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Mani Monday: Essie Fall 2015 Collection Review + Swatches

Fall is usually my favourite time of year for nail polish collections, I love the darker, warmer shades. Usually though, I love a couple shades from a collection, not the entire thing. Essie’s rock’n’roll royalty inspired collection is everything I want in a fall collection. The formula for this collection is a tiny bit thicker than their usual thin formula which made it really easy for almost all of these shades to be one-coaters.
Color Binge
Essie Color Binge Swatch
Color Binge isn’t a classic red, it has too much orange in it, but it’s a great fall shade that would be a great base for halloween nail art.
With The Band
Essie With The Band Swatch - Could've Been 1 Coat
Essie calls With The Band a ‘toasted spice burgundy’ and while I’m not a huge fan of red polish, I fell in love with this one with the first brush stroke. This could’ve been one coat but I went with two to even it out a bit.
In The Lobby
Essie In The Lobby Swatch - 90's
In The Lobby really makes me think of the 90’s. An ‘exotic cinnamon plum,’ this shade is competely on trend and a fantastic shade for fall.
Leggy Legend
Essie Leggy Legend Swatch - 1 Coat
I don’t know if I would’ve ever picked up this molten bronze shade on my own but it’s really pretty in the sunlight and had full coverage with one coat.
Frock ‘N Roll
Essie Frock 'N Roll Swatch - 1 Coat
Frock ‘N Roll is described as a ‘shimmering rich espresso’ but it leans toward the black side. There’s a lot going on with the shimmer as well, I saw reds and golds and probably missed other shades. This one was also one coat.
Bell-Bottom Blues
Essie Bell-Bottom Blues Swatch - Could've Been 1 Coat
To the surprise of no one, I knew Bell-Bottom Blues would be my favourite shade just by looking at the bottle. But I was completely unprepared for how gorgeous this indigo shade is. One coat looked great but two is spectacular.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve loved an entire collection so much to the point where I didn’t want to take any of these polishes off. I really liked the thicker formula and might have to stock up on a couple of these in case I run out.

Mani Monday – Essie Summer ’15 Collection Review + Swatches

When summer hits my nail polish choices definitely change and I tend to pick blues, greens and whites. Luckily Essie seems to be along the page because their summer collection has two blues and a white. And while this is the last of our Essie reviews until fall; like the other recent collections, this one doesn’t disappoint.
Private Weekend
Essie Private Weekend Swatch
To be honest, my favourite while nail polish is Essie’s Blanc and nothing has ever lived up to it. The formula of Private Weekend was really good for a white and was almost a one coater but the shimmer that you can see in the bottle only looked like dirty white on my nails. I actually prefer the photo to how it looked in person.
Essie Chillato Swatch
Essie calls Chillato a ‘frozen cream pistachio,’ I call it a pastel yellow with some green in it. The formula was a little chalky but two coats were perfect. It’s not a shade that looks good on me but it’s a great summer colour.
Peach Side Babe
Essie Peach Side Babe Swatch
If you’re looking for a peach nail polish, I haven’t found one better than Peach Side Babe. it’s the truest peach I’ve tried so far with just enough pink in it.
Sunset Sneaks
Essie Sunset Sneaks Swatch
Sunset Sneaks is one of my favourite shades from the summer collection. Essie calls it a ‘bright cushy crimson’ but I found it had a lot of coral to it which gives it a much more summery feel than red does.
Saltwater Happy
Essie Salt Water Happy Swatch - one coat
Saltwater Happy is what I think of when I think of summer nail polish. This light blue creme was a one coater and I love that it didn’t have any shimmer to it.
Essie Pret-A-Surfer Swatch
Another one coater, Pret-A-Surfer was my other favourite shade of the collection. This marine blue had a touch of violet in it and just stands out from all my pastels and neons. This will definitely carry me into fall.

Mani Monday: Essie Neons 2015 Review + Swatches

I automatically associate neon nail polish with summer and pretty much don’t wear it at all any other time of the year, so I couldn’t wait to try Essie’s Neon’s collection. Here’s how it went.
Make Some Noise
Essie Make Some Noise Swatch - stained
This electric blue isn’t quite neon on it’s own but definitely pops. It also stains but I fully expected that. Two coats of Make Some Noise was perfect and next time I’m trying it over a white to see if I can brighten it up a little more.
Melody Maker
Essie Melody Maker Swatch - one coat
I love a teal and Melody Maker is the definition of what I love about it. From the colour to the fact that it only needs one coat. It may not be a true neon but this is my definition of summer.
Essie Coacha'Bella Swatch
Since this collection is based on summer music festivals, I love this magenta’s play on Coachella. Two coats gave me great coverage. If you’re looking for a bright hot pink, give this one a try.
All Access Pass
Essie All Access Pass Swatch - jelly like-clumpy
I wanted All Access Pass to be my favourite and the violet indigo shade is absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately this one was a complete pain to deal with. It was jelly-like and clumpy and took way too much time and effort to manipulate into making it somewhat presentable. I’ve tried multiple base coats and top coats, all with the same results. As much as it kills me, this might be the Essie shade that breaks me and ends up in the garbage.
Groove Is In The Heart
Essie Groove Is In The Heart Swatch
Groove Is In The Heart is a pastel peachy pink neon and it’s stunning in person. I swatched it twice because I just couldn’t get a photo showing how pretty it actually is. Two coats and a top coat and I was set.
Vibrant Vibes
Essie Vibrant Vibes Swatch
This neon lime shade was really the only true neon in the collection but I love it so much that it pretty much makes up for that. The formulation was basically the same as Groove Is In The Heart and considering how much white is in both of them I was amazed at how easy they were to work with.

With the expection of All Access Pass, which is still breaking my heart, all of these shades were a dream to work with and wear time was pretty fabulous. I only really had tip wear on Coacha’Bella and that was after two days. We have one more Essie collection coming up so stay tuned.

Mani Monday – Essie Bridal ’15 Review + Swatches

When I think of wedding nail polish, I always think of light pinks and nudes and those shades really never interest me. I’m the kind of person that thinks ‘something blue’ should be nail polish. And while Essie’s Bridal 2015 collection doesn’t quite go as far as blue and has the traditional pale, neutral shades, they also bring the colour. We received half the Bridal collection and I’m so happy we got to try both of the brighter shades as well as a more expected one.

Tying The Knotie
Essie Tying The Knotie Swatch
Tying The Knotie is a pretty sheer, pale pink that’s perfect for more traditional brides. Unlike most pale pinks, it wasn’t streaky or hard to get the opacity I wanted in three thin coats. This one is a good builder, so you can customize to the sheerness you want.
Happy Wife Happy Life
Essie Happy Wife Happy Life Swatch
Happy Wife Happy Life is almost a classic red but has enough orange in it to make it different. Two coats went on perfectly and was a lot more flattering than I was expecting from looking at the bottle.
Brides No Grooms
Essie Brides No Grooms Swatch
Brides No Grooms is called a Bachelorette Bright Pink and while I get that, I could totally see a bride wearing this hot pink. It’s also entirely possible that this is my favourite Essie shade ever. It has everything going for it, the formula was perfect and went on extremely smoothly. And it made a girl who hates pink most of the time, love a pink nail polish.

I love that Essie has something for everyone in this collection, especially some unexpected shades. And there’s a lot more Essie coming up so stay tuned.

Essie Spring 2015 Review + Swatches

I’m usually pretty impressed with Essie nail polish collections because there are always a great variety of shades ranging from nude to colour and the Spring 2015 Flowerista collection fits right into that. It’s also the first collection that has designer Rebecca Minkoff collaborating as the Global Colour Designer. All six shades went on pretty flawlessly and a large part of that is the long, thin, flexible brush that makes Essie polish one of my favourites.
Perennial Chic
Essie Perennial Chic Swatch
I really hate a good chunk of nudes we try because the formula is never what I want it to be. Perennial Chic is the exception to the rule. This neutral peach shade was a dream to apply and had none of the streakiness or blotchiness that I was expecting.
Picked Perfect
Essie Picked Perfect Swatch
Picked Perfect is a caramel brown that I was expecting to love but just didn’t. The formula was great though and I had no issues.
Petal Pushers
Essie Petal Pushers Swatch
Essie describes this as ‘smoky stone rose’ and while I don’t see the rose, this is one of my favourite grays. I don’t have anything like it in my collection.
Blossom Dandy
Essie Blossom Dandy Swatch
This mint creme shade should’ve been my favourite and while I do like it and it definitely screams spring, something about it is making this shade take a while to grow on me.
Essie Flowerista Swatch
The collection’s namesake is a really pretty bright plum. I could’ve easily gotten away with one coat for this one. This is the definition of spring nail polish to me.
Garden Variety
Essie Garden Variety Swatch
Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that this teal shade is my absolute favourite. Again, I could’ve gotten away with one coat but went with two anyways. This is the one I never wanted to take off and I’ll be going back to it a lot.

Overall I’m loving the Flowerista shades and I can’t wait to see what other collaborations we get between Essie and Rebecca Minkoff.

Mani Monday – essie Cashmere Matte 2015 Collection Swatches + Review

Happy New Year! We have our first Mani Monday of 2015 and if you’re just as bored of all the sparkle and glitter of holiday nail polish as I am, you’re going to love essie’s Cashmere Matte 2015 collection. These polishes were a pleasure to work with, I used Essie All In One as a base coat for all of them and it worked perfectly. Because these are matte polishes you don’t use a top coat and they all dried almost instantly. I wish there was a little more colour but there are definitely a couple I’ll be using often. All of the swatches are two coats.
Wrap Me Up
Essie Wrap Me Up Swatch
This was the only shade I had an issue with, the formula was a little gloopy, but I think it might have just been the bottle I received. Wrap Me Up is the palest of pinks, almost white. It almost reminded me of tinted chalk but I had no issues with patchiness.
Just Stitched
Essie Just Stitched Swatch
Just Stitched is another pale pink but this one had a bit more pearl to it. If you need to wear pale neutral polishes, this would probably be a nice option if you want something different.
All Eyes On Nude
Essie All Eyes On Nudes Swatch
essie calls All Eyes On Nude a camel-hued neutral but to me it’s just way too close to my skin tone for my liking. But All Eyes On Nude, Just Stitched and Wrap Me Up would probably make perfect bases for nail art, especially since they dry so fast.
Comfy In Cashmere
Essie Comfy In Cashmere Swatch
Comfy In Cashmere is a mauve with shimmer and just a touch of brown to it. I loved it a lot more when I was in sunshine and could see all the shimmery undertones.
Coat Couture
Essie Coat Couture Swatch
Coat Couture is a gorgeous greige with purple shimmer undertones. I’m going to be wearing this one a lot.
Spun In Luxe
Essie Spun In Luxe Swatch
essie calls Spun In Luxe a blue-black but outside the bottle I really don’t see much blue. But this is by far my favourite shade. It reminds me of black leather and looks amazing both without a top coat and with a glossy one. The wear time is a lot better than most black shades as well, I went 3 days without any noticeable tip wear and even then I had to really look. Spun In Luxe is definitely a new staple in my polish collection.

Mani Monday: Most Wanted Nail Polish 2015

Happy New Year! We have a ton of new stuff coming up but for our first Mani Monday of the year we’re looking back at our favourite nail polish shades from 2015.
Essie: With The Band
Essie With The Band Swatch - Could've Been 1 Coat
There were quite a few Essie shades that I loved a lot this year, Bell-Bottom Blues and Groove Is In The Heart almost made this list; but With The Band is probably one of my favourites shades of red polish ever. The formula is fantastic and the colour is just a little off from a ‘classic’ red. Essie’s entire fall collection is probably my collection of the year.
Nails Inc x Alice + Olivia: Next To Nothing
Nails Inc Next To Nothing Swatch
I’m generally not a fan of nude nail polish and there are other shades in the Nails Inc. x Alice + Olivia F/W 2015 set that are more in my comfort zone but Next To Nothing is basically my ideal nude. I’ve been using it sparingly because I have a mini sized bottle but if I’m ever going to reach for a nude polish, it’ll be this one.
Julep: Alyssa
Julep Alyssa Swatch
I swear I’m not picking this shade because it has my name on it. At least not fully. When Julep released their June collection and had shades named Alyssa and Steph, I was pretty excited. But when I tried the Alyssa polish and it was basically the summer shade I would’ve picked for myself, well, the excitement level went way up. Plus you get full coverage with one coat and it’s a creme. I’ve already gone through half the bottle.
CND Vinylux: Couture Covet
CND Vinylux Couture Covet Swatch
I loved the fall nail polish collections the most this year and CND Vinylux’s Contradictions collection had a lot of great shades. Couture Covet was one of standouts for me. For one thing, it’s hard to find a great, dark teal and for another the formula was outstanding enough that I didn’t let the little bit of staining stop me from using it repeatedly.
Trust Fund Beauty: Denim With Diamonds
Trust Fund Beauty Denim With Diamonds Swatch - one coat, no staining
It takes a lot for me to be blown away by a shade of nail polish; but when I did the Trust Fund Beauty Battle Of The Blues, I couldn’t get over Denim With Diamonds. This shade is so stunning in person, I got a ridiculous amount of compliments on it. One coat gets you full coverage of this shimmery deep blue and I’m pretty much completely obsessed with this shade.

It was so hard to narrow down my favourites of 2015. What was your favourite nail polish last year?

Mani Monday – Julep June 2015 Subscription Box Review + Swatches

Julep June 2015 Open
I’ve been a member of Julep’s Maven subscription box for over two years and it’s by far one of my favourite subscriptions. There are so many options, you can skip a month and you can make your monthly box completely customizable especially now that they’ve added even more to our selections each month. I don’t usually post my boxes because lately I’ve either been skipping or picking basics like Julep’s Vanish Cuticle Softener & Remover which is the best product for getting rid of nail polish stains (especially blue) that I’ve found.
Julep June 2015 Contents
I have so much nail polish I don’t usually feel the need to get more unless it’s something I need to have. This month was less about the shades and more about the fact that there were polishes named Steph and Alyssa. If you haven’t peeked at the about us page, those are our names, so when Julep offered polishes in their June collection with not one but both our names, I had to get them. I also added Julep’s new Rethink Your Shower Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil as my third pick.
Julep Steph
Julep Steph Swatch
Julep calls Steph a ‘coconut crem iridescent shimmer’ and while it’s probably not something the real Steph would wear, she does love coconut. This shade is what I wanted Essie’s Private Weekend to be. The formula is fantastic for a white and the shimmer really comes through. Two coats were perfect.
Julep Alyssa
Julep Alyssa Swatch
I don’t know anyone at Julep and they certainly don’t know me but did they ever do a good job pairing this shade with my name. In the summer I’m all about blue and green nail polish and this ‘beachside turquoise creme’ is about as close to a shade I would pick for myself as you can get. And it’s a one-coater which I find pretty typical for Julep polishes.

Rethink You Shower is a Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil that has a gorgeous light grapefruit citrus scent. It doesn’t give you a crazy lather but it’s definitely enough of one. It leaves my skin pretty soft and in the summer I didn’t need to add much of a moisturizer after but in the winter it’ll definitely need one. I didn’t get one of the new Julep Konjac sponges to use with it but I might pick one up this month.

June literally had our names written all over it and I can’t wait to see what they came up with for July. If you want more information on the Julep Maven program and all it’s options you can go to

MoYou London Illusion Starter Kit

Illusion Starter Kit Package
It’s been pretty well established that I’m pretty bad at nail art, but I’ve never tried nail stamping before. To be honest, it seemed really difficult and messy and I hadn’t really ever put much thought into trying it. When we got a invitation to visit the Trade Secrets head office (they’re the only place that carries MoYou London in Canada) to try MoYou, I was curious enough to try it out.
Illusion Starter Kit Back
Getting your nails stamped by a pro is one thing (my nails looked amazing) but trying it on my own was something completely different. So when I was sent home with the Illusion starter kit, I was excited and a little bit scared.
Illusion Starter Kit Contents
The kit comes with everything you need. An image plate (Illusion 02), a stamping polish (Black Knight), a stamp, a scraper and a hugely helpful instruction manual.
Illusion Starter Kit Contents Open
I figured a kitchen table would be the best place to spread everything out and give it a try. I also had nail polish remover and a roll of paper towels with me. I was a little overconfident, I mean the lady who did my nails made it look so easy, so I could figure it out right? Well, sort of. Figuring out how much polish to apply to the image plate and how to position the stamp on your nail is definitely going to take some time to get the hang of. And every time I had to clean the stamp the rubber came out of the holder, so there’s definitely a learning curve.
Illusion Starter Kit Swatch 1
I used Essie’s Blossom Dandy under the stamping, thinking it would be a good contrast to the black stamping polish. I obviously didn’t get the right amount of polish on the stamp on my first try but I liked the faded effect so I didn’t redo it.
Illusion Starter Kit Swatch 2
For my very first try, it was a pretty decent attempt at nail art and I have a couple more image plates to try out. I’m going to do some practise runs on paper before I go for my nails again. MoYou London has an insane amount of image plates to choose from and I’m going to pick up more stamping polish because you can’t use regular polish for this.

Nail stamping might be the only way I can get the hang of nail art, luckily I have tons of options to choose from. Stay tuned for more attempts.

Most Wanted Manicure Essentials

I get asked all the time how I keep my nails looking great and to be honest it’s mostly luck and good genes. But there are a few products I use almost religiously. These are my Most Wanted Mani Essentials.
Essie First Base Base Coat
I’ve used quite a few base coats in my time and I always go back to Essie’s. I’ve been using First Base for a few months now and I love how smooth it makes my nails and how strong it keeps them. It also helps your nail polish stick, which makes for a longer lasting manicure.
CND Solar Oil
I’m not a huge fan of greasy cuticle oils but Solar Oil absorbs almost instantly, smells delicious and keeps my cuticles looking good.
L’Occitane Shea Butter Dry Skin Hand Cream
Pretty nails don’t look as great if your hands look really dry and a good hand cream can help with that. L’Occitane’s line of hand creams include shea butter which make my hands feel extremely soft and hydrated and I love that it doesn’t wash off when you wash your hands.
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
This is probably my favourite nail product of all time. People seem to have a love or hate relationship with Seche Vite but I’m definitely in the love camp. It dries my nails in under a minute and leaves them glossy for days. I take this with me when I’m going to a nail place for a manicure and if they ever decided to discontinue it, I’d probably stockpile enough for the rest of my life.
Formula X For Sephora Delete Nail Polish Remover
Formula X For Sephora Delete Nail Polish Remover
I change my nail polish pretty much every day so it’s important I have a good nail polish remover that doesn’t kill my nails. Delete by Formula X gets everything off (even glitter) without scrubbing or tugging. I love the pump formula because you end up using less and it locks so it’s hard to spill.

What are your favourite nail products?