A-England’s Dragon

This past weekend some friends and I went to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire (lulz) for the second year in a row. I didn’t take any photos because I took so many last year, but I did do another themed mani. When I think of the middle ages, I think of those fairy tales of King Arthur, princesses in castles, and dragons – this last one instantly made me think of the fabulous A-England shade with the same name.

5.7.15 bottles

I haven’t used Dragon in ages, but I love it sooooooo much. It’s from A-England’s second collection, based on the epic story of St. George and the dragon. I really love reading the inspiration behind A-England’s collections, and even the way they write their product descriptions is just so lovely. A-Englands are a bit of a splurge, so I only have two that I got a few years ago, but they’re really amazing polishes – perfect formulas, unique polishes, and every single one is gorgeous. (I currently have my eye on these two from the Briar Rose series.)

See that fabulous golden flash in the bottle?

See that fabulous golden flash in the bottle?

Fittingly, Dragon really evokes the look of a dragon – its rich, mossy base reminds me of dragon scales, and the golden flash makes me think of their golden eyes. The signature A-England scattered holo just bumps the whole creation up to another level. It was really difficult to capture the gold flash and holo of Dragon, but I tried my best. You’ll just have to get your hands on it yourself to really appreciate its true beauty! (A-England can’t ship to the US anymore, but they’re stocked at a bunch of nail suppliers like Llarowe.)

I tried! The gold and holo sparkles are definitely very visible in person.

I tried! The gold and holo sparkles are definitely very visible in person.

Keeping with the dragon theme, I added a light layer of OPI’s Gold Shatter to my middle finger to mimic a cracked dragon egg. I know shatters were pretty much a flash in the pan fad, but I still really like them, I think they’re fun! I just wish my Black Shatter hadn’t dried out so badly, sigh. On my ring, I used two coats of China Glaze’s Medallion, a gold glitter with some scattered holo pieces, to represent the gold fortune dragons are sometimes shown to be protecting, depending on the story.

5.7.15 pose

I liked this mani a lot! I don’t like to do overt visuals when I’m doing themed nails – like stamping Santa hats for Christmas or something – and I think this one went very well with my theme without being too obvious, as well as being absolutely beautiful in the sun while we traipsed around the Ren Faire in flower crowns. Thank you for reading! See you next time – A x

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ILNP Atlantis

Hi everyone! Today I have a very subtle mani – since I used my last ILNP flakie over a contrasting color, I wanted to use it over a similar color for today’s look, but it blended juuuuuust a little too well and my macro lens got lost so it might be a little hard to see that multichrome goodness in my pics, sorry about that! (I do have a new macro on the way, though!)

3.3.15 bottles

I also totally meant to take pics of each step for this mani, but as usual, I just started doing it and completely forgot. Oh well. To begin, I used two coats of Glitzerland on my middle fingers and one coat of One Track Mind on my pinkie, pointer, and thumb. OTM is a really great polish for when you want to do a quick mani since it’s a one-coater, but I was disappointed with how dark it was. I’ve been searching for a replacement to an oldddddd and discontinued Essence color, Just Rock It, which was the perfect not-too-dark navy, and I thought OTM would be a good dupe but it’s a bit too dark for my liking – I’m generally not a fan of those almost-black colors. Sigh. It’s got a great formula, though, so I will be keeping it around!

3.315 curled around bottle

Once the top coat had dried on the nails with Glitzerland, I applied two pieces of striping tape, blocking out a thick stripe down the center of each nail. I used a light hand to paint one coat of OTM – sometimes painting with a thick coat means it gets under the tape – then after about a minute, I applied Atlantis just down the middle section over OTM.

3.3.15 diagonal

The flakes are pretty densely packed so I only used one coat. I carefully removed the tape and while those nails dried, I tried to apply the flakies in a fade but as my regular readers know, I’m somehow incapable of doing a perfect fade. :/ My pinkie isn’t too bad, though! Anyway, after everything was dry, I applied a thin layer of top coat.

3.3.15 curled

I actually really like this look, despite how hard the flakes are to see. Atlantis starts off as a blue-leaning purple, then shifts through reddish purple, fuchsia, [ etc ]. I reeeeeally wish I had my macro lens, ugh, but if you love purple and flakies, this is the polish for you! The color shift is beautiful, the formula is super easy to apply, and it’s just an all-around awesome, unique polish to have.

3.3.15 tilted up

Thank you for reading! See you next time! – A x

Chalkboard Nails and WorkPlayPolish Do My Nails

A week or so ago Sarah from Chalkboard Nails posted on her Instagram that she’d be at a RiteAid in West Hollywood with Julie G and Leslie from WorkPlayPolish to do a meet-and-greet event. WELL. Obviously I was stoked, but I got the dates messed up so I thought it was next weekend. Then as I was running around doing errands this past Saturday, I checked my Instagram while waiting around and saw the post that they were there already! I managed to hustle over with my sister and get there just in time to be the last in line to get our nails done.

2-22-15 pose

This is a weird color combo because I was wearing butter London’s Stag Do, a blackened teal, and had planned to do some nail art over it, but Leslie had pale pink, royal blue, and gold Julie G polishes to work with, so they look kinda odd together. But whatevaaaaaaaa because my sister and I got to chill with Sarah and Leslie for about half an hour while Leslie did leopard spots on my nails and Sarah did some rose art on a few of my sister’s (she’s not a big nail art person, so she just wanted an accent – although an hour after we got home she’d already taken it off and had done a replica of Sarah’s own nails that day, gray with golden-orange shimmer).

Sorry for the weird chip at the cuticle on my middle finger - I put Stag Do on ONE DAY before this, and it already chipped. Freaking butter London.

Sorry for the weird chip at the cuticle on my middle finger – I put Stag Do on ONE DAY before this, and it already chipped. Freaking butter London.

Both ladies were lovely and awesome. You can tell Leslie was a nail tech for years – she effortlessly chatted with us the whole time. She was very warm and charmingly excited about everything, and Sarah was really funny and witty – when I asked them how they kept their polish collection organized, and then admitted I don’t like to have friends see exactly how many I have but rather bring them out a few polishes to choose from, Sarah likened it to the Wizard of Ox behind the curtain, hee. They asked if I had a blog (and Sarah followed me on Instagram, eeeee! And also remarked that she remembered seeing my account name before, eeeeee!) and we talked a bit about how the nail art blogging thing is making a move over to mostly Instagram. I asked what they had planned for the weekend after the event, and Leslie was super excited to tell us that they were going to PUMP for dinner and drinks later that night, and then they told us that on Sunday they were going to breakfast with China Glaze, having a tour of OPI, and then having a hang out and mani/pedi with Katie from The Painted Nail at their new W Hotel location. I mean…does that not sound like the most amazing weekend?! Anyway, both Sarah and Leslie were so charming and really fun to talk to; just generally very cool chicks. You can tell the two are good friends, and y’all, it was just really cool to meet people who are so big in our little nail art sphere in person. I tried to not to nerd out too hard, but it was really awesome to meet them.

Sarah's top left, Leslie top right, me at the bottom!

Sarah’s top left, Leslie top right, me at the bottom!

We also snagged some swag at the event – reusable RiteAid bags (always welcome, since I keep forgetting to leave one in my car) stuffed full of samples and a few full-sized items, like Julie G’s top coat, which is amazing and my new fav, and an NYC mascara that’s actually really great. Meeting two of my fav bloggers AND free stuff? Saturday was the best.

#swag

#swag

Sorry for going on so much but thanks for putting up with my babbling! I’ll see you next time – A x

butter London Cotton Buds

I’ve made my thoughts on butter London pretty clear on this site before (too pricey for polish that chips too quickly) buuuuuut in January they had 50% off their “Last Orders” and there was a kit with three polishes, a dotting tool, and a clean-up brush that would be about $20 after the discount that I felt like I couldn’t resist because a) a single bL polish is $15 so this was a great deal for three + tools, b) the polishes included Cotton Buds, which I’ve read countless rave reviews of and I did desperately needed a new white polish. The weird thing was, when I added Stag Do – a dark teal with shimmer – to my cart as well, I got free shipping even though the total was under $30. Well, I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth, so that’s how I ended up with four new bL polishes when all I really wanted was a white (#polishaddictprobs).

Jaded jack, HRH, Cotton Buds, Stag DO, and a cuticle brush and dotting tool.

Jaded jack, HRH, Cotton Buds, Stag DO, and a cuticle brush and dotting tool.

I was not thrilled with Cotton Buds, unfortunately. I’d read lots of reviews saying it was an easy two coater, but that definitely was not the case for me. I waited five or so minutes between coats, but still had one big streak on each nail after two coats so I needed a third, and even after that, my nails don’t look perfect. Sighhhh. I wish I had snatched up another Milani White Out before they changed over to their new polishes – now that was a great, easy two-coat white. I’ll pour one out for you later, buddy.
2-7-15 pour one out

I wanted to do something simple with my white nails, so I decided to just do a diagonal with one of my fav golds, OPI’s Love.Angel.Music.Baby.

2-6-15 curled udner

Love.Angel.Music.Baby is a really cool polish that I’ve shown a few times before on this blog – it’s a “satin” finish, which isn’t quite stark matte but definitely isn’t glossy, and it has tons of gorgeous shimmer. It’s kind of a bitch to remove for some reason, but it goes on like a dream so despite my annoyance with Cotton Buds, I was glad to have a quick and easy way to jazz it up.

2-6-15 in front of bottles

Nice, huh? This isn’t a look I’d normally do – the white + gold makes me think of something a lifestyle blogger like Cashmere & Cupcakes would do – but I like it (well, except for my messed up ring finger). I’ll have to keep looking for a great white, but c’est la vie – that’s kind of an on-going issue when you’re a lacquerhead. Freaking light polish colors, man!

What did you think of this mani? Do you have a favorite (hopefully 2-coater) white polish to suggest? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, y’all! See you next time – A x

Zoya January Promo Swatches

Hello, lovely readers! After complaining to friends about how it always takes foreverrrrr for me to receive my orders from Zoya’s promotions, I actually received my order yesterday, huzzah! (Also super weird, because the tracking said it hadn’t even been shipped yet…) I thought I’d do a super quick swatch post showing the polishes I ordered and the colors included in the Mystery Minis!

2-6-15 bottles

First up, the polishes I ordered. I reeeeeeally debated these – I feel like there actually aren’t too many Zoya polishes I really NEED anymore, since I’ve got a fair amount and their last few collections haven’t had anything that really grabbed my attention. I finally decided to try out Yuna, warm gray with gold and copper flecks; Nyx, a periwinkle PixieDust; and Tomoko, a metallic silver-gold PixieDust. Here are my thoughts (and also, sorry for my less-than-perfect cuticles!):

I know this picture is super awkward, but I was trying to catch the colors/finishes as best I could.

I know this picture is super awkward, but I was trying to catch the colors/finishes as best I could.

Yuna: SO PURDYYYY. It’s got a great two-coat formula and the lovely greenish-gray with tiny gold and copper flecks is totally unique in my stash…nothing else to say, this one is beautiful! It was hard to capture the gold/copper flakes but they’re much more noticeable in person. Basically, if you love grays and/or flakes, you’ll love Yuna.

Nyx: Eh. I’m not super thrilled with the color but I also don’t hate it…we’ll have to see if it grows on me or not. Also, as you can see, it’s still not fully opaque after two coats, which is kind of annoying.

Tomoko:


^ basically sums up how I feel about Tomoko. It leans a little warm in this pic, but in person I can’t tell if it’s more a cool-toned gold or a warm-toned silver, and I kinda like that – it’s like a weird, neutral metallic. More importantly, it’s an easy two-coater and it is SPARKLY, y’all! It’s not showing up well in this photo but trust, throw on Tomoko if you want total party nails.

Now let’s take a gander at the Mystery Mini trio! A friend tipped me off that the minis are from the collection Zoya created for Peter Som at last year’s New York Fashion Week. I knew Zoya wasn’t going to send out any bright colors or anything too mind-blowing, but I was actually way more pleased with what they sent out than I thought I’d be.

2-6-15 left

Anais is a metallic-threaded black (it has a “vein of warm pewter running through it,” according to that post) that’s unique in my collection, plus I really love the name Anais, so this one’s a winner for me.

Severine likewise has a cool name (sounds like a badass villainess) and while it’s a fairly standard champagne gold, it’s nice to have a tiny bottle I can take with me when I travel. It was a little bit brushstrokes, but that almost completely smoothed out once I applied top coat.

Charlotte is the one I’m not sure about – I have been warming up to neutrals a lot more lately, but still, a dirty khaki isn’t really gonna make me jump for joy. The formula was nice, though – it’s a two-coater like the others, which is surprising for a light color.

What colors do y’all get in the promo? Let me know in the comments! I weirdly love hearing about what people snatch up in the Zoya sale ha. Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x