Inspiration: anti-manicure a la Marni

I actually chose the images above of Marni print and necklace after I had already finished my nails. What I had been carrying around for months in my imagination was much less literal as to colour and shape, likely based on years of eyeballing and admiring scads of Marni runway shows, editorial and Instagram.

For my tiny canvasses:

Skin Food Pineapple Cuticle Cleaner
Rimmel Base + Top, one coat each used for base and top

Essie Pillow Talk, 1x
Sinful Colors Coco Bae, 1x sponged unevenly on about half to 3/4 of the nail

OPI Fiercely Fiona, applied haphazardly with a dry nail brush
OPI Sleigh Parking Only, ditto

Purchased from Sally Beauty for a small fortune over 5 years ago … first used here 🙂

Canvasses prepped: Rimmel base and Essie Pillow Talk

Sinful Colors Coco Bae, from the new 2018 additions to the core collection.

Possesses quite a hot pinky-peach flash/shimmer.

As soon as I laid eyes on her, I knew exactly how I would put her to uggles use in this jolie-laide manicure already taking shape in my mind …

xx blueberry milk tea

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

Collections: JulieG Bohemian Dreams

These six bottles have been living in my bedroom for a good month now — they fit right in with the scene!

Aria, Eden, Faith, Henna, Harmony, Karma

Aria, Eden, Faith

Henna, Harmony, Karma

Aria – named after the Pretty Little Liars character?

Eden

Faith

Henna

Harmony

Karma

Available on a very appealing small end-cap display in American Rite Aid stores; also on the Jesse’s Girl website, $4 USD each.

xx peace! blueberry milk tea

Yesterday

Yesterday afternoon, I was wishing and yearning for August to arrive very soon in order to get my hands on this:

Chanel Le Vernis – Horizon Line

(Uploaded from beautyalmanac; unsure if image belongs to them or to Chanel)

I’ve also maintained an interest in Monochrome and Garconne, but it must not be active since as of yesterday, they haven’t found their way into my collection.

Then, as yesterday turned into last night, I tripped and fell over stacks of varnish boxes in my bedroom, knocking over a table of even more loose varnishes in trays. Those varnishes, in turn, went flying and fell onto a supercute tartan plaid train case in the shape of a hatbox, where all my Zoyas were cohabitating.

Whilst attempting to salvage the traincase from several spilled bottles of OPI that had landed and broken on top of it, I thought I’d better take a gander at the Zoya content inside …

And that’s when, after cleaning and organizing my Zoya collection by tone/shade, I discovered these.

Jacqueline, Charlotte, Ireland, Dree

Cho, Farah, Misty, Charli

Jacqueline, Charlotte, Ireland, Dree

Cho, Farah, Misty, Charli

Left side:

Jacqueline

Charlotte

Ireland

Dree

Right side:

Cho

Farah

Misty

Charli

Two coats each

So chic, yet edgy!

Perhaps I’ll pass on Chanel after all, thus continuing in my effort to purchase only cruelty-free when possible 🙂

xx blueberry milk tea

Bling ring a la boheme

Floss Gloss Stun

After going round and round with Rickys NYC a couple of years ago re this varnish, I finally just went directly to the source (the Floss Gloss website) …

Colors by Llarowe Blonde Ambition

ILNP Spiced Eggnog (fugly base, gold flakes and holo shimmer)

A continuation of this wheel

Two coats each

Dance Legend Wow Prism 13 Steel Panther

Two coats, a continuation of this wheel

I needed another large particle scattered silver holo like … well, but this one *is* rather extraordinary!

A-England Katyusha

A true original stunner … multichrome shift and holographic beauty

xx blueberry milk tea

Gorgeous OPI jolie laides, part I

When plucking various bottles for the OPI Washington D.C. comparison, I ended up with quite a few that didn’t fit.

But I liked them so much, I swatched them separately anyhow … so they get their very own posts!

Skull & Glossbones, French Quarter for Your Thoughts, Suzi Takes the Wheel, A-Taupe the Space Needle

I pulled out the three greys above in particular, thinking to compare them to the Washington D.C. limited edition Liv in the Gray, especially since Liv in the Gray has greener undertones.

However, Skull & Glossbones is just too light, French Quarter for Your Thoughts leans rather lavender next to its neighbours, and I’m still in doubt as to whether Suzi Takes the Wheel should be housed with my greys or my greens …

So I ended up comparing Liv in the Gray to the much cooler, bluer-leaning Cement the Deal and Embrace the Grey …

… all the while staring at these four, wondering how it was that I managed to hold out so long on Pirates of the Caribbean and Touring America shades.

In fact, I’ve just recently purchased each of these separately, at a deep discount … I had swapped for Skull & Glossbones long ago and gave it away untried :/

All swatches are two perfectly smooth coats.

*Sigh*  I’ve fallen in love with OPI all over again.

xx blueberry milk tea

Comparisons: OPI Washington DC v. prior OPI incumbents

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I no longer have You Don’t Know Jacques, but imagine it would fit either to the right or left of Politically Polished, which is an Ulta exclusive.

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I no longer have Here Today, Aragon Tomorrow, but imagine it would fit either to the right or the left of Front Runner, an Ulta exclusive.

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I might have included Java Mauve-A or substituted her for Barefoot in Barcelona, but it didn’t occur to me until after I had already chosen the lineup …

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For some reason, the labeled photo is not showing up:  these varnishes are Cement the Deal, Embrace the Grey and Liv in the Gray …

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All swatches are two coats.

The three OPI Washington DC mini bottles are from a boxed set of limited edition shades; I’ve not seen the full size bottles yet.

Backgrounds are fabric detail from the Ahcahcum Spring-Summer 2016 mook.

xx blueberry milk tea