Tag Archives: swatch

Kotori, an older polish from Zoya

I was looking through my stash for some wintry polishes and came across one I forgot I even had, so let’s break out an older shimmery blue.

Kotori from Zoya is no longer available on their web site (more on that later) and was part of their lovely Downtown Collection in 2007.  It’s a shimmery or glittery dark teal blue in a clear black base and it’s extremely sheer.  Three coats would be the absolute minimum I think one could get away with, and I used four in these photos for complete coverage.

Under indirect snowy outdoor light and then with the flash:


Kotori flash

It’s very pretty, but having to use so many coats is a pain.  You could use it as a top coat; the sheer black plus blue shimmer could transform other colors.  Still, for a similar blue from Zoya, I’d recommend Dream or especially Remy.  Remy has been one of my favorite polishes this year, and when I reviewed the entire Ignite Collection it was a one-coat wonder for me.

If you really want to track down Kotori, the online retailer Nails Ave.com has it, along with many other older Zoya colors, each at a reasonable price.

Honey, I’m home

Quick post today before I hit the kitchen and start whipping up goodies.  Three words:  Chocolate Pecan Pie.  So easy yet so decadent and yummy.

I’ve become quite the lip product piggie lately — lipsticks, balms, glosses, butters, and crayons.  I’m trying to take better care of my skin which includes my lips, and some photos have made me realize that my lips usually look pale and unhealthy.  So a bit of color is a welcome change.

But I’m very picky.  The Queen of Picky.  I loathe heavy, waxy lip products and will not stand for them.  Frankly, they gross me out.  I blame my earliest experience with lipstick, when as a child of 7 or 8, a teacher put lipstick on me for a school play.   It felt awful — get it off, get it off me!  Not quite scarred for life, but you get the idea.

Today I’d like to show you a lip crayon from Revlon that’s a wonderful combo of balm and stain.  It’s called Colorburst Balm Stain (CBS) but until recently, I believe, the line was called Color Stay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, a name that no doubt proved to be too unwieldy and vampiric-sounding.  The old name is still on Ulta’s web site and you may see it on product in various stores.  Also in the Colorburst lineup are Lacquer Balms and Matte Balms.  The former is high shine and the latter is matte, as you might expect.

CBS is currently available in ten colors.  At Revlon’s web site you can see how various ones look on models with four different skin tones.  It’s a chubby crayon that swivels up and down from the base, so no sharpening required.  Trying to sharpen a soft makeup crayon is like shoveling smoke and I’d rather not, thanks.

I picked up the innocent-looking Honey, a soft mauve-pink.  It goes on smoothly and both feels and looks lightweight.  It’s one of those “my lips but better” colors that I love and it doesn’t dry out my lips.  The last time I wore it, I went out to eat and was not shy about wiping my lips during the meal, so was surprised to see when I got home that I still had good color on my lips from Honey.

Honey closed

Honey open

Here are swatches on my inner arm, first with the flash and then under artificial indoor lighting.

Honey flash

Honey artificial light

I’ll be the first to admit that there isn’t really a “Wow!” factor in how it looks, but I love the hint of color and especially how it feels and lasts.  This stain really stains, in a good way!

The SRP for the Colorburst Balm Stains is about $8.50 to $9.50, but Revlon products are often on sale in BOGOHO deals, and with Black Friday and other holiday promotions coming up, I’m sure you can find better prices.


It’s Movie Night! I mean Mauvy Night.

I’ve sure been enjoying Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks lately.  Had forgotten what classics they can be and how good they feel.  I may grumble occasionally about some other Revlon products but they do lipstick right.

Some of the ones I’ve swatched are Pink in the Afternoon (how’s your search for that discontinued shade going?), Toast of New York, and Teak Rose.  Today I have another creme called Mauvy Night.

Mauvy Night is currently available and is a lovely shade of dark mauve or plum.  It has purple tones but isn’t violet.

Mauvy Night label

Mauvy Night open

Here’s a swatch of it under the camera flash, and then a comparison of it to both Toast of New York and Teak Rose.

Mauvy Night flash

Mauvy Night comps

I think I’m set for winter Super Lustrous lipsticks!  Maybe I’ll pick up some more pinks in the spring.


Now, in case you really do want a movie night instead of or in addition to Mauvy Night, I’ve got some suggestions.  Most are available on Netflix Streaming.

Nebraska (2013) is a black-and-white “road trip” film starring Bruce Dern.  He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar and the film received five other Oscar noms including Best Picture.  I watched this with my husband and half of the time we were laughing and the other half of the time we wanted to cry.  Very touching in many ways, and the cinematography perfectly portrays a small town on the Great Plains.  Rated R for language.

Kahaani (2012) is the best Indian thriller I’ve ever seen.  Unlike many Indian films there is no singing, no dancing.  Kahaani features a strong female protagonist, Vidya, who arrives in the city of Kolkata, pregnant and alone, looking for her missing husband.  Did he ditch her?  She says not, but the police are skeptical.  Is she deluded?  This is a movie where nothing is what it seems, and maybe I was dense but the twist at the end totally broadsided me and made me want to watch the movie again immediately.  Unrated but I would say R for violence.

Argo (2012) is well-known since it won the Best Picture Oscar two years ago.  Starring and directed by Ben Affleck, it tells the story of the CIA’s elaborate ruse to rescue six Americans in Iran following the takeover of the U.S. embassy and their subsequent hiding in the Canadian one.  It’s one of those stories that is so bizarre no one could’ve made it up.  One of things I loved about it is that the clothes, hairstyles, and even eyeglasses are 1970s-spot on.  Rated R for language and some violent images.

Want something a little good, a little bad, and a little weird?  The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) is a Korean tour de force that looks like an old-fashioned American Western and is packed with thrills, strange characters, action, and comedy.  It’s a high-speed chase to …. somewhere.  Set in 1930s Manchuria, it starts with a train robbery and never lets up.  Watch this with your adult kids and they’ll think you’re majorly cool.  Trailer viewable here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzNnCK5cd8Q  Rated R for nonstop violence and some drug use.

Have fun & have a great weekend!

Dancing Nails

Today when I was at Walgreens buying mini sizes of Kleenex, Tylenol, and Tums to keep my travel bag stocked — BOR-ing!! — I decided to get myself one little bottle of polish.  Wags had quite a few from various brands at great clearance prices and there are lots of holiday items and sets out, but I reached into the basic Sinful Colors display.

Bought Dancing Nails, or should I say, re-bought it.  This is an older shade that I had, gave away, then wanted again because I never swatched it for the blog.  The regular SRP of Sinful Colors is $1.99 for a full-sized 0.5 oz/15 ml bottle, and while I usually wait ’til they’re on a half-price sale, what the heck.  $1.99 is still good.

Dancing Nails is a light red with silver shimmer.  I have plenty of bright reds and dark reds, but few light reds.  It seems to be a hard color to make without venturing into the Land of Pink.

Here are two coats, no top coat, under indirect bright outdoor light and then with the flash:

Dancing Nails

Dancing Nails flash

Brushstrokes are slightly visible but not bad.  Would make a great, budget-friendly color for the holidays.

Red for remembrance

After the silliness that was yesterday’s post, I’d like to do a 180 and be serious today.  It’s Veterans’ Day in the United States, a day to remember all armed services veterans, and in the UK it’s Remembrance Day, to honor the armed services members who lost their lives in the line of duty.  Being American and Canadian, I observe both.

Remembrance Day was started by King George V in 1919, and it’s observed on November 11th because the armistice of The Great War, later called World War I, formally ended its fighting “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”  The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.

Red poppies became the symbol of Remembrance Day because of the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who himself died in The Great War.

In Flanders fields the poppies grow,
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

I never learned much about WWI in school.  When we studied American or world history, by the time we got to the 20th century in the history books, the school year was over or almost so, and the last few chapters were rushed.  WWII got much more class time than its predecessor, perhaps because it was so fresh in the minds of our teachers and parents.

Similarly, there are many more movies about WWII than WWI.  All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) is a classic and is worth watching for the excellent acting, horrors of war, and its anti-war sentiment.  Paths of Glory (1957) is another one, not so well-known despite its star, Kirk Douglas, and its director, Stanley Kubrick.

But my favorite movie about WWI is the multi-Genie-award-winning Passchendaele (2008).  This film, which culminates in the bloody battle of Passchendaele (pronounce it “passion-dale”), was written by, directed by, and stars Paul Gross, and I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t the biggest reason I’m nuts about this film.  It’s one you hate or love, I think, and despite instances of corniness and jarringly modern dialogue, I’m in the “love” camp.  I think it was too romantic for a lot of guys.  Oh well, can’t please ‘em all.  It’s rated R for language, numerous scenes of graphic war violence, and some scenes of sexuality.

If you watch a trailer for it, careful you don’t stumble across one that gives away major plot points.  Here’s a safe one:

Or direct link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6WYHagWdeE

Finally, here’s a red polish for the day, Carmen by Zoya.  It’s an older one from their Classics and is a good true red creme, nothing fancy.  I needed three coats for good coverage but it’s quite glossy even without a top coat.



Remembering my first cousin, Pte. Joseph Gerard Stanley Beardmore, served in the Royal Canadian Regiment, died 11 October 1951, age 24.  Buried in the United Nations Cemetery, Busan, South Korea.

More Zoya comparisons

Disclosure:  All polishes except Julieanne were previously supplied by Zoya for review.

Happy Halloween!  Nothing ultra-Halloween today, although I am swatching/comparing some black and purple polishes.  These comparisons are by request — thanks!

First up, Thea from the new Wishes Collection vs. Carter from 2013 Fall PixieDust Collection.

Thea Carter bot

Thea Carter flash

Very similar in color and tone, but Thea has multiple sizes of glitter, plus holo glitter, and Carter has a more even sparkle.  In my opinion Thea is suitable as a top coat over other polishes and Carter wouldn’t be, as it would obscure another underlying polish.

Now Imogen from the new Wishes Collection vs. Dahlia from the first PixieDust set.

Imogen Dahlia bot

Imogen Dahlia flash

Like Thea and Carter, Imogen and Dahlia are very close in color but Imogen has the holo/multisized glitter and could be used as a one-coat top coat.  It’s hard to tell in the photo because of the flash, but Dahlia dries more matte to almost an “asphalt” look.

Finally, Julieanne from the 2010 Wicked Collection vs. Sansa from this fall’s Ignite Collection.

Julieanne Sansa bot

You can’t tell from the photos, but Julieanne’s base is dark blue, with purple, blue, and perhaps dark pink sparkle.  Sansa is a dark plum with gold sparkle.  Under the flash with the bottle of Sansa:

Julieanne Sansa flash

And under indirect outdoor light with the bottle of Julieanne:

Julieanne Sansa outd

Hope those quick swatches help when making decisions.  Have a great weekend and don’t eat all the Halloween candy!

Disclosure:  All polishes except Julieanne were previously supplied by Zoya for review.

Wishes from Zoya — complete review plus comparisons

Disclosure:  The Wishes Collection was supplied by Zoya for review.  Some of the comparison polishes were previously supplied by Zoya for review.

Sparkly, dreamy jewels — that’s Zoya’s new Winter/Holiday Collection called Wishes.

Zoya Wishes banner

Announced a little over a week ago and available for preorder now, Wishes is a set of six polishes:  one creme, two metallics, and three Magical (i.e., contain holographic glitter) PixieDusts.

Zoya Wishes sampler

What, no reds in a holiday set?  That’s OK, Zoya recently released a small 3-polish set of Ultra PixieDusts that were all red or red-toned, and I think it’s refreshing to go with bright blues and purples plus black.

Unless otherwise stated, all swatches are done with two coats.  All the Wishes polishes had good formulas and coverage.

Prim is a cool-toned periwinkle blue with a very strong silver metallic shimmer.

Wishes Prim outd

Haven is a violet-purple shimmer.  Shown under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash.

Wishes Haven outd

Wishes Haven flash

Willa is an opaque onyx black creme, no shimmer at all, unlike Zoya’s own Raven.  Willa is a renamed re-release of the limited edition color called Black Swan, which was part of a Zang Toi trio in September of 2013.  Solid black polishes like this make good “undies” for various top coats although of course can be worn solo.

Wishes Willa

On to the new PixieDusts.  I show each color with one coat on my pinkie fingernail on the right and two coats on my ring finger, so you can judge the opacity in case you’d want to use one coat as a top coat over something else.

Nori is a sapphire blue matte textured polish with heavy glitter and sparkle, both holographic and non-holo.

Wishes Nori

Thea is an amethyst purple.  I needed three coats of this one for good opacity.

Wishes Thea

Imogen is black with a lot of glitter and sparkle.  The holo glitter really makes it colorful.

Wishes Imogen

So how could you combine these?  Your imagination is the only limit, but here are two looks I tried that I love, one coat of Thea over Willa on my ring finger (left) and one coat of Nori over Willa on the right.  Without and then with a flash.

Wishes Thea and Nori over Willa

Wishes Thea and Nori over Willa flash

Complex and mysterious, just like me.  (OK, OK, I kid.)

I thought of some quick comparisons.  One of my favorite Zoya polishes for years has been Jo.  Prim is similar to Jo, but Prim has slightly more of a dusty purple tone and shows brushstrokes more.  Jo is more blue plus has blue shimmer in addition to silver.

Wishes Prim and Jo bottles

Wishes Prim and Jo flash

Nori reminded me of Muse from this summer’s Bubbly Collection.  Muse is more of a blue-green and the two have slightly different sizes of glitter.  Nori dries matte textured, but not completely matte.

Wishes Nori and Muse bottles

Wishes Nori and Muse

On the nail, Nori and Muse look very close.

Hope is an older polish that’s very similar to Haven.

Wishes Haven and Hope bottles

Wishes Haven and Hope outd

Haven is more plum; Hope is more violet.  While the colors are close, the formulas aren’t — my bottle of Hope is very thin and the polish needed at least three coats for good coverage.  Haven covered very well with two.

Wishes is such a beautiful collection, so much more than just a Christmas set.  You could wear these colors all winter; heck, you could wear them all year.

My favorites are Prim, Haven, and Thea, while my favorite combo look is either Nori or Thea over Willa.  Imogen would be fun to try over various cremes — dark green, red, gray.

Some caveats:  If you have the Zoya limited edition called Black Swan, be aware that Willa is exactly the same and only the name is new.  Willa is beautiful for a solid black creme and I think every polishaholic needs one in her stash, but if you already have a black creme I doubt I’d rush to buy this.  If you don’t have one though, the smooth formula and coverage make it a winner.

Prim and Jo are close but are not dupes.  Love both!  Haven and Hope are even closer.  If I already had Hope I probably wouldn’t get Haven, but if you don’t have Hope then I highly recommend Haven and its formula is much better than Hope’s.

As always, Zoya polishes are “Big 5 Free”: Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or camphor.

Disclosure:  The Wishes Collection was supplied by Zoya for review.  Some of the comparison polishes were previously supplied by Zoya for review.


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