Pinky Promise II

111 Boa

217 Splendeur

489 Rose Insolent

519 Rose Exuberant

547 Pulsion

619 Pink Tonic (shimmer)

579 Plaza, 653 Darling, 658 Capeline, 661 Bonheur, 678 Creoles

Above:  Chanel on the left, Dior on the right

Kiko 503, Essie Brides No Grooms, Mavala 71 La Paz

Now these are what you call PFFs …

NARS Schiap, WnW Cherry Blossom on Top, Kiko 289, Essie Bachelorette Bash

Above, left:  these four are also true PFFs.

Essie BB is a crelly, maybe even a jelly … so squishy 🙂

xx blueberry milk tea

New in: Sunday shenanigans

Amassing and amassing… meanwhile, can’t help but notice how pretty the new members look gathered ’round and want to share the beauty in a post here at the café.

It then occurred to me I might give some cohesion to the recent arrivals via one brand, also just arrived a few months ago.

It worked out perfectly!

Deborah Lippmann shall do the honours of helping me organize my thoughts. 🙂

Prelude to a Kiss, Shape of My Heart, Fashion, Break 4 Love

Above and below, 025 Tigress and 026 Kitten Claws, from 2012 Spring Creation, Miaou!

(I used to have 027 Manekineko, the third varnish from this collection, but gifted it to a little girl who I hope will enjoy it more than I… )

Above and below, Models Own HyperGel Paradise Pink and Midsummer Mauve

Above and below, the inimitable Mavala.

I know of only one brick-and-mortar shop in my city that carries this brand, and their expensive stock is old and limited.

I was prepared to pay full price for this pair, but it turned out they were 20% off. 🙂

Above, Paul & Joe 08 Flamingo Pink and Barry M Pink Flamingo

(Barry M is not new-to-me, but P&J is, so what better varnish to choose as a mate than a reverse namesake?)

Now, where might I be headed with this playtime session?

Here’s the beginning of the lineup, above and below.

Reverse order, above, 3x each

Prelude to a Kiss, Paradise Pink, Shape of My Heart

Kitten Claws, Midsummer Mauve

Tigress, Fashion

All, 3x above (and below)…

The six neutrals to the right above are residuals from this post

Don’t you agree that Essie Jazz and Barry M Pink Flamingo (at about 2 o’clock above) would make a great reverse French in combination?

xx blueberry milk tea

Manicure nuts & bolts

Really would prefer to insert this as a page, but it will remain tucked away and more anonymous there. Thus, here in living colour as a post, for ease of access. Enjoy!


Essie just received as a gift with purchase; been using the Mavala and Missha for years now…


Mavala came in a kit; Revlon was purchased on clearance a few years ago.  Love them both; alternate them for every manicure.


This is the only way I can see how much product remains in the mini Mavala bottle.

Reallyreally want to try Skin Food’s pineapple cuticle remover, but it’s 10x more expensive than what I paid for Revlon (a great product) AND they are always sold out in-store.  I told myself I would finish these up before buying Skin Food, even with a notice that it’s now in stock and I have a birthday discount available to me…


I’ve used this Bigelow salve (or Rosebud) for years for cuticles and dry spots on hands, way before I became a varnish freak.

The only reason I just purchased the Burt’s Bees is cos the Bigelow must be at least five years old. :/  No bueno.

I need to toss the Bigelow so I no longer recur to it.  I just did this after last Thanksgiving with my kitchen cutting board, and I actually took it out of the recycling bin, poured boiling water over it and use it as a backup to my new one, which I don’t like nearly as much.

The moral of this tiny tale is that I should stick to the same brand/model when buying replacements, of anything!

California Mango Mango Mend was received as a rather grubby extra in a swap.  The content is fabulous, so I just try to overlook the electrical tape goo that coats the tube… I probably use this after every manicure.  It’s that good, but I’ve no idea where to buy it.


Eucerin tiny tube was recently received as a gift with purchase.  I use it quite a bit on my chapped fingers.

I used to have a Mavala hand crème to accompany the Nailactan treatment above (which is only applied to the nail root), but I can’t find it, so I must have used it up…

Glysolid is good for the entire hand (and body, for that matter).  The loose-fitting lid has no grooves, so it slides right off.  I have no idea why the precise Swiss did this, especially when you’re dealing with a slippery container with greased-up hands.  Thus, you can’t take her anywhere!


Ahh, the wonderful “steam creams” from Nature Republic.

I originally bought the rose and vanilla, then returned for doubles of the apple mango and orange — a fruity set for my son, a second fruity set for me.  🙂


I go through these Nivea tubes like there’s no tomorrow.  Love.

Yves Rocher hit a home run with this holiday LE.  Attractive packaging, great product.

The packaging seems to be difficult to decipher for many Americans.  I gifted sets of the pear and caramel LE products at an office holiday party, and also to my mother.  On both occasions, the recipients stared at the labels, stumped, for a good long time and turned the bottles/boxes around several times searching for a clue to what they might be.  My mother even asked me, are you supposed to drink this?  Lol!


Treatment products.

Mavala came in a set, Seche Rebuild was a gift with purchase, and I chased down every last one of the Essence products either in the stand or on clearance.


Base coats.  Nail Armor was my first, but it has little fibers in it and is quite opaque, leaving a hard film around the cuticle.

I picked up Bonder based on fangirl recommendations.  OPI was a gift with purchase.

From this lineup, I find myself using the cheapies most often: Rimmel base/top (a clearance purchase) and Essence Anti-Split Nail Sealer (which says on the back it can be used alone or as a base coat).


Nature Republic mystery (think it’s a protective top coat or treatment); the others provide either a whitening or glossy pink tint to the nail.

I use the L.A. Girl, purchased from hollycoffeebean‘s blog sale, whenever a manicure recipe calls for Essie Pink Glove Service.

Long ago, I had swapped for PGS, and the gal literally tossed it into a huge file-sized envelope with no padding or packaging whatsoever.  Of course it arrived to me unusable, spilled everywhere and very stinky.


To those café patrons who read Korean, SOS!


What is this product from Nature Republic?  On my receipt, it lists the line item as “nail care”.


I can’t remember what it said on the shelf tag.  Actually, I don’t think it said anything!


Soft touch/semi-matte and matte top coats.

When I was in high school in Japan in the mid-1980s, these were a big thing.  Not so much when I returned to the U.S., although I remember purchasing one from the Shiseido counter at Macy’s in 1986.  Whenever I mentioned the concept to American manicurists, they seemed indifferent.  Perhaps they didn’t like the idea of a teenager telling them what was up.


Of these, I only use the Mava Dry.  I’m afraid I might wreck my hard-won manicure with the drops!

Zoya Hurry Up drops were included as a nice extra in a swap.  Maybe she had the same fear as I, lol.  🙂


Fast-drying top coats.

Impala actually says extra shiny mirror finish, but in the little circle upper right, it says fast-drying.  🙂

NOPI was a gift with purchase.

Poshe is getting stringy and has served me well, but still hardens and peels too much around the cuticles for my liking, making my nails look messy.

Out the Door doesn’t do that.  Maybe I still don’t know what I’m doing, but that’s been my experience with a few top coats, reason why I don’t like using them.  Added shine is great, fast curing, even better — but making my manicure look sloppy round the edges, no thank you.


Scented top coats from the Colorama Misteriosa Turquia collection: soft/sweet incense and mint tea.

They both smell SO good, not cheap or tacky in the least.


Various other top coats.

The Essence on the far left could fit in the shiny category below and also in the fast-drying, according to the back label.

Color Club was my first-ever experience with top coat, and an excellent initiation to the process at that.

Essence Allround Talent takes forever to dry and lends a distinct eerie blue cast to the nails in strong outdoor light, but these side effects are well worth the main event.  With just a coat of this and some nail white pencil (a tool I’ve used since I was a kid), your nails look absolutely perfect, just as it says on the bottle.  A gift from alelvi123, who finds stuff in the Cosnova reject bins in Switzerland I will never in a blue moon see here in the U.S.


Gel and gel-shine top coats.

Although I bought the SH Miracle Gel set and quite a few of the expensive Miracle Gel varnishes, I’ve not tried any of them yet.

SH Big Shiny Top Coat is a wonder product, in my book.  And to think I bought it just for the bottle. 🙂

Ladies trashed the Essence Gel-Look Topcoat in reviews.  They said it never ever dried.  So I was scared to use it, being that I have a terrible success rate in the first place with my manicures.  In fact, I was kicking myself for not researching before purchase.  But I’ve had no problem at all with it thus far.


I wanted the black and gold version of this set, but no matter.  I was able to pick up that version of the matchbox of mini nail files.

The orange stick is my addition; not a part of this kit.  🙂





Paul & Joe base coat beauty shots.  Smells like orange blossom.  I swapped for this about four years ago and she makes endless round trips back and forth from the Paul & Joe section of my bedroom stash to the swap section of my varnish warehouse (the garage).

xx blueberry milk tea

Wintermint series, take one





It was late by the time I accommodated my new nine-drawer Alex unit.  Parked right next door are two wide three-drawer plastic consoles replete with more bottles of varnish.  Word on the street is that my Alex will require a twin.  At least I was able to do a thorough recon and ogle what I’ve amassed in the past four years.  There were some real beauties that got rediscovered and relocated!





















1 – Rimmel 60 Seconds Rita Ora Breakfast in Bed

2 – Essence Colour & Go 146 That’s What I Mint!

3 – L’Apogee Be Happy Liberdade

4 – Mavala Lagoon

The above four all have shimmer, with Liberdade’s being the most visible.


5 – Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Kelp Yourself

6 – Nature Republic no. 24

7 – Gosh Miss Minty

7.5 – Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Coastin’ By (matte)


8 – Claire’s Mint to Be

9 – China Glaze At Vase Value

10 – Maybelline Color Show Mint Mist

11 – Misa Little Hands


12 – Sally Hansen Miracle Gel B Girl

13 – China Glaze Kinetic Candy (great formula)


2x each.  My numbering program is archaic, so it was easier to make the one I had inadvertently skipped a decimal than to do everything over again. 🙂

Happy minty fresh new year!

xx blueberry milk tea

PFF Series: smoky purple greys, final batch

Again, for alelvi123.  Ou es-tu, ma cherie?

Initiated here, unseasonably, between Spring and Summer 2014, so I put it on hiatus until now. 🙂


China Glaze The Giver LE Release, acquired much later than the others and added here at the last minute since she is so pretty.  Much cooler and more purple than the rest of the bottles…

Nuance Salma Hayek Evening Haze

Confetti Moonstruck

Mavala Elle


Finger Paints Masterpiece of Minimalism

Tony Moly TR09, has a name but I cannot remember it

Nina Ultra Pro Never Glum Plum

Icing Swept Away


Impala Jackie, leans brown and is the lightest of this bunch

Sinful Colors Mauvelous

Sinful Colors Muse – this one came onto the SC scene first and Mauvelous is its PFF

Essie Smokin’ Hot


Sally Hansen Extreme Wear Grey Area

Model’s Own Purple Grey

OPI I Brake for Manicures


1 – China Glaze The Giver LE Release

2 – Nuance Salma Hayek Evening Haze

3 – Confetti Moonstruck

4 – Mavala Elle

5 – Finger Paints Masterpiece of Minimalism

6 – Tony Moly TR09, has a name but I cannot remember it

7 – Nina Ultra Pro Never Glum Plum

8 – Icing Swept Away (I will miss you, old Icing bottles and content…)



Declared PFFs in extremis: all five on the left side with exception of the first and last, as they lean more brown.

All nail wheel swatches are two coats each, with exception of Impala Jackie, at three coats, and she’s still lighter than the other members of her peer group.

xx blueberry milk tea

For MC, a glimpse of the yet unseen green shelf

Sally Hansen CSM Pique Side is for you, along with that spare bottle of NYC Robin’s Egg Blue lurking behind mine…

Learning to use an iPhone. Please bear with me 🙂

From top:

Shelf no. 1, L to R:

Impala Anos Dourados Matine

OPI Gargantuan Green Grape

NOPI I Only Shop Mintage

SpaRitual Delight

Orly Jealous Much?

Charlotte Russe Unnamed

American Apparel Office

Sally Hansen CSM Pique Side

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Jade Jump

Claire’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Orly Ancient Jade


Shelf no. 2, L to R:

The Face Shop Lovely ME EX GR501

L.A. Girl Color Pop Minty

Sinful Colors Open Seas

Essie Turquoise & Caicos

NYC Tudor City Teal

Impala Penelope Charmosa Armadilha Tropical

Orly Gumdrop

Sally Hansen CSM Jaded

Sinful Colors Greek Isles

Essie Who’s the Boss?

L’Apogee Rainha Elizabeth

L’Apogee Fashion Colors Diana

Impala California Beleza Natural

Paul & Joe Summer 2013 LE Caribbean

L’Apogee Be Happy Cupcake


Shelf no. 3, L to R:

Claire’s Mint to Be

China Glaze At Vase Value

NYC Robin’s Egg Blue

Spoiled Mar-zi-panna

Piggy Polish Star Boulevard

Catrice Am I Green or Am I Blue?

China Glaze Kinetic Candy

L’Apogee Be Happy Liberdade

Mavala Lagoon

Catrice Minter Wonderland

Essie Mint Candy Apple

L’Apogee Be Happy Viagem

Rimmel 60 Seconds Mintilicious

Sinful Colors Be Happy

xx blueberry milk tea