January 30, 2015

Nailstalgia: Orly- Galaxy Girl [Swatch]

Welcome to the January, first of 2015, edition of Nailstalgia!  I've got an Orly polish to share with you, and this one truly is nostalgic for me, because it was one of the first polishes that really blew me away...if you know what I mean! I just remember really loving it, and I'm pretty excited to swatch it for you! I'm talking about Orly- Galaxy Girl!

Galaxy Girl was originally released in the Fall 2010 Cosmic FX collection, along with Space Cadet, which was the most uber-hyped polish of the set. I only own those two in particular, love both, but the entire collection is pretty much a win, if you're shopping around for older Orlys!

Galaxy Girl has a rusty, brown-toned red base (almost in burgundy territory, but not quite) filled with glassflecky, color-shifting shimmer that shows aqua-green and sometimes fuchsia.  The shimmer is very, very dense, and this polish has a strong, contrasting flash when the light so much as thinks of glancing off the nail surface. 

Artificial light, two coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

Macro brush porn for your eyeball pleasure:

Formula: It has a medium level of pigmentation, and the texture is also a pretty standard medium viscosity. It paints onto the nail well as long as you don't underload the brush. The shimmer wants to clump up a little, since there is so much of it, so having a little more polish on the brush is necessary. I'm not talking thick, gloopy coats- just slightly more than you'd think.

That said, the second coat goes on so nicely, and is perfectly opaque!

Do you own this polish?
What do you think?

January 28, 2015

Mail-time: Zoya Naturel Satin Transitional Collection!

Hey everyone! Today, I just have a quick mail-time and some bottle shots to share with you!

This is, of course, the new Winter-to-Spring transitional collection from Zoya called Naturel Satin. They have a new not-matte / not-glossy finish that Zoya is just describing as "a hybrid between matte and glossy polishes"..."not intended to be worn with a top coat."

Here's Hambone!

We had a hard time getting this shot because his newest trick is "high five" and he likes to offer it whenever/ wherever. So, he kept smacking the polishes down, and to be honest I was a little frightened for their safety, lol!

"Just give me those carrots, woman."

Many carrot pieces were had that day. (And pleeaaaase, disregard his nails. They horrify me too, but I actually just clipped them- his quicks are really long. (Also the wide-angle tends to exaggerate them. Don't judge me!))

Time for some bottley goodness!

These have the same frosted bottles and matte caps that Zoya's Matte Velvet polishes do.

left to right: Rowan, Sage, Tove, Leah, Brittany, Ana

I really think they are a refreshing color palette- especially if you're in the mood for pastels! I'll be swatching these today, but photos probably won't be ready until next week. I do already have some nail art posted on Instagram using the Naturel Satins, though!

These are availble now at Zoya.com, and retail for $9 /ea

*Disclosure: polishes in this post were provided to me as press samples for honest review, and all opinions are my own.

January 26, 2015

Stamping on Taped Green & Chartreuse Gradient [Nail Art]

Blaaaargh! Mondays are the worst!

Anyway, I've got some more nail art for you toady- actually another taped gradient using some of the China Glaze Road Trip polishes, similar to this one.

This time, I managed to take a few shots of the gradient for you, before I stamped over it:

I used Scotch tape again to tape off portions of the nail before sponging the gradient, but you can see that it's not perfect at the tips. I think next time, I'll get some painter's tape and try that.

I also used the dry-sponge method with this one, and it looks like three colors, but was actually just two! The base is China Glaze- Trip of a Lime Time, and I painted that and China Glaze- My Way or the Highway onto the sponge in overlapping stripes until they blended a bit.

Initially I wanted this gradient to go to blue too, using China Glaze- License & Registration Pls, but when I put everything on the sponge, that one didn't have a similar enough consistency to blend well with the others, and wouldn't transfer evenly. So, I just used the two shades, instead!

Now for the stamping!

Both of the designs are from MoYou Pro XL- 11, and I used Zoya- Willa and Zoya- Purity to stamp because I couldn't decide between white or black. Actually I wanted to blend the black/white on the stamping plate, which is always fun, but it just wouldn't work out with these two.

I really need to get some better basic stamping polishes because every time I look at close-up photos afterwards, I'm a little disappointed. They look pretty nice and sharp in person, though! I know people like the Mundo de Unas stamping polishes. Are those the way to go? I just need basic, opaque creme colors- think I'm set on metallics/ holos.

I especially liked the way the thumb turned out:

This ended up being a very Summery manicure, and I was sorely lacking some kind of parrot decal to go with it! I liked it though!

What do you think?
I would love to know your favorite black and white stamping polishes!

January 25, 2015

Nailstash: A 2015 Update on the Hoard! [Bottle Spam]

Hey everyone! How is your weekend going?

Today I have a pretty fun/ frivolous post for you! The last time I documented my polish hoard was two years ago, in January of 2013! So, I thought it was about time for an update! Here is the previous stash post, if you're interested in comparing or seeing how my storage and organization has changed.

You may or may not have seen most of these photos already on Instagram, but here I'll talk in a little more detail about the system I use to store, organize, and catalog polishes. Originally, I did not want to do this update until my swatch sticks were a little more organized, but hey- this is kind of a behind the scenes type of post, so I thought I'd share the current situation as it stands!

I've moved from organizing polishes by color to grouping them instead by brand. Although the by-color system is way more aesthetically pleasing and a bit easier to navigate when trying to do nail art or look for dupes, it's not really practical once you reach a certain number of polishes. *ahem*

Two years ago, I was moving the overflow from the four wall-mounted racks into a stacked duo of Michaels "Melmers." I quickly outgrew that! (Well, I suppose it took a year and a half.) Now, I use the four wall racks and a tall IKEA "Alex" drawer unit to store polishes. The Melmers have nail art supplies, as well as miscellaneous stuff like Ipsy bags, baby wipes, extra swatch sticks, ect. A couple of the drawers are still empty, too. I'll show you the important ones at the end of the post!

Before I give you a peek into the storage, I want to talk about my cataloging system!

Here's the top of the Alex unit:

It's a mess! Actually, it's really chaotic for me!

As you can see, I am using the clear, straight swatch sticks to catalog and swatch polishes. These usually come in sets of 50 for super cheap, and you can buy them on eBay or Amazon. (Most of the time they are shipped from China, so make sure to order a few weeks in advance of when you'll need them!)

This style of swatch stick comes on a long bolt with a nut, which is helpful for grouping color families. Some people choose to put them on one long string, and while I can see the benefit of that, I think I just have too many to do that!  Once upon a time, all of my swatch sticks fit in that long, glass container (from Michaels) you can see in the back, and they actually looked lovely when sorted rainbow style! Now, I have too many different "bolts," if you will, of swatch sticks, and I need to get a second glass container.

These are really still not in order, but this should give you some idea of how cool it can look this way:

So my cataloging system goes something like this:

  1. Obtain new polish. (easiest part, amiright?)

  2. Swatch on blank swatch stick & let dry overnight.

  3. Create label with a label maker, cut to size, adhere.

  4. Swatch sticks go into the mug for future color-sorting if I'm not currently working with those polishes. If I am, I keep the swatch sticks (and polishes) close to my work computer, in case I need a reference for color-correction.

  5. At some nebulous point in the future, sort loose swatch sticks into appropriate color order within their color families. This process does take a while, since you have to remove usually all of the swatch sticks from each bolt and lay them out in a line. Then, you make sure you have decent enough light to determine where the new swatch sticks should go. Then, they get re-strung onto the bolt.

Obviously, I am very, very hopelessly behind on these sort of catalog-housekeeping tasks! The mug I use as a holding area is overflowing, and I've just got loose swatch sticks everywhere now. It's even worse than that though. Probably more than half of the swatch sticks that you can see in the glass container are not labeled with the label maker! They have written Sharpie labels instead, which is what I was doing previous to discovering that the Sharpie eventually wears off. So, I've got a lot of labeling in my future! Ack! (It's actually really easy to keep up with labeling as new polishes come in, but to go back and do it for that volume of swatch sticks is a different story.)

I should mention that a lot of times, I keep polish on top of the Alex unit too. It is either waiting to find a home inside, or is polish I'm intending to swatch or use for nail art in the immediate future. So, it's really kind of a staging area.

Here's a picture I just took this morning:

Sometimes the jewelry tree lives there too, and I've got the China Glaze Road Trip collection waiting for storage, and a few other polishes I'm meaning to swatch soon! (L'Oreal- Masked Affair!) Oh yes, and I've put the loose swatch sticks into another mug. *sigh*

So, this cataloging system works really well for me if I keep up with it! I think everything kind of went to shit when the swatch bolts outgrew the glass container, lol. Normally, when I am searching for dupes, or certain polish shades, my references are the swatch sticks. I don't have to rummage around in drawers or have to guess what polishes will look like together! And, this allows me to keep brands grouped together which makes the most sense to me anyway.

While I'm talking about cataloging, I guess I should let you know that I maintain a spreadsheet of current polishes in my stash. This is really helpful as well! It helps me quickly reference release dates or collections- and, most importantly, whether or not I've tried the polish! To go along with that, I also have a Pinterest board of 'Untrieds,' so that whenever I'm stumped on what to wear on my nails, I have a quick and easy visual reference! That board is secret, but I'd recommend anybody make one, if they have a good number of untried polishes. I've found it so, so useful (and motivating)!

Okay! Now for the stash! I'll show the drawers of the Alex first, since I'm already talking about it.

Here's the first drawer from the top of the unit:

This drawer just has indie polishes! Like I mentioned on Instagram, I'm fairly brand-loyal, and it takes a lot for me to try out new-to-me indie polishes. I'm working on that, but as a result, my collection probably contains a lower proportion of indie polishes vs. commercial brands than most nail bloggers.

From the front this drawer has Smitten Polish, A England, Emily de Molly, ILNP (not including the six in the new packaging from the most recent mail-time!), KBShimmer, Cirque Colors (two rows), ALIQUID Lacquer, and Mint Polish. The little group on the side has two Elevation Polishes in the front, one Glam Polish and one Kester Black, three Pomegranate Lacquer polishes, and one Dance Legend.

Second drawer:

This drawer is also indie-only, and it just hold brands that I have more of. Indigo Bananas is in the front right (with a lot of space for expansion, LOL!), Rescue Beauty Lounge is on the left there, and Cult Nails is in back with another row that you can't see.

Third drawer:

By far, my most aesthetically-pleasing drawer, I think! I've got Essie and Butter London in here. I do store my Butter Londons on their sides, because if you store them upright, all you see is black cap. This makes it really easy to see the color, and the risk of polish getting into the neck and making them hard to open is worth it, IMO. It hasn't happened to me yet, and there are ways of getting stuck bottles open, so I'm not too worried.

One drawback of the IKEA Alex units is that, while the drawers are nicely self-supporting, they don't open all of the way. Anything in the back few inches is much harder to see and get to. I've got a couple Butter Londons that are hiding back there. I'll have to rearrange stuff soon/ switch drawers, because this one is getting full!

Fourth drawer:

Just Orly polishes in here! I have a lot of minis for some reason. The other thing is that all the different packaging makes me twitch a little! Oh well!

Fifth drawer:

China Glaze! The Road Trip polishes are not in here yet, so this one is getting full too!

Sixth drawer:

Just OPI polish in here! This is the first drawer of the Alex that's deeper. Because of that, it's way easier to see and reach into the back part, so I'll probably move the Essie and Butter Londons in here soon.

Seventh drawer:

This is kind of a catch-all drawer for non-drugstore mainstream brands. My Color Club and Barielle are in back, and there is actually a lot of polish that you can't see or get to easily. Bummer. Nubar is in the front left, and on the right is Nfu Oh, Deborah Lippmann, Morgan Taylor, and Models Own. The tiny little group behind them is two CND Effects plus Max Factor- Fantasy Fire.

Eighth drawer:

Drugstore polishes! I don't have a ton. One of the reasons is that, as a Prime member, I do a lot of my normal drugstore-ish/ incidentals shopping on Amazon. So, I don't go into drugstores as often.

This also means that I'm usually slow on the uptake concerning the latest drugstore polish crazes! (Recently, Sinful Colors- Prosecco and L'Oreal- Masked Affair come to mind!) I think I'm going to make an effort to pop into CVS and Walgreens once a week just to gawk at the displays, because I feel like I'm letting you guys down in a way!

Anyway, this drugstore drawer has lots of Revlon and Nyx; Duri and Sinful Colors behind them; Milani in the front right; L.A. Girl, L'Oreal, and Kleancolor behind the Milani; two Cherimoya magnetic polishes behind those; and a few random polishes in the very center!

Ninth and final drawer:

The very bottom drawer is a continuation of the drugstore polishes, but this one just has Sally Hansen polishes! When I very first got into nail polish, the first brand I fell in love with was Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, and I still love them!

There are also Xtreme Wears, three Triple Shines, one Lustre Shine, and a Color Frenzy. You might notice the lack of Insta-Dris! The ones I had were completely dried up, and I've never had luck (like most people) for stamping with them, so I just tossed them. :/ Maybe I'll try some of the new ones though?

Now, I'll show you my nail racks!

(you can middle click for a larger image in a new tab)

I have four separate nail racks, but they are mounted right next to each other. You're supposed to use drywall anchors I think, but I did not. So far, so good! (Eek?) They seem really sturdy, but my geographical area doesn't normally experience earthquakes, so there's that.

Three of these racks are from Transdesign/ Nailsupplies.us, and one is from Amazon. The one from Amazon is the third, and you can see it is, annoyingly, not the same exact dimensions as the others! The quality of the acrylic also does not seem as nice, and it doesn't have four pre-drilled mounting holes like the others- just two at the top. I think I saved 5 or 10 dollars getting it from Amazon, but I wouldn't recommend it! 

On the wall racks, I keep brands that I have a ton of or that have a high percentage of untried polishes. Just being able to see them helps motivate me to use them! I've previously had this rack in rainbow, color order, and it looked really cool that way, but I've decided it's more manageable for me to store them by brand.

Right now, I've got Misa, LVX, Picture Polish, Formula X for Sephora, Illamasqua, SUPER BLACK Lacquers, and Zoya living in the racks! Zoya is the brand that I have the most of in my entire collection, and it is rapidly usurping the space in the racks!

Starting from the left:

I've tried to arrange them in some semblance of color order, but it's definitely more of a puzzle when constrained by the brands!

Now onto some fun stuff! I told you I'd give you a peek inside the Melmer drawers too, but most important is probably this drawer:

This is a desk drawer where my editing computer lives. It's also where I do my nails, so it only makes sense that I have my most used supplies here! From the left I have various cuticle removers (tried a few before settling on the blue Sally Hansen!), cotton rounds, polish thinners, acetone, and drying drops. The flip-top container is not the Zoya Remove + one (that one actually doesn't fit standing up when the drawer closes), but a generic from Amazon, and I love it!

I have two giant bottles of INM- Out the Door going at the same time for some reason. I really need to combine them. The next row has current basecoats. I've got the mini OPI- Lay Down That Base, Orly- Tough Cookie for peel-base purposes, and Duri- Rejuvacote which I'm currently trying out.

The final row has other top coats: American Classics- Gelous for glitters, OPI- Top Coat for non-quick dry purposes, NYC- In a New York Color Minute, Poshe (which is super old, and I'm just using it to remove polish at this point), Essie- Matte About You, and Butter London- Matte Finish.

I also have tape in here because I use it a lot to clean up around the cuticles, to mask off parts of the nail (or cuticle skin when sponging), and also to clean my stamper. The nail scissors are actually just for removing tape from my fingers after I've masked them off, but they are also handy for cutting water decals, ect. I also have my cleanup brush, nail brush, a corrector pen, buffer, and some miscellaneous extras in the back!

Onto the the Melmers! This is the top drawer:

This holds basically all of my nail art supplies other than the Scotch tape! Stamping stuff and plates live in here, as well as nail studs & stones, loose glitter, nail foils, water decals, striping tape, nail stickers, feathers- you name it. I only have two nail art brushes, because I haven't really gotten into hand painting yet, but there are also dotting tools, makeup sponges (more in the back), nail wraps, ect.

Oh yes, and I believe the white containers are from Wal-Mart or Target, but any big box store should have something like that.

Second drawer:

Mostly this is for unscented baby wipes which I use when I'm doing makeup things! The Melmers live on the left side of my makeup table, so this is really convenient. I also have back-up sugar scrubs, extra bolts for swatches, nail wheels, and used-up nail wheels which I probably need to throw out.

Usually extra swatch sticks live in here, but I'm all out! D'oh! I have some more on the way, but...China.

Third drawer:

Non-nail-related: this is just Ipsy bags! I have no idea what to do with them, so I just throw them in this drawer!

The next two drawers are empty, but here is the very bottom drawer:

It's kind of a sad drawer, really! This is my de-stash drawer, and is basically all the polish I am saving to trade/ blog sale/ giveaway/ ect. at some point. I really need to de-stash some more, actually, so I expect this drawer to fill up a little bit.

That's it! Thank you so much for letting me take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of my nail world!

I'd love to know how you guys store your own polish! 
Do you have a cataloging system of some kind?
Do you prefer to sort by color or by brand?