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

Hearts, flowers + chocolate






L to R, 2-3 coats, all, even Skinfood choco gradient:


L.A. Splash – Be Mine (ultrafine shimmery holo glitter, yellowgold-turquoise-green shift)

Sinful Colors – Love Sprinkles

L.A. Splash – LOL (holo + pastel rainbow glitter with pink, orange, blue, purple shift, not nearly as fine as Be Mine)

Nature Republic Style:lean – GRD504 Love Party


Sinful Colors – Shamrockin’

L’Oreal – Garden Bouquet

Dance Legend – Lavender (all matte, no shimmer)

Dance Legend – Viola (matte + ultrafine gold glitter)

Dance Legend – Primrose (matte + finest feather glitter, cannot detect colour)


Skinfood – Choco Smoky Nail Kit (Chic Brown)

1 – Pale gray, 3x

2 – Light gray, 2x

3 – Dark chocolate, 2x

All varnishes in this kit have finest rainbow shimmer

happy valentine’s day
xx blueberry milk tea

South Korea, land of milk + honey

… and yoghurt 🙂

Coconut Milk, 3x

Mint Milk, 2x

Bebe Milk, 2x

Rose Milk, 2x (has a bit of shimmer)

Ice Milk, 2x

Carrot Milk, 2x

(No Milk Creamy Nail Base or Top Coat)

All, 2x

03 Egg Cream Beige

04 Super Duper Beige

05 Gateau d’Or

06 Caramelise

No (01) Base Coat (pictured far left above in bottle lineup) or Top Coat (don’t own)

The Face Shop Yogurt Series

Lemon Candy, Strawberry Milk, Grape Juice

Nature Republic GWH002 Milk Yogurt, GGR603 Mint Yogurt

All, 2x

Innisfree 85, Raspberry Yogurt

Revlon Whimsical (for comparison above and below)

L to R, above and below:

Innisfree 85 Raspberry Yogurt

TFS Strawberry Milk Yogurt

TFS Grape Juice Yogurt

TFS Lemon Candy Yogurt

NR Milk Yogurt

Revlon Whimsical

NR Mint Yogurt

Skin Food Mint Milk and Ice Milk have the best formulae

Skin Food Honey 04 Super Duper Beige looks best on me of these four

Skin Food Honey 06 Caramelise is a sheer gel varnish

Of the yoghurt series, TFS Strawberry Milk and NR Mint Milk flatter me most

Which would you prefer to be served?

xx blueberry milk tea

Chez Maman


Taken at my mother’s house, on Mother’s Day!

Featuring random green acquisitions (in the past five months), since it’s Maman’s favourite colour.

Skin Food Milk Creamy Nail BL005 Mint Milk


Paul & Joe 004 Tortue Verte

Flormar 424


Sinful Colors 1033 Pistache

Found her ’round St. Patrick’s Day 2015, after initially gifting her to alelvi123 back in 2013, not to be spotted in shops again until recently.


Wet n Wild Green Tease, from California Dreaming Summer 2015 LE

Wet n Wild Tree Hugger, from Silver Lake Spring 2015 LE

Green Tease is the slightest bit yellower, Tree Hugger the slightest bit bluer.

So easy to mix them up, especially in bright sunlight.


My dusty find, Revlon Sheer Seafoam from the Summer 2012 Gucci Westman collection.

Squishy jelly for $1 USD.

SH XW Cuteapillar, which I found at a drugstore back in January.

I also bought a gorgeous multichrome a la OPI Have You Seen My Limo? from this same collection.


NOPI Hint of Mint (has shimmer)

Essie Fashion Playground (has shimmer)

xx je t’aime, maman, from your little blueberry

Inspiration: Ukiyo-e of Utamaro Kitagawa

When it comes to varnish parcels and purchases of late, it’s been a continuous roulette of you win some, you lose some… disappointment followed by ecstasy.

Beauty and inspiration still abound, even on my kitchen calendar, an annual gift from my neighbour and owner of my residence.



Sally Hansen CSM 505 Clean Slate


Rescue Beauty Lounge Burn the Evidence (a fiery, sparkly pink-gold-copper-rust stunner in sunlight)


Rescue Beauty Lounge Instant Amnesia


Nails Inc. Hampstead Gardens


This is the lineup I have Skittled on my feet, with RBL Forgiveness between Nails Inc. and Instant Amnesia.

At head-to-toe distance, the very subtle rainbow shimmer of Instant Amnesia is imperceptible, so I added a top coat of Skin Food to jazz up the tatami-esque base.


I very patiently awaited the arrival of these four bottles to my doorstep.

I have yearned for Thank You, Be Humble and Forgiveness ever since they arrived on the scene back in Spring 2013.

Forgiveness was the only member of that collection featured in the recent RBL 60% off sale.


I knew something was awry the moment I picked up the small parcel from my porch, as it was emitting stonky fumes from afar.


I opened the bottle and checked the neck straightaway when I saw this, and was surprised to find it impeccably clean.


This is why.  After cleaning off the leaked varnish with acetone, I immediately regretted it.  It was acting as a plug to the broken glass.


Since I didn’t have a spare empty bottle to pour this beautiful varnish into, after a few moments of fretting, I thought to simply replace the chunk of glass you see in the paper towel above and tape it securely to the bottle with packing tape.

Then, keeping the bottle so the break remains at the top, I cut the very snug-fitting, reeking to high heaven box to act as a sleeve and prevent the varnish from evaporating.

I then taped the top of the box with the name label to the side, and keep it stored this way when not in use.  It is so stinky, I keep it on the sill of an open bathroom window…

This is how I salvaged Forgiveness.  Ironic, no?  🙂

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

Autumnal shimmers, chapter two


F21 L&B Taupe, Colorama Gelo, Sephora 55 Killer Trendsetter, Catrice 905 Steel My Soul (Brushed Metal Effect)




Skin Food Nail Vita BR609 (so sparkly in the shop it gets me every visit, so I’ve inadvertently bought *three*)

Essie Armed & Ready (doctored to resemble RBL Anne before I had her)

F21 L&B Grey (such a dupe for Armed & Ready that I had to swatch each over again several times before I could figure out which was which on the nail wheel, and I’m still not convinced I have it right)


Catrice 34 Squeeze Me, Etude House PP904, Maybelline Color Show Downtown Brown


This trio is the flashiest of the bunch, but they weren’t photogenic for me this go-round…


Cinza Incerto!, Fast Fashion 02 Ouro Nude, Casaqueto de Retalho, New York Jazz


I think I might have originally intended to do a Brazilian shimmer lineup last fall, and that’s why I had ordered these as such on the nail wheel…


Arabica Expresso, Echarpe de Croche, Essence C&G 134 Stuck on You Franck-en, in an attempt to create RBL Catherine before I had her.



1 – F21 L&B Taupe

2 – Colorama Gelo

3 – Sephora 55 Killer Trendsetter

4 – Catrice 905 Steel My Soul (Brushed Metal Effect)

5 – Skin Food Nail Vita BR609

6 – Essie Armed & Ready (doctored to resemble RBL Anne before I had her)

7 – F21 L&B Grey

8 – Catrice 34 Squeeze Me

9 – Etude House PP904

10 – Maybelline Color Show Downtown Brown

11 – Rescue Beauty Lounge Piu Mosso, shown here

12 – Cinza Incerto!

13 – Fast Fashion 02 Ouro Nude

14 – Casaqueto de Retalho

15 – New York Jazz

16 – Arabica Expresso

17 – Echarpe de Croche

18 – Essence C&G 134 Stuck on You Franck-en


Left and right:  attempting to figure out what was what on the nail wheel pictured above and below, since I had swatched everything in Fall 2013 without writing down the order…


The bottle cap to the right has a swatch of OPI First Class Desires at 8 o’clock, as well as China Glaze Choo-choo Choose Me at 4 o’clock and Lug Your Designer Baggage (coffee brown with flakes) at 12 noon.


Indoors, the numbered nail wheel pictured above as it was freshly swatched in Fall 2013, on my See by Chloe sweater 🙂










Full circle, indoors, Fall 2013 🙂

I’ll miss those little Sephora bottles.  I have a Formula X varnish I purchased at a discount retailer for 75% off, to be featured here soon.

xx blueberry milk tea