Tag Archives: swatch

The Steampunk Ball 6-lacquer mini-set from Butter London — full review

Woot.  A new Ulta store just opened where I live and you better believe I was there the day it opened.  I was looking for the new 6-piece polish set of minis from Butter London called Steampunk Ball ’cause I had to see it in person.  The whole new collection is called Steampunk Ball, as is this one set.  There are other sets such as Gilded Gears and Clockwork Couture, but they either have colors I don’t want or ones I already have.  The release is confusing; know what you’re buying.

I attempted to briefly explain the concept of steampunk here a little over a week ago.

BL Steampunk

I couldn’t tell enough from the stock photos on either BL’s site or the Nordstrom’s site, especially about Barkers and Brass Goggles….

BL Steampunk Ball

BL Steampunk set

…. but when I saw them in person I wanted them.

Steampunk set

The colors, left to right, top row and then bottom row:

Barkers – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey with magenta-green shimmer

Pinkies Up – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, pink shimmer

Baroness – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, burgundy metallic

Full coverage, flaring shimmers in saffron red gel-like base

Full Steam Ahead – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey creme

Brass Goggles – Set Exclusive!
Semi-sheer, black and gold foil glitter

These are all new except for Bric-a-Brac, which was part of the fall Brick Lane set, but it’s a shade I’ve been craving so I’m cool with it being included.

Let’s jump right in!  I used two coats of each polish except for Bric-a-Brac which needed three, and Brass Goggles which is a top coat and needed but one coat.

Barkers is a very odd color, in a fascinating way.  It’s just like the official description, opaque gray with dark pink & green shimmer.  Kind of looks like a sheen of oil, if oil had sparkles.  The overall effect is purplish but it’s way more complex than just a shimmery purple.  Under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash:

Steampunk Barkers

Steampunk Barkers flash

Doesn’t it look absolutely wild in the bottle in the second picture?  Like some weird elixir.

Pinkies Up, on the other hand, is a demure peachy-pink shimmer.  Might look like it doesn’t belong in the set but I actually like it.

Steampunk Pinkies

Steampunk Pinkies flash

Let’s jazz it up.  The polish called Brass Goggles in this set is a glitter top coat, a clear base with gold and black glitter of various shapes and sizes, even some tiny black bar glitter and gold shards.  Here it is over Pinkies Up.

Steampunk P and BG


Baroness is a beautiful dusty burgundy shimmer and while I love the color, visible brushstrokes were a bit of a problem.

Steampunk Baroness

Steampunk Baroness flash

However, with the top coat of Brass Goggles, brushstrokes disappear, and it looks pretty cool.

Steampunk B with BG

Full Steam Ahead is the color I thought I’d like least, but for “only” a gray creme, I love it.  So smooth, and the bluish gunmetal shade strikes me as “just right” and very glossy.  Really glad I found this one since I have a hard time wearing medium to dark grays.

Steampunk Full Steam

I tried Brass Goggles over Full Steam Ahead but wasn’t crazy about it.

Steampunk FS with BG

Finally, Bric-a-Brac.  Love, love, love this “ruby slippers” polish.  The base is a pinkish-red and the heavy red and gold metallic is so beautiful.  A holiday polish for sure.

Steampunk BricaBrac

I didn’t try Brass Goggles over Bric-a-Brac because there was already so much glittery goodness going on.

So that’s the Steampunk Ball set.  The bottles are minis, 0.2 oz/6 ml, and the set is $39 SRP.  It does seem expensive for minis, but Butter London is more expensive than Zoya, OPI, and drugstore brands.

The polishes are not available individually or in full sizes except for Bric-a-Brac, and Full Steam Ahead is available as a full size in the Art of Alchemy set ($65) but that set also contains five older colors.

Overall I love this Steampunk Ball set and I’m OK with the bottles being minis.  I never use up full-size bottles anyway!  My favorite shades by themselves are Bric-a-Brac, Barkers, and Full Steam Ahead, and I also love Brass Goggles over Baroness.  Barkers is the most unusual shade in this set, and photos don’t do it justice.


Coming Monday, big news.  Have a great weekend!

Teak Rose vs. Toast of New York

Not long ago I reviewed the lipstick Toast of New York from Revlon’s Super Lustrous line.  It was fun to read comments from women who said it was their shade back in the ’90s.  I didn’t wear it then but am loving it now.

Also I was reminded that it’s similar — or might be — to another Revlon shade called Teak Rose.  Since I’ve been on a lip product buying spree lately and have found some great sales, why not pick it up for comparison?

Both are cremes and I’d call both medium-to-dark and warm-toned.

Teak Rose1

Teak Rose2

In the tube I think they look more similar than they do when worn.  Here are both under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash:

Teak Rose3

Teak Rose4flash

No surprises here; Teak Rose is redder or rosier than Toast of New York.  If you’re afraid the latter is too brown for you yet want a good shade for fall that’s not too bright, Teak Rose might be a good choice.  I really like both and think they’re good choices for any age.

P.S.  If it seems to you that I’m talking more about makeup and less about nail polish than I used to do, you’re right.  I’m not giving up nail polish by any means but am in more of a makeup mood lately.

Zoya Matte Velvet review — Part 3

Disclosure:  These polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

Today I have the last two polishes from Zoya’s re-release of their Matte Velvet Collection.  Check Part 1 for swatches of Posh and Dovima and Part 2 for swatches of Veruschka and Savita.



I was really excited to try Harlow; it’s been a “lemming” — a badly-wanted, hard-to-find polish — of mine for years.  And Loredana looked pretty too.

The formula of Harlow was excellent with two coats giving very good coverage, but Loredana seemed the thinnest of the six Matte Velvets to me.  I used three coats of it.

All photos are under indirect outdoor light with no flash.  Harlow and then Loredana:



Harlow is a plum pink and Loredana is a dark gunmetal gray.  Both have sparkles that are much more evident with a clear shiny top coat:

Harlow w tc

Loredana w tc

Both look very chic matte and are beautiful with the top coat as well.  As I’ve mentioned, one way to wear the Matte Velvets is to apply them as-is and then in a few days add a clear top coat to prolong your manicure and give them a different look.

Of all six Matte Velvets, my favorites are Harlow and Dovima worn matte, and I love all of them with the shiny top coat.


And now, FUN STUFF, a giveaway!  I’m just going to be posting this here on the blog, not as a Rafflecopter giveaway on my Facebook page.

Since Zoya generously gave me all six Matte Velvets but I already owned four, I’m giving away the brand new, unopened, full-sized bottles of Posh (red), Dovima (black), Veruschka (green), and Savita (purple).  I’ll have two prizes of two bottles each. You can win either a “Halloween set” of black and purple or a “Christmas set” of red and green, how’s that?

Here are the rules:

  • Add a comment to this page saying you would like to enter the giveaway.
  • You must be a registered follower of this blog.  New followers welcome.
  • One entry per person.
  • State which set you’d like if you win, either black/purple or red/green.  Do not enter twice for both, please.
  • Shipping address within the continental United States only due to postal regulations.
  • All other giveaway rules apply.

I’ll randomly pick two names early next week.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  These polishes were provided by Zoya for review.


UPDATE:  Contest is closed and I have emailed the two winners chosen by a random number generator.  Congratulations  to C.O. and L. F. and thanks to all for entering!

Zoya Matte Velvet review — Part 2

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

Hope you enjoyed Part 1 yesterday with swatches of Posh and Dovima.   Please see that post for the background info on the re-release of Zoya’s Matte Velvet Collection.



Today I have the green Veruschka and the purple Savita Matte Velvets to show you.

Again, the formula of the polishes was excellent with two coats giving very good coverage.  It seemed to me that Veruschka was a little thicker than the other three polishes.  Thin coats that dry more quickly definitely work better with mattes.

All photos are under indirect outdoor light with no flash.  Veruschka and then Savita:


Savita - Copy

Veruschka is a dark emerald or hunter green, and Savita is a blue-toned purple with the slightest hink of pink sparkle.  Both colors, unfortunately, seemed to make my skin look redder than usual.

With a  clear shiny top coat:

Veruschka w tc

Savita w tc - Copy

I don’t feel the clear top coat changes the colors at all.  I like both these polishes but am not crazy about them on my skin tone.  My favorite of the looks shown today is Veruschka with the shiny top coat.

Thanks to the generosity of Zoya, I will be receiving media samples of all six Matte Velvet polishes.  Since I already own four of them, I will be holding a giveaway for the new bottles of those colors, perhaps two prizes of two bottles each.  Stay tuned next week for that!


Don’t forget the current promotion from Zoya.


Be sure to read ALL the details and fine print on Zoya’s page.  With any purchase of $30 or more now through 10/12/14 you get a full-sized bottle of Posh plus a matte velvet red lipstick (while supplies last, exclusions apply, promotions and codes cannot be combined).

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

Zoya Matte Velvet review — Part 1

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

News popped up recently that Zoya is re-releasing its six Matte Velvet polishes.



Last year Zoya re-introduced Dovima, Posh, Savita, and Veruschka for a limited time and I bought them, so in advance of this latest re-release, let me swatch those for you to help you make a decision about which ones to get this time around.  Today I’ll show you red Posh and black Dovima; tomorrow I’ll swatch purple Savita and green Veruschka.

First of all, the bottles are different from Zoya’s usual clear glass.  These are frosted glass so you can tell at a glance in your stash which are the matte polishes.

The formula of the polishes is excellent and two coats covered well, although the first one was streaky.  Remember to use thin coats so they will dry more quickly and evenly.  One big plus is that the Matte Velvets have almost no smell, unlike most matte polishes and matte top coats I’ve used, which can stink to high heaven.

All photos are under indirect outdoor light with no flash.  Posh and then Dovima:



Posh is a slightly berry-toned red and Dovima is a true black.  They dry matte but not so “dead matte” that you can’t see any detail.

As with any polish, you can top them if you want with a clear shiny top coat but that will obviously negate the matte look.  But gorgeous?  Oh yeah!

Posh w tc

Dovima w tc

The addition of this shiny top coat makes Posh look more true red and Dovima look even darker.  Although I don’t wear black polish often, I’m absolutely fascinated with the subtle sparkle of Dovima.  A closeup:

Dovima w tc closeup

One thing that you could do is wear a Matte Velvet for a couple of days for one look and then add a shiny top coat both to prolong your manicure and to give a totally different look.

I thought I’d like Posh much more than Dovima but I love both!


Today there’s more good news from Zoya!


Be sure to read ALL the details and fine print on Zoya’s page.  With any purchase of $30 or more now through 10/12/14 you get a full-sized bottle of Posh plus a matte velvet red lipstick (while supplies last, exclusions apply).  So if you were going to get several of the Matte Velvets anyway, this would be a great way to pick up Posh for free.  Plus matte lipstick is quite the fad lately, although I don’t care for it on myself.  Gimme gloss.  But even if the polish and/or the lipstick isn’t something you’d wear yourself it would make a great gift.

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

I’m the Toast of New York!

Well, not really.  I’m not even the toast of Smalltown, Montana.  But I do have a lipstick from Revlon called Toast of New York that I recently bought and find myself reaching for over and over this fall.

For many years I’ve been wearing cool-toned lip products (or, when lazy, none at all) but it’s been fun to have Toast of New York (ToNY) which reminds me of a reddish-brown lipstick from Estée Lauder whose name I can’t recall that I wore all the time back in the late ’70s.

ToNY is an older shade in Revlon’s Super Lustrous line — a classic.  Vintage.  It was apparently a big deal in the ’90s because of supermodel Cindy Crawford, but I don’t remember the buzz.

Cindy Crawford Toast of New York

Revlon has produced great lip products for decades.  I’m not much of a fan of their eye products, especially the last eye shadows of theirs I tried, but they do lipstick right.  It’s hard not to be familiar with classics like Cherries in the Snow and Love That Pink.

ToNY is a warm reddish-brown that’s bright enough not to look muddy yet isn’t a screaming orange either.   It feels very creamy and applies well with good staying power.

Toast of New York base

How the lipstick itself looks with the camera flash:

Toast of New York

And how a swatch looks on the skin of my inner arm under indirect cloudy outdoor light:

Toast of New York swatch

I really like that it’s brownISH without being brown.  If you love Revlon lipstick or other lip products, it’s worth mentioning that Ulta is having a great sale this week — 40% off all Revlon.  Also 40% off Nyx, Physicians Formula, and Almay.

The Blue Mind

Recently I was made aware of a human-proposed phenomenon called “The Blue Mind.”  It’s the name of a book by Wallace J. Nichols which I haven’t read yet, but it sounds intriguing.  The lengthy subtitle of the book is “The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.”  Whew, that’s a mouthful!

The Amazon blurb says, “Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In BLUE MIND, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, he shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.”

I’m a skeptical of so many grand claims and would boil it down to something much simpler:  We as humans tend to love being around, next to, looking at, and in water.  It’s often calming and just plain makes us feel better.  Think about it — we take vacations by the seaside, paint our bedrooms blue, add water features to our properties if we aren’t lucky enough to live on a river or lake or pond, and sometimes listen to recordings of ocean waves and babbling brooks to relax and fall asleep.  No one says, “Well, I think this year we’ll spend our week’s vacation next to the train tracks.”

We like looking at water and the sky, at least I do.  While I live in land-locked state now, I have fond childhood memories of Sunday afternoons spent on Carolina beaches, and currently go to lakes and rivers whenever I can — to walk, to sit, just to gaze.  I’ve also always loved lying on my back outdoors and staring at blue sky, finding shapes in the clouds or merely daydreaming.  It never gets old.

We’re currently fixing up an old house (c. 1916) we bought a few months ago, and the wide front porch was in desperate need of some love.  All the elements — walls, trim, floor, posts, ceiling — had been sloppily painted white at some point and were dirty and covered in cobwebs and various stages of insect life.  Once it was all cleaned up and we started painting, the first thing Mr. Silver Nail did was to paint the porch ceiling a lovely shade of sky blue that I chose.  I’ve always wanted a porch with a light blue ceiling!  Where I grew up, old-fashioned porches often had that and it was called “Haint Blue,” the reasoning being that it keeps the ghosts away.  I’m cool with that.  And if it helps keep bugs away that’s great too.

So spend more time near the colors and things you love, whether it’s blue or pink or water or mountains or whatever.  Find your bliss.

And to segue into a blue polish, here’s one from Zoya with an ocean vibe called Marina.  It’s a dusty or smoky blue with silver and blue shimmer, reminiscent of perhaps a storm over the water.  Marina was part of the Fall 2011 collection of shimmers called Mirrors and also contained Yara, Jem, Neeka, Tao, and Nimue, all of which are still available.

The formula of Marina was somewhat sheer so I was pleasantly surprised that two coats covered well.  Under indirect bright outdoor light with no top coat:


What a lovely color for fall or winter.  It’s more gray than Zoya’s blue Skylar which I swatched years ago.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,085 other followers

%d bloggers like this: