Posts from the ‘Am I _______ or am I _______?’ Category

Tonal play with new-to-me H&M

When I received my long-awaited H&M parcel today, my intent was indeed to play … but gee, did this turn out to be a lot of work!

Perhaps it was ill-fated from its inception — none of the varnishes and only a few of the eye shadows shown here were the ones I had chosen in my original, never-arrived order, placed way before Thanksgiving. By the time I re-placed the order (for which I am *still* awaiting a refund), the original shades I had ordered were no longer available — they had sold out.

I’m more than content with what I’ve received, but things started going awry from the get-go. My backdrop fell on top of the nail wheel with the four freshly painted H&M chips, so they have more coats than the other 14 chips, in order to remedy the dents.

It was very windy here in Northern California today, which caused me a number of problems, even though I was indoors. First, lack of light (my house is rather gloomy, even though it faces south). Then, there were the bubbles and/or debris appearing from nowhere on the chips. Especially with Giorgio Armani Parma Greige, which when I had used it for a manicure, was an utterly flawless formula! Enormously frustrating. I almost threw in the towel, since the images looked horrendous on my camera viewing screen.

I still don’t think the images I halfheartedly captured do any justice to what I see in person, but I posted anyway, because in the process I learned a lot about each varnish. Some of these I’ve had for years and hadn’t even used yet.

Below are my field notes:

1 – H&M Cloudburst and 4 – H&M Volcanic Mud required a third coat to reach evenness and opacity, whilst 2 – H&M Taiga and 3 – H&M Cobblestones were opaque at two coats. Cloudburst and Volcanic Mud also had, like, dried varnish specks in their more transparent formulae, which were no longer visible after the final third coat. Volcanic Mud is a much more interesting shade than it appears in the bottle, with green-blue undertones somewhere in that medium grey.

I probably should have included Chanel Khaki Vert to compare to the beautiful H&M Taiga (opaque at 2x), but I just grabbed whatever was staring me in the face on one of my varnish shelves. Khaki Vert was tucked in the back of the lineup somewhere. (As an afterthought, I should have included all of the Les Khakis here!)

H&M Cobblestones (opaque at 2x) is more of a neutral taupe with lilac undertones (as I had hoped it would be) — online swatches I referenced show it as a much warmer, yellower-leaning shade, with no cool purple undertone whatsoever.

5 – D&G Jaipur Blue – bliss at two coats. Great brush, colour, smooth formula. Shade is slightly dustier than you see here. This brand is worth every extra shekel you pay.

6 – Giorgio Armani Parma Greige – same as above accolades for D&G, including the dusty comment, although today the chip looked hideous. Debris, bubbles, ugh … only because I’ve used it before for a full mani do I know that it is indeed a thing of beauty.

7 – Chanel Horizon Line – this is a tester bottle, recently purchased in a panic on the auction site at a discount. I knew it was limited edition, but I had no idea back in August it would sell out so quickly. I don’t like the brush or the formula at two coats, same thoughts I had when I first tried Turban (the only one I’ve actually tried of these new Chanel bottles, although I have others). It’s like they’re heavy on plasticizers and that thin brush just wallows in and drags them around. Note to self: test your other new bottle Chanels before acquiring any more. Another thing: does anyone know how OPI Taupe-less Beach stacks up to Chanel New Dawn?

8-11 – Kure Bazaar Chloe, Boyfriend, Khaki, Hipster, all at two coats. Colours are smooth, opaque and pretty, but I don’t reach for these often. They’re touted as safe and natural, but they still smell just as strong and nauseating as the chemical-laden varnishes. I could not imagine using these while pregnant. Plus, on me, they never, ever dry — even on my toes at the height of summer. I must be doing something wrong.

12-13 – YSL Call Me Grey and Fur Green, both at two coats. Call Me Grey’s brush had a few wonky hairs. I left the tolerable wonkies and pulled out the worst offender. Stuff like this bothers me, as M. Saint Laurent’s image should not be allowed to tarnish in even the smallest detail, and it’s too late. A few years ago, when I ordered a Black Opium sample from the faux-luxe website, it never arrived. Then suddenly I received several, one after the other, each bearing a slightly different version of my name on the address label. They must have young marketing interns with no idea of the brand’s heritage in charge of this stuff. Fur Green, on the other hand, was perfection. Love this one.

14-18 – Uslu Airlines MYK, NIM, SBT, ACE, ABS. Perfection in a bottle, all. Two smooth coats. Beautiful brush, excepting SBT — it has the skinny old one. I can no longer purchase these in the U.S.; good thing I made a run while I could, although there are still several I yearn for that I missed. Oftentimes I imagine having to forsake my entire collection and being forced to choose only one brand for keeps. Uslu Airlines would be my choice.

xx blueberry milk tea

Roly poly









xx blueberry milk tea

Understated British pageantry, Part I


White Horse Street, Savoy Place, Porchester Square


Porchester Square, Porcini, Midsummer Mauve


White Horse Street, Savoy Place, Porchester Square


Porchester Square, Porcini, Midsummer Mauve




The other similar shades on this wheel are all Polish brands … lately I’ve had a *thing* for neutrals a la the three OPI Brazilians and have found the easiest way to deal with my already vast collection of variations on Bossa Nova, Taupeless and Sao Paulo is to divvy them up by country of origin, lol.

This method still doesn’t prevent me from fruitlessly hankering after the following *true* Brazilians:

Ana Hickmann Coffee Shop
Anita Café com Leite
Finaflor Amarula
Hits Speciallita Pop Up Store Filippa
Top Beauty Bandida, Lencol de Seda, Pacoca

xx blueberry milk tea

Comparisons: Same name, different colour

China Glaze Dope Taupe, Sinful Colors Taupe is Dope, Sinful Colors So Daupe, China Glaze Head to Taupe

I went to Sally Beauty the other day and fell in love with Head to Taupe

China Glaze Dope Taupe – Fall 2016 Rebel

China Glaze Head to Taupe – S/S 2017 Shades of Nude

Essie – Excuse Me, Sur

OPI – Excuse Me, Big Sur

Excuse Me, Sur – Essie Spring 2017 B’aha Moment

Excuse Me, Big Sur – OPI Summer 2017 California Dreaming

2x each

China Glaze – For Audrey

Finger Paints – Tiffany Imposter

Claire’s – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Picture Polish – Tiffany

Wet n Wild Megalast – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

2x each

China Glaze – For Audrey

Finger Paints – Tiffany Imposter

Claire’s – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Picture Polish – Tiffany

Wet n Wild Megalast – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

xx blueberry milk tea

Pinky Promise I

Please don’t … don’t dupe it, baby.

(I’ve gone and done it for you!)

DL Break 4 Love (pinker than the rest of the wheel, included as a foil though difficult to discern here), Dior Bouquet, Dior Pink (shimmer)

Tropicalia, Dreamy Poppy, Pretty Woman (pinkest, by a hair)

Kiko 282, Essie Guilty Pleasures (feels like a crelly), Chanel Fracas (shimmer)

Kiko 360, Dior Wonderland, Chanel Tutti Frutti (shimmer), Chanel Turban (new formula)

Warhol postcard on top of Ikea box lid 🙂

2-3x each chip

xx blueberry milk tea

Ombre roses

Seashell, Gelato, IV, Wild Mink

Steal His Name, Lion Around, Innocent, My Place or Yours, Your Hut or Mine, Mrs. Always Right, Swept Off My Feet

Trouville, Southern Bell(e)

Above and below, beautiful at one coat

Below, even more beautiful at two coats


Below, the back story.

Desire is an invasive and unreasonable motivator.

Early last summer, I had lined up all of the above and below in order to convince myself that I did NOT need, nor need to buy, the China Glazes, Essies, NARS or L.A. Girl …

… that I obviously ended up buying anyway. 🙂

Essence Colour & Go 153 Sweet or Nude?

Innisfree Pro 76

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Mauve It

Peripera PK007

Innisfree Pro 162, 161, 163

Etude House Play Nail Forest Aurora Collection 380

Kiko 486 Tea Rose

Innisfree Pro 164

Kiko 365 Tattoo Rose

Orly Pink Chocolate (this bottle comes before the two above in my swatch notebook, it’s out of order in the lineup)

Flower Aster Place

Kure Bazaar Tea Rose

Kiko 364 Dark Crimson

Wet n Wild Haze of Love

Sonia Kashuk Spice It Up

Nature Republic 51

xx blueberry milk tea

all ombred out 🙂

The Trouble with Many Varnishes

Last week, I was awakened in the middle of the night by this thought:

You forgot to include two Barry M bottles in your oceania comparison.

[One reason is that they’re housed on their own floor in the varnish condo — all Brit nationals (Barry M, Nails Inc., Illamasqua, Butter London, Models Own, Eyeko, Rococo Nail Apparel) live squeezed together in harmony there, lol]

So here they are, better late than never, with Korean and Canadian buddies plucked during my intensive organizational spurt this past weekend.

Barry M Aquarium Collection Arabian, Barry M Aquarium Collection Pacific, Etude House Play Forest Aurora Collection 379, Joe Fresh Peacock/Vert Paon

Two coats each.

I was disappointed by both Barry M bottles — coverage was not smooth, to put it euphemistically.

Arabian, far left, was the worse of the two — I reluctantly edited the larger bumps and clumps from the chip.

Etude House never fails to deliver — I’m slowly but surely collecting every Forest Aurora member.  Even the ones I hadn’t originally wanted based on stock photos turned out marvelously impressive in real life.

Just look at Joe Fresh Peacock — this one I actually find prettier on the chip than in the bottle, for once.

A la Essie Dive Bar, sans purple element, but not lacking in the least …

xx blueberry milk tea