Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games and China Glaze Capitol Colors: The Hopeful featuring Mahogany Magic, Dress Me Up, and Smoke and Ashes

Before I go all fangirl crazy and start flailing about in excitement because today is big movie day, we're continuing with the second installment of the China Glaze Capitol Colors collection. If you haven't caught on yet, I've grouped the polishes specifically based on the traits of the key characters I've chosen to represent each district. Last post was about the Martyrs and Freedom Fighters who gave up their lives and fought for a cause they strongly believed in. In this installment, we'll highlight the Hopeful among them, those who had a knack for finding the silver lining in every grey cloud.

Without further ado:

Earthy and grounded colors for the optimists.

The Quick Take and Fun Facts

Token bottle shot.

Quick color swatch.

Labels with serials at the base.

Standard China Glaze brush.

Seen at: Nail Polish Canada, Sally Beauty, Trade Secrets, Spa Boutique, Transdesign and wherever China Glaze is sold.
Price: $7 CDN for 14mL
Note(s): N/A
***All nail swatches were done with Orly Bonder Base Coat and two coats of China Glaze Mahogany Magic, China Glaze Dress Me Up, and one coat of China Glaze Smoke and Ashes unless stated.

Brand/Name: China Glaze Mahogany Magic
Color: Medium brown
Finish: Creme

When I think mahogany brown, it usually involves a brown that has a distinct reddish tinge to it. This isn't it. It has this strong yellow tone to it that doesn't appeal to me or agree with my skin tone very much. Whoever named it "Mahogany Magic" needs to get his eyes checked. See, I feel like the yellow tones overpower any red in it so it's not as obvious as you'd expect from something called mahogany. Luckily, it dries a shade darker so it loses some of those yellow tones on the nail, but not by a lot. Despite lacking the redness associated with its name, it does have a distinctly woodsy feel to it that definitely matches the district it represents. And I've got to hand it to China Glaze, they do make some pretty amazing cremes. This baby shines like it has top coat built in.

No Top Coat

How crazy shiny is that, right? The formula on this was a bit on the thicker side but not by a lot. I didn't really have any trouble with it as it flowed nicely and leveled itself out upon drying. I do have to mention that it starts out really streaky on the first coat so don't be alarmed. As you can see, it does build up nicely with a smooth and glossy finish to give top coat shine a run for its money.

With Top Coat

Depending on how thick the coats you use, dry time should take about the same as your usual polishes. And as you can see, top coat feels moot with a polish this innately shiny.

District 7: Lumber

Instead of just Hopeful, I probably should categorize District 7's key character as a Hopeful Survivor. Despite the odds, Johanna Mason keeps on keeping on. Hers is a strong character, one who has had to develop a thick skin and a mean attitude to protect herself from what she knows the Capitol and the world she lives in is capable of. Her innate street smarts and wicked skills with an axe, her weapon of choice, not surprising coming from a district best known for providing lumber, allowed her to survive her first Hunger Games. She comes off as arrogant and opinionated, traits that immediately earn Katniss' distrust. However, there's more to her character than meets the eye.

Johanna is part of the alliance of tributes in the third Quarter Quell who are part of the plan to escape to District 13 in order to keep the rebellion against the Capitol alive. But to the reader and Katniss, her motives aren't all that clear until much later on. She even "attacks" Katniss before the escape so as to remove the tracking device that was implanted in her arm. Her mean outlook is later revealed to be an extension of her devil may care attitude. She has no loved ones left, presumably killed by President Snow as a punishment for whatever reason that isn't stated. She has kept herself isolated since, maybe to make sure she never gets hurt the same way when she lost her family. Because she has nothing to lose, she is more carefree about voicing her thoughts and opinions, often without mincing words. She is easily one of the more vocally subversive of the tributes during the interviews before the Quarter Quell.

Like Peeta, she was captured by the Capitol during the escape and consequently tortured with water and electric shock. Upon her rescue, she finds that she has more in common with Katniss than she first thought. Both are resilient survivors who refuse to quit. They develop a bond while training to join the military in District 13 so that they may be part of the team that will storm the Capitol. Unfortunately, her extreme fear of water (possibly because of the torture) keeps her from joining the fray. So instead, she transfers her hope of toppling the Capitol and President Snow once and for all on to Katniss' shoulders. At the end of the series, she is assumed to have returned home to District 7.

Brown is said to symbolize the earth, endurance, and even monastic life which all are very characteristic of Johanna. Hers is an earthy character in that she can be direct and uninhibited. She has endured the loss of family, even torture for her cause. She has kept herself alone and isolated, and that's not much different from the solitary lives of monks, is it? Like the sturdy resilience of Johanna's character, Mahogany Magic echoes the color of trees that refuse to bend to strong winds. It's also an obvious throwback to the lumber industry that District 7 is known for. 

Hammie's Score:
8 Hammie Points! 

Brand/Name: China Glaze Dress Me Up
Color: Old Rose
Finish: Creme

"Dusty old rose" is the best description of this color. Originally named after Prim, Katniss's little sister, Dress Me Up evokes the old world elegance of simple yet opulent vintage clothing. Quite the opposite from the flamboyant and over the top fashion shenanigans of the Capitol folk. I might be biased in this respect as I have to admit, this color closely resembles that of a silk blouse I've had for the longest time, hence how it connects in my brain. The polish itself dries to a fantastic shine, echoing that of Mahogany Magic.

No Top Coat

Application with this was a breeze. As with Mahogany Magic, this creme formula flows nicely and dries to a smooth, even surface. Closer to the sweet spot of nail polish consistencies, Dress Me Up was definitely less thick that Mahogany Magic without losing the fantastic opacity in just two coats. At first, I thought the color was a match to Spa Ritual Savoir Faire but albeit sharing the same rose tones, the latter is a lot brighter without the dustiness that Dress Me Up possesses.

 With Top Coat

Again, top coat doesn't really add more to the already glossy Dress Me Up.

District 8: Textiles

It might be strange that of all the characters mentioned from District 8, I opted to go with relatively minor ones to represent the textile district. But as any method actor will tell you: there are no small parts, only small actors. I'm talking about Bonnie and Twill, the two fugitives who, though unsure of their destination, risked their lives for a hope that may or may not exist.

Twill was a teacher and Bonnie was her student. Everyone worked at the textile factory and both worked a four hour shift after school hours at the factory that specialized in Peacekeeper uniforms. Bonnie worked in the inspection dock and managed to smuggle bits and pieces of the uniform until she had two complete sets. With the rebellion set to happen in District 8, spreading the word about it to the other districts was crucial to the success of the uprising. The uniforms would be the best cover to sneak out. Instead, the rebellion failed, the citizenry starved and the factory where the rebellion was said to have originated bombed. Twill's husband and Bonnie's entire family were killed. They were saved because they were late getting to work. Using the two uniforms, both escaped and found themselves in District 12 on their way to where they believed District 13 would be. That's when they met Katniss.

At first, Katniss thought it was stupid to base all your hopes on a fleeting image of a mockingjay. Yet both Twill and Bonnie only had that one hope of the existence of District 13 left to keep them carrying on. In the end, their hope turned out to be the reality. Unfortunately, neither of them made it to District 13 and are presumed dead.

I think it's appropriate the Dress Me Up is a dusty old rose. The pink color represents their femininity, yet in Japan, pink is associated with the falling of pink cherry blossoms and how they symbolize the young samurai in their prime who had fallen in battle. Even that is strangely appropriate to both females. The dusty aspect of the color may have easily been pertaining to the somber fact that neither Twill nor Bonnie eventually get to where they are headed.

Hammie's Score:
9 Hammie Points!

Brand/Name: China Glaze Smoke and Ashes
Color: Black
Formula: Blackened jelly base with color shifting glass flecks
Finish: Shimmer/Glass-flecked

This was such a pain to capture in photos, mostly because it's frustrating to see how amazing it looks in real life but how it refuses to translate that into photos. This was probably the most out of the three that I took photos of. I've said it before and I'll say it again, China Glaze has mastered the glass flecked polish. This is a gorgeous blackened base with tons of shimmering glass flecks that shift colors from blue to teal to green to almost yellow. You can see it a bit from the bottom of the bottle where it's blue and to the middle where it looks green, almost yellow-ish. The jelly base also means ridiculous shine.

No Top Coat

I don't know if you noticed but this baby's a one coater. Yes, it's true. All the swatch photos show only one coat of Smoke and Ashes. But the base still manages to retain that jelly-like quality to it without loosing out on the insane pigmentation that only a one coater can have. I suppose you can do two or more if you want to add more depth, but to me, it just seems like a waste of time, effort and polish. I had no application troubles at all with this one. Its formula was easily the best of the three featured in this post. Fully opaque in one coat, extremely shiny even without top coat and iridescent glass flecks. Smoke and Ashes is a must have from this collection!

With Top Coat

Top coat serves to protect the polish, but doesn't really do much for adding shine. It does, however, make an even smoother surface that the glass flecks might otherwise mar (although it's still very smooth to the touch, to begin with).

District 12: Coal/Mining

How do you pick from all the characters you meet in District 12? Seeing as our heroine, Katniss, hails from this mining district and the books are written through her eyes, we have a more intimate knowledge of the people of District 12. Narrowing it down to the hopeful few made it easier. I chose Primrose Everdeen, Katniss' little sister, and Greasy Sae, an old woman who sells hot soup at the Hob.

Prim is a lot more to Katniss that her little sister. She was also her emotional anchor. When their father died, her mother was never the same and Katniss had to be both father and mother for both of them. She had to step up and find a way to keep their family from starving. Prim always made it easy for her. She was a sweet, gentle sister that Katniss loved to spoil whenever she had the chance. She never complained when they were without. Prim had inherited their mother's aptitude for healing and with her gentle spirit, it wasn't far off for her to be an optimist. She even adopted a gruesome and ugly cat whom she called Buttercup.

Greasy Sae is a hopeful survivor like Johanna Mason. Though neither tortured nor captured by the Capitol or forced into becoming a tribute in one of the Hunger Games, she had to endure real torture in the poorest district of Panem where death by starvation was a reality they lived with every single day of their lives. And yet, she managed to rise above it all and found a way to make even the most unpalatable meats tasty. Although that might be subjective as hunger can make anything taste good. When they escape to District 13, she works in the kitchen and likes it well enough. Later on, when they go back to rebuild District 12, she takes care of Katniss after the war doing light housekeeping and cooking meals for her as she recovers from the shock and trauma. It is not explicitly said whether she did this out of the kindness of her heart or if she was paid to do it, but I think that based on how her character is portrayed, it might have been the former.

Both females are strong women who, each in their own way, have tried to find the beautiful in their despair of their everyday life. Both have risen above their circumstances and have shown a generosity that is rare to find in those who have very little to begin with. Greasy Sae started a collection for sponsoring a gift to help Katniss and Peeta while they were in the Hunger Games. Prim helps their mother heal those who are hurt during the rebellion. Because of her compassion, she is killed by a bomb designed to prey on the emotions of the enemy and take out the first responders after an initial explosion.

Smoke and Ashes, again, is obviously a reference to the mining industry of District 12. The shimmering glass flecks mimic the veining of metal or even possibly diamond deposits against the dark rock which is the blackened jelly base. Coal, after all, shares the same chemical makeup as diamonds. Under extreme pressure and temperatures for millions of years, coal can eventually turn into diamonds. The same is true for both females. Both are like diamonds in the rough who are further polished by the hardship that they've had to endure and both manage to shine in their respective fields: cooking and healing.

Hammie's Score:
10 Hammie Points!

Happy Friday! It's here, it's here! Anyone waiting in line at the theatres already? As much as I'd love to catch the movie tonight, I probably won't be able to see it till Sunday (boo). Which of the three is your favorite? If you had to be shipped to Panem and you could pick your district, which would you choose?


  1. Great post, I think I need to get SMoke & Ashes now. Got the other 2 in post this morning! :-)

  2. thesmalllittlethingsinlifeMarch 23, 2012 at 8:29 a.m.

    All this Hunger Games stuff is making me so confused! Hahaha I've never read the books and know nothing of the movie - I'll definitely go see it though!

    I love the Old Rose color. It's right up my alley! But for a night out, I'd definitely go with Smoke and Ashes. I'm a big fan of glittery grey/blacks! ; )

    Thanks for the amazing review, once again! :D

  3. Great swatches Carmela!! I prefer Smoke & Ashes out of the three.

  4. Oh, yay! Just in time for the premiere! Which color will you be wearing? :)

    Smoke and Ashes is a stunner and ridiculously hard to photograph so it might be tricky to find swatches that really show how gorgeous it is. Thanks, Esther! :)

  5. I'm really hoping the movie(s) do the books justice! And it'll all make sense once you've seen the movie (well, some of it) or read the trilogy. :D Are you watching tonight?

    Dress Me Up is a pretty neutral. Definitely work appropriate! I have to agree, Smoke and Ashes will be killer for a night out! ;)

    You're welcome, Annick! I hope you found it helpful. :D

  6. Thanks, Marisa! I thought you'd say that seeing how you love your brights and vampies. :D Smoke and Ashes will look amazing on you, I can tell!

  7. thesmalllittlethingsinlifeMarch 23, 2012 at 12:11 p.m.

    Oh dear no, I'm not going tonight. In my smallish town, the theatre will be jampacked. I bet the tickets are already sold out! It's funny like that here!

  8. I haven't even read the books yet! :-D Must jump on the bandwagon, I only heard about the books because of this nail collection!!! I'm so out of the loop. I might try on Fast Track tonight. :-)

  9. The first looks like milk chocolate on your nails, the second looks so professional, and the last one's mysterious. The only one I think I could pull off would be the last, but Cult Nails Living Water has filled that void for me. It's a stunner!

    I only finished reading The Hunger Games a little while ago for the first time - it was a thrilling read. The 2nd and 3rd parts were my favourites because that's when the plot really thickened for me.

    I'm hoping to see the movie tonight, and I'll need to buy the other books in the series. (The first book ended on a cliffhanger, and I need to know what happens next...haha!)

  10. Dress Me up looks divine on your nails.
    This is another one of the Hunger Games shades that I picked up but have yet to try! I love how dusty it looks without screaming "senior citizen".
    Lovely swatches and very cool writeup connecting the shades back to the book.

    Don't know if we will find a sitter to watch the kids, but I'd love to see this movie


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