31 August 2011

Nail care: Cuticle remover!

Hello lacquered lovelies! Happy Wednesday! I actually meant for this post to go up yesterday but I clearly actually only had a dream that I scheduled it... what is my life coming to? I dream about getting polishes that I'm lemming, scheduling blog posts and selling arch supports. WHAT IS THIS.

Anyway, today I have a post I promised last week - let's talk about cuticle removers! Or one in particular. The first one I used (that I'm still using now, obviously) is Essie Disappearing Trick. First, I thought the name of it was cute. Second, I couldn't find the Sally Hansen one and I figured, I generally like Essie treatments I try, so why not? It looks like this in the tube.


Here's everything you'll need:



So. I start out with this. Gross dry cuticles after a day of neglect. *Shameful face* I put them in black and white so you can't see my staining but I think it makes my dry hands even more obvious... facepalm. UGH they're still disgusting even in black and white. But see that ick? On my index and ring finger especially.



I'd never used one before this, but thankfully, it's really easy to use. There's this little tip on the end. All you have to do is squeeze a bit and the gel will come out. Then you blob it onto your cuticle...



And rub it in, then let it sit for fifteen seconds. I generally start with my thumb nail and by the time I hit my pinky, I can go back and start with my thumb. After you've let it sit for a bit, you can use an orange stick or a clean cuticle pusher (mine has a rubber tip that's nice and easy to clean) to push them back. The thicker parts will be removed, so you just clean up around that.



Then I usually finish off with a hand scrub and some moisturizer! It seems like a lot of work to do before every manicure but I find it really makes a difference, both in real life and in my pictures, of course! For example, if I wasn't careful, my cuticles would look like this:


*Vomits* I'm sorry to enlarge them in all their gory detail but this is real life, folks. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'll cradle your eyeballs to sleep.

Here, does this make it better? (You can click to check that post out, I'll spare your eyeballs and not link to the other one!)



So, I hope this helps - I know I've gotten a lot of questions about cuticle removers since I started obsessing about them on twitter! I hope to do a smackdown for them but I'll need a few months to have a chance to test them out. I'm excited to do it though, this stuff is addictive!

How about you? Do you use cuticle removers? What do you use to take care of your cuticles?

 Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

29 August 2011

Essence Out of My Mind

Hello lacquered lovelies! Happy Monday! Quick post today, I'm still in my work week. This week is going to be insane. My summer roommate is leaving and my lesbian is returning home at last. I have SO much to do! Isn't it weird that there can be so much to do when I'm not even the one moving? Has that ever happened to you?

Today I have a pretty Essence polish. This is Out of My Mind, which is apparently being discontinued, which sucks because it's so pretty. And too difficult for my camera to capture. It has gone on my reswatch list, which grows longer by the day... I wore this a few weeks ago. I have SUCH a backlog of pictures right now and I don't have any pictures of manicures from last week at all. I think it was all the cold medicine I was taking (it doesn't work on me unless it's in fairly large doses lol) but my manicures sucked. Horrible application, horrible clean up. Ugh. So no pictures. Perhaps I will reswatch the ones I actually ended up liking when I have a chance.

Anyway, this was three coats. Bit of a weird formula but only in the look of it as I was applying it. No major issues. I just wish the bottle was bigger or that the cap was a bit longer. I do like the brush though.


And sunlight to show the pretty green shimmer that makes it look more duochrome-y than I could capture...


That's all! Do you own this beauty? Have you worn any pretty duochomes lately? What are you planning to do with the last few days of August?

 Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

27 August 2011

Nail crush #4: Amy Grace of the Polished Perfectionist

Hello lacquered lovelies! Happy Saturday! Any plans for this weekend?

Today's nail crush certainly needs no explanations. As the header for her blog says, I'll let the pictures do the talking... or most of it, anyway. Amy Grace has the most beautiful nails ever. Seriously.

One of her most recent posts was this adorable manicure... I must try something like this some day!

And you can check it out here!


She has the most flawless lines ever. I don't know if it's her clean up or her application or both but ahhh. I love her nail art, this is another recent favourite!

Click me!


There are some polishes I never tire of seeing on blogs. I don't care how many times I've worn it or how many times I've seen it, it's still just as awesome as the first time I fell in love with it. Enter Zoya Veruschka.

You can drool (and see it in its original matte form) here!


I wish I could sponge my tips like Amy Grace can. I almost always attempt it after I look at this picture and drool. Mine never look this good, so I just go back and drool over this again!

Gorgeousness here!


And of course her first franken was flawless... I must obtain a bottle somehow! ;)

Just click me.


And finally... Amy Grace's blog is obviously a dangerous place for creating lemmings. But it can also make you HUNGRY! She makes amazing cakes and often shows nail art to go along with them. She even has a cake tag but be warned... it will make you hungry! This one blew my mind when I first saw it!

 I want to eat this so badly. It's so freaking cute!

And you can see this adorable manicure here!


You can join me in stalking Amy Grace's blog by going here, if you aren't already. And seriously, you're missing out if you aren't. Her blog makes me drool and die a little with envy. Since my nails will never look that great, I spend a lot of time stalking through her posts! You can also talk with her on twitter, and she is so sweet and kind-hearted. :)

 Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

26 August 2011

Check out my guest post on the Swatchaholic! ♥

Hi guys - no post here today, I'm still not feeling too great and I don't have anything prepped except tomorrow's nail crush post. Instead, today's post is on one of my very favourite blogs, the Swatchaholic! Click here or click the picture to go look... here's a sneak peek!


This might have been my reaction when Jeanette asked me... I love her blog!



25 August 2011

Not Safe for Work (but I don't care because it's my birthday)

Hello there! It's Nicole again, how have you been since I last posted for you? Do you know what today is? If you're really perceptive you'll know from the title of this post that it is my birthday! Yay! As of today I am 22 years old, which I think probably means that I'm officially an adult. I don't know how I feel about that.

Anyway, in the time since I last wrote to you I managed to land myself a job at Crabtree & Evelyn, which I have to say I'm really enjoying. I get to spend all day smelling wonderful and using lots and lots of excellent hand cream. The downside to working for C&E is the dress code that I have to stick to. Within about 20 minutes of getting the phone call to say I was hired, the district manager emailed me a copy of the dress code document. The actual clothing part of it isn't a big deal, but it's the section on nail polish that nearly killed me. Just one little sentence. "Nail art is not permitted and nail polish must be conservative in colour." NOOOOOOOOOOO.

So that's what the title of today's post is in reference to. There's no nudity, (probably) no swearing, no drug references. It's just not appropriate for work.


Apologies for the weird pink smudge on my ring finger. I don't even know what that is.

Normally on my work days I wear something neutral like Rimmel Steel Grey or OPI You Don't Know Jacques, but because it's my birthday I'm just going to buck the rules and wear what I want.

I was originally just going to use enough coats of Color Club Alter Ego to achieve opacity, but the day I did this manicure my bestest friend came back from Vietnam and brought me a sack of deliciously chemically Asian nail polish (and a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Vietnamese) so I decided to use one of them as a base.


The polish that I used as a base is from a brand named Alibe. I don't know how it's actually pronounced, but I like to pronounce it the way a person with a bad head cold would say "alive". None of the Vietnam polishes have names, and this one is a blue-toned purple creme -way less blue than it is in the picture- that covers beautifully in two coats and dries to the same sort of satin finish that a neon polish would (interestingly, the neon pink polish she brought me dries shiny).

On top of the Alibe purple I added a coat of Alter Ego, which is a dusty purple base absolutely packed with gold and silver glass fleck shimmer. I just love how the glass flecks don't show up until the light really hits them, and then BAM! Blinded by sparkle.

Finally, because nail art is something that I have sorely missed since I started working, I stamped the zebra print from BM-223 with Sally Hansen White On and sealed the whole thing in with Seche Vite.

What do you think? If you were an employer would you let your employees bend the dress code rules a little bit for their birthday?

Thank you so much for reading, I'll be sure to talk to you again soon!

24 August 2011

OPI Muppets-inspired polishes and new Avojuices!


Sending “Warm & Fozzie” Wishes from OPI!

OPI Celebrates Disney’s “The Muppets” with Holiday Lacquers Inspired by Walt Disney Pictures’ New Film




            This holiday season, OPI pays homage to America’s favorite Muppet friends as they hit the big screen in Disney’s The Muppets.  With an all-star cast including Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Kermit, Miss Piggy and the entire Muppet crew, the family comedy opens in theaters nationwide on November 23, 2011. 
Inspired by the film’s namesake lively and colorful characters, OPI launches twelve limited-edition Nail Lacquers for Holiday 2011. “OPI is so excited to work with Disney to celebrate this long-awaited movie release,” said Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director.  “Not only do The Muppets characters inspire fun, bright and joyful colors, the fashionable Miss Piggy lends her name to three high-shine pink-based hues, ranging from bold red flecked with silver to a multi-dimensional strawberry shade.”
This line features six shimmery reds and neutrals, as well as six glitter-packed shades, including:


Animal-istic
This wild bright red cannot be tamed!


Meep-Meep-Meep
Missing out on this fuchsia would make you weep, weep, weep!


Wocka Wocka!
The popular deep berry makes everything fun and merry!


Pepe’s Purple Passion
This deep, decadent shade is the best purple ever, okay!









Designer, de Better! 
And this light metallic bronze is ready for the runway.



Warm & Fozzie
A feel-good shade of metallic copper.



Rainbow Connection
The rainbow glitter of your dreams.




Excuse Moi!
Ahem! This pink glitter has something to say!



Gone Gonzo!
The aqua-blue glitter is taking over the world!



Fresh Frog of Bel Air
A glitter that prefers the greener things in life.



Divine Swine
The finest, most fabulous magenta glitter ever.



Gettin’ Miss Piggy With It!
Red glittery fun for everyone!
















Lacquer packed with micas and sparkle gives a 3-dimensional textured look that makes nails look like jewelry. With shades ranging from textured glitters in rainbow, red, green and blue to softer shimmers in copper and bronze metallic hues, these twelve colors provide the perfect accessory for the holiday season.
As with all OPI nail lacquers, these shades inspired by Disney’s The Muppets contain no DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde, and feature OPI’s exclusive ProWide Brush for the ultimate in application.
This limited edition promotion will be available beginning November 2011 at Professional Salons and Spas for $10.95 CAN suggested retail for each Nail Lacquer.

ABOUT THE MOVIE
On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets' former stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With secret, signature, celebrity cameos, Disney’s “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011. 


Give the Gift of Moisture!


OPI Introduces Holiday Avojuice Skin Quenchers Hand & Body Lotions in Winter Huckleberry and NEW Vanilla Snowflake


            This holiday, OPI will launch Avojuice Skin Quenchers Hand & Body Lotion in two limited edition scents, Winter Huckleberry (a winter-bright, berry bouquet) and a NEW Vanilla Snowflake (a wintery blend of sweet vanilla and buttercream).  These lotions offer a festive way to keep skin hydrated and refreshed during the season’s harsh, cold weather with smooth, rich moisturizers including soothing Avocado and Aloe extracts.
            Due to holiday stress and a change in climate, skin can easily become dull and lifeless, but saturating hands and body with powerful ingredients like those in Winter Huckleberry and Vanilla Snowflake can rejuvenate dry skin, making it feel silky smooth.
“Since the holidays evoke signature scents that everybody loves, we wanted to create fragrances inspired by and reminiscent of the winter season,” said Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director. “Winter Huckleberry and Vanilla Snowflake both smell irresistible, but they are also designed to instantly moisturize and can help fight against dry, cracked skin from daily exposure to chilly weather.”
In addition to the regular bottle, both products will be available in mini sizes, perfect for stashing in the car, carrying in a purse, or giving as a stocking-stuffer gift. 







New OPI Avojuice Skin Quenchers Hand & Body Lotion in Winter Huckleberry  and Vanilla Snowflake will be available beginning November 2011 at Professional Salons and Spas for $2.50 CAN for each 30mL and $9.95 CAN for each 200mL.
For more information, please call 800-341-9999 or visit www.opi.com. Follow OPI on Twitter @OPI_PRODUCTS and become a Facebook fan!


ABOUT OPI
As the world leader in the professional nail care industry, OPI is committed to providing high-quality products and services to both salons and their customers, along with a focus on industry safety and innovation. Known for its exceptional formula, fashionable colors and iconic names, OPI’s heavily-pigmented lacquers are super rich, long-lasting and chip-resistant – offering an affordable luxury to consumers. OPI nail lacquer is available in over 200 shades and contains no DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde. Each lacquer features OPI’s exclusive ProWide Brush for the ultimate in application. Currently, OPI is available in over 100 countries and retails a full line of professional items, including nail treatments, finishing products, lotions, manicure/pedicure products, files, tools, gels and acrylics. 



Whew! You guys know how pumped I am on the Muppets-inspired shades. LOOK AT THOSE GLITTERS! And I have an obsession with vanilla, so Vanilla Snowflake will totally be mine. What's catching your eye?

Pink Wednesday: China Glaze Rich and Famous + Icing Glitteratti

Hello lacquered lovelies! Happy Wednesday! You all know what that means :) If not, learn more about what Wednesdays mean here!

Today I have a quick post. While hunting at my local Icing for a couple of polishes I came across Glitteratti. Foolish name aside, omfg look at the bottle in the picture. It looked like such a party that I couldn't possibly just leave it there, right? It had to come back with me. I decided to do a simple manicure with an accent nail because it's been a while since I've done one. I used three coats of China Glaze Rich and Famous (which is probably very similar to Essie Mod Square, which I NEVER noticed), which has a nice squishy jelly-creme finish. On my ring fingers I added two coats of Glitterati.


That's it for today. I'm writing this the night before because I work and I'm feeling really awful. I might actually go to bed before midnight. That NEVER happens. I'm hoping drugging myself into oblivion will help. If not, a longtime lemming became mine yesterday and I'm currently wearing it (partially because I can't bear to take it off and partially because I'm too lazy and icky feeling to do it). Hopefully it will cheer me up tomorrow! I can't wait to post on it... the weather needs to clear up so I can take a million pictures of it. :) Tomorrow's post will be a special one... I'm really excited to see it!

What dyou think? Have you picked up any fun Icing glitters lately? They have such fun glitters, don't they?

 Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

23 August 2011

Nail care: what I use - moisturizers

Hello lacquered lovelies! Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is starting off well!

Today I have a post that I can't even believe I haven't done before. I get questions on what I use nail care-wise quite a bit and I always thought that I had posted on what I use. I went back to look and find the link and lo and behold, my memory has made a liar out of me. I can't believe I haven't done this before!

I want to talk about moisturizers today. I'm obsessed with keeping my hands and cuticles (cuticles ESPECIALLY) moisturized. I always have lotions and creams and such with me at all times. So let's talk hand lotions first. I tend to prefer hand creams that smell nice LOL, I'm a lacquerhead first but I'm a "oooh this smells delicious" fangirl second. Hence my bags and drawers of bath products! My favourite hand creams that I can use during the day (I prefer things that absorb quickly for use during the day, of course!) are by Cake Beauty. I usually only find this brand at Sephora, though Winners has some stuff sometimes as well. Their products are 100% paraben free and are made almost entirely with natural ingredients. And they smell AMAZING. AND Cake Beauty is a Canadian brand. Yay! Here are two of my favourites.


Vanilla Snow smells freaking amazing. It's like unicorns running through a field of rainbows. It's that good. In reality though, I guess it smells like cake? It's only available at Christmas, which is soul-crushing to me, because it's amazing. My favourite by far. I got a few bottles at Christmas and this is my last one! I tried out the Strawberry Shortcake one (partially because it's limited edition and look at that freaking packaging, it's so cute), and it smells good. I find it a bit too sweet for me, but I know a lot of people love it!


I love the Body Shop body butters. The satsuma one is my favourite because the rest of the fruity ones kind of smell like alcohol to me and I'm not that keen. I don't tend to use this during the day unless I'm not going anywhere, it is a bit oily!


When I'm at work I try not to use scented products, because I know they bother some people. Can't go wrong with Aveeno, most of their stuff is fragrance-free and works really nicely.


This is my holy grail product and I'm almost out of it and I am DEVASTATED. I believe BeautiControl is a pro-only brand. My awesome hair stylist cousin sent this to me and it's seriously amazing. I only use this at night because it's REALLY thick but no complaints about that here! I usually use it two or three nights a week. I also wear cotton gloves when I use this to help it absorb better!

For cuticle moisturizers, I have three obsessions.



European Secrets Hoofer's Choice. You can get this at Sally's. I usually only use this when my nails are bare, you just rub it all over your nail and cuticle. It's supposed to help strengthen your nails but I haven't really noticed that, I just like that it moisturizes my cuticles. It smells icky, though, which is a definite downside for me.


I know my love Jen swears up and down by Lush Lemony Flutter but I can't stand the smell of Lemony Flutter. I know that it works well but I feel that a lot of Lush products have this weird quality where they never smell exactly like they say they should? There's a kind of undertone from a lot of them that kind of reminds me of the smell of Hoofer's Choice. I love this much more. It actually smells like lemons, which is magical. Just as simple to use (it's a bit greasy but I just wipe my fingertips off after I apply it), it absorbs pretty quickly and it lasts FOREVER. I'm not even halfway through my tin and I've had it since October. And this is with me moisturizing my cuticles multiple times a day. I do it all the time. When I'm sitting waiting for my classes to start, when I'm stuck on the bus, when I'm on the phone... whenever.


Again, my holy grail cuticle product. Nubar cuticle oils are amazing. I use them every single night and this is what I put on my cuticles before I remove my polish. It makes a huge difference, especially when I have to foil my nails (like I do after I'm done writing this lol!). They come in lots of scents, which I like. This one is vanilla and it's my personal favourite. There are citrus scents too, and a sweet almond one that's also nice. I'm not sure about anywhere else but I think most Canadians will be able to find these at their local Winners!

I'm sorry for the amount of writing, I know a lot of people will probably skip over it lol. I asked which post you guys would like to see first in the nail care series (it was between moisturizers and my latest obsession, cuticle remover) and most people said moisturizers! The cuticle remover will be next week though. :)

I'm not an expert in nail care by any stretch of the imagination, these are just the products that I find work well for me. I think the most important thing to remember if you want your nails to look good is to keep them moisturized, especially your cuticles! The difference it's actually made in my nails is insane. If you don't believe me, look back at my old posts (if you're feeling brave, and by god, if you are, you are a better man than I). I never would have imagined I could get my nails to where they're at now. They're far from perfect but they're so much better than they used to be. They cooperate with me shape-wise (except my stupid middle fingernail lol) and I rarely have breaks or peeling.

I guess the most important thing to remember is that you can't expect your nails to look nice without putting the work in! If you guys have any more questions about what I use for moisturizers feel free to ask,  you know you can reach me pretty much anywhere. I don't have much of a life outside of work!

OKAY no more writing. I hope this helps! What are your favourite moisturizers? What's your favourite heavier hand cream? I'm dying to find a replacement for my BeautiControl one! What's your favourite cuticle moisturizer? Are you a Lemony Flutter fan?

 Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

22 August 2011

A Canadian gem: Billie Cosmetics Anxiety

Hello lacquered lovelies! Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I had a great weekend. I didn't work at all, which is actually le suck because I love my new job, but I went out with my coworkers on Saturday night and had a great time!

Without talking politics too much, I'm editing this post to say that Canadians lost a great man and politician today. Rest in peace, Jack Layton. He lost his battle with cancer this morning and we lost a smart, dedicated leader and one of the few Canadian politicians who actually had charisma. It's a sad day indeed.

Today I have a Canadian polish to show you. At least, I believe this brand is basically exclusive to Canada. I'll tell you guys where we find it (SHH fellow Canadians!) at the end! This one is for Jen, since she really wanted to see swatches so I worked on them this weekend. I'm not thrilled with how the pics for the other one turned out but everyone seemed more interested in this one anyway! I saw this on another Canadian's blog and I can't remember who it was at the moment, I'm so sorry, let me know and I'll link back to you! Anyway, I saw these and I knew I had to find them. It took me a few visits to a few different locations but I found them!

This one is called Anxiety. I have NO idea why. Whatever, it's awesome. It's a really blue-leaning teal jelly base with blue and gold glitter. It's so cool. It's also SUPER sheer. I kind of figured that it would be but I wanted to see how many coats it would take to build up to a decent opacity. This was four coats and I know there's still VNL but I don't loathe my nail line so I don't mind. Another note: these aren't big three free. They still have DBP in them. So they smell awesome and dry fast but just a note if you prefer your polishes to be three free!




I know what you're all thinking. UGH IT DRIES MATTE. I actually like it matte but it is weird that it dries that way, isn't it? Must be because of all the glitter. So here it is with topcoat, just for you.


So so pretty. Next time I'll definitely layer this though LOL. I twitpicd this and the other one I found and a lot of you guys seemed to like this one so I thought I'd start off this week with it!

Now... you're wondering where we get these, right? Why, dollar stores, of course! I've only ever seen Billie Cosmetics at Dollar Tree stores in Canada. Not bad for a drug store polish, right?

Tomorrow's post is going to be the first one in what I hope will turn into a series on hand/nail care. I get a lot of questions on the topic so I hope it's helpful!

What do you guys think? Do you like this polish? Have you ever tried any Billie Cosmetic polishes? Do you prefer your polishes to be B3F? Would you like to see this polish in a giveaway?

 Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

20 August 2011

Comparison: OPI Mad as a Hatter vs Etude House Extreme Jewel

Hello lacquered lovelies! Today I have a comparison post for you! I've re-done these swatches three times now so I hope this one helps. I felt like the differences weren't obvious enough when I swatched them on their own so I decided to use a silver base this time, Nicole by OPI Positive Energy.

I know Mad as a Hatter is a HTF that a lot of people are lemming. I also know that evilbay scammers all know how crazy we go for this polish, so there are a LOT of fakes floating around now, I've heard. I've also heard that people get lucky finding it at dusties - I was lucky and found two bottles of Absolutely Alice at a hole in the wall drugstore, so you never know!

Etude House Extreme Jewel (that's what it's translated as on ebay, I hope that's accurate) looks fairly similar to Mad as a Hatter in the bottle. MAAH is all the same size glitter, though, and EJ is different sizes - fine silver, purple and a kind of blue-green glitter, with larger holographic circular glitter mixed in. It doesn't have as many colours as MAAH - I can see three, but MAAH definitely has more than that!

Okay. So as I said, I swatched these over silver. I also put them on a nail wheel because I know it's sometimes easier with glitters. One coat:






And two coats:




So. Obviously they aren't dupes, but they might be similar enough to kill a MAAH lemming... at least for a little bit! I don't want to say to buy MAAH, especially when the prices on evilbay are so ridiculous and there's all this risk of them being fake now... but I hope the polish gods smile upon you and that you'll find it when and where you least expect it!

Also, photographing glitters like this can be so interesting - see the second nail picture? I didn't touch my ISO settings or anything for it. That's just my camera being freaked out by the glitter.

I hope this was helpful - I know I don't do comparison posts often and I find them quite a bit trickier with glitters!

 Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

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