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: Strawberry Banana Swirl With Sprinkles

Happy Monday, reader! I did a great time doing today’s manicure, and I hope it shows! For this look, I used OPI’s I Just Can’t Cope-acabana and Live, Love, Carnaval with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Get Too Close to the Flame. All nails are topped with one coat of Gelous. Because of a chip that occurred in the polish between photography sets, I’ll be showing you the daylight photos first. These were taken in direct sunlight outdoors.



I Just Can’t Cope-acabana has been on this blog a lot lately; I’ve used it as the undies for glitters on at least three different swatches, and I’ve used it so much that it’s starting to show the fill line. Yellow can be hard to work with sometimes, what with the streaking and failure to level itself, and this is no exception, but it’s a really nice color. It’s a pretty neutral yellow and works with just about everything. I love the way it looks here with Live, Love, Carnaval; I didn’t think to pair these two until the last minute, and I like the way they look together. I mean, they should, they came from the same Brazil collection. They set each other off in just the right way, and they both marbled like a dream.



So let’s talk about the chip on my index finger. I have no idea what caused it, only that it appeared sometime taking the daylight photos and taking the indoor photos. I’m pretty sure it’s a problem caused by Gelous. I know it’s not really meant to be used as one, but I ran out of Seche Vite and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get another bottle. It’s incredibly frustrating, because it takes a century to dry on its own and I keep smudging it hours after I thought it was dry. I miss Seche Vite so much.



I’ve watermarbled before, but this is the first time I’ve tried the horizontal swirl; usually I stick to the flower or the pinwheel. I don’t think it looks too bad. I think I used too many rings, or maybe I made too many strokes in the polish, but it can be pretty tough to tell the colors in the marble apart; from far away, it just looks orange. I still like it, though.



Get Too Close to the Flame works so well with I Just Can’t Cope-acabana that I couldn’t not use it. It was actually the first polish I picked out for this mani, and the ideas about the pink and the watermarble came later. I kind of struggled with how to use the glitter, since I still really wanted to, and I ended up just doing one allover coat with it, even over Live, Love, Carnaval, where there isn’t much constrast and all you see is some shimmer and faint glitter shapes. It’s a fun look, I think. Over the yellow, it’s bright and cheerful, over the pink it’s mysterious, and over the marbling, the word that comes to mind for me is planetary. It reminds me of the swirls around the red spot of Jupiter. It pleases me.



I got I Just Can’t Cope-acabana and Live, Love, Carnaval from Sally Beauty Supply. I got Get Too Close to the Flame from the Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer online shop; it’s been discontinued.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Neon Satisfaction

Manicure Monday is here again! I kind of can’t believe how fun my manicure is today. It’s adorable and obnoxious, but I think it’s a great combo, if I may say so. For this look, I used American Apparel’s Neon Violet with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Self-Satisfied, along with Seche Vite top coat and Ciaté’s Mattenificent matte top coat.



So I’ve swatched a bunch of American Apparel neon polishes, and I have to say, they’re some of the best I’ve ever used. They have great coverage and they don’t require a white base for their neon-ness. The only downside is that they’re not always 3-free; this one contains formaldehyde. It’s a great polish, though. I love the color, brightness, and product formula. When I picked this for Manicure Monday, I knew I needed something equally as fun and bright to balance it out.



Self-Satisfied is one of my most-used glitter toppers. I’ve used it in three different manicures now and it’s about half-empty. It looks fantastic over everything, though I love it best over bright colors, especially orange. I love to pair complementary colors, so I knew this would be best for the Neon Violet. Not all of the colors in the glitter work well over the base; it’s hard to see the red hearts and dark pink hexes, but I still like the match. I really love the way this turned out.



The only real downer to this manicure is the matte top coat. I’ve used Ciaté’s Mattenificent matte coat a couple times now, and I don’t know if it’s user error or not, but it kind of sucks. I mean, it does a great job being matte; look at how velvety the color is. What’s not cool, though, is how it splits. It makes these lines like crackle polish. Also, for some unknown reason, it created these white marks on my nails. Look at my pinky nail. Where did those come from? There was no white polish used in this manicure, so why there are there white spots? I actually had white brush strokes on my thumb. Here’s the kicker: the super glue I used to secure the studs left a bit of shine, so I put down another coat of Mattenificent; the white spots and lines went away. Seriously? They didn’t all go away, obviously, but the unsightly white brush strokes on my thumb are gone, as well as some other marks on other fingers. I am just so confused. At least the mani looks fine, that’s what counts! Here are some outdoor photos, taken in direct sunlight:




American Apparel doesn’t seem to sell nail polish anymore, at least not on their website, because I couldn’t find it there. Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer has discontinued Self-Satisfied; other BEGL polishes are available in their shop. Ciaté is available at Sephora. My bow charm is from Claire’s, and I forget where my studs are from. Sorry.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Nina Ultra Pro’s Solar Flare

Hello reader! It’s still Sunday somewhere, so let’s a have a look at this Sunday’s swatch! This is Nina Ultra Pro’s Solar Flare; I’m wearing one coat of Solar Flare over a base of China Glaze’s White on White and with a coat of Seche Vite top coat.




Solar Flare is a highlighter yellow neon polish. It’s one of those translucent neons; even at three coats, it never achieved full opacity, so a white base is imperative with this polish. Because it’s so translucent, one must take care to avoid streaks when applying; because it never becomes opaque, streaks and imperfections are never covered. Product consistency is thin yet manageable. It dried quickly and with a matte finish. I used top coat for shine and protection.



Blogger’s note: Let me preface this by saying that since this is an older bottle, I may have an older formula. Newer bottles may have a newer, improved formula. However, since this is what I have, this is what I’ll review. I’ll just go ahead and say it: this is not my favorite neon. It was just really tricky to work with, and I’m not really happy with the result I got, even when being really careful and meticulous. Even over the white base, I still see streaks, though I didn’t notice them until after I was working through the photos. A second coat over a white base might have done some good. Even though the potential is there for a super neon look — this was way brighter in person, believe me — there are just so many better neons out there, neons that do reach opacity and do not require a white base, this polish is rendered obsolete.

For informational purposes, I’ve included photos without the white base. Here’s three coats of Solar Flare alone and without top coat. I’m not really a fan of this look; it really needs the white to pop and to cover the visible nail line. However, I won’t deny the potential for a neon jelly sandwich.




Solar Flare and other Nina Ultra Pro polishes are sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Darling Diva Polish’s The Pumpkin Queen

Happy Sunday, reader! 2016 is off to a great start, isn’t it? I hope you’re all having a fantasic weekend. Yesterday, we looked a summer polish, and today we’re looking at an autumn polish. From a destash mystery bag, the same one that yielded this beauty, this is Darling Diva Polish‘s The Pumpkin Queen. I’m wearing one coat of The Pumpkin Queen over Nails Inc.’s Eaton Terrace and Baker Street and OPI’s I Just Can’t Cope-acabana, as well as one coat of Seche Vite top coat.




The Pumpkin Queen is a clear-based glitter topper with a mix of glitter that is predominantly matte and metallic orange hexes and metallic green hexes and squares. Though these colors are the focus of the polish, it’s actually quite colorful; there are glitters in red, yellow, and blue, as well as very large purple hexes. The glitters brushed on easily, though sparsely at first. The base consistency is good; it carries the glitter without goop. It dries quickly and with a smooth finish, though the purple hexes don’t lie flat on the nail.



Though the glitter mix is inherently autumnal, wearing this polish in January doesn’t feel completely out of place. Because there aren’t any seasonally-shaped glitters, and because the mix is so colorful, it’s not strictly a fall polish, even though it’s intended as one. I like the blue glitters best; they stand out from the rest of the glitters, but they also make the orange bolder. I really love the purple hexes too, but they feel just a tad out of place. Overall though, I like this polish, even though it’s not something I would have bought myself.



I did a little bit of homework on this polish; it’s a polish from 2012. I don’t even know if I have any others that old, because I didn’t get into indie polish until 2013. How cool, it’s vintage! I also love the printed label, it’s like a bootleg.

The Pumpkin Queen is no longer sold by Darling Diva Polish; other polishes are available from their shop.

I got this polish in a grab bag.



Manicure Monday: Sundown

Happy Monday, reader! This is the last Manicure Monday of 2015. I cannot believe another year has gone by and I’m still blogging. The wacie.com anniversary, as well as the anniversary of Wacie Nail Company, are coming up, and I have some really fun things planned, like new polishes! For now though, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. For this final post of 2015, I’m wearing Pretty & Polished‘s Sundown; this is three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.



Sundown, as you can see, is an orange-to-yellow thermal creme polish with glitters in orange, yellow, and pink. The polish coverage is on the opaque side, so glitters from previous coats don’t show up so well in the finished look. That’s especially true for the orange/cold stage; since the yellow/warm stage is much paler, and the darker glitters do actually show through a little. The transition occurs easily. Application was okay; the creme went on beautifully, but the glitters were few and took some manipulating to get them just right. The polish dries with a satin finish.



I bought this polish in 2015, and I’m actually surprised it still transitions. I’m thrilled with it, really. A lot of the thermals I’ve had that long — even a few I bought more recently — have stopped altogether. I was really unsure of what to expect from it. It’s beautiful, though, isn’t it? It’s so strangely appropriate for this post, and in so many ways: obviously the name is appropriate, since the sun is setting on such an exciting year. Today’s high was 83 degrees, and so the colors are unseasonally seasonal. It’s not a NYE glitterbomb, but it’s a really cool polish to see me through the end of the year.



Sundown is no longer made by Pretty & Polished, but you can find other polishes (thermals!) on both their etsy store and their official website.

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.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Intersecting Lines in the Sand

Swatch Saturday, woo! This Saturday, I’m wearing Intersecting Lines in the Sand from Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite. This first set of photos were taken outdoors in partly cloudy lighting.



This poor label. It looks like it’s been through hell.


Intersecting Lines in the Sand is cool yellow linear holo polish with icy blue shimmers. Application was smooth; it began sheer but built coverage with additional coats. The holo effect, as always, is most beautiful outdoors in direct full sun, but is still pretty in lower lighting. Indoors, the polish is more metallic and the blue shimmers are most visible. It dried somewhat matte; I added top coat for shine and protection.



I really love this polish. I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite from the Far From the Sun collection. I love the golden-ness of it; it’s like the beach and the sun and pineapples cooked down into polish. It’s summery, warm and cool simultaneously, depending on whether you’re inside or outside. It’s perfect. The following photos were taken indoors in the studio; you can see how the color changes and the shimmers become the focus.






Intersecting Lines in the Sand has been discontinued, but other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are available in their shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday: Marc Jacobs Enamored in Lux

Hey reader! Welcome to Swatch Sunday! I might have been looking forward to this swatch since I bought this polish, but it’s been a long time coming; I’ve had this polish sitting on my desk since before my camera broke, and for months I was looking at it and dying to wear it. This is Marc Jacobs’s Enamored in Lux; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.




Lux is a yellow chartreuse creme polish. In some lighting conditions it looks more green than yellow. Application was okay; the polish went on thinly; there was barely any color on the first, okay coverage but some streaky spots left on the second, but by the third, everything had come together for full opacity. I’m actually unsure whether I should be blaming the formula or the brush, because I wasn’t completely fond of the brush, either. It felt short, like there wasn’t enough brush to carry the lacquer. It did, however, dry quickly and with a very glossy finish. Top coat wasn’t necessary at all for shine, but I still used it for extra protection.





Despite the application woes, I really like the polish. It seems like I should have a hundred dupes for it already, but I don’t think I do. It’s not the run-of-the-mill yellowish-green we all have in our stash; it’s too yellow to be a true green and too green to be a true yellow. It’s a perfect blend of both colors. That said, there probably is a cheaper alternative if paying $18 for a bottle of polish isn’t your thing. For this polish, I don’t feel like the quality is completely worth the $18, but I still feel like a Fancy Nancy with it on.



Lux and other Marc Jacobs Enamored polishes are sold at Sephora.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday: Lynnderella’s Chef Kitty

Did I mention how happy I am to be swatching again? I have missed it so much. I know I’m out of practice, so please bear with me while I get back into the swing of it. This Sunday, I’m wearing my first Lynnderella polish, Chef Kitty; I’m wearing one coat over Mac’s Queen’s Honor (red), Essie’s Roarrrrrange (orange), OPI’s I Just Can’t Cope-acabana (yellow), Revlon’s Posh (green), and Nails Inc.’s Baker Street (blue) with one coat of Seche Vite.




Chef Kitty is a shimmery glitter topper with mostly white glitters in various shapes and sizes, as well as accent glitters in various colors and finishes. The maker describes it as an “’everything but the kitchen sink’ approach to cuisine”, and I have to agree with that; the variety of glitters in this polish is staggering. Considering the amount of glitter in this bottle, it spread very well over the nail; I had no trouble getting even coverage at all. It dried pretty well, all things considered. I used to top coat to smooth everything down and really bring out the shimmer in the lacquer base.



I know Lynnderella is old news for most people, but I had to see what the fuss was about and, last March, purchased Chef Kitty. I loved the mental image; I pictured my own fat fluff wearing a chef’s hat and knocking every herb and spice I own into a bowl. I was amazed by this polish and its quality, so impressed that I bought 24 more since then. They’re just so gorgeous! Lynnderella’s been in the indie polish game a long time, but everything they make is still creative and gorgeous.



Chef Kitty is available from Lynnderella’s Storenvy; other Lynns can be purchased via eBay auction.

I bought this polish myself.