ILNP Road To Awe and Mountain View Swatches

A few weeks ago I splurged and got two polishes from ILNP’s fall collection. Spoiler alert: they’re gorgeous. But of course, you already know that – I’ve never seen an ILNP polish that isn’t completely amazing. Anyway, the hardest part of choosing two polishes was deciding between the two multichrome flakies, Road To Awe and Glory – they’re pretty similar, and both beautiful fall polishes. In the end, though, I chose Road To Awe, because I don’t usually wear red/rust/orange hues.

ILNP Road To Awe

ILNP Road To Awe

I applied one coat over OPI’s Casino Royale on my ring finger and Essie’s Barefoot & Topless on all my other fingers. Like my other ILNP flakies, the formula on this was great – it was easy to spread all the shards out and get a nice, even covering like I like, and there were no pieces sticking up or anything.

11.12.15 Road To Awe under

Road to Awe has color shifts of fuchsia, purple, orange, and even gold at certain angles. So pretty, right?

11.12.15 RTA diagonal

Obviously I flipped when I saw that there was a dark green in the collection, but I wasn’t even ready for this jelly.

11.12.15 MT bottle

Mountain View is amazinggggggg! I knew I had to have it after I saw the first swatch online. It’s a gorgeous blue-leaning dark green – but not so dark it looks black, which is a huge polish pet peeve of mine – filled with not only beautiful fine holographic glitter but tiny copper flakes, too! I’ve really come to love copper lately, and green is always and forever my favorite polish color, so this combo was always gonna be a hit with me!

11.12.15 Mountain View curled

The formula was pretty good, although it definitely takes three coats and was startlingly sheer at one coat, but I assume it’s a bit sheer to allow the copper flakes to show through the dark base color. It dried fairly glossy, too, although I’m wearing a top coat in these pics. I didn’t have any staining, either, which is great with such a dark shade.

It was hard to capture the copper flakes, but ughhhh so pretty in person!

It was hard to capture the copper flakes, but ughhhh so pretty in person!

ILNP never disappoints, but these two are especially gorgeous. I’ve already worn these for almost a full week each, but can you blame me?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

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Halloween mani #10 – Glam Black Widow!

Hi everyone! This post was supposed to go up last night, but my photos wouldn’t download off my phone, so there will be two posts today! Let’s jump into the first one, this deadly spider inspired look:

OPI's Color So Hot It Berns, Zoya's Storm

OPI’s Color So Hot It Berns, Zoya’s Storm

I wanted to do something with deadly-looking colors, so I chose to use the black widow spider’s red and black color scheme. I used a base of Color So hot It Berns, although I really need a new red – this one is a bit sheer and takes forever to dry (I dinged two nails even after waiting 15 minutes), but I got it for free a few years ago and I hardly ever use red, so I always forget to try a new one. Anyway, when that was dry, I applied a piece of washi tape horizontally across the nail then painted on a layer of Storm.

10.28.15 black widow1

I looooove these gold spider charms! I got them last year but forgot to use them for Halloween, and I’ve kind of just been saving them since. I don’t usually like anything so big or chunky on my nails, but these are super awesome and glam!

Okay, guys – four manis left and counting! See you all tomorrow with something a little more complex. Thanks for reading – A x

Cirque Holo Polishes

Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a lovely week! I was craving some holographic sparkliness but of course the day after I put this mani on it was cloudy and overcast for almost an entire week. I was fiiiiinally able to take some photos yesterday, so sorry for the week-plus absence, but feast your eyes on these babies:

6.10.15 bottles

I ordered three Cirque holos just before Christmas last year during a sale; I already showed the gorgeous orchid holo, Xochitl, in a previous post, but today I combined the last two in this super blingy mani.

6.10.15 curled around bottle

So we’ve got Panacea, a funky chartreuse holo, and Cerrillos, a vibrant turquoise – both colors I looooove, even when not in deliciously sparkly holo form. Panacea was a little sheer, so I did three thin coats, and Cerrillos was probably good at two but I was painting in low light so I added a third for good measure. These wore super well on me – I had it on for almost an entire week and I only got a little chip on each finger. Not bad! Oh, also, for some reason when I photographed in the direct sunlight (to catch as much holo flare as possible), the base colors didn’t appear as vivid as they are in person. Photos really don’t do these justice, they’re mesmerizing in real life!

6.10.15 diagonal

For my glittery pinkie and thumb, I dabbed a coat of China Glaze’s Techno over Essie’s No Place Like Chrome, a great one-coat metallic silver. Techno is pretty chunky, so I did two thick layers of top coat, which of course meant my thumb chipped almost instantly. Sigh. But I just kept fixing the messed up parts because I liked this mani so much. It definitely didn’t chip off in big chunks like heavy glitters usually do on me, though, so that was a plus.

6.10.15 curled up

On my pointer, I did one coat of No Place Like Chrome and then a layer of top coat. After it was totally dry, I placed one of my Make It Stick tribal decals (although it looks like they don’t do nail decals anymore…?) and painted a thick layer of Cerrillos on the top half and Panacea on the bottom. I was nervous to smooth the decal down too hard, like I usually do, because metallics have a tendency to rip off if you use tape on them, so the one side doesn’t look too great, but the outermost side is pretty crisp. I’ve never used these before because I kept forgetting about them, but I really love the designs.

6.10.15 macro

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did! I’ve got a few simple nail designs like this in mind for my next few manis, and I might even attempt a pictorial tutorial? Hmmm we’ll see how lazy I’m feeling. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see. As always, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time! – A x

ILNP Flakie Swatches

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely holiday weekend (if you’re in the US)! This post should’ve gone up almost a week ago, sorry, I completely spaced! But anyway, in today’s post, I have swatches of two ILNP flakie polishes – Brilliance, a color-shifting multichrome, and Fame, a gold metallic with holographic particles. Let’s dive in, shall we?

5.25.15 bottles

Multichromes look best in the shade, where the full spectrum of their color shifting properties comes out, so I managed to snap some quick pics under a shaded patio table at work. Check out this awesomeness:

5.25.15 Brilliance shade diagonalJPG

I resisted getting Brilliance when I placed my first ILNP flakie order because I already had Nubar 2010, which is a red-orange-gold-green flakie, and I thought they’d be too similar. However, I kept seeing swatches around and still loving it, so when I got an ILNP coupon in my email, I immediately put it in my cart! I’m so glad I did – Brilliance has the same basic color shift spectrum as Nubar 2010, but instead of red it’s a gorgeous rosy pink, plus ILNP’s flakies are metallic whereas previous old-school flakies are translucent, so the finish is different, too.

Tilted up so you can see the green shift.

Tilted up so you can see the green shift. Please excuse the paper cut on my ring finger!

I really like the metallic/more opaque finish of ILNP flakies because it means they’ll show up on a greater variety of base colors – I think Brilliance would pop just as well over a lighter gray than this one (China Glaze’s Recycle), but Nubar 2010 definitely only shows up well over dark hues. Not a big deal, it’s just nice to have more options. Anyway, I’m so glad I eventually got this – it’s gorgeous, you should all get it, the end.

Fame in the shade to show the flakes over a similarly colored and contrasting colored base.

Fame in the shade to show the flakes over a similarly colored and contrasting colored base. Sorry my cleanup sucks, I did these really quickly.

I don’t have anything like Fame and I wanted to experiment, so I’ve shown it here with one layer over OPI’s Glitzerland, a champagne gold, on my pinkie and ring fingers, and one coat over OPI’s A Roll In The Hauge (ARITH), a saturated orange, on my middle and pointer fingers. I’m not sure I love Fame for layering over contorting hues – it looks kinda weird over ARITH to me because even at only one coat the flakes are so dense, and I prefer a more evenly spaced topper. For example, look at the Brilliance swatch above – there’s a pretty even distribution of flakes but also base color showing through, whereas with Fame over ARITH, there’s a lot less orange showing through and it looks “off” to me. But that’s just my preference, some people might like that look. The gold of the flakes and the gold of Glitzerland are basically the same, so that would be great for a quick mani, but I’d like to experiment further and see how many coats it would take for Fame to be opaque on its own.

It was really hard to capture the holo but trust, it was pretty intense and hella sparkly!

It was really hard to capture the holo for some reason but trust, it was pretty intense and hella sparkly!

I will say that I loooove the holo in Fame! ILNP holos are not my fav – holographic polishes come in a range from scattered (i.e. A-England) to super linear (Nfu-Oh) and in that range there’s even more variety, such as Color Club’s holos, which are linear but it’s more fuzzy, if that makes sense? The other ILNP holos I have are an in-between scattered and linear, where the linear rainbow part is comprised of sparse sparkles, which I’m not a fan of. However, Fame really blew me away because it’s a way more…focused linear rainbow? (I am terrible at explaining this.) Whatever it is, I love it. I’m not usually a big gold person, but I seem to be using it a lot in my recent manis, so I’m glad to have this blingy metallic/holo/flakie explosion to add into the mix!

Definitely sign up for ILNP’s email newsletter, I got a random 30% off coupon, which I why I bought these babies. Have you picked up any ILNP polishes lately? What’s your favorite? Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading, and see you next time – A x

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