Thursday, May 30, 2013

HARE: Rococo Grandeur

Hoo boy, this is going to be a rough post.  I want to love HARE.  I really do.  I think they have beautiful color combinations, and I think their look is very unique.

But I fear their batch consistency and quality control are both pretty much nonexistent.

The subject of HARE polish recently came up on a forum I belong to, and this is what three people had to say about Rococo Grandeur:
  1. That it was awful
  2. That it was fine
  3. That it was fine, but there was a human hair in the bottle (insert HAIR Polish joke here >.< )
Quite the variety there, eh?  Unfortunately, my bottle of Rococo Grandeur was also one of the bad ones.

Rococo Grandeur features a pale blue crelly base filled with a mix of small metallic gold hex glitter, multiple sizes of  satin and metallic pink hex and square glitters, and blue shimmer.  It is truly a gorgeous combination of colors.  Sadly, it had the consistency of oatmeal, yet you could also form peaks with it, as if it were meringue.  It was incredibly hard to work with, even after adding some thinner to it.  Dry time was average.  Shown is....well...It was technically 2 coats, but I had to fiddle with each coat so much that it may be more like 3 or 4 coats.

Thanks to the miracle of Seche Vite, the polish still looked pretty nice despite all the trouble I had applying it.  That is, from a distance.  In these close-up shots, you can see that there are some bubbles and lumps.

Apologies for the window glare, had to take these pics inside due to light rain

This is not my first bad experience with HARE.  A few of my other polishes from this brand have issues with being too thick.  Some are okay, but at least half of the polishes I've tried have had issues with consistency.  I really hope that the quality control over at HARE Polish improves.  Their colors are so unique and beautiful, it's a shame that this is happening.

HARE Polish costs$10 for 15mL.  You can buy it from HARE's Etsy shop or from Llarowe.   You can stay up-to-date on HARE Polish news by Liking the brand on Facebook.  

What has your experience with HARE been like?

Product purchased by me

Monday, May 27, 2013

Red, White, and Blue! Different Dimension: Right to Vote 2012

I hope you've all been having a nice Memorial Day Weekend!  I figured now would be a good time to bust out a patriotic polish I've had for about 7 months (meep).  Different Dimension Right to Vote 2012 was released last fall.  If I recall correctly, the only way to get it was by proving you were a registered voter, and it only cost about $4 (including shipping) because it was a special promotion.

Right to Vote 2012 features small matte white hex glitter, small holographic blue hex glitter, tiny metallic red hex glitter, and holographic shimmer in a greyed white crelly base.  The formula was beautiful and dry time was average.  It is opaque in 2-3 coats (I used 3).

Oh, and I know my nails look kind of strange, not quite sure what they're doing lol.  I'm working on reshaping them.

Sadly, Right to Vote 2012 is no longer available, so keep an eye out for it when you're checking blog sales and swap groups!  To shop for other Different Dimension polishes, go to their Etsy, Llarowe, MeiMei's Signatures, Edgy Polish, or Ledouxnuage.  To stay up-to-date on the latest Different Dimension news, Like their Facebook page.

What do you think of this look?  Did you rock a patriotic mani today?

Product purchased by me

Friday, May 24, 2013

Femme Fatale: Keeper of the Grove

Hey guys!  It's rather funky and rainy today, so I'm reaching into my backlog of photos to bring you a cheery and springy polish from Femme Fatale Cosmetics!

Keeper of the Grove is a glitter topper with a faintly green base.  It contains a mix of pale pink hearts, pink and blue circle glitter, green shimmer, and green, pink, yellow, and gold hex glitter (some metallic, some holographic).  It's gorgeous and sparkly in real life, but I was unable to capture the sparkle on camera that day.  The hearts are somewhat sparse, so don't expect to get one on every nail.  The formula was good and the dry time was fast.  Shown is one coat of Femme Fatale Keeper of the Grove over two coats of China Glaze Tree Hugger.

Up close

Keeper of the Grove costs $13 for 12mL at Llarowe.  It is also available directly from Femme Fatale (Australia),  Norway Nails (Norway), and Shoppe Ecclectico (Singapore).  Harlow & Co. and Ledouxnuage (France) also sell Femme Fatale polishes, but Keeper of the Grove is not currently listed on their sites.  It is important to note that unless you live in Australia, it can be hard to catch these polishes in stock on stockists' websites.  Be sure to sign up for e-mail newsletters and Like your favorite stockist's Facebook page so you can be made aware of restock dates!  To stay up-to-date on upcoming Femme Fatale polishes, Like their Facebook page.

Product purchased by me

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Indigo Bananas Swatch Spam!

Some polishes provided for review, some received in a gift exchange, some purchased by me.  

Sale info crossed out because the sale has ended.

I was going to make this a proper brand spotlight with nail art and all, but I've been having some trouble bending the fingers on my dominant hand (I blame the weather), so holding nail art brushes properly just wasn't going to happen :-( .  Sooooo, I'm just going to consider this "swatch spam" instead!

Andrea from Indigo Bananas is currently having a sale (coupon code CLEARANCE30, ends tonight (Wednesday, May 22nd) at midnight EST) on her Etsy shop to clear out all the round bottles she will no longer be using!  Please allow me to enable you by showing you swatches of her gorgeous polish (muahahaha!) :-)

Wednesday is a glass fleck duochrome polish that shifts from pinky-purple to gold.  The duochrome effect is nice and strong, but it was hard to catch it on camera (the sun and I really aren't getting along lately!).  Since the glass fleck is suspended in a dark base, Wednesday can be worn on its own, with full opacity being achieved in 2-3 coats (I used 3 for good measure).  Formula was nice, but dry time was slow.

It looks purple most of the time

Lowkey is a glass fleck duochrome polish that shifts from yellow/olive-green to a rich, blue-toned green.  The duochrome effect here is a bit more subtle, since it's shifting from one shade of green to another, but it's still gorgeous and mercifully easy to catch on camera.  Since the glass fleck is suspended in a dark base, Lowkey can be worn on its own, with full opacity being achieved in 2-3 coats (I used 3 for good measure).  Formula was nice, but dry time was slow.

Maui is a multichrome (blue/teal/purple) shimmer with added holo sparkle.  It's very pretty and shifts quite nicely!  The formula was fine and dry time was average.  I used 3 coats.  I have been told that you can use one coat as a topper, but I haven't tried that yet.

I had the worst time photographing this polish!  The only lighting in which the duochrome would show up on the camera was the sunlight coming into my future brother-in-law's room.  After a failed attempt at stealthily taking photos in his doorway, I finally asked if I could come in and take some pics.  He was just sort of sitting there watching my strange behavior, so I got embarrassed, rushed through the photos, and ended up with about 5 blurry pictures lol.

Blurry, but at least you can see the shift

Maui looks teal most of the time

Impact features a dizzying array of yellow and orange holo, metallic, and matte glitters suspended in multichrome (shifts from peachy-orange, to golden yellow, to yellow-green) shimmer base.  It's a very unusual combination and as far as I know, there is nothing else quite like it on the indie market!  The last time I swatched Impact, I had a lot of trouble with clumping, but Andrea has since fixed my bottle and altered her recipe to address the issue.  The formula was fine, but dry time was slow.  I needed 3 coats to reach full opacity, but some may be fine with stopping at 2 coats.  I've been told that it's possible to use one coat for layering, but I haven't tried that yet.

This polish was extremely hard to photograph and looks so much prettier in person!

Rez is a duochrome (shifts from purple to a blue/green/seafoam situation) and also contains silver, black, and purple glitters.  This is a fascinating polish, and I have nothing else like it in my collection.  The formula was great, but dry time was slow.  I only needed 2 coats to reach full opacity.

More photos HERE

Shadow is a duochrome glass fleck that shifts from a rich, deep blue to a pinky-purple color (sometimes even a sort of golden pink at some angles).  This isn't a shy shift, either.  It's easily visible in various forms of lighting.  Formula was great, but dry time was slow.  I used 3 coats, though you might be able to get away with 2 coats.  Indigo Bananas says one coat can be sheer enough for layering, but I haven't tried that yet.

Finish looks a bit flat here, but it's sparkly in person.
More photos HERE

Anansi is an amazing emerald green/purple duochrome glass fleck.  Most of the time, it looks green, but it easily shifts to purple both indoors and outdoors.  It does not need to be layered over anything, but one coat is light enough that you could probably play with layering, if you're into that.  Application was lovely, no problems there.  Dry time was average.  Full opacity is achieved in 2-3 coats.

Finish looks a bit flat here, but it's sparkly in person.
More photos HERE

Klein Trink Wasser is a rich, royal blue creme.  It's one of those "wow, that's really blue" shades, along the lines of Nails Inc. Baker Street.  Klein Trink Wasser has a great formula, applying beautifully, easily, and evenly.  Full opacity can be achieved in just two coats, though you may need 3 if you tend to do very thin coats.  It dries to a semi-matte finish with an almost gritty texture, so I recommend adding top coat.  Dry time was fast.

More photos HERE

Chill Out is like a flurry of smaller glitters.  This glitter topper features several sizes of satin white hex and square glitters, orange/green iridescent hex glitters in 3 sizes, and holographic shimmer.  I had feared Chill Out would be too similar to other white glitters I own, but the fact that it consists entirely of smaller glitters makes it a unique addition to my collection.  The formula was fine and dry time was average.  Shown is one coat of Indigo Bananas Chill Out over 2 coats of Essie Come Here!

Oh, and trust me, you could totally see the shimmer in person!

More photos HERE

Remember, the sale ends TONIGHT, so if you want to buy, buy NOW!!!

Indigo Bananas currently has a lot of the 5mL minis in stock, so if you want to try out a bunch of colors at once or you want to share the wonders of indie polish with your friends without a big financial commitment, now is a good time to do so!  This is also a great chance to get the new Executive Holos (which are priced a wee bit higher than "normal" polishes due to the high cost of the holographic pigment used in them) without breaking the bank!

Indigo Bananas polishes cost $10-$12.50 for 15mL or $4.50-$5.50 for 5mL (price of minis likely to change once IB starts using larger square minis).  You can find the Indigo Bananas Etsy shop HERE and you can "Like" Indigo Bananas on Facebook HERE.  Indigo Bananas also has a website, found HERE.

Let me know in the comments if you were seduced by the sale, or if you'll be waiting for the sexy new square bottles!

Some polishes provided for review, some received in a gift exchange, some purchased by me.

Sale info crossed out because the sale has ended.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Quickie Post: My Entry In Jen's Nail Files Hit 2K Contest

Hey guys!  I just wanted to do a quick post on some nail art I did for a contest!  Jen's Nail Files recently hit 2,000 Likes on Facebook, so to celebrate, she's hosting a nail art contest.  Twelve winners will each receive a special Darling Diva Polish creation called Denim Mitten.  The challenge?  Create nail art inspired by a Darling Diva Polish name!

I decided to do a very literal interpretation of "Screaming Butterfly."  The butterflies are screaming, and the caterpillar is just squeaking out a little "oh!" because he's just a baby lol.

The colors are all a little off because the photo was dark and I just did an auto enhancement, which made everything a little extra intense lol

Background:  OPI What's With the Cattitude
Stems/Plant:  OPI Hot Fun In the Summerlime
Flowers:  China Glaze Red Satin and Zoya Creamy
Lettering/Outlining:  Orly Liquid Vinyl
Caterpillar's Stripes:  mix of Zoya Creamy and Butter London Jasper
Butterflies' Coloring:  Mix of China Glaze Orange Knockout, Zoya Arizona, and Zoya Creamy

The contest runs until May 21st, so there's still time to enter! See HERE for rules.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Picks From the Orly Mash Up Collection: Sparkling Garbage, Pretty Ugly, and Beautiful Disaster

Ugh, guys, I've been meaning to write this post for like a week now, but I've been procrastinating because I'm not thrilled with the photos.  Every single time I was ready to take photos of the swatches, the sun was at a terrible angle.  I don't have time to do them again and I don't want to waste the photos (no matter how crappy they may be), so here we go...

Sparkling Garbage consists of a very sheer, pale teal base that's jam-packed with holographic microglitter.  It's incredibly sparkly and so, so stunning!  The formula is great and it dries quickly.  You can use it as a layering polish or on its own.  Full opacity can be achieved in 3-4 coats (I used 3).


In bright sun

Blurry to show sparkle!

Pretty Ugly is a bright aqua blue filled with blue microshimmer.  The formula is awful and streaky, so you have to kind of  hope that the streaks in each coat don't align and leave a bald patch.  It takes about 3-4 coats to get it looking decent (I used 3).  It's such a shame, because the color itself is gorgeous.  Dry time was average.

Outside, in sun

Beautiful Disaster is a rich, red-toned purple with an almost metallic shimmer finish.  It's one of those lovely "lit from within" colors that just glows!  The formula on this one was very was hard to get enough polish on the brush, as if it didn't want to stick to it and dripped off before I could pull the brush out all the way.  It reached full opacity in just 2 coats, but you have to be careful to avoid brushstrokes.  Dry time was slow.

Outside, in extra-crappy sunlight.  It's a bit lighter and less vampy in person.

I think I could have passed on Pretty Ugly and Beautiful Disaster, but Sparkling Garbage is definitely a must-have!

Orly polishes cost about $8 for 18mL and can be found at stores like Sally Beauty and Ulta. The Mash Up collection is a limited edition, so be on the lookout and grab them while you can if you want any!  To stay up-to-date on the latest Orly collections, Like their Facebook page.

Products purchased by me

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pahlish: Bitter Sweet Symphony

First off, I want to thank everyone who participated in my little giveaway!  I promise that future giveaways will be a bit bigger and better and that I will open up eligibility to international readers from time to time.  This giveaway was primarily a way for me to test out Rafflecopter and everything involved in hosting a giveaway.  I'll be getting the winner's prize in the mail within the next few days :-)

And now, back to polish!

Indie brand Pahlish has been mixing up small batches of what she calls "soft launch prototype" polishes.  The first of these was Bitter Sweet Symphony.

Bitter Sweet Symphony features a black jelly base filled with metallic blue circle glitter, metallic purple square glitter, metallic red hex glitter, metallic yellow hex glitter, holographic blue hex glitter, and green and purple microshimmer.  I found the formula to be quite thick, so I'll probably add some nail polish thinner before I use it again.  Dry time was average.  You could probably reach full opacity in about three coats, but I chose to layer two coats of Bitter Sweet Symphony over one coat of Cult Nails Nevermore.

In sun

In shade

By a window

Up close!

I'm such a sucker for the whole sample/prototype concept, and this polish is one of my favorite things to come out of this trend among the indie sellers!  What about you guys?  Have you been been enchanted by the whole sample/prototype thing?

Pahlish's soft launch prototypes cost $9 for 15mL and are sold in Pahlish's Etsy shop.  Bitter Sweet Symphony is still available at the moment, but it may not be around forever, so if you like it, you might want to buy it now!  To stay up-to-date on the newest soft launch prototypes, Like Pahlish's Facebook page.  

Product purchased by me

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jamberry Nails: My First Attempt At Nail Wraps

Hey everyone!  Thanks for putting up with all my nonsense this week!  Lots of "growing pains" as I try to make my little piece of the internet feel like home.  The blog's design is still a work in progress, but at least for now it has a fresh and airy feel going on with it.  Many thanks to my buddy Royal Milk Tea for listening to me whine about fonts!

Before we get to the Jamberry Nails failure review, I just want to remind you all that I have a small giveaway going on at the moment...just a little something to celebrate the new URL and get me acquainted with Rafflecopter.  There are two days left to enter, so you might want to head over and do that now!

Okie dokie, so...Jamberry Nails.  I have never tried any kind of nail wrap, so when Jamberry Nails consultant Ashley Ray offered to send out some free samples, I figured it would be a good opportunity to give it a try.  Ashley sent me a little sheet with four nail wraps on it.  Each was a different size and had a different pattern on it.  I chose a cheery pattern called Summer Chevron and used it as an accent nail in my OPI Taylor Blue manicure.

Prior to applying the wraps, I watched some very helpful videos on Jamberry's website.  I then used alcohol prep pads to clean my nails, peeled back half a wrap with an orange wood stick, cut the wrap in half, and held it in front of a running hair dryer.  When it appeared soft and pliable, I applied it to my nail (starting at the cuticle) and smoothed it over my nail using my fingers and a cuticle pusher. I was able to eliminate some of the wrinkles by smoothing them out again in front of the running hair dryer.  Unfortunately, I was not able to remove all of the wrinkles.  I gave up on wrinkle removal and moved on to the trimming and filing step to finish the manicure.  

Close-up of the wrinkles at the edges of the wrap.  I'm sure you can tell that the nail is all wonky.  This nail curves inward on one side if it gets dry.  The alcohol wipe and the heat used in the wrap application dried it out and made it curve.  

Wrinkles aside, the wraps adhered very well and when properly applied, I'm sure they would stay put for quite some time.  I only kept them on for a day, so I just used the wrinkles to help me get started on peeling the wraps off under warm water.  One nail came off cleanly, but there was some sticky residue left over on the other (the residue was easily removed with non-acetone polish remover).  The wraps did not damage my natural nails at all.

I have heard lots of good things about these wraps, so I'm guessing that in more competent hands, they must work quite well!  This was my first time ever applying wraps of any kind, so I'm not accustomed to the process.

Personally, I think I prefer nail polish to wraps.  However, I could potentially see myself trying the whole wrap thing out again if I found a pattern that I was obsessed with and could not duplicate with nail art.

You can purchase Jamberry Nails products either from the Jamberry Nails website or from a Jamberry Nails consultant.  Each set costs $15 and contains 18 wrap strips (2 sets of 9 sizes, plus each wrap can be cut in half and used for 2 nails).  You can stay up-to-date on Jamberry Nails news by Liking their Facebook page.

Here is the contact info for Ashley, the Jamberry Nails consultant who kindly provided me with the samples:

Facebook Page
Jamberry Nails Store

OPI Taylor Blue costs $10 for 15mL and can be purchased HERE.

Jamberry Nails provided for review.  OPI Taylor Blue purchased by me.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Sparkling Hoard Dot Com Mini Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I'm still so overjoyed at getting my new URL to work that I thought I'd host a dorky little giveaway!  Since I'm now a dot com address, I'll be giving away one bottle of OPI (get it? lol). The winner will also receive a mini bottle of Orly's new cuticle oil!  I know it's not much, but I figured I'd keep it small for my first attempt at a giveaway.

The giveaway starts May 8th, 2013 at 12am (EST) and ends May 13, 2013 at 12am (EST).

I will only ship within the USA (sorry!).  EDIT:  I should be able to ship to Canada as well.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize purchased by me

Comparison: Orly Sparkling Garbage vs. Color Club Holiday Splendor

Hi everyone!  After a frustrating couple of days, I'm back with a shiny new URL!  The blog is now and I'm so, so happy about it.  No more babbling about that dot blogspot dot com nonsense when friends and family ask me about my blog!  Now I just need to work on enunciating my words a bit better so people don't think I'm saying "the sparkling whore"...

Moving on!

When I first heard about Orly's Mash Up collection, I immediately began to wonder if Sparkling Garbage would be a dupe for Color Club Holiday Splendor.  They both consist of holographic glitter in a green/teal base, so I figured they must be close.  As you'll see, they're not really close at all! (Side Note:  If you want to see Sparkling Garbage by itself, go HERE)

Orly Sparking Garbage consists of a very sheer, pale teal base that's jam-packed with holographic microglitter.  It dries quickly and reaches full opacity in 3-4 coats (I used 3).  The formula is great.

Color Club Holiday Splendor features a deep, rich, bright teal base filled with small holographic glitter. Dry time is average and it reaches full opacity in 2 coats.  The formula was fine.

I was kind of scrambling to get these photos done before sunset, so the lighting isn't the best.  Sparkling Garbage is on the left, Holiday Splendor is on the right!

In sun

In extreme shade

Blurry to show sparkle

Sparkling Garbage is much more sparkly than Holiday Splendor because Holiday Splendor's dark base prevents light from reaching the glitter.  The glitter in Sparkling Garbage is also smaller and more plentiful than the glitter in Holiday Splendor.  Additionally, Sparkling Garbage is a much lighter shade of teal and has an almost icy feel to it.  They're definitely not dupes!  If I could only have one, I would pick Sparkling Garbage.

Orly Sparkling Garbage costs about $8 for 18mL and can be found at stores like Sally Beauty Supply and Ulta.  It's limited edition, so if you want it, grab it while the Mash Up collection is still in stores!  Also, if you buy it from Sally Beauty Supply, you're entitled to a free sample of Orly's new cuticle oil, so be sure to ask your cashier about that!  To stay up-to-date on the latest Orly collections, Like their Facebook page.  Color Club Holiday Splendor was a limited edition holiday polish and is no longer available in stores.  To stay up-to-date on Color Club news, Like their Facebook page.

So what do you think?  Which one would you pick?

Products purchased by me

Monday, May 6, 2013

Testing...Help Me Out!

Hey guys!  I fiddled with some stuff and have a few questions for you:

1.  When you type into your address bar, do you reach the blog?

2.  When you type into your address bar, do you reach the blog?

3.  When you type into your address bar, do you reach the blog?

4.  Does everything look right?  You can see pictures and everything?

5.  Do you see anything that looks wrong or unusual?

Thanks, folks!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Technical Note

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you all know that some technical issues may occur.  If, for some reason, something happens to the blog, I will get things sorted out and I will return.  I'm not even sure if anything bad will happen, but I'm having some technical issues behind the scenes, so I figured I'd let you all know that there could be a problem.  I hope there won't be, but you never know.  In the process of trying to make things a little nicer and easier for all of you, I seem to have created problems for myself.  I'll keep you all updated on the situation!

In the meantime, as long as things keep functioning, I'll keep posting.

In the event that something disastrous occurs, go to my Facebook page to remain updated on the situation.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Little Green Men: The Details

To keep this post from getting even longer and to give these guys their own special moment in the spotlight, I decided to make a separate post devoted to my Little Green Men nail art!

Major Seche Vite shrinkage, I know.  I started right at the cuticle, 
but my efforts were no match for the two coats of Seche Vite this mani required!

Polishes Used:

Background and eyes-Cult Nails Nevermore
Stars-Orly Shine On Crazy Diamond
Planet's surface-NailNation 3000 Lunar Eclipse
Aliens-NailNation 3000 Glow Worm layered over China Glaze I'm With The Lifeguard
Spaceships-China Glaze Icicle
Spaceship lights- China Glaze I'm With The Lifeguard

Process Used (The process for painting the aliens was a bit hard to describe, so I've included a diagram.  The numbers on the diagram correspond to the numbers on the list):

1.  1 coat Cult Nails Nevermore
2.  1 coat Orly Shine On Crazy Diamond
3.  Roughly painted NailNation 3000 Lunar Eclipse onto the tips
4.  1 coat Seche Vite dry fast top coat
5.  Used a tiny brush and China Glaze Icicle to paint on the spaceships (it's basically a thick line and a circle)
6.  Used dotting tools and China Glaze I'm With The Lifeguard to add lights to the spaceships
7.  Painted vaguely alien-shaped blobs using China Glaze I'm With The Lifeguard
8.  Painted over I'm With The Lifeguard with NailNation 3000 Glow Worm
9.  Used a tiny brush and Cult Nails Nevermore (and NailNation 3000 Lunar Eclipse around the feet) to sort of outline the aliens and turn them from blobs into beings with defined arms, legs, etc
10.  Used a tiny brush and Cult Nails Nevermore to add eyes
11.  Used a tiny brush and Orly Shine On Crazy Diamond to replace the stars that got covered up by the outlining
12.  One coat Seche Vite dry fast top coat

Click to enlarge

Steps 5-12 took me over two and a half hours!  I'm sure some of you could get it done faster, though...I work very slowly!  What do you think?  Would you ever try this look?

All products purchased by me

Brand Spotlight: NailNation 3000! Swatches, Reviews, and Nail Art!

Hello, lovely followers!  There are a lot more of you than there were the last time I posted, so thank you all so much for your support!  As I'm sure you've all noticed from my previous posts, I usually only focus on one polish at a time.  Today, I'm doing something a little different...something I've been wanting to do for a while, and hope to do more of in the future:  a brand spotlight!

My goal with these brand spotlight posts is to highlight the work of one brand at a time by swatching and reviewing a number of their polishes and tying it all together with a bit of nail art at the end.  You guys get a better feel for the brand, and I get to burn through a bunch of untrieds!  Win-win!

For my first brand spotlight post, I'd like to showcase the work of NailNation 3000.  NailNation 3000 is run by Maria, a licensed manicurist who shows her passion for nails through her polish line and her YouTube tutorials.  Her polishes are very diverse, but she is probably best known for her gorgeous holos, such as the amazing Glow Worm.

Glow Worm is a bright, neon lime green polish with a linear holographic effect.  It's not as neon as, say, China Glaze I'm With The Lifeguard, but it's still pretty damn bright!  The holographic effect is very strong and can be seen in almost any lighting.  As stated in the description for Glow Worm, you may encounter a few dark green specks while painting (especially during your first coat).  Maria says these should disappear when you do additional coats, and for the most part, they do.  I still saw a speck or two after my second coat, but they didn't bother me.  The formula was good, but it's a little on the thick side (likely due to all that amazing holographic pigment!), so you may want to add thinner and be careful to do one thin, even coat at a time.  Dry time was fast.  I was able to get away with doing just two coats, but some people may prefer three coats.

One more important thing to note about Glow Worm is that it's a limited edition and may not be around for much longer, so if you want it, get it now!

Gorgeous linear holo!  It's even stronger in person!

In bright sun

This was one of the few instances in which the holographic effect wasn't really visible.
Here, you can see the base color and one of those dark green specks I was telling you about (on my middle finger).

Now that you've seen my current favorite NailNation 3000 polish, I'd like to show off some old favorites, too!  These polishes are discontinued, but if you fall in love with any of them, Maria says you can contact her and she'll check and see if she has any left to sell to you.  Nice, right?!

Naughty or Nice is a silver holographic polish filled with metallic red microglitter.  The holographic effect in this one was nice and strong!  The formula was fine and dry time was average.  Shown is two coats.  

Fierce is a red jelly filled with metallic red microglitter and holographic pigment.  The holographic effect is linear, though it's a bit on the shy and weak side.  I had a very hard time getting the holographic effect to show up in photos, but trust me, you can see it in person!  The formula was great and dry time was average.  It was fully opaque in person, but appears a bit sheer in the photos.  I used two coats.  

If you want to see the holographic effect in these two polishes better, check out the wheel swatch towards the bottom of the post!

In sun.  Naughty or Nice is on the left, Fierce is on the right

Inside, to show base color

Lunar Eclipse is a moody navy blue filled with metallic blue microglitter, tiny matte white square glitter, and holographic pigment.  A linear holographic effect can be seen in the bottle, but on the nail, the glitter sort of interrupts the effect and causes it to look a bit weak and scattered.  The glitter also causes the polish to have a bit of a rough and bumpy finish, which I actually kind of like.  I think it looks like the surface of a planet!  The formula was fine and dry time was average.  I used two coats.  

Wicked Games is a lovely candy apple red shimmer polish with a sort of jelly-like finish.  The formula was fine and the dry time was average.  I know it looks like I didn't use enough coats, but it was fully opaque in person.  I used two coats.

In bright sun.  Lunar Eclipse is on the left, Wicked Games is on the right.

In indirect light, by a window.  Lunar Eclipse is on the left, Wicked Games is on the right.

With the exception of the mini-sized Wicked Games, all of these polishes came packaged in the short, cylindrical bottles seen at the top of this post.  The brushes are full and awesome.  If you have trouble holding the silver cap, it can be pulled off to reveal a "normal" black cap!

NailNation 3000 polishes generally cost around $13 for 10mL, but select shades will soon be available in a 15mL, non-cylindrical bottle size (price has not been announced yet).  The largest selection of colors is currently available on the NailNation 3000 website.  A smaller selection of colors is available at Llarowe.  You can find the latest NailNation 3000 news on the brand's Facebook page.  

Now for the nail art!  Since Lunar Eclipse got me thinking about space and planets, and Glow Worm is such a fabulous green, I thought I'd show off some little green men!  I like to think that these were the aliens manning the ship featured in my UFO nail art :-) .  Unfortunately, Lunar Eclipse lost its lumpy look when I used it in the nail art (I'm blaming the Seche Vite for that!), but I think holographic aliens living on a smooth, holographic planet is still pretty cool!  For more pictures, information on the polishes, and the process used to create this nail art please go HERE.  

Major Seche Vite shrinkage, I know.  I started right at the cuticle, 
but my efforts were no match for the two coats of Seche Vite this mani required!

I'd also like to take a moment to bring some attention to an item that was a big help to me when working on this post:  the humble nail wheel!

From left to right, the swatches are of Wicked Games, Fierce, 
Naughty or Nice, Lunar Eclipse, and Glow Worm

As you can see from what's painted on the nail wheel in the above photo, I used it to help me figure out which of my NailNation 3000 polishes I liked best, and to do a rough draft of the alien nail art.  I use the Beauty Secrets Nail Polish & Art Wheel sold at Sally Beauty Supply (10 wheels for $6).  Each wheel features 18 semi-opaque white "nails."  They're very easy to paint on and they really come in handy for practicing nail art, trying out different layering combos, or simply just checking to see if a shade will look good on you.  While they're sufficient for my use, they're not terribly durable and therefore may not suit the needs of every polish fanatic.  The "nails" easily bend away from the wheel and sometimes snap off.  Despite this flaw, I love these things and can't live without them!

WHEW!  This turned out to be a monster of a post!  So what do you think, folks?  Would you like to see more of these "Brand Spotlight" posts in the future?  Future brand spotlights will likely be shorter than this one...I just couldn't stop myself lol.  

All products purchased by me