Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fashion: Rome: The Forum

I went ahead and did up the first Polyvore for my trip, even though it technically will be for my third day in Rome. I had the hardest time finding the exact pieces I am bringing, so a few things, like the earrings and sweater, are close approximates instead of the exact ones. As always, click through for the separate items.

The base of the look is a fantastic blue maxi dress. Forever 21 stopped selling it almost as soon after I bought it, but it is beautiful. I really hope they restock, because I want to get a chocolate one and a grey one if they happen to restock. To bring up the length just a little, because it is not petite-friendly on the length, I use a wide belt similar to the one pictured here. It also slims the look and gives more definition to the dress.

The gladiator sandals pictured here are probably my favorite shoes that I own. These are the Sydnee gladiator sandals by Mantego Bay -- for Payless of all places! I had been looking for gladiator sandals to appease my Roman bent long before they became ridiculously popular a couple of summers ago, and these were one of the first "no frills" sandals that I found. They look more like something out of a historic costuming store than the cheaper gladiator sandals that have since become incredibly mass-marketed. They are also the most durable shoes I think I have ever owned. They have walked all over the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire with me; now it's time for them to walk on the Augustan pavements at the Forum.

The sweater is a bit different than the one pictured here, but I always pack one to avoid the sun and potential cold. Mine has more stripes that are positioned diagonally; they are also much thinner, and the sweater is a little looser. Mine is also an Armani Collezioni, and it really looks good with the maxi dress.

Other accessories? The dress does not like fighting with necklaces, and the earrings that I will actually wear have one less tier than these, but the colors are nearly identical. I have a couple of gold/bronze-colored bangle bracelets that will be worn similar to the model's in the photograph of the dress. And lastly, the champagne-colored eyeshadow in the Almay set, as well as the "Volcanic" color of the lipstick (apropos for a trip that may involve Pompeii, no?) are staples.

I think "Bling Dynasty" may be the nail polish for the trip -- I only should need one while I am traveling, and I do not particularly want to be wearing an expensive nail polish when I'm digging in the dirt. Finish it all off with a splash of Armani Code, and this girl is ready for her extended Colosseum tour.
Rome: The Forum

Polish Review - OPI "Simply Smashing"

Sorry for the delay in finally putting this review up! Between some last-minute trip details and shopping (!) at a store that had some older OPI polishes for two bucks apiece, I have been keeping busy. And then there's work, of course...

Anyway, down to business. I finally got around to using the beautiful new "Simply Smashing" glitter-ific polish in OPI's Grand Slam Serena set. I absolutely adore it; I have a thing for foils and metallics, and this looks like some sort of metallic trophy -- in tennis ball color. I did think it would be a little more green before I saw the bottle (and the nails) in person, but it's still a really, really pretty color. No apparent dupes.

Application is surprisingly smooth for how much glitter is packed in there, and it came off pretty easily with acetone. It did have the odd after-effect of turning my nails a slight shade of yellow, but I can't actually complain (especially since it did come off, unlike some glitters). It also probably could have gone another week and a half before I really would have had to take it off, but I was dying to try out my new Essie polish, "Da Bush".

This color is beautiful and stands alone nicely. When I first applied it I was about to run late for work, so I waited a good day before I finally put on a coat of Black Shatter on top. It changes the look of the polish quite a lot, taking it from being trendy on its own to... being trendy because it has a shatter on top. I think I would rather wear this one alone, though I got a lot of compliments -- most of which suggested that it had a reptilian or leopard look after I put on the shatter. I think it really depends what look you are going for, but be aware that it is absolutely lovely on its own. Re: tennis ball color, I would like to see it with the white shatter that OPI packaged with Spark de Triomphe -- sort of like how real tennis balls have the lines running across them.

Want pretty pictures? My nails refuse to grow, and my cuticles hate the humidity (or rather, the lack thereof). Go look at Death by Polish or Pampered and Polished for some gorgeous pictures. 

Next up will be Essie's "Da Bush", and hopefully EuroFashion, my style, via Polyvore! Then we should have one or two more manicures before zero hour for trip time. Candidates include OPI Fiercely Fiona, Zoya Dovima (Matte), or anything I can get my lacquered hands on before I leave. Hmm, I'm going to get my hair done tomorrow, and they sell OPI/Essie... I (or my bank account) may be a goner if they have the Pirates or more Serena collections.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Polish Review - Essie "Fair Game"

Another week another couple of polishes, right? I have been painting nails more than I've been creative on Polyvore, and this past week slipped by ridiculously quickly, so you all get a couple of polish reviews to sate you until I start putting together my Europe looks!
The first polish I did for last week I am absolutely in love with. I picked up a couple of the Essie Resort 2011 collection polishes, "Fair Game" and "Da Bush", and since I had been playing in the gold/green family a lot lately, I went for "Fair Game" first. "Fair Game" is gorgeous. It is a steely blue metallic with a bit of a shimmer that goes from a more grey platinum in the shade to a richer blue in the sun. I had a million compliments, and it wears beautifully! I did not use a topcoat on it, but I had no major chips, and only a little bit of wear at the tip. It applied ridiculously smoothly, and dries really quickly. Two coats got it completely opaque.

I did finally broke down near the end of wearing this manicure and slap on a shatter coat on top. I think that there is not quite enough shimmer to make it stand out against the shatter; it looked murky and not particularly appealing; I wouldn't pair these two together.

Confession time: I had been trying to grow out my nails and make my cuticles look pretty enough for a photograph, but once again I started getting stressed, and now my almost-to-the-edge-of-the-finger nails are shorn back down like little shatter-covered sheep. Oh well, we'll try again so they look decent by the time I'm in Rome! Until then, head over to Musings from Manhattan or Scrangie for some gorgeous and very accurate photos!

Love until I get back from raiding the local salons for OPI Serena sets...


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Polish Review - OPI "Bling Dynasty"

It will be a busy week for the blog and the blog owner -- I've gone through about four manicures in a week after I splurged on a couple of nail polish orders, I am packing for a month overseas, and may even have a few new Polyvore sets to share with you. Hang tight!

At the same time that I picked up "Drastic" because I was obsessed with trying out a dark jelly, I also ordered OPI's "Bling Dynasty" from the Spring 2010 Hong Kong collection. I love all things Hong Kong, and I remember seeing some beautiful displays at my salon when this set was released.

Once I got through admiring "Drastic", I switched over to "Bling Dynasty" to wear for a few days. It's a very rich gold -- more on the burnished "old gold" side than a cooler tone (it's toasty-warm enough that the office started calling it "Waffle" at breakfast), and it has a very concentrated microglitter that looks lovely. 

I admit that I absolutely adore golds and bronze polishes. This one is somewhere between a true gold and bronze, so it is definitely staying in my collection! It lasted really well with very little wear on the tips, then my second splurge-y order came in the mail. Two coats provided full coverage, but beware! I applied a top coat later and it dulled this beautiful color quite a lot -- it lasts wonderfully on its own, so don't spoil it.

The only thing that I have that is dupe-y for "Bling Dynasty" is an old L'Oreal ShockProof color called "Bronze Coin". Aside from being my favorite polish in existence, however, "Bronze Coin" is also a perle finish, though it has the same rich color and a similar glitter flash. It's not quite as flashy as "Bling Dynasty", but if you have "Bronze Coin", you might be able to go without getting Bling depending on how rich you want the color.

PerryPie has some accurate and beautiful pictures of this polish; I promise that one of these days I will actually have nails that are long enough to show off these colors.

Things to come: Essie's "Fair Game", and tales of a fashion whore trying to pack for a month in one backpack. Oof!

EDIT: August 05, 2011: I think I may finally have found a true dupe, though I am going completely off some images, not an in-person comparison. I want to buy this polish just to see! Take a look at these photos on the blog "A Sin Worth Committing". I don't know, but I think we may have a close relative!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lancôme Color Design Contest

I had a bit of inspiration when I got home from the grocery store and hopped on Polyvore. I made the mistake of looking at the Lancôme Color Design Contest. There are thousands of beautiful entries, but I instantly thought of a few pieces that I love when I saw the Jade Fever palette they had on the website. Here's a half hour of Polyvore -- now the eggs need to go in the fridge!

Lancôme Color Design Contest - Jade Fever

Click through for products.

Polish Review - China Glaze "Drastic"

I had been wanting to play with a jelly polish for awhile, and China Glaze is my usual standby for buying a good polish that will not break the bank, especially if I am giving a finish or color family a test run. So I started out what might turn out to be a new favorite finish with "Drastic", a beautiful red that's somewhere between vampy blood-red and cherry.

In the bottle, it is extremely difficult to photograph and it's so dark that you can hardly read the label:
That's actually a pretty good sign most of the time, but I was afraid it would verge too much on the opaque side if it was so dark in the bottle. However, once it was off the brush and on the nail, it worked just like I was hoping a jelly would -- by looking like jelly.

I started with three coats to get the depth and richness of color I wanted, then gave it a good hour and a half to dry; it definitely took awhile, and even after that, it dented a little where I bumped it on the desk. It was worth the wait. It came out looking like a perfectly smooth little pad of cherry jelly on every nail. Gorgeous! The application is smooth and easy to manage; you may want a little more polish on your nail than you are used to so that the second and third coats stay smooth.

It has worn very well. I went three days without touching it or putting on a top-coat, and the only part that suffered was the edge of the nail, which barely wore down even after a monster round of dish-washing, typing, making mint-fudge, and page-turning. I broke down and added another coat late last night that cured the nail-edge chips, but it also lost a little bit of the jelly-ness. I'd recommend sticking to three coats max.

As I mentioned in my last post, my nails are shorter than short right now (no-visible line whatsoever short), so for on-the-nail photographs, I would recommend that readers go to one of the blogs with lovely swatches of this polish -- Getcha Nails Did and Pretty Random both have some nice pictures; the first photo captures more of the "cherry" look I mentioned, and Pretty Random's shows off more of the vampy vibe.

I am definitely holding onto this polish. It is a lovely and inexpensive choice, and definitely worth picking up for your stash.

Next up will either be OPI's "Bling Dynasty" (which I picked up in the same order as "Drastic") or one of the new Essie Resort collection, depending on when it arrives.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spring/Summer 2011 - Wear bright orange... on your nails?

Hey, everyone. It has been a crazy couple of months! I have gone through the hell that is finals, a lot of days where, between work and class, I never made it home during the daylight hours. Now all of the academic stress is gone for a few months, but I am still working, and on top of everything else, I'm taking care of a friend's adorable grey and white lop-rabbit. Not so hard -- except for the fact that she escaped from her hutch and wreaked carnage on the apartment a couple of days ago. Best of all, since she managed to get into some leftover tabbouleh, she's on a hay diet until she gets the wheat out of her system. And I am allergic to hay!

Life update aside, I have been meaning to write a little bit on some of what I have been doing fashion-wise in the past couple of... months. Yikes!

Anyway, I love the orange trend that has been going around almost as much as honeysuckle right now -- I always love orange, and I, luckily, already own a lot of orange clothing. I have a pair of killer orange-coral pumps that I'll take any excuse to pull out. I love coral lipsticks and coppery-orange eyeshadows. I think it's a gorgeous spring and early summer color. Nothing spells warm weather (and maybe even some tropical locales on lucky girls' radars) like citrus fruit.

In case you're running a season or three behind, the color has been hot on the catwalks even going back a little bit into last fall. A lot of blogs have done features on how to wear the color, but few have done many looks at how to rock this color as a nail polish.

Zoya - "Tanzy"

Reflecting this fashion trend in the beauty world, there are some gorgeous orange shades making the rounds in the nail polish world. It started out really as a springtime hit, but the polish world especially is carrying it over into summer. Zoya released their "Sunshine" collection for summer, featuring "Tanzy", a gorgeous, shimmery orange that glows.

Essie - "Meet Me at Sunset"
Essie - "Braziliant"
China Glaze - "Life Preserver"

Essie included two separate orange cremes -- one is a darker burnt orange, "Meet me at Sunset", and the other is "Braziliant". "Braziliant" is a lighter color with more of a shimmer, but I do not think that it is quite as infused as Zoya's. OPI has not really jumped on this trend, but China Glaze certainly has, meshing it with the nautical theme of their "Anchors Away" collection, which is gorgeous for summer. "Life Preserver" is a really rich color that looks like a reddish creme.
Deborah Lippman - "Lara's Theme"

A little more expensive than these was "Lara's Theme" from Deborah Lippman's summer collection. I think this one has a really pretty vintage and subdued quality that some of the other polishes in this post lack when they pick up the bright color. The website defines it as a "double dutch" orange created in collaboration with Lara Stone. I think it's a lovely color and I will more than likely be picking this up with my next order.

FingerPaints also did a really fun, bright shade for their "Peace, Love, and Summer" collection. It's absolutely gorgeous on everyone who has done blog pieces about it, but I do not think it is available at Sally's Beauty Supply yet. On The NailPhile it seems to have a stunning, heavy shimmer effect to it that I was not expecting from the pictures of the bottle. I cannot wait to pick up one of these. Since it is not out, most of the good pictures of the polish are still on the blogs. Polish-aholic has a really nice one -- take a look over there!

My personal favorite did not come from one of these pretty collections, however, but out of an impulse buy of a Limited Edition Revlon "Fire and Ice" polish a month or so ago. "Siren" is a really pretty creme that held for a good four or five days without major chipping. It edges more towards coral (and matches those aforementioned pumps pretty nicely) and really looked good with a couple of other orange accents in the accessory department. It also has the cutest vintage look to the bottle, which I'm always a sucker for. It looks great on my transparent-pale skin, but coral really suits any amount of tan, so if you want an "in" color that will be versatile as a fall and spring option later, pick up one of these bottles. It is a fairly cheap polish, and should only cost five or six dollars at any drugstore.

Revlon - "Siren"
Have you tried any of the colors here? Feel free to post links to any photographs you have of them -- my own nails are far too short to be good models of these beautiful colors.