28 September 2013

Julie G Blueberry Fizz

I'm so in love with this polish today--from the Frosted Gum Drops collection, this is the super-sparkling, textured, glitter polish Julie G Blueberry Fizz.

Julie G Gum Drop Blueberry Fizz

What a great name for this polish--the word "effervescent" totally springs to mind! I find myself wanting to describe it as "delightful" too, and I can't even remember the last time I used that word non-sarcastically (at least, when I wasn't singing Christmas carols with Sgt. Al Powell of the LAPD, and tell me that reference doesn't date me...).

Julie G Blueberry Fizz just gives my eyeballs a happy. And the formula was great! Easy to work with, it spread nicely and dried well, and the finish wasn't rough to the touch at all. The little pieces of silvery, non-matte glitter catch the light so gorgeously, and the sandy, semi-metallic blue is just a fantastic shade. And my grandmother really liked it too, which automatically confers an unlimited awesomeness bonus.

Julie G Blueberry Fizz

I normally possess all the self-restraint of a caffeinated kitten, especially in the face of all things sparkly, but this is the only one of the Gum Drops I picked up while I was in the States. "Oh, I'll just get the blue," I told myself. "I have Pixie Dusts at home, I don't really need more textured polish, it's just for swatching..." Wrong, wrong, wrong. Guh, I pick the worst times to try to act all prudent and economical, and these were only about $4US anyway! I've worn Blueberry Fizz three times already since I bought it in July, and that's a lot for something I'm not doing nail art on top of. Crushed Candy (magenta) and Rock Candy (dusty teal) are going straight to the wish list.

Julie G (and parent brand Jesse's Girl), if you're listening, kindly make about a jillion more of these? KTHXBAI!

26 September 2013

NailNation 3000 Wicked Cool

Today I have another polish swatched on behalf of Dazzled--this is the gorgeous Nail Nation 3000 Wicked Cool...

NailNation 3000 Wicked Cool swatch

NailNation 3000 is a linear holo in blackened teal, and I just love this colour. Rich and deeply pigmented, flirting with black but more brightly teal in sunlight, and holographic to boot. So, SO hard to capture the true extent of its awesomeness on camera--it somehow manages to be both vampy and playful, and come to think of it, I may have just found my next date night polish. ^_^

NailNation 3000 Wicked Cool swatch

Yeah, the actual holographic flare? Closer to what you see on the bottle, and even that doesn't match the true brilliance. The formula was also just awesome on Wicked Cool. Like Baby Doll, it spread easily and evenly, but Wicked Cool was very nearly a one-coater! Two was much better for full coverage and opacity, especially for the camera (I wouldn't be surprised if this one stamped really well too), but if you're steady and generous, one coat could probably do the trick.

NailNation 3000 Wicked Cool swatch

Yet another awesome polish, thanks to Dazzled! I just checked, and many of their polishes are still marked 10-20% off. And readers can take another 10% off with the discount code dmn10 until October 17th!

24 September 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Slaying Lemmings

This week the TT theme is all about slaying our lemmings, finally getting out hands on those polishes that sat on our wish lists and drove us crazy with wanting. I've been fortunate enough to have friends send me some amazing polishes, many of which have ranked seriously high among Elizabeth's Most Wanted, and I was physically incapable of picking out just one of them. Instead, I went with the biggest lemming I've managed to bring down on my own, and to date, that's ManGlaze Lesbihonest.

manglaze lesbihonest swatch

ManGlaze Lesbihonest is a ridiculously gorgeous raspberry-fuchsia, matte, shimmer (so, a suede). It's not an especially difficult polish to get ahold of, as manglaze.com directs visitors to its storefronts at Amazon or Shopify. But being over here in Hongkers can complicate things like nail polish shopping. A lot. And so can trying to coordinate a travel schedule.

See, I ordered Lesbihonest from Amazon last October along with a couple of other polishes, only to be told they couldn't ship 'em here. Eh, not a huge deal, I'd be in the States around the holidays, so I sent them there...Only travel kept getting pushed and pushed, and it was July again before I finally got to the US...So, for the better part of a year I owned this freaking awesome polish but couldn't get my hands on it.

Now, was it worth the wait? YES.

manglaze lesbihonest swatch

Pros? Fabulous coverage. Softly shimmering matte finish that comes to life all ka-POW! when you top coat it. Great bottle graphics. Cons? Only that I could. not. stop. taking pictures of this beauty. Picspam after the break!

23 September 2013

Wayback Nails: Mermaid's Dream (and a near-dupe)

For September's Wayback Nails I'm revisiting Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream, my first DL polish and one of my great lacquer loves! Before I wore Mermaid's Dream myself last September I was worried that all the great swatches I'd seen online might've set the bar too high for it to match in person, but it was every bit as gorgeous as I hoped it would be--and I'm still in love!

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream swatch

When I visited the States this summer, I happened to spot Fing'rs In Mint Condition, a clear attempt at a dupe for Mermaid's Dream, and immediately thought, "Comparison Post!" So I put together the following comparison post. True story!

Please click "read more" to see...

22 September 2013

Zoya Livingston

My eye tends to skip right over the reds when a new collection comes out. I mean, red is so ubiquitous, so been there and done it, that I just don't get excited about them anymore. But surprise, surprise, surprise because of all the shades I've seen this fall, the only one I picked up and just had to bring home is a rich, sexy red by the name of Zoya Livingston.

Zoya Livingston swatch

Livingston is a cool-toned red creme that makes me think of juicy cherries and glamorous leading ladies from Hollywood's Golden Age. This retro red is no cliche; it's simply a classic, gorgeously luscious, and thanks to the cooler lean, it's not brassy or loud (which is super easy for reds to be on skin as pale as mine).

Zoya Livingston swatch

Zoya Livingston also has a fantastic formula. It's practically a one-coater! It went on smoothly and easily, and it self-leveled beautifully too.

Zoya Livingston swatch

A classy, timeless red with a sexy side, Livingston would make a great addition to any collection. It's not often I even notice a red, much less get so smitten, but Livingston is a great example of the reason why red nails are such a classic.

20 September 2013

a-England Fated Prince

Today I have another polish that I swatched on behalf of Dazzled! This is a-England Fated Prince, from the Burne-Jones Dream collection, and it is love.

a-england fated prince swatch

A-England Fated Prince is a deep, warm grey that I could swear wants to lean olive green, possibly thanks to the golden overtones cast off by the linear holo shimmer. How's that for a nuanced polish? Gunmetal, warm, olive, holographic...and it's in a Sleeping Beauty-related collection too, so whatever winning combinations of awesome come after "trifecta," Fated Prince is all of them.

Of course Fated Prince's linear holo is more pronounced in bright sunlight, but that shimmering flare is actually nicely balanced so that it emphasizes, rather than dominates, this beautiful shade.

a-england fated prince swatch

Quick note on the formula? It's aces. So buttery-smooth it practically applies itself, and yes, I know I sound like I'm about to start stalking this nail polish, but I think we're going to be very happy together. Don't judge me. Long swooning short, I'm wearing three coats here. Two was already perfect and all, but I couldn't stop myself. No special aqua base coat or anything, and no top coat.

a-england fated prince swatch

Many thanks to Denise of Dazzled for sending Fated Prince my way! This is the first a-England I've tried, and I have to say it made a fantastic first impression. Oh, also! Dazzled is having a sale right now, and many of the indies in stock are 10-20% off...and that's in addition to the 10% that Did My Nails readers can take off through Oct. 17 by using the discount code dmn10, which, yay!

18 September 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: YouTube Tutorial

Thanks to an extravagantly rotten couple of days, my Twinsie Tuesday nails are a little late this week. Fortunately, the theme gave me a chance to immerse myself in something both challenging and adorable, some Little Twin Stars nail art based on this YouTube tutorial by IHaveACupcake!

Sanrio Little Twin Stars nail art

Things like faces and outlining (and filling in an area without it getting all choppy and blobby) aren't exactly my strong suits, so please kindly to be overlooking the smoodgy bits? Because even though the close-ups are a little unforgiving, it was so much fun to try something so different for me, and also I LOVE LITTLE TWIN STARS. And all those little smoodges around the stars and whatnot looked just fine from arm's length anyway, so I'm inviting my inner critic to pipe down for a change and just enjoy the cute.

Sanrio Little Twin Stars nail art

The base for these is Nfu Oh 150, my go-to light pink polish. KiKi and LaLa and the clouds and stars are all acrylic paints, and I followed up with quite possibly the two thickest layers of SV in history, in order to avoid smearing. It may not have all come out as perfectly as I might have hoped, but wow, given all the little detailing and outlining, it came out so much better than I feared. I found some other great tutorials that I want to try out soon too, plus it's hard not to cheer up when you've got Little Twin Stars on your nails, so all in all, time definitely well spent.

Looking forward to seeing what tutorials my fellow Twinsies decided to try!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Traci at DrinkCitra

17 September 2013

NailNation 3000 Baby Doll

Today I have the first of what I hope will be many polishes I'm swatching on behalf of Dazzled, a new, online indie nail polish retailer based right here in Hong Kong! Its founder, Denise, is a huge fan of indie polishes herself, and I'm so excited to have the opportunity to work with her and her new store, starting with a brand that's brand new to me--this is NailNation 3000 Baby Doll.

NailNation 3000 Baby Doll swatch

NailNation 3000 Baby Doll is a linear holographic polish in the sweetest shade of pinkish lavender. In bright, direct light, the holographic effect is gorgeous without being overt, and in room lighting, it becomes a soft lilac shimmer. Subtle and delicate and really, really pretty.

NailNation 3000 Baby Doll swatch

This is three coats of NailNation 3000 Baby Doll, which surprised me--I expected to need four, given how thin the first coat appeared, but it's a subtle colour, after all. After that first coat it built up nicely, and the formula was actually a breeze to work with. Very easy to spread and control, beautifully self-leveling, and a good drying time too.

NailNation 3000 Baby Doll swatch

Definitely happy with my first NailNation polish and looking forward to trying more! As I mentioned above, I swatched Baby Doll on behalf of Dazzled, which carries a great selection of NailNation and other indie polishes. Dazzled ships to Asia, as well as around the world...and between now and October 17th, readers of Did My Nails can get 10% off when you check out with the discount code dmn10!

15 September 2013

Essie Naughty Nautical

Fall collections may be out already, but I'm still enjoying summer polishes like Essie Naughty Nautical. I put it on again today to swatch a great new glitter, which reminded me that I still had pics to post from its first time out, and wow, my nails were long in June...

Essie Naughty Nautical swatch

This is three coats of Essie Naughty Nautical, a subtly shimmering teal that I had fingers crossed like crazy would play nice. Essie and I don't always get along for some reason (body chemistry? past lives? no idea), but Naughty Nautical and I are doing just fine. No streaking or problems either time I've applied it, no staining last time I took it off, and it leveled nicely too.

Essie Naughty Nautical swatch

It's no secret that teal polishes are pretty much my kryptonite. I was also intrigued by this fascinating shimmer that looked, in the bottle, like clear or silver glass fleck. On the nail it's not very noticeable in indirect light, but the soft shimmer actually reminded me of the famous (and coveted) Illamasqua Raindrops. Very cool!

14 September 2013

butter LONDON Rosie Lee

Since I used it to accent these flowers, I've been just waiting for the right day to glitter my nails up with a full manicure of butter LONDON Rosie Lee, and today was that day.

butter london rosie lee swatch

This is two coats of butter LONDON Rosie Lee. I started with a base of OPI My Very First Knockwurst, just in case the coverage wasn't quite fully opaque in macro mode, but it wasn't necessary at all. I was actually really impressed with how nicely dense and opaque Rosie Lee's glitter was, especially in just two coats, without getting at all lumpy or thick in the process. Once again, top marks to butter LONDON for its formula!

butter london rosie lee swatch

I really have been keeping Rosie Lee out next to my light box, waiting until the mood finally struck for me to go full pink glitter, and for all the anticipation it did not disappoint. You might notice there's almost a haze of "Captain Kirk soft light" surrounding my nails? I didn't shoot these through any filters or anything; that's just the cumulative effect of so. much. sparkle. The overall effect doesn't come anywhere near garish, though, because all this glitter is beautifully balanced by such a softly restrained shade of rosy pink. Totally smitten, absolutely love. Thank you again for such a pretty polish, Ellen!

Oh! And just to add an independent review? Completely unprompted, Husband complimented these sparkly pink nails about three times over dinner. Yay for him and yay for butter LONDON Rosie Lee!

10 September 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Magazine Inspired

Welcome to another Tuesday! This week, our TT assignment was to find inspiration in a magazine, which made me realize that after living in Hong Kong for more than six years, I still don't actually know what magazines are sold here. Tons and tons, I know I've seen them, but I can't actually read the titles...so, I turned to The Interwebz for assistance and saw the cover of this April's Martha Stewart Living.

source

I knew I'd never be able to reproduce all that fine detail, but feeling inspired, I dove in with a base of OPI Skull & Glossbones, sponged on some Essie Borrowed & Blue, and went to town with some red acrylic paint.

martha stewart nail art

The idea was for the pale, creamy beige and the near-white blue to bring in the colours of the eggs and the wood. In retrospect, I think the Borrowed & Blue would have made a great background for the red all by itself, so I may give that a shot again soon...and I think I'll probably adapt the overall design for an autumn leaves look before long too...so hey, that's three manicures inspired by Martha Stewart Living! I just know she'd be thrilled. ^_^

red flower nail art

I still haven't peeked my head out of my cave very much since I got back from my trip, but hopefully the fact that I'm enjoying nail art again--and, touch so much wood, finally have my nails back to a length I'm happier with--is a good sign. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what inspiration my fellow Twinsies found in their magazines!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

09 September 2013

Bright Daisy Nail Art

Still loving Rimmel Hot Chilli Pepper but ready for a change, I embraced a rule that's served me pretty well so far: when in doubt, add flowers. I'd just spent some time thinking about all the summery and autumnish colours this fiery orange-red could pair with and had ideas for several different colour schemes, but in the end I decided to stay bold.

nail art flowers

These are very similar to the nail art daisies I did back in January (which is both my most popular post ever and the first manicure I ever did with acrylic paints). These are acrylic paints too, but where the effect of the first manicure is soft and sort of spring-y, the bright background and the bold, black leaves give this newer version a mod, late-60s kind of feel.

floral nail art

Totally a tiny detail, but I loved how it turned out--I had some yellow, gold, and red paints out that I was going to mix together with the white to make a colour for the centers of the flowers, but I decided not to blend them that much after all and just sort of dab my brush into them all before dotting on the centers. From a distance, I don't know how much of a difference it did or didn't make, but at least from close-up, I really liked the textured look it gave--almost kinda like real pollen!

06 September 2013

butter LONDON Slapper

I started coveting butter LONDON Slapper the minute I first laid online eyes on it, but much to my perpetual sorrow, the only place I know here that carries bL just never seemed to have it. Fortunately my Stateside plans this summer included a night at my awesome cousin's house. My cousin who lives within striking distance of two Ulta stores, even! I absolutely ransacked those joints--ransacking that began with a beeline for the butter LONDON rack, to get my hands on Slapper at long, glorious last.

butter london slapper swatch

Uuuummph, this polish is so pretty!! I wore it at the end of last week and still didn't feel like my nails were really back yet from all the repeated breaks. I've been kinda bummed, just so tired of waiting for them to grow out and even already, and I thought about saving Slapper for later. So, SO glad I decided to go ahead, because this fabulous colour totally cheered me up! And then I did some nail art the next day that went horribly wrong and bummed me out all over again, but that's a terrible diversion, so I'm gonna rewind to the part where Slapper is full-on awesome.

butter london slapper swatch

The formula, honestly, was just fantastic. Great opacity in two easy coats. Ridiculous pigmentation and vibrant colour that was even richer and more striking than I'd hoped. I waited a long time to meet butter LONDON Slapper in person, and she was well worth the wait. Such a rare treat when something not only meets but blows away your expectations!

03 September 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Seasons Change!

The first day of school is practically synonymous with the end of summer, but the heat and humidity outside apparently haven't read the memo. And even though the first day of fall isn't for another three weeks, stores in Hong Kong are already bursting with the moon cakes and children's lanterns that usher in the Mid-Autumn Festival...which this year will take place four days before that first day of fall actually gets here. Go home, calendar, you're drunk!

With the change in seasons taking its slow, sweet time, this week's Twinsie Tuesday theme is our personal pick for a great transitional polish to take us from summer into autumn. I've been keeping my eyes open for a couple of months now, since I'm not much for following seasonal rules or trends, and thought I had my pick in a pretty, sage green. I stand by that as a good choice, but I wanted to push myself a little beyond the shades I usually gravitate towards. That's when I came across a beauty by the name of Rimmel Hot Chilli Pepper.

Rimmel Hot Chilli Pepper swatch

Rimmel London 60 Seconds 120 Hot Chilli Pepper (that full name just about long enough?) is a fabulous, flaming sunset orange (flaming coral? tomato orange? coral red?) that's not quiiiiite as fiery neon as it seems to be here, but it was awfully close. It would totally find itself at home among summer's bold, bright neon shades, but the touch of deep red also helps it slide into fall as well. It would look amazing with a summery outfit of a white linen shirt with khaki shorts, and some bright, turquoise jewelry. At the same time, I can also see it as a dash of spice and warmth against autumn's soft neutrals, deep denim, and some aubergine or teal. For such a daring colour, it really is versatile!

I'm wearing three coats of Hot Chilli Pepper here, which I needed because the formula was just a little thick and streaky. Hurrying the top coat (INM Out the Door, which I've just started using) did even everything out enough that the streaking wasn't a big deal.

Rimmel Hot Chilli Pepper swatch

If you can't find the Rimmel, you might also like OPI Cajun Shrimp or OPI Red Lights Ahead...Where? (from the Holland Collection).

I'm intrigued to see what my fellow Twinsies picked for their transitional polishes this week! I'm also reeeeally hoping I can push myself into re-engaging a bit and getting back into the swing of things. I've been pretty reclusive since I got back from my trip, and throwing my nail breaks and numb fingertips on top of that, I've definitely been out of it. Really going to try to snap out of it and come out of my cave a little. Wish me luck!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra
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