  Actually two, but I'll post the second one separately.  For this one, I am giving away a complete brand new Muppet collection from OPI.  

Sorry I don't have swatches up of these yet, but I promise they're coming soon.  The weather has not been very cooperative.

How to enter: You must be a follower of this blog.  You must be 18 years of age and a resident of the US.  I'm sorry to not be able to offer this internationally, but shipping rules for nail polish are tricky and I usually run into issues with customs with books.
If you have any issues or questions about the entry form, please contact me or leave a comment on this post.  I am trying out a new app for raffles, but I think it should make entry pretty easy.  There are a couple mandatory entries and few non mandatory for extra entries.

The giveaway will end at the start of the new year eastern time.  So you have 2 and a half weeks to enter.  You can tweet every day to earn extra entries.  Just come back to this post and the giveaway form. The form can be found after the jump.

Monday, December 12, 2011

China Glaze It's Alive

   I know this is a little late and I apologize.  But I have to share this one with you.  It's Alive is from the China Glaze Haunting collection for Halloween 2011.  This is an olive/moss glitter in an olive colored jelly base.  There are two sizes of glitter, both the olive/moss color.  Mostly small glitter, but with some slightly larger hex glitter mixed in for texture and interest.

   Even in the bottle you can see how the hex glitters pick up the light and draw your eye in.  It's Alive is nicely pigmented and 2 coats were enough for full opacity.  The formula is a little on the thicker side, but that is rather common for glitter polishes.  However, application was actually pretty good for a glitter of this sort.  On its own, the polish dries matte, which will cut back on the sparkle factor.  This can be a nice effect or you can add some top coat for extra shine.  I used a base of China Glaze Strong Adhesion and topped with a layer of Gelous and a layer of Seche Vite.

Direct Sun



   Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them and see more detail.  You can really see the different sizes of glitter in the shade shot.  The hex glitters stand out nicely over the smaller glitter and the jelly base darkens to almost black for a good contrast.
   You know I love glitter polishes, but this one easily cracks the top 5.  You might not be able to find It's Alive in stores any more, but it can still be found at online retailers.

Friday, December 9, 2011

China Glaze Lorelei's Tiara

   I'm pretty sure at some point I'm going to start producing glitter instead of new skin cells.  If I haven't already.  I swear it just randomly appears places with explanation some times.  Then, if I can control how/where this production happens, I would use it to make awesome glitter polish on my nails.  And they would look a lot like Lorelei's Tiara from the new China Glaze Eye Candy 3D glitter collection.  This is one of only 2 polishes I bought from this collection.  So far anyway.

   Please enlarge these pictures so you can get a better look at the silver and blue glitter mix.  Lorelei's Tiara has a clear base with predominately silver glitter and some random blue glitter sprinkled in.  Everytime I see the name of this polish I think of Lorelai from Gilmore Girls.  And you know what, I think she'd totally rock this polish.
   Being a glitter polish automatically means a few things.  1)difficult removal. 2)bumpy texture/surface that needs extra top coat layers to even out.  3)Needing a little more time between coats to prevent the glitter from all dragging to the tip of your nail.  Taking these givens into consideration however, Lorelei's Tiara applies very well for a glitter.  The glitter is pretty dense so you only really need 2 coats for good coverage.  3 would be more opaque, but you get so much shine and bling from 2 that you won't really notice that you don't have complete coverage.  I used China Glaze Strong Adhesion base and Seche Vite top coat.  I also used a layer of Gelous gel coat base directly on top of the polish before Vite.  If you've never tried Gelous you can find it at Sally Beauty Supply stores and it provides a nice thick layer over glitters to help make your polish smoother.

Direct Sun

   See the shine?  It's almost blinding in full sun.


   You can really see the blue to silver proportions in this shot.  I think China Glaze did a great job on the proportions.  The silver is definitely prominent, but there's enough blue to make you notice it.

   Even inside this polish brings the shine and draws your attention.  The shade of silver used reminds me of the silver foil tinsel my grandmother always insisted we cover our Christmas tree in.  Honestly you could barely see the ornaments behind the tinsel some years she would put so much on the tree.  
   This is a great polish to put you in a better mood when you're down.  And it would be perfect for a New Year's party.  This is just a happy polish that makes you want to celebrate.  Or at least that's how it feels to me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

OPI Swimsuit...Nailed It!

   Swimsuit...Nailed It! is a beautiful blue foil from the OPI Miss Universe collection.  And I mean BLUE. This is bright and vibrant in your face blue.  And I love it.

   Application was smooth and the formula very nice.  Being a foil you'd expect some brushstrokes, but they weren't really an issue with this one.  I used Seche Rebuild base and Seche Vite top.  Pigmentation is excellent and only needed 1 coat for full coverage.  That's right, 1 coat.

Direct Sun

   Look at that glow!



   Even in the shade and inside this polish really just glows.  Remember to click to enlarge the photos to get an even better sense of this. 
   Do I love this polish? Yes.  But there is a big issue with it.  Because of how deeply pigmented it is, this polish stains.  Not just your skin/cuticles when you remove or clean up the polish, but your actual nails as well.  I was left with a blue tinge to my entire nail bed for a few days after I took this polish off.  So I recommend double or even tripling up on base coat when you wear it.  Even with that issue though, I highly recommend this polish if you like blues.  It's just that gorgeous.

Disclaimer:  The product(s) in this post were sent to me by the company for consideration.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Zoya Cynthia

   Cynthia is the last of my Zoya Smoke collection reviews.  This one is an almost black teal.   

   I love the bottle color of Cynthia.  Sadly though it does not stay that color.  She dries much darker and actually looks black in most light.  I had no issues with formula or application.  2 coats achieved full opacity.  Base coat was China Glaze Strong Adhesion base and Top Coat was Barielle Manicure Extender.  Because Cynthia is such a deep blue there is potential for staining with longer wear.

Direct Sun



   Cynthia has potential, but falls a little to far on the black side to me.  I may play around with this one a little or maybe use as a layering base.

Disclaimer:  The product(s) in this post were sent to me by the company for review.
polished & frosted title image brushes by Obsidian Dawn