nail polish

April 2017 Julep Maven unboxing + GIVEAWAY!

(Disclosure: post contains affiliate links.)

Check out my April 2017 Julep box and don't forget to enter my giveaway so you can snag some Julep polish of your own!

It feels like forever since I shared a Julep box here on the blog! Well, actually it’s been about six months…but that’s still a long time! I skipped a few boxes this winter and actually haven’t been polishing much in general because my nails have been in bad shape. But now they’re healthy again, and I had some Jules to use toward a monthly box, so I thought I’d treat myself to some new polish! Check out everything I got in my April 2017 Julep box, and make sure you enter my giveaway to win some Julep polish of your own!

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My October 2016 Julep box: ‘Dark and Stormy Nights’

(Disclosure: post contains affiliate links.)

I haven’t ordered a Julep Maven box in what seems like forever. I haven’t really been doing my nails much lately and I’ve been trying to save cash, but I was really digging the October options and had some Jules saved up to splurge, so I got a sweet little box to treat myself! The theme this month was “Dark and Stormy Nights” and here’s everything that was included:

Julep Dark and Stormy Nights box

Katya (Classic With a Twist)—deep acai berry creme. She’s similar to some other Julep polishes that I already own but I just love vampy almost-black polishes and if I decide not to open her she’d be perfect for giving away. I’m really a sucker for these shades.

Ebony (It Girl)—graphite holographic. This polish is soooooo pretty in the bottle and equally mesmerizing on nails.

Jean (Classic With a Twist)—black cherry creme. Such a vampy twist on classic red nails. It makes me think of a classic horror heroine and definitely fits with the “dark and stormy nights” theme!

Desiree (It Girl)—high-gloss holographic top coat. This was a bonus polish included in all boxes this month and since I adore holos, I can’t wait to play with her.

Fifi (It Girl)—tea time pink creme. This was the October mystery polish. It’s not necessarily something I would have picked for myself but it’s very soft and pretty and a nice pedicure color to offset black or charcoal on my fingertips (or vice versa—I like contrast between my mani and pedi).

Colton (It Girl)—black iris creme. This looks very, very similar to Katya, but I think it’s a shade darker and cooler. Up close you can see that it’s purple, not black.

Silver nail studs and skull print nail stickers (not pictured here, but you can see them on my Insta)—I haven’t played a lot with nail art so I got these add-ons to try out. Wish me luck with the studs!

If you’re curious about Julep, here’s how it works: each month you receive a box of $40+ worth of nail polish and beauty treats for $24.99 ($19.99 if you prepay for a three-month subscription, or $16.66 for a six-month plan). You can opt for a curated box or swap out options and add on exclusively priced extras. Not feeling the monthly options? Skip that month altogether. If you’re interested in becoming a Maven, you can currently get a free twelve-piece polish set when you start a new monthly subscription. And if you’re an existing Maven, don’t forget that you can get $10 off your order of $25 or more with the code “OCT10” now through November 30!

Are you a Julep Maven? Did you post your Dark and Stormy Nights box on your blog or social? If so leave me a link in the comments so I can check it out!

GIVEAWAY: Trio of Zoya Holiday/Winter 2014 PixieDust polishes (U.S. only)

Zoya PixieDust polishes

It’s almost Christmas, and this time of the year I live for glitter nail polish. This week I’m giving away a trio of Zoya’s new holiday/winter 2014 PixieDust polishes: Nori, Imogen and Thea. I’m also throwing in a 2-oz. bottle of their Remove Plus nail polish remover, to help you get all that glitter off when you’re ready to change your manicure!

Entry is easy: just fill out the Rafflecopter widget below. Due to shipping restrictions this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, but I’ll have one more international giveaway coming up next Friday to finish out 2014, so make sure you subscribe to my feed so you don’t miss it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Busy Girl Nails summer 2014: Week 2: Watercolor

Busy Girl Nails summer 2014

I’m a little late posting the week #2 nail art for this challenge, only because I got busy and didn’t paint my nails at all last week. But I found a technique that makes watercolor (or marbled) nails super-easy and eliminates all the mess of water marbling, so I had to share my mani. I only did an accent finger but I think I’ll be doing this manicure again shortly for a how-to and showing it off on all ten fingers!

Watercolor nail art

I used Flower nail polish in Gorgeous Gerbera for my main shade and Flower nail polish in Thistle or That? on my ring finger. These two color also went into the watercolor on my middle finger. (The base is Purity by Zoya.)

I’ll try to do a tutorial sometime next week with a video so you can see how easy it is to do watercolor nails!

Busy Girl Nails summer challenge 2014: neon

Busy Girl Nails summer 2014

The Busy Girl Nails nail art challenge is back for summer 2014! I love these challenges, even though I don’t often get to do all of the weekly art prompts. I’m going to try to complete all five this year.

This week’s prompt is “neon”, so I went with a bright turquoise green base (Wet n Wild Fergie “Miami Spirit”) and striped a neon yellow-green on top (Zoya “Mitzi”). In retrospect, I shouldn’t have used a matte for the striping–it dried too fast to apply as I intended–but it looked okay once I smoothed a glossy topcoat over everything. (For those of you wondering, without topcoat, Mitzi is a matte, and Miami Spirit is a tad darker and has a satin finish.)

Neon stripe nail art

You can find the YouTube how-to video for this type of striping here via Cute Polish–it uses a floss wand instead of a special brush. I used a more haphazard application instead of straight stripes, but those look cool too.

Zoya promo order swatches!

I’ve finally got swatches for you from my Zoya Color Your World promo order!! I dragged my feet on swatching and was going to put it off a bit longer due to the terrible, terrible state of my nails, but I didn’t want to delay posting these shades any longer. They’re just too beautiful for words and I’m thrilled with all six of them!

Let’s start off with Rue, a dusty blush nude from the new spring 2014 Naturel collection. I have a lot of trouble with nudes because of the pink tones in my hands; straight nudes give me terrible lobster hands. (Which is odd, because too-pink lipsticks make my face look jaundiced…but that’s a dilemma for another post!) Rue is a perfect nude for me and I foresee wearing this a great deal. I used three coats for opacity. (You can see I botched my middle finger and my nail line is showing, which I didn’t notice until photo editing…oops.)

I also finally picked up Destiny, a coral PixieDust release of yesteryear that was very nearly a one-coater and dried super-fast. This shade is so beautiful and I love the idea of a 60-second manicure in the busy summer months! I used two coats here on principle but you could get away with one thicker coat if you were rushing.

Darcy and Purity were my wild card polishes–I have a lot of trouble with whites and yellows and wasn’t sure if I’d like these or not. Both drag and streak terribly, pool at the cuticles, and resist self-leveling. However, with a little work, these polishes are really beautiful; just make sure to wipe the brush, don’t drag too hard, and keep your clean-up brush handy for the edges.

I used only two coats for Darcy (sunshine yellow), with the first thinner and the second thicker; if you look closely at the pictures you can see it probably could have used a third coat for perfect leveling, but in real life there’s no noticeable flaw in the polish. I was able to get Purity in three coats (again, thicker on the second and third coats). A high-shine, ding-resistant topcoat is definitely recommended with both of these; I like the Julep Freedom Polymer topcoat.

Charisma is a neon matte magenta that dries lightning-fast and very nearly covers in two coats; there is some visible nail line in my photo, but in real life you probably wouldn’t notice that unless you’ve got longer nails. This is such a beautiful eye-popping shade and perfect for 2014’s Radiant Orchid trend!

Finally…Song. I bought this polish because a) Yun’s swatches at The Polish Hideout were stunning and b) the name reminds me of one of my favorite fashion bloggers, Aimee Song. This is a one-coater on me, though I think if you had longer nails you might want to do two coats to prevent any hints of VNL. The shimmers in this polish are what really kill me! The blue is very bold and not too dark, either.

All Zoya polishes are five-free and vegan. You can find them at the Zoya website or in beauty stores like Ulta.