Posts from the ‘Gray/grey’ 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

Catching up with Essie, Fall 2016 – 2017

Whatcha been doin’?

As the song goes, lookin’ back, lookin’ back, lookin’ back …

Here’s a retrospective from this Fall season to last (I wasn’t interested in either Summer 2017 or Winter 2016-2017):


Fall 2017 As If (what I bought, 3 of the 6):

1936 As If!
1937 Knee-High Life
1939 Mixtaupe

Purchased at Rite Aid in August 2017

I’d like to buy the pink from this collex, if only to compare it to the pink from Spring 2017 …


Wild Nudes 2017

1001 Skinny Dip
1003 Bare With Me
1005 Wild Nude
1007 Without a Stitch


1009 Mooning
1011 Exposed
1015 Clothing Optional
1017 Winning Streak

Purchased all but the first two from a full display on an early summer trip to Rite Aid; went back shortly thereafter for the first two … and the display was almost cleaned out! These are all so beautiful, much more than they appear here. The subtlety is very similar to what I see Japanese brands produce, like Smelly (Urban Research), Addiction or Three.


Resort 2017

1916 Resort Romanza
1917 Strike a Pose-itano
1918 Ciao Effect
1919 Sorrento Yourself

Purchased in early April 2017 from Target. I didn’t know anything about this collection (I thought Resort collections were issued between Winter and Spring, and I had bought Essie Spring back in February 2017?); initially, I had found these mixed in with a bunch of unrelated colours and was really confused. But I quickly got myself sorted upon my next trip to a different locale, and scooped up all four from their dedicated display, especially since I hadn’t seen these anywhere else but at Target stores.


Spring 2017, B’aha Moment

1047 On the Roadie
1048 Excuse Me, Sur
1049 Backseat Besties


1050 B’aha Moment!
1051 Designated DJ
1052 All the Wave

Purchased February 2017 from the auction site … I had thought I’d be passing on this collection; the price must have been irresistible 🙂


Fall 2016, Kimono Over

997 Maki Me Happy
996 Playing Koi
998 Kimono Over


999 Now & Zen
1001 Udon Know Me
1002 Go Go Geisha

Purchased in August 2016 from the auction site. I had seen this collection much earlier at CVS in a reduced display of four, and even then I knew I wanted the whole enchilada!

Immediately after purchase, I did a manicure with all six of these based on a design I had seen in a Japanese nail book. Still loving this collection to pieces!


For the comparisons, I’ve limited myself to the Essie shades within this post:


Resort Romance, B’aha Moment, Knee-High Life, Maki Me Happy


2x each:  Resort Romance, B’aha Moment, Knee-High Life, Maki Me Happy


Designated DJ, Kimono Over


2x each: Designated DJ, Kimono Over


Kimono Over, Winning Streak, Ciao Effect


2x each: Kimono Over, Winning Streak, Ciao Effect

To be continued tomorrow … I’m out of light (and energy).

Be sure to check back for the updated post, honoured café patron!

xx blueberry milk tea 

Roly poly









xx blueberry milk tea


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:





Right side:





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

Collections: Sinful Colors Kylie + Sinful Shine King Kylie

When these collections appeared last year, I remember being absolutely enchanted by North Star first, then picking up a smattering of others here and there whenever popping into Walgreens. Later, I found a few bottles heavily discounted at Target, and was really surprised by the defacement of the display for this collection. Insults and ugliness, left in nail varnish and ink, directed at Miss Jenner. Whatever her reputation among the target (and Target, lol) demographic for her cosmetics, my opinion of her collaboration is sky-high. So much so that when I came upon scads of half-price bottles at a different well-stocked Walgreens locale, I shopped to my nails’ content. No regrets; here’s what I have.

These four are Trend Matters Angel shimmer mattes:

2111 Angelik, 2113 North Star, 2088 Butter Kup, 2110 Magik Touch

2111 Angelik, 2113 North Star

2088 Butter Kup, 2110 Magik Touch

2111 Angelik

2113 North Star, 2088 Butter Kup, 2110 Magik Touch

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2062 Miss Majesty

Next three are Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte:

2082 Mauve On, 2078 Silhouette, 2085 Kozy

2062 Miss Majesty, 2082 Mauve On

2078 Silhouette, 2085 Kozy

Top to bottom:

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2062 Miss Majesty

Next three are Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte:

2082 Mauve On, 2078 Silhouette, 2085 Kozy

Above and below, Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2048 Slay Grey

Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte 2077 Kurtsey

Denim & Bling Matte 2109 Kurves

Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte 2084 Kurtain Kall, 2079 Kommotion

Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte 2077 Kurtsey

Denim & Bling Matte 2109 Kurves

Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte 2084 Kurtain Kall, 2079 Kommotion

Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte 2077 Kurtsey

Denim & Bling Matte 2109 Kurves

Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte 2084 Kurtain Kall, 2079 Kommotion

Denim & Bling Matte 2109 Kurves

Trend Matters Velvet Demi Matte 2084 Kurtain Kall, 2079 Kommotion

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2045 True Kolor, 2053 Minty Fresh

Denim & Bling Duochrome 2109 Kurves

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2050 Kryptonite

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2044 Koko-Nuts, 2049 Miss Chief

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection:

2047 Kommando

2058 Karamel

2055 The Royal Me

Trend Matters Satin Matte 2132 Holly-Wood

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2046 Kween, 2051 Real Regal

Sinful Shine King Kylie Signature Collection 2054 Karnival

Twenty-six bottles in all.

Unsure how many comprised the collections; I’m not fan enough to do intensive Internet homework so it was difficult to decipher on my own what was what in order to break down what I had.

Since I had initially filled up a wheel of 18 chips with what I had (not anticipating buying more), they were organized by colour on the wheel and in my notebook by collection/finish.

That was last year.  When I ended up collecting eight more bottles in the interim, I just put them in the box shown in the background and saved it all for another day.

Those bottles ended up on a different nail wheel, just painted.  Lots of work and confusion!

Now for some comparisons among other similar Sinful Colors 🙂

xx blueberry milk tea

Inspiration: Spring clean

Marni F/W 2017-2018

Just cos I’m always delighted, surprised and inspired by Italian houses’ juxtaposition of colour and texture

The shelf containing a fraction of my collection, which took an enormous chunk of afternoon to clean, mix and reorganize.

Miu Miu Subjective Reality 2015 campaign by Steven Meisel

Peripera, Paul & Joe and Republic Nail’s Frida Kahlo collection

Miu Miu 2014

Colour, texture + pattern

Again, Marni … from F/W 2016-2017

Miu Miu runway F/W 2015-2016

Two bottles of vintage HC Normal

In the end, I got it done!

HC Pixie, Angel, Dork, Bubble Gum, original Sky

All cleaned, shaken and stirred.

xx blueberry milk tea

Spooky series: moody autumnal skies

Risqué Silver Shine, Bonita Dying to Party, Essence Urban Messages TE Skyscraper

A-England Cathy, Essence Crystalliced TE It’s a Snow-woman’s World, Impala Novo 70 Boho Chic, Essence C&G Grey-t to Be Here

Essence Vintage District TE Get Arty, Essence Crystalliced TE Iced Age Reloaded

Nails Inc. Ballet Sheers Covent Garden Ballet, Impala Cores do Oceano Agua Viva, Orly Sweet Dreams, Layla Softouch Effect 03

Scherer Chameleon Hula, OPI Yokohama Twilight

Revlon Smoldering, Colorama Abre Alas, Colorama Misteriosa Turquia Lua Crescente

All swatches above, two coats

Kiko Quick Dry 849, Dance Legend Mist Way Collection 09 Hedgehog in the Fog, Illamasqua Raindrops, Sinful Colors Kylie Trend Matters Shimmer Matte Angel Magik Touch

Rescue Beauty Lounge Morning Light, Sinful Colors Kylie Trend Matters Demi Matte Velvet Kurtsey

Icing by Claire’s unnamed 1/4 of a mini set, Orly Pixie Dust, OPI I Don’t Give a Rotterdam

Essence Beauty Beats TE As Long as You Love Me, Sinful Shine Kylie Signature Collection King Kylie Slay Grey, Colorama Hypnose

All swatches 2-3 coats

xx blueberry milk tea