Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Essie Braziliant Collection… and a long update… ermm… thing!

No, no, I’m not dead… life has just been kicking my ass lately!  Let me give you a little recap of my world since I last posted:

May 2nd – Went back to work, which was killer.  We were super-short-handed, so I worked a ton of hours this week and absolutely wore myself out.

May 4th – Our car wouldn’t start in the evening when I went to pick Daniel up from work.  He had to find a ride home and my dad had to come down to look at it.  They eventually got it started, and everything seemed ok, battery and alternator were both working fine… couldn’t figure it out.

May 5th – Car almost dies when I stop at a stoplight on my way to work.  I had to floor it to get it to go, which then caused a ton of smoke to shoot out of the back and it overheats.  Then again at the next stoplight.  All in the < 7 minutes it takes to get to work.  I made it there, but car was smoking and the temperature was way too high by the time I got parked.  Checked it out after work and sure enough, the coolant is leaking into the oil.  Looks like a chocolate milkshake.  This explains why it wouldn’t start the night before, and why it had been giving off white exhaust instead of the normal exhaust.  Had to find a ride home and Daniel’s parents loaned us their van.  Car needs a whole new engine – about $2000.  Car’s value is less than $1500.  Car becomes a permanent fixture in the bank parking lot and we begin looking at our options for financing another vehicle.

May 9th-13th – I have jury duty – yay.  :P  Pretty much the worst experience of my life.  I have absolutely no desire to judge anyone or hold their fate in my hands.  I had to attend every day, much to my dismay.  Fortunately, all but one of the trials I was in the jury pool for settled, but I did have to go through the selection process for one.  I was hoping they would choose their jurors before calling my name, but no, they called me.  I think I would have been excused either way – the prosecutor questioned me first and I was excused based on our close friend who is currently in prison (and I had visited the week I was on vacation), but I think the defense would have excused me based on my husband’s best friend being a police officer, my dad working for the police department for 15 years and me being around cops my whole life and some of them like family.  So, I never ended up on a jury, but I was so stressed out by the whole thing that I basically came home and hid for an entire week.  Also wore the same polish for 7 days straight – OPI’s Hot & Spicy.

May 16th-20th – Work is basically kicking my ass again.  Hired someone based on a phone interview because I never could actually meet her face-to-face – too busy!  :P  She had been interviewed by two other managers though and was hired both times, but on the first they had an internal application at the last minute and it is nearly impossible to turn those down (no training!), and the second upper management decided to split the full-time position into two part-time.  So, she comes well recommended, but it’s still a bit scary.  I run a drama-free zone, and I explained that to her – hopefully she doesn’t mess that up!  Also currently training a new employee, and having to issue verbal warnings to others, based on that new sales program I have mentioned before.  And looking at cars every evening when I get off work.  Realizing that they are EXPENSIVE!  My mom keeps telling me I can get her car (2002 Chevy Impala, 84k miles) for $5000, but that is absolutely not true.  The only Impala I found under $6000 had 175k miles.  Have one hopeful, but everything else has been a bust.  Stressful week!  I did manage to wear a different untried every day this week though!  :D

May 21st – Go to visit hopeful car in a town about 30 minutes away.  Very short on time – have a wedding to be at early in the afternoon.  Test drive car, ask lots of questions, decide to buy.  2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 104k miles.  Silver.  Good price.  Try to hurry very nice salesman as I now have less than an hour before the wedding starts.  Eventually get papers signed, hand over check, and tear out of the lot, flying to get home.  Have to stop for gas because, of course, no car on a sale lot has any gas in it.  Have less than 15 minutes to get ready for wedding.  We did make it, and we weren’t the last couple into the sanctuary, but it was close.  Thank god there was a long line at the guestbook, so the wedding did not start exactly on time!  So stressed about buying the car and trying to get to the wedding that I get a little bit drunk at the reception – just the nice buzzy drunk that doesn’t make you do stupid things or have a hangover!  Collapse on couch at 10pm.

May 24th – My brother and sister-in-law welcome their new baby, Bradley!  This is baby #3 for them.  They already have Nathaniel, 4, and Lorelei, 2.  Planning on another baby in the next 2 years – yikes!  We also have a nephew from Daniel’s brother (Sam, nearly 2), so this makes nephew #3!  Hoping there is at least one more girl so poor Lorelei doesn’t grow up being a complete tomboy – and I need someone’s nails to paint!  ;)

Soooo… yeah.  Thank you for reading all of that, if you made it through.  I won’t hold it against you if you scrolled down to pics – it was a loot to read!  ;)  I have lots of polishes photographed and lots more to swatch, so hopefully I won’t be taking such a huge break again!  Are you ready to finally see some swatches?

I fell in love with the Braziliant collection as soon as I saw promo pics.  I love bright oranges, and who can resist perwinkles and pale greens?!  This one did not disappoint.  Fab summer collection!


Absolutely Shore is a gorgeous pale green – it’s almost white with a green tint.  I really see this more as spring than summer, but I love it either way.  Didn’t really love the formula though… streaky, streaky, streaky!  This was 3 coats, and the last one was rather thick.  I’m pretty sure I used topcoat on this one to even out the application.  I don’t have anything in my stash comparable to this, but it might be similar to Nubar’s Baby Sprout, from the Spring 2011 collection.  I think it’s less white and more blue tinged.


Braziliant is a deep orange with a really dense pink shimmer that I have found nearly impossible to photograph.  I swear, it’s not a crème!  The shimmer is so dense that it doesn’t show up well unless you hit the right light… so kinda secret shimmer-ish?  If you really want a good look at the shimmer, check out Temptalia’s post here.  She really captures it in the last 2 pics she took.  I’m jealous, I never could capture it!  It is a gorgeous color, I went looking for it specifically when I started searching for this collection.


I LOVE Meet Me At Sunset – I am a sucker for these reddish-orange jelly-ish things!  This is the most color accurate pic, most of them came out more red than it actually is.  I have seen others refer to it as a red, but it’s orange – orange, I say!!  Similar in base color to Braziliant, just a touch more red.  Actually, when I bought these, the clerk thought they were the same and looked at the tops to be sure they weren’t.  To any polish-a-holic, they aren’t very comparable (hello?!  one is a shimmer, the other a crème!), but muggles just see orange.  The formula on this one is incredible.  It’s a little more opaque than a jelly, but sheerer and shinier than a crème.  Two coats to perfection.


Here you can see how amazingly shiny it is – no topcoat!!  :D  I really do love this one, but it is the one I have something quite similar to.  I compared it to OPI’s A Good Man-darin Is Hard To Find because I thought they looked close, but as you can see in the pic below, they really aren’t that close.  AGMIHTF (wow, what an acronym!), middle, is pinker and more crème-like than MMAS.


Once it was on the nail, I realized that MMAS is pretty darned close to Revlon Top Speed in Chili, which is one of my faves.  They aren’t quite dupes, but very very similar!  Chili is in the middle again.  It is a bit redder, but the finish is the same, and both polishes had fabulous formulas.


Finally moving on from Meet Me At Sunset… ;)


The finish and formula of Too Too Hot is the same as Meet Me At Sunset, so this was an instant love for me.  It’s an orange based pink that will look lovely on tips and toes.  It reminded me of Essie’s Watermelon, which I don’t actually own.  However, I do have Essie’s Rose Bowl, which is almost a dupe, just slightly warmer – I compared them in store before purchasing Rose Bowl and I could barely tell the difference.


So, Too Too Hot is not as close to Watermelon as I thought, seeing how it is warmer (and oranger) than Rose Bowl, which is a warmer version of Watermelon.  I have been loving Rose Bowl lately, even wore it as a pedi for over a month, but I think I prefer Too Too Hot after comparing them!


Super Bossa Nova was the hardest one for me to track down, which seems so bizarre – it’s a shimmery pink, I never dreamed it would be the first to go!  I went to 4 different stores before I finally found this one at Target.  Every other display I found, Super Bossa Nova was the only one gone!  I can see the allure though – a bright shimmery pink that will look great on almost all skin tones, plus it is super-pigmented, so you can get away with one careful coat.  I’m wearing 2 in the pic, but not because I had to… but because I’m weird and always do at least 2 coats!  It has a purpley/blue shimmer that is quite dense, but like Braziliant, it doesn’t always let itself be shown.  It isn’t quite as subtle, but she really sparkles when in the spotlight.  Because of the color of the shimmer, I thought I’d compare with China Glaze – 108 Degrees, middle.


When compared to 108 Degrees, the already kinda subtle shimmer in Super Bossa Nova looks almost invisible.  The base colors are similar, but the blue shimmer in 108 gives the color a blue cast Super Bossa Nova lacks.


I almost passed up Smooth Sailing – it’s gorgeous, but I was just sure it was a dupe for RBL’s Catherine H.  I picked it up and put it down about 5 times in the store before I finally just grabbed it and went to the register.  It’s a bright periwinkle / cornflower blue with tiny little flakes in it – the finish is the same as Mochacino from the retail collection.  I love this finish and hope Essie keeps using it!  It reminds me of little rain drops, all irregular shaped.  It might even be similar to the little flecks in Illamasqua’s Raindrops, but I have only seen pics, so I’m not positive on that one.  I’m lusting after it big-time though, so if anyone has it available, please let me know!

Back to the real question… is this a dupe for Catherine H?  Sorry to be a bummer to those of you who didn’t get your hands on the RBL before it sold out, but they aren’t that close.  Depending on your level of obsession, it might hold you over until Catherine H is available again, since it did get chosen in the Bring it Back vote, or it might kill your lemming altogether.


Catherine H is much deeper, dustier, and has a pink shimmer that is quite a bit different from the little flakes in Smooth Sailing.  However, the flakes in SS seem to have a bit of pink and blue in them, so it’s almost like a toned down version.  I love them both, but will probably not wear the RBL in the summer, since it is dusty and kinda murky looking.

Overall, the formulas on this collection were outstanding – the only one I had any trouble with was Absolutely Shore, and we all know how those white-based shades are.  I used 2 coats in all the pics above, except AS.  I love them all, but my top pics are Smooth Sailing and Braziliant for originality and Meet Me At Sunset and Too Too Hot for formula and perfect summer shades.

This collection is being spotted in Walgreens and Targets across the country, but Cilucia heard from Essie that they won’t be available at Ulta and other salon retailers until June 1st.  For those of you who need your e’s on the caps, there is still hope!  ;)

What do you think of Braziliant?  Any favorites?

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: none, except for Absolutely Shore – Beauty Secrets Fast Finish
Number of coats: 2, except for Absolutely Shore, 3

Sunday, May 1, 2011

China Glaze - Island Escape Collection

I had planned on posting Chanel Mimosa next, but umm... you're going to have to wait on that one.  I did wear it, but ugh, application was terrible and it didn't look good.  It didn't seem so bad when I initially swatched it, but a full mani was not good.  I'll try it again when I get over being angry with her!  ;)

I knew I had to have the entire Island Escape collection the first time I saw swatches, but I've been lazy and haven't gotten around to posting it, though I've had it for, umm... at least 2 weeks.  Oops!  I really like the collection as a whole, though a couple of the formulas were a bit disappointing.  There is nothing earth shattering here, but it is a great summer collection that I will get a lot of use out of!

108 Degrees is a glass flecked pink, perfect for summer.  A bit on the sheer side, but I don't mind VNL when it's crazy-hot out.  I don't have an exact dupe in my stash, but it didn't seem all that original.

Seniorita Bonita is mostly purple, but it has some heavy pink shimmer, which is quite hard to capture.  This was the sheerest of the collection, and slightly disappointing because of it.  I really had to layer this one on to get it to show up.  It did dry though, and super-shiny at that, so maybe I shouldn't complain?

Blue Iguana is the last of the glass flecks in this collection, and I really love it.  I have seen a lot of complaints of how sheer it is, but I've seen worse.  It's a bit of a stainer, so be careful!  I can't wait to wear this one!  There is a slight pinkish duochrome to it, which makes it awfully similar to Nicole's You're S-Teal the One - I've compared them below - NOPI is in the middle.

These two are pretty much dupes.  Blue Iguana is much more pigmented than You're S-Teal the One, so if you're torn, I suggest it.  You can usually get China Glaze's cheaper too!  :)

Cha Cha Cha is the lone shimmer in this collection, supposedly similar to the famous Moonpool.  I don't own it, so I can't compare, but I prefer this to the pics I've seen of Moonpool - less frosty!  However, the application on this one wasn't great.  You can see some bald spots on my index nail, and this was 3 coats.

Electric Pineapple is a bright green/yellow creme which applies easily, especially after the sheerness of the previous polishes.  It looks similar to OPI's Fiercely Fiona, but they aren't dupes, as you can see below.

Fiercely Fiona is much more yellow than Electric Pineapple, but I love 'em both!

Papaya Punch is the last of the collection, and the best formula.  It's a gorgeous bright orange, not neon at all, but it will get attention!  It leans to the yellow side of orange, so depending on your skintone, this one might be troublesome for you.  I am addicted to oranges - it seems like I gotta have every one I see!

The cremes in this collection apply much better than the glass flecks, but the only real problem children are Seniorita Bonita and Cha Cha Cha.  SB was kinda watery and extremely sheer, CCC is prone to balding.  I <3 the colors, so I will deal, but if you don't have much patience, you might want to avoid these!  I LOVE Papaya Punch and Blue Iguana - both of them were stunning and pretty easy to apply.

Are you thinking about picking up any of this collection?  Tell me which ones you like!  :)

In other news, I head back to work tomorrow... ugh.  Can't vacations last forever?

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: none
Number of coats: varies, 2-3