Friday, August 31, 2012

Born Pretty Store Swarovski Flatback Review

Hi everyone!  I was really excited to try out these Swarovski flatbacks today!  I got mine from Born Pretty Store, and they are the 144 Swarovski flatback SS20 Clear Crystal 2028 Nail Art.*  Here's how they looked right out of the package.


I spilled them all out and look how gorgeous they look!  The above pic was taken with flash, so you can see how they look when the light passes directly through them.  Depending on how the light hits them, these crystals will glow with shades of pink, orange, blue, and purple.

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that these crystals are huge.  When looking at these online, I wasn't sure what size to order.  One thing I really wanted was for the crystals to be obnoxiously iridescent, which was I settled on size SS20.  But wow, these are big!  As a result they look a bit bulky on the nail.  This side view will show you how much these stick out from the nail.

Whew~  Because the crystal is so big and colorful, I decided to complement it by painting my nails in modest, neutral colors.  Here's the look I came up with.  Nice and simple.  The pictures below were all taken in natural sunlight.

Okay, so here are the pros and cons.

  • Shinier than regular rhinestones: They do not dull when sealed with top coat, but remain shiny.  They also have a lot more depth and iridescence.
  • Reusable:  You can reuse these! Simply rub the polish off with acetone, and it will look good as new.  The foil back remains intact even after a good rub with acetone, so if you wish you can definitely use them again on a different mani.
  • Brilliant color: It doesn't compare to any of the rhinestones I currently own, and I have a decent collection of them.  The multi-colored effect is really beautiful.
  • Too big: This has more to do with the size I ordered than the quality of the item.  I think SS20 is tad bit too big for nails.  They're best suited for flat/wide nails or a blackberry bling (thumb nail accents).  Otherwise, these could also be used for decorating cell phones, etc.
  • Price: This depends on how you look at it.  It's definitely a lot pricier than regular wheels of rhinestones.  This particular pack of crystals cost $12.46.  However, I think this is a fair price for 144 Swarovski crystals.

Verdict:  I'm satisfied with the product in itself.  I think the crystals are of good quality and the fact that they are reusable makes them even better.  The only downside would be the size, which is not a deal breaker since BPS sells crystals in all different sizes and colors.

If you plan on getting these for nail art, I would recommend getting a smaller size.  However, I cannot guarantee that the smaller sizes will be as iridescent.  I specifically wanted ones that would sparkle pink, blue and orange.  The smaller ones may just be clear, so make sure you are getting what you want.

Overall, I really love these!  I can't get enough of them, and I could stare at them all day.  Time for some serious blackberry bling! :)

Availability:  You can buy these and other nail art items from*.  You can also use my coupon code for 10% off!

What do you think of these?  And would you wear big crystals on your nails?  Let me know in the comments! :)

*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.
Links followed by an * are affiliate links.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zoya Gloss Collection Swatches

Katherine, 4 coats: a vampy eggplant jelly gloss.  This isn't one of those red-brown vampy shades.  It definitely stays true to its purple base.  While I like the color, unfortunately the formula is just as problematic as any other vampy polish.  The color applies very unevenly.  Even at four coats, you might notice uneven application.


Frida, 5 coats: a teal blue jelly gloss.  4 coats would have been fine for this shade, but I wanted it to be darker for pictures.  However, even at 5 coats you can see that it is still quite sheer.  (Yes, I have those white bruise marks on my ring finger.)  With that said, I love this color.  It's so gorgeous and shiny!  This is a color I wouldn't mind doing a few extra coats for.


Paloma, 3 coats: a berry pink jelly gloss.  OMG!  Haha, I don't use that word often, but this color is so pretty!  It's my favorite of the bunch, and the most opaque.  It's a lot lighter and brighter on the nail than in the bottle (as are all of these).  In the bottle, it just looked like another berry shade, but on the nail it's more of a berry-magenta mix!  It's also so shiny and so squishy and gahhh...  It makes me want to eat my nails.  Haha.

You can also layer glitter under these for a jelly sandwich look.  Here I layered two coats of OPI Pirouette My Whistle under one more coat of Paloma (making it 4 coats).  At four coats, Paloma become slightly darker and almost fully opaque (as far as jellies go).  The purple in it is also more emphasized.

Verdict:  Out of the three shades, I was definitely impressed by two of them: Frida and Paloma.  If you love jellies and sheers, these might just be for you.  They are definitely sheer though, and that's how Zoya is marketing them.  If you follow Zoya on Facebook, you might have seen their numerous pictures of ways to layer the glosses with glitters to make glitter sandwiches and ombres.

Availability:   This collection is currently available on for $8 each.  You might also find these at Ulta as well.

What do you think of these sheer glosses?  Is this something you would wear?  Let me know in the comments! :)

*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.
Post contains affiliate link.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Julep Maven Unboxing: September 2012

I got my Maven box in the mail today!  It came really early this time.  I kind of unwrapped this mindlessly while watching tv, so all of the wrappings are undone in my pics.  The polishes came in a cute polka dot tissue bag. :)  Okay, so let's see what I got!

First off, there were two info cards and a cute magnet.  This month's box carried Julep + Trina Turk collaboration shades.  The colors were inspired by Trina Turk's Modernist Maverick Collection; hence, the fashion design theme.

The products I received were two nail polishes and a mascara.  The two polishes are Gunta (royal blue creme) and Popova (kelly green creme).  I think these colors are gorgeous, especially since I love blues and greens.  They did, however, remind me of two shades from China Glaze's Safari collection.  I quickly went through my stash for a bottle comparison and here's what I found out.  As far as I can tell, Popova is more green than CG Exotic Encounters, while Gunta leans more navy than CG Man Hunt.  So I compared Gunta to CG First Mate and they look almost the same.  Of course, I'm don't know how they will compare on the nail, but in the bottle they were quite similar.

Here's the mascara in Espresso Brown.  On the packaging, it says: "Instant glam for any look plus lash growth enhancement ingredients as your secret weapon.  Micro fibers lengthen, strengthen, and plump to boost the luster of every lash.  Super-fine applicator smoothly separates and coats with emollients, antioxidants, and conditioners to lock in moisture and protect from breakage."  Whew, that's a lot.  Hopefully it lives up to all that.  I am excited about trying this, but I do wish that the mascaras kind of followed the Trina Turk theme as well.  I wouldn't mind some blue mascara!  But I guess not everyone would like that. :P

If you're interested in becoming a Maven, you can use my link to sign up at Julep Maven*.  Please note that your first box will be an introductory box.  I believe you can use code PENNY to get your first box for only a penny. :)

So what are your thoughts?  Have you received your Maven box yet?  Which product are you looking forward to the most? 

Links followed by an * are affiliate links.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zoya Diva Collection for Fall 2012

Hello!  I was originally going to split this collection into two posts, but I decided swatch and edit everything today!  So here are my swatches for the whole collection. :)  (P.S. This is a picture heavy post).

Elisa, 2 coats: a classic red with slightly brighter shimmer.  Elisa had great pigmentation and flowed onto the nail easily.  It's not very unique, but it's pretty nonetheless.  I love the two-coat formula. :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

OPI Germany: Neutrals Can Be Fun Too!

If you're like me, you might associate nudes and neutrals with the words "plain" and "boring."  Even when I like a neutral polish, I can't bear to wear it for more two days before I'm itching to wear something more exciting.  Playing off the skittles trend, here's a way to spice up your neutral manis. :)

The great thing about neutrals is that there's really no limit to the combination of colors you can use.  It will generally look very put together, even if you use all different colors.  For the look above, I used the three neutrals from OPI's Germany collection.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nicole by OPI 2012 Fall Shades: Shimmers and Metallics

Hi everyone!  Hope you're all enjoying your Sunday. :)  Today I have the rest of the shades from Nicole by OPI's Target exclusive fall line.

If the Blue Fits..., 2 coats: rich blue shimmer with scattered red sparkles.  The polish flowed on well, and had good pigmentation.  I love how the red shimmer kind of pops out against the blue, especially in the sun.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  There's also some subtle duochrome action going on..  At an angle, the red will shift green.  (The red tends to look more purple in the shade.)

You can see the shift better in the bottle.
The duochrome was hard to capture, but you can see the red to green shift better here.


For Gold Times Sake, 3 coats: cool olive-grey metallic flecks with blue and yellow shimmer.  There's also an apparent shift from gold to red.  So pretty!  I'm a sucker for olive toned metallic shades to begin with, so this one was an undeniable winner for me.  I would also say it shows the most duochrome of these three.  I don't remember having any problems with the formula.


Just Busta Mauve, 3 coats: a mauve-brown metallic flecks with red and blue shimmer.  I think it's the red shimmer that shifts orange at an angle.  Sorry about the state of my tips!  I found the formula a bit thicker for this one, so my tips wouldn't cover when I noticed them on the last coat.  >_<

Really bad quality pic, but hopefully you can see the duochrome.

Verdict:  I found these three the most surprising and unique from this fall collection.  The promo pictures were a far cry from how these looked in real life.  I was delighted to see that all of the shades had some degree of color shift.  My favorite of these three was For Gold Times Sake.  Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the collection as a whole.

Where to buy:  Both shades are Target exclusive shades and retail for $7.04 each.

*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Zoya Designer Skittles: Part 2

Yesterday, I showed you the reds and purples from the Designer collection.  Today, I have the blues and greens. :)

Top to bottom: Natty, Noot, Evvie, Natty

Natty, 2 coats: a deep, faded blue.  It's "faded" in the sense that it has a touch of gray to it.  The formula was excellent.

Noot, 2 coats: a dark, cool-toned green.  In the shade it can look quite dark, but it's green enough that it doesn't look black.  Again, no problems with the formula.

Evvie, 2 coats: a grey-green creme.  The formula was smooth and creamy for Evvie as well.  So is this name supposed to be pronounced "eh-vie" or "eevee"?  For some reason, I can't help but think of this little guy when I see 'Evvie':

Anyway...!  Scroll down to see my final thoughts. :)

Verdict:  Overall, I feel that Zoya Designer is a very solid fall collection.  While I didn't dislike any of the colors from this set, the blue-lover in me favored Natty over the other two.  I found that all the colors from this collection had excellent formulas and yielded smooth, shiny finishes.  If your collection lacks any of these colors, I would suggest going with these! :)

Availability: at $8 each.

*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Zoya Designer Skittles: Part 1

If you like skittles, a good place to start for color inspirations are polish collections.  Usually colors within a collection will complement each other very well.  With Zoya's Designer collection, I noticed that the six creme shades can easily be divided into two groups.  Today I have the first group. :)

 Top to bottom:
Rekha, Monica, Toni, Rekha

Rekha, 2 coats: a bright neutral red.  It reminds me of a slightly darker Rimmel Stiletto Red.  I found the formula a bit watery for my taste, but otherwise it applied flawlessly.

Monica, 2 coats: a cool-toned plum.  Not much else to say except that it applied well.

Toni, 2 coats: a cool purple with a hint of berry.  The berry in it is accentuated more in the sunlight, but it's not a straight up berry.  The formula was great on this one as well.

Verdict: All of these were opaque in two coats and applied flawlessly.  It's everything you would want in a creme: smooth and shiny.  Naturally, Rekha and Toni were more flattering on my warm skin tone, but Monica does not look bad on me either.  I love how they look together like this.  It's trendy and classic at the same time.

Availability: at $8 each.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the skittles trend?

*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nicole by OPI 2012 Fall Shades: The Chromes

This fall Nicole by OPI came out with 5 Target exclusive fall shades.  Today I'll be showing you the two chromes in this collection. :)

Iris My Case, 3 coats:  a violet chrome with subtle golden-brown duochrome.  It starts out a little sheer, but reaches opacity in 3 coats.  I wasn't really wowed by this one, especially since the duochrome is oh so very slight.  My sister, however, loved it.

This is one of those polishes where you can see the duochrome much better in the bottle.


Mer-Maid For Each Other, 2 coats: light green chrome that shifts blue or gold.  I'll tell you right off the bat that this is not another Chanel Peridot dupe.  Rather, it seems to be the answer for those who found Peridot too yellow-gold for their taste.  While Peridot is predominantly gold, Mer-Maid For Each Other (wow that's long) is better categorized as a green polish.  It shifts a little gold as well, but the bigger shift is towards a gorgeous blue.

Verdict:  While I'm lukewarm about Iris My Case, I love Mer-Maid For Each Other; the former is barely a duochrome, while the latter is clearly a multichrome.  They are both minimally brushstroke-y, but nothing too distracting (think OPI Just Spotted the Lizard).

Where to buy:  Both shades are Target exclusive shades and retail for $7.04 each.

*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Update + New OPI DS Swatches

Hello, hello~  I know I've been gone way too long.  I actually completed a 3 week long health detoxification program.  It's basically a detox diet that allows you to flush out chemicals from processed foods and such.  During this time, I was a bit more sensitive to nail polish, so I figured I should lay off the polish until I was done.  I also needed a break from swatching, since I was starting to feel burnt out.  Whew~  I'll be slowly swatching polishes again, as I need to complete some long overdue reviews.  After that's done, I can't wait to show you the polishes I'm currently excited about. :)

Onto the review!

DS Indulgence, 2 coats: Indulgence is a strawberry red with gold shimmer flecks.  It's similar to Zoya Reva, but Indulgence is a bit more red and the shimmer is much more brighter.  One thing I've noticed with these new DS shades is that the shimmer is much clearer and shinier.  Maybe it's the diamond dust?  They are also blindingly shiny!  The formula had great consistency and pigmentation.


DS Luxurious, 2 coats: Luxurious is a deep orange with a hint of coral.  It also has golden shimmer flecks that sparkle intensely in the sun.  It really looks as if my nails are on fire!  People have compared it to China Glaze Riveting, but they are actually quite different.  The formula was great on this one as well.

Verdict:  I loved both shades, and I felt that the shimmer was brighter and clearer in these than in regular shimmer polishes.  I'm not sure if it's the diamond dust, but my nails were so sparkly.  However, I would still say that the $12.50 DS price is a bit steep.  I think they're worth more than regular OPI's, but they're not quite worth $12.50.  With that said, I would definitely keep an eye out for them during sales.  I think they're worth owning if you can grab them for less!  :)


*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.

Friday, August 10, 2012

OPI Announces Collaboration with Multi-Platinum Selling International Superstar Mariah Carey

Eek!  Sorry I haven't been posting.  I haven't been feeling well these past few days, but hopefully I can get things back on track soon.  I'm feeling a bit frustrated since I have lines and lines of polishes to swatch.  But until then, here's some exciting news from OPI. :)
OPI Announces Collaboration with Multi-Platinum Selling International Superstar Mariah Carey  
LOS ANGELES – August 10, 2012 – OPI Products Inc. announced a collaboration today with multiple Grammy Award winning and multi-platinum selling recording artist Mariah Carey. A five-time Grammy Award winning global superstar with over 200 million records sold worldwide and 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (more than any solo artist in history), Carey will be the inspiration for a line of OPI limited edition nail lacquers that will launch January 2013.
OPI is thrilled to work with Mariah, an industry icon who loves nails and considers lacquer one of her favorite accessories,” says Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director. With her magnetic personality both on and off the stage, Mariah serves as a great inspiration for beautiful, bold colors.”
About Mariah Carey:
With a distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific songwriting and producing talent, Carey has defined the modern pop performance. As a singer/songwriter/producer, she has been recognized with five Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard’s “Artist of the Decade” Award, the World Music Award for “World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium,” and BMI’s “Icon Award” to name a few. Mariah has written seventeen out of her eighteen Billboard No. 1 singles and has two consecutive and unparalleled Billboard “Song of the Decade” titles “One Sweet Day” (with Boyz II Men) and “We Belong Together,” further marking her massive presence on the charts since her 1990 song debut “Vision of Love.” Mariah became the second artist in history and the first female performer to have a song debut at No. 1 with “Fantasy” (1995), the groundbreaking collaboration with O.D.B. of the innovative rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Carey’s original holiday classic “All I Want For Christmas is You” redefined its place in pop culture as one of the greatest holiday hits of all time when it reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2011, seventeen years after its debut. Mariah’s influential and stellar contribution to the music industry spans multiple genres and is showcased through a multifaceted hit catalogue as well as a long list of diverse collaborations.
Carey's ongoing impact transcends the music industry and has left an indelible imprint upon the world at large. She recently made a substantial mark in film with her critically acclaimed role as a social worker in “Precious,” the 2009 film based on the novel “Push,” by Sapphire. A Congressional Award recipient, Carey has generously donated her time and energy to a range of domestic and international philanthropic causes near to her heart including The Fresh Air Fund/Camp Mariah (a retreat where inner-city children explore career development), Save the Music Foundation and Make-a-Wish Foundation among several others.
Mariah is currently in the studio, writing, recording and executive-producing her next album for Island Def Jam Music Group; the lead single "Triumphant (Get ‘Em)," is now available on iTunes. Recently Carey made worldwide headlines with the exciting news that she will join the judges’ panel of FOX’s American Idol when the series returns in 2013.
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.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Come on, Barbie / Let's Go Party

Doesn't this color remind you of Barbie?  It's as if Barbie's holding a disco party on my nails!

If you're a girly girl who loves pink, you'll love Skinfood Party Tox Nail in #2 Ruby Party.  Ruby Party is actually a hot pink jelly with very fine and fine holographic glitter.  There are also small pink holographic glitters scattered throughout.  The whole thing is very sparkly and very pink.  I've never been a pink girl, but I can't deny my love for glitter. :P  I'm wearing 2 coats.

A blurry pic to show off all the sparkles.  It's really a lot more sparkly than this.

And finally... I can tell you about a book I finished almost a week ago!  (I wanted to share right away, but was waiting to do it in a more personal post.)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  Have you read it?  If you haven't...go. read it. now.  No, I'm serious! :P  I found out about this book through another blogger's post.  I forgot who it was but thank you for sharing!  I wanted to read it right away, so I looked it up at my local library. 7 holds on it already.  I grumbled a lot and put in my hold request as the 8th person in line when my dad surprised me by gifting me the Kindle version.  After that, I did nothing but read.

I don't want to give anything away, so I'm just going to say that it was good enough to leave me breathless at the last word.  You know, that feeling where you just slowly put the book down and sit there trying to soak it all in.  It had me laughing, crying, thinking...  It was goood. Anyone else read it?

♥ Liz