Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My New Favorite Polish: Julep Tracy Swatches

Arden: Hey!  I'm so excited to share these photos with you today because this is my favorite new polish!   

I got Julep's Tracy as an add-on to one of my monthly boxes and I absolutely love it.  It is Julep's first "Sea Salt Finish" polish, which basically means it's a sparkly texture polish.

First, two coats of Tracy with no top coat:

It's just so sparkly and texture-y and awesome!

I don't know about you, but after I wear a texture polish for a couple of days I begin to get a little tired of it (mostly because I just can't stop stroking my fingernails when they've got a special texture on them).  So after wearing Tracy for a couple days, I switched up my look by adding two coats of Essie Good to Go on top.

And oh my gosh, you guys.  This polish is GORGEOUS when it's got a glossy top coat. It's got so many different sparkly glitter colors and dimensions!  Soooo pretty.

Need any more convincing?  Go log on to and order yours! 

What's your favorite nail polish color right now?  Hit us up in the comments!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Green Splatter Paint Nails

Arden: Hey everyone!  One of my favorite manicures I've had so far is definitely the multicolor splatter paint nails I did a couple months ago.  I was yearning to do something fun (and a little messy), so I decided to try out a monochrome splatter paint design.  I think I might own more green nail polishes than any other color (what a random choice, right?) so I decided to go for green!

I started by painting my nails with two coats of Essie Absolutely Shore.  Then I started splattering on colors!  You can see my earlier tutorial to get a feel for how I did it.  (Though I recently saw online a different method that might be less messy, so I will probably be trying out an alternative way to do splatter paint nails soon!).  The first color I added was Zoya Wednesday.  I dipped a small straw in the bottle, and then blew through the straw to splatter the paint on my nails.

Next up was Julep Korin!

Third was Essie Mint Candy Apple.

I repeated the process (without taking pictures, apparently) with both Sinful Colors Rise and Shine and Essie Navigate Her (this one was a mistake-- it looked too yellow/tan [aka: like puke] compared to the rest of the greens, and I ended up using a couple of the colors again to cover most of it up).  My nails with all the colors on looked like this:

Can we take a minute to recognize how messy this process is?  I had nail polish allllll over my fingers, which then meant it ended up on my face, on my camera, and even on the light switch in my bathroom.  Sooooo messy, but so fun!

Here's the final product once I added a coat of Essie Good to Go and cleaned up my fingers using acetone:

I had the problem again with some small bubbles showing up because the splatter technique dropped huge globs of polish on my fingers.  I'm not sure how to avoid this-- has anyone tried it and know a good technique?  I don't think the bubbles necessarily look bad, but I would like to create some splatter paint nails without them once.

What do you think? Do you like the splatter paint look?  What colors should I try splatter painting next?  Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Elegant Nude Nails + Julep August Golden Mystery Box

Arden: Well, I guess I'm just going to be on a Julep kick this week!  Last month Julep offered a "Golden Mystery Box" in their monthly secret store.  Given how pleased we'd been with the Mystery Box we ordered back in May, I decided to take the plunge on the Golden Mystery Box.

Here's a picture of its contents:

Included were:
-Everyday SPF Hand Cream
-Oxygen Nail Treatment
-3 elastic hair ties
-4 nail polishes: Bunny (white), Drew (hot pink), Layne (sheer nude pink), and Sheryl (gold shimmer)
-3 toffee candies

Overall, I was a little disappointed with the Golden Mystery Box.  I'm not the biggest fan of the hand cream (it kinda has a weird medicinal smell).  I'm not sure what the point of the Oxygen Nail Treatment is; Julep bills it as "makeup for your fingernails" but isn't that what polish should be?  I tried it one day and it left my nails a little sticky (definitely much stickier than regular polish).  Supposedly it strengthens your nails if you leave it on for a week or more; I'll let you know if I ever try that!

I already owned Bunny (look for it to be included in an upcoming blog giveaway), but the other three are pretty nice.  I haven't tried Sheryl yet, but Drew is a great hot pink and I've used Layne several times (including in the below manicure!).

I was about to attend a wedding when my mystery box first arrived, so I decided to try out Layne first and do an elegant, nude manicure.

I was worried about how many coats it would take to make Layne even semi-opaque, so I started with two coats of OPI Don't Touch My Tutu and then added two coats of Layne to pink-en it up a bit.  I finished with a coat of Revlon Snowflurries.

I didn't end up keeping this manicure til the wedding I attended, but it would definitely be a good option if you were looking for a sparkly nude wedding manicure!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Julep Maven August "It Girl Box"-- Flower Nails

Arden: Hey everyone!  This month, I chose to get the "It Girl" box for my Julep Maven subscription.  It included the colors Fiore (chocolate brown), Nellie (deep magenta), and Marjorie (shimmery orange).  Since Julep's theme of the month was "Garden Party" I decided to make little flowers on my nails using these colors!

I started with two coats of Julep Fiore.  (Why do brown polishes always photograph so dark?  So frustrating.)

Then I used a dotting tool to make orange center dots on all of my nails using Marjorie, and followed that up by making six smaller pink dots (in Nellie) around each orange dot to create little flowers!

These weren't my most favorite manicure of all time, but they were pretty cute.  It was hard using all three colors together-- maybe that should be my challenge every month when my Julep box comes!

For more information on the Julep Maven monthly box program, see my post here.  If you want to sign up yourself, click here.  (Apparently you can use the code "FREEBOX" and get your first box for only the cost of shipping.  Wish I'd known about that!)

What do you think?  Did the flower pattern work, or would these colors be better suited for a fall manicure?  Let us know!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Glitter Gradient

Arden: Hey everyone!  I've been on a bit of a space-themed nail art kick recently.  We'll soon be posting a Nail Art Nail-Off where we both tried out galaxy nails, and I think this glitter gradient manicure just screams "Space, the final frontier" to me as well.

I started this manicure by painting on two coats of Zoya Storm.  Such a cool black polish with glitter!  Then I added the glitter gradient (sorry there are no step-by-step pictures, I'll have to do that next time!).  I painted one coat of China Glaze Pizzazz on the top half of my nail, then added a second one on only the top quarter of the nail.  For good measure, I painted on an additional layer of NYC Starry Silver Glitter on about the top third.  (All of these fractions were totally arbitrary, just so you know.  I just did whatever looked good!)

I finished it off with a top coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat (because Essie top coats don't agree w/ Zoya polishes) and was good to go!  This was a quick and fun manicure that doesn't require a lot of pain-staking detail work.  I would recommend it to everyone!

It also was so sparkly that I think it could be a good option for bridesmaid (or even bridal) nails if black is one of your wedding colors!  (I know people have found this blog before by searching "black bridesmaid nails" so I KNOW at least one person is looking for black bridesmaid nails out there!)

Let me know if you try it out!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Purple Gradient Aztec Nails

Arden: Sorry, dear readers!  We've been majorly derelict in blogging the last week.  Life got crazy!  But hopefully we're back on track now.

Today I have another not 100% successful nail art manicure to share.  It started with a gradient.  An awesome FOUR COLOR gradient.  I'm still pretty jazzed about my Julep Eden polish, and was looking to use it in a manicure.  I thought, "Hey, I've got a lot of shades of purple polish now.  Why not try a gradient with as many purple polishes as I can fit on my fingers?"  So I did!

I ultimately went with four purple polishes (listed from light to dark):

Sally Hansen I Lilac You
L'Oreal Royalty Reinvented
Zoya Mira
Julep Eden

I followed it up with a matte top coat (Essie Matte About You), because I always think gradients look cool mattified.  (Though as you can tell on my pointer finger, sometimes matte coats also cause the tip of your nail to look not-so-good.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Zoya Pixie Dust Swatches: Liberty, Chyna and Miranda

Hey guys, it's Lisl! So around July 4th when I was in New Orleans, avid blog reader and my BFF Sherbear (not her birth name) sent me a link to an awesome deal that Zoya was having! Get Zoya Liberty and get two colors free! I immediately got in touch with Arden and we spent the rest of the afternoon agonizing over which other colors to get.  We finally settled on Chyna and Miranda, and now y'all get to read all about our new adventures with Pixie Dusts!

Friday, August 2, 2013

As Seen on Pinterest: Geometric Lines

 Arden: Hey everyone!  Here's another installment in my As Seen on Pinterest series!

First, the inspiration:

Those are pretty cool, right?  I saw them and had to try them out!

I started with a base of two coats of Julep Bunny.  (Let's be honest, I did this manicure right after I swatched Bunny, and that's why I used it!)

I followed the tutorial above.  I first added the top left section of black lines using our black Color Club striper polish.  Then I did the top right section using Julep Eden (I told you I'd already used it in a bunch of manicures!) and a striper brush from our MASH nail brush kit. 

Up until this point, things were going pretty well.  I was thinking, "These nails look awesome!  I am doing such a great job of making good-lucking, straight lines."

Then the wheels came off the wagon a little bit.  The third section I painted on was the teal quadrant, using L'Oreal Not a Cloud in Sight.  I don't know if it was just a problem with this polish, or if I was getting tired, or if I was just fated to stop making good lines, but this was a little bit of a problem.  It seemed like NONE of the lines were straight-- they all came across thick and goopy.  Alas.  I finished by adding the final black section, but by then I was a little demoralized and so those lines weren't very crisp either.

Now that I can look back with more perspective, I think as a whole these look pretty ok.  They're not the best (and certainly not as well-done as the original post from Pinterest) but I think as a whole they look pretty cool.

I'm going to have to try them again sometime and see if I can do better!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Julep "It Girl" Introductory Box Swatches

Arden: As you may remember, a couple of months ago we ordered a Julep Mystery Box to try out some Julep polishes.  We were really pleased with both the quality of Julep polishes and how great a value the mystery box was, so I decided to sign up for Julep's monthly Maven box program.

Here's the deal with the Julep Maven program: you sign up, take a style quiz, and they send you an introductory box.  Then, every month they email you what'll be in each box and you get to choose which one you want, or if you want to skip that month.  I really like that they have the skip option-- it makes me feel like I'm not locked in foreverrrrr to pay for a box; I only get it when I want it!  (There's also an option to pay for it but send it to a friend, which seems like an awesome birthday gift option!)

Full disclosure: when I signed up, I really wasn't expecting to continue my subscription.  I thought I'd get the intro box, see how I liked it, and then probably unsubscribe.  BUT, then I happened to see a post on Julep's Facebook page looking for people to test some of their new products in Palo Alto.  I responded and got to go try out some very early prototype ideas at this design firm in Palo Alto that Julep had contracted to develop new products.  It was fun, and while I was there I got to meet a lot of the top leadership at Julep, including the founder Jane Pak and the COO Kate MacDonald.  I was super impressed with Julep's leadership and how engaged they were in hearing our opinions.  In short, they were good people, and I now feel great about giving them my business.

If you're interested in signing up, click here or input this referral code in when you order: 21712460 (I get reward points if someone uses my code).

And now, after that looooong preamble, here are some swatches of the three colors I got in my "It Girl" Introductory Box: Stefani, Eden, and Bunny.

First up is Stefani, which the Julep website describes as a "gold flecked grey metallic" nail polish.

This is two coats without a top coat.  I ended up liking this polish A LOT more on the nail than I did in the bottle.  In the bottle it looked a little too much like dirty sand, but on my nails I thought it was a lot more metallic and fun.

Next up is Eden, a "bright violet creme."