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China Glaze- Elephant Walk & Sally Hansen- Glass Slipper

Just a quick post today as I’m still catching up from vacation (I had a blast, btw) and about to head to downtown DC for the DC United game and Soupapalooza!! Exciting stuff, I know.

China Glaze Elephant Walk is from the Fall 2012 Safari collection. I didn’t really “need” another gray, but I also never “need” a piece of tiramisu and that never stops me. So here we are. Besides, I love elephants, I would have bought this color no matter what shade. Anyways, Elephant Walk is a gray creme with a very subtle shimmer. I used 2 coats for full opacity, and the formula was excellent. I wore this on its own for 2 days without any tip wear. You can pick up China Glaze polishes at Sally Beauty, Ulta, and all over the interwebs, and they range from $4.50-$7 depending on where you buy.

After two days, I added a coat of Sally Hansen’s Glass Slipper to extend the manicure as I was quite busy. It’s a very classy flakie top coat that adds a bit of bling without going overboard. Again, work appropriate in my opinion. I love how it looks like snow flakes and will be a heavily use polish this coming winter. I picked this baby up for $3 at Walmart in February or March, and have used it multiple times since then. Definitely a diverse polish and I can’t wait to try it over a bunch of different colors.


China Glaze- Dress Me Up w/ Essie- A Cut Above

I have many mixed feelings about this manicure. Dress Me Up was one of the colors from the Colours From The Capitol collection I was most excited about, a brownish rose color that’s right up my street in terms of an office friendly polish. And A Cut Above was second to last on the list of polishes I would buy from the Luxeffects collection (after its silver glitter sister). However, I’m left unsure on how I feel about DMU on its own, but really like it with ACA. So much so that I needed a reminder from Gina about how much of a PITA it is to remove glitter to keep from doing a full mani with ACA.

Dress Me Up is a brownish leaning rose-pink creme. I rarely say this, but I found this formula to be frustrating. It’s runny and takes a lot of patience to apply to the nail. Because it pooled in the crevices, cleanup also took longer. I like the color on my skin tone, and it is definitely an office appropriate color. This is two coats.

I added A Cut Above after looking at DMU on its own for an hour or so. I never would have bought this glitter myself, but I was surprised to find myself semi-excited to get this bottle in my March Teen Vogue Birchbox. I decided to test an accent nail, and found I really liked the combination! It’s just the right touch of sparkle to a neutral color. It’s a rose-pink hex and microglitter in a clear base. What I like about this glitter is the base is thick enough that it doesn’t have a lot of texture. One coat of Seche Vite was enough to smooth this glitter out. I am now excited to try this glitter with a bunch of other base colors, and will probably attempt a marshmallow mani with it in the near future.

Hit the jump for a few more photos of this combo! Read the rest of this entry

Happy Ho Ho Holidays!!

Today we have another mani inspired by my friend Gina. She was a fellow reindeer at Santarchy this weekend, and she did some awesome nail art for the occasion. I’m not ambitious or talented enough to attempt the reindeer art, but even I was able to attempt the Santa suit portion of the manicure. I happen to resemble a candy cane with my outfit today, so between that, and my nails, I am possibly the most festively dressed person in the DMV area. For a tutorial, and an “artsy fartsy” shot of my manicure, hit the jump!

Read the rest of this entry

Lionsgate Confirms! China Glaze- Colours From The Capitol, Based On The Hunger Games Trilogy

You’ve probably been inundated with this press release today, but it has to be shared! I, for one, am SUPER STOKED about this line.



SANTA MONICA, CA (December 9, 2011) – Lionsgate announces that it has
partnered with worldwide beauty brand China Glaze on a collection of
nail polish to debut in conjunction with the March 23, 2012 release of

In keeping with the powerful themes and messages of the story, the
collection of nail polish will be inspired exclusively by one of the
book’s distinct settings- the Capitol of the nation of Panem. Awash in
lavish fashion, food, and entertainment, Capitol citizens enjoy
extreme cosmetics and body modifications, bold wigs, and outlandish

The collection of colors will be available at specialty beauty
retailers beginning on March 1, 2012.

Thanks to The Hob, it’s been worked out how each color relates to a specific District:

Luxe and Lush – District 1 (Luxury)
Stone Cold – District 2 (Masonry)
Riveting – District 3 (Technology)
Hook and Line – District 4 (Fishing)
Electrify – District 5 (Power)
Fast Track – District 6 (Transportation)
Mahogany Magic – District 7 (Lumber)
Dress Me Up – District 8 (Textiles)
Harvest Moon – District 9 (Grain)
Foie Gras – District 10 (Livestock)
Agro – District 11 (Agriculture)
Smoke and Ashes – District 12 (Mining)

It’s not everyday a line comes along where I want ALL of the colors!! (except for Riveting, but I’ll get it anyway, since I’m planning to buy the rest of them.) I absolutely adore these books (haven’t finished Mockingjay, I know, I’m working on it), and I don’t know about you, but I’m totally on Team Peeta. I’m a little miffed they changed the names from those that were leaked, but I can see how each color name relates to each of the Districts. Now to decide what colors to wear to the midnight release of the movie… What colors are you most excited for?!?

Manis On The Go- The Travelin’ Gal’s Guide To Keeping Her Mani Fresh!!

A couple of days ago, Jess and I were discussing an opportunity she has coming up, and how that opportunity could lead to a lot of traveling. And she was wondering how she would be able to do manicure upkeep while on the road. I got really excited, possibly did my giddy seal clap, and asked if I could write a post on this. You see, I’m fairly well-traveled. I lived abroad for a year, traveled extensively within that year, and have gone back to Europe every year since then to visit my friends and see things I missed. Plus, I’ve got a trip to England in April (wedding) and Antigua in October (Birthday and World Cup Qualifying) and I will definitely want to keep my nails in tip-top shape. Trying to do this while traveling light is a challenge, but not impossible. You just need to apply the same rules of packing your suitcase to packing your mani kit. Especially if you are like me, and tend to travel carry-on only, and with just a backpack.

Read the rest of this entry

DEAL ALERTS: Week of November 13-19, 2011

I’m not sure if this is totally fair, but it’s kinda a “meh” week for nail polish deals. It seems like all the drugstores are running the same deals!! I hope this is because they are gearing up for Black Friday. I’ll be posting those deals later this week. Maybe you can resist these deals and save your pennies for next week?? Yeah, me neither. I’m going to TRY and control myself, and only get some WnW stuff at Rite Aid. In addition to their nail polish, I LOVE their eyeshadows and eye liners. Of course, I’m probably going to go back to CVS and get a couple of those Sally Hansen Gem Crush polishes too. And maybe some new Salon Effects? I mean, they are on sale…


  • BOGO1/2OFF ALL Revlon Cosmetics and Beauty Tools


  • 40% off all Wet n Wild cosmetics. If you spend $10, you get $3 +UP Rewards with Wellness Card.
  • BOGO1/2OFF all Rimmel cosmetics
  • BOGO1/2OFF all L’Oreal cosmetics
  • BOGO1/2OFF all Revlon cosmetics and beauty tools; Spend $20 get $6 +UP Rewards with Wellness card.


  • BOGO1/2OFF all Sally Hansen cosmetics, nail products, and hair removers. An excellent time to try out some of the new Gems Crush colors, or the new Salon Effects!!
  • BOGO1/2OFF all Rimmel cosmetics. I still love their polish, even if I haven’t reviewed any recently!
  • BOGO1/2OFF all Revlon cosmetics, beauty tools. The new Holiday lines are out now, and really pretty colors. 
  • BioOil is 25% off. Jess LOVES this stuff. 
  • Spend $20 on Burt’s Bees products get $5 Extra Bucks with EC Card. I saw some super cute gift sets when I was in here on Saturday. Their lemon cuticle creme is great.

Sally Beauty (Month of November)

  • Free wallet ($12.99 value) when you buy any 3 Finger Paints Nail Enamels, on sale for $3.99. The FingerPaints Merry & Bright Collection has been spotted at Sallys and looks great this holiday season.
  • Free CINA Holiday Nail Decals with the purchase of a CINA Nail Art Pen
  • CHINA GLAZE- $1.99 Mini Bottles of Ruby Pumps, $7.99 Season Sparkles Set (includes Poinsettia, Holly-Day, and Twinkle Lights), Santa’s Little Helper Set $9.99
  • ORLY- $6.99 Mini 3pk Candy Cane Tube (incl Androgynie, Ma Cherie and Oui), $9.99 Birds of a Feather Gift Set (includes FULL SIZED bottles of Lucky Duck, Sweet Peacock, and Fowl Play, IN ADDITION TO a purple wristlet with peacock feather wristlet)


  • BOGO50%OFF On Revlon Cosmetics, Nail Polish, Beauty Tools, Brushes and Implements
  • BOGO50%OFF On NYX Cosmetics
  • B2G2FREE on ULTA Brand Cosmetics, Nail Polish, Beauty Tools, Brushes and Implements (part of Mix and Match promotion with several other items such as hand soap)
  • ULTA Brand items regularly priced at $1.99-$7.00 are part of a 5for$5 mix and match.
  • Currently running Free Shipping on orders over $25. I suggest using this to get the totally adorable Butter London Dressing Table set (Fairy Lights and Tart with a Heart OR Tart With A Heart and Black Knight) for $25, a $32 value.
  • 20% off One Item coupon available on the website, good until 11/19 online and in store.

ULTA HOT HOLIDAY AD (Deals good from 11/12-12/2)

  • Buy 2 Get a Free OPI Top/Base Coat with any OPI Purchase of $17 or more. OPI Muppets Collection is now available in store. $8.50
  • B2G1FREE on all China Glaze, Orly, and Nicole by OPI nail polishes. 
  • Butter London Dressing Table Duo is $25. See Details above.
  • Burt’s Bees Natural Manicure Set for $14.99. Includes Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream .6 oz, Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme 2.0 oz, Replenishing Lip Balm .15 oz, Buffing Emery Board, 2 Manicure Sticks and Burt’s Bees Signature Manicure Bag. Plus, a free BB Tote with any BB Purchase of $12 or more. 
  • Tweezerman Nail Rescue kit, $20
  • Sally Hansen CSM Sets, $7.99. 4 to Choose from!
  • Red Carpet Gel Manicure Starter Kit, $59.99.
  • SPI Manicure Desk, $19.99 IN STORE ONLY. Includes lap desk, nail buffer and nail dryer!


  • A GREAT DEAL!!! Zoya is running a People Magazine Promo, Use the code ZOYA4ME and you will automatically get FREE standard shipping on any order. IF YOU ORDER TWO OR MORE BOTTLES OF NAIL POLISH you will also receive: Free 2oz Remove Nail Polish Remover and Coupon Code* for $5 Off Your Next Zoya Order. See the fine print here. We’ve reviewed Ki and Cynthia on the site already, and I can personally vouch for Jem, Tao, Neeka, Sooki, and Edyta. Jess and I, and probably Sandy, will definitely be checking out the new FEEL Collection. Winter Neutrals FTW!!

China Glaze- Strawberry Fields (Breast Cancer Awareness Month)

October is Birthday Month. I’m not the vainest person on this planet by any means, but I have definitely been known to try and claim birthday month when there’s something in the month of October that I want to do. More importantly, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something that hits close to home here at The Varnish Clique. Stores run all sorts of sales and fundraisers during this month. Sally Beauty Supply is running A LOT of great ones, I definitely suggest hitting the store up if you get a chance. One of the sales is several pink shades of China Glaze Polishes are on sale for $4.99, Benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I already had all the other colors, so I picked up Strawberry Fields. Not only does it benefit the SGK Foundation, it also reminds me of one of my favorite Beatles songs, Strawberry Fields Forever. Fun Melissa Fact: I lived in Liverpool, home of The Beatles, for a year in college. The name of this polish made me smile when I saw it, as a lot of things remind me of Liverpool. Click the jump for a review of the polish, and, because I felt like it, the video for Strawberry Fields Forever! Read the rest of this entry

Core Collection of Color

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Whether you are just starting out your collection, or you’re a polish pro, there are definitely staple colors that every girl (or guy!), should have in their collections! There’re certain color genres that are timeless; classics that will never go out of style despite the constantly changing styles in the world of fashion.Nail polish is also a cheap accessory. I can’t afford Louboutin shoes, but I could do the Louboutin mani (in theory, if my nails were long enough). We’ve been asked by a lot of our friends who are fairly new to the lacquer game what colors they absolutely NEED in their collections. After some fairly extensive research, I’ve put together a list of colors every collection should have. I’ve tried to provide a variety of brands and price ranges that will appeal to every type of nail painter. If it’s been previously reviewed on the blog, you can hit the link to be linked back to our review. But if you don’t see a color that should be listed, drop a comment! We’re always open to suggestions! 

True Red– nail polish was invented by the Chinese around 3000 B.C. Royalty is thought to have worn silver and gold polish, but red is also one of the earliest colors. And no wonder it’s stood the test of time. There are so many different shades of red, and in a pinch, it can go with almost everything. It can be dressed up or dressed down. Because red is a timeless color, there is usually some variation of it in every line released by every lacquer brand, from the affordable Wet n Wild, to the mildly over expensive Butter London, to the it will make your wallet cry Chanel. I operate under the motto “You can never have too many reds!” and that’s why it’s the most extensive color in my personal collection. Its also a year round color, giving you more bang for your buck! Berry reds work best on fairer skin, bringing out the pink undertones, while strong reds work best on darker skin tones, and wine/burgundies work best on medium skin tones.

Suggestions: Butter London- Saucy Jack, $14; Sinful Colors- Ruby Ruby, $1.99; Essie- Russian Roulette, $8

Pretty in Pink– Pinks are the most feminine colors and a must for pretty much any collection. Like reds, there is a very broad spectrum of pink, and some look better on certain skin tones than others. Blue based pinks work best on fair skin, yellow based pinks work best on darker complexions. To determine this, hold the bottle up against your inner wrist, and see what the reflection color is. Pink is the other most extensive color in my collection, and I mean extensive. If I could take any color to a desert island, it would be pink.

Suggestions: Rimmel- Posh Pink, $4; Sinful Colors- Beautiful Girl, $1.99; Essie Knockout Pout, $8; Chanel- Morning Rose, $25

Grey– I am aaaaaaalllllll about the greys/slates/carbon colors this fall. This is probably one of the colors with the widest spectrum of shades. And therefore, it’s one that will always be in style. It’s a good color if you are afraid to go really dark, but are willing to experiment.

Suggestions: L’Oreal- Raven’s Strength, $5; Mattese Elite- Capo, $6; Essie- Power Clutch, $8; Chanel- Graphite, $25

Neutral– As the one in The Clique with the traditional federal government office job, I am always on the lookout for colors to add to my neutral collection. While it’s not explicitly stated that I can’t wear wild and crazy colors, I have been in the awkward situation of being called into meetings with high level officials with neon green nails. So I try to keep it tame Mon-Thursday, and then get a little rebellious on Fridays, or half days. There are definite benefits to wearing neutral polishes. They keep your nails looking cleaner and healthier, while being non-flashy. Chips also aren’t obvious and it goes with everything. When I travel, if I bother painting my nails at all, I go with a neutral. If you’re skin tone has yellow undertones, you’ll want a beige polish, where those with pink undertone will want a pink leaning polish.

Suggestions: confetti- paradise pink, $2; Essie- Mademoiselle or Lady Like, $8; OPI- You Don’t Know Jacques, $8; Butter London- All Hail The Queen, $14

Purple– We are HUGE fans of purple here at the blog. It’s a great color and there is such a wide spectrum of colors. There are red leaning purples, and blue leaning purples, and everyone has their favorite shades.Generally, lighter colors work best on fairer skin, and darker colors on darker skin. However, when it comes to purple, I don’t follow these rules. I buy the colors I like and wear them with swagger, even if they don’t look good. Because we love this color, I’m going to give more suggestions than I have with other colors, because I don’t think I could narrow it down.

Suggestions: Sinful Colors- Verbena, $2; wet n wild fast dry- Ready To Pounce, $2; Revlon- Modern Grace, $6; Mattese Elite- Whack, $6; Essie- Splash of Grenadine, $8; OPI- Honk If You Love OPI, $8; Butter London- Queen Vic, $14

Blue/Green– I’m putting these together, mostly because I personally wouldn’t put these in a “Staples of a Collection” but I know Sandy and Jess would literally kill me if I left them out! There are some gorgeous shades under both colors and if you can pull them off, more power to you! Most of the colors I have in my collection that fall under blue and green collection I bought thinking “That’d make a great pedicure color!” however, they have their place and can be great fun when worn in the right situation.

Suggestions: Blue/ Zoya- Cynthia, $8; OPI- Dating a Royal, $8; China Glaze- First Mate, $6 / Green: Sinful Colors- Open Seas, $2; China Glaze- Emerald Sparkle, $6; Butter London- British Racing Green, $14

Vampy Dark Color – Vampy colors look most chic on short nails, so this is something to keep in mind when selecting a polish. They also require a great deal more maintenance. But done right, they can look really sophisticated. Deep plums work best on those with darker skin tones. Really dark colors are tricky for fair-skinned people, because they can make you appear washed out, and even more pale than you were to begin with. But these colors are seductive and sexy, and a must have.

Suggestions: China Glaze- VIII, $5; OPI- Lincoln Park After Dark, $8; Deborah Lippmann- Bitches Brew, $16

Black– Black polish isn’t just for punk and goth kids. Black is a staple for any collection. It makes an excellent base for many layering polishes, and it can be sleek and stylish when done right. It also goes with EVERYTHING. Much like the Vampy Dark Colors above, it looks best on shorter nails. Otherwise you risk looking like Elvira. Balcony polish also requires more maintenance. It’s a little difficult to clean up, and even the most minor chips are glaringly obvious. You will also need a really good top coat for a black polish. You will want a glossy finish if you want a professional look. Because I don’t want to post just straight black cremes, I am including blacks that have glitter and shimmer to them in this category.

Suggestions: wet n wild fast dry- Ebony Hates Chris, $2; L’Oréal- Owls Night, $5; Butter London- Union Jack Black, $14

Makes you happy- these are the colors that maybe they fall under one of these other categories, or maybe they don’t. I have a bunch of colors that make me happy, but I would never consider them timeless or classic. But they are colors that I wear when I’m having a bad day, or I’ve got the grumps, or I’m feeling like I wanna have a party on my tips or my toes. They are my go-to colors when I can’t decide what I want to wear, ones I KNOW I love, and can wear for days on end. It’s that polish you know you will like until the end of time, and you don’t care if it goes out of style or not.

China Glaze- Traffic Jam


Traffic Jam is part of China Glaze’s Fall 2011 Metro collection. This and Skyscraper were the only two colors that caught my eye. Since then, I’ve come to covet other colors, but these were the original 2 I had wanted. This is a deep raspberry creme. It’s one of the more traditional colors in the line, and the “pink” one, so naturally it’s the one I would want. It’s a bit on the thin side so you need 3 coats for full opacity. However, it goes on super smooth and doesnt streak or feel heavy. It’s super shiny on it’s own, so you don’t need a top coat, but you may want to use one anyway. What I like about this polish is how it changes colors in the light. As you can see from the photo above, it appears to be a lighter raspberry color. In the flash shot below, is a deep raspberry. When I took a couple of iPhone photos in different lighting and sent them to a friend, she thought I had on two different colors! It’s definitely not the most interesting, or unique, polish on the planet, BUT it is a solid staple type color if you don’t already have something like it. I’d also consider it a year-round color. Ive made sure that I have a few favorite colors in my collection that I can always wear when the mood strikes. I mean, I guess, technically, you can wear any polish whenever you desire, but, I always feel a little strange wearing dark colors in the summer. I wore this color for several days and only took it off because I got a massive chip. It’s definitely one of my favorites this fall.


Mel’s Five Fave Fall Shades

Butter London- Saucy Jack: a bright blood red cream

Since today is officially the first day of Fall, we felt that we should share what our 5 favorite shades for the season are going to be. I’m really excited about this as Fall is my favorite season. All my sports teams are starting their seasons, boots can be worn without your feet sweating, I can wear my hair down, and there are some AMAZING nail polish lines that are released. In order to not overload our readers with pictures and text since there are going to be 3 posts today, we’ve  provided a picture with a sentence or two recap. If you see a color you’re interested in and want to read more about, you can click the picture and it will link you back to the original review of that polish!! Easy peasy!!!

My #1 favorite color this fall is Butter London’s Saucy Jack. To see the other 4 (in no particular order) and my honorable mentions!!! Read the rest of this entry