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China Glaze Choo-Choo Choose You

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Occasionally, when undecided about what my next color should be, I use the power of my spreadsheet (what, you're not enough of a polish fiend to need a spreadsheet?).  Sort that baby by what's untried, what's oldest in the stash, random number generator...  oh, wait, what's this?

China Glaze released their All Aboard collection back in 2014, and Choo-Choo Choose You was the clear stand-out winner of that set.  It's a mystery wrapped in an enigma, with everyone's swatches looking a bit different, and nobody agreeing what color it actually is. 

After swatching this one, I filed it as taupe, and I'm sticking to that designation.  In the bottle, it's absolutely a dusty eggplant purple, and before I shook up my somewhat settled out bottle there was a layer of deep navy blue on top.  What makes this both special and impossible to definitively categorize is the lovely aurora shimmer packed within.

The brown-taupe-mushroom-purple base is filled to the brim with…

Cirque Ultrasonic + The Thirteenth Tale

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Matching my nails to the theme of the novel we read for book club has now become very much a thing for me, and this month's selection of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield had the inspiration right there on the cover.

I've started with a base of 3 coats of Cirque Ultrasonic.  Each coat self-leveled very well, with slightly less VNL at each layer.  The first coat was a sheer wash of color, and the formula was slightly more watery than ideal.  By the 2nd coat, when it had another layer to grab onto besides just the basecoat, it stuck very well with no more creeping toward the cuticles.  The 3rd coat had a beautifully translucent opacity, much like very good quality china.

The color is described as "linen" and that sounds utterly accurate to my eyes, like an unbleached white.  This jelly was part of a LE series for the NY Met Museum when they were hosting an exhibit on fashion in 2016.

For the book club design, I happened to have an image that was a dead ringer fo…

Dance Legend Anna Gorelova Kikimora Fright 02

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I was really feeling like a green this week, and after I'd picked this gorgeous emerald shade for my toes when I recently headed out for a pedi, being matchy-matchy for a couple of days was definitely in order.

Famously flawless Russian Blogger Anna Gorelova has partnered with Russian staple Dance Legend  for several years now, releasing new collections a couple of times yearly.  This one was number 02 from her 2014 HallOWLeen collection.  Depending on the translation from Russian, this one is either called Kikimora (a Russian house-spirit/female bogeyman legend) or Fright.

Kikimora looks very blue-leaning in the bottle, but on the nail is a lovely emerald green packed with "ocean" type flakies that shift from blue to aqua to green.  There's also a liberal sprinkling of shimmer that flashes in certain lighting conditions but is often swamped by the flakies, especially in lower light.  This shimmer appears fiery red dead-on in bright light, but quickly tilts to gold t…

Zoya Storm & Stars

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For a friend's birthday party last weekend, I wanted to go with Star Wars themed nails (which he'd have gotten a real kick out of), but my cheapo SP series plates from AliExpress were a major fail, totally refusing to pick up despite several different combos of stamping polish, scrapers, the works.  GRRR.  But I still managed to whip up a galaxy far, far away...

I started with a base of 2 coats of Zoya Storm to give a feel of stars flashing by in deep space.  Storm is still not a fave - the holo properties of the flakes are very subtle, looking mostly like silver specks, no rainbows to be observed.  On the plus side, it removed effortlessly, without the usual durm und strang of a black polish.

After the Star Wars plates were a bust, I went with straight up stars, using a couple of different designs from KADS Min 009, itself an inexpensive AE plate, which gave me absolutely no troubles.

I've stamped using Kaleidoscope by El Corazon Aurora Borealis, a beautiful ILNP Sirene-t…

Bee's Knees Luna Moth Wing

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Bee's Knees keeps releasing double handfuls of  fantastic mystery polishes on a new theme each month, and if you're willing to be patient and pay a (very minor and reasonable) premium, to pick the ones you want after the fact.  From the April bags, this was my super fave, and one of the reasons I bought mystery bags rather than waiting.

Luna Moth Wing is about dead on for its namesake.  This is a pale green somewhere between celery and mint, very subtly greyed out, lightly sprinkled with holo dust/microflake and 'sister' shimmer of the type related to Clarins 230 (this time in green to gold).  It's a very wearable, soft pastel, nowhere near neon or in-your-face, with the subtlety of the shimmer being a light accent to the earthy color.

At 2 coats, Luna was decently opaque; 3 brought it to completely solid.  In bright light, there would be small flashes of either the shimmer particles or the holo dust (or both of course), but this did need the right lighting for tho…

Colors by Llarowe Boot Scootin' Boogie + Fluid nail art

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Bright holos, lots of rain lately, themed nails galore... time for a major palate shift!

Llarowe released Boot Scootin' Boogie in 2017 for San Antonio's hosting of The Indie Shop.  Well, since I'm a Texas gal at heart, and this color is just smashing, it came home to me ASAP (though of course lingered unworn like so many gems do).

I had the chorus of that damn country song stuck in my head every time I looked at my nails, and it was still worth it.  Boot Scootin' Boogie is a gorgeous plum wine - is it purple or is it red?  who knows! - with an intense overlay of contrasting duochromatic shimmer and a very light dusting of scattered holo. 

In the bottle, that contrasting shimmer overlay is a rich metallic copper, quite warm, that definitely pulls the whole look toward a red-toned purple wine.  Fascinatingly enough, BSB is a secret duochrome with that same shimmer particle tilting toward plum then into legit blue in angled lighting.

In the above shot, you can see the shi…

Baroness X Seadragon

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Last month I received the most recent mystery box from Baroness X, and both of them were 100% in my polish wheelhouse.   The first one to jump on my nails is Seadragon.

Seadragon is a bright oceanic blue jelly - just the tiniest suggestion more green-leaning than cobalt or Klein blue - liberally sprinkled with the red-to-green shifty shimmer from Clarins 230 and iridescent flakies.

Some of the mystery boxes arrived with a jelly undie for the blue polish, others with an undie for the teal polish.  I got the latter, so I'm showing Seadragon at 3 coats solo, which was perfectly visually opaque to my eyes.  It's pigmented enough to really work as a topper only for things in a similar color scheme (anywhere from blue to purple), but I much prefer this ocean color solo rather than darkened up with a more opaque undie.

In bright light, everyone's fave shifty shimmer sparkles to life, while the flakies take top billing in shady lighting.

My book club meeting this weekend (I'm …