HPB Presents: Goldfish

Hello reader! It’s time for another Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up! Every month, members of this Facebook group choose a theme for a mani; each member’s mani can be as simple or elaborate as they want it, as long as it’s relevant to the theme. The theme for August is goldfish, and for my look, I used Kunimitsu‘s Lucky Goldfish and China Glaze’s Japanese Koi. See what I did there? I also used Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.



My look was inspired in part by a look from Hey, Darling Polish!; it was just the right amount of cutesy without a lot of effort. A quick glance at my blue polishes led me to Lucky Goldfish, and it was a coincidence Japanese Koi was the orange I picked out. I stopped there because I couldn’t find any more polishes with fish-related names.



The fish were done by stippling Japanese Koi onto the nail with a dotting tool, first into a teardrop shape for the body, and a wide triangle for the tail. Japanese Koi wasn’t quite thick/pigmented enough to competely blot out the dark blue, and coverage isn’t very even, but this is only really apparent in photos. It looked totally fine on the nail.



In the sun, the glitters in Lucky Goldfish perk right up. I like to imagine the glitters are the many goldfish of a large school. I also love how this looks mattefied; as much as I love a good glossy finish, there’s no glare here to obscure the art.





Lucky Goldfish and other Kunimitsu polishes are available from their etsy shop. China Glaze is sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these polishes myself.
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Manicure Monday: Orange Jello Sandwich

It’s Manicure Monday again! Today’s look is a jelly sandwich, which is probably my favorite nail art technique. It always comes out so well! For this look, I used L’Oreal’s Mango Mamma over American Apparel’s Light Year, as well as Seche Vite top coat.



Mango Mamma is the perfect jelly. The color is bold but the coverage always stays sheer. It has the appearance of orange gelatin. I badly wish I had an orange-scented top coat, but I feel like this polish also deserves to smell like orange gelatin. As it’s the perfect jelly, the jelly sandwich was basically the only thing I could do with it. I can’t believe something like this came from a mainstream brand.



Light Year was maybe not the best glitter for this look, even though it turned out looking pretty cool. I knew brushing it on wasn’t the best application method because it’s liquidy, so I sponged it on. Even then, I got some holes in coverage, even though it didn’t look like it at the time. I guess it doesn’t matter, because what is on there sparkles wonderfully under Mango Mamma. Overall, the look feels flashy, stylish, and bold.



For this look, outdoors in direct sunlight is where it’s at. The orange looks a little washed out, but the glitter comes alive and looks its best. It almost looks kind of autumnal, with the orange jelly and the warm shades coming through in the holographic glitter. It’s like Thanksgiving in June!





Mango Mamma might be discontinued by L’Oreal; other L’Oreal polishes are sold in stores nationwide. American Apparel polishes have been discontinued as well.

I bought these polishes myself.

HPB Presents Neon Splatter!

Hello, reader! Today’s post is a special Hobby Polish Bloggers linkup! Every month, the bloggers from the HPB Facebook group get together and do a themed mani; the mani can be as simple or elaborate as we want, so long as it adheres to the theme. The theme for May is neons and neutrals. For this look, I used Zoya’s Chantal and American Apparel’s Moon as the nude base, and American Apparel’s Neon Pink, Neon Coral, Neon Yellow, Neon Green, and Essie’s I’m Addicted as the colors. I actually did this post two weeks ago before I went on vacation, I’m excited to finally show it to you!



I really love this month’s theme, and I had a lot of ideas on how to work with it. My first thought was a watermarble, but I did that for last month’s theme, so I skipped it. I also considered the dry brush technique, but ultimately chose the splatter, because I saw an excellent one on Casual Contrast that totally made me want to try it, and also because I’d never done it before. I put my base colors down, got the straws out, and commenced to splattering. I had so much fun with this mani. It reminded me of when we were bored in middle school and we’d dismantle pens to blow the ink out all over stuff. I gotta say though, the cleanup was way worse than I expected. Totally not for the faint of heart.



For these HPB manis, and really every challenge mani, I try to use untried polishes, but this is the first one where all the polishes have been used multiple times. When it comes to neons, the American Apparel neons are my go-tos; they’re vivid without having to use a white base, and the product consistency makes them very easy to work with. However, there’s no blue, so that’s where the Essie comes in; I had it sitting out from a previous swatch, and it was just the right blue to work with my other neon shades. I love that the theme calls for nudes, because as cool as this would be with a white base, it means you can’t use just any neons, you’ve got to use some that are worth a crap.



Remember I mentioned Moon used as a base? This is why: super secret glow-in-the-dark action! I put a coat over Chantal, just before adding the splatters. I wasn’t totally satisfied with just nudes and neons, I needed one more element to make this look really special. Between the glow and the neons, this mani is like the ’90s threw up on my nails. These photos were taken in compelete darkness.



And these photos were taken in direct sunlight! Really harsh sunlight tends to wash neons out, so they’re not as bright out here as they could be.





Chantal and other Zoya polishes are available from Ulta. Essie polishes are sold at Walgreens and other stores nationwide. American Apparel polishes have been discontinued.

I bought these polishes myself.
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Swatch Sunday: Prevail’s City of Dreams

Happy Sunday, and welcome back! My Sunday polish this week is a souvenir from my last vacation. This is City of Dreams from Prevail; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.




City of Dreams is a coral creme polish. Application was good, though the product consistency was a little thin. After two coats, some nails were still a little streaky and needed a third coat. The polish dries quickly, though, and with a smooth and glossy finish. I used top coat for extra protection.



So while the polish itself isn’t special, the sentiment is. A couple years ago, I was in New York, and I was buying polish everywhere. I got a few bottles from the Macy’s on Herald Square and the Times Square Sephora; this particular bottle is from a Penn Station Duane Reade. I don’t know why I remember this, but I do. I ran in to get a new powder compact and just grabbed whatever interesting things I saw on my way to the register. This polish was one of them! I got some GOSH polishes at the same time. And I didn’t miss my train!



I like this polish, and I liked the formula enough that I’d buy it again if it ever turned up in Florida. I admit that I don’t know much about this brand, and that’s kind of the whole reason I bought it, I just wanted things I wouldn’t normally find where I live. While I wouldn’t go out of my way to grab another bottle of Prevail, I’d totally get a few more if I had the opportunity. In the meantime, Sinful Colors is good enough for me.

Prevail, given that I’ve never seen it anywhere else, may be a Duane Reade exclusive brand. Check Duane Reades in New York to buy them.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Blood on the Moon

Happy Saturday! I’m excited to bring you a weekend swatch again, because I feel guilty for taking so many weekends off from blogging. This Saturday we’re taking a look at Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Blood on the Moon; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite. Photos this week were taken indoors under LED lighting, because of course it’s cloudy today.





Blood on the Moon is a red-orange holo polish with purple shimmers. Application was very easy; the product consistency was very smooth and buttery. The first coat was just translucent enough to warrant a second coat. The holo effect is very visible under LED lights. It dried quickly and with a satin finish; I used top coat for shine.



This polish is the first in a BEGL Halloween collection based on the film Practical Magic. BEGL Halloween collections — and holiday collections in general, really — are wonderful because they aren’t obviously tied to the holiday, and I love that. I’m wearing Halloween polish in April, and nobody would know it unless I told them. This polish is a deep and beautiful orange, perfect for any season and not just autumn.




Blood on the Moon has been discontinued by Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer; other BEGL polishes are available in their online shop.

I bought this polish myself.

HPB Presents: Spring Hibiscus

Hello hello, reader! Today’s a special Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up post. Every month we get together and do a themed mani, and the theme for March is spring. The mani can be as simple or elaborate as we like as long as it fits the theme; as a personal challenge, I try to use polishes I haven’t used before. For this look, I used Elevation Polish‘s The Merchant’s Son, Ellagee‘s Breena, Essie’s Tart Deco and Sunday Funday, L’Oreal’s New Money and Hyde Park, and Revlon’s Sunlit Grass and African Tea Rose, all topped with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

Of course, flowers are the harbingers of spring, and as beautiful as they are, I didn’t want to do a floral mani for spring because I knew everyone else would be doing it. I did it anyway. Boyfriend and I are very into tropical plants, and we wanted to make our backyard space even more tropical, so we got a few new hibiscus plants. I snapped a photo of this beautiful peach hibiscus, and I knew I had to make a mani out of it. Boyfriend is also quite the connoisseur of Hawaiian shirts, and this look is inspired by those as well.


I started this look out with two coats of The Merchant’s Son, three on some nails where it was still a bit translucent. The Merchant’s Son is a thermal, but you can’t really tell under all the flowers. I didn’t even bother to show the thermal effect in action because it would be impossible to see. I picked a thermal because my original idea was to use a gradient. I also used a thin coat of Breena — that’s where the flakie holo comes from — just to add a bit of sparkle. When you can see the thermal effect of The Merchant’s Son, it shows right through Breena. The addition of Breena was probably unnecessary, but I needed one more polish to make an even eight.



I did the leaves before I did the flowers, but I did them exactly the same way; instead of brushing the polish on, I stippled it on with a dotting tool. I don’t know what it is, but I’m much more comfortable with the dotting tool as a method. Brushing never works for me. I have small nail beds, and often the brush feels too large or unwieldy, even when my nails are quite long. For this reason, there’s not a lot of intricate detail in the foliage and flowers; I took a cruder colorblock approach to this. I stippled the leaves on — two colors for variety — and then the flower petals, and then the pistils and stamens. For reference, I used Nailstorming’s hibiscus nail art tutorial video. I actually picked my colors before I sought out the video, and I love that we both chose pretty similar colors.



This was my first attempt at this kind of nail art, and I’m happy with how it came out. It’s rough, sure, but I didn’t screw it up or anything, you can tell what it’s supposed to be. It’s super in your face. Boyfriend accused them of being stick-on nails and that was kind of satisfying. I got to use a whole eight unused polishes, that’s pretty nice too.



The truth is, spring came long ago to Florida. I know other parts of the country are still thawing out, but we’ve been enjoying it for some time now. That’s kind of the reason I didn’t want to do a spring flower mani, I was just so over spring flowers that I just wanted something summery and fun, something that really reflects Florida in March. Speaking of which, here’s some sunlight photos! The holo, or what you can see of it, looks amazing out here. I’m not sure if the Elevation or the Ellagee is my favorite of this look, but they look so beautiful together I couldn’t possibly choose.




Here’s a product roundup, just for reference. I rarely do this, but I rarely use so many polishes for one mani.


Elevation Polish has discontinued The Merchant’s Son, but you can find their other polishes in their shop. Breena also appears to be discontinued by Ellagee; other polishes are sold in their shop. Revlon, L’Oreal, and Essie are sold in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.
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Manicure Monday: Orange Crush

Happy Monday! Orange is the word of the day here. This mani is all about big color and flakies. For this look, I used Sally Hansen’s Heat Flash, Digital Nails‘s Crush Leaves Not Dreams, and Seche Vite top coat.



Heat Flash is a fantastic polish, though mine is aged and had to be thinned quite a lot prior to today’s use. Despite that, the opacity and color intensity are still as great as ever. This is a bottle I’ve been enjoying for many years now; it’s one of the best oranges I have in my collection. My only gripe is with the double-wide brush; I’ve never been able to use it without making a mess of my fingers.




I didn’t want to cover such a bold and fun color, only accentuate it, so I wanted to go with a flakie topper. It took a long time to find the right one, and I’m not sure if Crush Leaves Not Dreams was the right choice, but I kind of like how it came out anyway. Crush Leaves Not Dreams is a slightly-shimmered clear-based topper with these magical rose-to-gold-to-green flakies. I don’t know how else to describe them — other than voodoo — because they’re unlike any flakie I’ve ever encountered. They’re chunky and more substantial than the iridescent flakies we love, but not to the same degree UCC flakies are. These are just so unique and magnificent. The shift occurs easily and looks great over this orange base. I added studs for extra accents, just because I can’t stand it when all the nails look exactly the same.






Here are some sunlight photos! Crush Leaves Not Dreams looks amazing outdoors. Usually my camera freaks out over orange polishes in the sun, but I think these turned out well. The blue/purple shimmer gets overwhelmed, but the flakies look great.







Sally Hansen seem to have discontinued Heat Flash and the Insta-Dri line; other Sally Hansen products are sold in stores nationwide. Crush Leaves Not Dreams was a small-batch polish and is sold out; other Digital Nails polishes are available in their etsy shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: OPI’s Y’all Come Back Ya Hear?!

Welcome back! Swatch Sunday is a fun one this week, because I don’t think I’ve worn a jelly polish alone. This is OPI’s Y’all Come Back Ya Hear?; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.




Y’all Come Back Ya Hear? is a tangerine jelly polish. Application was easy; though I admit I took extra care with this polish to avoid streaks and bald spots. The first coat, obviously, was thin, and though color strength built, it never turned fully opaque. The product consistency is good; it’s thicker than one might expect for a jelly. The polish dried quickly and with a glossy finish. I added top coat for extra shine.


So I remember getting this and a few of the other jellies from the Texas collection and being really disappointed when they were so sheer. Even now that I know what jellies are and what they can be used for, I still feel a bit naked wearing something this sheer on its own. The coverage is actually better than I thought it would be, but it still feels like something is missing. I have that feeling like my nails aren’t polished, but they totally are. I was really afraid of messing up this polish, because jellies aren’t very forgiving if you smudge or dent them; I wouldn’t be able to just add an extra coat and hide it. My favorite thing about this polish is the shine, because it’s wicked smooth and shiny on its own, so shiny it probably doesn’t even need a top coat. I guess maybe trading some opacity for a ton of shine isn’t such a bad deal.



Y’all Come Back Ya Hear? has been discontinued by OPI. Other OPI polishes are sold in stores nationwide; I got this one from Ulta back in the day.

I bought this polish myself.


Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Sunburned Siren

It’s Saturday, and you know what that means: it’s time for a BEGL swatch! I’m excited about today’s swatch, because it’s an installment in Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Siren series. These limited edition polishes are some of the most-sought after BEGLs because they’re as scarce as they are gorgeous. This was also supposed to be swatched when my camera broke over the summer, so I’m happy to finally be wearing it! This is the second-ever Siren, Sunburned Siren. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.





Sunburned Siren is a creamy orange polish with gold shimmers. Application was really easy; the first coat was sheer, but even, without patches or streaks. I had full opacity in two coats. The golden shimmers appear in every lighting condition, though some do appear orange, given the sheer nature of the base. The polish dries quickly and with a glossy finish; I used top coat for extra shine and protection.



Sunburned Siren made her debut in September 2014, but she’s still very summery. The color itself is beautiful; I love orange and I think it doesn’t get enough play. The gold shimmer breathes life into it. The pigmentation is sheer enough that the shimmers from previous coats shine through, adding dimension. This polish is amazing. I’m always impressed when I remember the little details like this were planned, not created by accident.



I took some photos in the sunlight, just to see how to shimmers play in direct sunlight. The shimmer is pretty versatile in this regard; there are a few more shimmers than usual visible, but it’s not that big of a change. Also, I got an okay macro there. Sorry my pool is green.





Sunburned Siren is, unfortunately, no longer available, as it was a numbered limited edition. Other BEGL polishes are available from their online shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday: My True Love Creations’s Apple Crush

Swatch Sunday, at last! The polish I’m wearing this week is something new and interesting to me; I actually got this little mini as a gift-with-purchase from another blogger’s destash sale. After a little bit of homework, I found out that it’s from a new-to-me brand called My True Love Creations. I’m excited to learn about them! The polish I’m sharing today is called Apple Crush; I’m wearing three coats of Apple Crush with one coat of Seche Vite. All photos are taken outdoors in direct sunlight.


You may also notice my nails took a trip to Chopsville this weekend. Yep. So sad.



Apple Crush is a orange-leaning red polish with holographic shimmer. Application was easy: the product consistency is good; it’s a little on the thin side, but doesn’t have any thin-polish problems like flooding or streaking. It is on the sheer side; it took me all three coats to achieve this opacity. It dries quickly and with a semi-glossy finish. I added top coat for extra shine and protection.




I’m pretty impressed with this little polish. I have to confess, I didn’t expect much since I didn’t know too much about it, but I’m really pleasantly surprised. The polish is gorgeous in its sparkly simplicity; while holos these days are these intense sparklers, this one takes a step back and offers just enough. It’s kind of refreshing actually.



Apple Crush and other My True Love Creations polishes are available from their etsy shop.

I did not buy this polish, but it was not sent by the maker for review.