Sunday, November 13, 2016

NerdLacquer Holy Grail

Well, this week has been depressing as hell.  I needed something more cheerful than black mourning ASAP, and damn if some NerdLacquer didn't fit the bill.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Holy Grail is a soft, watery aqua with that little touch of grey that makes it wonderfully wearable for me with no lobster hand shenanigans.  It's packed with silver holo hexes in at least 3 sizes:

window-filtered morning daylight
It's got a sparkly scattered holo finish beyond what the glitter sparks in bright sunlight:

outdoor, direct sunlight
And if that's not enough to make your inner 3-year-old smile, it glows in the dark to boot:

in the dark, obviously.  after holding to a bright light for a sec to get max glow power.
Holy Grail goes on in 2 painless coats, with no need for glitter fishing or placement.  It looks thick and the GITD pigment looks kinda sandy in macro pics, but none of that was an issue IRL.  Obviously, a Nerd glitter is gonna need more than one layer of topcoat if you're not down with some texture, but no big effort required.

indoor, bright CF lighting
outdoor, overcast lighting
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars for this cool, greyed but upbeat autumn sky.  Bonus:  it wore like IRON - note that my bottle shots were taken after 4+ full days of wear & work, with zero chips and no real visible edgewear.

Where to buy:  Nerds come directly from NerdLacquer.

~Michelle

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Great Lakes Lacquer Leaves in the Lake + HITS Boca Seca

The recent Chicago Polish-Con was a big deal to the indie polish world, and though I couldn't go, several makers offered their exclusives after the event - sweet!  Not very long after Great Lakes Lacquer sent me Leaves in the Lake it was time to take it for a test drive.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Leaves is a rich navy blue jelly absolutely crammed full of gorgeously shifty ultrachrome flakes, with the final effect looking exactly how it's named.  The first coat went on smoothly enough that if you wanted to try it as a topper over other blues, it should work fine.

indoor, window-filtered daylight
I've paired Leaves here with Hits Boca Seca from the "Gio Antonelli Senescoes" collection.  Not at all sure how this rich mahogany copper equates to a dry mouth (the name's translation), but damn, Hits made some nice polishes and I wish there was still a stockist that carried them.

indoor, window-filtered daylight
Boca Seca is nearly a one-coater, with 2 coats here just to make sure I didn't miss a spot, but that 2nd one didn't deepen the color or amp the shimmer.  Both of these polishes wore nicely, and I loved the coppery call-out to the flakes with this pair.

indoor, bright CF lighting
The gorgeously shifty flakes of Leaves look best in cloudy or indirect light, since the brighter the light (full sun, for example), the blue jelly starts to look a little uneven due to the metallic flakie flash.  Fluorescent lighting is great for this one, which means that it's a fantastic office polish.

outdoor, overcast daylight
I've stamped Boca Seca with Emily de Molly blue/gold using the elegant deer under the tree divided image from HK-06.  This plate is absolutely the kind that gives beginning stampers a headache - it's very finicky as to which stamper/polish/scraping combo it'll work with.

Rating:  Leaves in the Lake is a gorgeous 5 out of 5 star polish, and Boca Seca gets 4 stars.  Both are real keepers!

Where to buy:  tricky for both, now, sorry.  Leaves was sold directly by Great Lakes for a few weeks after Polish-Con, but is now off her site.  I have no idea about the feasibility of ordering directly from Hits, but if anyone tries it, let me know!

~Michelle

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Illyrian Dream Hopper + dupe alert

Well, now that Halloween is over and I'm back at work and those loooong talons I had going on were cutting into gloves at work, I filed back down to everyday length, which is both more practical (no more surprise scratches for my poor partner!) and way less fun (less stamping space, boo!).  Oh well.  But!  Not time at all to abandon fall vampy colors, so when the man picked purple, I reached for Illyrian Dream Hopper.

indoor, CF lighting
A pic like this first one is what made me swoon over Dream Hopper.  It's a luscious eggplant purple filled with an emerald-to-magenta duochrome shimmer.  230/Fantasy Fire-type shimmers are the opposite of this one, which is green head-on and pink in angled light.  Buuuuuuttttt... reality was a whole lot closer to this 2nd pic instead:

indoor, bright CF lighting
Still purple, still a pretty color, but IRL the shimmer is only super prominent and super shifty in just the right light.  I kind of get a surprise "oh that's nice!" a few times through the day, not as a typical thing.  The overly thick formula that laid down less than smooth on the first coat improved a good bit by the 2nd coat after I'd added a generous squirt of thinner.

indoor, window-filtered daylight
The thick application of the first layer meant this showed edgewear pretty quickly, then chipped within 3 days on my dominant hand.

outdoor, full sun
The best part of Dream Hopper is the magenta shift.  When this is glowing warm pink layered over the eggplant creamy base, it's a devastatingly gorgeous color.

outdoor, full sun
Rating:  3 out of 5  stars for this rich purple.

Where to buy:  direct from Illyrian, or from one of her stockists.

~Michelle

EDIT:

When I filed Dream Hopper back on the rack, I finally noticed how similar one of my other untrieds was: Funky Fingers Venom, which is itself a re-bottling of Color Club Portfolio.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Yup, same emerald flare, and yuuuup, it goes right to that magenta flash too.

indoor, bright CF lighting
On the nail, Dream Hopper is far more opaque... which I think ultimately lets the shimmer show through better on Venom.  I'm wearing 3 coats of Venom here (which likely would have been smoother or needed fewer if I'd bothered to use basecoat) on my index and ring fingers; 2 coats of Dream Hopper on my middle and pinky.

L-to-R:  Venom, Dream Hopper, Venom, Dream Hopper
And yup once more, on the nail, the same duochrome flash up to magenta.

Lto-R:  Dream Hopper, Venom, Dream Hopper, Venom
Technically not dupes since the formula isn't identical, but close enough I'm calling them the same.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Red Dead: Dia del Muertos skulls on Anonymous Lacquer Vampire Barbie

And finally, for actual Halloween, I got around to using one of last year's HHC True Blood LEs, Anonymous Lacquer's Vampire Barbie.

indoor, bright CF lighting
A true red holo has been one of the harder colors to find - "red" holos tend to lean more orangey or flame-colored.  Vampire Barbie manages to be exactly the color it should be:  actual red, with the tiniest touch of brown to bring it over to BLOOD red and not candy-apple.  It's a gorgeous color that went on quite sheer at first, needing 3 coats to be completely opaque.

outdoor, bright sunlight
I stamped some Dia del Muertos skulls using El Corazon white and BundleMonster's BM-413 for my last Halloween design this year.

Rating:  a solid 3 out of 5 stars, Vampire Barbie had a fabulous color, but was a little too thin for my taste and showed edgewear pretty quickly.  Maybe I just wasn't feeling red, IDK, but this one is definitely worth coming back to.

Where to buy:  join the HHC fb group, and ask after it in a destash.

~Michelle

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bats flying out of the night: Dance Legend thermo topcoat black

I was off to a conference this week, so aimed for Halloween in a neutral-colored way to look pulled together with all my professional business attire, and ended up with bats flying in/out of the darkest night.

indoor, bright CF lighting, with some water to help the thermal be in transition
This is 2 coats of Orly Mirrorball, then stamping cute bats in NanaCoco Love Black (large accent nail bat from DXE20, smaller flying bats from BM-013), topped with 1 coat of Bow's Black Thermo, and with a final shadow-stamping of the big bat on the accent nail with Emily de Molly silver holo.  Black Thermo is a clear (warm) to black (cold) thermal with a scattering of holo sparkle that's been really popular for invisible/vanishing lace stamping designs lately.

outdoor, bright sunlight, warm state
This worked out 90% the way I wanted it to, but there were a few things I'd change up next time.  Important fact: Black Thermo doesn't warm up to a completely clear state - I could have skipped the 2nd layer of Mirrorball, since it doesn't show up as much as I expected underneath the greyish tinge of the warm state.  For the same reason, black stamping should go on top of, not underneath, the thermal - note the haziness of the bats on my middle finger, where I apparently painted a slightly thicker layer of Black Thermo.

indoor, bright CF light, plus water to help the thermal be mostly in cold state
The silver shadow-stamping worked exactly how I wanted, though, so that's cool.  In the frosty conference room (seriously, why do all hotels dial the thermostat down to 50 for big meetings??  We legit had folks in parkas in there), when my nails were all black, there was still a shiny silver bat keeping the Halloween theme going.  The silver bat faded out to almost-not-there when everything warmed up, and the black one barely underneath it became visible.  Cool!

Rating:  Bow's Black Thermo topcoat gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.

Where to buy:  my fave stockist for the Russian import is Color 4 Nails.

~Michelle

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Toma Copper Comets & Pumpkins

This week's prompt on a stamping fb group was "black & orange only."  Orange is right down there with yellow as colors I don't touch, but I did have a quite orangey metallic copper that I thought would fit the bill.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Copper Comets was one of a half-dozen Toma polishes I picked up at some mall costume jewelry & hair do-dads place (Claire's or something similar) way back in the mid-90s.  Yes, kids, this polish is easily 20 years old, and with only a couple of drops of thinner it worked perfectly well.

window-filtered daylight
I'd also just received the super cheap DXE20 plate from aliexpress, and while quality of the cheapies is always hit-and-miss, I'm happy to say this one gave me absolutely zero issues.  Pretty sweet trick considering how many broad open spaces there are in the designs I'm using, but I got perfect pick up and no bald spots every time without fighting for it.

outdoor, afternoon sunlight
All of these Toma polishes I picked up back in the day are "metallic illusion" series, meaning that they're duochromatic way before I had a lingo term for that.  In Copper Comets' case, there's a lovely rosy pink that flashes out in angled light.

Rating:  not too difficult to work with, worked just right for what I wanted?  A solid 3 of 5 stars.

Where to buy:  honestly, I haven't the slightest.  Hunts for Toma polishes on ye olde interwebs occasionally get some hits - good hunting, folks.

~Michelle

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Emily de Molly Sleep Walking

The sun finally came out just a little, so time to switch up to a holo, and time to switch to something cool from all those earth tones.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Emily de Molly Sleep Walking is the first thing that's made me gasp with amazement in a while.  In the bottle, it's a rich sapphire blue, but as it's being applied the gorgeous teal-y jade green shimmer flashes to life.

outdoor, bright sunlight
The total effect most reminds me of the Femme Fatale holos that all had a gorgeous contrast shimmer, so whether or not you missed out on some of those, absolutely pick this up.  The formula was a little more simultaneously sheer and sticky that I like (2.5 coats are needed, but don't overwork it or you get dragged patches), but was utterly smooth under one layer of topcoat.  Cleanup was shockingly NBD for a blue this dark.

outdoor, overcast shady daylight
In the shade or low lighting, the jade shimmer sort of vanishes but makes the color lean a little more teal or slate blue.  The holo dust doesn't grey out the rich sapphire at all, though, and only a smidge of sunlight is needed to start the green flash and rainbow sparkle up.

window-filtered morning daylight
I picked up my huge Stampholic 1 plate for it's cute image of Jack Skellington faces in a spiderweb, and used EdM's silver holo stamping polish for the design.

indoor, CF lighting
Rating:  this beauty is a fantastic 4 out of 5 stars.

Where to buy:  several stockists carry EdM, but you can also buy directly here.

~Michelle