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Hello all and Happy New Year to those of you that have already welcomed 2014!! For the rest of us, I can’t believe another year has come to an end, bringing me to almost two full years of blogging and obsessing over nail polish, makeup, and other beauty products. (That is a lot of obsession!) It was also a year that brought me my own polish shade – more on that below.

To wrap up the year, I thought I would bring you some of my favourites from 2013. (Polishes in part 1, some of the other favourites will be in part 2 as this will be a picture-heavy post.)

How can I have a “favourites” list and not include my go-to nude/white alternative, OPI’s My Vampire is Buff? MVIB has quickly become a cult favourite, at least in the nail polish community, as many of us not only wear this beautiful bisque shade alone, but love to use it for nail art.

OPI_Euro_MyVampireIsBuffbse

And speaking of nail art, this was the year I ventured into the somewhat terrifying “nail art” territory, and found that I can actually nail (sorry, couldn’t resist) some cute looks!  Though hard to narrow down, my Top Ten Faves include MVIB and Essie The Girls are Out

Essie_TheGirlsGradient3

MVIB with Zoya’s Josie….

Zoya_Josie-gradient

…can’t leave out the Euro Centrale dotticure I tried (I love the entire Euro Centrale collection!)…

OPI_EuroCen_dott4Matte

…a cute jelly sandwich using Nicole by OPI and OPI’s Funny Bunny that even Nicole by OPI loved!  (you must know I simply adore jelly sandwiches!)…

NOPI_ConfettiFun_OPI_FunnyBunny

…another NOPI, two actually, together for an alternative French mani (also seen here on this Must Follow Canadian Nail Bloggers article!)…

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…some snow nail art with Zoya’s PixieDust Sunshine

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…a glitter gradient (my easy go-to nail art) using piCture pOlish’s Blogger over OPI’s Eurso Euro

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…my first foray into leopard spots using the stunning Zoya Cashmeres & Satins collections…

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…my entry into the NOPI and Prom Canada Prom Nail Art challenge

NicolebyOPI_Prom_art1

…and last but not least, my spring gradient using Dior’s brand new Dior Vernis Bouquet!

Dior_Vernis S14 BouquetGradient2

This was really hard to narrow down, as I have really LOVED many polish shades this year, but here are nine more of my favourite shades this year, including the amazing Selena from Nicole by OPI

NOPI_Selena

…these looks are actually two polishes: Ozotic Beam 907 over Nubar’s Jaded, both spectacular alone and even more together…

Ozotic_Beam907b

…the gorgeous Rare Bear from Colors by Llarowe, a brand launched only this year but hugely successful…

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…as well as Smooth Criminal from CbL...

…OPI’s Neon mini-set was spectacular, especially Pink Outside the Box!! (still hoping for a full-size, OPI) 😉 ….

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…a bright but wearable, gorgeous orange from Zoya, Thandie

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…the incredible Pink of Hearts duo from OPI (for an amazing cause – Breast Cancer Awareness!)…

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…Dior’s entry into magnetic polishes, Dior Vernis Mystic Magnetics was a glamorous take on magnetics (see some of my other Dior Vernis favourites here and here)….

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…and OPI’s Ski Slope Sweetie, a huge LOVE for me…

OPI_MC_SkiSlopeSweetie

…and my favourite polish, as well as a huge accomplishment for me as a blogger, my very own piCture pOlish collaboration shade, Bewitch!! (Thanks to the amazing girls at piCture pOlish!)

picturepolish_bewitch_collage

Thanks for reading my second Favourites list! Hope you enjoyed this, and look for part 2, which will include some non-polish favourites!

Happy New Year!!!

happy new year 2014source

Ok, I am a little obsessed. Maybe totally obsessed. I can’t stop gradient-ing… think I have a problem?

My first gradient using OPI’s My Vampire is Buff, a most perfect nude/bisque polish, was actually today’s nail art, after which I decided to pair My Vampire with Zoya Josie for my fresh gradient look seen here.

For today’s look, I wanted to pair subtle with sizzling, and used Essie’s HOT The Girls are Out with OPI’s My Vampire is Buff.

Essie_Girls_OPI_MVIB-btls

Don’t the two colours look pretty together? (But then again, I think OPI’s MVIB is perfection with anything.)

Here are the two colours together:

Essie_TheGirlsGradient3Full Sun

 

Essie_TheGirlsGradient2

Shade

Essie_TheGirlsGradient1Indirect sun

 

So which look do you prefer, the Zoya gradient with Josie, or the Essie gradient with The Girls are Out?

 

Go to Essie.ca for more information or to find a salon near you, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook! You can find OPI’s My Vampire is Buff at Professional Salons and spas, or get both Essie and OPI from Nail Polish Canada.

~xo

 

 

(Product provided for consideration and review. All opinions are my own.)

Today I have for you the last two shades from Essie’s spectacular collection for Summer 2013. (See parts 1 and 2 here and here.)

ESSIE_Summer_Dossier_v2-15

A beautiful, vibrant lime green bordering on a neon hue, The More the Merrier is the only cream in this collection. The formula on this one was dreamy: easy application, self-levelling and drying to a gorgeous high shine. Even with its jelly qualities, the polish is so easy to work with!

Here are two beautiful coats, no top coat in the sun:

Essie_TheMoretheMerrier

And one more pic of The More the Merrier, shade:

Essie_TheMoretheMerriershd

The final polish from this collection is The Girls are Out, a simultaneously warm yet cool fuchsia shade that is rich and highly saturated. The Girls are Out contains the glass flecks shared by the rest of this collection, lending it depth and shimmer in light. Application was really similar to Sunday Funday and Naughty Nautical: easy coverage, high shine, great dry time. Again, this polish appears innocent enough in the bottle, but apply it and you’ll see the summery brightness!

Here are two coats of The Girls are Out (don’t you just love this name?) in daylight:

Essie_TheGirlsAreOutshd

And in artificial light you can really see the shine and intensity:

Essie_TheGirlsAreOut

And finally, a macro shot to show you the iridescence of the glass flecks:

Essie_TheGirlsAreOutmacro

What is your favourite Essie Summer shade?

This collection is now available in beauty destinations worldwide! Go to Essie.ca for more or to find a salon near you, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

~xo

 

 

(Product provided for consideration and review. All opinions are my own.)

Cozy up to colour as Essie introduces For the Twill of It, its collection for Fall 2013!

It’s a material world, full of sensorial sartorial delights. Fall is the perfect time to pile on the cozy and amp up the chic. Rich flannels, sumptuous knits punctuated with accents of lace and the occasional ultra-fine silk twill create a lavish palette of textures that’s impossible to resist.

Essie-Group-Shot“I love the idea of creating polish that’s like the proverbial boyfriend sweater – in this case, a blazer borrowed from the boys,” says brand founder and Creative Director Essie Weingarten. “Creating nail colour with a warm and fuzzy feeling can be tricky,” Weingarten explains. “But when you get it right, it really is like putting on your favorite sweater.” Transferring the soft volumes and rich woolens of the fall runways, essie offers six seductively tactile shades that radiate beautifully tailored warmth. The lace is on to set the pace for the fashion season. Go back to cool in an after school boy blazer or positively posh in a twin sweater set. While some have a vested interest in the pursuit of style, other dress just for the twill of it – and then there are those who simply want to put on a cuddly cashmere bathrobe and call it a day.

Essie_ForTheTwillOfItEssie_AfterSchoolEssie_TwinSweaterSetEssie_CashmereBathrobeEssie_TheLaceIsOnEssie_VestedInterest

essie’s Fall 2013 Collection will be available in salons in August 2013.

Which ones stand out for you? My favourite that I must have is For the Twill of It, followed by After School Boy Blazer!!

~xo

Yesterday I showed you two gorgeous shades from Essie’s new Summer 2013 collection, and today I have two more for you!

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First up, my other favourite from this collection, the impossibly beautiful Sunday Funday!  Sunday Funday is a delicious-looking salmon/coral shade filled with the glass flecks shared by most of this collection. An absolute dream to apply, Sunday Funday was similar to Naughty Nautical with excellent coverage and high shine. This is one of my most favourite summer shades, year after year, and I love how Essie bottled it with the added sparkle factor (via glass flecks)!

Here are two gorgeous, quickly drying coats with base coat, pre-top coat in the sun:

Essie_SundayFunday_s

And in the shade:

Essie_SundayFunday

 

Tell me that is not the most perfect summer hue!

Another soft shade, the next polish is Rock the Boat (this name always reminds me of Aaliyah’s song), a beautiful pale sky-blue shade. The glass flecks look really silvery in this bottle, lending a cool sheen to this polish.

Formula-wise, this was very similar to Full Steam Ahead, with Rock the Boat being a crelly (cream-jelly) formula, making application sometimes tricky. I find a quick application of  light-to-medium coverage on the first coat helps, then  let that dry for a moment before starting on your next coat, so as to prevent any dragging. Here are two coats of Rock the Boat in the sun:

Essie_RocktheBoat

 

 

And in the shade:

Essie_RocktheBoat_2

 

So do you have any favourites yet?

This collection is now available in beauty destinations worldwide! Go to Essie.ca for more or to find a salon near you, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

~xo

 

 

(Product provided for consideration and review. All opinions are my own.)

Today I have for you a few of the beautiful new shades from Essie’s Summer 2013 Collection!

ESSIE_Summer_Dossier_v2-15

Aren’t these shades gorgeous??

Introduced by Essie as a sailor-ready collection, “a chic colour adventure in delicately sparkling lights and ultra soft brights that whisper easy elegance. It’s smooth sailing into summer with a collection of nail colour that’s a casually cool affair – perfect for a stylish night on the town and a dress that feels more caftan on the beach than red carpet-ready gown. “This collection is for women in a sunshine state of mind,” says Founder and Creative Director Essie Weingarten.

The first shade I have for you is one of my favourites (and I pretty much adore all of the shades of this collection!), Naughty Nautical. A beautiful vivid turquoise, this shade is so bright that it was making my camera crazy. I don’t want to call it a “neon,” as it’s not, but it is definitely very bright and summery. Naughty Nautical also contains the tiny glass flecks that almost all of the shades in this collection have, giving it a delicate sparkle and adding depth. Application on this shade was amazing, it provided excellent coverage and incredible shine!

Here are two gorgeous coats in the shade:

Essie_NaughtyNautical

And in the sun:

Essie_NaughtyNautical_s

 

The next shade I have for you is Full Steam Ahead, a delicate lavender hue containing the same shimmery glass flecks as Naughty Nautical. For me, this shade looked  lighter once applied – it makes for a great, summery pale shade! Application on this one was a bit tricky: it is a crelly (cream-jelly) formula, and I find that you cannot go over an area twice. I applied a first coat in three strokes, let that dry for a moment and applied a slightly more generous second coat. It was incredibly shiny at application, but I found that even with a top coat, the shine dulled after a couple of days for me.

Here it is with 2 coats and a top and base coat in the shade:

Essie_FullSteamAhead

and in the sun:

Essie_FullSteamAhead-s

 

 

I can’t wait to show the rest of Essie’s Summer 2013 Collection! This collection is now available in beauty destinations worldwide! Go to Essie.ca for more or to find a salon near you, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

~xo

 

 

(Product provided for consideration and review. All opinions are my own.)

 

 

 

 

In honour of our Go Pink Wednesday effort, I am thrilled to share a guest post by my good friend / sometime-guest-blogger Mai! ❤

It’s Week 3 (already!) of the Go Pink Breast Cancer awareness month, in support of breast cancer awareness which is a cause near and dear to my heart.

This week’s pink is Zoya Maya, which I initially picked up as it’s the closest Zoya to my name, Mai.  I was super thrilled when Maya arrived, the pinky colour was unlike anything in my collection, and it’s even better on the nail.

Maya is a beautiful soft watermelon pink that is just a treat on my nails.  While not a true jelly, this polish really has a great squishiness that makes me think this is some sort of a cream-jelly hybrid, a crelly I think they’re called?  This pink is perfect for those hot summer days with the sun on your shoulders, or as I’ve found, a perfect compliment to the gorgeous fuzzy-grey-sweater cooler fall weather we’ve been having.  I’m really impressed with Zoya’s formula as it was a breeze to apply, and is shown with just two coats and Essie Good to Go as the incredible shiny topcoat.  There is something I really like about Zoya’s brushes, too, they seem easier for my style of application.  I have to say, I also really like the shape of the Zoya bottles.  Simple, elegant, and unique.  The above photo was taken on a bright cloudy day and I found it best captured the actual polish colour on my nails.

This is a post that makes me think about my loved ones, here and gone.  Both the Canadian Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society have a wealth of information that can help save lives. Please visit their great websites.

Breast cancer is a horrible, horrible disease that is best treated with early detection.  Know yourself, know your body, and give your mom, aunt, sister, and girlfriends an extra tight hug the next time you see them.

xo~Mai


Wow, we are already in week 2 of our joint Go Pink effort to in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Andrea from Finger Painting Fingers (who led this amazing effort!) and a whole slew of bloggers are sharing our pink manis every Wednesday throughout October!

Today I bring you some of my favourite pink manicures.

First up, one of my very favourite “near-nudes” that I have previously written about here, A England’s Iseult. This stunning, delicate pink polish is perfect for everything from a wedding mani to an office-appropriate mani.

Next I have another stunner, this time from piCture pOlish. I featured this polish as part of piCture pOlish’s Blogfest! Here is Tease! Is this silver microglitter not amazing?

And because this amazing polish sparkles so incredibly, here is a shot in the sun:

The next mani isn’t technically pink as its base colour, Essie’s Sure Shot, leans fuchsia with a shimmer, but together, Lynnderella’s Boy Girl Party and Sure Shot sure look pink together!! I just LOVE this combo!! (see all the pics here)

So what is your favourite pink polish of all time?

~xo



I started to look for a previous post I may have written on Lynnderella’s Boy Girl Party, and it turns out that I had not written one!! Considering that this is one of my few favourites from Lynnderella, I am baffled as to how this slipped through the cracks. Nevertheless, today I will make up for that!

Boy Girl Party is one of those polishes I had my eye on since it was released, though it took me some time to finally get my hands on it. I just love its crazy blue, turquoise, red, pink glitter mix! There are so many different kinds of glitter in here – it really is a party!

The first time I wore Boy Girl Party, I layered it over black because I knew the black would make the multi-colour glitter pop: I used A England’s Lancelot, my favourite “black” ever. (Even though Lancelot is actually a black-red, it often looks black unless layered over white or in direct sunlight. And the dreamy application of A England’s cremes make them my go-to polishes!)

Here it is with 2 coats of Lancelot:

I had been dying to try Boy Girl over a brighter base for some time, and I had my eye on Essie’s Sure Shot from the 2012 Resort Collection. Sure Shot is a blue-leaning magenta polish with a gorgeous shimmer.

This colour always reminds me of my mom’s polishes and lipsticks from the ’80s!! As far back as I can remember, cosmetic labels have released a shade like this every few years. In fact, when I first purchased this Essie set, I almost put Sure Shot aside for mom, untried!

My only regret is that I only used 1 coat of Sure Shot, thinking it would suffice as it applied quite evenly and provided good coverage. However, it streaked a little once I added BGP, especially where I had to manipulate the chunky glitter. I will have to redo this properly with 2 coats next time.

And here it is with BGP on it:

And one more:

I LOVE THIS LOOK!!!

I love the cool-tone of Sure Shot under Boy Girl Party, and this has officially beat my beloved Lancelot/Boy Girl Party combo!

I added two coats of top coat: one of A England’s The Shield, and one of China Glaze’s Fast Forward.

What do you think of the two combinations?

~xo

 

Since I started this blog, I have discovered so many fantastic indie polish makers. One brand I kept hearing about was Cult Nails – I just had not had a chance to try any of these polishes.

When I saw Crystal’s swatches of Cult Nails’ Let’s Get Nekkid collection on her blog, I decided I HAD to try them for myself! And lucky for me, Maria (the founder of Cult) decided to have an amazing sale recently where I snagged three Cult beauties: My Kind of Cool Aid, Swanbourne and Cruisin’ Nude:

First up, the iconic My Kind of Cool Aid – Cult’s very first release! This colour is described as a “gravender” – a beautiful lilac-grey with the slightest hint of shimmer. This polish was a dream to apply, looking quite thick as it went on though the polish was fluid and quick-drying. Two self-levelling coats later….

I love the shimmer you can see in the second pic!

What I found so interesting was how My Kind of Cool Aid appears so much more lilac/grape on me than grey! This is definitely a bit of a chameleon polish, changing appearances on every wearer and in different light.

 

Up next, Swanbourne. I have probably mentioned my love of vampy polishes – the darker and deeper, the better! I had to have this beauty.

Swanbourne was a rich, chocolate colour with tiny flecks of gold. Like Cool Aid, it felt thick as I applied it – like chocolate fondue – but dried quickly. The only challenge I had with this polish was that if you went over an area with not enough polish on your brush, it left a bit of a patch. A third coat would have provided more even, flawless coverage, but I stopped at two.

Unfortunately I only have indoor shots of Swanbourne which did not do it justice. You only see hints of the gold glimmer, whereas in sunlight the gold really sparkles and dances.

 

Last but not least, a subtle, dreamy nude that everyone should own: Cruisin’ Nude.

Talk about the perfect shade. Cruisin’ Nude has just enough colour, and the slightest hint of pink and pearly shimmer.

See the pink shimmer?

I fell in love with Cruisin’. The only issue I had with this polish was that it was a little finicky like Swanbourne: if you didn’t get it right on three or four strokes, you would risk leaving behind a patchy area (you can see a little of this on my pinky nail). I think a third coat would have evened this out quite nicely, so I will have to try that. Nevertheless, this is one of those polishes I will use to the last drop!

 

And finally, for a nice surprising finish, I decided to layer Essie’s LuxEffects top coat in Shine of the Times over my Cult Nails.

Shine of the Times over Cruisin’ Nude. A perfect match. Shine is a flaky polish that shifts to copper and green, and it looked fantastic over Cruisin’!

Here it is swatched over the other Cult beauties:

Do you own any Cult Nails? What is your favourite colour?

 

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