Inverted Seasons

Picture Polish Autumn

Hi! Long time no see, uh? I’ve been very busy at work and I just couldn’t find the time for blogging: adulting sucks! But let’s get back to polish before I start whining and feeling sorry for my precious self.

So, I am definitely not a seasonal nail polish wearer. Behind my colour choices there can be many reasons, but I especially pick one shade over another based on my mood. Sometimes I just open a drawer and grab a bottle, so to speak, blindfolded.

Even I, though, was a bit hesitant to paint my nails with a varnish called Autumn now that Spring has sprung and flowers are blooming, birdies are chirping, bugs are buzzing, sweet winds are blowing, pollen is pollinating… Ok, I guess you got the idea. But my concern only lasted three seconds and I quickly went back to my fashion inappropriateness.

The polish we’re talking about, on the other hand, is so stunning and so special that I couldn’t wait to try it on. Moreover, it’s Autumn in its native land, so it’s not out of place after all: yay for inverted seasons!

The main reason why this polish is so special to me is that I won it in a giveaway: the closest thing to a miracle that I’ve ever experienced, lol! Me winning anything is, to put it down in Brandon Boyd’s word, “a feat as common as a cold day in L.A.”!

But Jules and the girls at Picture Polish were so sweet and generous to “grant my wish list” (that was the name of the giveaway) and send me all the way from Australia a bottle of Autumn and one of Gothic (swatches of which will eventually be up on the blog as well, at some point between now and… Well, at some point.).

Pelliccia was totally excited to have an Australian box to rest his chin in (that was all he could fit into it).

Picture Polish was one of my most coveted brands when I started collecting. I distinctly remember how I spent a whole afternoon staring at my nails painted in Cosmos (when I was supposed to pay the utmost attention to a guy raving about education guidance), and the excitement of having been able to get my hands on a super duper Limited Edition shade, Aurora. Time has passed since those days, and the PP family living in my house has grown to be of a respectable size.

Five years worth of collecting, searching, saving, hunting, exchanging, receiving, loving.

Autumn is not what I would define as my go-to colour: I’m all about dark, mysterious shades (I wear black on the outside ’cause black is how I feel on the inside… Ah, The Smiths!), but this happy orange was a pleasant surprise. It was love at first stroke!

Autumn has an excellent, opaque formula. This is how the first coat looks, with bad lighting, crusty cuticles, aging skin and all that jazz:

The second coat went on flawlessy, and by then my infatuation had become true love: the sparkle was just delicious!

Two coats of Autumn, no top coat.
As you can see, this varnish was created in collaboration with The Polishing Life.
Ignore the mummy-like skin and focus on the sssspaaaarrrrkleeeee!
The holo particles in Autumn are very bright and prominent, just the way I like them!

That’s it, fellow polish lovers: here’s my new babe. Picture Polish and The Polishing Life got the best out of their collaboration: this little guy is a must have. I want to thank Jules again for giving me the opportunity to try it: I’m not 100% sure I would have on my own – and I would have missed out! Lesson learned, then: be more daring with my colour picks!

Time to say bye-bye: I’ll be back soon(ish)!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: I received Autumn as a gift from Picture Polish (https://picturepolish.com.au/). All the photos are my own. All the mistakes are also my own – not a native speaker, sorry!!

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Apawca-pills: nail art recap

I did a lot of stamping recently. As I’ve mentioned before, this is my favourite kind of nail art, because it’s quick, easy and, when you get the hang of it, foolproof.

I’ll be honest: there’s more. Promise you won’t laugh (or judge…): I have a thing for the stamper itself! I know: it’s silly. But the stamper is smooth, squishy, just a little bit sticky. I find it pleasant to the touch, like a marshmallow that you carefully heat up in the microwave for just a couple of seconds. Both are delicate and to be handled with care, but can give you instants of satisfaction. Ok, I’m going a bit too far here, but stampers and marshmallows are cool stuff! 

Anyway, I thought I’d do a quick recap of everything I’ve come up with recently. Shall we start with my favourite and second favourite stamping nail arts of the last couple of months?

This mani was conceived as an entry for a competition hosted by Hypnotic Polish: the theme was “Inspired by a movie”. One of the films I love the most is “Mediterraneo” by Gabriele Salvatores: I’ve watched it dozens of times, but it never tires me. Actually, I dream of moving to Kastelorizo, the little Greek island where the story takes place, when I’m old(er) and retired. I will lie under a fig tree, with a book and a cat, and I will reach out and pluck a juicy fruit here and there. No, better: I will wait until a very ripe fig falls from the branch directly into my mouth. These were my thoughts as I was shoveling a cr** ton of snow in the front yard. When I got back inside, after an hour and a fair amount of cursing, I started painting.
I used H&M Sky High as a base, a blue and a silver by Essence and a white by Hit The Bottle as stamping polishes. I also used plate Nature 011 by Kads (which I loved!) and a matte top coat by Kiko. I really liked the end result and even if I didn’t win the competition, I consider this manicure a personal success: layering plates, you don’t scare me any more!

First of all, it’s not pink. It’s a cool-toned, very bright lilac-y purple-y shade that in some (biased) lighting might resemble pink. Are you convinced? No? OK, it’s pink, but it was for a good cause. This design, which by the way was inspired by Appy Nail on Instagram, was meant to be in support of breast cancer awareness and Catherine “Mrs Cronall” (she’s on Instagram and YouTube), who is fighting the hardest and most important battle of her life.
I used Opi Purple Palazzo Pants (lighter) and One Heckla of a Color (darker), a black stamping polish from Moyra and Pet’la Plate’s “Feathers”. After sealing everything up with regular top coat, I applied a matte topper from Kiko.

Wow, I’ve already written a lot! I don’t want to bore you to death, so I think I’ll go with a gallery of images for the remaining stamped manicures. I’ll add basic info below in case you’re interested in knowing what I used.

Img. 1: Kiko #244 stamped with Kads Fashion 014 and Essence City Girls Rule.
Img. 2: Deborah Milano Sense Tech 100% #11 stamped with MoYou London Mother Nature #6 and Yves Rocher Or Scintillant.
Img. 3: Pupa Milano Antarctic stamped with Überchic 4-03, Hit The Bottle Snowed In and Essence Nail Art Painter in More Than Silver.
Img. 4: Essie Borrowed & Blue stamped with Born Pretty BP-X51 and my usual black stamping polish from Moyra; accent nail: Essence Glitter On Glitter Off 05 Starlight Express.
Img. 5: Paws by Eddie Nucking Futs Nix stamped with MoYou London Sailor 04 and NYC Jupiter Princess.
Img. 6: Opi Pineapples Have Peelings Too stamped with Essence Instant Match and a plastic plate I got in a Chinese shop.

Well, well, it seems that we have another gigantic pill here: luckily it only needs to be read, and not swallowed! Time to say ba-bye now: see you next time!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: all the photos are my own, all the products were purchased with my own money or gifted by friends.

How I paint my nails

or The Lazy Way

Before reading this, please keep in mind that I am a collector, not a swatcher and/or a nail artist. I don’t really know what I’m doing most of the time!! This post is not in any way a tutorial: I just thought it would be fun to share what I do when I feel like painting my nails, that’s it!

First of all, I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t know what skin and nail care is. I don’t wear gloves while doing chores and I wash dishes wild and free (of protection). There are at least ten bottles of lotion scattered all around my house, none of which I remember to use on a daily basis.
I clip my nails (yes, for real!) and use a cardboard nail file (abomination!) to shape them – if we can talk about shaping when it comes to my nubs. In fact, I really don’t like filing my nails: it makes me cringe.
But, and I hope to gain your respect back with this, I don’t cut my cuticles, unless it’s an emergency kind of situation, and I’ve never been a nail biter.

Given those preconditions, and taken into account that I handle chalks every day for work, here’s how my hands look during the winter season:

Now you know why nail polish bottles are horrified when I grab them! XD

So, what do I do when I decide to paint my nails?
I start by washing my hands thoroughly. I generally use a foaming soap from Bath & Body Works, with a sense of guilt I must say, because I try to only use products that are certified cruelty free and vegan and B&BW isn’t, as far as I know. But I like their soaps so much… sigh!

Then I apply whatever lotion I have on hand. I got the one in the photo below in Greece and it works very well for me, because it’s not greasy at all. When I’m really, really lazy, I skip this step, with the result that I get back to the situation portraied in photo #1.

When I do NOT skip the lotion, my “swatch” hand looks more or less like this, in all its 40-something glory. You’re never going to see Cindy The Right Hand, though.

I always apply a base coat, but I can’t say I have a favourite one: it’s often something from either Essence or Kiko, as they’re readily available and decent for the price.

Now I’m ready to paint: I prefer to work in thin layers, which are easier to control. At this stage, I’m not concerned about patchiness or uneven glitter/flakie/shimmer/holo distribution: I just need a base down to build the polish upon. The fewer strokes the better: overworking a polish is never a good idea, at least for me!
I try to get as close to the skin as I can without flooding it: I’m not good enough to get Russian-manicure close, but I don’t want a miniature English Channel on my nails either!! I also look for a clean, nicely curved cuticle line, so that I will only need to touch it up a bit later.

Here’s one coat of Cadillacquer Odin: a little clean-up is required for my pinkie, but overall the first layer went on smoothly – the perfect formula of Odin helped a lot!

With the second coat I tend to be more generous, but not too much: I wipe one side of the brush against the bottle neck and that leaves me with the right amount of polish. Three strokes and a little touch up, if needed, and I’m done.

Time for a careful clean-up now! An angled brush and plain nail polish remover are my choice. Sometimes I use a toothpick for greater precision and a correcting pen for the surrounding skin, especially when I stamp.

My favourite nail polish remover is by Cien (available at Lidl): everything else dries my skin like crazy and it has the same effect as sandpaper on my nails! Brutal.

Another confession here: I often skip top coat, because I want to show the polish in its real… aaah, forget that. It’s because I’m effin lazy. I only use it if the polish dries dull or slightly uneven. I always hydrate my cuticles, though: I bring my trusty cuticle pen with me everywhere I go!

Well, I suppose we’re ready for photos now, right? WRONG! We want to photograph fingernails, not fry them: we will sit and wait patiently until the oil has completely soaked in. After that, a quick photo session in a light box, some basic editing and voilà, mission accomplished!

Cadillacquer Odin

That’s pretty much it, guys. Nothing fancy or super elaborated, but I’m fine with that, it serves its purpose. If you have any advice or suggestions, please leave them in the comments! See you soon(ish)!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: All products were purchased with my own money.
All photos are my own, except for the mummy (https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3711/9035967561_9ffeac9864_b.jpg).
All errors, mistakes and typos are also my own: I apologize! Feel free to point them out to me: I’d appreciate your help!

Oh, shift!

Nothing beats a multichrome. Ok, maybe a great holo or an ultracontrasting (a word I’ve just made up) contrasting shimmer can compare, but multichromes are really, really cool.

They are extremely entertaining: a nail polish addict could spend hours watching them, rotating fingers so that the polish can be hit by the right lighting, dipping hands in cold water to emphasize the colour shift, taking gazillions of photos to record each and every step of the transitioning process.

Spotted a woman in a parking lot, alone, doing nothing except staring with intensity at some unidentified object? NPA drooling over her multichrome, pretty sure. The car in front of you doesn’t move even if it has the green light? Another NPA.

Yes, because for some very precise scientific reasons that I totally ignore, the car is where the magic seems to multiply: no light is so perfect as the one coming in through the windshield. If you have ever worn a colour-shifting polish, I know you can relate.

Recently I tried on my nails a creation of the Queen of Shift, Miss Tonic Polish. In the photos below you can see how three coats of Dorothy look without top coat: amazing, uh?

Dear Lindsey, if you’re reading (insert laughter here), if only I could, I’d buy everything you come up with, EVERYTHING. With enormous relief for my bank account, I can’t – but I try my best anyway… Lol!

What about a couple of pics of multichromes from my collection? First up is a purple-to-gold duochrome by H&M, which is pretty decent for the price.

Then a super ultra mega fabulous purple-to-green-to-everything multichrome by Bow Polish, appropriately named Good God. So gorgeous. The photos are a couple of years old, sorry for that.

A classic now: ILNP Cygnus Loop, one of the first polishes of this kind in my stash to be opaque on its own (back in the days colour-shifting varnishes were often sheer and required a black base to fully express their potential). Again I apologize for the old, really atrocious photos. I am deeply ashamed, but I just don’t have time to swatch all these polishes again (adulting sucks).

So, what do you think? Do you like multichromes? Let me know in the comments!

See you soon!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: all photos are my own, all polishes were purchased with my own money.

Apawca-pills #3: A (Mrs De) Winter Love Story

Hi, guys! Probably for the first and last time in history, this post of mine is going to be actually short and quick: a pile of classwork is waiting to be assessed – I swear it’s staring at me with creepy, evil eyes – and I need to get back to it (with a broken heart).

Yesterday I tried a shade from the most recent A England’s collection, “Return to Manderley” and my jaw dropped to the floor – I’m pretty sure it’s still there.

I chose Mrs De Winter based merely on the name: I wanted something winter-related for a challenge I’m doing all through 2019. Little did I know that I would fall head over heels in love with this lady.

Enough chatting: let’s take a look at the polish.

As expected from A England, the formula in this polish is perfect: the first coat goes on a bit sheer and streaky, but the second makes it completely opaque and smooth. The base colour is hard to see in my photos, because the holo is so deliciously strong: it’s described as a “soft muted grey taupe”, but to my eyes there’s a hint of a purple hue too.

The best part is obviously the holographic effect, which is strong even in dim lighting and is absolutely gorgeous: it’s linear but somehow a little bit scattered too. It’s like crushed rainbow diamonds on the nails!

Gotta go back to work now! See you soon!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: I purchased Mrs De Winter with my own money. All the photos are my own.

Apawca-pill #2: Muffa


“It is good to have a lot of cats around. If you feel bad, you look at the cats and you feel better, because they know that things are as they are.”

Charles Bukowski

I am, was and always will be a cat lover.

What is it that is so fascinating in cats?
They are effortlessly elegant and gorgeous, and the faaa.. I mean fluffier, the better. They are dignified but can be goofy too; they are not ashamed of unleashing the kitten that’s hidden within them when they see a toy; they are firmly convinced that everything they want it’s their right to have (and quickly, please and thank you). They can relax as deeply as no other creature can, without a hint of guilt. They judge you and make it very clear that the human race isn’t but a messy, clumsy, slow bunch of furless bipeds. What’s not to love?!

I currently have I’m currently owned by two kitties, the elder of which has been my life companion for more than twelve years now. His name is Muffa (“Mold” in Italian… it’s a long story) and he is my lord and master . At least that’s what he thinks, and he behaves accordingly.
He doesn’t ask: he demands.
He doesn’t sleep in my bed: I sleep in his – and he hogs the blanket.
He wants his food warm, his litter box clean, his kibble crunchy.
He definitely does not like it when I sing (nobody does, to be honest).
He is self-confident in a way I will never be.

Muffa, judging me since 2006.

When a couple of years ago Nicole from Lilypad Lacquer offered her fans the opportunity to have a nail polish created specifically for their pets (the “Pet Favourites” collection), I instantly submitted a photo of Muffa.
I can’t believe the gigantic amount of work she did to make us all happy, I can’t thank her enough.

Now to the polish!
Nicole did, as usual, an incredible job and captured the silverness? silveritude? silverism? of my tiny prince perfectly! I might be A BIT biased, but I think that, if Muffa the cat is undoubtedly the most beautiful thing ever, Muffa the polish comes a close second! It’s a silver holographic base with silver/purple reflective micro flakes running through it. The formula is nice and covers in three coats.

Lilypad Lacquer Muffa
Lilypad Lacquer Muffa

As soon as the polish was ready, I bought a bottle of “Muffa” for me and one for my bestie and fellow cat servant Daniela. The package came all the way from Australia and the Muffas finally met. In case you’re dying to see how the epic meeting went, click on the following link:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BV7ASzNFnmQ/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=ja2bzmngq452

Muffa the cat is astonished.

I couldn’t resist: I had to at least try and stamp a cat design over “Muffa”!
I used MoYou London Crazy Cat Lady #3 and a black stamping polish from Moyra.

Lilypad Lacquer Muffa; MoYou London Crazy Cat Lady #3; black stamping polish from Moyra

That’s all, folks. See you soon!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: all photos (and embarrassing drawings) are my own, except for the cat silhouette: https://pixabay.com/en/cat-halloween-silhouette-mieze-1775543/.
The polish was purchased by me with my own money.
Please excuse any errors you may find in my post!

Apawca-pill #1: Untrieds

(or polishes that used to be untried but are no longer untried because they’ve been tried)

That time of the year has come, when I have so much to do that I can hardly find the time to shower, let alone do nail art or write a detailed blog post. However, I thought I could at least occasionally put together a quick thing to keep myself, and hopefully you, entertained.

That’s what Apawca-pills aim to be: short and sweet posts about this and that. The “short and sweet” part is pretty ambitious for me, because I have a SLIGHT tendency to digress and talk too much…

Without further ado, let’s get this Apawca-pills thingy started! I’m going to show you a couple of untrieds that have finally found their way out of the Swedish Purgatory: the Helmer units.

Colors by Llarowe Berries In The Snow
(Winter 2015 collection)

Colors by Llarowe Berries In The Snow, described as a “blackened berry wine intense linear holo”, has a fantastic formula and a strong rainbow flame. It is gorgeous, but honestly it didn’t steal my heart – just personal preference, there’s nothing wrong with it!

Glam Polish B*tch Please!
(July 2016 Mysteries )

Glam Polish B*tch Please! is a purple base with blueish flakies, holo and, according to my eyes, a golden shimmer. It made me drool like my parents’ dog when he sees cheese, which is a lot, like in “I need a life vest” lot.

Scofflaw Subterranean Homesick Alien
(Spring 2015)
Scofflaw Subterranean Homesick Alien
(Spring 2015)

As I’ve already mentioned in previous occasions, Scofflaw is one of my favourite indie brands. I love their inspiration, I appreciate their unusual combos, but above all I adore their names! I only wish their shades were easier for me to get hold of – I’d buy them in bulks.
This time around, I picked a vivid blue lacquer to wear, because I was craving Smurfs… Kidding! I was just feeling like blue polish. XD
Subterranean Homesick Alien has a very nice formula, I used three coats because I prefer to work in thinner layers (and you would too, if you were as clumsy as I am!), but I think two would have been just as fine. The iridescent microflakes running through Alien are the cherry on top – so pretty!

Scofflaw Subterranean Homesick Alien stamped with Essence City Girls Rule!
and Lesly plate Winter Mood 1

Finally, I did a little stamping over Subterranean…
I used my go-to silver metallic polish from Essence and the beautiful “Winter Mood 1″ plate by Lesly.
I wasn’t sure about the result, as it was a bit… ahem… subtle? But then a friend on Instagram wrote me that it reminded her of hoarfrost and all of a sudden I felt very proud of my job and started telling everybody who was willing and unwilling to listen that it was totally intentional and carefully planned.

Voilà, I’m done. Short and sweet, right? Shorter than “War and Peace”, anyway. XD
See you next time!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: all photos are my own, all the polish was purchased by me with my own money. All the errors are mine too: don’t blame Google!! XD

Yello-ve

I’ve never been a yellow lover. I’m much more drawn to cold, dark colours, which are evocative of those wild, Northern landscapes than I like so much. Black, blue, gray, purple, even brown and oxblood: that’s my jam.
On the other hand, if your complexion is an ectoplasmic nuance of white with a few drops of slime green, and your skin tone places you somewhere between Data from Star Trek and Papa Emeritus of Ghost, bright yellows don’t really suit you, euphemistically speaking.

Last but not the least, yellow polishes are infamous for their awful formula: they’re streaky, patchy, sheer… To summarize, they do nothing to make you love them!
So, for a long time, I only used my most despised shade (after Barbie pink) in nail art. I owned a couple of cheap yellow polishes and I had no desire to add any other to my growing collection.

…Till we found a sea of green / And we lived beneath the waves / In our yellow submarine (*)

But then something happened and I started looking at yellow nails with a different eye. Because of the hype (and because it was reduced to one third of its original price) I decided to buy Opi I Just can’t cope-acabana. I can’t say it was love at first try. Its allegedly good, two-coat application didn’t happen for me: I had pooling and streaking (the polish) and cursing and whining (me). Despite that, a door had been opened… and a stream of polish had begun to flow in through it.
Shall we take a look at some pretties, then?

Essence #118 Little Miss Sunrise, from the old Colour & Go line, is streaky at first, but becomes opaque in three coats. Not groundbreaking, but nice.
Kiko #279 tries its best to look bright and pretty, so that you are inclined to forgive its less than pleasant formulation.
I bought NCLA 2″ Above The Knee because it was highly discounted and I liked the name, plus I had nothing just as bright in my collection. The polish is thick but manageable and it covers in three coats.

Essence #118 Little Miss Sunrise, Kiko #279 Yellow and Ncla 2″ Above The Knee

…Follow the rainbow over the stream / Follow the fellow who follows a dream / Follow, follow, follow, follow / follow the yellow brick road (**)

As I said above, Opi I just can’t… was soon joined by other yellow lacquers in different hues. Its fellow Helmer dwellers ended up being mostly Opi’s, because Opi isn’t as hard to find in stores, here in Narnia, as other brands are (Narnians seem to only be aware of the existence of Pupa and L’Oreal: no Essie, no Zoya, no Orly, no nothing… life sucks! XD )

The selection of polishes available here in Narnia…

For the purpose of this post, I swatched three shades side by side: Opi I just can’t Cope-acabana, Never a Dulles moment and Sun, sea and sand in my pants. All of them cover in three coats, even if, in some lightings, a slight patchiness can be spotted both in photos and in real life.
I just can’t Cope-acabana is the brightest, whereas Never a Dulles moment is dustier and leans more mustard.
My favorite of the bunch, though, is Sun, sea and sand in my pants: that egg-yolk yellow is festive and makes me hungry. But what doesn’t? XD

OPI I just can’t Cope-acabana, Never a Dulles moment, Sun, sea and sand in my pants

…Here far away / One could feel the earth vibrate / Moon changing shape and shade / As we all do under its gaze / Yellow moon on the rise (***)

But as you can probably foresee, now that you know me better, my life wasn’t complete without a sprinkle of sparkle (and a pun): I needed holo, I needed flakes, I needed glow!
That’s when Picture Polish appeared on the scene.
They had the most appealing and mouthwatering shade of yellow in their line, with added holo! Sunflower was a must-have! But I jumped on the bandwagon a bit too late and when I started looking for it, it was out of stock everywhere. I seached for it high and low and eventually I succeded.
In the meantime, other two polishes had been created in the land down under, and they were calling my name like enchanting and dangerous sirens: Cozy (ah, charteuse!) and Pooh. Pooh! Come on, POOH!!
So this happened:

I must say, I love all of them: each has its own peculiar charm!
Sunflower is such a happy shade (and even if I am Wednesday Addams, I still appreciate that!), it’s bright and bold with its beautiful golden shimmer. On my short nails, it reached opacity in three coats.
Pooh is sheer, but the holo particles are so dense and sparkly that make up for that. I’m wearing four coats in the photo below, but I didn’t find the forth really necessary: I just had to fix some application mistakes (like painting 4 km far from the cuticle line, for unknown reasons)
Cozy is cooler toned and unique. For me, it was the most opaque of the three: with a careful job, two coats are enough.

…Blue you sit so pretty / West of the one / Sparkles light with yellow icing / Just a mirror for the sun (****)

Is my thirst for yellow quenched, now? Partially. It would have been, if some creative minds hadn’t come out with polishes in this shade, but with a contrasting shimmer, something in front of which I’m defenseless like Winnie The Pooh in front of honey.

In the photos below, Tonic Polish Lemons & Cream and Vapid Lacquer Pappy Pony Picked a Pluck of Prickly Fluffnuggets.

But that’s another story! Time to go, now: errands need to be run, work needs to be done. See you soon!

Ilaria

(*) lyrics from “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles (Paul McCartney, John Lennon)
(**) lyrics from “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, composed by Harold Arlen and performed by Judy Garland
(***) lyrics from “Yellow Moon” by Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament)
(****) lyrics from “Road Trippin” by Red Hot Chili Peppers (John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, Flea)

DISCLAIMER:
English is my second language: I apologize for my mistakes!
I purchased all the polishes shown in this post with my own money.
All the photos are my own, except for the ones featuring Data (I cropped the original image by Smallbrainfield), Papa Emeritus of Ghost (I cropped the original image by Scott Penner) and the empty shelves: for all of them links to the original posts are provided below.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/smallbrainfield/38173120
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Papa_Emeritus_II_-Coachella_2013%282%29.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Escasez_en_Venezuela,_Central_Madeirense_8.JPG

Best 18 (which are actually, like, 25) of 2018

The polyamorist of polish

I’ve never done a “best of” before. Why? Easy: because I can’t choose. I wouldn’t have a collection as large as I do if I could!

The fact is, I love aaaallll my babies: the good boys and the bad boys, the new and the old, mainstream and indie, cheap and high end. I’d say that they’re like children to a mother, but I don’t want to be blasphemous. May I define myself as the polyamorist of polish, then?

This year, though, I decided to try and pick a bunch of favourites: hopefully ten, more realistically eighteen… eventually twenty five. But I’m going to cheat and pass seven of them as “honorable mentions”. You’re warned! Shall we start?

The Fabulous Eighteen

Chapter 1: the surprise favourites

Does it ever happen to you that you look at the bottle of polish you’re holding and you wonder what the heck you were thinking when you purchased it? It’s not the color you like, the finish you enjoy…
But then you put it on your nails and boom! you’re in love!
That’s exactly what happend to me with the shades I’m going to show you below.

1) Enchanted Polish Entwined: even though it might seem pink at some angles, it’s much more than that: it’s dark, vampy, mysterious, it shifts and changes and glows. I love it so much that I’m going to wear it when I finally marry Keanu Reeves.
2) A England Katherine of Aragon: those flakies!
3) Masura The pyramid of Cheops: I got it for the name, but I ended up being mesmerized.
4) Femme Fatale Jareth: pink glitter in a bronzy-orangey base? Me? I like orange, but it’s an unrequited love: it looks awful on me! But I fell hard for Jareth anyway.
5) F.U.N Lacquer Chandelier: the epitome of polishes that look like baby poop in the bottle, but are incredibly beautiful on the nails.
6) Emily de Molly Over Drive: is it red? is it orange? don’t tell me it’s pink! It doesn’t matter: it’s spectacular.

Chapter 2: I’m so predictable

Blue and purple are my go-to colours to paint my nails with – and the darker the better! Here are some of the most delightful blues and purples I wore this year:

7) Essie Aruba Blue: photos can’t really show the real texture of this polish: it’s like silk velvet. If you don’t own it, run out and grab it: I’ll wait here, sipping a coffee. With some pastry, of course.
8) Cadillacquer Scintilla: I’m usually more into cool-toned purples, but this one stole my heart. I find it classy but with fire inside!
9) Polish Alcoholic Tempest Shadow: the colour, the flakies, the holo sparkle… gorgeousness.
10) Tonic Polish Angelfish: the most amazing fish you’ll ever sea! Ehehehe…
11) Cirque Tibetan Nights: an oldie but a goodie! And when I say good, I mean good to the point that it almost makes me appreciate bar glitter – ALMOST.

Chapter 3: greedy for green

I’m not the biggest fan of yellow-based green shades (unless it’s chartreuse or olive/camo green), but blue-based, teal-leaning hues are right up my alley: the following are good examples, and they all have a twist!

12) Pretty Serious Khepri’s Amulet: of the few PS polishes I own, this is my second favourite (my number one being Gruesome Groom) and for good reasons, as I hope you can see from the picture!
13) Colors by Llarowe Emeral Illusion: this polish! I still drool over the memory of it in my mind (very poetic image, I know… XD). In the picture you’ll see it layered over my (failed) attempt at almond-ish nails. Filled with horror, I went back to my usual shape shortly after.
14) Anna Gorelova by Dance Legend 14 – Silvan (Wood Goblin): a perfect, velvety matte finish and a purple to green duochrome. Stunning.
15) Different Dimension Helix Nebula: celestial, quite literally!

Chapter 4: holo-la-la!

There was a time when I used to think that holographic varnishes weren’t my cup of tea. How could I be so wrong, as the Backyard Babies sing?
I turned that abomination into dedication.

16) Essence Hello Holo from the Holo Rainbow line: sometimes drugstore polishes can be surprisingly good, and this is definitely the case – the holo is glorious!
17) Foxy Paws Is Your House On Fire?: my phone doesn’t like darker reds and tries to turn them into cherry tomatoes every time (and I’m obviously clueless when it comes to correct the colour with an editing app). Therefore what you see in my photo is NOT what the polish looks like in real life: it’s darker, richer and much more shiny. A real beauty that you need to see with your own eyes.

Honorable mentions

a) Scofflaw Varnish Dingoes Ate My Baby: which is the name of Oz’s band in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. Scofflaw is one of my favourite indie brands ever and Buffy TVS is one of my favourite shows of all time (because of Spike, the Perfect Vampire): need I say more? And the polish is stunning!
b) Foxy Paws Accidental Boob Graze: which is something Jack Black says to Kate Winslet in “The Holiday”. Holo+teal+Foxy Paws+Jack Black? Yes, please.
c) Zoya Storm: a classic. I loved it more than I thought I would: it’s really, really pretty.
d) Femme Fatale An Abandoned World: look at that flash!!
e) Enchanted Polish Instant Galaxy: yes, it’s a topper, but looks like the stars in the sky (with diamonds). In the pics it’s layered over Zoya Ryan and Opi I Brake For Manicures.
f) Kiko #497 Pearly Indian Violet: what Kiko really means by “pearly” is one of the best kept mysteries in the history of the world, but despite that, #497 is perfection.
g) Renaissance Cosmetics Enamoured: a purple polish that glows. Too gorgeous for words. I’m so sad that Renaissance Cosmetics is no longer on the market! Meghan had such a personal style.

Devotion

I saved the most special polish for last. It’s my “collaboration” shade with Cadillacquer. It’s called Devotion and it’s part of the Fan Collection 2018.
At the end of 2017 Madeleine, the owner and creator of Cadillacquer polish, asked her fans to send her some colour suggestions as well as the inspiration behind them. She eventually picked eight winners and, to my surprise and delight, I was among them! In 2018 my idea came to life thanks to Madeleine. I can’t express how blessed I felt!
My shade is based on the lyrics of “Bittersweet”, a song by one of my most loved bands ever, Apocalyptica. It’s a cool toned purple polish with magenta shimmer and gold holographic glitter. Not crazy unique, I know, but I like it so much!
Once again, I wish I was a better swatcher and a better photographer with better equipment just to be able to show you the real beauty of this varnish!


So these are, in a few words (hahahahah!), my favoutite polishes of 2018.
If you want, I’d be very happy to hear about yours: leave me a comment!
See you next year for more prettiness (the polish) and silliness (me). Happy 2019!

Ilaria

DISCLAIMER: all the photos are my own; all the polishes were purchased by me with my own money except for Devotion, which I received from the maker as a gift.

Big Bang Chit Chat

I wrote before that my stamping plates collection is not extensive, but I still own a few.
A decent (and growing) amount of them come from Beauty BigBang.

BeautyBigBang.com is – in their own words – “a global online retailer for all things beauty, including cosmetics, nails, hair, health care and so on“. Their stamping plates are cute, affordable, user-friendly and therefore very convenient for a beginner (like I consider myself to be).
They offer free worldwide shipping, but the fact that they ship from overseas must be taken into account: your package will definitely need a bit longer than usual to get to you.

Please note: some of my BBB plates were purchased with my own money, but the ones that are featured in this post were sent to me for review by the company. It wasn’t planned – it just happened!
Anyway, here’s a bunch of manicures I created using BBB plates.

Muffa (kind of) approves

Muffa is my cat. He is dignified and judgy and I suspect he doesn’t have a great opinion of me. When I showed him the mani below he didn’t say anything, but the way he was staring at me was clear enough: “Although the juxtaposition of cats and fishbones isn’t but a mere stereotype – which was to be expected, coming from YOU – the outcome of your effort is not to be completely despised. But I’m much prettier and nobler than those guys. Now feed me. No, I’ve changed my mind: I want out. No, feed me. No, out. No, feed me. No, wait. Out. NOW!”.

By the way, my other cat Pelliccia firmly believes that if the sun rises, it’s because of me. As a consequence, he also thinks that when it rains or snows I am the one to blame. He voices out his disapproval with whining meows. Then he wants out. And in. And out. And in. And out.

I used Masura Breathe as my base, Moyra black stamping polish and Beauty BigBang plate BBBXL-008.

Stay pawsitive, my_apawcalypse?

I love this mani! For once, I’m happy with what I did. There’s still hope for me, then?
I used Essie Cocktail Bling as my base, Moyra black stamping polish and Beauty BigBang plate BBBXL-008.

Les petits chiens

I don’t have a dog of my own, but, if I could, I’d adopt a French bulldog.
Or a corgi, maybe. Or a jack russell. Or a really hairy, huge one, like a Newfoundland dog or a Bernese Mountain dog. But I am digressing – more than usual, I mean.
Given my love for frenchies, it’s no surprise that I eventually came up with a Frenchie-themed manicure. I even got a polish specifically for this purpose (like I needed an excuse for buying polish… ). Here’s the result.

I used Opi Frenchie likes to kiss? as my base, Moyra black stamping polish and Beauty BigBang plate BBBXL-008.

Flower power

Despite me being a tomboy, I enjoy flowery patterns on my nails. Mostly because they are very forgiving and nobody (especially me) notices if they are a bit crooked. But they are also pretty!

Photo 1: BBB-10 over a mystery shade by Pahlish; photo 2: BBBXL-038 over Rainbow Honey Ultimate Weapon; photo 3: BBBXL-022 over Maybelline Forever Strong 825; photo 4: BBB-10 over Kiko Denim Nail Lacquer 466.

Of pandas and other creatures

I stamped pandas too! Can you believe it? The plate I used, BBBXL-014, was sent to me by mistake, but I’m not complaining! Even if it’s not exactly my style, I think it’s lovely! If anything, the designs are slightly too big for my short, tiny nails, but that’s nobody’s fault.
Below you will find a unicorn mani as well. I’ve never been a unicorn lover, but they’ve grown on me, those rainbow-farting, multichrome-peeing blokes!

Photo 1: BBBXL-014 over Kiko 321.
Photo 2: BBBXL-007 over Sayuri Mei Long.

The grand finale. Too much? Let’s say the average finale?

Just a couple (ok, three) more photos and I’m done, promise!
I saved the most unusual patterns for last: the first two come from plate BBBXL-039, which is hands down one of my favourites; the third is on BBBXL-038.

Photo 1: BBBXL-039 over Foxy Paws It’s a bit nipply out; the stamping polish is a metallic rose gold from NYC.
Photo 2: BBBXL-039 over Femme Fatale Hook; the stamping polish is Instant Match by Essence.
Photo 3: BBBXL-038 over Masura Sputnik; the stamping polish is a metallic silver by Essence.

Overall…

… I really enjoy my Beauty BigBang stamping plates: they’re good quality for the price and easy to use; the patterns are varied and pretty. I will definitely buy more of them in the (close) future!

Ilaria

Useful links:    
Beauty BigBang site: https://www.beautybigbang.com/
If you want, you can use my discount code LLAE10 for 10% off your purchase!
Plate BBB-10: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/sun-floral-nail-stamping-plate-rose-flower-pattern-nail-accessory
Plate BBBXL-007: https://www.beautybigbang.com/collections/new-arrival/products/unicorn-rainbow-magic-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-for-manicure-xl-007
Plate BBBXL-008: https://www.beautybigbang.com/collections/new-arrival/products/dog-paws-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-cute-cat-theme-for-manicure-xl-008
Plate BBBXL-014: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/panda-pattern-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-animal-series-for-manicure-bbbxl-014
Plate BBBXL-022: https://www.beautybigbang.com/collections/new-arrival/products/butterfly-theme-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-sunflower-design-nail-art-tool-bbbxl-022
Plate BBBXL-38: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/leaves-flower-theme-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-peacock-tail-design-nail-art-tool-bbbxl-038
Plate BBBXL-039: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/whirlpool-flower-theme-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-rind-design-nail-art-tool-bbbxl-039
My Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/my_apawcalypse/

Disclaimer: all photos are my own. As stated, the products featured in this post were sent to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
English is my second language, so please excuse my mistakes and bear with me if I sound weird!