Sunday, March 29, 2015

Renewed green: Essie Maximillian Strasse Her

To those who were kind enough to respond to my pre-interview post - THANK YOU!!! I interviewed and got offered the job the next day. I felt great about it, and accepted! 

For the first time in a long while - years and years - I feel a sense of hope. I feel like everything in changing - in a good way. I feel like maybe all the effort and struggle of my PhD will somehow end up being worth it. How fitting that this comes right at the beginning of springtime, when nature is undergoing its own renewal.

In honour of spring, renewal, and hope (heavy), I feel that it is only fitting that I am wearing a fresh GREEN! This is Essie Maximillian Strasse Her.

While this colour truly feels fresh and modern to me, it brings back memories of times past. As I was looking at it on my nails, I could feel a memory trying to wriggle free in the back of my brain. It took me a while, but it finally hit me - this is the colour of an old school portable Olivetti typewriter! It feels odd to wax poetic about the predecessor of the laptop while typing on a thoroughly modern machine the Olivetti would recognize only as a robot from the future. And in a way, it is.


I am not alone in re-discovering my love for this colour! I am told by my auto-industry-devoted father that the colour of the Olivetti typewriter was the inspiration and source for the verde chiaro paint colour of the re-imagined Fiat 500. (NB: My mother has this car - albeit in white with red interior - and loves it! I have to admit, it is super adorable.)


This spring I hope all of you find something old to make new again, and find your own renewed energy - wherever it may come from - even if it's just a nail polish.


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Job Interview Candidates

I (FINALLY) graduated with my PhD in December. I haven't discussed my experience here much here. It is still a raw, open wound, and I am just relieved to be done. Sadly the "real world" requires that I do things like "pay bills", "buy food", etc. so I am job hunting even though my confidence is at an all-time low.

There is GOOD NEWS though! I have a job interview next week! (The bad news is that I'm super nervous, even though many of my friends work at the company already.)

I need your help!

When I feel pulled-together, I act more pulled-together. Outfit, makeup, hair and accessories might seem like frivolous things to be thinking about ahead of the interview, but I need all the confidence boosters I can get. Will you help me pick out the right interview nail polish?

The candidates are (L-R):

Essie Brides to Be
OPI Don't Bossa Nova Me Around
Essie Brooch the Subject (post here)
YSL Beige Leger (post here)

Which do you like best? Being a sheer, Essie Brides to Be is the most conservative. Where I am interviewing is a more casual workplace, so I could definitely go with something more opaque. OPI Don't Bossa Nova Me Around has a more springtime feel with its white base and lilac tone. Essie Don't Brooch the Subject blends in more with my skin, and I think the almond colour has a nice chicness to it. YSL Beige Leger is one of my newest favourites, but I'm worried that it will be noticed as "odd".

Any other suggestions would be welcome as well - what would you wear to an interview???


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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Birthday Grey - Essie Petal Pushers

It is my birthday.

I struggle on my birthday.

I like this polish.

(a birthday haiku)

Essie Petal Pushers is a stormy grey with a strong hint of blue, and in the right light the barest hint of lavender. It is identical in undertone to Essie Cocktail Bling, just a few shades darker.

L-R: Essie Petal Pushers; Essie Cocktail Bling

How are you at dealing with birthdays? I'm obviously terrible at it.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Own Skin - Essie Spin the Bottle

Essie Spin the Bottle has appeared on the nails of so many bloggers and YouTubers lately, and every single time I've seen it flash on the screen I've eyed it jealously. I gave in and purchased it a few days ago, and thanks to the magic of the internet, it showed up at my house yesterday. I couldn't wait to try it out!

Nudes are sometimes difficult. Many pull too pink on me, and if I'm being honest, I feel super awkward wearing light to medium pinks. Like I'm trying to masquerade as someone younger or cutesier or something. I just don't feel like me.

The good news is, this feels like me. So much like me in fact, that I had to think about where I'd seen it before. Turns out it is the more saturated sister of my favourite (until now?) nude Essie polish - Topless & Barefoot. Both have this fleshy peachiness to them that makes them much more wearable for my skin tone - which is quite yellow. Spin the Bottle is simply richer, and a tad bit warmer than Topless & Barefoot. Spin the Bottle is VERY close to my skin tone, which is a look that sometimes creeps my out, but I think it has just enough peach in it to hold its own.

Small disclaimer - the formula on Spin the Bottle is not the most excellent I've ever used. It took 3 thin coats - which is what I do for most things - but application was a little worrying and streaky until I got to that final coat.

L-R: Essie Spin the Bottle; Essie Topless & Barefoot

As you might be able to see from the bottle shot, I've used about a third of Topless & Barefoot already. I see Spin the Bottle being an equal staple in my collection, despite the sub-par formula. Sometimes it's hard to find a nude that makes you comfortable in your own skin - I found this, and I'm sticking with it!

What's your favourite nude right now?


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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lilac of the Moment - Chanel Tenderly

After being a little reticent at first, I have fallen head-over-heels for this colour! Chanel Tenderly is a lilac-grey that leans to the warmer side. It strikes a beautiful seasonal balance between winter and spring. It feels simultaneously feminine and a little edgy.

Application was a charm and the consistency is lovely and creamy - I used two painless coats.

I was initially feeling a little sheepish about my purchase - as you know, Chanel nail polish isn't cheap! - because I have several other colours in this family. However upon comparison, Tenderly has unique qualities that make it a standout in my collection.

L-R: Essie Merino Cool; Chanel Tenderly; OPI Parlez-Vous OPI?

In the bottle, the shades look more similar, but once painted on and dried, you can see that Essie Merino Cool is significantly darker, and OPI Parlez-Vous OPI? is cooler. I think the added warmth in Tenderly makes it worth having, and honestly I think it suits my pale but very warm-toned skin better than the other two. (Not that I don't love them too!) However, if you have any of these in your collection, you might not want to splurge on the Chanel!

I'm truly having a moment with this colour! I know this isn't a makeup blog, but I had to share my latest makeup love/find/obsession that goes perfectly with Chanel Tenderly - Bourjois Colorband Eyeshadow Crayon in Mauve Baroque. It is available HERE, from ASOS.

Not only is the colour gorgeous and very Tenderly-like, the formula seems to really set and wear like iron. I am considering picking up a couple more shades, but honestly Mauve Baroque is the most unique of the bunch.

Is there a particular colour you're really feeling right now?? Let me know what your colour of the moment is - I'm always looking for inspiration!


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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sidling into Spring - Essie Stones & Roses

Although it's a balmy 75F here in North Carolina today, I'm not *completely* ready for spring yet. I think my years in Chicago taught me to be wary of sunshine in February. Though I might not be wholly in the right mindset yet, this colour was too beautiful not to share! This is Essie Stones & Roses from the Resort 2015 Collection.

Essie usually knocks it out of the park with their resort collections, and I think this one is no exception. Although this was the only shade I picked up for the moment, I adore the colour story this collection tells. Stones & Roses is not quite pastel, not quite bright and not quite neon. This makes it supremely wearable, but so cheerful. You can bet I'll be wearing this on my nails frequently come spring and into summer.

A little comparison with some Essie classics:

L-R: Essie Cantaloupe, Essie Stones & Roses, Essie Carousel Coral

Cantaloupe is decidedly more orange than Stones & Roses, but around the same shade level, whereas Carousel Coral has a similar pinkness, but is deeper.

Stones & Roses may not be the most unique colour in the world, but it is a wonderfully balanced addition to my collection. I think it flatters my skin tone as well. (Which is approximately NC15 for those of you who speak MAC!) Have you picked up any of the Essie Resort 2015 polishes? Let me know if you have - I could be tempted to get another! I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Smokey Purple - Chanel Charivari

I probably should have shown you Chanel Tenderly today. I'm in a purple mood and I know that one is new and all, but the fact that companies are releasing Spring collections earlier and earlier is starting to irk me. I'm one of those traditional people that just isn't in the mood for pastels and brights until the sun is out and the air is warm!

Today, the sun is out, but the air is decidedly not warm, so I was in the mood for something a little smokier, and I chose Chanel Charivari. You would think this dark purple with a hint of grey would be easily dupe-able, but I don't have anything else like it in my collection.

I somehow remember this being lighter, but I'm admittedly loving the richness of it.

I hope all of you affected by the snowstorm in the northeastern US are staying safe and warm!


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tickling My Fancy - YSL Beige Leger

After trying out YSL Gris Deco and falling in love, it really was only a matter of time (days) before I purchased my next YSL polish. Unfortunately, none of the stores near me sell YSL polishes in the flesh, so I have to rely on online swatches to choose my colours. I was a little dubious about this one - YSL Beige Leger.

Many people have likened this to OPI Tickle My France-y, which I hated on me. I think I called in "vomit-inducing" in this post. It was just too mauve/purple/cool for my skin tone and really did make me feel a little sick to look at. But I loved the IDEA of the colour. (Yes, I see a therapist.) Luckily, I found a comparison of the two in this particular blog post. Beige Leger looked exactly how I had hoped Tickle My France-y would have looked on me! She even compared them, and the OPI was more mauve, while the extra touch of warmth in Beige Leger made it harmonious with the skin.

TL;DR - I bought the polish.

Turns out a hint of added warmth can make a HUGE difference. I don't feel revulsion when I look at my hands! Depending on the lighting, Beige Leger can look more fleshy pink, more cafe au lait nude, more skin-like peach - but in my opinion, it always looks polished (ha!) and a lot more modern than the standard white-based neutral pale colour.

Count this as added to my all-time favourites.


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chanel Provocation & A Recipe for Chip-Free Chanel!

I very rarely repeat polishes within the same month, but this is an exception. Chanel Provocation is an excellent vampy colour that straddles the boundaries of cool and warm, making it work beautifully with almost any outfit - camel, grey, cranberry, navy, black, etc.

(OK, so maybe I don't wear much colour...but the point remains. It's neutral. And delicious.)

Chanel polishes are notorious for chipping extremely easily. Which is atrocious considering the price-point, and was certainly true for me. Until recently, when I discovered this cocktail of base coat and top coat. Now, my Chanel polishes last a week with zero chipping! A WEEK. I obviously do get tip-wear, but no chipping or peeling. Which is madness.

The base coat in question is Essie All in One. As you can see, it is well-loved by me. I find that it works well with many different polish brands. Surprisingly, the top coat that locks everything in place is Seche Vite. While a classic, it is laden with non-B3F chemicals that typically make it play not-so-nicely with B3F polishes. What can I say though, it works like a charm!

Disclaimer: Yes, I know. Body chemistry is individual, and this might not work for everyone! I just thought I'd share because I know that so many people share the same problem with Chanel polishes, so I thought maybe this might be the solution for at least a few of them.

These little gems are readily available and I'm willing to bet that quite a few of you have them hanging around. If you have a Chanel chipping problem, I say give it a shot! (And report back, I would love to know if this works for anyone else!)


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lady in Grey: YSL Gris Deco

My first-ever YSL polish! I have contemplated purchasing this for months. Gris Deco is a soft grey colour with the barest hint of shimmer not only appealed to me somewhere deep in my neutral-loving soul, but is also completely unique in my collection.

This stuff is expensive. Chanel expensive.

However, application was a dream. I was concerned the huge brush would be unwieldy and messy, but it turned out to be perfect. If it were any larger it would have been too big for my pinky, which required only one swipe. I used three thin coats, and the effort was minimal because of how few strokes were needed. Lovely.

The colour is outstanding - a delicate grey with near-invisible shimmer that just manages to give the polish a porcelain-like quality on the nail. I adore this. It's an office-appropriate neutral that isn't a boring sheer (and I LOVE boring sheers), or one of my typical taupes. I also happen to think it pops beautifully against gold rings. The combination of the warm gold and the cool grey is reminiscent of the luxe packaging and just makes my heart sing. (My rings are from Henri Bendel. The harness ring looks to be sold out, but they have other versions available. The midi rings are here and on sale at the moment!)

I cannot comment on wear right now, because I just applied this last night. My fingers are crossed that it doesn't go all chippy the way some more expensive polishes have on me in the past. (Speaking of which, I have an exciting post coming up sharing the top/base coat combo that makes my Chanels chip-proof!) If wear time is solid, you can bet I will be purchasing more YSL polishes.

Have you tried YSL polishes? What are your favourite unique colours in the line?


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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! (from the missing blogger, kittytokaren)

Hello PoP readers!

If you are a new-ish reader, you will have no idea who I am. If you have been around longer, you may not remember me! Hi, I'm kittytokaren, aka k2k. I love simple, elegant manicures, Essie polish, and colours most would consider 'boring'. I gravitate to nudes and darks, and generally fear colour and glitter (with a few exceptions...). I rock short nails, and am constantly looking for better ways to keep my cuticles and hands from drying out.

I disappeared these last couple years in to the vortex of cancer and academia. As I'm sure many of you will understand, it is maybe not the healthiest thing in the world to ditch ones hobbies in the face of a mountain of stress, but it happens.

Now, at the end of 2014, it all came together. I was declared (almost - pending one more check-up!) CANCER-FREE, I finally (and surprisingly...interesting story) graduated with my PhD in Genetics & Molecular Biology, and life is going to be VERY different in 2015! I'm both scared for and excited about the future.

I wanted to share my NYE manicure with all of you, to ring out the wild and wonderful year that was 2014, and to say hello to 2015. I thought of you all when I applied it - I combined an old favourite, Essie Jazz (reviewed in this post with my favourite title of all time), with a gold glitter gradient using the classic Essie Golden Nuggets (also seen here and here) and newly released Essie Rock At the Top.

I don't know what my career is going to look like, I don't know where in the world I'm going to end up, but I do know that I want to take better care of myself in 2015. That includes indulging in the hobbies that I love, like writing on PoP, interacting with all of you, and sharing the polish love! I may not keep up with new collections as much as I used to, but I want to share my manicures and my passion.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I sincerely hope that each and every one of you have an amazing 2015.

Much love xx,

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Essie Eternal Optimist


(2 coats) 

This is from the Spring 2009 collection. I've been doing a lot of boring nudes and vamps for the most part for the past year or so. This is about as crazy as it gets these days. But it is a super gorgeous pink for you warm-toned ladies. The formula is just OK (there was some drag).

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

White/Teal/Turquoise Nail Art :)

I did this particular manicure for a contest held by cutepolish on YouTube back in December. I'm really happy with how it turned out :)

Polishes used:
China Glaze For Audrey
Elevation Polish Jengish Chokusu
Sephora by OPI Read my Palm
Zoya Wednesday
Pahlish Colder Than a Wave (the glitter on the ring finger)

As for the giveaway, I think it'll be of polishes I currently own. I haven't picked the polishes yet, but it'll be at least 10-15 polishes and possibly a gift certificate. I'm still figuring out, I'm sure I'll be more inspired in the following days as it is finals time :) At least 1 prize, up towards 3. It may be a long running contest, though, as it may take me a while to decide on which polishes to part with!

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Belated Easter Mani: Happy Hands Motherboy jelly sandwich and a return?

Hey guys and gals! so I'm trying something new! I downloaded the blogger app so that I can make posts away from a computer, lol. 

So today's post is about my Easter manicure. It is a jelly Sandwich with OPI Don't Touch my Tutu with Happy Hands Motherboy. One coat of the OPI below the glitter and 2 over, to make the pastel glitter a bit more pastel :) It was really delicate and cute. Happy Hands has sadly shut down but a dupe to Motherboy can be found at Rainbow Polish, named Taffy.

Hope there is some interest in this blog still! I'm considering doing a return to blogging giveaway,  comment to let me know if it would be worth doing!  Til next time~

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Essie Topless & Barefoot / Fake nails are the most fun thing ever

I got fake nails again from Valley Nails on Elizabeth in the LES. I did it before about this time last year. This time I went for something longer and almond shaped (passé I know, but I wanted to try it!).

(2 coats)

Freshly done.

8 days later. You can see they've lost their lovely point and have dented up (I chew!). With a heavy battering, these nails have turned oval shaped but never chipped.

(1 coat American Apparel Hassid)

12 days later. Last night I painted them with one coat of black in order to refile them into an almond shape which took a little bit of time but they turned out rather well. This morning they amazingly look almost presentable!

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