HPB Presents: Project Orion

Welcome to the Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up for the month of July! Each month, this Facebook group chooses a mani theme; it’s up to the participant to decide how simple or elaborate their mani will be. Anything goes as long as it adheres to the theme! July’s theme is space, and I decided to take my mani in a different direction; I attempted to recreate NASA’s Project Orion insignia in mani form. For this look, I used Monster Polish‘s I was Hoping for Minimalism, but I Think I Came Out With Magician as the base, and the logo was done with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Terrific Twos (the planet), Sally Hansen’s Magenta Moves (the whoosh), and China Glaze’s White on White (the stars). All nails were finished with Seche Vite top coat and Essie’s Matte About You matte coat.




It’s probably no secret that I’m a big spaceflight nerd. I follow rocket launches, planetary science updates, and ISS experiments almost as closely as I follow indie polish releases. When Orion was launched for its first experimental flight test in December 2014, you better believe I was watching it online. It was delayed a few times due to weather violations, and once because there was a boat in the launch zone. I didn’t trust myself to not sleep through it, so I just stayed up for three days. It was really the most exciting thing I’d been since Curiosity landed on Mars.



My interpretation of the logo is a little sloppy, but I think it’s recognizable at the very least. I think the logo is actually pretty clever; the Orion constellation is hidden inside it. My nail wasn’t quite big enough for the whole design, so it’s a little cramped. The Monster Polish I used as the base is the perfect spaceflight blue. I love that the planet depicted is now a mound of glitter. I’m happy, overall, with how it turned out.



Part of the reason I did this mani was to raise awareness of what’s going in modern spaceflight. It’s disappointing to me that more people either don’t know about or aren’t interested in the gains we’ve made in the past few years. There’s so much happening now: science is done on the ISS every day, SpaceX is continually innovating, and missions to Mars — likely on the Orion spacecraft — will be inevitable. This is like near-Disneyland levels of excitement to me.

This is an Orion model at Kennedy Space Center. It was a little more convincing in person.

This is an Orion model at Kennedy Space Center. It was a little more convincing in person.

I was Hoping for Minimalism, but I Think I Came Out With Magician and other Monster Polishes are available in their online shop. Terrific Twos was a BEGL limited edition and has since sold out; other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are for sale in their online shop. Sally Hansen and China Glaze are available in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.
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Manicure Monday: Kinetic Copper

Happy Monday, reader! Remember magnetic polish! I’m bringing it back! Today’s look was done with Sally Hansen’s Kinetic Copper; this is three coats of Kinetic Copper with one coat of Seche Vite.



So we all remember 2011, right? Maybe it was 2012. That time had a lot of really fun and, looking back on them, really questionable nail trends. Magnetics, feather toppers, crackle toppers… It’s so fun to look back on looks like these with what we know now. I wasn’t huge into nail art at that time, and this was way before I discovered indies, so anything new was really exciting. Even with as popular as magnetic polishes were, I’ve still only worn like three of them ever, and that’s why the novelty hasn’t completely worn off for me. I kind of wonder if we’re going to look back on gel-effect polishes and Liquid Sand with the same kind of  dismissal.



Kinetic Copper has the benefit of being a really pretty polish with or without the magnetic effect. As you can see, I only used the magnet on my accent nails; let’s not go too far into the past, shall we? This rich bronze has a lot of copper shimmers floating around in it, so even if you just wear it as a shimmer polish, it’s a really nice look. The magnet deepens the polish to a rich brown, and the wave pattern gives it a cool cats-eye cabochon effect. It’s still cool, even if it is dated.



You can see the magnetic effect best in the sunlight photos. I never get a good even pattern because my nails curve so much; it’s strong in the center and only in the center. It looks fantastic in the sunlight, though, the copper shimmers really come to life out here.





Kinetic Copper and the Magnetic line are discontinued by Sally Hansen; other Sally Hansen polishes are available in stores nationwide.

Swatch Sunday: Sally Hansen’s Magenta Moves

Welcome back, reader! It’s Sunday, so it’s time for swatches! Today’s swatch is an oldie but a goodie, Sally Hansen’s Magenta Moves! I still remember the day I plucked this polish out of a Target sale bin. For this swatch, I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.




Magenta Moves is a bright pink creme polish. Application was a challenge due to the wide Insta-Dri brush. I love the product formula; the pigmentation is excellent, delivering an opaque first coat, but the brush was about as wide as my whole nail and made application somewhat of a mess. The polish itself, though, is very nice. It’s well-pigmented and opaque, and dries evenly and smoothly with a glossy finish. I used top coat for even more shine.



Let’s talk about the stained cuticle. I know you’re looking at it, I can’t stop looking at it, I’m kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. This is the unfortunate downside to the Insta-Dri formula. Because you get such fantastic one-coat coverage and strong color, you’ll also get some staining if you’re not careful. I figured this would happen, so I took all the precautions I could — I slathered my cuticules in oil before I started, and I tried my damnedest to keep the color off my skin to begin with, but because the brush was so wide and my nails are so little that it just happened anyway. And let me tell you, that pink stain was not easy to remove. I used a boatload of acetone and washed dishes, and the only thing that took it off was cuticle remover. It’s really my own fault for having neglected cuticles, but even so, let this be a warning.



Magenta Moves has been discontinued by Sally Hansen; other Insta-Dri polishes and Sally Hansen products are available in stores nationwide.

I bought this polish myself.

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.

Manicure Monday: Pink Spring Mystery

Welcome back, reader! Happy Monday! Today’s manicure was done with a chunky springtime glitter and a mystery polish. Spring is springing in Florida, and I get closer with every pastel polish I wear. For this look, I used Model City Polish‘s Breath of Spring and a Sally Hansen mystery pink, as well as a coat of Seche vite top coat.



Next to knowing that the mystery polish is from Sally Hansen, I know absolutely nothing about it. This is one of my older polishes, a leftover from when I had a terrible habit of peeling the labels off of things. I really did a number on this one; I’ve stripped it of anything identifiable. I also remember buying this polish to match a pair of glasses I was wearing at the time. Despite everything, I actually really like this polish, and it’s a shame I can’t tell you anything about it, because I almost want to recommend it. The product consistency is on the thin side, and it took three coats to reach full opacity, and it took ages to dry… Maybe I don’t want to recommend it after all. It had the most gorgeous shine after it dried, though. I feel like that’s not very common. Though it was fiddly to apply, it didn’t need top coat at all, and I was really impressed. It’s kind of a shame I covered so much of it up.



Breath of Spring kind of took over this mani. I wanted just a small but concentrated bit of glitter at the base of each nail, but because of the variety of shapes and colors of glitter, it looked uneven, and by the time I got the look I wanted, it took up half the nail. I think it’s still a cool look; the glitter comes in bright but seasonal colors, and there’s just a hint of holographic goodness in the base. It’s a beautiful topper that would look fantastic over anything. I really enjoy this combination.



Breath of Spring has been discontinued by Model City; other Model City Polishes can be found in theiretsy shop. Sally Hansen, and maybe even this polish, can be found in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Nicole by OPI’s Love Your Life

Happy Sunday, reader! My swatch today is of a polish I’ve had for a long time. This was 2009 or so, long before indie polish came into my life. I had ten dollars to burn and I was at Ulta. I found a polish with heart glitter in it and the rest is history. This is Love Your Life from Nicole by OPI; I’m wearing one brushed coat over OPI’s Don’t Bossa Nova Me Around (taupe), Ciaté’s Sugar Plum (lavender), and Sally Hansen’s Kelp Yourself (green), as well as one coat of Seche Vite top coat.





Love Your Life is a clear-based glitter topper with matte pastel pink heart glitters and a mix of fine iridescent hex glitters. Application was okay; the base is thick — unsure of whether this is due to formula or to age — and the bigger glitters tended to sink and had to be fished after. The iridescent glitters distribute well, at least. The hearts are a bit difficult to control with the brush; I kind of just brushed them on and left them where they landed. Though the product consistency was thick, it dried quickly, and with a glossy finish. I added top coat for protection and shine.


You probably already have some fun dainty pink heart glitter polishes already from an indie, and if you do, you don’t need this polish. If you don’t, though, I do recommend it. It’s pretty simple, it’s just hearts and iridescent glitter, but I think it works. It’s annoying that the hearts are a little hard to get out, but it’s actually a good thing because you can control how many you want. You can make a mani as wild or as demure as you like. It also goes well over most colors, because it’s so light and pink. I actually really like it over these pastel cremes; when I swatch, I like to use some constrasting colors to make the swatch visually appealing, as well as show it some colors it might not normally be used over. I had to go for pastels this time, though, because it’s got that perfect Valentine’s candy vibe.



Love Your Life and other Nicole by OPI polishes are available at Ulta and other stores nationwide.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Sweetie

Happy Monday, reader! Here’s my mani this week. I used a textured polish alone, so it’s simple. It’s Sweetie from Sally Hansen; I’m wearing three coats without top coat.



Sweetie is a flat yellow textured polish. There’s no glitter or shimmer; it’s just a yellow creme with bumps. I really like the color; I like these cool light yellows a lot. I’m having a hard time getting into the texture, though, like is it truck bed liner, or is it polish? Don’t get me wrong, I like the way the texture feels, but the look is just lacking. The absence of glitter just makes it look like thick nasty polish.



I’m trying to make the best of it. Honestly, I don’t hate it or anything. I just had really high hopes for this polish. I wanted more. I at least wanted sparkles.



Sally Hansen polishes are sold nationwide. My bow charm is from Claire’s.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Nighttime Blizzard

Happy Monday, reader! Welcome to this week’s manicure. My look this week is simple but striking. I used Sally Hansen’s Blazing Blue as the base, Digital Nails‘s Winter is Coming for the glitter accents, and one coat of Seche Vite to finish it off.



Blazing Blue is a polish I’ve had a long time. You can’t tell from the photos, but this bottle is about half-full. Of course, this was a well-loved polish back when I only had 20 bottles or so; this is one of the stalwart veterans from when I first started my collection. This is actually the first time I’ve used it in a couple of years. I must admit, however, I hated using it today. First, I had to thin it, because it was a goopy mess when I first opened it. I also hate the Insta-Dry brush; it’s too wide for my small nails, and so I didn’t get a good application. Even worse, the formula is really smudgy; when I applied the glitter, some blue came off on the brush and left some holes in the color. Some smudged on the glitter, too. When I cleaned up my cuticles, I had so much smeared blue on my hands it looked like a pen exploded. I still couldn’t get some of it off, and my cuticles are still a mess. Cleanup took ages. I love this color, but it was such a hassle to use today.



Winter is Coming is amazing. It is packed with white and various colors of blue glitters in a myriad of shapes. There are also some rose-gold glitters in there that I didn’t notice until today. It all comes together in a light blue jelly base. Some of the glitters are the same color as the base, but that’s kinda cool; you see the glint without being able to see where it comes from. The lighter ones stand out very well. It’s a great glitter topper and I suspect it would look fantastic over anything.



You guessed it — my DSLR is still out for repairs. I took it to a local repair shop, and they ended up having to send it to Canon. So yeah. I do apologize; I had no idea it would be gone this long, and I’m dying to start swatching again. I’ve got so many polishes I want to use, and so many I thought I would have gotten to by now that are just sitting on my desk. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer.

I bought all these polishes myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Get Too Close to the Flame

Happy Saturday! We’re finally caught up on swatches from last week, so let’s look at some new ones! Today’s swatch is a special-edition glitter topper from Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer called Get Too Close to the Flame. I’m wearing one coat over Revlon’s Bare Bones, Essie’s Good Morning Hope, and Sally Hansen’s Kelp Yourself, as well as one coat of Seche Vite top coat.





Get Too Close to the Flame is a clear-based topper with glitters in shades of pink and orange and various sizes (including stars), as well as a fine pink shimmer throughout. Application went well; the glitters spread evenly, though I did employ a bit of dabbing/placing to cover bare spots and spread out the glitters that clumped together. There was no extra cuticle-flooding lacquer, and the base was the right consistency to support the glitter without being too thick or goopy. Drying times were quick, and it dried with a smooth texture and glossy finish. I added top coat for extra smoothness and shine.



This is a summer polish for sure. The color is bright and bold, even if it’s not that colorful, and the variety of shapes and sizes make it interesting to look at. I love the big dots and tiny stars, the hexes large and small. I love the pink shimmer and its perfect amount of sparkle. I love that it looks fantastic over any polish, soft or bright. This is the first BEGL topper I’ve worn in months, and I forgot how nice they are.



Get Too Close to the Flame was a limited edition and is no longer for sale. Other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer polishes are for sale in the BEGL shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Black Holo Marble

Hello, reader! This week’s Manicure Monday is a doozy, if I may say so myself. Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Discontinued Limited Edition makes a beautiful watermarble and I can’t stop staring at it. The watermarble was done with Sally Hansen’s Black Out. Other nails show Discontinued Limited Edition alone at two coats. All nails are topped with Seche Vite top coat.



I’ve swatched Discontinued Limited Edition in the past, so be sure to check out that post if you want to know the details. What I didn’t expect then was that it would work so well for watermarbling. It spreads easily and quickly, even better than the black creme polish. The Spectraflair and orange shimmers mingle with the creme, which gives an all-over holo effect. I planned to use a Spectraflair top coat and ended up not needing it. This, with Black Out’s perfect opacity and consistency, made for a painless and gorgeous watermarble.




I hadn’t even planned the watermarble today. I was going to try my hand at galaxy nails for the first time, and I couldn’t get it right. It was terrible! I either got too much polish or not enough, got too much coverage or not enough, and just made a big mess. After three misfires, I give up and did a watermarble because it was easier. Easier! What universe is this?



And of course it’s pouring down rain today, because why wouldn’t it be? The holo effect is a little dull in these first few photos. I used the flash in the next few, because I really needed to show you the full holo effect. It shines right through the black marbling and I cant. stop. staring.





I’ve got to do this more often. I try not to use the polishes I love, especially when they’re as aptly-named as this one. I thought I was going to use a lot more polish, but because I only marbled two nails on each hand, I lost way less than I expected. I can’t get over how well it spread in the water, also. I want to see how other indie holos, BEGLs in particular, marble with cremes. Have I been bitten by the watermarbling bug again? Perhaps!

I bought these polishes myself.