Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Long time no post!

I'm back, as in I'll-be-bugging-you-with-boring-posts-everyday's back!

The project I've been working very hard on has been launched, hopefully I can resume my "normal" working hours real soon. And most importantly, we will have a very long weekend of 5 days after tomorrow, yay!!!! That means I can catch up on my blogging finally.

During last 2 weeks, I was only able to post a couple of manis here. I want to give all my wonderful readers a huge hug - thank you for reading and leaving me comments even when there was not much going on here. Thank you for letting me know I was not talking to myself!

I read each and every comments - thanks to the amazing intensedebate, it makes life a lot more easier. If you are still using the blogger built-in comment system, I suggest you giving it a try, it works so much better! I promise I will reply all the comments and questions as soon as I can.

At the same time, I started working on new blog feature and here's a sneak peek:

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My mom's wearing a knock off polka dot dress!

Emerald Sparkled is having a 200+ Giveaway and one of the rule (optional) is to remake a manicure on her blog.

Here it is, a replica Mom's Polka Dot Dress. Obviously a poor quality one, see how I smudged the dots? It's very weird, I can't paint polish with my left hand but I stamp better with it! 

The prize of the giveaway includes 12 polishes, 2 Konad plates and some very thoughtful tools. It ends today, act fast if you still haven't entered yet.

Check out the details HERE.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm not really a mood polish

If you expect to see some Claire's mood polishes, I'm afraid I will have to disappoint you, as always, I can't get my hands on any polish that everybody raves about.

Instead, you are going to see a polish that you have seen a lot in past few months, Essie Van D'Go.

Van D'Go is a soft pink creme with the tiniest hint of peach. I've seen a lot of swatches that are a lot peachier, but in person it is pink no matter where I looked at it. It is beautiful, but unfortunately it doesn't look good on me. This is yet again another pink that makes my hands look dirty!

Color-wise, it is my absolute favourite among all the spring collections. But I don't think I can say the same for the formula. It is a pastel afterall, it is bound to be gloopy and streaky, which is also pretty standard for an Essie.

And then something weird happened after I applied a coat of Seche Vite.

It changed to a peach! My bottle of SV got a bit thick and I forgot to add some thinner, so I didn't apply evenly. See how the ugly mixed of pink and peach on the index and near the cuticles?

It was middle of the night when I did this mani. I had 2 choices - wiped it off and had my nails naked on the following day, or left it, had a good night sleep and went out with this ugly thing. You know how lazy I am, so I chose option 2 without surprise. And even more amazing, I kept this for 2 days!

I was curious whether the change in color was bought by my bottle of SV or it was simply the polish. I ran a little test using 3 different top coats on it, only to confirm the problem was on Van D'Go. All 3 top coats changed its color to various degree of peach.

Do you have Essie Van D'Go? Do you have the same problem?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

OPI Chop-sticking to My Story - a copycat konadicure

It's been days, how's everyone?
I just sneak back here for a quick post. I have been so sleep-deprived that I may pass out anytime when I am typing this up.

So I told you that I borrowed OPI Chop-sticking to My Story, and this is the reason why.

Step 1: Base OPI Chop-sticking to My Story 2 coats
Step 2: Konad M73 in OPI You Don't Know Jacques!
Step 3: Sasatinnie FCRAS005
Step 4: China Glaze 2030 on the tips
Step 5: Konad M57 in Color Club Where's the Soiree?

I saw this super sophisticated Bollywood konadicure in Glammed-up I liked it so much that I decided to copy it. At first I wanted to copy every details but then I found that it was impossible for 2 reasons. For one, I didn't have everything Lisa used to create the look. And my nails were not as long, I couldn't have the flowers stamped without covering up the whole nail bed.

So I settled with a "simplified" version, after re-doing it for a couple of times.

This was what triggered the first redo. I wanted the background floral patterns to be very subtle, so I used a less vibrant color, China Glaze Heirloom Organza. As you can see here, the patterns are barely visible and once I put a shimmer over it, it simply disappeared completely.  And then I have to started allover again from the base coat up.

This konadicure took me a whole morning to complete, it was fun and frustrating at the same time. I hate to admit it but layering is so out of my league. The matching of colors and patterns are so complicated that is not something I can handle. I guess I should just stick to my less-is-more rule until I can really master the whole konad techniques (sounds very likely!). If you spot me with some sophisticated designs, rest assured that they are copied from somewhere!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Surprise from Germany

Yesterday I got a mysterious package - no return address, no card, all I could tell it was from Germany. I guess it was the swap with Pia from Rock 'n' Nails. Pia, if you are reading this, please let me know!

Pia is visiting some friends in Germany, she agreed to get some polishes there to swap with her readers. I didn't have any specific in mind, so I told her my favourite colors, purple and taupe, and she picked something to surprise me. And I was indeed surprised!

This girl is amazing, she got me 3 polishes of different brands and I love them all!

(Left to right) p2 Color Victim in gracious, essence creamylicious in Chocolate Shake, Manhattan Lotus Effect 65W

A cream and H&M lip gloss.

Guess it is an unwritten rule that candies are must-have for any swap! Teddy Bear candy was my childhood favourite.

Ready for some swatches?

Chocolate Shake is a milk chocolate brown with reddish shimmer. The shimmer is only visible under bright light. It is thick and gloopy, almost impossible for thin coats. I don't know it was the polish or I shook it too hard, there were bubbles on every nail. Despite the formula, the color is absolutely yummy - I was tempted to grab a shake right away, but as I was having a bad PMS, I'd better stay away from cold drinks!

65W is a dark rich plum jelly. Do I have to say anything about it? I don't think so, even with my lousy photography, the polish still looks stunning in the photo. Super glossy, great formula, easiest to apply among the three.

I like the cap and the brush - the cap is flat with slanted top which gives you a firm grip. The brush is tiny bit shorter than average which I think is easier to control.

gracious is a dusty mauve with extremely subtle blue and purple shimmer. The shimmer is barely visible even under very bright light. It is also on the thick side but still manageable.

Usually dusty purple makes me feel chic but somehow this one shouts "feminine", maybe it's the shimmer. I stamped it with some roses and butterfly in subtle colors, didn't want them to steal the spotlight.

These brands are all not available in where I live and I'm so excited to be able to get some! Thank you so much Pia!

Friday, March 19, 2010

FlashForward or flashback?

Any FlashForward fans there? I didn't pay it much attention until I met with some friends past weekend and they told me I should watch it. I am not a big sci-fi fan but I am a loyal Lostie, so why not?

I watched all 10 episodes in a few days. It is good but not as addictive as Lost. The reason that keep me watching is Joseph Fiennes. He can literally kill me with his eyes!

So it returns tonight, do you guys still remember what happened before the mid-season break? Mike and Demetri went to Hong Kong to found the woman. Yes, Hong Kong, my city. I was so excited until they arrived at this shabby airport. No, that was not Hong Kong. Of course, those scenes were not something that was worth moving the whole crew across the Pacific. But sailing ship? Seriously? I doubt my grandparents ever seen one sailing on the harbour! And a street full of people riding on bikes? You will have better luck spotting that amount of Ferrari than bikes.

The same goes for OPI Hong Kong Collection. Boring colors, boring names. I didn't get any of those, but I borrowed this from a friend for some reason.

Chop-sticking to My Story is a warm dusty orange/brown creme. Good formula without any application issue, good to go in 2 coats.

I don't do orange, I just don't like this color. I'll show you tomorrow what I needed it for.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Orly Mint Mojito

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Orly Mint Mojito is a bright yellowish green creme, the color is even more vibrant in person. On the thick side, no major application issue though.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Who needs Nfu-oh? Not me!

You know it is sour grape, do you? For the record, I want it, I NEED it, especially the legendary #51. If you are one of those lucky people who can get Nfu-oh off the internet stores and you are kind enough to help me out, please contact me. I am serious!

Some of you European girls may suggest the trusty Affiniti who ships internationally. But their definition of "international" does not include Hong Kong, so this option is out. There indeed is a local beauty store who carry a limited selection on Nfu-oh. The selection is so limited that I haven't seen any of the color on any of the nail blogs. A couple of boring reds and pinks, frosty blue and green, I couldn't find any reason to justify paying $10 for them.

And then one day, Lucy from Lucy's stash talked about some replacements of Nfu-oh flakies. The replacement polishes looked strangely familiar. They are Golden Rose, which happens to be available in the very same beauty store that sells boring Nfu-oh.

I rushed there, found them, covered in dust, hidden in the unorganized pile of polishes. Some were missing chunk off the bottle, some covered in dried up leakage, some were not full. But what can I complain? They are $0.8 after all.

How do I like it? I'll let the photos do the talking

It takes my breath away. Look at those blue and green flakies, how gorgeous they are!

I used 2 tricks that I learned from The Manicured Manatee - nude base coat and partner polishes here.

Partner polishes - I guess flakies are supposed to be used for layering, so they are extremely sheer and no matter how many coats you put on, you are never going to build it up to the bottle color. The genius Manicured Manatee came up with the solution by layering them over polishes that match the base color of the flakies. (I used Zoya Kotori here for its blackened blue)

Nude base coat - Zoya Kotori is quite sheer itself, I wanted it to be opaque in 1 coat as it was just a base coat here. What should I do? I gave it a base coat! Yes, yet another base coat. But this time, it was a nude polish. I used Models Own Nude Beige which matches with my complexion. With the nude polish, it covers the nail bed so the following polishes can build up coverage in less coats.

I'm quite happy with the result, it looks exactly like what it looks like in the bottle.

To give you a better look on its color, I layered it over a black creme and a white creme.

Over white - it gets very interesting here, the colors changed! Pink, which did not appear over dark polish, became the dominant color. 

The flakes are packed densely in the bottle, so I had no problem in getting them on the nail. It did not dry to a bumpy surface, so you don't have to put a lot of top coat to make it smooth. As for drying time, I think it's average.

If you are interested in this cheap replacement of Nfu-oh flakies, stay turn. I have more to show you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Polish Blogger Network: Lacquer Link Love 3/12/10

Brooke took a tour of Hong Kong and has the polish swatches to prove it! Check out all the colors from OPI's newest collection and see which ones she loves the most at Babbling Brooke.

Tuli opened up a virtual polish market to facilitate polish swaps at Tuli's Nails! Check it out and sign up - someone may just be trading that polish you've been looking everywhere for.

Landa went totally holographic at Bright Lights, Big Color - and it only cost her $2!

Rija of Polishing the Nails has some Pistachio ice cream nails. Who would have thought a Laguna Lagoon would be so beautifully minty?

Check out how OPI's hottest new shade, Jade is the New Black, stacks up against a few other greens at Prim and Polished!

The Dutch Nail Blog swatched some scandalous polishes from Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics. Check out her great Konad and see just why these polishes are called 'Cheeky'!

Purple looks great with purple, especially on GildedAngel's nails! Pop over to Naive Nails to see her lovely Konad.

A taupe is a taupe is a taupe, right? Not so fast! Look at how a variety of taupes stack up against each other at The Swatchaholic. Which one is your favorite?

Are you loving Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland? Check out Therese's great Alice in Wonderland mani at Nail Design, and learn how to do it yourself with her tutorial!

Nail'd and Polish'd has some gorgeous pops of spring color from Ulta's polish collection. What's your favorite shade?

Get a taste of OPI's delicious Hong Kong collection at Manicure Mommas, and check out how gorgeous they look matte!

Take a walk down glittery Canal Street with Helen at Just Nice Things.

Did you love the Oscars? Relive the glamour and excitement with Niki's awesome manicure, representing each movie on one nail. Wow!

How does Nars Purple Rain stack up against China Glaze Let's Groove? Check out My Guilty Pleasure's comparison, and decide if the $21 price tag is worth it for the Nars!

And now.....Giveaways!!!
Check out...

Rija is giving away 6 gorgeous glittery polishes in celebration of her birthday. Check it out before March 21!

Win two polishes from the OPI Hong Kong collection at Manicure Mommas! Enter before March 22!

European readers, enter to win some Konad and China Glaze to get you polishing this spring at The Dutch Nail Blog! Enter before March 21.

Enter to win a boatload of goodies, including OPI polishes from the Hong Kong collection at Bright Lights, Big Color! Enter before March 19!

Babbling Brooke has teamed up with Designer Blogs to give away a blog makeover. Enter to win before March 27!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I need some help!

Remember this mani I shown you the other day?

It is actually my entry to the Nail Off context host by The Nail Blog Network. You probably have some idea by now that I enjoy nail art a lot. The decision to take part in this was a no-brainer - I didn't want to miss the fun and mostly importantly, I wanna get some goodies.

The prizes are very attractive, 10 China Glaze and 10 Seche products of your choices. But if I win, I am not going to keep these to myself, I can share with you! Because the winner gets to hold a contest on her own blog with the same prizes sponsored by China Glaze and Seche. Isn't it wonderful?

I am not a big fan of pimping but I am way behind now, I would be really happy if you could help me out by go to this voting page, click on the little round button next to "Kada / My Guilty Pleasure", scroll down a bit and then click "vote". Then you can sit back and wait to win the same prizes from the context in my blog. Apparently, I am dreaming already, so I should hit the hay and let the dream continues.

Vote for me Please!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Color Club Pucci-licious and tone on tone konad

Purple lovers, watch out for this super cute killer!

Pucci-licious is a bright creamy purple. It went on like butter, perfect in 2 coats without single streak or unevenness. But when it dried, its glossiness reduced and turned into this satiny finishes (not matte though).

This photo is pretty color-accurate, thanks to my light box. Can you see how cute it is? It is so bright, so vibrant, just perfect for Spring. I'm so glad I added it to my shopping cart in the last minute!

I wanted to stamp something on it but I had no idea which color would go well with it. So I decided to play safe - go for the same color family. I stamp this flower/heart-shaped design from Konad M63 with China Glaze Grape Pop. I love this design, does it look like a pop art?

And then I added some butterflies, I wish I hadn't! They ruined the design completely!

Do you like it? I do! I can see myself wearing it a lot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

RIP Sheer Natural

This is a nightmare comes true.

When I work on a post, there are always a dozen of polishes on my perpetually chaotic desk. You can imagine the numerous near-fatal incidents in this accident-prone set up. I was lucky, maybe just too lucky, until today. I wanted to drink some water so I reached for my mug somewhere in the midland, and then it knocked on the dozen polishes. And I was able to save them!! Amazing, wasn't it? If it was, this post would not have appeared at all.

I tried to put them back up, and one of them didn't want to stand up straight, instead it slipped from my fingers and dropped on the floor and shattered. Wow, an $18 polish dropped dead in front of me, definitely an once in a life time experience! Oh, did I mention I haven't use it yet, not even swatched?

In the middle of the little pool of polish, there was a glass splinter holding some polish, not much, just enough for a swatch. Thank you, at least I get to have a swatch!

It is a mess, but be nice! I just suffered a loss and I was not in the mood for perfect pictures (like I had taken perfect pictures!)

It is a yellowish nude creme. Application was good, not streaky at all but it was too sheer. I used 4 coats here but still not able to cover completely.

To be honest, it is not a flattering color, like you have some badly stained nails. Quite disgusting. But I think it can make a good mannequin color when layered with some taupes or nudes, to match with the yellow undertone of Asian skin. I'm not able to test it out though.

I am a little bit depressed right now (and I have to clean up the crime scene), so that's all for today.

Meet my new BFF

My dear readers, I want you to meet my new BFF:

Mr Light Box

This is the answer to yesterday's guessing game, in case anyone had noticed.

I've wanting to get myself a light box forever! But I still couldn't believe I really put it into action even when this awesome little white box is sitting gracefully on my desk. 

There is a hole at the top and the "door" thing on the side, so you can shoot from different angles.

It is really compact, perfect for storage. I had been hesitated in getting the light box mostly because of the space it was going to take up. 2 lamps and a huge white box? I have to throw away my bed for them to fit in my teeny tiny apartment.

I had no idea there's such an ingenious design out there.

There are built-in lights, you don't have to set up those clumsy lamps anymore. They said the lights are the same as those used in computer monitor or LCD TV. I know nothing about this, all I can tell is that they are bright enough.

There are 2 hooks at the back for fixing the felt background. How thoughtful!

They have 6 different colors and I couldn't decide which one is better, so I got all 6.

When I went for a little shopping trip today, I found this baby blue floral-print felt. It is so cute, isn't it?

I also bought 2 super reflective acrylic board, but I can't get it right with this white one.

I had better luck with the black one, see how clear the reflection is, like a mirror!

You didn't think I would just let this yummy Color Club posed as a model only, did you?

The famous Revvvolution is a dark charcoal holo with dreamy application. I didn't have the slightest problem.

I am still experimenting with this new toy but I think I am already in love with him. He just makes life a lot easier for me - I can do swatch at night, and I don't have to spend as much time editing the photos because they are more color-accurate now.

That's it for now, I'm off to preparing the stuff I am going to show you tomorrow. See you in a bit.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Treachery of the cheapskate - Nars Purple Rain

I am a cheapskate. If there was a Kingdom of Cheapskate, I would be the ruler.

In my kingdom, it is a crime buying $20, high-end fashion label polishes with just a pretty face. And I would be the first and the last who are hanged for breaking the law.

Here's the evidence, Nars Purple Rain, $21.

Purple Rain is a deep reddish purple / eggplant with red and blue shimmer. You see the blue shimmer pretty clearly here, right? In real life, the blue shimmer is barely visible when you stare intensely at it. The effects were exaggerated by the camera.

It was very pigmented, perfect in 2 coats. Excellent application, went on like butter.

It is very gorgeous. But wait a sec, I've seen it somewhere.

I swear, it was just the camera, in real life, the difference is not noticeable. The base color of both are very similar, except there are more blue shimmer in Let's Groove, as you see in the pictures.

If you have Let's Groove, congratulations! You have a dead on dupe to a $20 polish.

I won't tell you I regret buying Purple Rain simply because 1) it is Nars 2) it is purple 3) it is gorgeous 4) I paid $21 for it, non-refundable. No, I won't!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Can you guess what it is?

Another green, first konad success ... well, sort of

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I've lost count on my failed konad attempts, actually, I tried hard not to remember. To save my sanity, I really need a little success. A fool proof design is all I needed, I don't care whether it is boring. Here you go, a textbook design - a green and gold combo.

What do you think? Can I call this a success?

I was pleased with this, at least I had the design stamped quite clearly on the nails, it wasn't distorted much (except for the pointer), I am comfortable going out with it.

The base color I used here was Color Club Rule Breaker. It is an amazing deep green/teal metallic shimmer, a little bit frosty though. Application was like a dream, it went on smoothly and it was so pigmented that 1 coat would do. Can't wait to try it as a stamping polish.
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