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.

Julep Feb’14 Maven swatches!

Happy Monday everyone! Here are the swatches from my February Julep Maven box.

I decided to use Roc Solid (a vintage army green creme) on my fingers with Kristen (teal with silver microshimmer) as an accent. I’m really not loving the formula on Roc Solid; it’s so thick as to be almost unmanageable, making for a splotchy manicure, and I had pretty noticeable tip wear after just one day of wear. I think it will just take a little patience to make it look decent for future manicures.

Kristen, on the other hand, is a dream. It’s not too thick or thin and is completely opaque in a single coat. Like most dark blues/greens, it does stain pretty badly. For this mani I did a coat of Julep Sienna (an antique gold) on my accent nail and topped it with a heavy coat of Love (gold/fuchsia microglitter).

Here’s a single coat of Love on bare nails. It’s very pretty but very sheer, so you can either use it solo for a subtle effect or layer it over a base. One of my friends sampled it over pink and purple with great results.

Judi is a deep purple creme. This is a perfect pedicure color and almost a one-coater. Here I’ve used Cameron (lilac matte glitter) as an accent on my big toes; this polish was a one-coater and dried very quickly, making it a great quickie mani-pedi color. (Excuse the catnip all over the scratching post–it was the best place to prop up my foot in the fading daylight!)

Here’s Judi again, this time with two coats. Obviously it’s much darker with that second coat, which is fine by me. It’s a very royal color and was not too thick or thin.

I really want to try Cameron as an accent with Zoya Marley, since the two seem to be the same shade of lilac. I’ve also got all of my new Zoyas to swatch this week, so hopefully I’ll have a nice big swatch post up later in the week!