Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Giveaway Winner!


When I launched the February Giveaway, I couldn't quite predict the wonderful response.  I don't say this nearly enough but thanks to every one of you.  I appreciate, and am always humbled by, your presence here. Yep, that's about as sloppy as I get.

So, onto the real reason you're reading this post.

The winner of the February Giveaway (as drawn by Random Generator and not Raider, Diana's awesome cat, which I'm planning to steal if and when I ever visit Diana) is....

Congratulations Brooke!  What a fantastic winner!

Don't forget that, tomorrow, voting in the Great Aussie Swatch Watch opens.  So, if you are disappointed at not winning the February Giveaway, you could win yourself two great BYS lacquers.

Sunday Sneak Peak

The picture of Hugh Jackman damp?  Just some random hotness on a Sunday. 

I'm calling this week the Australian AllStars. Every lacquer you'll see on the site this week is from an Aussie brand.

To kick off, the Great Aussie Swatch Watch will give you the chance to win two BYS lacquers of your choice (well, from the ones I swatch anyway).

I also have two lacquers from Bloom - Mena and BonnieMena is a stunning black base with multi-coloured glitter.  It has to be seen to be believed.  Bonnie, meanwhile, is an Illamasqua Phallic dupe, or so I've heard.  I'll put that theory to the test.

Turning up the squee-ometer is Mecca's Cosmetica's Autumn 2010 Collection.  If you haven't heard how I bought this under a haze of concussion, click here.  It's a good story.

And just for those turquoise lovers, I have kit's Speed Demon, from their High Velocity Collection.

Stay tuned later today when I announce the winner of the February Giveaway.

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Naily News #21

If you haven't entered my February Giveaway as yet, there is still time.  Entries close 8pm today, Australian Daylight Saving Time.  The winner will be announced tomorrow.

If you aren't the winner of the Giveaway, stay tuned because, on Monday, the Great Aussie Swatch Watch kicks off.  You could win two great Aussie lacquers of your choice!

Nixxy is making me hungry for desserts of the Lemon Sorbet variety.

Do check out Polish or Perish's StrangeBeautiful lacquers. 

Kaz believes herself to be some kind of genius.  After this manicure, I'm inclined to agree.

Rebecca has a lovely frankened taupe for us.

Ginger rocks Nubar Prize AND tells us why she's a proud Canadian.  Which reminds me, I need to write a post about why Ginger is awesome.  Seriously.  She rocks.

Kellie Gonzo now has me thinking of a gorgeous China Glaze manicure when I hear the word 'Stella', and not the play / film with Marlon Brando.

I know what you're thinking.  Here goes Jacie drooling over Diana's blog.  Again.  And yes I am drooling over her blog.  Or, more to the point, her super-duper random generator.  Click for a cute overload.

Kae gives us some intergalactic hotness.

If you have a great manicure to share, leave a link in the comments!

Friday, February 26, 2010

kit - Island Hopping

**This is the last photo taken with my old camera.  Check out that great hand position!  I just need to translate that to my new camera and we'll be set.**

All through the month of February, kit Cosmetics have had weekly online exclusive lacquers.  Each Monday, a new lacquer is released, and is only on sale for that week before it disappears forever.

Some of the lacquers I didn't like.  But Island Hopping was one I 'hopped on' (don't pardon the pun, it's intentional) straight away.

This is a magnificant, glorious, [insert superlative here], shimmering blue.  In some lights, it can look quite muted, whilst at others - like here - it is like a shimmering pool of water.

Formula wise, this is kit at its best.  Smooth, intuitive, two coats to opaque and dries quickly.  If you want a glassy finish, I'd recommend a coat of Seche, but it's not really that necessary.

Ladies, what do you think of Island Hopping?  Care to come away with me?!

YGN Stop Press! RBL Sale - 7 Lacquers for $50

This just dropped into my Inbox so I had to share.

Rescue Beauty Lounge are discontinuing seven of their lacquers.  You can pick up all seven for just $50.  That's right.  Seven RBLs for just $50.  These normally retail for $18 each so this really is a bargain basement price.

And just in case anyone hasn't noticed, the magnificent Square Pants is included in the seven.  If you haven't seen the gloriousness that is Square Pants, the Nail Fanatic has a great swatch of it.

For those of you who have never tried RBL before, now is the time!

Hey There, Wait A Minute Mr Postman - Mecca Cosmetica Autumn 2010 Collection

Oh, how I resisted the Mecca Cosmetica Autumn 2010 Collection.

I ordered these online a million times but never quite went through with the purchase.

Until today.

I was walking past the Mecca Cosmetica store (on Little Collins Street, for all my Melbourne lovelies who want to know) and saw them winking at me through the window.  No jokes.  They were winking at me.  I looked away.  Then back again.  Then I walked into a lamp post and smacked my head, which entertained the young twenty-something boys at the cafe next door.

And then I went in and bought them.  From left to right: Emilia, Violenta and Perdita

This may just be the concussion talking but I regret nothing. I'll swatch these next week.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Etude House - OR202

**Once again, please excuse the weird hand positions.  I am getting better with the new camera, but I'm still learning!  Unfortunately, in this photo, it looks like my hand is trying to attack the screen.  I can assure my hand is a pacifist and means you no harm!**

Here we go with the Asian lacquer naming conventions. Instead of calling this Etude House lacquer, OR202, I'm going to call this Big Red, because it reminds me of Heinz Tomato Soup.

The formula on Big Red is, as my French mother would say, comme ci, comme ca.

It glides on easily enough, is opaque in two coats and dries super duper fast.  That's the good part.

The bad part is the finish.  This doesn't dry matte.  It doesn't dry shiny.  It dries dull.   That's the only way to describe it.  It looked like my hands had been dunked into a bowl of tomatoe soup and left to dry in the sun.  Blurgh.

The swatch on the left is with two coats of Seche, which was the only way I could vibrant this colour up.  With Seche, it looks great, but I don't think I shoud have to work that hard to make a lacquer look good.

Since it's Chinese New Year, I decided to bling this up with Inglot flakie, 203.

This is a beautiful flakie.  It has green, gold and purple through it and makes my nails look like they are literally on fire.  Definitely click to see the close up because there are so many colours running through this.

I love how this takes a fairly basic lacquer and transforms it into something gorgeous.

A few comments regarding the formula. The brush is a little diddy, but the flakes go on beautifully and evenly.  The finish is quite smooth but, as with flakes, you will get flakes hanging off the edge of the nail or - most annoyingly, nestled right against the cuticle.

What do you guys think?  A fitting way to welcome in the Year of the Tiger.

Hey There, Wait A Minute Mr Postman - Inglot

I blame this haul squarely and fairly on Toxic.  She mentioned that Inglot have flakies which, naturally, made me want them desperately.  When my lovely husband decided to visit the local shopping centre, I gave him clear instructions on what to buy.

The boy delivered and then some!

Four flakies and one glittery gold that was on special for $5.  Definitely click to see a close-up view of these.  They are mesmerising.

Stay tuned later today.  I have a manicure that displays the beauty of one of these flakies.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Milani - 3D Holographic Collection

Today, it's all about the Milani 3D Holographic Collection.

I love this collection.  It's cheap, the formula is lovely and.... well, it's holo and how can one resist!

What I'm not in love with at the moment, though, is Cherry Culture.  Although I had bought, and paid for, all six lacquers in this collection, only five came.  I assumed it was just a mistake, however, when I emailed Cherry Culture, they told me the missing lacquer was not in stock and that they would refund me.  It just seems kind of shady that they didn't tell me about the lacquer being out of stock at the time they packed it, or even afterwards.  It took me pointing it out to them before an explanation and refund was provided.  Shady.

Anyway, rant aside, I've put these under a cut because the photos are large and it takes a while for the page to load.  Scroll down and click 'Read More'.

I've also just bought a new camera (a Sony DSC T90, for those interested). These are the first swatches I've taken, so please excuse the odd hand positioning and weird perspective. I'm still getting used to how the camera works. I'm sure I'll get better.

On the positive side, the new camera is capturing the colour and brilliance of lacquers perfectly - how these photos look is precisely how the lacquers look in person. Make sure you click to see the holo close up.  It's spectacular.  :-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ulta3 - Spring Blossom

Ulta3 is just the gift that keeps on giving.

This time, it's Spring Blossom that is brightening my day.

Michelyne previously swatched this, resulting in me instantly lemming after it like crazy (Michelyne is very bad for my wallet).  But I could not find it anywhere.

Until last week when I was in the pharmacy (at the Sofitel on Collins Street, for you Melbourne ladies) and spotted a whole tub load of these on the counter.  I think I literally gasped, grabbed at one and held it up like I'd found the Holy Grail.  I may have also dribbled slightly, it's hard to remember.

Ladies, very simply, this is the best yellow I have in my collection.  The first coat is as streaky as all get out, but the second forgives all sins. 

Despite the first coat streakiness, the formula is easy to work with, dries quickly, doesn't require a top coat to achieve a high shine.

And the colour!  Oh my, this is a beautiful pale lemon.  It looks gorgeous on the nail and there isn't a hint of jaundice in my hands (which is what normally happens when I try yellows).

I absolutely adore this and have already gotten another two bottles from the pharmacy, because I can't bear the thought of not having this in my collection.  What do you guys think?

You've Got Nail Rave - Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil

I realised as I was going through my archives that it has been absolutely ages since I did a Nail Rave.  So I thought it was high time I shared a current obsession with you.

Essie's Apricot Cuticle Oil is just so so so lovely.  For a start, it smells exquisite.  Like fruit salad.

And it gives my cuticles an instant moisture surge.  I use acetone to remove polish (bad, I know!) which dries out my cuticles terribly..  A quick swipe of this and the dryness instantly disappears.  And my fingers smell lovely.  Even better!

I've not used proper cuticle oils before so this has been a revelation for me.

Do you have a favourite cuticle oil that works miracles?  Let me know in the comments. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Marks and Spencers - Mint Green

Marks and Spencers Mint Green came courtesy of my mother in law.  I'm not sure whether you can buy this online or if you have to actually physically go to an MandS to find it.

The obsessive compulsive in me is still a little upset at the off center labeling, but I'll get over it.  Perhaps.

It took four coats to get to bottle colour, which is probably one more than I consider to be an acceptable number, or have patience for, but the formula is such that you can apply four coats and still be touch dry within five minutes.

And the colour is just beautiful.  A perfect minty green creme without a hint of shimmer.  With a top coat, this will last for up to a week with minimal wear on the tips.  And it never chips.  I have no idea what MandS are putting in their formulas, but it makes for a great value / great quality lacquer.

I know what some of you are already thinking.  Is this a dupe for Essie's Mint Candy Apple.  Here's a side by side of the two.

Aside from the lighting differences, and the fact that my hands are more tanned at the moment because it's summer, these are very similar.

Mint Candy is slightly more icy, but it's marginal.  I suspect you wouldn't be able to tell much difference in person.

The formula on the Mint Candy Apple is superior to the MandS (two coats vs four) but other than that, these are on par for longevity and wear.

So, ladies, what do you think?  Do you like Mint Green?

Hey There, Wait A Minute Mr Postman - Etude House

As I mentioned last week, my mum, whilst holidaying in Singapore, went to Etude House.  She's a great mum!

Ladies, I believe that these are the most beautiful bottles of lacquer I've ever seen.  And a rose gold handle?  Inspired.

Whatever criticisms I have of Asian lacquer naming conventions, and really, what is with the inventory style labelling, I can't fault their design aesthetic when it comes to bottles.

These are bottles that will take pride of place on my bureau.  Definitely click to see them up close.  You can actually see me in the reflection of the handle - I'm the pink blob in the middle!

And check out that red on the left.  Although it looks a little more raspberry-esque, I suspect it might be a close dupe of Ruby Pumps.

What do you guys think?  Is there any colour that immediately stands out for you?  Any particular one you would like me to try out first?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Sneak Peak

This week's colours have no rhyme or reason. They're just colours that I spotted in my untried box and thought 'Hey, I might swatch these this week'.

There's Spring Blossom from Ulta3, Kit Cosmetics' Island Hopping, the Milani 3D Holographic Collection, Marks and Spencer's Mint Green and a sparkly orange from Etude House.

In addition to regular manicures, I also have some haulage from Etude House that is just so awesomesauce (thanks Kaz for the bestest made up word ever).  I also bought some Inglot flakies which are divine.

I hope you are all travelling well.  I'm really busy at work at the moment and seem to have a to do list that stretches endlessly.  I also have to do a presentation to my Group Managing Director tomorrow (I found out about it on Friday so not alot of time to prepare) and have to practice my speech today.  Wish me luck for tomorrow!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Naily News #20

Have you entered my February Giveaway?  There's still one week left so click here to see how you can win a bottle of Illamasqua AND three The Face Shop lacquers.

In totally unrelated nail news, Nixxy posts pictures of my ideal man, Lee Pace.  A must see.  My heart skips a beat.

Naive Nails has the purple of the week. That is all.

Skye does the impossible and finds a cheapie Australian dupe for China Glaze's For Audrey.

Kitty to Karen has jazz in her pants.  You read that right.

Toxic went out and got an amazing Inglot flakie.  Naturally, being the big copycat that I am, I went and got some (stay tuned for those over the coming weeks).

Pink Ginger has THE BEST swatch of Absolutely Alice I've seen.  If you didn't like this lacquer before, be warned, you will love it once you see it on Ginger.

In another totally unrelated post, Kaz lists some of the greatest Australian songs ever.  The only exclusion, and I'm sure it's just an oversight on her part, is Uncanny X-Men's 'Everybody Want to Work (No No Not Me)'.

I know you're probably all utterly over Valentine's Day manicures, but you really want to see this too cute pink from Nail Juice.

If you have a nail post, you would like to share, leave a link in the comments.  It's good blog karma!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Milani - Totally Cool

I promised you Aurora Borealis and I think Milani's Totally Cool is pretty much the epitome of the spectacular light show that is the Northern Lights.  This was another freebie care of the awesome Beverly Beate.

This is a phenomenal colour.  It's actually a purple base with super fine pink glitter.  The effect is utterly mesmerising on the nail (please click for the larger version).  It's one of those lacquers where you can't stop looking at your hands when you have it on.

Formula wise, this is lovely.  It is semi-sheer so I ended up needing four coats to get it to the swatch / bottle colour.  Which is ok because it applies like a dream and dries quickly.

I am absolutely loving the Milani formula.  Kinda thin, but never streaky.  I'll be trialling the holographic collection next week, so let's see if the formula in those are as good as the others I've tried.

What do you guys think of Totally Cool?  Do you think we should write into Milani and get them to change the name to Aurora Borealis?

Hey There, Wait A Minute Mr Postman - Etude House

Etude House is a Korean brand that is notoriously hard to find if you live anywhere but South East Asia.

I managed to find a limited range at Asia Jam (which is a wasted afternoon in itself - I love that website and can spend hours trawling through it) for a pretty reasonable price.  With the promise of a free gift, I was utterly sold. 

I initially bought five lacquers, however, they ended up only having three in stock.  I have no idea what the names of these are - and I'm too lazy to walk the five metres to my untried box of lacquers to find out - but I suspect they are all typically unromantic names (as seems to be the case with most Asian lacquers).

Way too cute to shoot.  I have some more of these arriving shortly.  My parents stopped over in Singapore on their way back to Europe and went to the Etude House store in person.  I can't wait to get my hands on those.

As for the free gift.  I was hoping for makeup samples or even a free lacquer. 

I got this badge.  Which, whilst not what I was hoping for, is so so so so cute.  And I do heart Asia Jam so I suspect I will get some wear out of this.

On a sidenote, that's my thumb on Day 5 of Minx. Day 5.  I had minor lifting on Day 4 on my index fingers but I just blasted the nails with a hair dryer and pressed the Minx down.  Perfect!

Stay tuned because, later today, I have a manicure that looks like Aurora Borealis.  It's gorgeous.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

China Glaze - Fortune Teller

I have been dying to try out China Glaze's Fortune Teller forever. So I was thrilled when this came for free from Beverly Beaute.

I was expecting that this would be like Lubu Heels, but in orange.

I was completely wrong and, initially, I was disappointed.  I guess I was expecting the silky smoothness of Lubu and, when this came out kinda chunky, my heart sank a little (yes, I have PHYSICAL reactions when lacquers become good girls gone bad).

But, once I was able to get over the fact that this wasn't an orange Lubu, I grew to love it.  The glitter in this is both small and large.  The small glitter reflects the light beautifully, whilst the larger chunks look like flakies.  And, whilst I get a rough finish because of the extra chunky, it's nothing a thick coat of Seche Vite can't fix.

Have you tried Fortune Teller?  Did you like it from the get go or was it a slow burn for you too?

Hey There, Wait A Minute Mr Postman - Cherry Culture Haul

When it comes to speed, nothing beats Cherry Culture.  I ordered these late Friday night and they were here, in Australia, by Wednesday.  That's a three working day turnaround.  Our own local postal service doesn't work that fast.

The first lot of polishes is the Milani 3D Holographic Specialty collection (minus Digital which Cherry Culture left out but which I'll get, hopefully, next week).  From left to right, we have High Res, Hi-Tech, Cyberspace, HD and 3D.

These are just so gorgeous.  I don't want to go overboard on the visuals here but these are what I imagine tinsel would look like if you ground it up into a fine powder.  So, so lovely.

The second lot are some LA Colors from the Color Craze range. From left to right, Atomic, Wired and Live.  I'm totally crazy on teal at the moment and, well, a blue and silver always grabs my attention.

Have any of you tried these and, if you have, what did you think?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Minx - Silver Lightning

As some of you may have guessed from this morning, I've been Minxed!

I visited the fabulous technicians at Ottoman 3 Nail and Brow Bar who, within an hour, transformed my naked nails into on trend talons of shiny goodness. 

I must admit, I was really sceptical of Minx nails when I first started seeing them on celebrities.  I didn't think it would work, or look very good, on my nails.  I was wrong.  Totally wrong.  I can see how this type of manicure could become very, very addictive.

Scroll down and click 'Read More' for a step by step description of the Minx process.

This is a very photo heavy post, so please be patient as the photos load. :-)

Hey There, Wait A Minute Mr Postman - Essie Mesmerize

I paid a visit to Ottoman 3 Nail and Brow Bar on Monday and, whilst there, spotted Essie's Mesmerize.

My god, why was I not told there was a blue Essie.  I literally spotted it 50 metres away and practically sprinted to grab it.  I was like one of those crazed people you see at Christmas sales.

Now, the question arises, why precisely was I visiting Ottoman 3, considering it's on the opposite side of Melbourne to where I live?  Well, you'll see later this afternoon when I post today's quadruple squee-worthy manicure.

In the meantime, can any of you guess what manicure I got?  Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Essie - Wife Goes On

I'm a total sucker for creamy Raspberry hues, so it's no surprise that Essie's Wife Goes On is a favourite of mine.

This is such a beautiful lacquer.  Unlike so many Essies, this is pretty much opaque in one coat (although the swatch here is two, just because I'm greedy like that).

It glides on easily, dries to a high shine (this is without a top coat) and is just scrumptious on the nail.  This is the type of lacquer where I get a million questions a day from people 'What are you wearing?'.  It's the perfect colour for any occasion.

When I first saw this on, I immediately thought of Mecca Cosmetica's Hippolyta.  I was convinced these two could substitute for each other.

So I did a quick side-by-side.

Aside from the obvious lighting differences, these are very, very similar lacquers. Hippolyta is marginally more blue red, but the bases are the same.

I think I might redo the swatches of these in the same session (so that the lighting is the same), to see if they really are as similar as I think they are.

What do you guys think?

Hey There, Wait A Minute Mr Postman - Zoya Reverie Spring 2010 Collection

I know I'm behind with this collection, but it only arrived in my letterbox yesterday so I'm going to pretend it's brand new.  Just play along with me and smile politely.

How gorgeous is this collection?  Especially Adina (on the far left) which is just stunning in the bottle.  It's been ages since I've tried Zoyas (at least four years, maybe longer) so I'm looking forward to giving these a whirl.

Have any of you tried these and, if you have, did you have any favourites?  Any particular colour you know I will love?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Totally Beautiful Nails - Gilt

Sometimes, I'll pick up lacquers on the cheap and think to myself 'You know, if you don't turn me blind, I'll consider it a success'.

Totally Beautiful Nails is one of those brands where I had really, really, really low expectations.  $2.50.  Bought from a bin inside a dingy pharmacy in Chinatown.  And, afterwards, I bought fried ice-cream from a sorry looking street vendor (the less said about my obsession with buying food from street vendors, the better).

Gilt, however, is proof positive that I should never, ever judge a book by its cover.

This is a beautiful gold shimmer lacquer that applies like a dream.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that the brush on this is the equivalent of OPI's Pro-Wide.  There I said it.  And it's true.

The lacquer itself is creamy and only requires two coats to become opaque.  You will need a top coat, though, if you want a high shine.  The swatch on the right is without top coat because I quite like the grainy finish.

And is it just me or do these bear a strong passing resemblence to the finish of the new Orly Foil FX lacquers? 

I will be buying plenty more of these (and they will be the feature in an upcoming Swatch Watch).  What do you guys think?  Are you feeling the power of Gilt?  Are you hankering for fried ice-cream like I am?


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