Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015, and 2016 Beauty Predictions

Happy New Year, lovely readers! Today I want to highlight some of my favorite discoveries of 2015 in the context of my predictions for what might be coming up next. It's been a weird blog year for me, and while it's still not an ideal setup, I'm happy to start putting out posts again and feeling excited about expanding into more beauty topics over the next year. I think for a long time I was afraid to be "interested" in beauty because I thought that meant I was vain or insecure. Nail art and blogging about nails helped me to reframe my thinking and understand that beauty could be an actual hobby, completely independent of the fear that I wouldn't be pretty enough without ten pounds of makeup on my face. It's ok to play with nail polish and makeup for fun! As I tell my daughter, makeup isn't about fixing your face, and no one needs to wear makeup. It's about having fun and using your face as a canvas to express your inner world. Getting braver about beauty and more confident with exploring it this year helped me uncover some great stuff!

Makeup Highlights

Julep really stepped up their makeup game this year, and my two very favorite discoveries were the Fluid Eye Glider and It's Whipped matte lip mousse. I've been wearing a subtle cat eye for years, and Fluid Eye Glider was exactly what I needed to take it to the next level. The only downside of cat eye everywhere is that something I've been doing for so long may seem dated for a while when it falls out of fashion (not a huge deal, I'm going to keep wearing what I like, but kinda makes me sad). I won't lie, it was a little jarring for my teenage son to tell me my eyeliner was "on fleek." I can't be too mad, though, because the resurgence of the dramatic cat eye look led to great quality products, tutorials, and tools to step up my eyeliner game. The more popular a look is, the easier and less expensive it is to do well. I've been wearing this look for 15 years, I'm not likely to stop when everyone else does, and doing a trend well is what transforms it into a classic.

It's Whipped challenged me to really give bold color a try. I'd been playing with It's Balm and was getting braver, but It's Whipped was the lipstick that made me really feel like I was starting to own it. In the spirit of brave beauty, here's a rare blog pic of my face! While I wouldn't call it a swatch because my quick crappy tablet pic isn't very reflective of the color I'm wearing (It's Whipped Pucker Up with a little Julep Gloss in Vivid), I kinda like it, and it's a good reflection of the type of makeup look that I've started playing with this year using both of my two favorite makeup finds.

For 2016, trends are already steering toward neutrals and natural looks-just when I started getting into brights! I don’t think it will last for long, though-by summer, we’ll be craving loud again. I wouldn’t be surprised if big hats, chunky shoes, or some other bold semi-retro trend reemerges later this year. Something I am excited about with all these neutrals is that I think the focus on skincare is on the upswing in the beauty world. I’ve already noticed more talk about products I hadn’t heard of before (how exactly does micellar water work??), and the foundation of a really great natural makeup look is gorgeous skin. People are going to be craving low maintenance complexions to go with their low maintenance makeup, and I can’t wait to see what great products and ideas the beauty world comes up with to help them do it.

Best of Nails
In 2015, I improved my hand care routine, and my nails and hands are very grateful. TamTam’s body whip is still my holy grail hand cream and facial moisturizer. I have to say, my best nail find for 2015 was Sinful Shine topcoat. I’ve been using it almost exclusively since I reviewed it, and it’s definitely staying in my regular rotation. My new brand to watch is Broadway Nails Gel Shine, even after the initial rough start with their formula. My latest experience with Grapefruity was promising, and within the next week or so, I have a new review for you with what turned out to be one of my favorite colors of the year: Chalice. I’d love to see great bargain polish this year, and even though they’ve been hit and miss so far, Chalice gave me hope that Broadway Nails may be the brand to bring it.

Finishes seemed to be at the forefront this year, and one finish becoming more popular that I hope to see a LOT of in 2016 is ghost shimmer (or hidden shimmer). These polishes look and apply like a crème, but have a subtle wave of sparkle through them that makes them positively glow. Sinful Colors Cream Pink (shown here) and Julep Suzanne, Paula, and Jenny were amazing polishes I tried this year in the ghost shimmer family. I can’t get enough of them. As much as I adore holos, I’m ready for the more subtle shimmers to get some love.

So those are my nail and beauty reflections for 2015. I’m no expert, but I can’t help thinking this will be a year that starts with a whisper and grows to a roar. I’m excited!

What were your favorite beauty products and polishes for 2015? What do you hope to see in 2016?

Monday, December 21, 2015

More Broadway Nails Gel Strong! Grapefruity and Gatsby

I've made a dangerous discovery: the Dollar General to the east of my house has more Broadway Nails Gel Strong polishes than the one to the west. I was delighted and a little surprised at how popular my Broadway Nails post has been, and that plus the low price and compulsive need to have all the polish convinced me that you needed more swatches. You know, for science.

After carefully examining bottles until I started getting the side eye from the clerk, the first polish I picked was also the one that called me over to the display. Grapefruity is a bright, warm pink-not quite hot pink, but close. Not particularly unique, but still very nice.The formula was a welcome surprise. It covered nicely in two coats, but I used three since visible nail line tends to really bug me. It was shiny, too, and none of the streaking issues I had with my last Broadway Nails creme, Ballet Shoes. For the price, this one was a real winner.

The second polish I settled on was less so. Gatsby is a grass green shimmer. I picked it because I don't have a rich true green, and I hoped this would fill that gap. Unfortunately, I think the search will have to continue. Gatsby goes on super sheer. This is 4-5 coats. I even tried it over white, but if anything, that made it worse. This could make a nice enhancer to bring out the green in another color, but on its own, I'd say it's a miss. It just needs too many coats to get to any semblance of the gorgeous jeweltoned green in the bottle. Some of you mentioned trying out Ultraviolet; I would guess that this finish is similar. I may experiment more with nail art and as a topper, but my recommendation is that you pass on this one unless you have another polish you're trying to green up.

These two polishes confirmed my initial assertion that Broadway Nails Gel Shine polishes aren't much competition for the high end stuff, but they're still worth a shot, and I'll definitely be back to the Dollar General I've now officially dubbed the "good" Dollar General to pick up a few more. Have you tried any of the newer shades? Thoughts?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Recreation: PGS Glitter Ruffian

I was a huge fan of now-defunct blog Pretty Girl Science, and I'd saved one of Nichole's posts on my Bloglovin' Nail Ideas folder, where all the really cool nail art posts go to languish, waiting fruitlessly for me to recreate them. (Never fear, PGS's Nichole still posts at Bedlam Beauty, while Amanda can be found at Some Weird Sin.) This time, though, I actually did one!

I had held off on recreating Nichole's black and glitter ruffian (original here) because the glitter she had used was so unique. She packed Octopus Party Nail Lacquer's Glow for the Gold and The Royal Tannenbaums for a multicolored glitter extravaganza. I didn't have anything similar, and it was the color combination that had won me over, so it sat. I had almost written it off as one of those manis that was built around a random indie polish I'd likely never own.

Then the wheels started turning again when I bought Sinful Colors Pride, a multicolored, multisized round and hex glitter topper that layers to full coverage relatively easily. To get the color effect I wanted, I started with my black base, then used a short striping brush to polish on a thin layer of NYC Fashion Queen into my ruffian shape to give the extra pop of gold that glammed up Nichole's mani. The pre-shaped design made layering in Pride super easy. It took about 2 coats with a little spot dabbing to get the glitter saturation I wanted, but boy was it sparkly!

I think that Pride is a little chunkier than the OPNL glitters Nichole used, but the overall look that prompted me to hit Save on that post is definitely there. I love how this mani turned out-a really classy take on a very, very high sparkle look that was, as she promised, quite easy to achieve. I was especially excited to have recreated it with easy to find, inexpensive shades. Both Pride and Fashion Queen are drugstore polishes (and you could actually use any gold glitter as your ruffian base for a similar effect), and my base is a basic black- Julep Cleopatra this time. I topped it with Sinful Shine Top Coat.

As a PGS devotee, I was sad to see it end, but two blogs are better than one, right? I was glad to finally recreate this throwback to their starter blog. What other glitter combos could be fun for this look? Have you ever recreated an indie look with mainstream polishes?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sinful Shine Topcoat Review

Hey everyone! I just had to snap out of my semi-hiatus to tell you about Sinful Shine topcoat! I don't have any photos for you this round (sorry), but the bottle looks like this:
Photo from
My local Wal-Mart recently got a Sinful Shine display, and I was instantly sidetracked because I had to pick up every. single. polish. I got to what I thought was a shimmery black, and then realized it was a topcoat! Exciting!!! For those who don't know, here's some beauty science: a black or opaque silver bottle usually means quick dry, because quick dry polishes often work by reacting with light. In a clear bottle, they start thickening up. If you have a quick dry, avoid letting light get in the bottle to keep it working well for as long as possible. I actually turn of my small LED desk lamp while I topcoat and then turn it back on after I close the bottle to preserve my topcoats. A $1.99 quick dry would be almost too good to be true, but I decided to give it a go anyway, and was thrilled to find that Sinful Shine topcoat had all of my three essentials of a great topper.

First up: dry time. The reason I love my Julep toppers is because they dry in minutes, but I go through them pretty quickly and hate giving up one of my coveted Maven box spots for yet another bottle of topcoat. I tried the Sinful Shine topper with Sinful Shine Picante (an absolutely gorgeous shimmery red based orange). I found that in about 15 minutes it was dried to the point where I could get around without ruining my nails, and at 20 minutes it was dried hard. No sheet marks, no wrinkles, no dents. I tend to paint at night, so drying to the point that I can go to bed shortly after is a must. To double test, I tried it again with several more manis, including two non-Sinful Shine polishes. Same results every time, no wet polish malfunctions. I can confidently say that it's fast enough that I can put it on, watch a TV show or read a few articles, and be good to go. While it isn't as fast as Julep's Freedom and Oxygen topcoats, it's fast enough to meet my everyday needs, and it's much cheaper than Julep toppers.

Second test: shine. It's all about shine for me, and this topcoat passed that test, too. Once again it wasn't quite at the level as the Julep toppers, but Sinful Shine was satisfactory for me. I do not mess around about shine, so if I tell you it's sufficiently shiny, it's still about a level shinier than most people would probably be satisfied with. It didn't dull, either-it stayed shiny until I removed it.

Finally, lasting power. This was the least impressive area, but I would still call it mixed results. I had lasting power ranging from minor chips and tip wear in a day or two to several days with no sign of any wear at all. I tend to have chips and tip wear fairly quickly anyway, so I can't hold that against them too far. I would say Sinful Shine is about average in this respect- no worse than most other topcoats I've used, but not spectacular either.

So the final verdict is BUY THIS! I got similar performance to my favorite topcoats at a fraction of the cost. I'd compare it to Sally Hansen Mega Shine, but better. I'll still use my gold standard Juleps when I need to polish and go right away, but for everyday use, this is a great match. The brush is thin-ish, a little thinner than normal Sinful Colors brushes; I wasn't crazy about that, but otherwise, no complaints. This value topcoat is a great buy, and will probably be my go-to topper for a while.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fashionably Unfashionable

Hey everyone! I thought I'd try something a little bit different today. I recently started a new job, and out of all the new-job Googles I did, the most unsatisfactory one was "how to build a work wardrobe with clothes you already have." I didn't switch fields or anything, but my new job is a little more fashionable than the old one, and to be honest, I've been in a major wardrobe rut. My clothes are boring, I didn't have a huge budget to replace them, and even if I had all the money I needed, I still had no idea how to do it. Since I had so much trouble finding tips that worked for me in any kind of practical way, I decided to chunk together what I did find (blogs like Fab Fatale and Corporette were useful, and I fell absolutely in love with Putting Me Together's simple tips, multitasking pieces, and great pictures) with trial and error to give some real girl advice on revamping your work wardrobe.

Accessorize for YOU
The advice to spice things up with accessories is always part of the standard "on a budget" wardrobe advice, but my best friend once joked that she hasn't seen me swap out of the same few pieces of jewelry in a decade...and she's kinda right. I'm getting more comfortable with big necklaces and trendy belts, but statement accessories aren't very me, and I usually feel goofy in them. The key to utilizing this advice for me was picking the right accessory to focus on. For me, I am always cold, but when I wear sweaters outside of the dead of winter I get hot and spend all day taking them on and off. The magic accessory for me was scarves. They come in a ton of weights to wear all year without getting too hot or cold, make any outfit look delightfully deliberate, are functional and inexpensive, and don't look over the top, even with bold prints and colors.  And they're great for when I spill something on my shirt. Which is often. Scarves are my perfect accessory, so I bought or found several and played with a few different ways of tying them to mix it up. Easy easy! These infinity scarf two packs are my favorite (and it looks like they're on clearance!). If you always wear earrings, or love cardigans, or have an extensive shoe collection, use that accessory as your jump off point. Or do like I did and fill a need. If your pants are always slipping, invest in funky belts. Headscarves could be a good fit if you don't like your hair. I've learned that fashion that meets a need is almost always a good choice.

Choose Your Splurges Wisely
Before I was very reluctant to wear dresses because I wanted to avoid the inevitable "what are you so dressed up for?", but I always envied people who wear a dress like it's no big deal. I bought a dress for an interview and spent more than I really wanted to, around $30, and oh. my. gosh. Dresses are easy to wear (one piece, just add shoes!), are easily accessorized, and are really, really comfortable...if you buy good quality ones. Poor quality dresses, like I've bought in the past, fit poorly and leave you tugging at them all day to look just ok. Good quality dresses are amazing. I also am willing to buy only 1 or 2 pairs of jeans a year (if that) and spend more to get a perfect fit. I thought shoes would be another good splurge, but I quickly found that I didn't notice a difference, even when I spent more on shoes. I think I'll try good quality insoles and keep buying cheap but cute shoes. Likewise, my scarf obsession does not extend to $50 scarves. Yes, they feel nice, but when I can get them at good prices and look the same, do I need cashmere? Nah. When you buy new, pick the things that make you feel or look noticeably better at higher quality to buy, then go cheap on the rest.

Pay for Classics, Skimp on Trends
A rule I adopted quickly from the blogs is pay for classics and skimp on trends. My interview dress was a plain blue sheath dress in a stretchy fabric that I got at an outlet store, worth way more than the $30 I paid, and I wear it all the time, accessorizing it for the occasion. I have another dress in a bold print and trendy cut that I only paid $7 for. It's cute, but has a limited shelf life, so I wouldn't have paid full price. Something that will still look good and feel good in 5 years is worth it, even if it means you can't buy as much. Caveat-it needs to be something you'll actually wear. Pay for your classics. For example, I read that a blazer is a wardrobe staple, so I grabbed one at a thrift shop-and promptly discovered that my lifestyle does not require a blazer on anything close to a regular basis. I was so glad that I didn't buy a great one to never wear. I avoid overly formal pieces because I rarely attend formal events. I have an LBD, everything else needs to me more everyday. Likewise, I consider heels a wardrobe essential, but my go-to shoes are flats. My K-Mart pumps will be sufficient for occasional wear, thanks. When I'm in the market for something new, I go to discount places like TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory or hit the clearance racks at department stores for good quality finds at prices I can stomach, then shop cheap for trends I want to try.

Make Color Easy
A ridiculous amount of my wardrobe is neutrals because of one of my own rule: before buying something, I try to figure out what I'd wear it with. It's still a good rule, but led to me playing it safe. To break out of that, I bought a ton of $2 camisoles and tank tops in different colors and started layering like crazy. Right now I have a bright coral cami under a black henley, and my outfit is infinitely more interesting than it would be with a neutral. If you lean neutral with clothes, buy a few pieces and lots of well chosen accessories in colors you like. That's it-just buy it because you like it. Then pair it with your neutrals, and you're insta-stylish. Makeup is a fun and cost effective way to insert color, too. I have so much lipstick. Color has always made me nervous, so buying colorful low commitment items has been a great fashion gateway for me

Over time I bought a lot of items because I loved them, but they ended up not being very me in practice. My goal of upping my wardrobe game made me reexamine these items. Would the gigantic belt that came with this dress look better with this one? Can this dress be a shirt, or vice versa? Would this necklace look less gaudy as a bracelet, or even a belt? When did I buy these earrings? Repurposing ad revising things I picked up here and there because I liked them helped a lot with developing a sense of personal style without having to buy a new wardrobe.

Love (Or At Least Like) Your Body
Another personal rule is that I never buy things that don't fit. Even if I love them. Even if they kinda almost fit. If I can't wear it and like it right now, it stays on the shelf. For clothes I already have, I either get rid of things that don't fit or keep them separate from my regular wardrobe if I can't stand to give up on it yet. When your clothes fit, they're easier to match with other things and to just throw on without too much work. For me, if clothes are a lot of work to like the effect, I don't wear them. I'll spare you the self love blah blah, but being honest with yourself about your body, including and especially what you like, narrows the field a lot on what to wear. I know I have a defined waist but a mom belly, so yay to my flared dress with a high belt! I like my legs. Maxi dresses make me feel short and awkward, so knee length skirts/dresses or pants are my favorites. I get me. I know what makes me feel good. I do not want to spend all day thinking about my clothes, so I find things that fit and just...wear them.

So, short version-I buy only things I really like, know my style and needs and stick to the script, and I take calculated risks, but I also know my limits and follow rules that have made sense for me. Whew, now I know why so many re-work your wardrobe articles are terrible-this is hard! How do you expand your style repertoire? What piece can't you live without?

All that being said, confession time: I guess you could say I've been on a bit of a blog break. With everything I've had going on, and continued issues with getting good quality photos from my camera to my computer, with the added fun of a nail art slump, breakage, and cuticle issues (don't worry, guys, I'm back on the oil and have a fresh supply of TamTam's body whip), I just haven't felt driven to post in waaay too long. I also have a Julep Mystery Box review written from May that I just need to figure out how to add photos to, do you still want to see it? I figured it could help with the eternal "should I try a mystery box" debate, but it's not exactly relevant, so it's up to you, dear readers. I can't promise that my break is over, but this has never been a super regimented blog, and that helps me keep it fun and bring you only things I love.  I love sharing my thoughts and nail art with you, and your being cool about letting me do my thing takes off the pressure to do anything but have fun. Sometimes I pressure myself and I see the difference in the quality of my posts, which I don't want, so thanks for sticking with me and going with the flow during these down times.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Broadway Nails Gel Strong Review: Where's Nemo and Ballet Shoes

First of all, let me apologize for the long gaps between posts. My laptop is on the fritz, so getting photos from my camera to the blog has been a bit of a nightmare. I'm working on getting it fixed, but thanks for being patient with me! Even though this is a hobby blog, I feel terrible for taking so long between posts-plus I miss telling you all about my polish excursions. Speaking of...

If my drawerful of Sinful Colors bottles has taught me anything, it's that you can't judge a polish by its price point, so recently I decided to give a new discount brand a shot. A line called Gel Strong recently hit my local Dollar General store from the Broadway Nails brand. Broadway Nails has been around for a while and has some cute shades, but I've never tried them, and the Gel Strong polish just showed up here recently with a retail price of $2. In the interests of science, I picked up two colors in different finishes to get a feel on whether this is the next fabulous steal brand. Short answer: probably not, but they're ok. Long answer: read on.

The first polish I picked up from this line was Where's Nemo, a cheerful green shimmer. I would describe this as a granny smith apple with silver and green shimmer. I really like this color. I wore it for several days, then wore it again as an accent in some tulip nail art that wasn't quite blogworthy, but the polish was great against a darker green creme for my leaves and flower stems. It's shimmery and pretty, different while still understated, and I looked at my nails a lot when I was wearing it. Applying it, though, was kind of a pain. It's not thin, but not thick either, and getting even coverage was not easy. Here I'm wearing three coats.

The other color I chose was Ballet Shoes, a peachy pink creme. I think of pale pinks with that name and bright oranges with Nemo references, so I'm not sure who's naming these colors. Nevertheless, Ballet Shoes is a really nice color. While the peach shows more in my photos, on the nail it's more balanced with pink. I used Zoya Lux as an accent and they looked great together. Application was a mess here, though. I used three coats, waited between coats even, and they still looked streaky to me until I applied a generous coat of Julep Freedom Polymer topcoat, which seems to even it out to a beautiful, shiny finish. 

So are they the next Sinful Colors? The colors themselves are delightful. Hats off to the Broadway Nails color team, because there wasn't a ton of selection in the Gel Strong line, but they were all interesting, on trend colors, like a shimmery nude, midnight blue, and a line of ultra bright neons. Several of the polishes seem to be oddly named, as if the names were chosen before the colors were actually finished. They also have a topcoat that I haven't tried, which could have contributed to the most glaring flaw of the line: I don't get what's supposed to be "gel" about them. Neither polish was particularly squishy, and lasting time was about average. If I buy more of these and feel adventurous, I may give the topcoat a try, too. I probably will buy from this line again because the colors themselves were so good, but the formula issues were a serious strike.

Have you tried Gel Strong or any of the other Broadway Nails line? What did you think?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sinful Colors You Goji and Sketch Daisies Nail Art

I have another new acquisition for you today (maybe I have a problem...)! Trolling the endcap at Walmart, I spotted one bottle of a Sinful Colors shade I hadn't seen before, a berry purple called You Goji. It turns out that this color is even more unusual than I expected. When I searched for swatches, I came up empty. It's like this color never existed. This leaves me in the very high pressure position of swatching this presumably hard to find shade, just for you!

The first thing you may notice about You Goji is that I described it as berry purple, but it swatches almost brick red. It turns out that this shade is pretty difficult to photograph without TONS of light. In low light, the red is more prominent, and these swatches are fairly true to color in those conditions. It makes me sad that the low light end was all I managed to catch, though, because the purple end of this shade is so pretty, and completely different from what you see here. It's a cooler pinky berry shade very similar to how it looks in bottle. If you like the bottle shade, I think you'll be pleased with it when you get home, too. It's not wholly original, but not a dupe for any of the other berrys in my collection, and I'm pretty fond of it so far. Pink and purple lovers should pick it up if you see it.

Application was very good- two coats here, but you could get away with one thick coat applied carefully for full coverage. It's a creme finish, dries fast and levels well. It was also really, really shiny- no topcoat in these pictures! The downside of such a rich color is that cleanup is a bit of a bear. I had trouble getting it off of my cuticles with acetone, and when I removed it from one finger to fix a nail art oops (stay tuned!), I had some heavy smearage. In short, getting it on was easy, but I expect that getting it off will take some finesse. It would probably be less of an issue if I hadn't been slacking on the cuticle oil but, keeping it real, very few of us have perfect cuticles, you have been warned.

Now for the nail art! I wanted to do a purple/pink galaxy mani on this shade, but the red undertones proved to be a little too strong, and it just didn't look right, so I went back to the well for some sketchpad daisies. While I have a sometimes maddening love for very precise nail designs, I think daisies are so cute when they've got that worn, brushstroked look as if you doodled them in a notebook with a dull number 2 pencil. I used an LA Colors white striper to draw my daisy petals around a dot of Julep Nessa. I have a few white stripers, but the formula on this one is a touch thin. Crappy for stripes, but perfect for the softer, slightly transparent look I was going for in my daisy petals.

Is You Goji in your collection? I'm always curious about when polishes I haven't seen came out and whether a polish I like is LE, but all I can find on this one is an eBay listing with a snap of the bottle and a ridiculous price tag. (I paid $1.99, they want $7.99-I hate when online sellers price gouge a color because it's somewhat HTF. I mean, I found it at Walmart, so it's not exactly unicorn pee.) If you have a little history or other thoughts on this color, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. In other news, this is my 100th post! I've had so much fun with the first 100, learning to take photos, practicing nail art, and jumping into the nail blogger community, and I hope to keep getting better all the time. Whether it's your first visit or I pop up in your Bloglovin' feed with every post, I appreciate you, and it never ceases to amaze me that people manage to find my super secret blog. THANK YOU!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Maven Swatches and Review: Danica, April, and Angie (a Julep holo!)

This month as an add on, Julep introduced a holo! I tried so hard to say no, I really did, but it didn't happen. Angie had to be mine. Wanna see it, and the other colors I picked up this month? Here you go!

Angie is a silver "liquid holographic," which I would call an apt description. When you're applying it or looking at it in the bottle, it has a really cool flowy quality. It does pool in the cuticles a little bit, so application isn't crazy, but is a touch delicate. What surprised me most was how rich the coverage was. Angie is opaque in two to three coats. To my delight, this is not a holo topper. It's almost like a holo that applies like a creme. It even cleans up surprisingly easily. I hope Angie will be the first color in a series of liquid holographics. I'd love to see this finish in just about every color (mint green first, please!). I would call it more scattered than linear, and it scatters even more with topcoat (I used Julep Freedom Polymer). This made me a little sad, because it's a touch dull without it. It's kind of strange-it clouds up when you apply the topcoat, but as it dries, it gets the most of its holo-y goodness back. If you like a good silver holo, this is a solid one, and I'm more than happy with this add-on. It's my full mani right now, and it is effectively slowing down your ability to read this post because I keep stopping to look at my nails instead of writing.

The second color I got was April, a "vermilion" creme. I'm not sure what the heck vermilion is supposed to be, but I'd call this a cheerful red based poppy orange. April's the kind of color that will get a fair amount of mileage for me. It's a bright that compliments my medium skin tone, feels seasonal 3/4 of the time (not much of a winter tone, I'm afraid), and applies nicely. I don't have any real complaints about it. It's not a revolutionary shade, but it's a lovely staple red-orange.

Finally, I picked up Danica, a unique purple-blue shimmer. I found it almost impossible to photograph this one accurately! When I went back to Julep's photos, theirs were also much more blue than Danica looks in real life. I'd hoped that it would lean more purple, and I was wowed by this shade, but if you want blue-blue, you may want to try a different shade. Or you can layer it over a brighter blue...because this shade is much sheerer than I expected. On the first coat, it's pretty much a jelly, and it builds to the opacity you see here in about four coats. It's listed as a chrome, but it's not similar in consistency to other Julep shades that I'd call chromes, like Greta and Karmen. And one more gripe: it smells pretty bad. All that said, while I wish it were a little more opaque, I like the flexibility that the consistency gives, and the actual color is fantastic. It has fine blue and purple shimmers that make it totally different than anything else I have. The blend of blue and purple is interesting and unexpected-I like it a lot.

Oh dear, I got wordy again, sorry! The TL;DR version is that all of these were really nice, but Angie's the one that really stands out. I'm sure not everyone will love it, but I'd definitely recommend it. Did you get a Maven box this month? What did you pick?

Friday, March 27, 2015

New to Me: Sinful Colors Cream Pink

Hanging out at Big Lots, one of my favorite places to troll for previously unspotted colors, I found Sinful Colors Cream Pink. A quick web search suggests it was originally released around 2011 or 2012, but I hasn't seen it in displays...until I bought it. Then I noticed that it had reemerged in the About Blooming Time collection, as identified by Nouveau Cheap. I was drawn to the gold shimmer, and the minute I put this color on, I knew I needed to photograph it. It. Is. Fabulous.

At first the name threw me off-why it's called Cream Pink when it's clearly a shimmer is beyond me. I was worried that all of that glorious in-bottle shimmer would melt away on the nail. Not a problem. The shimmer is very present, and mesmerizing. It's an instant favorite. On the down side, the formula is a little weird. It's not quite opaque, with VNL at two coats, but it's still a fairly thick consistency, so I had to be careful with the third coat an while it dried to avoid polish wrinkles. It dries to a kind of satin finish. Here I topped with Julep Freedom topcoat. Once you shine it up, Cream Pink is a delightfully squishy shimmery hot pink. Pink lovers must have this.

Not one to leave well enough alone, I added a sparkly gradient of Julep Joelle and China Glaze Fairy Dust. It's so pretty!

Are you a fan of pinks? Has Cream Pink made it into your collection?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nail Crazies Unite: Good Luck Goldfish

This week in Nail Crazies Unite the theme is Good Luck Charm. I like the idea that surrounding oneself with certain items, colors, or furniture arrangements could tip the odds, even if I don't necessarily believe in luck. I did some casual Googling, and I found out that goldfish are considered good luck in some cultures. Goldfish nails-how fun!

The base color on this mani is Julep Kiki. I love this color. It's so bold and shimmery, and ranges from what you see here to almost a light slate color depending on the light. My goldfish is freehand with Julep Ingrid, Karen, and Zoya Jesy. I didn't think I liked Jesy at first, but I've used it several times recently, and I'm falling in love with it. For this mani, it gave the perfect amount of sparkle and really set off the goldfish's underwater glow. Around the goldfish, I used dots of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Tulle Kit for some shimmery transparent bubbles. I enjoyed this mani-I may have to do a full goldfish bowl look sometime!

Check out the other Nail Crazies in the link up:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Nail Crazies Unite: Rainbow

February was such an awesomely bad month, and the beginning of March was super busy, so I'm glad to be back to the Nail Crazies Unite challenge. This week's prompt was Rainbow, a pattern I love, but can never quite get right. After a few much more complicated ideas, I finally went with something simple.

For this design, I used a new-to-me shade, Sally Hansen XTreme Wear Golden-I. I really like this one a lot. I bought it because my go to gold metallic, Revlon Copper Penny, was running low, and this turned out to be not quite a dupe, but an acceptable substitute. I used three coats thin coats here.

My other shades, chosen for their super shimmer sparkly qualities, were Julep Karmen (red), Sephora for OPI What's Your Sign (yellow/orange), Sinful Colors Happy Ending (green), and Black Dahlia Lacquer 90 in November (purple). I didn't want a glitter rainbow (this time), but I wanted it to sparkle like crazy. While the level of bling looks subtle here, I assure you, it is obscene.

Have I said lately that I love rainbow nails? They're fabulous. I may even do some more before the week is out. Be sure to check out all of the other delightful rainbow creations from the NCU ladies below!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March Julep Maven Review and Simple Dotted Nail Art

I got home Tuesday from a weeklong trip to fabulous Las Vegas! One of the only moments the whole trip when I wished I was home was when I found out that my Julep Maven box had arrived in my absence. This month I wasn't as excited about the beauty products as the polish, so I ended up with four polishes from the Pop! collection: Janet (a pale peach in their new soft focus finish), Ali (a mint green soft focus), Nayely (a peach/papaya creme), and Nedra (a denim creme). This month, I was all over variations of hues I've been passing over lately like peach, mint, and blue. Every month it seems like I go for a more unique shade and end up kicking myself for passing on something I know would look good in a staple this time I snatched them up. Take a look at how they look together.

First up, the soft focus finish. I'm not really sure what the difference is between "soft focus" and regular old matte pastels, but they do have a soft, hazy quality without topcoat (I used Julep Freedom Polymer topcoat in the pictures here). Both are very pretty, and I would say I got what I expected from them. Ali is very, very similar to the swatches on the Julep website, and Janet is a little paler than it looks on my monitor. Janet is the base color for my accent nails. Both are more matte in person than they appear on the website. As pastels tend to be, they're a touch uncooperative in application and required three coats for full, clean coverage.

Nedra and Nayely are well behaved cremes, opaque and shiny in two coats. I wondered if Nayely would be super similar to Princess Grace, a papaya shade I regretted passing on last year, but it appears to be lighter and more peachy. It's a great seasonal transition color for people like me who aren't nuts about most pastels but don't want to completely skip spring shades altogether. Nedra, the main color in this mani, is a great all season shade. "Denim creme" is an accurate descriptor. It's rich and cool with the tiniest hint of grey undertone, not a weird color, but also not like any of my other blues. Even though I liked all of these enough to recommend them, Nedra would be my must have from this box.

What did you get in your Maven box? I love how well all of the shades this month coordinate with each other. If you're not a Maven and decide to give it a try, do me a favor and click here or on the cute little "Classic With A Twist" button on your right to use my referral link.

Monday, March 2, 2015

First Impressions: No Rub Power Gel Polish Remover

Recently Sandi at Cutepolish posted a video review of Nail-Aid's new No-Rub Power Gel acetone nail polish remover. It's advertised as an easier, cleaner way to remove polish, and comes in two formulas: Glitter and Nail Art and Stubborn Dark Polish. Sandi's videos were my gateway to nail art, and even though my inspirations are more diverse nowadays, I still value her opinion. The power gel seemed simple enough, and since it worked well for her, I decided to pick up the Glitter and Nail Art formula. The results were... mixed.

I started out using it to remove the jelly sandwich mani I put on a few days ago. I figured this would be a good way to test this product out since it was a thick layer of polish with multiple glitters. If it could power through this mani with its multi sized glitters and crazy layering, this stuff could do anything.

Before Power Gel
I was less than impressed with the results, though. The gel left little glitters all over from the jelly base, and didn't even put a dent in the big heart glitters. I still had to go in and remove quite a bit of polish with my regular remover. The gel was also sticky and hard to wash off of my fingers, which I found quite unpleasant-it was like having glue under my nails. Blech.

After Power Gel
Nevertheless, I really wanted to like this product, so I gave it a shot with a less stubborn glitter, Julep Cameron. Those results were much closer to what I'd hoped for. The polish wiped off pretty easily. In this round, I learned that you can't be dainty with this remover, the nail has to be fully coated in gel for the full four minutes to work. I was surprised at how gentle it was on my fingers for an acetone polish. It didn't leave my nails and cuticles crazy dry as I feared it might. I topped with cuticle oil once my nails dried like I normally do, and they looked and felt fine. As a side note- when they recommend rubbing it off with a paper towel, this is a very deliberate recommendation. In an attempt to avoid said stickiness, I tried to dab a little off with a cotton ball. As you can see a little bit below, that did not end well. This product seems to work best when you follow instructions exactly.

So does it work? My verdict is that it's too soon to tell. I was initially disappointed, but this Power Gel redeemed itself a bit on the second round. It was very easy to use, clean aside from the initial stickiness while washing it off, didn't have an unpleasant or even particularly noticeable smell (as long as you don't get too close), and overall did what it said it does...kind of. The ease of use makes it worth giving another try with a few more types of manis to see if it's something I would use on a regular basis.

Have you tried this yet? What were your first impressions? Tell me in the comments!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

$5 Mani: Jelly Sandwich

I love indie polish...because who doesn't anymore? It's the best. But there's still a special place in my heart for drugstore polish. The sad reality is that I can't afford to buy all the indies and high end stuff. Luckily for us, there are some really good polishes readily available in most areas for decent prices. For those of us who can't go on an indie shopping spree every time we decide to get a new polish (insert brief fantasy of being able to waltz into K-Mart and pick up baskets full of A England and ILNP), I bring you $5 Mani! In these posts (hopefully there will be lots of them), I will feature full nail art looks with two or more polishes that I purchased for $5 or less, and most will be easy to find at mass retailers.

For my first $5 mani, I went back to the jelly sandwich, a trend that I never got to when it was cool-typical. Jelly sandwiching is when you take a jelly polish and layer it both over and under a glitter. I hadn't tried it because I have a preference for opaque looks, but the sheer squishiness of jellies is winning me over. I brought out NYC Color NY Princess as my base and layered with Sinful Colors Love Sprinkles, an LE matte white heart and hex glitter. NY Princess has its own glitters, which made it fun for this look. Oddly, I mentioned back in August when I reviewed the NYC Fashion Queen collection that I may try it in a jelly sandwich sometime, so it's fitting that I used it for my first one. Incidentally, NY Princess was much more cooperative this time around. The base on Love Sprinkles is a little thick, it had to be sweet talked into participating in this look. Both polishes retail at $1.99, so even without any discounts or sales, the total cost of this look is $3.98.

Jelly sandwich technique will take some practice, but I like this mani. The different types of layers make a monochromatic look that's really interesting-and it's so squishy! I have tons of glitters that may be fun in this technique next time I need something that both squishes and sparkles. Do you still wear the occasional jelly sandwich, or are you on to the next look?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Black Dahlia Lacquer Blue Half Moons

Nothing super fancy to show today, but I know it's been kind of quiet here recently, so I wanted to drop in and show you a quick nail art look featuring polish from Black Dahlia Lacquer, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite indie brands. The formula is always good, and they have a few distinct finishes characteristic of their polish that I really love, so once you've tried them, you have a pretty good idea of what you're going to get next time. Plus they come in two sizes-great for a blogger on a budget.

The base color of this mani is Texas Ice Flower, from their Holiday Collection. The glitter half moons are Twilight Orchid, which I got as a free mystery polish during their Black Friday sale. It's not currently available on the site.

Here's a closer look at those finishes I was telling you about. Texas Ice Flower has a gorgeous subtle scattered holo glitter that makes it look more "blue, but better" than a true holo polish. This is two coats with Sally Hansen 3D Gel Shine topcoat, with the half moons applied with a dotting tool, no topcoat. For a chunky glitter, Twilight Orchid dried really quickly.

Sorry for the radio silence lately. This has been a bit of an awful month for me personally, which diverted me from some of the nail art challenges, reviews, and other fun things I had planned to do. It's also taken a toll on my nail care routine, so I also don't feel like they've looked very blog ready lately. While I can't say that things are back to normal quite yet on either front, I appreciate that people are still checking out the blog and interacting on social media-it's such a mood booster. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Does It Work? Tea Bag Wraps

If you follow me on the Twitter, you may be aware that I had a pretty nasty break recently, right on the middle finger of my swatch hand! It wasn't a full break, though; my nail split diagonally to almost the center of the nail, so it would be both painful and cosmetically unpleasant to cut it down, so I'm trying to avoid that. I remembered that I had once tried tea bag wraps with mixed results, so I went to a tutorial on xoVain to give it another shot. While I by no means think I can do it better than the tutorial, I took some pictures tonight to show you how it worked for me.

Oh no!

I started off with a gentle buff to smooth everything down. I used an old, worn down mini buffing block-it looks pretty ugly, but it's great for this because you have to absolutely baby the break to keep it from ripping off, plus you want to do as little damage to the nail plate as possible while the nail is growing out.

Then I chopped up my tea bag. You want a piece longer than the nail, but about the same width. The tea bag is a basic cheap-o paper tea bag with the leaves poured out. Both sides are cut, but only because I've used multiple pieces-you only want one "ply."

Next I put a on coat of Nutra Nail Green Tea strengthener (haha!), also swiping the brush under the tip. It's the same basecoat recommended in the tutorial, but I just happened to have it, I'm sure other brands would work too. I gave it a moment to firm up just a touch, because when I tried it fully wet, my tea bag patch slid all over and it just didn't work. It has to be wet to stick, but giving it a minute or so to thicken really makes it stick. The whole break plus a little more should be covered, so I put the edge just past the middle of the nail and carefully smoothed it down with my finger to get rid of any wrinkles or bubbles. I let it dry for a while, then I buffed again, very lightly along the edge of the patch, and clipped most of the extra paper hanging off the nail before putting on another layer of the strengthener.

After that, I let it get mostly dry again, then gently filed the rest of the paper off with my glass file and gave it one more gentle buff before topping with my final layer of base coat.

Where's the break? I dunno!

Then it was ready for my polish-Black Dahlia Lacquer Vibrant Poinsettias. Isn't it gorgeous? And the formula is fabulous-no cleanup required on this hand. The sparkly glitter finish and a copious dose of topcoat helped gloss over any remaining imperfections, being sure to wrap the tip of the nail to seal off the edge of the break.

So does it work? My verdict is yes! I think part of the reason I had trouble with it before is because I am not patient. Notice all of that "let it dry" in this post? Yeah, I'm not so good at that. The multiple layers of basecoat made my nail more susceptible to polish wrinkles, and keeping it smooth keeps the patch strong, so patience is a must. Do this on a Netflix night, because you're going to need to hold still for a while, even with a quick drying topcoat. These patches come off with regular polish remover, just be sure to wipe gently in the direction of the break (my break is sideways, so I remove polish side to side instead of my normal base to tip). I've been pretty gentle with it, but while wearing these patches over the past couple of days, I haven't noticed a difference in strength from my other nails. This is easy, used items I already have, and works well. Time will tell if I can keep it up until my nail is back to a decent length, but if you have a break you don't want to cut off and don't want to use falsies, this is worth a try.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekend Nails: Sunrise/Sunset Gradients With China Glaze Fairy Dust

A few days ago I picked up Fairy Dust, the much loved holo micro glitter topper from China Glaze. I was eager to try it out, so this weekend I whipped out my sponges and got to work on a couple of sparkle infused gradient manis inspired by the Indiana skyline. The results made me feel optimistic about my progress with gradients, and I absolutely love the subtle sparkle of Fairy Dust!

For this cheerful "sunrise" gradient, I started with one coat of white over my basecoat, topcoated, then sponged a few coats of a trio of Julep Catrina (sunny deep yellow creme), Sinful Colors Boogie Nights (juicy orange based coral), and Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle Sweet Sunrise (shimmer kissed warm pink) an finished off with one coat of Fairy Dust before topcoating again. This mani looked even better in person. I did have a little bit of bumpiness, which I think is because I wasn't very patient with my white base. I'll have to learn to go slow with gradients to really get the flawless results I want. I also love these colors together. Finding the right bridge shade seems to be the key, and the crelly texture of Boogie Nights helped meld everything together. I loved how the pink tips softened the whole look to a rosy glow.

When I was ready for my second go, I kept the same theme, but I used a dusky "sunset" color scheme of soft purples. I added in a second coat of Fairy Dust on just the tips to add extra sparkle to my night sky, but otherwise used the same strategy-white base followed up with two or three spongings of a three color set. This time I used Julep Octavia (deep blue-violet), Sinful Colors Dream On (bright purple crelly) and Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle in Loyal Lavender (pale lavender shimmer). At first I thought it was a funny little coincidence that I chose polishes from the exact same makers as the first gradient, but when I thought about it, it wasn't such a surprise-I just chose polishes with the exact same finishes in a different color scheme. For both of these manis I used Avon ridge filling base coat and Sally Hansen 3D Gel Shine topcoat.

With the exception of my obsessive love for all shades of green polish, I tend to be more partial to warm colors than to cool ones, so I think I liked the first one a little better, but both of these were a huge improvement on most of the gradients I've done in the past.Which of these skyline inspired looks is your favorite? Are you a fan of Fairy Dust?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nail Crazies Unite: Anti-Vday Negative Space Heart of Stone

Recently I joined the Facebook group Nail Crazies Unite, a new group for weekly nail art prompts. I probably won't be able to hit all the prompts all the time, but I definitely saw the potential on the first one: Anti Valentine's Day. While I don't have anything in particular against love, I've always thought Valentine's Day was kind of silly, so this prompt piqued my interest right away. After several botched ideas, I was inspired by this photo for the mani that finally made me happy. While I don't agree with the sentiment (men have feelings, too!), the "heart of stone" concept was cute and perfect for my anti-Vday nails.

I've wanted to try a negative space mani for a while, and this seemed like as good a prompt as any to get my feet wet. I wouldn't say it's one of my best, but for a first try, I think it's pretty cute! Be sure to check out the other Nail Crazies Unite Anti-Vday looks this week below.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

February Julep Maven Swatches and Review: Becky, Hazel, and Hartleigh

My February Maven box is here already! I don't typically have trouble with my box arriving on time, but the past few months have been a little slower than usual, so I was pleasantly surprised to have it in hand today. This month I was only particularly infatuated with a few colors, so in my customized Maven box for February I got another bottle of Freedom topcoat and picked up Becky (an "oil slick" silk finish polish) and Hazel (a bronze fuchsia duochrome). I also got a February freebie that came with every Maven box, Hartleigh. Let me show you!

I was really excited about Becky this month. Even as I went back and forth on what other polish to get, Becky was always on the list, and I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. Not because there's anything wrong with the polish itself-that was pretty good. Becky applies well (this is two coats) and is very pretty. The silk finish isn't as matte as some of their other silk polishes, but the hazy quality I like about the silk finish is there. It's a little less purple than it looks here, a little more green, but not as oil-slickish as it looked in the Julep swatches.

Where my disappointment came in was its similarity to Blakely, their popular "purple and green molten." I noticed the similarity when I chose it, but the Julep swatches of Becky were different enough that I decided to take a risk. Now I kind of wish I hadn't, because they're almost identical. Becky is easier to work with; my major complaint about Blakely was its thick, streak prone formula, and neither is an issue with Becky.  Here I swatched them side by side, along with China Glaze Choo Choo Choose You, another purple/green shifter. Choo Choo Choose You leans much more strongly gold/green and is frostier, so I'd say it's in the same family but not the same, but Blakely and Becky are very, very similar. There are some slight differences with the finish, with Becky being softer and more scattered and Blakely more metallic. I would say you probably don't need them both, but  which one you'll like better will be a matter of personal preference. I think I prefer Becky, but since I already have Blakely, I didn't really need it.

Left to right: Choo Choo Choose You, Blakely, Becky; no topcoat.
The other polish I got was Hazel, billed as a duochrome. I love me some duochromes, so I couldn't resist. I like this one, but the shift isn't nearly as strong as I expected, again based on the Julep swatches. The color itself, though, is really pretty, with a kind of iridescent quality. It has a touch of pink that these photos don't really show, but otherwise they're pretty accurate. You can see more of the bronze end of the spectrum on the pointer finger. No problems with application; two coats shown here. It's thin enough that if you wanted to bring out one of the undertones, you could probably layer it over something else in the family of the tone you wanted to highlight to get a different effect.

Finally, Julep sent all of us Mavens who got a box this February a special gift- Hartleigh, a glitter topper with small holo glitter, two sizes of white matte hex glitter, and large shiny red heart glitters in a clear base. This topper is packed- no digging for glitters here! While it's not something I probably would have chosen for myself, I think it's fun and I really like it. The different sizes and colors of glitters might be fun for a V-day jelly sandwich, something I haven't tried before. Here I tried it over bare nail, a pale pink (Sally Hansen Hard as Nails in Hard-core Party), a medium bright pink (SH Nail Growth Miracle in Kiss of Pink), and a darker purple based pink (SH Nail Growth Miracle in Sugar Plum).

Fun, isn't it? I like this one. I think the medium pink was my favorite with it. What do you think?

Did you get a Maven box this month? What did you get, and how do you think you'll be wearing Hartleigh? If you're not a Maven and want to join, be a doll and use my referral link. You can also get 50% off of your welcome box right now with code WOW. It includes 2 Plush Pout lip crayons (one of my favorite things) and two polishes, which is basically like getting one Plush Pout crayon free. And while we're talking awesome free gifts, have you entered my giveaway for a bottle of TamTam's Creations cuticle oil yet? Only a few days left, and I assure you, you will love this stuff. Ok, advertising part of the post over. Let me know what you think about this month's Julep Maven shades!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TamTam's Creations Cuticle Oil Review + Giveaway!!!

My love affair with TamTam's Creations continues with a product so new it hasn't even dropped yet, and you can be one of the first to try it! Tamra sent me a sample to try last week, and it's now officially on my must list. I left it at home today and pouted all day at work because I don't care that it's 5 degrees outside, dry cuticles are no longer acceptable. (Product photos courtesy TamTam's Creations.)

The cuticle oil I received is the lavender peppermint scent, which has a less sweet smell than the body butter and really lets the peppermint shine while still having the soothing qualities of the lavender. It's very calming and pleasant, and just strong enough in my opinion. During the day, when I'm outside in the winter air more often, I've been topping it with the body butter, and they compliment each other beautifully both in texture and scent. The oil leaves my cuticles feeling instantly and noticeably better-soft, comfortable, and neat looking. My thumbs, which seem to dry out faster and are more susceptible to cracking, seem to drink it up. I've been using it a few times a day, the ragged spots around my thumbnails have started to heal and feel much better. The cuticle cream I was using before felt nice, but didn't do much by way of healing. I've even tried pure Argan oil without success to deal with winter cracking and cuticle dryness, and this oil has done noticeable damage control in just a few days.

But it gets better-oh, it gets better. I also put it over soft-dry nails after using the Sally Hansen 3D Gel Shine topcoat and gently rubbed it in, and I could have sworn it made them dry faster. In the interests of science,  I deliberately used the same topcoat for the next mani and went about my evening. If you'll recall, one of my complaints about 3D Gel Shine was that it didn't dry hard fast enough for my liking. Once I topped it off with this oil, it was hard-dry within a ten minutes. My guess is that it works similarly to the popular quick drying drops like Julep's Ta Da! drops (which I was not impressed with, but some people swear by).While polish-drying is not one of the advertised superpowers of this oil, I'm a believer. Look-no polish wrinkles! This photo is completely unedited aside from cropping to show the exact condition of my cuticles right now-and I am most definitely not blessed with naturally smooth and pretty cutes.

And yet it keeps getting better, because you can have one! One very lucky reader (and me, because I'm her favorite and she knows I don't like to wait for stuff) will be getting a bottle of Tam Tam's Creations cuticle oil before it hits the shop. Like all of her products, it is vegan, organic, and uses only Young Living for her essential oils. She will be offering two scents-the fabulous lavender peppermint that I reviewed and citrus fresh, which is a fresh, light orange, tangerine, mandarin, grapefruit, lemon, and spearmint scent. Both scents are in a base of jojoba oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil. They also both include lavender oil, which she calls the "Swiss army knife of oils" for its calming, healing, and skin friendly qualities and ability to help heal cuts and scrapes. These cuticle oils come in 0.5 mL polish style bottle with a brush applicator- as a side note, the brush had some stiffness on first use, so I tapped the excess oil off and rubbed it between my fingers for a few seconds before using, which fixed it right up. They will be priced at $9 apiece once they launch at TamTamsNaturals on Etsy. This giveaway is US only (sorry, internationals! I still love you all very much, but shipping liquids overseas is more complicated than it sounds) and will only be open one week, so be sure to enter today!

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