Monday, March 30, 2020

Polish Pickup April 2020 Aquatic Wonder Swatches and Reviews

*press samples*



Hi guys! I hope the physical distancing has been going ok for you. I know this is a tough time for everyone, but at least we can come together to support other small indie brands through Polish Pickup. I may not be able to purchase quite as much as I usually do, but I will definitely be getting a handful of items. 

This month's theme is Aquatic Wonder which is near and dear to my heart having done my Ph.D on the microorganisms in aquatic ecosystems. New to PPU? If so, here's how it works:

Definitely join the Polish Pickup Facebook Group. You don't necessarily need to actively participate in the group, but it will give you a look at the polishes that will be available in the coming month. PPU themes are chosen by the people, often a few months in advance (brands need time to find their inspiration and test their polish). Any indie brand that has been around for at least a year can participate and each has their own specific inspiration picture and polish for that month. All you need to do is go to the Polish Pickup site during the pre-order window (the first Friday-Monday of the month) to make all of your purchases of these exclusive polishes. There's no need to pay for multiple shipping charges; since this is a pre-order, all polishes get sent to Polish Pickup and they send you the polishes you ordered. Yup, it's that simple. Oh, and shipping is a flat-rate of $3 to the US (more for international and they just had to increase the pricing to Canada). Recently they also opened a UK site which you can find here. Since all orders are pre-orders, shipping will take place about 3 weeks after the end of the pre-order.

PPU starts Friday, April 3rd at 11:00 AM ET and ends on Monday, April 6th at 11:59 PM (but if a polish has a cap and sells out before the end of the pre-order, it's gone, unless you get lucky and the cap gets raised...which is rare) on the PPU website.

The website is currently open for wishlisting, so go check out this month's offerings STAT. Time for swatches!


Monday, March 16, 2020

OPI Spring 2020 Mexico City Swatches and Reviews

*press samples*


Hi guys! It's been a hot minute since I've reviewed a proper mainstream brand (I consider Zoya to be a bit on the cusp). Influenster sent over 6 polishes from the newest OPI Spring Collection which was inspired by the bright colors of Mexico City. I also have some other nail and cuticle care items from OPI to share with you that can amplify your manicures. 

These are all available now at your local Ulta store or online for $10.50 each, so get some of that retail therapy on while we're stuck inside a bit for the coronavirus. And I'll just leave it at that. We're here to look at some pretty polishes and have some positivity in our lives. Shall we see some swatches? 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Zoya Sensual Fall 2019 Collection Swatches and Reviews

*press samples*


I know, I am so behind on my Zoya swatches. Eep! The good news is that Zoya rarely discontinues their polishes, and these are all still available on their website. I'll be working on my backlog to get back up-to-date. Oh, and I looked EVERYWHERE for my bottle of Vesper, but it's gone forever. I sincerely apologize for this; please feel free to Google this shade to see if you'd like to buy it. It's a super pretty color, so I am going to purchase it during the next sale for completionist reasons. The Sensual Collection is a 12-piece set that features cremes and metallics that are perfect for any time of year, not just fall. As you guys know, Zoya collections are large, so this is going to be picture-heavy, so we need to get to swatches. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Polish Pickup March 2020 Ancient History Swatches and Reviews

*press samples*


Hi guys! It feels like 2020 is flying by. Can you believe it's March? The weather has been nuts here; one day it snowed, and a couple days later it was in the 60s. Oh, and some trees are blooming already as well as the daffodils. I just got back from Baltimore for work (FYI nothing is blooming there) and I'm exhausted. Other than that, it's been pretty quiet here for the past couple weeks. Tonight I have a few products from Noodles Nail Polish and Starlight and Sparkles for this month's Polish Pickup. The inspiration for this month is Ancient History, and my wishlist, yet again, is a mile long. New to PPU? If so, here's how it works:

Definitely join the Polish Pickup Facebook Group. You don't necessarily need to actively participate in the group, but it will give you a look at the polishes that will be available in the coming month. PPU themes are chosen by the people, often a few months in advance (brands need time to find their inspiration and test their polish). Any indie brand that has been around for at least a year can participate and each has their own specific inspiration picture and polish for that month. All you need to do is go to the Polish Pickup site during the pre-order window (the first Friday-Monday of the month) to make all of your purchases of these exclusive polishes. There's no need to pay for multiple shipping charges; since this is a pre-order, all polishes get sent to Polish Pickup and they send you the polishes you ordered. Yup, it's that simple. Oh, and shipping is a flat-rate of $3 to the US (more for international and they just had to increase the pricing to Canada). Recently they also opened a UK site which you can find here. Since all orders are pre-orders, shipping will take place about 3 weeks after the end of the pre-order.

PPU starts Friday, March 6th at 11:00 AM ET and ends on Monday, March 9th at 11:59 PM (but if a polish has a cap and sells out before the end of the pre-order, it's gone, unless you get lucky and the cap gets raised...which is rare) on the PPU website.

The website is currently open for wishlisting, so go check out this month's offerings STAT. Time for swatches!








Noodles Nail Polish Armored (3 coats)
Price: $11.50
Cap: None
Inspiration: Greek Spartan helmet


The first polish comes from Noodles Nail Polish and it's a classic combination from Natalie. Armored is a beautiful light blue crelly base with copper shimmer/glitters, and caramel/gold metallic and holo glitters. You can really tell that it's not just a plain mix of gold glitter here. I used 3 thin coats for my photos, and it did dry with some texture due to the glitters, as usual. If you want a glassy smooth finish, use a thick topcoat, or a second coat of a thinner one and make sure to wrap your tips so there is no shrinkage. Love it! 









Starlight and Sparkles Clio, Muse of History! (3 coats)
Price: $12.50
Cap: 150 bottles US, 15 UK
Inspiration: The Muses were the nine daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, a Titan and the goddess of memory.  They were goddesses of knowledge and the arts, each having a particular domain.  Clio is considered “the proclaimer, glorifier and celebrator of history, great deeds and accomplishments,” so I couldn’t think of a better choice for Ancient History!  (Also, in high school, my friend and I dressed up as Clio and Calliope for a presentation in our Ancient History class, so I couldn’t pass up doing Clio this month!)
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Issa always includes background information for her offerings which I always find interesting. I want to know why a maker chose what they did! This month she chose Clio, the muse of history, and daughter of Zeus. Clio, Muse of History! is a slightly off-white crelly base with blue, gold, and white opaque and iridescent flakes.  This polish is a crelly with a somewhat thicker formula, so I recommend giving a minute or two between coats to minimize the chance of any dragging, and tip wrapping to reduce the possibility of shrinkage with quick dry top coats (this is a regular issue with jellies and crellies for some folks, while some almost never experience shrinkage with jellies or crellies). I don't often get much shrinkage, but if you do, make sure to wrap those tips and keep it to thin coats. I had no issues with the formula or application, but Issa included that info so it may prove helpful for some. I used 3 thin coats for my photos, and while you doubt it will build up after applying the first coat, trust me, it will. The first coat is always on the sheer side. It dried with no texture and was easy to remove. I'm really loving the blue and gold look to this one!

Starlight and Sparkles IPU Offerings












Starlight and Sparkle Dinosaur Charm and Page Marker set
Price: $13.00
Cap: 40 sets available


I have a feeling that this one is going to sell out quickly. Who doesn't love dinosaurs and reading? They're basically my husband's favorite things. These use rectangular paper clips, a stainless steel lobster clasp, silver plated charms, and glass beads that glow green in the dark. The glow-in-the-dark thing really surprised me, but I couldn't get a good picture of it. Due to the shape of the paperclip, the charms can’t freely slide all around the paperclip, and these type of paperclips are quite secure, able to reliably hold quite a few sheets, and they’re less likely to leave paperclip imprints in the page they’re attached to. There are six page markers and one clippable charm in this set. The charm is a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. The page markers, going from left to right, and then down each row are: a Brachiosaurus, a Brontosaurus/an Apatosaurus (more on that below), an Allosaurus, a Parasaurolophus, a Stegosaurus, and a Triceratops.  What is your favorite dinosaur? I'd have to say mine is an Ankylosaurus, an armored dinosaur. 

The TL;DR is: Brontosaurus was a thing, then it was decided they were actually Apatosaurus, now it’s back up in the air. It's like the Pluto being demoted to a dwarf planet thing all over again! The longer explanation (if you’re curious!) is this:

The Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus – a sauropod skeleton was found and given the genus Brontosaurus in 1879. In 1903, the argument was made that the genus Brontosaurus wasn’t different enough from the earlier genus Apatosaurus to be its own genus. The general consensus ended up in favor of a single genus, and so the three existing Brontosaurus species kept their species names, but their genus was changed to Apatosaurus. In 2015, an extensive study of the Diplodocidae family of sauropods was done, with the researchers involved concluding that the Apatosaurus genus had species with enough distinct differences to merit an additional genus, bringing back the genus Brontosaurus. The scientific community has not reached a consensus on whether to maintain Apatosaurus as one genus, or to split off some members into Brontosaurus. So basically, that charm represents Apato/Bronto species whose genus is currently in question.

So there you have it, folks! My guess is that you'll need to go ahead and put the charm set on your wishlist and check out quickly because it will sell out. Don't forget, the sale goes live this Friday. The website is open right now for wish listing, so make sure to check it out and get your orders in early. What do you think? Which ones are you picking up? 

*These polishes were provided by the company or PR representative. All reviews are based solely on my opinion. For more information, please see my full disclosure at the bottom of the site*

Friday, February 14, 2020

Pretty Beautiful Unlimited Lucky Charms Feb. 2020 Swatches and Reviews

*press samples*


Hi guys! Long time no see! ­čśë Can you believe that St. Patrick's Day is coming up? How is it mid-February already? It's amazing how time flies as you get older. Pretty Beautiful Unlimited has a brand new St. Patrick's Day Trio with a glitter crelly, flakie metallic, and a holo multichrome. I'm loving that Virginia works with a wide variety of finishes.

These are available right now for $11 each (except for Kiss Me which is $10), or get the whole set for the discounted price of $29. Don't forget, there's a 20% off sale going on now on new releases ending at 11:59PM on 2/16. Use code: FEBNR20 at check out. Shall we get a closer look at all these pretties?