Category Archives: blue

Proud as a peacock

… to show you a peacock blue polish.  It’s one of the shades I picked up at a Black Friday sale last fall from Julep.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a Julep “Maven,” aka a member of their subscription program.  I’ve gotten soured on sub programs from other companies in general lately because I’ve seen or received too many colors I don’t like or want.  I think it works better for me — and avoids the dreaded buyer’s remorse — if I buy the colors I want individually.  But ever the thrifty one, I wait for screaming deals.

Marion is a peacock blue shimmer, some might call it teal, but it leans more blue to me.  The shimmer is a pretty silver and blue.  The application was very good and it was a one-coater for me.  Gotta emphasize that:  ONE COAT.  I love one-coaters and rarely find them.

Here’s Marion under indirect outdoor light, one coat, no top coat:


I love this one!  I’ve read a few reviews that said Marion stains (always something to beware of with blue polish) but I used a good base coat and didn’t have a problem.  Zoya’s Anchor Base Coat is my fave.  This shade of blue is one I’d wear any time of year — spring, summer, fall, and winter.  That’s another polish feature I rarely encounter!

Marion is currently $6.99 at Julep’s site, which is half of their regular $14 price.  I think $14 for what I consider a mini (0.27 oz/8 ml) is ridiculous, but if you love the color I think $6.99 is OK considering it’s a one-coater.  If Marion’s not your style, Julep has a lot of other colors on sale on their “Savvy Deals” page.  Shop carefully because prices range from $2.99 to $6.99.

Snowbound with The Silver Nail

Disclosure: Cole and Rebel were supplied by Zoya for review.

When I was a little girl in a part of North Carolina that almost never saw even a dusting of snow, one of my favorite books was Snowbound with Betsy, by Carolyn Haywood and first published in 1962.  I loved all the books in the Betsy series (B is for Betsy, Betsy and Billy, etc.) but just could NOT imagine what it would be like to be snowbound.  In fact, when I’d see photos of parts of the U.S. or the world that had deep snow, I thought that it wasn’t real, that someone was making it all up.

Then when I was older and read the Little House on the Prairie books, I remember an incident where Laura described a blizzard so severe that Pa had to tie a rope around his waist to go from the house to the barn, so he wouldn’t get lost in the snowstorm and wander off to freeze to death.  Again, I thought, “How can that be??”

Well, having lived in Montana for decades, I now know firsthand that deep snow and blizzards with zero visibility are indeed real.  We’re having a blizzard today, and while the wind is whipping the snow into deep drifts, the visibility isn’t terrible.  Still, I’m staying in.  Why go out in this if you don’t have to?

And thanks to a couple of excellent suggestions from readers, I have two more comparisons for you.  Yesterday I showed several of the new Awaken Collection colors compared to others from Zoya.  Here are two more pairs:  Jo (2009 Twist Collection — also note that Moxie, my favorite raspberry creme, is back in stock!!!) and Rebel (Awaken), plus Arizona (2012 Beach Collection) and Cole (Awaken).

Aw. jorebelarizonacole

Jo is a periwinkle blue shimmer that, if I had to name a “Top 10 from Zoya” list, would be near the top.  I never get tired of it.  It’s a tribute to its popularity that it’s still being sold, five years after its release.  As you can see, Jo and Rebel are alike only in that they are both blue.  Jo has a lavender tone and very fine silver and blue shimmer; Rebel is more of a robin’s egg blue with heavier flakes.  Here they are under indirect snowy light, no flash, with each bottle:

Aw. Rebel Jo

Aw. Rebel Jo2

I rarely say something so insistent, but if you’re a fan of blue polish, you reallyreallyreally might want to consider having both.  Rebel seems to have a teal look when compared to Jo, but compared to the true teal of Zuza, I would call it just blue.

Aw. Dillon Zuza Rebel

Cole and Arizona are both cremes with no shimmer at all.  Cole is a warm light peach and Arizona is bright orange.  With the bottle of Cole:

Aw. Cole Arizona

Both have an excellent formula but I don’t wear much peach or orange, personally.  Love seeing it on others, though.  By the way, a long time ago I compared Arizona and Jancyn and found them to be almost complete dupes.

Welp, stay warm, stay dry, and don’t get lost in a blizzard!

Disclosure: Cole and Rebel were supplied by Zoya for review.

Let’s compare — spring foils from Zoya

Disclosure: All of these polishes except Zuza were supplied by Zoya for review.

I really enjoyed swatching Zoya’s new Awaken Collection yesterday. As planned, here are some comparisons to a few older Zoya colors.

Brooklyn from Awaken and Piaf from the Lovely Collection (spring 2013) with camera flash:

Aw. Brooklyn w Piaf bottles

Brooklyn is slightly more gold and Piaf is more yellow in this light.  Also, Brooklyn is a shimmer and Piaf is a foil.  But under indirect outdoor light the colors look much more similar, and Brooklyn actually looks lighter.  Odd but true.  With the bottle of Brooklyn:

Aw. Brooklyn w Piaf

Since Brooklyn tends to show brushstrokes I’d have to say the advantage goes to Piaf.

Dillon (Awaken), Zuza (Surf Collection, summer 2012), and Rebel (Awaken), under the camera flash:

Aw. Dillon Zuza Rebel

You can see here that the blue Rebel isn’t like Zuza at all.  But Dillon and Zuza are similar, with Dillon being lighter and less teal.  Under indirect outdoor light, no flash, with the bottle of Dillon:

Aw. Dillon w Zuza

Love, love, love both.  Zuza is one of my all-time favorites from Zoya and I think Dillon is going to be one too.

Hudson from Awaken and Julie from Lovely, flash:

Aw. Hudson Julie bottles

And on the nail, indirect light, with the bottle of Hudson:

Aw. Hudson Julie

These two are in my mind very similar in formula, shimmer, and overall color, with the big difference being tint or shade.  Hudson is a dark lavender and Julie is a very light one.  I like both.  Oh, I guess another big difference is that Julie is not available at Zoya’s web site any more.  Perhaps it wasn’t terribly popular.

If you’re deciding on some colors, I hope these comparisons helped.  Any others you want me to compare to the new Awaken colors?  Just ask.  :-)

Disclosure: All of these polishes except Zuza were supplied by Zoya for review.

The Awaken Collection from Zoya — it’s here!!

Disclosure:  These polishes were sent by Zoya for review.


Just tackled the poor FedEx delivery driver.  I’ve been watching online as my spring Awaken Collection with Monet topper from Zoya made its way across the U.S. and finally it’s here.  Most of the individual colors have been shipping for some time, but one color, Hudson, was delayed and therefore held up the 6-piece samplers.  But like when your teenage child comes driving up at midnight, you’re just glad they’re home.  You might grumble a bit but all is forgiven.


Left to right:

  • Dillon
  • Rebel
  • Hudson
  • Dot
  • Cole
  • Brooklyn

plus Monet (not included in the Awaken Collection; available separately)


Dillon, Rebel,  and Hudson are foils, Dot and Cole are cremes, and Brooklyn is a shimmer.  Monet is a multicolored “cellophane” topper — holo hex glitter in a sheer pink base.  Let’s get to ‘em!

All six Awaken polishes had an excellent formula and I used three coats of each.  Keep in mind not to overwork the foils for a nice, smooth look.  Photos are under indirect bright snowy outdoor light.

Dillon is a gorgeous light mint green foil.  I don’t know what it is, but most mint greens make my skin look red.  Not Dillon!
Awaken Dillon
Rebel is a robin’s egg blue with perhaps a hint of teal.  Lots of silver-gold sparkle.
Awaken Rebel
Hudson is an Easter egg lavender with a lot of sparkle, too.
Awaken Hudson
Dot is a milky pale baby pink previously released in a limited edition Zang Toi trio where it was called Ballet Babe.  The first coat was sheer but by the third coat it gave good coverage and self-leveled very well.  A classic petal pink.
Awaken Dot
Cole is a warm peach creme with a fun creamsicle look.  It was called Stella in an earlier LE Peter Som trio.  Pretty, but peach/orange is one of the hardest colors for me to wear personally, because of my skin tone.  I think it’d look better on lighter or darker or warmer skin.  In other words, just about everyone else!
Awaken Cole
Brooklyn is a pale gold shimmer, almost a white gold.  Classy, but it showed brushstrokes the most.  Wish it had been a foil finish too.
Awaken Brooklyn

Monet has a thick formula and I had to fish for the glitter a little, plus it tended to bunch up at the ends of my nails.  It looks more noticeable and prettier over some colors than over others.  Here it is, one coat plus a few extra dabs, over each Awaken polish.

Awaken Dillon M

Awaken Rebel M

Awaken Hudson M

Awaken Dot M

Awaken Cole M

Awaken Brooklyn M

I love the Awaken Collection.  It’s got all my favorite spring colors — mint green, cool blue, cheery lavender, petal pink. Overall I think Awaken is Zoya’s best spring or summer collection since the foil goodness of Surf two years ago.  My favorites?  Ooh, that’s tough, truly.  I couldn’t pick just one; I’d have to have at least Dillon, Rebel, and Hudson, plus I like all the others, too.

Tomorrow, when I’m not so pressed for time, I plan to compare these new colors to some of Zoya’s older ones.

Zoya polishes are 5-Free — free of toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).  The Awaken polishes are $9 each and the Monet topper is $10 at .

Disclosure:  These polishes were sent by Zoya for review.

Magical PixieDust from Zoya — the review

Disclosure:  These polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

Zoya’s new Magical PixieDust trio is out!  Being in the western U.S., my samples just arrived today but many other bloggers have already received, swatched, and reviewed their samples.  I’ve deliberately tried to avoid other reviews so as to remain unbiased and fresh.Zoya holo PD

These Magical PixieDusts are different from Zoya’s previous PDs in that they contain a lot of holographic glitter, in small and medium hex sizes.  The bases are clear and each polish gets its color from heavy microshimmer in white/silver, blue, and pink.  Even under indirect cloudy outdoor light — no sunshine or flash — you can see how holo and glittery they are.  Left to right:  Cosmo, Vega, and Lux:


Each polish was rather thick, with the blue Vega being the thickest.  I used three thin coats of each polish, with no base or top coat.  Let’s go straight to swatches and then discuss.




None of them ever dried actually matte for me and they’re shinier and obviously much more glittery than Zoya’s previous PDs.  One of the things I’ve liked about Zoya’s PDs (seen here and here, for example) is that they have a sugary sparkle that is neither a flat “dried paint” look nor a glitter bomb.  The Magical PDs remind me more of OPI’s matte textured polishes called Liquid Sand, which isn’t a bad thing but I still prefer the original PixieDust matte-yet-sparkly look.

I like all three of these new polishes and Cosmo is my favorite if I could only pick one.  I expected the pink Lux to be more pigmented.

Honestly?  I’ll probably use the Magical PixieDusts as a glitter top coat over other polishes most of the time.  I love the holo sparkle yet don’t get the matte or semi-matte look from PDs that I’ve come to expect.

Each polish is $10 (US) at and as always, Zoya polishes are 5-free — free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and camphor.

P.S.  Now that I’ve written my own review, I’ve read some others.  Several people think the dried polish feels too chunky or rough, but I don’t get that feeling.  Yes, it’s rougher than non-glitter polishes but feels average for a glitter to me.

Disclosure:  These polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Is it Presidents’ Day with a possessive apostrophe or Presidents Day without one?  I think it’s with.  Whichever it is, have a happy one.  Fly your flag and don’t worry about checking the mail.

I thought I’d try to create a post that would have something to do with the holiday, but as you might imagine, it’d be quite a stretch.  George and Abraham sure didn’t wear nail polish and Martha and Mary wouldn’t have either.  So I thought I’d do a quick search on what Abraham Lincoln’s favorite color was.  It was blue.  No, it was red.  No, he was color-blind.  No, he wasn’t.  Another dead end.

In despair I’m tossing up my hands and showing you one of my frankenpolishes, aka a franken.  As I’ve mentioned before, that’s when you mix two or more polishes to make something new.

Here’s one I made that I call “Train Wreck,” because it’s such a mash-up.  I started with a dark metallic blue and added some purple.  The shimmer in the dark blue polish was silver, but oddly, the addition of the purple turned some of the shimmer pink.  Weird, but I like it.  Further proof that ya just never know what’s going to happen when you start mixing and switching.  Under indirect outdoor light and then with a fill flash:

Train Wreck

Train Wreck flash

It’s not a duochrome yet I like how it looks more blue in some light and more purple in another.  Just a fun color.

If you’re ever going to franken some polishes, always be careful and work in a well-ventilated area.  I usually begin by pouring out (onto a paper towel that then goes in the garbage) some polish and re-using whatever bottle I started with, but you can also buy brand-new, clean, empty bottles.  Here are some from Head2Toe Beauty for about a dollar each.  What I like about frankening — apart from the “play” factor — is that sometimes you can start with two or more polishes you don’t particularly like and end up with something you do like.

Another from Julep — Rebecca

My polish life is kind of weird these past few days.  The new spring colors from Zoya — Awaken Collection, Monet topper, Magical PixieDusts — have not shipped yet, I haven’t bought any new spring releases from Essie or China Glaze or OPI, and frankly, I’m glued to the Olympics on TV.

What to do, what to do.  I decided to dig into my relatively-new-but-not-yet swatched stash, and I came up with a beautiful spring color from Julep called Rebecca.  I’m not a “Maven,” aka monthly subscriber to Julep; Rebecca is a polish that I bought cheep cheep at an after-Christmas sale.  As I’ve posted before, Julep’s full-sized bottles are what I call mini, 0.27 oz/8 ml, and I don’t care for the tall, narrow bottle shape.  But they have some nice polishes.

Rebecca is a lavender-blue or light periwinkle blue creme.  The formula was very thick but it self-leveled well and dried quickly.  Two coats, no top coat:


Rebecca is still available on Julep’s site and is still on sale for $3.99.  Personally I won’t pay more than that for such a tiny bottle, but I do love the shade.  It’s not just blue and it’s not just lavender.  Very spring-like.  I don’t have another creme exactly this color, although I do have similar colors in different finishes (shimmer, matte textured).

More deals can be found on Julep’s “Savvy Deals” page but shop carefully because there’s quite a range of prices.  The shimmery peach Karen that I swatched earlier is on sale for $2.99.

SquareHue does Harajuku style!

Disclosure:  One of the older polishes was supplied by SquareHue.  All others were bought.

This snowy, frigid, windy day has been considerably brightened by the delivery of my February SquareHue subscription box.  The theme for this month is The Passport Collection: Tokyo, and the tagline for it was “Nails ablaze, Harajuku style!”

For new readers,  SquareHue is a polish-of-the month (POTM) subscription club and each month’s box contains three full-sized 0.5 oz./15 ml bottles, not just one bottle and not skimpy mini bottles like other companies.  The polish is 4-free (free of DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, and camphor) and is not tested on animals.  You can suspend or pause your account at any time, or you can cancel any time as well with no penalty. Check out all the details at SquareHue’s “How It Works” page.

I know very little about Japanese culture but Harajuku is a district in Tokyo that has become a pop culture buzzword for its bright, outré clothing, makeup, and hair styles.  I don’t even pretend to understand it nor will I attempt to explain it because I’d probably get it all wrong.  A Google or Pinterest search of “Harajuku style” will give you a basic idea.  Think bright.  Think wild.

So I was reallyreallyreally hoping that SquareHue would get a bit wild with the polishes this month, and my dreams came true.  No white.  No black.  No cremes (not that I dislike cremes; in fact, SqH’s all-creme November box has been one of my faves).  Feast your winter-tired eyes on these babies:

SqH Feb14 bottles

SqH Feb14 bottles2

SqH Feb14 bottles3

Left to right:

  • Roppongi — lime green glitter
  • Shibuya — magenta-pink microglitter
  • Ginza — bright blue shimmer

The names are all Tokyo streets or districts famous for their shopping and/or night life.

Roppongi is a sheer top coat with multiple sizes of glitter.  I think it would be very hard to build up opacity on its own, and I show it by itself (one coat on my middle finger, three coats on my ring finger) and as one coat over SquareHue’s own lime green creme Flower Power from the April 2013 box, on my little finger.  Would be fun to try it over other colors too, such as black or light blue.


Shibuya is amazing.  It’s hot pink, it’s magenta, it’s fuchsia.  At first glance it’s similar to a color from SqH’s first-ever box in December of 2012 called Sugar Plum, but Shibuya is a duochrome that looks mostly hot pink but flashes blue-purple at certain angles.

Shibuya and SugarPlum

The formula of Shibuya was good and I used three coats, no top coat.  It dries very glossy and I think it looks more pink on the nail than it does in the bottle.


Reminds me of Mason from Zoya but Shibuya is more glittery.

Ginza is a silvery blue shimmer whose base color is similar to Midnight Flurries from SqH’s January 2013 box, but Midnight Flurries contained holographic microglitter.

Ginza and MidFlur

Ginza’s formula was thin and it was very streaky on the first coat.  The second and third coats covered better but I still had to watch out for brushstrokes.  Don’t overwork it.  I’d almost call this one a chrome, it’s so shiny.


I love SquareHue’s Tokyo Collection.  Huge props for giving us bright, saturated colors and shimmer/glitter!  My favorite?  That’s tough.  I really like all three but if I could only pick one I’d latch on to Shibuya, because it’s so bright and the formula is great.  Roppongi is a color I won’t wear very often but I still think it’s so freakin’ cool, and Ginza… well, I’m kind of obsessed with blue polish lately.

The theme city and picture for the March collection have been posted, and it’s Paris.

SqH March preview pic

From the extremely subdued colors in this picture — especially compared to the ones we’ve seen for the last several months (New York, London, and Tokyo), I’m expecting a set of neutrals/nudes, but that’s only a guess and I have no inside knowledge.  Selfishly I hope it’s not all nude cremes since I have enough of those and I rarely wear them because I think they’re kinda boring.  Guess I can hope for a beige or tan holo, though!

Disclosure:  One of the older polishes was supplied by SquareHue.

Dabbling in the Black Market

Wait!  Don’t call the police on me just yet!

A few weeks ago I posted my first makeup review, a chunky palette from Urban Decay called the Shattered Face Case.  From the set, I loved the soft formula and intense pigmentation of the eye liner pencil called Zero but wanted to try some colors other than jet black.

When I next browsed my local Ulta store, lo and behold, I saw a collection of six travel-sized 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils from Urban Decay (same kind as Zero) called Black Market.  Oddly, the dozen or so sets of them were unceremoniously dumped on an end cap with no price sign, no advertising, nuttin’.  Not sure if I wanted to buy them or not, I checked online reviews and swatches and then decided yes, I most definitely did want them.

The set was $36 but I got them for 20% off, or $28.80.  This works out to just under $5 per pencil.  While travel-sized, they aren’t tiny; they’re about two-thirds the size of regular UD 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils which retail for $19 each, and are plenty big enough for me.

I’ll show you swatches in a minute, but first — good news on the price of the set.  I no longer see Black Market on Ulta’s web site, but on Urban Decay’s site itself, they are on sale for $24 as of this writing.

UD Black Market set

The colors are:

  • West –dark brown pearl
  • Desperation — deep taupe-gray matte
  • Black Market — charcoal black satin
  • Riot — smoky purple shimmer with violet micro-sparkle
  • Apathy — metallic olive green shimmer
  • Ink – deep navy blue satin

I absolutely love the formula.  They go on smoothly with no dragging, skipping, or tugging.  For years I’ve been using hard eye liner pencils from Cover Girl but these UD pencils are so much softer.  Yet the pigmentation is intense and they’re waterproof too.  Excellent staying power; they don’t rub off until you remove them with makeup remover or soap.  Here are swatches on my inner arm, with colors from top to bottom in the same order as listed above.

UD Black Market swatches

I feel that this set gives me all the eye liner colors I need — they’re dark but not Goth, and aren’t garish or complete glitter bombs.  I truly love all the colors but feel I’ll probably wear West and Desperation the most as an everyday look.  Riot might be a bit sparkly for me except as an evening look, although I could tone it down by layering it with another color.  Black Market is less intense than Zero which I showed previously.

Oh, and don’t think you have to have green eyes to wear green eye liner, or blue eyes to wear blue.  I have brown eyes and think these all look good.  My old, hard, ancient eye pencils are going in la garbage!

P.S.  Here’s a tip.  Sharpening soft eye pencils can be tricky.  Push too hard and all you’ll get is a mushy mess and a waste of product.  Pop the pencil in the freezer for five minutes or so and try sharpening it then.  Gently.

A Song from Zoya

Reader request!  After waffling over to-buy-or-not-to-buy Song for months and months, I finally picked it up in my last order from Zoya.  Here’s a quick swatch on my poor, broken nails, along with some comparisons.

Song is described on Zoya’s web site as “Bold, vibrant medium primary blue with silver and blue glittery metallic sparkle.  A very vibrant blue with a glittery finish that’s smoother than traditional chunky glitter,” yet they list its finish as “foil.”  I don’t think it’s a foil; I’d call it a microfine glitter or flakie.  But let’s not split hairs.

It’s a beautiful medium-dark bright blue, not grayed or dull whatsoever.  Song was part of the Diva Collection from Fall 2012, which contained mostly jewel-bright shades.

Song went on well and was an excellent self-leveler, although it was a bit too thick.  One coat was almost but not quite enough, so I used two.  No brushstrokes here!  With no top coat under indirect snowy outdoor light:


I pulled out two other Zoyas for comparison, Neve and Ibiza.  Neve has a slight purple tone and Ibiza is darker and more indigo.  Under indirect light and then with a fill flash:


SongNeveIbiza flash

And here’s an old swatch of both Neve and Ibiza:

Neve and Ibiza

As you can see, they’re close but not dupes.  Do you need all three?  Do I?  Probably not.  If you wanted to pick just one I’d say go with Song if you want a bright medium blue, Neve if you want one that’s slightly purple-toned, and Ibiza if you want an indigo blue.  The level of shimmer in all three is similar.

And because I know someone will ask — and I love such questions because they make me think! — if I could only pick one, it’d be Neve.  It applied ultra-smoothly and I love its sapphire tone.


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