Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Favorite (Non-Nail) Thing!

Aside from my obsession with nail care and nail color, I have one other obsession, perfume oils! I've been collecting oils created by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab for over two years, and I absolutely love them! The inspirations behind their scents are unique and creative, and the scents themselves are incredible. The lab is always creating new scents. They celebrate the changing of the seasons, comic book artists, authors, and holidays such as Halloween, Yule, and Lupercalia (during which Valentine's Day falls). That is by no means an exhaustive list of their miriad sources of inspiration. The lab also maintains an enormous general catalogue, and is constantly adding new scents to it, in addition to all their limited edition offerings. Since I began using perfume oils, I've rarely returned to alcohol based scents.

Within the past year or so I have also begun exploring the offerings of other perfume oil retailers. I've had wonderful luck with oils made by Conjure Oils, Arcana Soaps, and Solstice Scents. One recent favorite is Manor Perfume by Solstice Scents. It is a gorgeous vanilla musk warmed by beautiful woodsy notes and sweetened with a vanilla accord. I absolutely LOVE it! I also ordered Thornwood Thicket, and it too turned out to be fabulous! Rich amber and a woodsy incense vibe wonderfully balance the juicy blackberry note. I am so pleased with both scents, and I love the value I get with Solstice Scents perfumes. The perfume oils are packaged in beautifully labeled, cobalt blue glass vials with a roller ball dispenser. Each vial holds approximately 0.35 oz (10ml) of perfume oil, and a little goes a long way! Manor perfume and Thornwood Thicket Perfume are both offered as part of the Solstice Scents Autumn collection. I definitely recommend that you check them out!

If you happen to be interested in more perfume oil reviews, please comment here! I am happy to include reviews of my perfume oil purchases, along with all the nail stuff. I have an order of several bottles from the Halloween update coming from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and if there is interest I will gladly review them here!

In addition, I am still working my way up to 200 followers so I can do a grand Zoya giveaway! I'm still 75 followers shy, so please bring your friends over. I have one set each of Summertime, Sunshine, Smoke, and Mirrors to giveaway! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finally, Zoya Mirrors Swatches!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, especially with the weather. We lost power for quite a while this weekend, when I had intended to get the post online. We were more fortunate than many of those in neighboring states, my thoughts go out to them as they work on recovering.

I've only had time to get photos of the Mirrors collection so far. Hopefully I'll get the Smoke collection taken care of soon! I am still looking forward to doing a big Zoya giveaway in celebration of 200 followers, so send you friends over to have a look and click follow!

On to the pretties :)

First up are Nimue and Marina, which were surprisingly less brush-strokey than I had thought they would be. The formula for both of these was really nice, and I found Marina to be a wonderfully flattering and neutral blue.





Next up are Tao and Yara. I found the formula of Tao to be a bit more problematic than Nimue and Marina. Although all three are similar in finish, Tao's formula was runny and more difficult to work with, which did result in slightly more visible brushstrokes. Yara's formula is wonderful and the finish is amazing. I'm not a big on for greens, but this one is surprisingly flattering and a bit more neutral than most green polishes tend to be.





And last, but certainly NOT least, Neeka and Jem. I am absolutely in LOVE with Neeka. I could absolutely hoard this amazing purple. The formula is fabulous and the finish is stunning (both Neeka and Yara have the same finish). Jem is also quite lovely, but very close in color to one of my earlier favorites, Valerie. I find that I prefer Valerie since the formula applied a bit more smoothly and the finish had a bit more sparkle. Nevertheless, Jem is a lovely color!





Thanks so much for stopping in to check out these gorgeous colors! Keep checking back for news of the giant Zoya giveaway!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Zoya Fall Swatches Coming Soon!

Finally have the Zoya Smoke and Mirrors collections in hand and I'm preparing a swatch wheel and some mani pics. So, photos of these lovelies coming very soon. I also want to give a head-up to my followers. I will be doing a huge giveaway once the blog reaches 200+ followers. I have one set each of Sunshine, Summertime, Smoke, and Mirrors to giveaway! I will be posting more details when I hit 200. Check back soon for swatches, and get your pals to follow so I can reach my goal and celebrate by giving 4 lucky winners some gorgeous Zoyas!

Friday, August 12, 2011

SpaRitual Sacred Ground, Fall 2011

Good afternoon, my darling readers! I know I don't stop in and post as often as I used to, but I am trying to do so with more regularity. I couldn't resist stopping by to share with you one of my newest polish purchases, SpaRitual Sacred Ground, from the Fall 2011 Wilde collection. This one is an instant favorite, top ten material for me. I predict it will be a highly sought after rare polish one day. Although that could just be the crazy polish fanatic in me talking. I think I may hoard multiple bottles though, just to be safe. It is seriously that awesome. Pictures are one coat Essie Grow Richer (trying to combat the remaining peelies from vacation), two coats SpaRitual Sacred Ground, one coat Instant Artificials (for durability), and one coat Poshe.




Outdoors (full sun):



I know these aren't perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. Take it from me, this polish if amazing, and I would recommend it to any of my fellow polish fanatics out there! It would definitely make a fantastic first SpaRitual purchase, so if you haven't tried them before, consider giving them a try!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Hello there readers! I've just returned from vacation. My nails had to be nubbin-ized due to spray sunscreen and sand damage. So in lieu of swatching (won't be doing that for at least another week or two) I thought I'd post about some of my favorite nail, cuticle, and pedicure products. I've been obsessed with nail care and color for nearly 5 years now, so I've definitely amassed a list of products that are must-haves for my mani-pedi tote.

1. Fast-Dry Top Coat: I alternate between three major players: Seche Vite, Poshe, and Out the Door. I love Poshe because it tends to play nicely with some brands (Zoya!) that do not play nicely with Seche Vite. Poshe dries very fast, but I don't find it quite as shiny as Seche. Out the Door is another one that seems to work well across the board, and it doesn't seem to thicken quite as quickly as Poshe or Seche Vite. Last, but not least, is Seche Vite. It was my gateway fast-dry topcoat. It is still the shiniest. It does have issues with thickening quickly, and sometimes I find bubbles unavoidable, but the shine is unbelievable. Seche Vite is NOT big-3-free.

2.Alpha Hydroxy Cuticle Cream: I use either Poshe Cuticle Care or CND Cuticle Eraser. I find them to be evely matched in effectiveness. With everyday use, I rarely find myself needing to use an actual cuticle remover. And I never, ever cut my cuticles!

3. Cuticle Balm: My hands-down favorite is Qtica Intense Cuticle Repair Balm. Super moisturizing, and I love the smell!

4. Cuticle Oil: Again, I have one hands-down favorite, BB Couture For Nails Cuticle Oil. It is a blend of super moisturizing oils and has an amazing fragrance.

5. Ridge Filling Base Coat: Most definitely Zoya Get Even!

6. Nail Strengthening Base Coat: Gelous. Actually my favorite base coat PERIOD. It makes my manicures wear like iron, and it is amazing as an additional layer over glitter to help prevent a bumpy finish.

7. Favorite nail color brand: Zoya. I love the bottle shape, I love the brushes (perfect for my tiny, short nails), and I love the amazing variety of colors. I only wish they'd make a collection of holo colors!

Thanks to all of you for reading! I hope this post encourages you to try some new products and maybe find something new to love!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Winners Have Been Chosen!

Good afternoon everyone! The three winners of my Zoya giveaway have been selected and notified via email. Congratulations to Spider Girl, Laura, and Heather! I hope I have a chance to host other great giveaways in the future!

Here are a couple of quick shots of my current "nail of the day", Zoya Breezi topped with OPI Sparkle Teal Sunrise (an Ulta exclusive).


and super close up!


I wasn't able to truly capture how beautiful this combination is, I think the bling blinded my camera! In real life the base color is a tiny bit more green than it shows in the pics. As always, have a great day and I hope to "see" you soon!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finally, a Giveaway!

It's good to be back to posting! I know you've seen these lovely Zoya summer colors many times in the past few months, but I'm going to share a few quick pics with you since I actually have complete sets of Summertime, Sunshine, and Touch to give away to three lucky readers!

First up is a quick photo I snapped while I had a brief few minutes of hazy sunshine this afternoon. Now the storms are rolling in! This is my current mani, Zoya Mira topped with Zoya Sparkle Gloss.


I absolutely loved how Mira applied. This mani is two coats, and any minor coverage problems were user error, not the polish itself. I'm also currently wearing Sooki on my toes, and I have to admit that I am in love. Any of you who have frequently read this blog know that I adore all things sparkly, glittery, and shimmery. I'm not usually big on creme finish polishes. Sooki, however, is an exception to that rule. It is a nearly perfect one coat color. A true, bright summer red. She isn't too orange or too blue leaning. And so shiny I probably could have skipped top coat, although I didn't.

Here is a quick color wheel shot of all the cremes in the Summertime collection in the following order: Sooki, Tamsen, Kieko, Areej, Mira, Breezi.


Application was excellent on all of these. Only Sooki was a "one coat wonder", but the others were beautiful, even, and opaque with two coats. I really like how all these shades are vibrant enough for summer, but at the same time they have a slightly "dusty" quality. This is a truly beautiful collection. Sooki, Mira, and Breezi are some of my favorite cremes of all time.

Unfortunately, not all polishes can be winners for every individual. While I love the Sunshine collection in theory (vibrant shades with sunshine-y sparkle, what's not to love!), the golden shimmer that is heavily present in all of these shades simply doesn't work well on my skin tone. That's not to say they are all beautiful, just not right for me. Here is a quick color wheel shot in the following order: Apple, Kimmy, Reva, Faye, Rica, Tanzy.


Most of the Sunshine colors are not completely opaque at two coats (Reva and Kimmy being the exceptions), but with a third they have pretty nice coverage. I could still spy a tiny bit of VNL (visible nail line) on Tanzy and Rica with three coats, but not enough to be really bothersome. No one else would ever notice unless you had them examine very closely.

And now, what you've all been waiting for! Details on the giveaway! Zoya has graciously provided me with one set each of Summertime, Sunshine, and Touch to share with three lucky readers. To enter, simply send me an email at hlemonds@gmail.com and tell me what name you would love to see given to a Zoya polish and what it would look like. Each entry will be assigned a number and I will draw the three winners using a random number generator. Each of the three winners will receive one of the above collections. All entries must be received by midnight eastern 7/11 (Monday morning). I will contact the winners directly for mailing information. Please do not include any mailing information in your entry.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Coming Soon!

Hello readers! I am happily returning to the world of blogging. I'm hoping to catch up on all of the new trends and colors that I've missed. I've had a lot of fun playing around with the new-to-me crackle/shatter glazes. My current mani is a gorgeous combination of an oldie-but-goodie (OPI Absolutely Alice) topped with one of the current hot trends (OPI Navy Shatter). My apologies for the less than stellar photo, I am very out of practice. I was also quickly trying to snap this yesterday evening with little sunlight and dying batteries, so take it for what it's worth!

Navy Shatter and AA

I am also very pleased to announce that I will (very soon!) be hosting a Zoya giveaway right here! I owe special thanks to Zoya for being the first polish company to take notice of this tiny blog. This giveaway will be a way for me to celebrate my return to the blog-o-sphere, and I hope you'll participate!