Friday, October 19, 2012

Unboxing Topbox October 2012

I was just about to post this month's box (or tube, it really is confusing what I should call it!) when I realized belatedly that I had (once again) forgotten to post the last month's! And to think I was so excited to write about it because it was my first Topbox. Life just got in the way and it kept getting pushed back to the point where I'm posting it mid-October. Nonetheless, at least you get two posts in one day out of it! Now, I had pretty high hopes for this month's box because I had filled out the beauty profile and even took the survey that is sent at the end of each month. I was hoping that my answers would be taken into consideration with respect to the kind of samples I'd be getting. Not that last month's was a bust. Anyway, let's see how I fared this month, shall we?

I chose the eco-friendly option which gave me this bare tube (and the option to decorate it myself if I wanted to!).

I wonder what goodies await underneath the purple tissue?


Right out of the box!

(Finally) Unboxing Topbox September 2012

I've been on the waiting list for the Topbox sample subscription service for several months now when I finally get the email that says I'm getting my first box! The subscription service is much like how Loose Button originally started: $10CAD ($11.30CAD with taxes) gets you a monthly box of four samples from various beauty brands tailor fit to your beauty profile. Except, instead of a box, you get a tube container in your mailbox. Everything else is pretty similar. As far as I know, Topbox is one of the cheaper subscription services out there. That in itself might make it appeal to a wider audience. Now, I've read mixed reviews of the service but I'd like to reserve judgement until I've actually enjoyed the monthly boxes--er, tubes. Anyway, I didn't realize I hadn't posted my first Topbox yet, so here's the September one for your perusal. (The post with the October one should go live after this.)

Oooh, exciting!

How pretty! I can definitely see myself reusing this for gifts or storage in general.

The white end with the lip is the part that opens.

Suspense, much?

What do we have here?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Mummy Nails for Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching, I decided to finally jump on the bandwagon with some Halloween-themed nail art. While brainstorming, I remembered this faux copper patina tutorial on one of my favorite geek girl blogs, Epbot, that I've had bookmarked for the longest time. I haven't had the chance to try it out yet on an actual piece (I had seen a pretty seahorse at Winners but I got vetoed by Mr. J, boo), but I wondered if I could employ the same aging trick with acrylic paint on my nails. I already knew I wanted to do mummy nails using the slim line design since I first attempted it in one of my past twin posts with the always awesome Marta as I figured the texture would be perfect to mimic wrapped linen. It seemed like a good idea in my head so I knew I had to try it. And guess what? It came out even better than I could've ever hoped:

Beware the mummy (nails)!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Indulgent Intermission: Why I Went M.I.A. and the Fiery Red of Mother Nature

I apologize for going M.I.A., but one thing lead to the other and I found myself simply unable to get back to the groove of writing. Before I try to placate you some more, let me explain exactly what happened.

First off, my trip to Vancouver was a blast. It's an awesome city and I was very happy to catch up and spend time with my brother (who, wouldn't you know, actually bulked up with them muscles in the few years I haven't seen him). Sushi heaven at Tojo's, belugas with love handles at the Vancouver Aquarium, seeing Storybrooke from Once Upon A Time in person, high tea at the Fairmont Empress, smelling the roses at the Butchart Gardens...all in all, it certainly was worth every penny of the round trip airfare! Unfortunately, by my second day there, I was already feeling that scratchiness in your throat that I know almost always means I'm coming down with a cold. I suppose it didn't help either that to maximize our stay, we usually had pretty early mornings and very late nights. So, it's no surprise that I finally did get a cold. I developed the runny yet congested nose while in flight and let me tell you, descending from high altitudes when your ear just can't seem to pop hurts. A lot. Not even chewing gum helped. Suffice to say, I was glad to be home but unhappy about being sick.

Now, I only had a couple days to recuperate because the weekend promised to be a busy one, what with all the birthday celebrations AND Thanksgiving going on. I loaded up on lozenges, fluids and vitamin C but by the second day, I was coughing like mad, ran a fever and was spewing what honestly looked like slime. Off to the doctor I went and got my much needed antibiotics. I certainly didn't want to be passing this off to anyone else! By the weekend, I got my coughing somewhat under control with extra strength lozenges (the kind that numbs your throat is just divine at this). I also kept sanitizing and washing my hands, because, well, better safe than sorry, right? Dining in the dark at O Noir was a very interesting experience. Cosmic bowling was surprisingly fun (especially when you're not the lowest scorer, hurrah!), too. The Cutie Pie turned two with a Dora the Explorer themed party (with matching pinata!) and Mr. J turned officially old. The festivities probably took more out from me than I thought, so I ended up vegging out and catching up on sleep for the rest of the week.

And THAT is why I went M.I.A. I'm feeling loads better now (though still coughing a bit) and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who sent warm thoughts my way on Twitter and Instagram. You guys really are awesome, you know that? Anyway, I kind of went a bit overboard with swatching yesterday that I wasn't able to do a post. That said, this will be the "I'm back on the proverbial horse" post while I work on the actual posts that do involve what we're all here for: nails and nail polish. I've got some festive nails I sported for the celebrations I talked about earlier (thankfully, I had the foresight to photograph them before I took them off) and I'm really excited about the first Halloween themed nail art I'll be showing you tomorrow (they came out so well!). So definitely stay tuned for those in the next few days!

And because this post became one gigantic wall of text, here are some photographs I took yesterday (when it was horribly overcast and windy) of my favorite tree in our backyard. The wind was blowing so hard and I feared I wouldn't be able to get photos of when all the leaves finally turned red. Last year, I waited too long and most were blown off by then. Maybe in a few more days I'll have a fully red tree shot (if the wind cooperates).

Thanks for sticking it out with us and keeping Hammie company while I've been away! We hope your week is turning out to be a great one!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Autumn Elegance with Essence Gorgeous Bling Bling

I never quite understood when people say that a certain shade of nail polish is something they wouldn't wear alone. Sure, I understand that there are people who need to sport nail art as an expression of their creative freedom. Or simply because it's a whole bunch of fun. What I didn't get was how a certain color can be labeled okay with nail art but not without. It wasn't until I met Essence Gorgeous Bling Bling (quite possibly one of the more ridiculous nail polish names ever) that I finally got it.

We met at a local Shoppers Drug Mart not too long ago and I was excited to see it. I knew it would be a unique color in my collection but more than that, it screamed fall to me. It brought to mind pumpkin spice lattes, huge leaf piles and pumpkin pie. I've had great experience with Essence polishes so I knew it had to come home with me. But the moment I put it on, it was just...gah. I wasn't even sure if I liked it. Now, don't get me wrong, it's a pretty color, just not on me. In an effort to salvage the mani, I took to my stamping plates and finally did what I planned to in one of my twin posts with Stephanie from last August (if not for Mr. J's interference):

Surprisingly elegant autumn-inspired nails!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A (Indie) Dark Purple Comparison: Cult Nails Vicious vs. AEngland Elaine

There are those unavoidable instances when you don't have any recourse but to purchase a bottle of nail polish online. I try to refrain from doing so just to make sure I get exactly the color that I want. But when availability (or lack of, in store) is thrown into the mix, sometimes, it's just the more convenient way of getting your fix around to it. That's where Google image search and my trusted bloggers come to the rescue. I realize that photographs aren't the best way to judge color. The settings on your monitor/laptop screen/mobile phone/tablet aren't always going to show you the most accurate color. And sometimes, the two nail polishes you'd like to see side by side can look exactly the same in various photographs and lighting. So what's a girl to do? Well, you take your chances. Today's comparison is actually borne out of my own recent dilemma.

See, AEngland had a sale a little while back. And as always, it was free shipping with no minimum. Pretty hard to resist, plus, it was the perfect excuse to snag the other colors I wanted. I had my eye on Elaine but I already have Vicious. I don't like having duplicates of the same color, as much as possible, so I wanted to know how these two vampy purples compared. But as far as Google was concerned, they looked exactly the same depending on the lighting. Huh. Well, AEngland had a fantastic formula so I figured that if they were dupes, I wouldn't really mind. Besides, what are the chances that two indie brands would dupe each other? Highly unlikely, is what I thought. So for anyone else who wanted to know, here's the two side by side:

Friday, September 28, 2012

China Glaze On Safari Native Collection for Fall 2012: Jungle Queen and Exotic Encounters

And so we end this series with the last two of the set that I was quite happy to get. These were the other two colors, apart from Man Hunt, that I was eying. Now, before I got sucked down the rabbit hole that is nail polish hoarding collecting, I missed quite a lot of those kick @$$ colors that they just don't do anymore. One of the oldie but goodies that I've been drooling over was Chanel Paradoxal. Sadly, I also missed out on the Revlon dupe called Perplex so it was a happy day when it was re-released as part of the core collection and renamed Naughty. Sure, it was nice, but the formula wasn't the best. So when I heard of another possible China Glaze dupe from the On Safari collection, getting the Native set became a no-brainer.

Ending the series with a bang: a pretty teal and a Paradoxal dupe (?).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Playing with Born Pretty Store Silver Holographic Rhombus Loose Glitter

Some time ago, I won a giveaway at Chit Chat Nails and managed to snag some of these fantastic loose glitters from the Born Pretty Store. I grabbed a couple of the usual hexagon shaped ones (and you've seen the gold one in action in my effervescent nails here) but just couldn't resist the pull of these holographic gold and silver rhombus shaped glitter. They came in a set of one each and were surprisingly cheaper than the hexagonal ones. I can't pass up a great deal either so they made their way into my checkout basket. Now, I've been waiting for the temperatures to drop a bit so I can finally wear my darker shades. When it finally did, I happily pulled out OPI DS Extravagance (I luckily have two bottles, both gifts from two of favorite nail buddies, Marisa from Polish Obsession, and Mary from Swatch and Learn) and knew exactly what would be perfect to jazz it up some:

Not that it needed more bling.

Friday, September 21, 2012

China Glaze On Safari, Native Collection for Fall 2012: Elephant Walk and Prey Tell

The thing about getting sets is that sometimes, you end up with nail polish colors that you probably don't want. But the lure of a cheaper price per bottle can be too good to pass up that more often than not, purchasing a set comes out as the better deal. Now, if you're lucky, these 'unwanted' shades will only be one out of, say, six. That's decent odds right there. But if you're luckier, these initially iffy shades turn out to be surprise loves, after all. Continuing part two of our China Glaze Fall 2012 collection series, here are two such colors that I wasn't really excited to get. But all things considered, these two turned out to be a happy addition to my ever-growing nail polish family.

On the deck today: Prey Tell and Elephant Walk

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: A China Glaze On Safari Take On Neo-Noir Nails from the Phillip Lim 3.1 F/W'12 Runway

Whilst browsing the latest nail trends for F/W'12, I chanced upon a how-to of these fantastic looking nails from the Phillip Lim 3.1 show on one of my favorite beauty blogs, Beauty Editor. Essie Weingarten (the celebrity manicurist behind the brand of the same name, Essie) is credited with creating this look. She says of this design, “This graphic nail design is dramatic yet incredibly wearable. Women of any age can wear this look to make a super-modern statement that is still totally chic.

The inspiration: neo-noir, comic-inspired nails.

I can't agree more! But instead of the black, grey and white that was originally used, I wanted to put my own spin on things and challenge myself by using only colors from the China Glaze On Safari Native set. So here's my take on these modern statement nails:

My surprisingly stylish (if you don't mind me saying) version.

Monday, September 17, 2012

China Glaze On Safari, Native Collection for Fall 2012: Man Hunt and Purr-fect Plum

There's no point denying the inevitable. The leaves are changing and the temperatures are dropping. While fall isn't official for a few more days, I've resigned myself to the fact that my neons and brights just aren't as appealing as they were in the hotter months. For the next little while, they'll be relegated to the back of the drawer (much like the flimsy tops and summer dresses) while the vampy, darker shades get their share of the limelight (along with the cardigans, sweater dresses and wool coats). Embracing change, here's a look at one of the first fall collections that trickled in as early as July (!).

When word of the China Glaze On Safari collection got out, I knew the blue one had to be mine. Promo photos portrayed it as a gorgeous medium blue creme that I've been looking for. Thankfully, I've got some of the most awesome nail polish buddies ever and with the help of Mary from Swatch and Learn, I managed to snag the Native 6-piece set for a steal (thanks again, Mary!). I also had my eye on what looked like a Chanel Paradoxal dupe (in hopes the formula would be better than the Revlon one) and the dusty teal one, so it made more sense to get the set. All the others made for a nice bonus. I've decided to bend the rules again, and do a review of two shades per post (just so we don't take forever to get through all six!), much like how I reviewed the Hunger Games-inspired Capitol Colors Collection from earlier this year. We'll jump start the series with a Monday blue and pretty plum:

On the deck today: Purr-fect Plum and Man Hunt.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Polished Indulgence is turning 1! [GIVEAWAY!]

Can you believe it? I know I can't! It only seems like a few weeks ago when we claimed our tiny bit of the interwebs to write about our burgeoning passion for all things nail polish (among other things, of course). Back then, we thought, okay, I thought it would only be a phase that would last a few months, tops. Fast forward some 365 days later and we're still going strong! Better yet, we've gotten to know so many lovely people from all walks of life that are brought together by a common love for nail polish. We've been lucky enough that we can count you as friends (and real life friends, even!). Apart from that, we've learned a whole bunch of stuff (hey, you never really stop learning) and stretched our creativity muscles (excuse the iffy metaphor) in a bid to keep up with our Nail Art Wednesday promise. All in all, it's been a great year where we have so much to be thankful for, most especially for all you dear readers. Every comment, weird search words that make us giggle, Facebook like, Twitter follow, pin on Pinterest and GFC/Bloglovin'/Networked Blogs/RSS subscription is cherished. Truthfully, just knowing someone out there is actually reading the posts that we've put a lot of thought and effort into writing is enough to make our day. So, in essence, YOU make our day. And in a bid to express our gratitude, we're having a giveaway! (Woot!)

We're calling this the Dupe Giveaway. Let me explain why: Polished Indulgence started under the premise that indulgence and luxury doesn't have to come with a high price tag. If you can get the same look for a lower price, why not? If a cheaper alternative outperforms a luxury brand, isn't that all the better for our wallets? We've tried to put a premium on value vs. price so in the same vein, we'd like our first blog anniversary giveaway to promote that same principle. We're not made of money ourselves (none of these items are sponsored), so we've rounded up a host of little luxuries to aid your indulging:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And as infomercials would say: But WAIT, there's MORE! As an additional thank you to my fellow Canadians, we've decided to up your chances by adding another set of prizes just for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Once again, thank you for sticking it out with us. We hope to see you around in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest. We cannot stress this enough: YOU ARE AWESOME.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Silly Octopus Nails

Sometimes, in the middle of a palette cleanse (typically for food you use 'palate' but I prefer to use 'palette' to denote its association with color), I get bored. I'll most likely be sporting a neutral toned creme but after a day or two, I'm itching for embellishment. So I end up reaching for my nail art supplies and play around a bit with ideas that I haven't quite done yet, mostly to see how they translate on the nail. Sometimes, they turn out great and I end up wearing the mani throughout the weekend. Other times, well, let's just say that's between me and my nail polish remover. But there are instances when it's so bad that it's good, if you get what I mean. Here's a great example of that:

To this day I can't help but giggle a little when I see photos of this design.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Indulgent Intermission: (Mis)Adventures in Stain Removal and OrigiNails Bubble White

Since it's a rare day that you'll find my nails unpolished, I've never really bothered much with the staining that frequent polishing leaves behind. Sure, I faithfully use base coat. I even double up for colors that I know for certain will leave unwanted traces behind. But I've learned the hard way that not all base coats are created equal. My favorite still remains the Nail Tek Foundation II Ridge Filling base coat. I've gotten absolutely no staining at all when I was using it. The only problem is that it's not exactly cheap, nor is it readily available (as of this writing, you can only get it from the Shopping Channel or, with a lot of luck, at Winners). In a bid to find cheaper and easily sourced alternatives, I turned to Orly Bonder. Let's just say that didn't quite go well. Heck, I got massive staining after using it under another Orly - Orly Sweet Tart, to be exact! My nails have never been quite the same since. If you really think about it, it has become a vicious, seemingly never-ending cycle: use nail polish - get stained nails - use nail polish to cover stained nails. So in an effort to end said cycle and proudly sport my nekkid nails, I picked up this packet when I last hit up my local Sally Beauty at Carolina's suggestion.

As I was trying it for the first time, I went for the smaller 11g packet.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Julep Maven + Trina Turk Boho Glam September 2012

When the exciting news of a Trina Turk and Julep collaboration for the September box broke, I have to admit, I was pretty excited myself. Ms. Turk is well-known for her bold prints and bright colors that evoke the SoCal design aesthetic. She has built a niche for her brand since opening her first retail store in 2002. More recently, the Californian designer has certainly made the rounds this year, earlier with a partnership with clothing brand Banana Republic for Summer 2012 that boasted of fun, destination-inspired prints that most certainly screamed summer. Shortly after, she did a second collaboration, this time with Threadless (who make fantastically designed tees that comprise about 70-80% of all the tees in Mr. J and my total tee count), an art-based community, via a contest to create a pattern for her Fall 2013 line. The contest ended last August, but for the curious, you can view the submissions here. As a Mashable article noted, it does seem a lot like the Trina Turk brand is in a "brand-building mode" and 'collaborations like these are helping her build brand awareness among new consumer groups'. This Julep + Trina Turk collection comes as no surprise, then. I did a bit of googling and found out that this is not a first-time partnership. Back in November 2010, Ms. Turk visited the Julep Nail Parlor in Seattle whilst in the city for business. Jane (the mastermind behind all things Julep) was a long-time fan and invited Trina to choose a color from the fall palette to be named "Trina". She ended up choosing a deep aubergine shimmer that was also used on the models for the Holiday 2010 shoot and as a perk during a Thanksgiving Day 2010 promo where you get a bottle with any order! Anyway, now we get a full Trina Turk collection, Julep style. I was so torn between two different styles that I ended up flipping a coin to pick (no, honest). Let's see how I fared this month:

Oh look, it's a smaller than usual box.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Mountain Dew, Effervescence and Loose Glitter

Nail art is usually a spontaneous event for me. I rarely think too hard about it because I have a bad knack for over-thinking to the point of paralysis. That holds especially true for when I'm coming up with my own take on various designs. I prefer the easiest methodology with the best results. The bad thing about this is that it's a very hit or miss sort of process. But the good thing is that in the event of a miss, it's perfectly okay. It's not like you spent the better part of the day doing it anyway, so a do over is perfectly acceptable. But sometimes, ambivalence kicks in and I can't quite make out how exactly I feel about a certain design. Today's featured nail art fits that to a T. Mr. J speculates that this particular design might have come about through subliminal messages I might have gotten from The Big Bang Theory marathon we did over the long weekend and the one-too-many cappuccinos I had (against my better judgement). Either way, I was eager to play with the loose glitter I got from the Born Pretty Store that I had won from a contest over at Chit Chat Nails (thanks again, Marta!!). Here's the result of all those factors combined:

A certain pop + frothy bubbles = this.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Julep Maven It Girl Mystery Box August 2012

With August ending, I'm glad I finally got my mystery box just in time a couple days ago. It had actually shipped on August 8 and I've been anxiously awaiting its appearance in my mailbox. Now, I was pretty excited about this one because: a) I chose an option/profile that I've never tried before, and b) August is the Julep birthday month. I'm not entirely sure if I had my hopes way too high owing to my really good luck with mystery boxes thus far, but this one didn't really blow me away. I'll leave you to make your own judgement after seeing the box, so for now, let's have the photos do the talking:

A strangely smaller than usual box...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nail Art Wednedsay: Falling Leaves Nails

September is right around the corner (how'd that happen?!). Holiday collections are being revealed as early as late August. There's a definite chill in the air at night. But I'm still in denial. I'm not quite ready for summer to end yet! I haven't even had the chance to sport more of my newly acquired neons! But there's not much sense fighting the changing seasons. I was just out the other day running errands when I realized that some of the trees are already changing colors. Simply put, it's as inevitable as taxes. But please don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like autumn (because I do). Rather, I'm averse to the fact that I'm running out of time to sport my brights. Yes, I'm one of those people who tend to wear certain colors only during certain seasons. I suppose you can say that this is my version of matchy-matchy. Now, fall isn't official till September 22, but like those holiday collections trickling in, let's jump the gun with these falling leaves nails:

I'm thinking that sporting these puts me somewhere between denial and acceptance.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream

My earliest memory of mermaids have had to do with a certain red-haired, half-fish girl who had an adorable blue and yellow fish friend, and sang of whatsits and gizmos aplenty. So when I heard about a nail polish called 'mermaid's dream', it had me thinking: what do mermaids dream about? Do they dream of causing shipwrecks and sending sailors to their watery deaths? Maybe of songs to sing to lure the unsuspecting? Or maybe they dreamt like Disney says they did, of walking on land and learning about fire. Seeing as there are no documented living mermaids, there's no one to ask. Famed celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann dreamed up her own version of mermaid dreams and it looks like the sand in the shallow waters of a green-blue sea:

Perhaps mermaids don't dream in technicolor, they do one better: in sparkles!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Inverse Subtle Tone on Tone Stamping

I wasn't planning on posting about this particular design, but I turned out liking it so much that the thought of changing it tonight is loathsome to me right now. So I thought, "what better way to keep a record of it than to write about it?" Makes sense, right? To give you a little insight on how this particular design came about, you'll have to understand that I was rushing all weekend. I already had a mani on that I'd worn for 3-4 days prior that was definitely showing some wear and tear. I probably could've gotten away with one more day out of it (seeing as it was a croc effect one and the chips looked like it was part of the design) but I was meeting a nail stamping master and I wasn't about to go with grubby nails. I've already been thinking about doing this metallic swirls design but I later incorporated the inverse stamping, thinking it would make the design look more contrived than something I rushed through. (Quick tip: I've found that adding a layer of fast dry top coat helps the base colors dry faster and lets you remove the stamped on design if you messed up without ruining the base.) The design evolved as I went through the motions and I'm really proud of how the final product ended up:

Dainty and subtle, but interesting enough without being boring.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hammie visits Stephanie at Sincerely Stephanie Nails with some Dotty Scarf-Inspired Nail Art!

As the designated Polished Indulgence mascot, Hammie recently got invited to do a guest stint over at Stephanie's bit of the interwebs. It's always a thrill for us to be asked to do a guest post; it never gets old! Hammie had a blast with this one so do hop over to Sincerely Stephanie Nails to see more photos and a quick "how we did it" of this dotty mani. I'm sure Hammie would appreciate it (he only really ever gets the limelight in these sort of posts, after all).

What do you think of Hammie's light bulb moment?

We hope your Tuesday is treating you well! The craziness of the weekend technically starts tomorrow so we're gearing up for that. Dreading it, somewhat, to be completely honest. But hey, tomorrow means just two more days to another R&R filled weekend for you! Yay you!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spa Ritual Running with Wolves

With the seemingly unending onslaught of the new fall collections, I've been trying to stem the uncontrollable need to own them all (in true Pokemon 'gotta catch them all' fashion) by pulling out season appropriate shades that I already have. Today's nail polish fits the bill exactly. This one came out last fall as part of the Spa Ritual Wilde collection. I've been wanting this pretty copper along with a couple other shades but I just never got around to getting any of them. At least not until my birthday earlier this year when I got a surprise package from the sweet Mary of Swatch and Learn. This was one of the nail polishes that she kindly (and most generously) sent my way. Even without the emotional significance, I am happy to say that this is definitely one special polish. Just take a look for yourself:

Fiery copper shimmer!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Orly Preamp

While fall is slowly creeping up on us, the fall nail polish collections are doing the opposite: lots of fantastic colors and finishes coming out already! Orly recently came out with a relatively tiny fall collection comprised of only four shades after that massive collection of glitters called Glam FX (22 glitters to, at least I think, rival the offerings of the indie nail polish movement). To be fair, they covered the usual fall colors, including a cobalt blue jelly and a medium grey. Now, if my fashion sources are to be believed, both are going to be huge colors in fall. That was a good call on their part. There was also a duochrome shade that I thought I wanted. But when I saw the display at my local Sally Beauty, there was really just one stand out shade: a shimmery pink. Yep, I passed on the blue (*gasp!*), grey and duochrome (which turned out looking horrible, really; sorry, Orly) to get a pink. I doubt that's ever happened before. This one's a special one for sure, just take a look:

The best part is that I have absolutely nothing like it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Dried Flowers in Nail Art

Lately, a trend seems to be emerging: placing just about everything on your nails. (Have you seen the parody Kelly did on Vampy Varnish? Such a riot! *grins*) After fimo slices, water decals, stickers, glitter, gems, gold leaf, feathers, microbeads, flocking powder and studs (did I forget anything?), here's another one I've been wanting to try: dried flowers. Now, we're not talking about taking some of that potpourri you have handy and sticking those on to your nails! You can get these small dried flowers at your favorite nail art retailer. I got a set from Sally Beauty last month when they had it on sale, buy one, get one free. I've been wanting to bust it out since. So after all the elaborate stamping I've done recently, I wanted to tone it back down and go back to the basics. At least, the basics that have made me fall in love with nail polish to begin with: blue and flakies. Using two pretties still (shockingly!) sitting in my untried bin, I wanted to stick to my usual minimalist aesthetic and came up with this:

And wore it for a good four straight days!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Unboxing Julep Maven American Beauty August 2012 and Happy Birthday, Julep!

Happy Monday! My week's off to a good start and I'm thrilled to finally get my Julep box (I've been expecting it since last week). So yes, my Monday is, indeed, happy. I hope yours is, too! Julep is another happy bunch as they celebrate the Julep Maven program turning one this month! So, of course, I wasn't about to pass up on the monthly goodies for August. To be honest, though, I was quite tempted to skip. I wasn't too keen on any of the metallic shades but I was most intrigued by that remover. I am still on an on-going quest to find the best remover that effectively takes off polish without leaving my cuticles an unhappy bunch. The current Julep offering seemed interesting enough to try. Plus, that pump bottle will definitely be reused once it runs out (conveniently eco-friendly, plus this means I don't have to go and buy a pump bottle separately). Anyway, let's get on to what the box has in store for us this month, shall we?

 Yep, it's a larger-than-normal, hot pink box!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Twin Post with Stephanie of Sincerely Stephanie Nails using MASH plate #49: Night Sea Nails

And so we arrive at the last of this series. It's been a good run and both Stephanie and I have come up with some pretty snazzy designs (if you don't mind me saying so!) that we hope you've enjoyed. Hammie and I sure hope this won't be the last collaboration we'll do with the lovely Stephanie! If you've just tuned in, you can see my first foray using saran wrap here, my take on simple yet elegant here, and my wee ninja nails here. I'd like to end on a great note so we're doing something that I thought was just simply meant to be. When I saw this stylized wave pattern on plate #49, I immediately thought of a combination of polishes that I knew would be killer. Luckily, this was one of those instances where instinct proved oh, so right:

Brooding and deep, yet sparkly. Very sparkly.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Twin Post with Stephanie of Sincerely Stephanie Nails using MASH plate #47: Ninja (Assassin) Nails

After having fun with Stephanie's picks, it's my turn! There were a whole bunch of full nail images that caught my eye but this particular one was a no-brainer. See, a few weekends ago (or maybe it was a late week night back when Mr. J & I were both battling insomnia thanks to copious amounts of Tims Espresso Iced Capp), we caught Ninja Assassin while flipping channels and said, "why not?". I probably saw it before then as the plot seemed eerily familiar. Anyway, it had the same awesome visuals and over the top action sequences that the Wachowskis are known for. (You know, those guys who did The Matrix.) Not to mention Kill Bill-esque blood fountains. The plot isn't quite the best out there, though I doubt whoever actually saw this in the theatre cared about the plot. So when I saw those flying shuriken while I was flipping through the plates, I knew I had a keeper.

Haiiiiii yaaaahh!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Twin Post with Stephanie of Sincerely Stephanie Nails using MASH plate #41

The moment Stephanie told me she picked plate #41 I immediately gravitated towards a specific image that I knew I wanted to use. In my head, it looked like a good way to do the half moon mani but with a stamping twist to it. See, my attempts at the half moon manicure often end up being stuff of epic failery. I can never seem to get the edges as clean and crisp as I want them. I was about to do my stamping when Mr. J peered over my shoulder and suggested I use the image right side up instead. I'm always open to suggestion so I tried to do as he said. Was I right to listen to him? Here's how it turned out:

Reminds me of those henna designs!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Contest Entry to Marta's Dots of Fun Contest!

Just a quick post to show you what I came up with for the current contest going on over at Chit Chat Nails. Marta came up with a really fun concept. See, there are two ways to win: First is by coming up with a stunning nail art design with dots as the main feature (and you know how I love my dots so it was a no-brainer that I jump on this opportunity to join in on the fun). Second, is by posing with the silliest/funniest/oddest item you can think of. This is the first time I've joined any nail art contest so I'm not holding my breath on that first category. But that second category, well, I'm hoping I have some sort of fighting chance. At least Hammie seems to think so. This is what I came up with:

That's as silliest/funniest/oddest as I could get!
I mean, how preposterous/crazy would you have to be to pose with a bunch of these unmentionables? *grin*

If you agree with Hammie, I'll be forever grateful if you can help out a gal and cast your votes in the comments here. There are a whole bunch of other kick-@$$ nail art going on over there so even if you don't vote for me (awww), I'd totally understand. ;) Hope your Tuesday is treating you well!

EDIT 08/13/12: How awesome are you guys?!? I won the second prize for Best Prop! Woohoo! Thank you so very much for the votes! (Yes, you. You are awesome. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I could cover you in kisses right now, but I doubt Mr. J would approve.) THANK YOU!!! :D

Monday, August 6, 2012

Twin Post with Stephanie of Sincerely Stephanie Nails using MASH plate #39

I have a nail stamping enabler whose name starts with M and rhymes with Bertha. She showcases these amazing designs that create this (unnecessary?) overwhelming need to own the plates from which said designs come from. I now have 4 sets of stamping plates (and counting) thanks to her superb enabling skills (either that, or I'm really just a sucker for awesome stamping plates; I prefer to think the former, though). One of those sets I acquired along with a new nail buddy, Stephanie from Sincerely Stephanie Nails. See, this nail stamping enabler of mine hooked both of us up so that we could do a joint order to save on shipping. In the process, we've become good pals and have decided to do a series of twin posts featuring nail art designs using our new MASH nail plates set. Each post will have a nail art design using a single plate that one of us has chosen. We went with two each so you're in for a treat of four (!) nail designs from each of us over the next few days.

Today's featured plate, #39 is Stephanie's pick. It has four full nail patterns (a fan-like one, a plaid one, one with roses shaped like hearts and one that was scalloped) and an image of a rearing unicorn. (I forgot to take a photo of the plate so I'll have to update this with one later on. But for now, you can see a photo of the plate from Bregje of Oooh Shinies here.) While brainstorming designs, I knew I wanted to use a full nail pattern, but which of the four, I wasn't sure. So I picked some colors that appealed to me and tried to pair it to one of the patterns. Here's what I came up with:


Friday, August 3, 2012

Pam's Girly Bits: Banana Hammock and Arctic Sunrise from Slap Dash Summer 2012 Collection

The moment Pam (of Girly Bits nail polish fame) posted about her newest collection for summer 2012, I was a goner. Any thoughts of low buys and penny pinching was immediately forgotten. As you might know, if you've ever dipped into the black hole that is the world of indie nail polish, these custom mixes don't last very long. That moment of hesitation is going to be weeks and months of regret while you wait for the next re-stock. So after looking at her swatches, I clicked over to her shop and not five minutes later I had that pretty sky blue heading my way (if we're being completely transparent, I also had that holographic top coat called Hocus Pocus joining that pretty blue). Since it's being shipped within Canada, I got them in no time at all. I hopped and skipped my way back home after seeing the package in our mailbox maybe 3-4 days after I've placed the order. (Don't give me that look. I'm sure you've done it, too.) I tore through the packaging and my jaw dropped. Sitting beside my coveted blue and holographic top coat was this awesome yellow that had blue/green shimmer. But then doubt settled and I decided to contact Pam. Maybe I've been sent the wrong order and some poor soul out there was missing her bottle of yellow awesomeness..? A few minutes later, *ding* went my inbox. Imagine my glee when I found out she'd included it as an extra for little ol' me. (Aww, shucks!) Well, enough about that and let's get on to the polishes! (Never fear, the following review will still be an unbiased one, no matter how happy I was/am to be surprised with said awesome yellow.)

The two pretties from the Slap Dash Collection!

These full-sized bottles have a similar size and brush to that of Seche Vite top coat.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Indulge without the Splurge: August 2, 2012

Looking forward to the long weekend? Oh, yeah!! How about doing a bit of shopping, too? Here's this week's deals and steals:

  • Get a FREE Fine Fragrance Mist with any $10 purchase at Bath & Body Works when you present this printable coupon. Valid until August 5, 2012.
         25% off your purchase of $250 or more, or
         20% off your purchase of $150 or more, or
         15% off your entire purchase!

         Coupon is valid today till August 19, 2012 in store or online using the coupon code SUMTH25 at checkout.
  • Celebrate Canadian pride with Adidas! Get 20% off on select red-coloured items. To snag this offer, click here and enter the coupon code GOCANADAGO at checkout. Offer is valid from July 30th to August 12th, on select items while quantities last.
  • La Vie En Rose Canada is offering a fantastic buy one pair of regular price cotton PJ's, get two free!  Select merchandise only and the second two items must be of equal or lesser value.  Valid in store and online until August 26, 2012.
  • This week, the Bay Canada is offering an extra 15% off women's spring & summer fashion clearance merchandise.  The items have already been reduced 30% and now you will get an extra 15% off with this exclusive coupon.  Excludes The Room, Diana Von Furstenberg, Diesel, Not Your Daughter's Jeans, Alice & Olivia, Evans, Wallis, Dorthy Perkins and Topshop.  Last day today!
  • The Bay is also offering a printable coupon for $20 off your entire purchase when you spend $75 or more on sterling silver and fashion jewelry. Time to stock up on accessory essentials! Excludes Swarovski.  Valid until August 6, 2012. Online promo code is on the printable coupon for click happy shoppers.
  • Save up to 60% off select merchandise during the Summer Sale happening now at BCBG Max Azria. Choose from a variety of apparel, handbags, belts, sunglasses and jewellery.
  • The Body Shop Canada is offering a free travel size item with any purchaseClick this link, sign into your Facebook account and you will be sent an email with this offer.  Print off your email and present in store.  Note that you only have one day to claim your offer.
  • Get a jump start on your fall footwear collection during the Fall's First Looks Sale at Sale prices not enough for you? Take an additional 20% off your order with the coupon FALL20J! Coupon is valid until August 29.
  • Hairy problems? Save $10 off any Philips epilator with this new coupon from SmartSource! Remember to select your province when viewing SmartSource coupons to ensure you are only seeing the coupons available in your location.
  • How about a deal for the boys? Save 30% off men’s regularly priced jeans at The Gap. Valid online and in store, today only. Plan to shop online? Enter promo code GAPCREDHOT at checkout to get your discount.
  • Here's one I'm personally excited about: until Sunday, August 5th, 11:59pm ET, receive free ground shipping with any order from Kiehl's Canada. No minimum order required! Simply enter the promo code AUGUST upon checkout. Perfect time to stock up on Creme de Corps!
  • Here's a sweet deal for my fellow ice cream lovers out there: every Thursday this summer Laura Secord will have happy hour from 5pm to 7pm. During this time you can get a regular ice cream cone for just $2! This offer is available in stores only (although an online ice cream shop that delivers to your door sounds like a great idea..).
  • And here's a heads up/reminder to my fellow foodies: Taste of the Danforth is on from August 10th until August 12th and admission is completely free. This multicultural event showcases food, music, and many other family events that everyone can enjoy. Click the link above to find out more!
A three day weekend sounds really good to me right now. Hope yours is a blast! Go ahead, indulge!

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