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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.


Fun with Stamping: LEOPARD PRINT!!

So this is the part of my post where Mel gets really excited, then gets really mad, then kicks herself for not picking up the stamping kit when I got mine haha. (Love you Mel!) She’s been lemming over a leopard print konad plate for a while now… and I didn’t actually realize I had one until like 2 days ago. Oops. But when I realized I had it, I decided to try for a “work friendly” leopard print mani. I’ve been trying REALLY HARD for the past few weeks to abide by typical office standards for my nails, but sometimes, a girl’s just gotta get a little creative ūüėČ

I decided on a compromise, I’d go for work friendly colors and try to create a more subtle print. I used Claw Polish – Phantom for the base, doing 2 coats and then using my Nail Life¬†Aromotherapy Drop On Polish Dryer to set it. I wore this for a day before adding the stamps, or I probably just would have used a quick dry top coat so that there wasn’t oil between the stamp and the base polish. I also was *gasp* on my last dredges of Seche Vite, so the drying drops bought me a little time before I had to go to the store. ¬†For the print, I used Essie – Lady Like, then sealed it all with Hard Candy – Matte-ly in Love. Up close, you could see the print, but not glaringly. With a little distance, the print wasn’t very¬†noticeable, it just looked like the gray was a little mottled. The matte top coat also softened it up a bit. I really loved the look; it made me stare at it all day, but wouldn’t make everyone in the office do the same. Mission accomplished!!

lighting sucked, but it really showed the pattern

I will make one note about the leopard stamp… you have to be mindful of where you place the pattern. If you hit the same part of the stamp on every nail, it looks too contrived and uniform, not very leopard like. Other than that, it was actually one of the easier stamping experiences I’ve had. The print was good for hiding minor errors ūüėČ

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’Or√©al- 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.

L’Oreal – Raven’s Strength

I am so mad about this polish. It was impossible to truly capture it’s amazingness on my camera haha. ¬†My pictures don’t quite show you and I’m not sure words will express it’s beauty well enough. It’s gorgeous!! I spent a long time trying to decide if it was gunmetal or dark gray with shimmer or black with shimmer and came up with “liquid hematite” as being the closest color description. It has all the power of a black but with stunning dimension. I would wear this just about anywhere, minus the just about! It’s a dress up or dress down kinda polish; seriously, I can picture this mani on me in situations from girls night out to a black tie affair. (I did dress it down with a coat of Jack O’ Varnish – Moonwitch to show Mel the pumpkin polish that is soon to be in her posession ūüėõ See it below the cut!) And that’s just me raving about the color!! The formula is excellent too; two coats, no issue, and clean up was a breeze. It’s not one of those dark polishes that stain as you clean it up, and the shimmer isn’t like some where you end up with your hands looking like they were ke$ha-fied haha. It’s just a no hassle amazing color!

I have a mini slide show to try and show you a hint of it’s beauty, but since it’s a limited edition color, I suggest you just get it haha. I know Mel picked it up today, a choice I fully supported (yes, I enabled her during her buying black out… but she couldn’t miss out on this color!! She’s our gunmetal girl!!) Owl’s Night has been the out of the gate star of the Project Runway line, but trust me, this color is no less of a show stopper ūüėÄ

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O.P.I.- French Quarter For Your Thoughts

**I’d like to start off today’s post with a massive HAPPY FREAKING BIRTHDAY to Jess. Make sure you wish her one on Twitter at @varnishclique.** As I mentioned yesterday, I am all about gray this fall. There are so many different shades of gray, and it goes with pretty much anything, so I feel justified in having so many in my collection. We’ve already covered several colors in OPI’s Touring America Fall 2011 line, including I Eat Mainely Lobster, Honk If You Love OPI, and Are We There Yet?¬†Today, we have the 4th with French Quarter For Your Thoughts. I bought this color at a Walmart¬†Salon in Maryland when they were running a BOGO50% off sale a few months ago. I’d really wanted ‘Lobster’ and then made a snap decision to get ‘French Quarter’ because my mom was getting impatient. As this was before I realized gray was my color, this turned out to be a most excellent decision.

I Used:
1 coat WnW¬†Clear (this was a “Swatchathon” mani)
3 coats OPI- French Quarter for Your Thoughts
No top coat.

First of all, I LOVE the name of this polish. OPI is the best in that area. I’d never been to New Orleans, but if I do go, I’m wearing this polish. French Quarter is a true light gray creme. If we’re keepin’ it real, which I try to do, this isn’t the greatest formula in the nail polish realm. It’s kinda thin, and it separates really easily. I spent 20 minutes (off and on) shaking it post-purchase to mix up the formula. And this isn’t a color that’s been sitting on a shelf for a year either. It’s also several shades darker than it appears in the bottle, but this could be due to the fact that I’m wearing three coats of it because the formula is so thin. However, I can deal with these things because I like the color so much. It’s not streaky, which polishes can tend to be when they require multiple coats. French Quarter has a slight shimmer to it (not evident in the photo, unfortunately) and a pretty glossy finish. Overall, it’s not my favorite gray in my collection, but it’s the only one like it. This is a brighter gray, whereas most of my other grays lean towards the slate gray end of the spectrum. This could definitely be a year-round gray.

You can find French Quarter For Your Thoughts, as well as all the other colors of the Touring America collection online or at your local ULTA. They retail for $8.50, but you can usually find them on eBay or Amazon for a $1 or so cheaper.

MOB WEEK: Mattese Elite – Consigliere

I had no idea what a consigliere (or “counselor”) was until I looked it up on wiki.¬† Basically, it’s a position in the Mafia.¬† Depending on who you ask it’s either the Boss’s right hand man/adviser/confidant or it could be the number three person in a three man administration consisting of the boss, the underboss, and the consigliere. The Consigliere is most definitely an important figure in any Mafia.

Moreover, Consigliere the nail polish by Mattese Elite totally rocks and should be an important part to your collection especially¬† if you’re into these types of colors.¬† It’s a really pretty light blue creme with greyish undertones.¬† Just look at the picture!¬† So lovely.¬† I actually put this on before putting on Whack and was very very (extremely) sad to take it off.

1 coat Poshe basecoat
3 coats Mattese Elite – Consigliere

See it more macro’d after the jump!

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MOB WEEK: Mattese Elite- Capo

First of all, we just want to express our supreme gratitude to Ricky’s NYC for sending us the new Cosa Nostra line to review. As a new blog, we appreciate the opportunity!! To show this, we are dedicating the blog this week to Mattese Elite. From today through Saturday, there will be one post a day, reviewing a polish from the Cosa Nostra line. Normal blogging activity will resume on Sunday ūüôā

Please disregard the dark marks along the edges of my nail, I was having some lighting issues.

Now, for a quick History/Mob/Language lesson:¬†A¬†caporegime¬†or¬†capodecina, usually shortened to just a¬†capo, is a term used in the¬†Mafia¬†for a high ranking¬†made member¬†of a crime family who¬†heads a¬†“crew” of¬†soldiers¬†and has major social status and influence in the organization. Caporegime is an Italian word, which is used to signify the head of a family in¬†Sicily, but has now come to mean a ranking member, similar to¬†captain¬†or¬†sergeant. In general, the term indicates the head of a branch of an¬†organized crime syndicate¬†who commands a crew of soldiers and reports directly to a¬†boss¬†or an¬†underboss. (Thanks Wiki!!)

This is the perfect name for this shade. This shade makes a statement, is solid, and yet, is still not the most powerful, or flashy shade of the collection. It’s a great late summer/early fall color.
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Essie- Power Clutch

As soon as I saw the new Essie line, I knew I needed Power Clutch. It, along with Carry On (which I also bought), were the only 2 that really caught my eye from the Fall 2011 line.

I used:
1 coat Seche base
2 coats Essie Power Clutch (that’s all you need!)
1 coat Sally Hansen Night Lights on Accent nail (found it Friday at 5 Below)
1 coat Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat

Even though gray isn’t a typical color for me, I’m really glad I picked this one up. It’s not black, but it’s not a dull gray either. And when the light hits it just so, it almost looks green! The formula is top-notch, resulting in this habitual 3 coater only using 2 coats!! If I only had one complaint, it would be that Power Clutch is much like a black car, dirt is really obvious on top of the nail.

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A Doctor A Day… Wet N Wild- Gray’s Anatomy

I am totally loving the colors in the Wet N Wild TV line. And Grey’s Anatomy is one of my favorite TV shows (don’t judge.) So after several trips to Walgreens’, Walmart, and CVS and passing over this color, I finally bought it. *pats self on the back*

I used:

1 coat Seche Clear Base Coat
3 coats WnW Gray’s Anatomy
1 coat Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

A quick word on the formula. It’s thin. Really thin. As in, if this mani was going to be on for longer than 24 hours, I would have used 4 coats. But since this was an in between mani, I only took the time for 3 coats. But I love this color. It’s a very light gray, with pink and purple undertones. And maybe even a little green. I think I like it so much because it reminds me of Liverpool on a rainy day. The formula went on smooth, and it’s not at all streaky. As with Silvivor, the metallic finish is unforgiving with any nail flaws, such as divots. Much like The Daily Varnish said in their review, there is a little bit of an issue with bubbling, but the only drying time I allowed was while I was painting the other hand. This is what happens when you are cramming a manicure in the 3 hours between when you get home from work, and when you go to bed.

Click the jump to see a macro shot!!

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So Ready for Football Season: Dots manicure

1 coat Seche Rebuild (base)
2 coats OPI – Skull & Glossbones
a few dots of:
/ Sally Hansen CSM – Purple Pulse (purple)
/ Sally Hansen CSM – Black Platinum (black)
/ American Apparel – L’Esprit (lavender)
/ Essie – Marshmallow (white)
/ OPI – Glitzerland (gold)
1 coat Seche Vite (top coat)

It should be no secret that I’m a huge Baltimore Ravens fan.¬† With the lockout over, I can’t get enough of the free agent signings, trades, etc concerning my team.¬† With the Ravens on my mind, and my new dotting tools that came in the mail, I can’t help but use all the inspiration in my manicure.

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