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

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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!