Journey from stark matte to watercolour fun

As soon as I saw this article online last week, I was itching to do this combo … so itchy, in fact, that I initially rushed into it with no cuticle or nail prep whatsoever and put a shiny top coat on it in lieu of matte, due to not giving a careful read to the step-by-step …

After only one day of quasi-hiding my hands, I redid the whole thing, using the Lippmann products I have:

1x Sally Hansen 18k Gold Nail Hardener

1x DL Gel Lab Pro Dirty Little Secret

1x DL Like Dreamers Do

1x Claire’s Matte Top Coat (honking bottle on sale many moons ago for $2 USD)

Since both models in the article images have darker and warmer skin tones than I, little miss pink- and blueberry, I was slightly disappointed by my own results. Maybe if I had had la Lippmann herself tending to my hands with the entire luxe gamut of her products, the result would have been more similar.

When flipping through the April 2018 edition of U.S. Elle, I homed in on the amazing beauty that is Kim K-W, this month’s cover girl and feature, and … on her manicure!

Right? Kris Jenner sure has produced some beautiful offspring …

Meanwhile, the weekend rolled right on up and I had some colour play on my mind.

These I’ve amassed sporadically, and always from discounters.

At first, I intended to use my untouched set of four Wet n Wild LE sheer jellies — in the bottles, they appear too similar to each other.

Chromatic Orange

I’m Never Amberrassed

I Can Teal You Like Me

Indigo Motif

Don’t Violet Me Down

I was in a big hurry to get to playing with these, too, so my hands and cuticles are frightfully unmoisturized in the iPhone snaps above …

Two days later, above … I had left my right hand without colour and wanted to take a photo of *it* holding this sample card, in front of the Kim K-W photo since the pool tile pattern in the photo mimics the BV intrecchiato replicated on the sample card … a task proven nigh impossible with my regular camera.

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

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):

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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 …

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Wild Nudes 2017

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

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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.

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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.

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Spring 2017, B’aha Moment

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

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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 🙂

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Fall 2016, Kimono Over

997 Maki Me Happy
996 Playing Koi
998 Kimono Over

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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:

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

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

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Designated DJ, Kimono Over

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2x each: Designated DJ, Kimono Over

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Kimono Over, Winning Streak, Ciao Effect

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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 

Understated British pageantry, Part II

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Models Own HyperGel – Paradise Pink, Nails Inc. The Perfect Nude – Elizabeth Mews

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Nails Inc. The Perfect Nude – Charlotte Street, Rimmel Salon Pro – Chic Chick, Rimmel 60 Seconds Rita Ora – Let’s Get Nude

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Rimmel Salon Pro – Soul Session, Rimmel 60 Seconds – Caramel Cupcake

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Models Own HyperGel – Naked Glow, Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine – Lychee

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Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Almond, Burberry Ash Rose

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Barry M Cappuccino, Burberry Dusky Mauve

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Brit-Brits!
xx blueberry milk tea

Understated British pageantry, Part I

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White Horse Street, Savoy Place, Porchester Square

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Porchester Square, Porcini, Midsummer Mauve

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White Horse Street, Savoy Place, Porchester Square

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Porchester Square, Porcini, Midsummer Mauve

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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