WPP Update + Generation Beauty NYC!

Hi guys! It's been a long while since I've updated the blog. I interact with many of you outside of the blog and also stayed in communication with all of the brands that I worked with regularly -- so it didn't seem like a formal post with my status was necessary. But now that a season has passed, it's probably time for an update. The short story is an unexpected event in early summer required my full attention (but no worries, we're okay). Instead of feeling increasingly guilty about my unattended swatch pile, I decided to take the pressure off myself and put the blog on hiatus. 

I haven't completely disappeared! I've been lucky to stay engaged with the nail community by writing for NAILPRO Magazine. I also had an article in the print edition of Nail It! this summer. That was a surprise, actually. A piece I wrote for NAILPRO was divided into two versions, one for the pro mag and one for the consumer mag. I knew there was an option for that when I submitted the text, but I didn't know it had happened until Sarah (Chalkboard Nails) texted me a pic. If you'd told me in 2012 that one day THE Chalkboard Nails would send me a text (that alone is crazy) and it would include a pic of an article that I wrote for a magazine, I would have checked your temperature!

The writing gigs are great because I get to talk to my nail idols and stay up on all things nails. Just since May, I've interviewed Gino Trunzo (Essie) for a workshop on cuticle care, exchanged emails with Greg Salo (Young Nails) about creating the perfect C-Curve, and learned the secrets of stamping from stamping queen and fellow blogger, Melissa of nailrotica.com. It's all very surreal to me. (If you're curious, I just updated my writing page with all of my recent stuff here.) 

I think I've been subconsciously avoiding social media. I can't stand that I haven't kept it up...so I just put my head in the sand, I guess. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my one lonely post. In July I did some photos for a Rite Aid mailer using JulieG nail polish. Again, that was unexpected. I got the call one night and everything was due the very next morning! But it was a great distraction and I'm lucky they reached out to me.

Golden Aztec Gradient Nail Art with Cirque Colors Awakening Collection

Hey guys! So I'm doing something that I try to avoid if at all possible. The Cirque Colors polish I used in today's nail art is limited edition and sold out. Eeeeck. But I love it and I think it would look cool in a bunch of color combos.

Cirque Awakening Gradient Aztec Nail Art

The two polishes are from the recent Cirque Awakening Collection. Four of the five shades in this bunch have teeny metallic flakies. Qi is a gorgeous cerulean blue with a golden shimmer. This blue is amazing and unique. The second shade in the gradient nails is New Moon, a beautiful concrete gray with the same shimmer. I should have taken a pic with just the gradient because it was really striking on its own.

Video Tutorial - Easy Freehand Flower Nail Art using OPI Color Paints Blendable Nail Lacquers

I know, shocker...a video tutorial! This is the first time I've ever filmed (and edited) a video - so bear with me. What's the special occasion? OPI asked the bloggers in their network to create a look using their new line of blendable nail lacquers called Color Paints. The shades are semi transparent - but buildable...so you can create new shades by overlapping different colors. You start with a special, silver metallic base that gives a cool dimension to the color - making the end result very different than what you get with OPI Sheer Tints.

I was inspired by a picture of bright petunias in a flower garden, so I went to work trying to create something that looked difficult, but was, in fact, quite simple to do. I hope you like it.

I used most of the colors in the line. Here are all nine shades. OPI descriptions follow the pic.

China Glaze Desert Escape Summer Specialty Collection 2015 Swatches and Review

Hello there! Exciting stuff on the blog today. When I was in LA in February, I had brunch with someone whose job I covet...head of PR for China Glaze. She gave Sarah and I a sneak peek at an upcoming summer specialty release called the Desert Escape Collection (in fact, you've seen one of these shades on the blog here - the rose gold background on her mani at the very end of the post is Meet Me in the Mirage).  The collection will be available 1 June exclusively at LockAndMane.com

China Glaze Desert Escape Collection

Since it's officially been announced, I can finally share my swatches. :) I LOVE this collection. Don't get me wrong, the China Glaze Electric Nights Collection is great and fun and perfect for summer...but the Desert Escape bunch is so much more, well, me. Below are all six colors. I want to use them all together in some striped nail art. I really dig how they look all lined up in a row!

China Glaze Desert Escape Collection
So let's get to the swatches. First up is that rose gold, Meet Me in the Mirage. If you're only going to get one polish from this set...this is it. Such a pretty metallic. It would be great for nail art too. Sometimes I get tired of the same old gold and silver accents - it's nice to have an alternative.

China Glaze Meet Me in the Mirage

Don't Mesa with my Heart is a pretty, bubblegum pinky-purple creme. It's not a unique color, but very sweet with a nice formula too.

Salon Perfect Neon POP! Collection Limited Edition Shades Swatches and Review

Happy Monday! Today I have some neons swatches to show you. These electric shades are the five limited edition polishes in the new 14-piece Salon Perfect Neon POP! Collection. These should be showing up now in Walmart stores nationwide (details at end of post).

Salon Perfect Neon POP! Collection Limited Edition Shades

I tried everything to capture the neon of these colors with my lighting setup to no avail. Finally I ended up waiting until the weekend and retaking the pics in a shaded corner of a naturally lit room with the camera on auto and the flash engaged (talk about trial and error!) The ISO really jumped (for you fellow camera nerds) so the pics are grainier than usual...but the color is more accurate this way. All swatches have a white base, Salon Perfect Sugar Cube, and are finished with Salon Perfect Crystal Clear topcoat.

First up is Oh Snap!, an intense neon pink. It's so neon, in fact, that I feel like my eyes are deceiving me. It seems to lean just a touch orange? Or maybe it's just a deeper shade on the nail than in the bottle? This is three coats of color, but only because I was impatient and didn't give the white base enough time to dry.

Salon Perfect Neon Pop Oh Snap!

China Glaze Everglaze Wear Test and Review

Remember waaaay back in July of 2014 when I reported that China Glaze was releasing their own extended wear system called EverGlaze? See post here. Well these babies are finally shipping to retailers and I was fortunate to get my hands on a few shades.  The upside to my blog migration "break" was that I had the opportunity to really wear test this line and see if it was indeed as long wearing as the hype indicated. The short answer is yes - for me it definitely was. The swatch below is I Lilac It, a fun, medium purple creme.

China Glaze EverGlaze I Lilac It

First, more about the system. Officially, it's a two-stepper...two thin coats of color, followed by the special EverGlaze Active Topcoat. The polish is formulated with "active plasticizer technology" which makes it more flexible and less likely to chip. The brush is nice and flat and the formula for the ones I tried was nice, although a little streaky. I think it's something about the "plasticizer" that affects the self-leveling quality of the polish, so I was careful not to overwork it too much. Two coats of color are recommended, but with all of the colors I tried there were still some thin spots, so I used three coats of color instead. I'm not sure how/if that affected my results.

Zoya Summer Collections are Coming! Zoya Island Fun and Paradise Sun

In keeping with my new approach to collection news, I want to share my thoughts on the just-announced Zoya summer Collections, Island Fun and Paradise Sun. As we've come to expect from Zoya, one six-piece collection is cremes and one includes six coordinating shades with a special finish, typically metallic, foil, glitter, etc. I like this approach because there's something for everyone as far as the central color story goes...but it would be fun if Zoya just completely surprised us with something radical. Having said that, these two sets, with their rich pinks and teals, is right up my alley.

First up is Island Fun, the cremes. Zoya says, "Ready for an island vacation, these playful creams embody a tropical getaway! They are strong in color to balance the brilliance of the summer sun, with a flawless cream formula."  Zoya descriptions follow the pics.