Month: January 2012

Manicure of the week: best of the rest

In the spirit of wrapping up the year, I thought it would be fun to take a break this week from my Chanel collection, and show you some of the other great polishes I discovered in the last few months. Most of these are drugstore brands, so if you feel like experimenting with nail polish, one of these might just be your “gateway drug”. Ahem!
First up, Sally Hansen Salon Manicure in Barracuda, from the most recent Tracy Reese collaboration. I’m a sucker for pale blues, and this one was a truer blue than most. I loved how the colour looked on my hands, and the application was pretty good for a pastel – it was even in two coats.

Moving towards the greener end of the spectrum, Essie’s Mint Candy Apple is (despite the name) a pretty, pale aqua. I loved it topped off with a coat of Essie’s Shine of the Times for a bit of festive cheer.
Still in the blue family (notice a trend here?), China Glaze’s Sea Spray is a pale grey creme. It actually has some warm undertones, which make it a great base colour for White Cap, a sheer white polish packed with gold micro-shimmer. I can’t describe the effect any better than to say that it reminds me of shiny gift wrapping paper.
Speaking of sparkly, get a hold of L’Oreal’s Owl’s Night! A dark, greenish-copper base packed with gold and bronze glitter – it’s quite a stunner. For any Project Runway fans, this was part of the limited edition, tie-in collection, which is still available in some stores now. Sadly, this one doesn’t wear as well as my Essies and China Glazes, but it’s worth the effort for the unique colour alone.
This stunning raspberry scattered holo from the OPI Designer Series (Extravagance) was a late addition to my polish hoard last year, but it’s a stunner. I love jewel tones, and this one looks like it has actual jewels crushed into it.

I love to “franken” my manicure by layering different polishes to get unique colours and finishes. One of my favourite frankens uses Maybelline’s Cool Couture (below) as its base. This one is a pretty colour all on its own; the subtle teal shimmer makes it a bit more special than your average grey-blue polish.
Add a coat of Sally Hansen HD Nail Colour in DVD (a purple-blue duochrome glitter), and a coat of China Glaze’s Fairy Dust (a scattered holo glitter in clear base) and – voila! Glitter overload!

I’m not a huge OPI fan (although I love its Designer Series polishes), but the recent Pirates of the Caribbean-inspired collection was pretty great. I have 3 of the polishes, including Mermaid’s Tears and Skull & Glossbones (see below), but my favourite is Stranger Tides – a greyed-out pale green. It’s a twist on a “neutral” manicure; the colour is unique, but subtle, and ever-so-flattering on my beyond-pale skin.
Of course, I couldn’t resist layering White Cap over it – and loved the results!!
I have yet to try out Mermaid’s Tears, but if it’s half as great as Stranger Tides and Skull & Glossbones – an ethereal pale grey – then it’s probably going to make my 2012 list of favourite manis.
You have not forgotten my love of linear holo polishes, have you? Neither have I. I was thrilled to get my hands on this bright green version from Nubar (Reclaim). It looks darker in the photo below because I layered it over a coat of Gosh Nero (an amazing creme black polish) to intensify the colour; on its own, Reclaim is more grass-green than emerald, but very eye-catching nonetheless.

Last, but not least, I had to add Metallic Sage to the list. Did you know that Estee Lauder has nail polish? I didn’t, but I was thrilled to discover this polish. A muted olive-khaki with a hint of gold shimmer, it’s one of those ugly-beautiful greens that I just adore. [Maybe because they’re usually quite flattering to redheads. Just a guess.] In a way, I think of it as a less showy cousin of Wallis, my favourite butter LONDON polish, which I have already written about. I can’t seem to get enough of these!

Stay tuned for more nail polish adventures in 2012!

Best of 2011

2011 was quite the rollercoaster year in the BCRL household – we were up, down, and shaken all around. And that was just the home renovation. Then we got hit by a little whirlwind called Luka. But it was all for the best, because as much as he turned our lives upside down, we now can’t imagine what those lives might be like without him.
In honour of the year past, I thought a little retrospective would be in order. Without further ado, here is the creme de la creme of 2011:

Personal best
This would make the top of my list – any list – in any given year from this point on. That face, that smile, those chubby cheeks … it gets me every time. Best thing I ever did, hands down.

Best Fashion Moment
As much as I have enjoyed the one-on-one styling sessions with the amazing women I’ve been privileged to meet over the last year and a half, the Vespucci shopping party last February took the fun to the next level. Something akin to speed-styling, and about as nerve-wracking, but so much fun! Give a dozen or more ladies a whole store to play in and you’re guaranteed to have some awesome style moments. And did I mention there were cupcakes? I cannot wait to do it again – who’s with me?

Best deal

I love, love, love my YSL Besace bag … and it’s pretty easy to love for less than 30% of the retail price. Gotta love Kijiji; it doesn’t always pay off, but when it does, it’s epic!

Best Splurge

Total impulse buy, and a splurge to boot, but how pretty are these Prada wedges? They’ll make the back-to-work transition just a little bit less painful.

Best Outfit

I was fortunate to have a fairly easy pregnancy, and for all the bitching I did about maternity wear (totally justified, by the way!), I quite enjoyed sporting my “baby bump” once I figured out how to dress it. My favourite outfits were, without exception, the ones that showed it off … like this amazing Tocca dress, an incredible Value Village find.

Best Makeover
The credit for this one goes to my wonderful husband for his tireless work on our house. I love my new family room-slash-library (and now, slash-baby-romper-room), and I’m still amazed that we get to have such a grown-up, sophisticated space in our first proper home together. 

Not bad considering that I still feel like a teenager most of the time. Ah, some things never change!

What were your 2011 bests?