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Archive for August, 2011

While going through my fall polishes, I realized that Zoya’s Anja and Essie’s Carry On seemed to be almost identical in color so I decided to put them on quickly side by side to compare them.  Please forgive my direct light photos.  I live in NYC and I don’t have a yard except for the sidewalk below.  I could take the direct sunlight shots from the street level but would look like a crazy and though that is not uncommon here, I would rather avoid it.  So unfortunately, my window shows up on my nail’s reflection.  Ah, NYC living!

 

Anja VS Carry On Direct Sunlight

 

Both Anja and Carry On are a deep, red wine color though Anja is slightly darker and is more purplish while Carry On is slightly lighter and is more reddish.  Looking at the photos in the different lights, you can see that they are very similar though not identical.  So unless you are a big fan of deep, wine colors, you may want to choose only one to save your pocket book this season.  Just a note, the formula on both were great and both went on perfectly in two coats so it may come down to company preference or whether you prefer the darker or lighter wine look.

 

Anja VS Carry On Artificial Light

 

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Okay, so when I bought Street Chic from China Glaze’s Metro Fall Collection I had a little bit of Deja Vu.  So I dug through my polish collection and found the exact dupe in Essie’s Mink Muffs.  I also had the hankerin’ to put Essie’s Glamour Purse into the mix to see how much lighter it was in comparison to the other two just for my own sick curiosity.

Because I did this at night, I only had two different sources of artificial light to compare them.  Glamour Purse is definitely a different class of brown than the other two, but Mink Muffs and Street Chic are almost identical, so if you have Mink Muffs, you don’t need to pick up Street Chic.  Though it appears that Street Chic is slightly lighter than Mink Muffs.  Again, I wish I had done this in sunlight as well, but thanks to Hurricane Irene, it wasn’t going to happen.

PS: Excuse the clear and blue top coat bottle on the second picture.  I tried different ways to photograph the polishes and the first way was with a top coat bottle.  I know, still learning the ropes…

 

DarkerArtificial Light

 

LighterArtificial Light

 

 

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Before Hurricane Irene began its path down the East Coast shoreline I had been wearing Sally Hansen Strobe Light to match my pink pedi. But after it started to rain today, I made the decision to switch to Skyscraper from China Glaze to welcome in the crazy weather.  So while waiting for the electricity to go out, I have decided to review Sally Hansen Strobe Light.  Good times!

 

Strobe Light

 

The Application:  Sally Hansen Strobe Light went on smoothly though it was very thin even with the glitter.  Unfortunately, the glitter didn’t go on evenly but if you shake the bottle really well first it ‘s more likely to disperse the glitter better creating a more even application.

Strobe Light

 

The Color:  Sally Hansen Strobe Light is a light pink almost clear polish with pink, silver and light blue glitter.  In the photos, I have two coats over one coat of Essie’s Sugar Daddy.  Sally Hansen Strobe Light is very similar to Teenage Dream but not an exact dupe as Teenage Dream tends to be more pink with finer glitter.  I used two coats on my nails in the photos, but you can see many gaps.  I have a feeling it would take about three to four coats to become opaque.

The Verdict:  This would be a perfect layering polish as three to four coats seems like a lot of polish for one manicure.  I can’t wait to try this on darker polish to see how if fares.  As with most glitter, the removal takes some work.  This one was no exception and took a lot of time and swearing under my breath.  You think I’d be used to it by now.  I don’t know if I am just sensitive, but I find the smell of Sally Hansen’s polishes to be extremely strong.  I don’t know what it is about the formula but the scent bowls me over and tends to linger forever.  Would I buy this again?  I don’t know.  It was pretty, but the strong scent concerns me and I can get similar glitter elsewhere with less of a pungent punch.  Still, if you want a cheap alternative to Teenage Dream, this is a perfect polish.

Strobe Light

Strobe Light

Strobe Light Close Up

 

 

 

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So Irene is almost upon us and though I am in Zone A in NYC and should evacuate, I have decided to stick it out as the storm has lessened quite a bit. So in honor of Irene, I have decided to change my mani to Skyscraper from China Glaze for the occasion.  One:  It’s a perfect sparkly blue for Hurricane Irene, and Two: This is my kudos to NYC as we brace for Irene and will most likely lose our power.  Though I have swatched Skyscraper quickly before, this is my full review, though I am missing a direct light photo thanks to the hurricane.  Hopefully I can snap one on Monday after the storm.

 

Skyscraper

 

The Application:  Skyscraper went on perfectly!  The formula was very easy to work with. It is a little thin on the first coast but by the second coat it evens out though it does take a full three coats to make it opaque.  I am leery about removing the polish as it has a lot of small fine glitter, but maybe it won’t be so bad as the glitter is very small and fine leaving a smooth finish.

 

Skyscraper

 

The Color:  Come on!  It’s brilliant!  Skyscraper is a navy blue polish with small flecks of silver, blue and light blue glitter thrown into the mix to give the illusion of the NYC skyline at dusk.  It isn’t just a touch of glitter, it’s chock full of glitter making a very cool sparkle effect on the nails.  I can’t keep staring at my nails, I really can’t.  This reminds me of Essie’s Starry Starry Nights though it’s not an exact dupe at all.  The glitter is finer and more prevalent while the blue is darker and not as bright.  Still, I am quite happy with this one and will buy another bottle as I know I will wear this one all winter.

 

The Verdict:  I think you know where this is going.  LOVE IT!  I really do, but I am a connoisseur of blue nail polish and will rarely turn it down my love is so deep.  The fine glitter makes Skyscraper as I am not a huge fan of larger glitter, but that is only a preference as I know many people do.  But even if you do appreciate larger glitter, I think you will be happy with this one.  It truly is a sparkly man made wonder!  The formula is great, the color is great and this is one polish that would compliment many skin tones. Fantastic!

 

Skyscraper Top View

Skyscraper

 

 

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Besides nail polish, I love lip gloss and lip balms.  I just can’t stand the feeling of dry lips at all.  Huge pet peeve!  I always have lip gloss when outdoors as I’m pretty darn pale.  Trust me on this, I need all the color I can get.  And lip balm while inside to keep the moisture going.  So while I was shopping in the health food store around the block I couldn’t help but notice Alba Botanica Lip Balm on sale.  I have used Alba produces before and had some success so I thought, why not and grabbed two.

A little history:  Alba has been around since 1979 and prides themselves on using on using pure products such as botanicals, oils, vitamins and minerals to create natural products.  They also believe in saving the Rainforest and utilizing fair trade ingredients which may not matter to some, but to me is very impressive.  I have to respect a company that respects the environment and other people.  Onto the review:

The Application:  The Coconut Cream Lip Balm went on smoothly though a little thicker in texture than expected.  Not a big deal as I could be less heavy handed the next time around as I really went for it and swiped it on like I was living in the Tundra.  Even with a lighter hand, I could see this working very well during the heavy winters of NYC.  As for the Pineapple Quench Lip Balm, it didn’t fare quite as well.  The texture was very grainy and broke off in large, grainy, soft chunks when pressed too hard.  Even with a lighter touch, the texture would still be a little sandy which is disturbing.  Maybe it was old?  It smelled alright, but who knows.  Either way, not pleasant.

 

Alba Botanica Lip Balm

 

The Experience:  Yes, That’s right, I said the experience!  Ha!  The Coconut Cream Lip Balm didn’t have a strong coconut smell, it actually smelled a lot like the moisturizing properties of the actual lip balm more than the coconut.  But after putting it on the lips, it actually smelled more pleasant but not overpowering.  I actually wish it did have a stronger scent.  As for the taste?  It had a slight sweet, nutty taste rather than coconut.  It also, had a slight balm taste.  Still, not too bad.  I wouldn’t not use it because of that but it was a very water down taste.  As for the Pineapple Quench Lip Balm?  The scent is amazing both before and after reaching the lips.  It really has a fantastic pineapple scent and taste.  Again, it was so grainy that I did end up removing it because I couldn’t handle the texture.

 

The Verdict:  Though I have had luck with Alba’s products before the two lip balms were a little disappointing.  If they could somehow combine the pineapple’s scent and taste with the coconuts balm’s texture, they would have a winner.  But as individual products, they were a little weak though the Coconut Cream Lip Balm fared much better due to a smoother application.  The Pineapple Quench  Lip Balm smelled heavenly but applied horribly thanks to its grainy texture.  Still, I do respect Alba’s practices and hope to try other products again in the near future.

 

 

 

 

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So I call this next entry:  When Bad Manicures Happen to Good People.”  Now please understand, this is not NYC Starry Silver Glitter’s fault, but rather my poor choice as I choose the combination.  I have no problem sharing my horrific manicure choices with the masses, so here we go! Milani HD Meets NYC Starry Silver Glitter.

 

Starry Silver Glitter

 

The Application:  The brush was small but was very easy to work with.  Because the polish is mostly clear, there is really very little room for mistakes.  The formula was very thin so it helps to take a few minutes in between layers.  Unfortunately, very little of the glitter, especially the larger pieces stick to the brush making the glitter very sparse when applying.  It also had a tendency to clump onto one part of the nail.  To fix this issue, I had to shake the bottle a few times to really mix it up and put a total of two to three coats to make give it the desired effect.

 

NYC Starry Silver Glitter Over Milani HD

 

The Color: NYC Starry Silver Glitter is a clear polish mixed with small flecks of silver glitter and larger flecks of blue and pink spherical glitter.  I ended up putting NYC Starry Silver Glitter over Milani’s HD which is a silver halo polish.  I have to say, not the best combo as it made my nails look like some crazy disco ball from the 1970’s.  Not my style.

 

The Verdict:  NYC Starry Silver Glitter is a bargain brand nail polish that runs anywhere from $.99-$1.99 depending on where you live.  In NYC, it tends to run $1.99, but I only buy these drugstore brands during the buy one get one half price sale making them about a$1.50 each.  It isn’t a bad polish, especially for the price, but the polish is thin and I had a hard time making the glitter work for me.  Because of the thin nature of the polish, the glitter wouldn’t stay on the brush making several layers needed for the desired effect.

 

As for the Milani HD and NYC Starry Silver Glitter mix?  It didn’t work for me at all.  In my head it looked like it would be pretty cool, but in reality?  It was a garish,metallic nightmare.  It was almost bordering on vulgar actually.  It did give me a good chuckle and my friend absolutely laughed her butt off so all was not lost.  Still, I think this color would be perfect on darker color polishes so I may post more photos of my attempts to make this polish work down the road.  Here are some more of my disco ball memories:

 

NYC Starry Silver Glitter Over Milani HD

Close Up of NYC Starry Silver Glitter Over Milani HD

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I’m always looking for unique vampy colors and ended up buying Cowgirl Up at the beginning of the summer to fill that void.  I finally got around to swatching this one after spying it a few times while going through my collection.  I’m not big on wearing vampy colors during the summer but was interested to see how Cowgirl Up would look.

 

Cowgirl Up

 

The Application:  Like most China Glaze polish, the application for Cowgirl Up was painless and opaque within two coats.  I did note that it was a little runnier than other China Glaze formulas, but it wasn’t too much of a problem.  I just had to be more careful so that the polish didn’t bleed onto my cuticles or fingers.

Cowgirl Up

 

 

The Color:  Cowgirl Up is a little hard to describe.  It’s kind of a reddish, violet color.  Actually, it reminds me of the beets the neighborhood grandmother used to cook when she invited me over for dinner.  Good memories!  It definitely has some shimmer action going on and if you look closely, you can see little flecks of deep blue.  Very unusual and different from any other polish I have seen near this shade.

 

The Verdict:  Though I feel that it was flattering to my cool undertones, I’m not sure how I feel about Cowgirl Up.  It didn’t really do that much for me.  Maybe I need to put it back on once fall comes around and test it out for a few days to see if it works it’s magic on me.  That’s not to say that it’s a bad color, quite the opposite, it may just be a preference thing.  Below are more photos for you to peruse so you can get a better idea of what Cowgirl Up is about.  Enjoy it’s unique blue shimmer!

 

Giddy Up!

Blue Shimmer

 

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