short hiatus

Hello, lovely readers -

I’m moving to a new apartment this week, and final exams are coming up right after that (I’m not so great with the timing of big life events, huh?).  As a result, I need to take a short hiatus from posting.  I will be back as soon as possible, though, and chances are likely that I won’t be able to resist posting a few manis despite being so busy.

Thanks for your understanding!


swatched: cult nails evil queen

The search is over.  I found my holy grail red, and she is gorgeous.  Meet Cult Nails Evil Queen.


I’ve had trouble finding the right shade of red in the past because they always tend to pull more orange against my skin tone.  As a result, the color ends up looking more tomato-ey than I’d like.  Cult Nails Evil Queen is a blue-based red with a heavy pink base, a combination that solved my problem.  On top of the lovely color, the formula on this beauty is FLAWLESS.  Evil Queen was honestly a pleasure to apply, and the color reached lovely, glossy opacity with just two coats.  I still had a little bit of visible nail line (VNL) at two coats, but I think this is more because the color has a somewhat jelly-like quality to it.  If VNL is a pet peeve of yours, you might want to try three coats.

ImageUGH so gorgeous.  The color is a rich shade candy apple red, which makes the name especially appropriate.  If I were Snow White, I would totally fall for an apple that looked this tempting!


I only have one criticism of this polish: it does not play well with Seche Vite.  When I first swatched this, I used Seche, and the color had already chipped by the end of the day.  I wasn’t ready to give up on my new-found holy grail red, though, so I gave it another try.  The second time, I used Cult Nails Wicked Fast top coat instead of Seche Vite, and I’m going on two days now with no chips!  So, if you are a sworn Seche lover, you might want to give Wicked Fast a try with your Cult Nails polishes.  This lovely shade of red is worth it (not to mention the fact that Wicked Fast is an excellent quick dry top coat)!


Evil Queen also matches my kate spade pencil case beautifully. :)


What do you think of Evil Queen?  Have you found your holy grail red nail polish?  Let me know your favorite red in the comments!

Cult Nails polishes can be purchased on for $12/bottle.  They also happen to be hosting a flash sale this weekend (ends Monday, April 29) – you can buy 2, get 1 free (Code: BUY2GET1), buy 4, get 2 free (Code: BUY4GET2), or buy 6, get 3 free (Code: BUY6GET3).  If you’ve never tried Cult Nails before, this would be a great chance to try a variety of colors.

second city: earth day mani station & nail art

Earth Day was this past Monday, and to help celebrate, my student group hosted an all-day Earth Day Fair.  My contribution to the event was a vegan, cruelty-free, 4-free DIY manicure station.


I initially planned on stocking the station with Zoya nail polish because it was the most cost-effective option that met our requirements.  I also wanted to include Cult Nails Wicked Fast top coat and Get it On base coat, though, since Wicked Fast is the only top coat I’ll use other than Seche Vite, and Seche Vite is certainly not 4-free.  We planned the event with not a lot of time to spare, so I contacted Maria, the owner and creator of Cult Nails, to see if she could expedite shipping on a few sets of Get it On and Wicked Fast.  To my pleasant surprise, Maria offered to help sponsor the event, and she sent me some amazing nail mail that included multiple sets of Get it On/Wicked Fast and several of her beautiful colors.  I was truly floored by her generosity and willingness to support our event.  This experience highlighted all the reasons why beauty bloggers and enthusiasts should make an effort to support small/independent businesses–they are run by real people who have the flexibility and freedom to support causes they value.

ImageThe event was a huge success.  My fellow grad students loved the chance to take a break from their studies and paint their nails together.  I offered some tips on achieving a salon-worthy DIY manicure, and a few people tried their hand (pun intended, haha) at some nail art.  Overall, I was so grateful to have had to chance to share both my love of nail polish/nail art and my passion for animal rights and the environment.  I hope to host more events like this in the future.


In anticipation of our Earth Day event, I had to cover my nails with some Earth Day nail art.  I opted for the simple color combo of ivory and light green and freehanded some leaves/vines.  I was really pleased with how this look turned out.  What do you think of it?


The ivory color is Zoya Jaqueline, a creamy magnolia shade that applied surprisingly well for a pastel (not very streaky).  The sparkly green shade is Rikki, from Zoya’s new Irresistible collection for Summer 2013.  It applied extremely well and is so sparkly.  I love it.


Did you do anything special for Earth Day?  Let me know in the comments. :)

swatched: color club eternal beauty

Color Club Eternal Beauty is another polish from Color Club’s Spring 2013 Halo Hues collection, and it is goooorgeous.  


To be honest, when my middle school obsession with nail polish reawakened last year, I didn’t know what the big deal was when it came to holographic nail polishes.  After trying Eternal Beauty (and Kismet, for that matter), I get it.  Eternal Beauty is a lovely purple holographic polish, and while the holographic effect is slightly more muted in indirect light, the effect is still strong overall.

Indirect light:


Direct Light:


Application was just a tiny bit more difficult than it was with Kismet (Eternal Beauty’s formula is a little thicker), but I was also able to achieve full opacity with just two coats, whereas I used (but didn’t *quite* need) three coats with Kismet.  As for wear, I took these photos the morning after scrubbing my apartment from top to bottom (we’re moving soon, so we needed to get ready for an apartment showing), and there were no visible signs of wear.  To be fair, I did wear gloves for the rougher cleaning jobs, but I was still impressed that my mani was intact after our cleaning tirade.  


Color Club really hit it out of the park with this collection.  I haven’t tried all the colors in the collection yet, but they’ve gotten rave reviews elsewhere in the beauty blogosphere.  If you like the look of Eternal Beauty, I would suggest picking it up soon, since it seems likely that the collection will sell out.  I purchased my set here.

Oh, and Color Club should probably consider including a warning not to operate motor vehicles while wearing Eternal Beauty, since I couldn’t resist snapping this photo while running errands earlier today (don’t worry–I wasn’t driving at the time)!


promo alert: zoya earth day nail polish exchange

From the press release:

The ZOYA Nail Polish Exchange is BACK for Earth Day 2013!

Once again, Zoya is helping you do a little spring cleaning with the return of the Earth Day Zoya Nail Polish Exchange* for 2013. Clean out your nail polish wardrobe and get rid of old nail polish that may not be BIG5FREE (Free of Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, DBP and Camphor) and exchange it for a greener alternative – long lasting, award winning, healthy ZOYA Nail Polish Bottles!

See full details and CODE on our site


This is a pretty good offer if you have some old nail polish you’d like to get rid of in exchange for some new Zoya pretties.  What do you think?  Are you going to partake in the 2013 Earth Day exchange?

swatched: illamasqua mottle

Hey, everyone!  Today I have swatches of a polish that fits into the recent trend of speckled polishes that look like birds’ eggs or melted ice cream.  Illamasqua Mottle, part of Illamasqua’s 2013 I’mperfection collection, is a creamy shade of light green with small black specks and larger pieces of black hex glitter.  It looks exactly like mint chocolate chip ice cream.

ImageThe formula here was thick but manageable.  My initial application strategy was to apply three thin coats, but I think I would’ve had better results if I had used slightly thicker coats.  The green base is sort of a cream/jelly, so I still had a few spots that weren’t completely opaque after three coats. I will say, though, that the black specs and larger pieces of glitter dispersed onto the nail effortlessly.  You will not have to dig for glitter with this polish, and application was, overall, pretty easy.  I think I’ll just use thicker coats next time.

ImageImageHere are photos taken in artificial light (note that the very first photo in this post is most color accurate):

ImageImageImageOverall impressions: I really like this polish.  The shade of green is so pretty and somewhat unique, and I liked the fact that I didn’t have to work hard to get an even dispersion of black specks/glitter.  Figuring out application might take a few tries, but I think this is a great option if you want to pick up a polish that fits into the speckled/melted ice cream trend.  I might also be a bit biased in favor of this polish because it was a gift from my sister. :)

What do you think of Illamasqua Mottle and/or the speckled trend?  Let me know in the comments!

swatched: color club kismet

Well, the NCAA championship didn’t go my way, and I finally came to terms with it and removed my Michigan nail art.  I feel okay about it, though, mostly because I have some beautiful swatches of Color Club Kismet for you from Color Club’s 2013 Halo Hues Collection.


Kismet is the first truly holographic nail polish I’ve tried, and I love it.  The background color is a lovely silvery gold, and against this backdrop, the holographic shimmer has a really lovely pastel thing going on.  Application was super easy.  Pictured is three thin coats plus top coat (Seche Vite).  I probably could’ve gotten away with two coats, but I did three out of habit. 



I thought this color would pair nicely with pastel aqua, so I used some circular hole-punch reinforcement stickers to create a half-moon mani with Essie Mint Candy Apple.  Mint Candy Apple did not want to play nice during application (*shakes fist at Essie’s formula*), so this is not my best looking nail art design.  The color pairing is still amazing, though, so I thought I’d share it anyway.  


What do you think of Color Club Kismet?  Are you going to check out any of the new Halo Hues colors?  Let me know in the comments!  

Have a great weekend!