HPB Presents: Dragonfruit

Hello, reader! It’s time for June’s installment of the Hobby Polish Bloggers Link-up! Every month, this Facebook group chooses a theme, and the theme for June is fruit! When the theme was announced, dragonfruit was the first thing I thought of, so here are dragonfruit nails! For this look, I used L’Oreal’s Satin Starlet, Digital Nails‘s Valar Morghulis, and P2’s French Kiss, as well as Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You top coats.



I love the flavor of dragonfruit, and vagely knew what it looked like until I was at a luau in Hawaii and found it on the buffet. It was the first time I’d ever eaten actual dragonfruit, and it was amazing. I knew it would be an easy thing to recreate in a manicure, so I went for it.



I started with two coats of Satin Starlet, then added a brushed coat of Valar Morghulis, another coat of Satin Starlet, another coat of Valar Morghulis, and then added the French Kiss tip. French Kiss was more translucent than I thought it would be and you can see some of the black glitter through the tip, but it’s not the worst thing that happened to this mani. With all the coats, it took ages for the polish to be dry enough for the French tip vinyls. I actually did it once, waited an hour, and had the vinyls pull up the polish on every single nail. I got a beer and started over, waiting four hours this time. The pinky peeled off. This time I just peeled the polish off the vinyl and stuck it back on because I was not doing it a third time.



My favorite thing about this look is that, even though it’s clearly inspired by dragonfruit, it’s not immediately obvious if you’re not thinking about it. Without the French tip, it’s just a really creamy monochromatic look; I almost didn’t want to add the tip because I liked it the way it was. Adding the tip is adding a great pop of color. White, black, and pink is probably my favoritest color pairing ever.


Satin Starlet may be discontinued; other L’Oreal polishes are sold nationwide. Valar Morghulis and other Digital Nails polishes are available in their etsy shop (they are currently on hiatus). P2 polishes are sold in Europe.

I bought two of these polishes myself, the other was a gift.
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Swatch Sunday: P2’s Artful

Happy Sunday! I’m happy to bring you today’s post, because I get to show you polish from Europe! I’ve worn P2’s Artful on the blog before, but that was ages ago, and you never got to see the polish on its own. Here’s Artful at three coats with one coat of Gelous gel coat.




Artful is a teal creme polish. Application was easy; the polish is rich and very pigmented, giving me an almost-opaque first coat, and complete opacity in two. I remember this polish staining me the last time, so I made sure to use two coats of base coat (I use Orly Bonder) this time around. The product consistency is very good; it’s very easy to control the polish with the brush. It dries quickly and with a glossy finish; I used top coat for extra shine and protection.



Apart from details about the polish itself, I can’t tell you much else about it. The polish was sent to me by someone in Germany, so I don’t know where to tell you to look for it — other than Germany, obviously — but I recommend it. I don’t know if it’s a 3-free formula, or if the EU even has such a thing, but that doesn’t bother me much. Both the color and the formula are so rich and vibrant that I really wish I could get them more easily. The shade itself isn’t hugely special, but I love using polish from another country, and maybe it’s a good thing it’s not so widely found in the US; I probably wouldn’t like it so much.



Both indoors in the studio and outside in cloudy lighting, this polish looks a lot more turquoise than it does in real life. In real life, it’s darker and greener. Also, my cuticles got a bit stained anyway, despite my best efforts, but that tends to happen with blues and greens in general. Also, and this is likely why, I got stuck trying to clean my cuticles up with non-acetone polish remover, because it was the only thing I had in the house. It didn’t work well at all; the polish didn’t come off, it made my brush feel dry and brittle, and it has this weird cherry cough drop smell. If you see any spots that look bubbly or bumpy around the edges, that’s totally not the polish’s fault.




Artful and other P2 polishes have to be available somewhere. If I knew, I’d tell you.

This polish was a gift. It was not sent for review or consideration.

Manicure Monday: Blue Bomb

For Manicure Monday this week, I pulled out a crackle polish that had been languishing in the collection. For this look, I’m wearing P2’s Blue Bomb over Essie’s Mint Candy Apple, a dusting of China Glaze’s Fairy Dust, and Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro top coat.



I know we’ve seen crackle polishes on the blog before, and each time I’m always conflicted about wearing one; it’s something between “Man, this is super cool” and “Dude, what was I thinking?” I mean, I like the look in general; I always get compliments on crackle polish whenever I wear one out, and I like how unpredictable it is and how two nails never look exactly the same. I feel pretty meh about this look, though. I even tried to dress it up with Fairy Dust, which was a last-minute impulse, and even then it’s like 2010 called and asked for its manicure back.



Individually, I love these polishes. Mint Candy Apple is a nice baby blue creme that was opaque in two coats. Fairy Dust is the most beautiful kind of subtle. Blue Bomb is special to me because it’s from Germany and I got it in an awesome Reddit swap. I normally like it, but today I’m not feeling it so much. I guess that’s a really rude-as-crap thing to say about a gift. Sorry.



Final word: It looked better in my head. It also looks nicer in person, because the glitter is more glittery.

2014 Birthday Nails!

It’s my birthday! I’m not going to do a proper write-up of all the polishes today, I’m just going to show this off because I am way too proud of it.


Here are the polishes I used:
Thumb: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Dawn Breaks
Index: Indigo Banana‘s Moonlight (Clair de Lune)
Cupcakes: P2’s French Kiss, American Apparel’s Neon Pink, Essie’s Fiji, Ciate’s Candy Floss
Pinky: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s If You’re a Seascape

I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s participating in the giveaway! If you haven’t entered yet, you have, of this writing, eight hours left to enter to win two Ciate polishes. The winner will be announced tomorrow! I’m so excited, this is my first giveaway and it is going gloriously well. I can’t wait to do this again.

Swatch Saturday: Black Bird’s Only You

Here’s a polish I’ve wanted to review for a long time. This is a polish I got in a Reddit gift exchange exclusively for makeup and nail polish. My gifter was in Germany, and she sent me a a lot of good German cosmetics. Now I’ve developed a taste for it and I can’t get it in America. Surely this is what hell is like. It’s probably no surprise that I’ve wanted to review this one for a long time. Here it is, finally, in three coats, topped with three coats of Seche Vite.




Black Bird’s Only You is a cool blue creme. I think it’s what Neptune would have looked like if it had just a bit more pigment. The formula is a little on the thin side, but still easy to use and apply. The color goes on evenly and covers well; I used three coats, but I could have gotten away with two. It has a shiny finish when dry, but I’m worried about the wear. This may just have to do with my nails not being long enough to wrap the tips, but I didn’t expect to see worn-down tips this soon after putting it on. Maybe it’s top coat shrinkage. I don’t know. I’m kind of embarrassed to post them like this, but not embarrassed enough to redo them.




Verdict: If you can get your hands on it, I suggest you try it out. I really want more from this brand. The formula is lovely, the coverage is nice, and I adore this bottle design. If you’re German and you like me, please help me get a few more bottles.

Also, for funsies, here it is with accent nails. The glitter is a Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer one-off prototype with white shapes and blue to purple shift. Oh mama.


Manicure Monday: Blue Crackle Over Copper

I was looking forward to this manicure for a while. I bought Essie’s Penny Talk a few months ago, when I was just climbing onto the Essie bandwagon. My boyfriend and I were grocery shopping and I found the supermarket’s small section of nail polish. I flipped and grabbed as many bottles of it as I could hold (like four). My boyfriend caught me, made me put them all back, and literally dragged me away from the shelf. I didn’t put them all back though. I sneaked this one.

I’ve never shown swatches or pre-cleanup pictures on the blog before, but I knew I needed to photograph this one before I finished. I mean, look at this. I didn’t expect this metallic finish at all, and I am blown away by it. I’ve seen the other Essie metallic colors in stores, but I was never interested in them until I put this on. This is just breathtaking.

This is two coats of Penny Talk with no topcoat.

This is two coats of Penny Talk with no topcoat.

Dat shiny.

Dat shiny.

Unfortunately, it’s not very forgiving if you don’t have perfectly smooth nails. I have some nail peeling and dents from peeling off polish, and you can see every ridge and crease through the polish. I’ve never had this happen before. It may be time to invest in a ridge filling base coat, because I plan to buy more of these.

The actual manicure.

The actual manicure.


I know crackle toppers are long over, but I still like them. I like how unpredictable they can be, and how each nail is its own unique, chaotic piece of art. This particular crackle topper was sent to me from Germany, so I’m really excited to finally try it. I really love the way the metallic finish shines through the cracks. The crackle itself dries matte, but when I put the topcoat on, I get this incredible shine from both. I didn’t think I would like a crackle manicure so much.

Essie's Penny Talk, P2's Crackling Top Coat in Blue Bomb. I really love that German sticker on the bottle.

Essie’s Penny Talk, P2’s Crackling Top Coat in Blue Bomb. I really love that German sticker on the bottle.

Manicure Monday On the Road: Birthday Cupcakes

It’s my birthday week, so I’m visiting my boyfriend in Atlanta for the week. Unfortunately, this means I have one photo of my manicure, taken with an iPad. Unfortunately, it means I had to type this blog entry on an iPad as well.

They look kinda melted.

They look kinda melted.

I used a lot of colors in this manicure, as you can see. Here’s a list:

Green: Sally Hansen’s Mint Sprint
Blue: OPI’s Eurso Euro
Pink: P2’s French Kiss
White: Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get
Accent nails: Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES!

Several days before I left, I packed everything I would need for this manicure. I put all five polishes into a bag with my dotting tool, pointed cotton swabs and acetone, striping tape, tweezers, and whatever else I would need to successfully complete this mani. When I started, I ended up peeling off my old mani, which took off a bit of my natural nail, but it also meant I didn’t disturb my boyfriend’s six housemates with bad acetone smell. Also, since it was a mani with rhinestones, it also meant I didn’t have to go through the kitchen hunting for foil or anything like that. So I’d already started on a bad foot. Then when it was time to start the dotting, the dotting tool wasn’t in my bag. I went through it twice, I looked in other bags several times, and it was nowhere to be found. I ended up making all my dots with the end of an unwound paper clip. It definitely shows. While this isn’t some of my best handpainting, it’s not my worst, either. Actually, it may be my best. I’m awful at handpainting.

So, the polishes. Eurso Euro had a really weird smell, somewhat different from the usual OPI smell. Now that I think about it, I have a dark blue P2 crackle with the same weird smell. Do these dark blue pigments just smell differently, or what? It had really nice coverage, and was easy to work with, but that smell. I can’t get past it. The mint green Sally Hansen is an Insta-Dri, so of course it was opaque in one coat and ready to go right away. I didn’t use the P2 for much, other than the cherry on the top of the cupcake, but it’s probably just as nice to work with.

I think the glitter crelly, Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES!, kind of stole the show here. Yes, that’s butterfly glitter you see there, as well as stars in a couple different colors, squares, and hexes. It’s a limited edition polish from Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer, and you only get it by ordering the whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer-inspired collection. Holos aren’t really my style, so they felt bad for me and gave it to me anyway. It’s an excellent polish, and I kind of dislike how exclusive it is, because it’s the best one in the collection, in my opinion. If you want in on this or any of their other polishes (you do), here’s the link to the BEGL store.

I really hate typing on an iPad, so I guess I’ll end it here. See you guys when I get back from vacation!

Manicure Monday: Gold Leaf Over Green

So here’s another bandwagon I missed by a year or so: the gold leaf top coat. Yes, that’s real 18k gold on my nails. It was part of my splurge binge the other month, when I scooped up all the polish and things I’d wanted for months but was too broke to buy. I was so happy to finally use it this week! The green color I used this week is actually from Germany. I got it in a Reddit makeup and nail polish gift swap last summer. She sent me a bunch of eyeshadow and a four bottles of German nail polish. I’ve had this stuff for a year, and I’ve just gotten around to using it.


Overall, I like this look. I feel kind of bad; this is one of the most expensive nail products I own, and even though P2 is impossible to find in the US, it probably costs like €2 in Germany. I love it though. I love all kinds of products from around the world, and this is no exception. It’s worth it to me to pair it with the gold leaf.

P2's Artful, Zoya's Gilty 18k real gold top coat

P2’s Artful, Zoya’s Gilty 18k real gold top coat

The best comment I’ve gotten on these so far? “I see a retarded brachiosaurus on your middle finger.”