Swatches: Butter London Bluey, Wallis, and Knackered

Well, a week after my Butter London polishes arrived from Coterie, I finally got around to swatching them. Before I show you the pics, though, I wanted to update you on something else: their Leaping Bunny status.

You might remember that when the polishes first arrived, I noted that the bottles had the Leaping Bunny logo on them and wondered what this meant, since I couldn’t find Butter London listed on the “safe” companies list online. I immediately e-mailed Leaping Bunny and Butter London to ask what was going on!

On Monday, I got this reply from Leaping Bunny:

…a few months ago, we became aware that Butter London was using the Leaping Bunny logo without permission. The good news is, we have been in touch with them and they are in the process of getting certified. Unfortunately, it’s taking a bit of time, but please feel free to check back to see if they have been added to the list. We hope to get them approved as soon as possible. We feel this will be the best result. Even though they have been using our logo without permission, it is always good for consumers and animals when another cruelty-free company is added to the list.

Needless to say, I haven’t yet received a reply from Butter London. This is part of the reason it took me so long to get around to swatching these colors: I’m pretty steamed about their blatant misappropriation of the logo and I do not like being lied to, ever. I’m happy that they’ll soon be joining the Leaping Bunny ranks, and I do think their polishes are lovely, but I’ve just been stewing a bit over this news.

Okay, I’m done griping. On to the swatches!

I got three polishes: Bluey, Wallis, and Knackered. Bluey is a peacock blue with a hint of shimmer, and as you can see after two coats it’s still rather light. I think this would be better with three or even four coats for full opacity.

Bluey, outside, direct sunlight
Bluey, inside, indirect natural light

Next I have Wallis, a green-gold with shimmer. Like Bluey, it would be best with three coats rather than merely two. This is a very pretty and different color and it would be great if you wanted something a little different for the weekend.

Wallis, outside, direct sunlight

Wallis, inside, indirect natural light

Earlier this month I wondered if my drugstore score of L.A. Colors Color Craze nail polish in Cactus could possibly be a dupe for Wallis; now that I’ve tried the two, I think they’re very close. Wallis seems to have more of a gold base while Cactus has a blue base, so while Wallis has more of a green-gold warm shimmer Cactus is a cooler, more muted olive.

Cactus, outside, overcast natural light

Finally, there’s Knackered. This is a holographic polish with a silver-purple-blue-green shifting tint that really changes depending on the lighting. It also has subtle glitter in it. It’s very sheer and needs at least three coats for opacity.

Knackered, indoors, indirect natural light

This polish really looks lavender and slightly metallic, and then when the sun hits it the silver comes out. I don’t see much of the green or blue but maybe it’s just the lighting. I like this color because it’s a little bit different but still very feminine, and since the glitter is so small it doesn’t make me feel like a little girl when I wear it.

Knackered, indoors, direct sunlight
Knackered, indoors, direct sunlight

You know who I could honestly picture wearing Knackered on her nails? A winter bride. You know, with the full winter wonderland theme, complete with matching white faux fur muffs for all the bridesmaids. It’s such a chic and unexpected alternative to the usual pink/nude lineup that brides tend to pick, and this color just seems so very winter/holiday to me. I think it’d be perfect!

For myself, I’ll probably use Knackered primarily as a topcoat over different creme polishes to experiment with the duo-chrome/holographic effect. Earlier this month I swatched this over Julep Toni, a griege lavender, for a more full-bodied effect. The result was pretty lovely, and now I’m eager to see what effects I’ll get layering it over black, blue, green, and silver.

Knackered over Toni, indoors, indirect natural light
Knackered over Toni, indoors, direct sunlight

Nail Polish of the Month: October 2012

I’m going to try to get these NPOTM posts up earlier in the month from now on! I know I’ve really been slacking lately.

This month I went with this gorgeous shimmery olive green. It’s L.A. Colors Color Craze nail polish in Cactus ($2). I love this color and would almost consider it a lovely fall neutral–it’s so very wearable and chic.

This color definitely requires 2-3 coats for proper wear. From a distance it looks like it could be brown or gray. It actually has a really blue base, which is odd, but once you add another coat or two it becomes a lovely olive green.

(Apologies for the rough cuticles, it was a bad night at work.)

I actually bought this hoping it might be a bit of a dupe for Butter London’s “Wallis” lacquer, but as it so happens I now have that very lacquer sitting on my desk, waiting to be swatched! So I guess at some point I’ll have to do a post comparing the two.

Swatch: Butter London Knackered over Julep Toni

I wanted to try swatching my new Butter London Knackered polish over my existing purple-gray manicure of Julep Toni.

One coat of Knackered deposits the subtle holographic purple-green color and finely flecked multi-colored glitter. It really enhances the purple base coat and looks very pretty. From what I’m told Knackered solo is quite sheer, so if you’re looking for an opaque holographic polish, I would really recommend layering it like this. I think it looks quite lovely.

For reference, here’s a pic of the original manicure with Toni (outdoors, daylight):

Here’s Toni + Knackered indoors, with daylight…

And here’s Toni + Knackered indoors with direct sunlight:

Check out this awesome clutch I found at T.J. Maxx for $2! (Yes, $2!)

Okay, I don’t want to brag…but I scored the mother of all deals on this cute clutch yesterday at T.J. Maxx.

This striped box clutch from T.J. Maxx had a $32 price tag on it, but was sitting on the clearance rack for $2:

Why? Someone had caught the chain strap in the clasp, forcing one of the links open so that the strap was only attached at one end. It was a problem that took just a moment with the pliers to fix, and now the chain is reattached.

It just goes to show that you never know what you’ll find on the clearance rack. I also once found a dress that was on the clearance rack because it was missing a decorative button on the front; I removed the remaining two buttons and sewed on three new ones. Easy-peasy.

Even if you’re not crafty there are lots of great items that wind up in the clearance section of your favorite stores, sometimes simply because they’re the last item in stock and the store wants to make room for new merchandise–so don’t overlook the clearance rack while you’re out shopping! Who know what you’ll find?

Fall trend: moto jackets

I absolutely love moto jackets–it’s kind of a wonder I only own two thus far, one in black and one in a lovely blush pink. This season, the rock-chic staple isn’t just black faux leather: it’s in a variety of colors and prints, in denim, in knits, in metallics…you name it, you can probably find a moto jacket to suit! Here are just a few really cute ones that caught my eye.

1. Moto jacket, $37.80, Forever 21
2. Metallic Zip Moto Jacket, was $39.50, now $19.50, Wet Seal
3. Hot Kiss Floral Denim Motorcycle Jacket, $39.99, Charlotte Russe
4. Converse One Star Rosemaid Jacket, $27.99, Target
5. Candie’s Boucle Lurex Moto Jacket, was $68, now $43.99, Kohl’s

My Julep Maven intro box arrived! Swatches + reviews (photo heavy)

My Julep Maven intro box arrived yesterday afternoon, and I’m so very excited to share it with you!

Before I get to the swatches, let me tell you a little bit about Julep and why I was so hyped up about this box. Julep Maven is a subscription beauty box service from the Julep nail brand, based in Seattle, Washington. Like most beauty box services, you take a style quiz and then receive a box each month tailored to your style profile.

Julep Maven costs $19.99 per month, for which you receive $40 worth of Julep polishes and other goodies. The really cool thing about their program is that you can view each month’s box a week before it ships, then elect to skip a month or choose goodies from another style profile if you don’t like the box they’ve put together for you.

I was really excited when I heard about Julep Maven because I’m a nail polish addict and I love, love, love the “skip” feature. On top of that, Julep Mavens receive new colors in their boxes that aren’t yet available for purchase; they receive 20% off and free shipping on all regular orders; and you can earn freebies by referring your friends.

The Julep polishes come in a variety of fashion-forward colors and are all four-free, which means they’re free of Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, and Formaldehyde Resin. They’re also cruelty-free and Julep donates a portion of all of their profits to charities benefiting women.

The final really impressive piece that sold me on trying this service? They’re currently offering promo codes that let you receive your intro box for just $0.01! Yes, it’s true. Here’s my referral link to their site: (you don’t have to use it, but I’d be thrilled if you did!).  At checkout, use one of these codes: “TWITTER1”, “COLOR2012”, or “PENNY” (at the time of this writing, all three codes were still valid). There’s absolutely no obligation–if you don’t like your intro box or just don’t want to shell out that much each month, skip away or cancel anytime.

With all of this awesomeness, I had to try Julep Maven. I signed up last week and was so thrilled to see my box arrive so promptly! Without further ado, let’s get down to my review.


My Julep box was small enough to fit in my mailbox, which made me very happy. I don’t like it when the postal service leaves packages sitting out on the doorstep, especially when the weather turns bad.

The box includes pretty pink tissue paper, a welcome card, and a style profile card (my style is “Boho Glam”). I really like the design of the packaging–it’s pretty without being frilly.

Inside is this pretty reusable bag. I really appreciate that Julep is trying to stay eco-friendly by not packing their boxes full of things that people can’t reuse or recycle. This bag is the perfect size for stowing a pair of shoes in my suitcase when I travel so they won’t dirty my clothes!

The back of the bag has this inspirational reminder:

Here are some detail shots of the cute printing around the inside edge of the bag, listing the five style profiles…

…and the recycling reminder on the bottom of the bag.

Inside: Products: The Best Pedi Creme Ever!

I haven’t tried the pedi creme yet because I’m currently testing another product on my feet and don’t want the two to overlap! But I can say that it smells lovely. The creme is supposed to exfoliate, hydrate, and nourish with a blend of essential oils and natural ingredients, including shea and cocoa butters; almond, macadamia, grape seed and coconut oils; and extracts of grape seed, sage, and lavender.

This is a full-size bottle which typically retails for $22. Personally I think that’s awfully high for a pedi creme, but I suppose I’ll just have to try it first and see. (With my Maven discount, it would be $17.60, which is a little better.) I’ll post a review of this in the next week or so, once I’ve had a chance to try it out.

Nail Polishes–Julep Nail Polish in Sasha (coral) and Toni (lavender gray)

For my Boho Glam style profile, I received these two full-size polishes. They come in these cute lip gloss-style bottles. Each bottle is 0.27 fl oz and typically retails for $14 ($11.20 with the Maven discount). 
I’ve read lots of complaints about the Julep bottles being so oddly shaped. I personally think they’re really chic looking and they’ll be easy to organize in my tiny, crammed cosmetics case. But it is a bit difficult to keep the bottle from tipping over while you’re dipping the brush in and out. I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker, you just have to be careful and set the bottle on a level, sturdy surface.
As for the brush, it’s not super-skinny or super-wide; it’s very middling and has a nice flat, solid shape. If you’re used to cheap brushes, you’ll love this one; I know I did. 

The color is very creamy and covers easily in two coats, which makes me very happy–the bottles will last longer and I won’t have to wait as long for my mani/pedi to dry! But that brings me to the one thing I didn’t like about this polish: it seems like it takes a long time to dry. I’m not sure why this is–maybe because it’s four-free?–but I’m impatient, so this is my big huge major gripe for the product.

However, once it dries, it’s extremely shiny. Seriously, I can’t stop looking at my nails even as I type! I can’t say how chip-resistant it will be, but for now, I’m happy!

Julep Nail Polish in Sasha

When my package initially arrived, I began second-guessing my choices. This polish looked more orange when I first looked at it, and I was thinking maybe it just wouldn’t be right for me.

Wrong! Sasha is the perfect coral: not too bright, not too light, not too pink, not too orange. I’m a bit of a cosmetics cheapskate and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I would happily pay full price for this polish. It’s easily one of the most wearable shades I’ve ever bought and I think it could be worn anywhere: to the beach, to dinner, even to a wedding. It’s definitely going to be one of my go-to polish shades all year round and I’ll be repurchasing it as soon as it runs low.

Julep Nail Polish in Toni

I’m really on the fence about this shade. I thought it was more gray in the bottle, but it’s actually really purple. I would call it a dirty lavender shade.

Toni is a beautiful shade and very unique–I can’t say I’ve found anything like her yet. I love how the purple comes out in the light, and yet it can look more gray at times. I think this color is also pretty versatile and very chic.

The problem is, I’m just not a purple person; in fact, I kind of avoid the color. So while I really adore the shade and am very impressed with the fashion-y hue, I don’t know that I would buy it again for myself. I am very happy that I got it in my bag, though, because as I said it’s a very different sort of color and I really think Julep nailed the mix of gray and purple.

Overall I’m very happy with my intro box and will definitely stay signed up for the service; why not, when you have the option to skip any months you’re not interested in? I will have to see how chip-free these polishes turn out to be over the course of the week, but for now I have to say that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with these polishes.

$14 seems like an expensive polish, but once I used them I realized that they really are superior to the cheapie drugstore brands I’ve favored for years. I wouldn’t splurge on these all the time, but they’re definitely worth every penny as a special treat. The formula, the colors, everything is so perfect and lovely and I’m so happy to have signed up! I can’t wait to see the boxes that roll out over the winter season, and I’ll be sure to share each and every one that I receive with all of you.

My Urban Decay order arrived! Lipstick swatches + mini reviews (photo heavy)

My Urban Decay order arrived, and I’m so happy with it! This was my first time ordering from them, and I was super-impressed with the speedy delivery–I placed my order on Sunday, and the box actually showed up on Thursday.

Can I just note that this box was stuffed to the brim with padding? Very nice. I get really irritated when I order something and it arrives poorly packed and poorly padded.

Since there are so many pictures in this post I’m going to insert a post break and let you keep reading after the jump!


Five hot nail colors to fall for this season

I love nail polish and I love  updating my polish “wardrobe” when the seasons change. Here are five hot nail colors to fall for this season, depending on your usual polish pick:

1. Blackberry wine is hot this year, and is a great update if you love vampy red polish. Zoya Nail Polish in Toni, $8,

2. More of a trendsetter? Emerald green is the natural successor to summer’s run of mint greens. Julep Nail Color in Hoch, $14,

3. If you love the girliest of pinks, do something a little different–but still glam–with a gold mani. Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Grammy Gold, $3.49,

4. Prefer a nude shade so nothing clashes? Go a little more edgy with a shade of gray–it’s still a neutral. Sonia Kashuk Nail Color in Dime A Dozen, $4.79,

5. Black is so last season. This fall, blues are almost black (but not quite) and flecked with shimmer for a totally non-goth look. Zoya Nail Polish in Ibiza, $8,