Monday, December 31, 2012

Cinnamon Kiss by Jessica Cosmetics

Its ME, Jessica!

I swear, I say this movie line all the time. Is it annoying? Who cares! lol It entertains me and Mr. OUaP every time. It never gets old, I promise.

Moving on! Waaaaay back in early November I won a giveaway held by the lovely Cynthia over at Of Life And Lacquer and it absolutely made my day. I was going through some stuff at that time that had left me mentally drained and emotional and I felt all around crummy, but Cynthia's email blew all of that out of the water. Seriously, who doesn't love winning something!? Well, somehow my package ended up in Arizona (Big C, am I remembering correctly here?) and I finally received it Christmas Eve - right around 6pm. Can you believe it! I got polish presents in the mail on Christmas Eve... I was bouncing off the walls like a kid I was so happy.

Since I didn't get a chance to do the stamping I wanted to do for my Christmas mani, I decided to use Jessica Cos. Cinnamon Kiss in a layering combo with some stamping so I could show my mom how well my XL stamper works. Be prepared, this post is pic heavy! But first, here's my finished mani:

Cinnamon Kiss:

Two coats, excellent formula. LOVE. It reminds me of Illamasqua Scarab so I might have to dig it out for a comparison.

Elle's Spell:

I don't often wear red polishes, not sure why really, but since Cinnamon Kiss is so lovely I thought it would be the perfect underwear for Barielle Elle's Spell - a gorgeous flakie in a red jelly base. Cynthia gave me the idea to pull this polish out since she wore it in a recent Christmas themed post. I added one coat of Elle's Spell over Cinnamon Kiss before adding a top coat.

The color shift to green can be a little hard to see in this polish since the flakies swim in a red jelly base, but when they show up they sure are pretty!

Penny Talk:

Penny Talk is the copper colored polish from Essie's fairly recent Mirrored Metallics Collection and its perfect for stamping. I used the Bundle Monster stamping plate BM-315 for the perfect paisley pattern and it stamped wonderfully. When I see paisley I think of bandanas, especially since I stamped over a red base. What do you guys think?

I tried to get some sunshine shots but the sun fades fast! Please pardon the dry hands and cuticles, I'm slathering on the cuticle creme and hand lotion as fast as possible but nonetheless battle a serious case of dry hands every winter.

So there you have it, an anti-climactic post-Christmas stamping mani done with my family to demonstrate my stamping skills! This is actually a full manicure for me, on both hands if you can believe it!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

OPI Ulta exclusive - Skip The Gift Wrap

Oh, the Christmas mani that never was...

Good morning everyone, long time no blog eh? I hope everyone's holiday celebrations were as spectacular as mine have been! This has been the best Christmas ever. I can't tell you how good it felt to have my family here for my graduation and to spend the holiday with. Everything just felt right, like they fit right in. I don't know how to explain it exactly, it felt like putting on your favorite sweater... perfectly cozy. They left yesterday afternoon and I cried and cried, I was surely a sad puppy for the rest of the evening. That is, until I cashed in one of my Christmas presents from my hunny bunny - a fancy date night! Man, I feel like there is just too much I want to share and so much I need to catch up on so instead of rambling on and on, I'll get to the polish and put together a wrap-up post so I can share with everyone just how happy I've been the last few weeks.

One of the things I planned to do with my mom and sisters, even before they got here, was to do their nails so we could have Christmas manis for our Christmas morning gift exchange. It turns out I have spawned some polish monsters since my visit home this past spring! lol Well, with all the excitement of graduation and sight seeing we didn't get around to doing manis until after Christmas, even though I'd had fancy-pants wrapping paper designs in mind for all of us. Oh, well. At least I get to share with you the polish I'd chosen for my non-existent Christmas manicure: OPI Skip The Gift Wrap. All I seemed to find time for was to lay down my base color. This seems to be a reoccurring theme for me, the failure to execute manis for special occasions!

OPI Skip The Gift Wrap is a metallic emerald shimmer with blue undertones. Its an Ulta Exclusive for this holiday season and I picked it up last week (its actually a trade of sorts... mom raided my blog sale box). I couldn't for the life of me get it to photograph true to color, even in the sun, it just wanted to lean teal for the camera.

I used three coats for good opacity, but two would have sufficed. The formula was decent, not too thin and definitely not thick. I've read mixed reviews about this polish but I like it and found application and removal easy as pie. Plus it isn't similar to any of the other numerous green metallics I have in my collection. I'd wanted to do gold stamping and some free-hand ribbons to mimic a patterned wrapping paper I saw while browsing my local Tar-jay recently, but time unfortunately ran out. Every day we had something going on and I just didn't get to it. I did eventually get to do everyone's manis though, and I'll share those in a separate post!

So tell me, did anyone out there grab any of the OPI Ulta Holiday exclusives this year? I wanted Gift Cards For Everyone! also but it was already sold out. How was your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Graduation Day mani with aEngland Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes)

Good evening everyone, I hope you're having an absolutely wonderful end of the world evening! I'm waiting for my sister to come over to spend some time together "in case" and since this is the first time I've had to sit down since Monday, I wanted to stop by and say hello to all of you lovelies! <3

As I'm sure you've heard me mention many times before, this past Tuesday was my graduation and for once I was able to prepare a manicure for a special occasion. I don't remember how or when I got the time... Oh yeah, it was Tuesday morning. :) I didn't get a spare moment to take pictures the day of so there is a little tipwear if you look closely, but who cares. They puppies are pretty!

aEngland - Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes)
Stamped with Konad Special Black and BM-314

For graduation I wore a burnished gold dress with black birds on it, belted at the waist with a cobalt blue patent leather belt, a cobalt scarf, black chevron tights, and black suede Calvin Klein pumps. Well, I wanted to wear the pumps but settled for a more sensible patent and suede wedge for practicality. It was a good decision considering there was roughly three hours of standing before being seated after the processional. My university college was the last into the venue so we stood waiting forever. Not to mention, we were the largest mid-term graduating class my uni has ever had. Oh, and Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives spoke at my ceremony after being conferred an honorary doctorate. Umm... I had no idea he went to UNLV. OH, and the best part?! The University President hi-fived me on our walk out of the venue. So cool.

Anyway, not to detract from the pattern my dress (that no one but my friends saw since it was covered by my red robes) I waited to stamp until Wednesday. I demonstrated my stamping technique to my mom and sister since they've had problems with their stamper back home. Here's Princess Sabra by herself, as I wore her to my ceremony. Isn't she purdy?

I hope you all have a blast celebrating our "last night on Earth," just be safe and remember that there might actually be a tomorrow! ;) I'm hoping to bring you all a few more Christmas manicures - one at least - before the big day, but if I don't get to before hand... Merry Christmas everyone! Or, Happy Holidays to you and yours if you celebrate differently than I!

xoxo J

Monday, December 17, 2012

Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Good morning my lovelies, today is an exciting day! Sometime today my family will be arriving for the holidays! Oh, and my graduation ceremony tomorrow. Can't forget that. My dad hasn't been back to Vegas since my surgery in 2008 and my step-mom hasn't been back since 1989! She's in for a bit of a shock, because this place has changed so much since then. I can't wait to see them, and my youngest little sister too! They'll be staying through the holidays so I'm not sure I'll be getting much manicuring done, or posting either, but its going to be a lovely holiday. <3

To put myself in more of a Christmas mood, since it feels more like October outside and we're unlikely to experience a white Christmas unless we venture up the mountains, I gave myself a holiday themed manicure (In addition to watching the Christmas Sweatz video on repeat all morning).

I started with two coats of Zoya Elisa, a candy apple red shimmer that I wore for a full day as a mani before using tape on my middle finger to create an abstract Christmas Tree with Zoya Ziv. I Then added a single coat of China Glaze Party Hearty to my index and ring finger and two coats of Twinkle Lights to my pinkie and Thumb. So far I've left my left hand free so I can add some candy canes!

Here's two coats of Zoya Elisa all by herself. I hadn't intended to purchase this color but a B2G1 sale plus a $5 off $10 coupon at Ulta landed this baby in my hands. I'm always reluctant to purchase reds because I swear I already own that exact shade, and I'm convinced this is identical to butterLONDON Knees Up, I just haven't compared the two yet. Regardless, this is a good staple metallic red shimmer to have in any collection and I'm pleased.

Next on my list of holiday themed manicures is snowflakes (which might wait until January), candy canes, a gold and green gradient, and what else... any suggestions I should try out?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gold Dipped in MORE Gold - Orly Glitz

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday... are you ready for more gold? I know this isn' so much "in the spirit" of the holidays, but I'm just not there yet. Don't worry though, you'll get to see my first holiday themed manicure of the season tomorrow. For today however, you get more goooooooold. I can't help but say it like that, thank you very much Mr. Austin Powers.

Today's manicure is really just an extension of my finals week "Luxe for Luck" manicure with Illamasqua Cameo topped with SOPI Its Real! 18K Gold Top Coat. While I was digging through my Helmer to find polishes for my upcoming blog sale addition I found Orly Glitz, a polish I was deceived into purchasing. I don't recall when or where I bought it from, but I remember I ordered it thinking it was actually Orly Glitz & Glamour because that's how it was listed. Its obviously not what I ordered but its pretty nonetheless. I don't wear gold polish that often because it can clash with my paleness, but I noticed Glitz happened to be the same shade of gold as the gold flakes in my SOPI top coat. Match made in heaven!

Woah, lots of pictures! As you can see I sponged Orly Glitz on the tips of my nails, covering the tipwear this week old mani started showing quite well. I'm happy with the way the gradient came out since sometimes its hard to blend out a foil over a dry mani. In retrospect it occured to me that stamping a gradient with this color would have worked just as well.

So what do you think of my tips dipped in gold? Is this something you could see yourself in or is it too bold? I can't believe how bright Glitz is, fiery almost. Its like burnished gold. After finally wearing this color I can safely say it won't be going in my upcoming purge, I like it too much!

PS. I'm having trouble trying to figure out what mani to wear for my graduation ceremony. I haven't quite figured out what I'll be wearing either, but do know it will involve black pants and some gorgeous black suede pumps. My school colors are Scarlet and Grey, any suggestions??

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Illamasqua Cameo + Goooooooold!

Happy Saturday!! GUESS WHAT?? This weekend is the first weekend in four years I don't have to study or worry about school work. Holy shit this is an incredible feeling. For now, just for a few more days or possibly weeks, I'm going to gloat a little. Because its awesome. I will, however, be spending quite a lot of my time this weekend cleaning house in preparation for my family coming to town. Like, scrubbing the baseboards level of clean. I'm sure my hands and nails will take a beating, but that's ok because I scored a sample of Lush Lemony Flutter when I ventured in for the first time this past Monday afternoon.

See, here's a little something about me... I'm an emotional spender. Just like I'm an emotional polisher. I like to reward myself with a little something after I've accomplished something I'm proud of (like finishing my finals) or when I'm having a bad day. For instance, I went to a department store looking for a royal purple cocktail dress a few years ago and I found the perfect one. Only they didn't have my size, just a size up and a size down. Total bummer. So I says to myself, fine then, I'll just look for a pair of leopard print pumps then to make up for the dress disappointment. After another shopping letdown, I settled for a burnt orange Michael Kors handbag. Oh, it was luscious for sure... but thrice what I had anticipated spending on that royal purple cocktail dress. Obviously I was pretty pissed/aggravated/sad I couldn't find exactly what I want, but that's what I get for waiting 'til the last minute for things. Wardrobe planning for fancy events is not easy, and it gets a little pricey when you end up in the purse department. Moral of the story... this was way before I discovered the joy of nail polish, what's considered pint size luxury purchases. 

So where was I going with this ramble? Oh yes, I went to Mandalay Bay in search of holo polishes at the only Urban Outfitters I'm aware of in town - and ended up at Lush. I wanted to find out if Lemony Flutter really smells like lemon gasoline, the sales associate was intrigued and I walked out with a sample. Without even asking, which is always nice. Aaaand back to cleaning my house, I'll be testing out Lemony Flutter to see if it can handle a weekend of deep cleaning. Now, lets get to what you came here for: NAIL POLISH!

For finals week I knew I wanted to wear blue. Blue is ultra calming and I swear I've read somewhere that it also stimulates positive brainwaves and helps you concentrate. Perfect for studying and test taking! The blue beauty you're seeing is Illamasqua Cameo, the perfect desert sky blue! Just look at it, it matches the sky! For a little luxe and luck I added SOPI Its Real 18K Gold Top Coat. I never thought I would get into the gold flake polish, but at the right price I'm game. Plus, I like the fine flakes in this polish versus the larger flakes in other brands.

Here's Cameo all on its lonesome, before I added golden goodness. Totally worth it. By the way, Cameo and Noble have completely won me over. From now on, if Illamasqua is calling out my name I'll be there to answer. I'm sold!

What do you think of my golden combo, does luxe bring you luck?  Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Guest Post with Lacquer Me Silly ... Poppin' Bubbly!

Happy Friday! Today I've got another guest post for you all to enjoy, this time its from Frosso - the lovely lady who runs Lacquer Me Silly! I've always admired her lovely nails and she does great nail art too, something I want to get more into in the future. I'm so happy she's here to share in my celebration with you all, and what a perfect mani she's come up with!

Hey Everyone!

It’s Frosso from Lacquer Me Silly making a quick drop in at Once Upon a Polish! When Jessica asked me to do a guest post for her I couldn’t say no! Then when she said the theme was “celebration” I had no clue what to do lol.  After a few moments of thinking about the theme it came clear to me. Glitter!! Actually, two things came to mind, glitter and some bubbly. I immediately had the idea to do a gradient mani using one of the most, if not the most, sparkly glitters I have…China Glaze “I’m Not Lion”.  I paired it up with Orly Rage, a foiled rose gold, as my base color.

And just because I didn’t spam you enough with pictures, here’s one last shot out of direct light that’s a little less glaring.

So does this mani make you think of celebration and bubbly champagne? If not, have a drink and check back later…maybe it’ll look a little different then ;)

Congrats again Jessica on Graduation AND a new job!!

<3 Frosso

Thank you so much Frosso, for the champagne! I love this mani for so many reasons, one - because I'm Not Lion is a killer glitter, and two - Orly Rage is one of the first polishes I bought when I started getting into nails and nail polish. In fact, it may actually be a purchase from pre-obsession! Its even featured in one of my very first posts on this blog. I won't link it because the photos are terrible (kudos to bloggers who start out strong!) but if you want to dig it up and take a peek, you can see what I was so proud of.

Also, yesterday was my first day at work! Hooray! It wasn't that exciting really, just five hours of training... reading through manuals and going through powerpoints. The usual intro stuff. I can't wait until I get into the good stuff though, so I can share some of my adventures with you guys.

Thanks again Miss Frosso! oxox

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Girly Bits works its Street Magic on SOPI Happy Earth Day to Me...

Have you ever woken up one morning and said to yourself, "Hey self, let's paint our nails today!"? I'm sure you all have, just like I do... but have you ever said to yourself, "Let's paint our nails the color of diaper contents!"? I assume not, and neither did I. But that's just what happened a few days ago.

I'm not sure what convinced me that SOPI Happy Earth Day To Me was a must-have color, maybe it was the $1 price tag, but in the end I like it. It isn't a conventional color by any means, but this dirty olive (that leans way too close to baby poop) won me over. It even has a little silver shimmer in it that brightens it up. What can I say, I'm just drawn to these oddball ugly colors. I hope today's post doesn't bring up any bad diaper changing experiences you may have had or fear for (Future mom's out there, have no fear... everyone poops. Or so I've heard.)

I wore two coats of Happy Earth Day to Me and had good coverage, it was a little patchy on the first coat but that may have been because the desert has decided winter has finally arrived in these parts. I get a little whiny when it drops into the 40's, and yes, I've lived in places much colder. I'm just hot blooded is all. :)

Since I wasn't quite ready to take the baby poop plunge and embrace this color all on its own, I took the opportunity to finally bust out another Girly Bits polish that's been hiding out in my untrieds box, Street Magic.  *Interesting side note here, I originally spaced out and thought I used Shift Happens for this mani. Which meant I was seriously enjoying all of the punny titles I could come up with for this post. Lucky for you, I don't get to share my awesome punniness.*

Street Magic is a green to red color-shift sparklefest in a clear base and it applies wonderfully, like butter in fact! I bought mine in a set with Shift Happens on a whim when I purchased Cu Blue and Arctic Sunrise, they were on sale of course.

Gorgeous, no? The sparkle really comes alive! Its still kind of poopy looking though, isn't it? Just a sparkly, pretty poop shade. Am I going too far with this? Moving on... lol

Its official, btw, I'm all done with school! Yippee! My last final was yesterday morning and I'm fairly sure I did well enough to get the hell out of dodge. All I've got left is to submit my final thesis paper for my capstone and I'm officially done. And guess what!? As you're reading this I'm off at my first day of work as a "turtle herder." I hear that's what we're called since the desert tortoise is a pretty big deal out here.

Tell me, what do you think of SOPI Happy Earth Day to Me, should I keep it and give it another shot - maybe solo next time?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest Post with Of Life and Lacquer - Holo MADNESS!

Good morning everyone, today is my last final of my very last semester and I couldn't be more thrilled! In honor of this special occasion, one of my very best friends will be sharing a mani she created just for me. Cynthia from Of Life and Lacquer is an incredible woman and has given me the motivation to share so much more of myself through this blog than I ever though I would. Enjoy!

When Jessica asked me if I would write a guest post for her awesome blog, of course I said yes immediately. Some of you may have seen me commenting insanely on Jessica’s post or you may even follow my blog, but in case you have no idea who I am, I’m Cynthia from Of Life and Lacquer. When I first started my blog, Once Upon A Polish was one of the very first blogs I started to follow. I wish I could remember how/when Jessica and I first started talking, but I am so glad we did because she is such an amazing friend! I tried very hard to come up with a celebratory design since she is just about to graduate (yay!), but everything I tried ended up looking like I did it with my toes, so I gave up and just went with one of my usual manicures. Oh, boy…I wish it had ended at that. I did a tape mani with two different Nubar holos that I was kind of proud of, and then I did something stupid: I deleted all the pictures from my camera by mistake. It was the polish cry heard ‘round the world. Despite this setback, I almost felt like that mani just wasn’t meant to be so I started all over. I still wanted to infuse some holo into this post so I reached for my Laylas. I have a love/hate relationship with Layla holos because they chip and wear off within a couple of hours. How crazy is that? It drives me crazy because they have such amazing colors and the holo effect is insane.  I know some people have had no problems with wear so it might just be my bogus nails. Anyway, are you ready to see what holo goodness I have in store for you?

I started with this lovely polish from the Glee Collection that Sephora put out earlier in the year. I picked up Sephora by OPI Slushied a few months ago because it was on sale, but I hadn’t used it until today.  Slushied is a bright turquoise crème polish that dries incredibly shiny. When I applied the first coat, I thought it seemed a little thin but the second coat made the color completely opaque.

As I previously noted, I get the absolute worst wear from Layla holographic polishes so I pretty much neglect them. At $15.50 a pop, it pains me to have them just sitting there so I am determined to get some use out of them. I applied 1 coat of Ocean Rush over Slushied, and I was very happy with the intense turquoise color and the intense holo. Despite the crappy wear, I find that these Laylas have the strongest linear holo effect I have seen.

Since I’m constantly stamping over everything, I decided to use a design from Konad plate M64 and some special black polish. I wanted to use a full nail design, but it always pains me to cover up a holo—especially when it’s as gorgeous as this.

Well, what do you think of this layering experiment? Have you had any wear issues with the Layla holographic polishes?  It’s been really fun to do this post for Jessica’s blog (despite the erased pictures), and I hope this makes me seem less scary than I am on twitter. Some of you know what I mean…..

I remember when I started reading Cynthia's blog, the post she'd written really touched me and I'd felt an immediate connection with her. And she shared this incredible video:

Isn't it AMAZING!?

Monday, December 10, 2012

SpaRitual - Lithophonic NOTD

Good morning fearless readers and Happy Monday! (if you're into that) Today is my first final of my last week of finals EVER, I can't put into words just how excited I am about this. Since my first final is for my geology class - soils identification for land use - I'm going to show you a recent NOTD.

SpaRitual Lithophonic (see, its fitting!) was released this fall in the SpaRitual Rock Nail Lacquer Collection along with five other shades. When I first saw swatches of this collection earlier this year I wasn't impressed but my affection and appreciation for brown nail shades has grown, so I purchased this beauty. I was convinced it was worth it when I realized this brown shimmer had a slight green duochrome! Its very slight but gives this lacquer incredible dimension. Just look at this bottle shot:

Photo Source HERE

My photos didn't seem to pick up on the color shift quite as dramatically as the bottle shot shows it, but that's because it isn't that obvious and is mostly seen at extreme angles. And those angles I haven't quite managed to master yet in my new light box. So, let's take a look-see, shall we?

How about some outdoor, fun-in-the-sun, type shots? I took this photo late in the afternoon sun so its a little warm, but still beautiful. The oblique angle of the winter-time sun finally allowed a little of that green color shift to show up. The formula on Lithophonic was excellent and covered very well at two coats. One coat had good coverage too, but I always err on the side of two coats for good measure. This is such a fantastic shade of brown too, very grown up and chic if you ask me. I really enjoy SpaRitual as a brand the more I come to use their polishes.

Wish me luck on my final today, it's going to be a killer! Probably the hardest final of the year, and definitely the hardest final I've ever taken. This class has kicked my butt!


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