A Fresh Start to a New Year

I wouldn’t really say this is a New Year resolution, more like a recurring challenge that I win and lose year after year on a month by month basis. The last few months I have been going through another bout of nail and cuticle picking. If you are not familiar, it is the equivalent to biting your nails without the biting; basically I pick them into oblivion, where my finger tips are so sore I need Tylenol to sleep at night because of the throbbing.

It’s a horrible habit. One I’ve managed to break many times over the years. Most of my success is brought on by forcing myself to wear nail polish regardless of how extremely short my nails are. Whatever works.

The last few weeks I’ve been working on diligently nourishing my cuticles as well as clipping and filing any tags so I would not be tempted to pick at them. I failed a lot. It is still a weird struggle. Things were looking so bleak I just did not want to post. But today I decided my nails and cuticles, although still in rough shape, were presentable enough for a new polish post — and because the reality of life is that we don’t always have perfect nails and cuticles all the time.

If you are sensitive to bad nails/cuticles… leave this page now! I know right? I have to post a disclaimer for bad cuticles because of a few birds who freak out over images of bad cuticles. What’s the world coming to?

This is my first time using Cult Nails lacquer. This deep berry nail polish is called Iconic and has a little sparkle and gold shimmer. This is two coats of Iconic with a base coat and no top coat.

Wearing Cult Nails for the first time in Iconic.

And this is it with a top coat. It is a nice formula that dried fast enough but not too fast that I couldn’t manipulate it.

Iconic by Cult Nails -- a deep berry red with gold shimmer.

The official Cult Nails closed down (according to their Facebook page) but this color and a few other colors are still available from Nail Polish Canada (ships to Canada and U.S.). If you know of someone else carrying leftovers please post in comments.

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Topic Links
* Get your Cult Nails polish from Nail Polish Canada

Models Own Valerian

I picked up my first bottle of Models Own nail polish from Nail Polish Canada a few months ago. It’s very dark in the bottle and has a nice multicolour small glitter throughout. Keeping with my blue feeling theme it seemed like the perfect time to try it out. Models Own is a UK brand and sells for about $9.50 here.

Surprise! My nails are short again. I had a lot of sanding to do (refinishing kitchen cupboards) and it was too awkward with the length my nails were getting so I chopped them off to a working size that didn’t get caught up on the sandpaper (ouch!).

The color is called Valerian (NP178). It comes in a stocky bottle with velour-ish cap (part of the Velvet Goth Collection). Surprisingly I didn’t mind the wide cap while applying the polish.

My nails with Models Own Valerian blue glitter nail polish.

It dries to matte finish. After two coats I really wasn’t too sure about it. The formula was a bit finicky to apply.

My nails with three coats of Valerian nail polish.

I decided to put a third coat on and by the time I finished with my top coat my opinion of it improved as well as the unevenness.

Three coats and a top coat.

By the next day color and hint of sparkle had grown on me and made me quite happy when I looked it. As the day went on more sanding ensued. I was shocked only to have a small chip on my middle finger which was easily fixed. I thought for sure they would have all chipped — I’m brutal with the sandpaper.

I wasn’t turned off by the finickiness of this formula so I will probably try another bottle from this brand; probably without glitter to get a feel for it. Have you tried it?

Visions of Love

Julep’s Love is described as a gold, pearl & fuchsia micro-glitter. It came in my February Maven box and I believe it was a “gift” for Valentine’s but am not sure. I took it with me as a back up nail polish when I went back home for a week. I ended up using it towards the end of the week. For some reason I only took one image of it and it was on my phone in the hotel. This is just one coat and I was happy with that.

My nails with one coat of Julep's special edition Love microglitter.

But I did make a few videos for Instagram. Go figure. The first looks like I’m still in the hotel:

And the second I’m playing with the sparkles under fridge water lighting. S.P.A.R.K.L.Y… I noticed I could see a lot more gold and glitter than I could with the previous one.

One coat goes on really nice and at first I thought I was really in love with the color and sparkle because it is so pretty but it has an overall gold sheen to it that I think is too much gold for my skin tone.

Wizard of Oz Nail Polish

This is kind of a long post because it involves the four nail polish collection from Julep celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz movie starring Judy Garland — one of my all time favorite movies that I have watched at least once a year since I was a little girl. I even have the soundtrack. That being said it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I purchased the collection as an add-on for $19.99 (but not enough that I would pay the full price of $56) with my April Julep Box and if you follow me on Instagram/Facebook you know I have been playing with them over the last few weeks.

Glinda the Good Witch Frost

I found this pale pink frost nail polish to be thick, hard to control, and streaky. Also for this nail polish to be Glinda I felt there was not a strong enough glitter component. What there is you need a magnifying glass to see.

I'm wearing the Glinda frost nail polish from Julep's Wizard of Oz collection.

Emerald City Creme

This bright emerald nail polish definitely goes on nicer than Glinda. Even one coat gives super coverage! It has a nice shine too. On the downside, even with a base coat it stained my nails. Nothing as bad as some yellows and oranges but there was definitely a green tint left behind.

My nails with Emerald City nail polish from Julep.

Ruby Slippers Glitter

I was expecting Ruby Slippers to be my favorite but on its own it was OK. It applies nicely and I was able to easily manipulate glitter without it getting gooey. This is three coats. The glitter is not super bumpy, maybe a light sand but with a top coat I didn’t notice enough for it to bother me. I want to try it again with a deep navy.

A bright red glitter nail polish from Julep called Ruby Slippers.

Here is the video I posted to Instagram so you can see it in motion:

Tin Man Holographic

This Tin Man nail polish is so awesome both in color and formula. It looks awesome with one coat or two and is my favorite of the Wizard of Oz collection.

My nails wearing the silver nail polish from Julep's Wizard of Oz collection.

Did I mention that this silver is awesome? I have it on right now and it is just the right amount of sparkle and holographic that I’d feel comfortable wearing it anytime.

I am in love with this silver Tin Man nail polish.

This collection should have and could have been so much more than it is. Four colors? Really? What about a Toto Black, Yellow Brick Road, Taupey Lion, or some bright color for the Munchkins? How about A Polish of a Different Color and The Wicked Witch? Seriously, I could go on. I think the collection should have been at a minimum of eight colors.

Playing with the Wizard of Oz

This collection came in a book size case featuring images of Dorothy, the Tin Man, Glinda, and the Emerald City. I think it is nice for gift giving but I’ll probably remove my polishes from it and add them to the rest of my color coordinated collection.

The outside and inside of my boxed set.

Before I even got to applying them on my nails I wanted to test them on my swatch fingers. My plan was to try and get all four colors on in some amazing nail art fashion.

My mini swatches of the Wizard of Oz nail polishes from Julep.

The most obvious and easiest option was to add the Ruby Slippers red glitter to the tips which I thought looked really good with the emerald green and OK with the silver.

Ruby glitter on tips of green and silver.

I decided to use Glinda as my basecoat and applied the Tin Man to the tips — I should have stopped there (Tin Man was excellent for applying to the tips by-the-way). I then decided I would add the red glitter under the tips thickly then thinner going to the cuticle. I definitely should have stopped here!

What I eventually ended up with .

I guess it is not super bad but I definitely didn’t love it.

Same look different lighting and angle.

Then I decided to add my favorite dots along the nail line technique. Well, talk about a helluva mess! This mani did not stay on long and because I didn’t like it is the reason I didn’t start off with it at the beginning of this post. But I wanted to still share it with you anyway. Even though I didn’t like this four color look — the process was fun and painting my nails has a learning curve for what works and what doesn’t. I can’t skip it in the real world so I thought I shouldn’t hide it either.

Silly me thought I should add green dots. Did not like it.

The Wizard of Oz collection is currently on sale for $29.99 but as a Maven member I have seen it as low as $19.99 during the monthly add-ons. The polish were sold separately at one point but I just did a search and that no longer seems to be the case.

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Topic Links
* Purchase The Wizard of Oz Collection from Julep

Cosmic Galaxy Experience

Avon’s Cosmic nail enamel is awesome. I picked up the Galaxy one and I love it. Love it I tell you. It went on lovely (both coats) and leaves a heavily starred holographic sparkle. The blue part is awesome too.

Bright blue Galaxy nail polish.

It dried really fast and was surprisingly durable through a day of house cleaning and excessive hand washing. This is easily one of my favorite blues.

The glitter is a holographic but you really have to look close to see that.

It just has so much sparkle. It really does look like a galaxy.

A close up of the sparkle.

The Cosmic collection had ten shades in all. As I said, had. They are no longer available on the website (at least I couldn’t find them) but I did see some on Amazon.

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Topic Links
* Get your Cosmic Galaxy from Amazon

Holographic Shimmer

It was love at first stroke for this grape holographic shimmer nail polish from Julep. Mostly because of the glitter, it is right up my sparkle alley. The polish is quite sheer with one quote so I had to apply two quotes to get an opaque look and to bring out the purple — it almost looks dark grey with the one coat. But even with one quote the holographic shimmer is awesome. Even better with two.

This holographic shimmer has a grape backdrop that shows off the shimmer nicely.

This holographic shimmer nail polish is called Reece. Which automatically brings up images of Terminator and John Conner’s dad.

A holographic shimmer in artificial light.

These types of glitters are more for the wearer’s benefit than for the viewers — I am personal obsessed with looking at the shimmer.

In different light you can see the base colors changes.

Surprising to myself the glitter practically disappears in daylight and just looks like a solid grape.

The holographic glitter almost disappears in natural light.

To really see the sparkle check out my quick Instagram video:

This polish is still available as of this post at Julep for $11.20 if you are a Maven (highly recommend if you wear a lot of polish) or $14 for everyone else.

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Topic Links
* Get your holographic shimmer from Julep

Dusty Rose Frost Nail Polish

It has been a rough couple weeks nail/cuticle wise. I reverted into some bad habits for a short time but I think I have come out of the gloom and have them back under control. I decided to celebrate with a fresh coat of nail polish from my “haven’t tried yet” stash box — yes it is a real box. I actually call it my “to-do” nail polish box and it comes before my “to-do nail polish shelf. It is sad but exciting at the same time, at least for me it is.

I decided to go with the neutral Lois which came in one of my Mystery Boxes I purchased last year from Julep. I would normally not choose a color like this for myself and when I took it out of the box I was like, “Meh”. But having actually put it on I’ve decided I love it.

One coat of the dusty rose frost nail polish called Lois, from Julep.

Lois is a dusty rose frost and has a nice finish. I was quite happy with one coat which was slightly sheer with a fine sparkle, but I did two coats because I always find it more durable and I am a week bit opaque obsessed.

I added two accent glitter nails to the thumb and ringer finger.

My plan was just to wear the one polish but the Cuccio Remix glitter I got in my Top Box was screaming to be used as an accent so I applied two coats of that to my ring fingers and thumbs.

How Lois nail polish looks under artificial light.

As you can see the color is slightly different under natural light — it’s a little rosier. I just love all the different colors (pink, green, blue, silver) and sizes (fine to medium grade) of glitter in the Cuccio Remix. It goes on really nice too without having to work the glitter placement.

The nail polish is a little rosier under natural light. I love it.

I took a quick trip over to Julep’s website and they still have the Lois nail polish available and it is on sale for $3.99.

A final look at Julep's Dusty Rose and Cuccio's glitter Remix.

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Topic Links
* Get your Lois nail polish from Julep

A Sleigh Ride in February

I bought OPI’s Sleigh Ride for Two before Christmas but just never had a chance to wear it. Our snowbanks are still a couple feet high so I feel perfectly legit in wearing this deep dark red with a fine shimmer. I actually quite love it.

My nails are ready for the slopes with Mariah's deep red nail polish by OPI.

It is a nice formula. There were a few bare spots with one coat but two coats made it totally opaque. This nail polish is from the Mariah Carey holiday collection (I think there were 12 colors) and is still available on Amazon, Nail Polish Canada.

A few days later I received Cuccio “Remix” in my Top Box order and tried it out as an accent nail. This is only one coat. I have not used this brand before — I wish they had sent a solid shade because you really don’t get a feel for a brand until you’ve tried regular polish. So far so good though.

Adding a little sparkle to the accent nail with Cuccio's remix glitter nail polish.

Do you have a favorite OPI red, or other brand red?

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Topic Links
* Get Sleigh Ride for Two from Amazon

Copper Penny Glitter Top Coat

Over the last month or so I have been going crazy with Sally Hansen’s glitter top coat Copper Penny. First I started off covering up a streaky polish and from there it kind of blossomed into me trying it on a bunch of different colors. Who knew that copper penny glitter pretty much goes with everything.

On Red Nail Polish

My nails with Avon's Racy red under Copper Penny top coat.

On Blue Nail Polish

My L'Oreal cloud is made spicy with a little copper glitter.

On Purple Black Nail Polish

This Sally Hansen purple black has more pisazz with copper penny top coat.

On Steel Grey Nail Polish

My nails with Copper Penny top coat on top of a steel from Revlon.

On Pale Pink Nail Polish

My streaky Zora nail polish from Julep is saved with a top coat of Copper Penny.

On It’s Own

My nails with a simple top coat of Sally Hansen's copper penny.

There is just the right amount of glitter in this bottle to make it the perfect top coat for any polish. It’s a great formula too. One coat works for a little glimmer and two coats for a lot more sparkle. I like the combination of small and small-medium round glitter. I had fun playing with all the different color combinations — I want to put it on everything!

Have you tried Copper Penny (look for it at Walmart, Target, Shopper’s Drug Mart, etc)? How did you work it?

My First Jelly Sandwich

I have been reading about nail polish jelly sandwiches (glitter top coat between two sheer coats of colored polish) for ages but never tried one. When I was testing Sally Hansen’s Jaded nail polish for Influenster I thought it might make a good jelly sandwich so this week I got out a few of my glitter nail polishes to see what I could come up with.

My first attempt at making Jelly Sandwich nails.

It was not until I went digging through my polishes that I realized most of my glitter based polishes are super fine and color based and I only have three somewhat visible ones that are top coat based (four if I include the Copper Penny one but I have been going crazy with that one lately so I left it out).

The glitter on the pointer finger is Essie’s Set in Stones. It is my fave glitter and is like having little mirrors on my nails. Of the three glitters I sandwiched it is probably my favorite because it provided a lot of medium sized glitter for effect. You can’t tell in the image but it does still have a bit of sparkle.

My nails with Essie glitter sandwiched between Julep nail polish.

Next up is Julep’s Oh Canada which has a mixture of small silver glitter and medium red glitter. I wish I had put on two coats of this glitter but it is not a bad result.

My nails with Julep's Oh Canada glitter sandwiched between the jaded nail polish.

This Revlon Celestial FX is brand spanking new. I didn’t like it. Well, not as a sandwich anyway. I can see all the fine glitter if I look really close (but who wants to look that close — you can see it if you look really close and use your imagination too) and the larger pieces were really hard to get out of the bottle. After two days they lifted off my nails a bit and kept catching on things. It’s really pretty in the bottle though!

My nails with Revlon glitter sandwiched between the Jaded nail polish.

Of course I took an Instagram video at the time so you can see the sparkles a little better.

I would like to try the jelly sandwich nails again with this color but I think it would look better with a medium multi-colored glitter with lots of bits.

Have you tried a jelly sandwich? Do you like the effect?