31 December 2013

2013 Nail Polish : A Year In Review : Top 3 Polishes & Predictions for 2014

It's the last day of 2013 and the final post of my nail polish year in review. This year my nail polish collection exploded (mostly thanks to Reddit) and I made some amazing friends through the various nail polish communities.

I drooled over a ton of polish but only bought a fraction of what I loved. I think there were very few duds this year but the following three polishes blew me away. The colours are amazing, the formulas were great and the results were breathtaking. Here are my top 3 polishes of 2013.

#3. KBShimmer 24 Carat Bold - this is the perfect orange as far as I'm concerned. The application and formula were flawless and the colour is so amazing! My picture shows it worn with top coat but it dries to a satin matte and has gorgeous gold shimmer. An amazingly fun polish to wear!

#2. Emerald & Ash Red Shift - this was a surprise favourite for me this year. I'm not a huge fan of red polish but I've totally fallen for burgundy this year. It was a sunny day when I received this in the mail and when I opened it the flash and sparkle coming off this bottle made me gasp. The glitter combination is understated and perfect and the application was fantastic! Ashley and Nate did a great job translating Hubble photos into polish - tiny galaxies on your nails.

#1 Wingdust Collections Steel Town Girl - I fell in love with this when Stephanie posted a prototype swatch photo on Instagram. I watched for release dates like a hawk and ultimately missed out on restocks a whopping FOUR times! I never would have thought to look at international stockists but a good friend brought up the idea of a group order from Femme Fatale Cosmetics from Australia and I was immediately on board. It ended up costing me more but it is finally mine and I LOVE IT! The holo base is perfect. The iridescent shards are perfect. The gold leaf is perfect. The combo is easily one of the most unique polishes released this year and one I will cherish always.

As for predictions for 2014, I think we will see a lot of purple with Radiant Orchid being the Pantone Color of the Year. Holo and duochrome were popular all year but really exploded toward the end of 2013 and I think that will continue into the new year. I also think we will see a lot more shimmer and unique creme colours. It seems like people are feeling a bit of glitter fatique and looking for something a little simpler but still beautiful. Finally, I think that the indie polish world will continue to grow and flourish. Will Nerd Lacquer return full time? We can cross our fingers. Will Enchanted Polish restocks become a little less insane? Doubtful. Will restocks on Llarowe be less crazy-making with the new website that Barbra and her husband (of I Love Nail Polish) are building? We can hope.

My brand to watch for 2014? Pahlish. I've been loving their monthly combos and the colours they've been releasing.

Happy New Year and here's to an amazing 2014!

Which polish was your favourite this year? What are your predictions for the nail polish world for 2014?

30 December 2013

2013 Nail Polish : A Year in Review : Top 3 Brands

For the third installment of my year in review series, I am reviewing my top 3 brands of the year. These are the brands that I purchased the most, reached for the most, and consistently impressed me with colour and formula.

This post is picture heavy!!

Honourable Mention. Wingdust Collections - Stephanie came out with some great stuff this year including an instant best seller/impossible to get colour. She doesn't shy away from glitter and her combos are always perfect. I'll always have a soft spot for this brand because it's Canadian and I provided inspiration for one of her polishes this year. :) Here are my two favourites from this year.

| Muskoka Sunset - this is the polish I provided inspiration for. Stephanie sometimes hold contests on Facebook and if she uses your suggestion she sends you a free bottle. As soon as I saw this I thought of the sun setting over a Canadian lake. My husband, like Stephanie, is from Ontario and he always talks about the lakes and how much he misses them. I searched for pictures of the Muskoka and found one that had the exact colours as the polish. The rest was history. ;) |

| Steel Town Girl - the polish that launched a thousand Wingdust fans, this polish is hands down one of the most unique I own. It's a teal holo base with shards and gold leaf pieces and it's incredible. I wanted this one so much that I went in on a group order with several friends and we procured 4 bottles from Femme Fatale Cosmetics in Australia! |

#3. Enchanted Polish - most people who collect indie polish have heard of Enchanted Polish and the almost mythical status of their polish. They are expensive and difficult to procure and the after sale market? Forget it. The restocks are notoriously crazy and people get full on fanatical about their monthly releases. It's all for good reason - the colours are super pigmented, flow on the nail like butter and have incredible sparkle/shift/whatever the intended effect may be. I was first introduced to this brand when a dear friend sent me a bottle and it was love at first brush stroke. I've had good luck with Nail Polish Canada's Canadian only restocks along with some incredibly generous friends. Here are my top four this year.

| Across the Universe - the one that started it all. The multichrome shift and the holo sparkle are an irresitible combination. |

| Dream On - I was lucky to snag this Nail Polish Canada exclusive shade. |

| Mr. Burgundy - richly saturated colour with amazing holo bend. |

| Octopus' Garden - another crazy beautiful multichrome. | 
#2. KBShimmer (Canadians can purchase from Harlow & Co.) - KBShimmer had a really stand-out year with several amazing collections. They balance the glitter bombs with more understated shimmers and mattes and have polish in every colour imaginable. This year's Christmas/blogger collaboration collection was a home run. I wanted to purchase every single one and was only held back by my wallet. Here are my favourites from this year.
| 24 Carrot Bold - bold is definitely the right descriptor - this neon orange shimmer dries matte and is flat out AMAZING! |
| Snow Flaking Way - this jelly is the perfect winter colour with amazing depth. I'm normally not a fan of shape glitter but the snowflakes in this are adorable. |

| Totally Tubular - the teal base of this polish is perfection, the formula was great (no dragging of glitter) and CIRCLE GLITTER! |

| Turbulence - another shimmer that dries matte, this dark gray had a flawless formula and the shade worked well with my skin tone. | 
#1. Emerald & Ash - some may call me biased with this choice because I consider Ashley (the lovely owner of E&A, along with her husband, Nate) a dear friend. That said, the lady makes some amazing polish. From her debut Armed Forces collection, to Deconstructed Daisy which is in honour of her mom, to her stunning Hubble collection, I love them all! The formula is great, the collection inspirations are unique and the colours are spot on. Also, the thing that pushes Emerald & Ash to the top of the proverbial polish pile is her cuticle oil. Seriously, guys, it's AMAZING! I have a bad habit of picking my cuticles and this stuff repairs a good majority of the damage with just one use! Plus, the scents are incredible and not at all artifical or cloying. My favourites are Chai Tea, Pumpkin Apple Butter, Chestnut & Brown Sugar, and Blood Orange. Do your cuticles a favour and go buy some NOW! Plus, it certainly doesn't hurt that Ashley is a doll and probably one of the most generous people I've ever had the good fortune to meet. Here are my favourites from the year.
| Black Forest, CO (limited edition) - this polish was created as a fundraiser for the Pikes Peak Community Foundation which helps the victims of the devastating forest fires that Colordao experienced this summer. The blackened green base is gorgeous and the flakes give it amazing depth. |

| Dirty 30 (limited edition) - this was created to celebrate Ashley's 30th birthday and is the perfect nude holo. |

| Red Shift - I purchased this one based on swatch pictures from Nina of Model City Polish but in person it is STUNNING - I literally gasped when I opened the package. The deep red is gorgeous and the glitter combo perfectly compliments the base. |

| Yule Log (limited edition) - this one was included as a gift with purchase during their Cyber Monday sale.  I've been loving brown polish this year and this one exemplifies everything I love about brown. It's a sophisticated as black without being harsh and seems to compliment most skin tones. This one has a gorgeous shimmer and seems to glow from within. |

Which brands stole your hard earned money this year?


27 December 2013

2013 Nail Polish : A Year in Review : Top 10 Indie

On to the second installment of my four part, year in review series. This post will highlight 10 indie polishes that really captured my heart and dazzled my eyes. These all had good formulas that were easy to work with and had great pay-off.

Again, I will list these in alphabetical order.

| A England Beauty Never Fails - the shimmer makes it so complex. |

A England Rose Bower - such a great, glowy red - AND Initial Lacquer Snowy Owl - the white and gold glitter make this topper a bit more unique. |

| Emily de Molly Cosmic Forces - this glitter jelly made a big impression this year - love the complexity. |
| Girly Bits What the Deuce - such an amazing green - it was perfect for my Christmas mani. |

| HARE Polish Party Palace - such a lovely, bright fuschia - the red and white glitter add a lot of interest. |

| Model City Polish Bobbing for Apples (shown over Orly Liquid Vinyl) - circle glitter has taken the world by storm and this one in particular is amazing - plus, it smells like apples!! |

| Model City Polish The Great Pumpkin Massacre (shown over essie Little Brown Dress) - for a Halloween polish this one is quite understated. Plus, the formula is amazing and the pumpkin bread scent is perfect - it lingers for days even with top coat! |

| Ozotic 914 - this one is just stunning. When I heard that piCture pOlish had decided to discontinue the Ozotic line, I had to grab this. Get it while you can! |

| Shimmer Polish Carol - these glitter bombs are unlike any others I have tried - they are so glitter packed that you can easily wear them on their own - I love the brown/copper/blue combo of this one. |

What were your favourite indie polishes this year?

2013 Nail Polish : A Year in Review : Top 10 Retail

This has been quite a year for nail polish. Although market numbers indicate that nail polish sales declined in 2013 that is certainly not the case in my circles. If anything, sales are booming BUT more in the indie sector than the retail market. I've only been immersed in this community for a year but, from what I can tell, 2013 was THE YEAR OF THE INDIE. So many amazing brands popped up on the radar and I got to try a lot of amazing polish.

I decided to do a 4 part series showcasing my favourites from the year. This first post will be my top 10 retail polishes of the year (by retail, I mean anything that can be purchased in a physical store - this includes high end, salon and drugstore), the second post will be my top 10 indie polishes of the year, the third post will be my top 3 brands of the year (with an honourable mention), and the final post will be my top polish of the year along with some predictions for 2014. Polishes from my top 3 brands won't be mentioned in either of the top 10 posts and not all were necessarily released in 2013 but they were purchased by me this calendar year. Of course, there were many, many brands that I still want to try or purchased in 2013 but have not had a chance to use yet. (*hint, hint* I can see Pahlish and Colors by Llarowe making my top 10 of 2014!)

I will apologize in advance for the state of my cuticles in 50% of the photos - picking at them is a bad habit that I am working hard to break. :/

Without further ado, here are my top 10 retail polishes for 2013 (in alphabetical order).

| Chanel Taboo - my only disappointment is that the shimmer isn't super visible on the nail. |

| China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy AND I'm Not Lion - this was my go-to accent glitter |

| China Glaze Tart-y For the Party - perfect pastel purple |

| Color Club Eternal Beauty - their Halo Hues 2013 collection was AMAZING! |

| Color Club Holiday Splendor - dat sparkle! |

| Color Club Over the Moon - crazy holo |

| essie Mojito Madness - great formula and colour. |

| Illamasqua Gothiqua - Hudson's Bay Company exclusive - as with Chanel Taboo, the shimmer isn't really visible on the nail. | 

| Zoya Aurora - scattered holo, ahoy! |

What were your retail favourites for 2013?

19 October 2013

October "What's In-Die Box" : Little Box of Horrors

The "What's In-Die Box" is Australia's first indie nail polish subscription box. Each box is centered around a theme (this month the theme is "Little Box of Horrors") and contains 5 exclusive polishes from Aussie indie brands. The great thing, for me at least, is that they ship internationally! It's a little more expensive because it's sent with tracking but, for the quality and the access to hard-to-get polish, I think it's a great deal. The cost each month is $47.99 and shipping to Canada was $20. The last several months it has been curated by Peita's Polish and the November box is currently for sale on her Big Cartel store.

Let's move on to the contents.

Queen of Halloween from Lilypad Lacquer - a lovely berry/burgundy holo. Looks similar to Enchanted Polish Mr. Burgundy but I'd have to swatch them side by side to check. Swatch is two coats.

 Corpse Bride by Glam Polish is an off-white/light grey creme that has blue, black and silver hex glitter as well as pink skull glitter. Swatch is two coats.

Allhallows Eve from Arcane Lacquer has a sheer black jelly base silver, purple, and pink hex glitter, chartreuse small square glitter, and pink, silver and teal micro-glitter. The swatch is three coats but might be best worn over black.

 Where My Witches At? by Miss Ashleigh has a sheer purple jelly base with purple hex glitter in different sizes, small teal square glitter, tiny teal and purple hexes, red shards and holo micro-glitter. Swatch is three coats.

 Last but not least, Monster Mash by Peita's Polish is a clear glitter topper that contains orange and purple hexes, black squares and shards, a tiny amount of small black bars and holo micro-glitter. Swatch is one coat.

All in all, I'm super happy with my first "What's In-die Box" and while I won't be purchasing one every month, if the theme catches my interest I will certainly be ordering in the future. Keep in mind that these are all exclusive polishes and won't be sold anywhere else!
You can order November's What's In-die Box, the theme of which is Rock and Roll, here.

22 May 2013

Nail Spam

My polish collection has been steadily growing and so has my obsession with indie brands.

This seems to be the summer of indie polishes, at least for me, and all of the pictures below feature at least one indie brand (except the nail art). If you are a fan of nail polish, take a look around Etsy or at e-tailers like LlaroweHarlow & Co, or Nail Polish Canada ($3 flat shipping!!) and prepare to be amazed by the creativity of the small batch makers as well as the quality of the products. They easily stack up to, and in many cases surpass, the major brands. These ladies take months to source products and test before listing their creations.

A lot of hard work goes in to creating a unique polish and I am always excited to discover a new brand, be it from word of mouth or random searching. I'm a big Etsy fan anyway and enjoy supporting home-based businesses so discovering this world of indie polish has certainly feuled my urge to collect. :)

| A England base: Dragon; dots, starting from centre: St. George, Holy Grail (new version), Tristam, Princess Tears |

| China Glaze Surreal Appeal topped with Wingdust Collections Gilt-y Pleasure |

| OPI Russian Navy topped with Nail Pattern Boldness Texas Tea |

| Thumb to pinky: Revlon Spirit, Julep Courteney, China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On, China Glaze Tart-y for the Party, Sally Hansen Lightening, all topped with Lush Lacquer Clowning Around |

| China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On topped with Emerald & Ash Deconstructed Daisy |

| My first attempt at hand-painted nail art. It's supposed to look like a mountain in a meadow. :/ |

If you have other recommendations for great indie brands, please leave a comment! :)