Birthday Mani and Sparklefest Giveaway!

Hi everyone! I’m so sorry I haven’t been updating regularly lately, things have been weird/busy, plus honestly I haven’t been very inspired with any of my looks lately. Today’s look is what I wore for my birthday yesterday:

The purple is China Glaze's Fancy Pants, the glitter is ILNP's Sugar Blossom, and the frosting and sprinkles are assorted polishes I'm too lazy to go find the names of.

The purple is China Glaze’s Fancy Pants, the glitter is ILNP’s Sugar Blossom, and the frosting and sprinkles are assorted polishes I’m too lazy to go find the names of.

I wanted to do something kinda cute, and I actually really love how this came out! I think it’s just the right amount of cute without being too cutesy. Didn’t take that long, either. I’m not much of a birthday person, but I had a lovely little day – rolled up a little later than usual to work with my favorite coffee in hand, had dinner at my favorite sushi restaurant with some friends that evening, and got some awesome presents including fun polishes and my new fave lipstick. Not a bad way to kick off the big 2-8!

Sorry for my busted-ass cuticles and also the huge cuticle gap - I'd had this purple on my nails for so long before I added the tips!

Sorry for my busted-ass cuticles and also the huge cuticle gap – I’d had this purple on my nails for so long before I added the tips it was growing out!

Yesterday I realized that I’ve reached over 130 followers on Instagram, which is nuts! I’m blown away that so many of you are following me there and also on Pinterest, Tumblr, and here on the blog, and I wanted to say thank you so much! I honestly can’t believe that I’ve kept up with this blog for over a year and I’m tickled pink that I actually have a loyal little audience :) As a thank you and also to commemorate my 100th post, I’d like to do a little giveaway. I didn’t really have a theme but once I started picking polishes I realized I was choosing all glittery polishes, so this is one sparkly-ass giveaway! They’re all kind of autumnal colors, as well, so I guess they’d be a good intro to the fall season (if it ever gets cool enough to actually be autumn, grump grump grump). Here are the beauties in the giveaway:

From left: China Glaze Loco-motive, Zoya Beatrix, _____, Color Club ___, Essie ____.

From left: China Glaze Loco-motive, Zoya Beatrix, Dare To Wear Seriously Golden, Color Club Pinky Swear, Essie Stroke of Brilliance.

And because I love SPARKLEZ, here’s some macros:

To enter the contest, fill out your information in the rafflecopter below. I’ll pick a winner at the end of the month. Good luck everyone, and again, thank you so much for following!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Favorites Month: Glitter

Here it is, my last category for favorites month! I wanted to end on a fun note, so I chose to end with my favorite glitter polishes. I don’t wear glitter that often because I’m super lazy and hate glitter removal, but come on – who doesn’t love glitter?! Sparkly glitter, matte glitter, big glitter, tiny glitter, all one color or crazy combinations – I get so annoyed when people say things like “you shouldn’t wear glitter past the age of ten.” Please. Not only can glitter polish can be elegant and chic, but what’s wrong with rocking some obnoxiously loud glitter on your tips when you’re 30, 40, 50? It’s fun! And trust, there’s no low-key glitter polishes on my top ten list!

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Disco Darling: About five years ago, when I first started getting into polish collecting, I remember seeing a few of these Nox polishes on Lacquerized (a now sadly defunct nail blog) and when I followed the link they were on sale. WELL. Obviously I had to buy some! Despite the Twilight affiliation – barf – these polishes were pretty great, with good formulas and a pretty bottle, but Disco Darling was by far the best. A dense concentration of teeny tiny silver holo pieces in a clear base, this takes three coats for opacity but daaaaaaaamn once it’s on you can’t stop staring. SO blingy and gorgeous, and definitely an eye-catcher – even my male coworkers were grabbing my hand to get a better look at this polish!

Servin’ Up Sparkle: I have so many silver holo glitter toppers and I love them all, but I told myself I’d only choose one so I went with my first, from one of the Serena Williams combo packs a few years ago. This bad boy is insanely sparkly and blindingly holo – it’s definitely chunky so it requires double layers of top coat, but this bling-fest is totally worth it.

11:59: This topper is fairly simple, but it really makes a statement over any color. Composed of black and gold hexes, squares, micro glitter, and even a few circles, this polish is so fun and definitely looks like New Year’s Eve in a bottle.

Maxxed Out: Crows Toes was one of the first indie brands I became super obsessed with, because every time she put out a polish collection it was perfectly curated and just so freaking awesome! This is probably the blingiest polish I own – the silver and gold holo glitter in hexes, bars, and microglitter is flashy and bright even in low lighting. I’ve only worn this a few times because it’s chunky that even with top coat it’s not completely smooth, but the bling factor definitely makes up for it!

Sticks & Stones: One of the OG indie polishes, S&S is really just a super fun polish – this combo of matte black-and-white glitter hexes and bars looks amazing over any color, although I especially love putting it over neons.

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The Glittering Crowd: Another OG Lynderella polish, TGC is just so awesome. There are apparently 100 different kinds of glitter in here, and you can definitely tell – it’s a fantastic glitter explosion of all shapes and colors, and hands-down the best multi-glitter polish there is.

Ariel: Love, love, love this glitter polish that is Princess Ariel in a bottle! It’s got the purple of her shells, the red of her hair, and the green of her tail, plus some truly gorgeous aqua/green flakie-esque shimmer that I always forget about then die over again each time I put this on! It’s also got a truly spectacular formula for a glitter.

Moonbow: So gorgeous – you can see from how much is gone from the bottle that I’ve loved this one a little too hard for such a small bottle, but I can’t help it! (Curse those Brazilian polish makers and their tiny bottles!) The glitter shifts from turquoise to purple to pink and even a few specks of yellow, orange, and green depending on the light and it’s truly breathtaking.

Bring On The Bling: How I wish I had gotten more of these when they were out! I was in my early stages of polish addiction at the time and thought “meh, it’s just another OPI holiday glitter.” HOW WRONG I WAS. I managed to find this and one other polish (Glow Up Already!) on eBay, I think, a year or so after this Burlesque collection was released, but they were already kinda pricey. These glitters are so great, though – sparkly full-coverage micro glitter, yum! This one is gold-based with additional green, pink, blue, silver, and orange glitter pieces. So fun and holiday-esque!

Ginger Spice Latte: I have no idea what possessed me to buy this polish, but i’m so glad I did because once I put this on my tips I was ob-sessed! A dense mix of tiny gold and copper glitters, this polish is so freaking gorgeous and looks beautiful over any color. I especially love wearing it in the fall, it’s like drizzling caramel over the top of your manicure.

I tried to do a glitter gradient with Moonbow but the formula is a bit thick so my gradient wasn’t that great, and my little bottle of Essence Just Rock It! is on its last, goopy legs, so I didn’t do a great job with that around my cuticles, either. Sigh. I do love Moonbow over the dark blue, though.

09-03-14 glitter diagonal

It was super hard to capture the shift for some reason, but I think I got it pretty well in macro form.

09-03-14 glitter macro

I hope you enjoyed favorites month! It was so fun for me to go back through my stash and rediscover old loves or even polishes I’d totally forgotten about! (#polishaddictprobs, amirite?) Do you see any of your favorites on this list? Let me know in the comments! Thank you so much for reading along with these posts, I’ll be back with something bright and fun next time, and maybe even a little surprise. See you then – A x

Favorites Month: Metallics

Oh man, I really thought I was going to be able to get all of my categories up by the end of August but that last week was INSANE, so my favorites month will bleed into September a little bit. For this post I’ve got my favorite metallics! Like most of my other categories, this one was harder than I thought it would be – I didn’t think I really used metallic all that much but it turns out once I started looking at my stash I had more than I thought and remembered how awesome they were! But I got ‘em narrowed down to ten, so here they are:

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Nfu-Oh #61: The master of holos! It doesn’t look like much in the bottle (except that the bottles are so freaking adorable!) but in direct light this sucker is the blingiest holo I’ve ever seen! SUCH a strong, bright, linear rainbow that really pops over the metallic silver base. The formula is finicky as hell, but I find if I’m able to do two quick strokes for each base with plenty of drying time in between it’s not too bad.

It’s Frosty Outside: My love of It’s Frosty Outside is well documented on this blog, but seriously – get this polish! It screams holiday with the bright metallic silver and matte glitter sequins that give just enough extra bling to make this polish so freaking pretty.

Diamond Geezer: Not much to say about this bad boy except if you’re looking for an amazing, bright metallic silver with sparkles, pick up a bottle of this!

Champers: I love rose-gold, and this one by Butter London is fabulous! It does seem to lean slightly more gold than rose on me, but I still really love it.

Penny Talk: This one is just a really great copper to have in your collection – smoothly metallic, almost reflective, with minimal brushstrokes. It looks very similar to Champers but in real life Champers is more rosy.

I don't even know what happened here - I keep losing bottles! I'm hoping I can find these MIA polishes soon, but for now please forgive my use of stand-ins!

I don’t even know what happened here – I keep losing bottles! I’m hoping I can find these MIA polishes soon, but for now please forgive my use of stand-ins!

Nothing Else Metals: I was intrigued when Essie’s Mirror Metallics collection came out but since neither Essie nor metallics are elements that make me go crazy with polish-lust, I didn’t pick this bottle up til I was at my fav polish shop last year and realized that I’d picked it up every single time I’d been there so I should probably just buy it. And thank goodness I did! A lavender metallic is just such a great idea, and this one has an easy formula, to boot!

Honey Ryder: Not super metallic in a reflective way, but I like that. Honey Ryder isn’t a super blingy texture polish but it’s a lovely neutral gold that goes with everything, and since in the last few years I’ve switched to favoring gold more than silver, I adore this guy.

Glitzerland: My go-to gold, as you can see by how much I’ve used it! Oddly for someone who loves bright polish, I usually do very neutral colors on my toes, and it’s usually Glitzerland. It’s just a really nice yellow-leaning shimmery gold to have in your arsenal!

2030: Awww, one of my oldest polishes! A cool-toned champagne gold, 2030 is fantastic at stamping. The designs come out perfectly crisp and gorgeous, and this hue looks especially great over darker colors.

Designer…de Better!: Another polish that was a gift! I got a mini set of these Muppets polishes, and I unexpectedly really loved this one. It’s a really unique shade – a silvery foil with flecks of copper – that seems fairly unassuming but looks really freaking cool on the nail. I can’t wait to bust this bad boy out again soon!

I had to use #61 (don’t you hate it when brands don’t name their polishes?) for my metallic mani, but I also wanted to add a little pop of something extra, so I did a gradient of gold dots using 2030. I really liked this, although it ended up looking like a New Year’s Eve mani, ha. I had a hard time getting good photos but I attempted to show that gorgeous holo flare:

09-03-14 holo curled around bottle

09-03-14 holo tilted back

09-03-14 holo curled under

So what did you think, see any of your favorites on my list? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, I’ll have my last favorites category up soon! – A x

Favorites Month: Neutrals

This isn’t the most thrilling category, I know, but I do like seeing what people’s favorite neutrals are. I found my favorite (and now discontinued, SOB) white from just such a favorites list! So here are my top ten picks for neutrals:

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FYI: One of only two OMG polishes I own, the formula on this guy is a bit weird – it’s SUPER runny in the bottle, but the holo looks normal on the nail so I’m not sure what happened (I did get it off eBay, though, so…). I do love me a neutral with a twist, though, which is why I love FYI – a nice, soft nude that nonetheless has a KAPOW holo flare in the sun. As much as I love more scattered holos, this kind of super smooth linear holo is so cool and futuristic-looking and I wish more polishes had it.

Sand Tropez: A pretty neutral tan, Sand Tropez is a nice neutral that I usually just use under glitters but it’s such a classic mani shade – my friends always flock to it when they raid my collection.

My Vampire Is Buff: (I can’t find my bottle, so Samoan Sand is standing in!) This collection came out right around the time that I was starting to accept neutrals/traditional colors into my polish collection and I’m so glad I scooped this baby up! It’s a favorite of lacquerheads everywhere with its easy formula and pretty French vanilla hue that’s a perfect base for nail art or a lovely, clean look on its own.

Frosty: So prettyyyyyyy. China Glaze has some fan-freaking-tastic holiday colors, and I have five or so from this collection (2010). Frosty is a sheer, jelly-ish white with tiny white, pink, and green sparkles. It screams “winter!” and ugh I just love its icy splendor so much!

White On The Spot: Another favorite that is now gone! This guy was amazing – usually whites are super streaky and take at least three coats to even out, but with WOTS I could sometimes get away with one coat. ONE COAT. Siiiigh. Milani has apparently done away with this line and has a new polish line out, and I’m just praying that they didn’t change the formula too much because my bottle now is chunky and old :/

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Skull & Glossbones: This came from that weird OPI Pirates of the Caribbean collection that was all subdued pastels – not really what comes to mind when one thinks “pirates” – and I didn’t give any of the polishes much thought until I kept seeing S&G pop up on blog after blog. I finally got my own bottle and I’m so glad I did – it’s a light gray with a pinch of green, an odd, ghostly color that I nonetheless love.

Pelican Gray: I was torn between this one and OG China Glaze gray Recycle, but I do prefer the lighter, more dove gray of PG (the horrible formula of my bottle of Zoya Dove, similar to this color, immediately put it out of the running). I wore this once by itself, mattified, and it was a really cool, weirdly chic look. Hmm. Now I want to try that again…

Dahlia: I love the Zoya PixieDusts and Dahlia is no exception! It was a little disappointing when I first put it on – since it looks black in the bottle but once it’s on your nails it’s actually a dark gray – but I do love the deep yet warm gray, and it’s sparkly as all get-out. It looks like crushed graphite on your nails!

Storm: I’ve only worn this guy once, very briefly, but it was enough to get on my list! I hope Zoya keeps making more and more colors in this awesome irregularly shaped, holo-flecked formula; I already own almost all of them! I’m not a huge fan of black on my nails (a bunch of friends wore plain black constantly on their nails in college when I was in college and somehow I kinda OD’d on it) but this little beauty almost makes me want to wear it every day!

Black Crème: (I also can’t find this polish, so another black WnW is standing in!) I’m sad to report that W’n’W has changed the formula of this perfect gem. The bottle I have (on its last legs, oh nooooo) has a perfect, buttery one-coat formula that made it a cinch to create nail art. I got a newer bottle not too long ago and while it’s not the worst, it doesn’t come close to this original formula.

For my neutral mani, I wanted to wear Dahlia on its own because I only wore this once, ages ago, and I wanted to get it on my paws again! I mentioned that I don’t like plain black on my nails, but I do love gray – it feels more chic to me than black, even though I know that’s the go-to for lots of people (including my #1 polish buddy, my sister).

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Dahlia also has the added bonus of being a sparkle explosion, which is always welcome since I’m not usually one to wear a crème neutral by itself. I did add these little silver studs for extra interest, though, and I love them with Dahlia!

08-26-14 angled

See any of your favorites up here? Do you have any suggestions for a great white since my fav is discontinued? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you back next time with my favorite metallics! – A x

Favorites Month: Pinks

I don’t have that many pinks in my stash, but I was surprised at how many different kinds of pinks I actually had. I am not usually a pink fan, but once in a while there’s nothing better than a nice pop of pink – especially if it’s neon!

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Shelby: I remember being confused with myself when I added this polish to my cart, but I’m glad I got it – sometimes you need a nice, light pink, and this one definitely fits the bill.

Bottoms Up: A fantastic cool-toned bubblegum pink neon. Talk about Barbie pink! It’s definitely streaky, but I’m okay doing three careful coats for this fun hue.

You Drive Me Coconuts: Another cool-toned neon pink, but darker. This is from the same collection as Bottoms Up but the formula is a dream – it’s technically a jelly but it’s opaque in two easy coats. My go-to neon pink!

Warhol: Similar to YDMC but more warm-toned. China Glaze is known as the brand with the best neons, but I gotta say, Color Club has a lot of great ones, too – this one and Lava Lamp are two-coat neons, which is difficult to find!

Love’s A Beach: I usually prefer my neons to be cremes, but the shimmer in LAB gives it a little something extra, in addition to a buttery formula. But then, basically every polish from this collection (China Glaze’s 2012 neons) is great!

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Disco Biscuit: This guy is super sheer – I usually layer it over another polish – but I looooooove the blue/purple glitter in this hot pink jelly base. It’s so sparkly and gorgeous.

I Lily Love You: I actually prefer this over black – the pink cellophane and glitter in the transparent pink jelly base turns blue and purple over dark colors and gives it a completely different look. Worn over another pink it’s a bit too girly for me, but the combination of glitters in ILLY is so fun.

Reggae To Riches: An oldie but a goodie – a rich magenta with a bright purple flash. Not my usual pick but something about that lovely duochrome purple makes me crave this polish every few months.

Mason: This looks pretty purple here, but it’s really a lovely, rich magenta (“Fandango pink,” according to Zoya, whatever that means). It’s got fabulous magenta sparkles that aren’t super noticeable but look amazing when the light catches. I can’t wait to use this guy in a jewel-tone mani for fall!

Cherry Cherry Bang Bang: I got this after seeing it on Rach’s site and was surprised how much I loved it! I usually wear this with an aqua like Zuza, but the nice, rich berry shade looks very classic on its own.

I did an easy gradient look with Bottoms Up and Warhol that I loooooooooove. It’s a very fun end of summer look, and I got so many compliments – sometimes the simplest nail art gets the most attention (and I’m sure the neon help draw people’s eye, as well)!

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My gradient wasn’t as smooth as I wanted, but I did this quickly super late at night. Not as bad as it could’ve been, though!

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See any of your favorites on my list? Let me know in the comments! Thank you so much for reading! See you next time with my favorite neutrals – A x