Banana Republic teams up with OPI in 8 Days of Giving

It’s the end of November, which means Christmas is right around the corner, and I am reminded om a daily basis whenever I step foot outside my house. Since even before Halloween, some of my more zealous neighbors have already put up their Christmas decorations. Then, right after Halloween, all the stores in the malls automatically switched to Christmas decorations and Christmas music. Now I literally cannot step into a mall without someone reminding me that I still have a crap load of presents that I need to buy before Christmas. Don’t get me wrong people. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! It is truly my favorite time of the year. The lights, the decorations, even the smells, all help contribute to that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I spend the whole year just looking forward to Christmas, but unfortunately, it is also one of the busiest times of the year. But enough ranting, as that was totally not to point of this post.

The original point of this post was to talk about a little early Christmas present that I received this year. I got it today, and I LOVE IT!!!! This all started last night as I was doing a final scroll through of my Facebook wall before finally going to sleep. Imagine my surprise when I noticed a little post about how Banana Republic was doing “The 8 Days of Giving” this year, and day three happened to be in collaboration with OPI nail polish. What shocked me even more was when upon further reading, I discovered they were giving away whole size bottles of the OPI San Francisco collection for free. After a 10 minute squeal-fest, where I most have woken up like half my neighborhood, I realized that to my dismay that the giveaway would only last until 1:00 on Monday, November, 25. Unfortunately, my schedule for that day would not allow me to sneak out of work and get my own bottle of free OPI nail polish. Ok, I know right about now you guys must think I am crazy. I know OPI nail polishes are only around $9 and I could just run out and buy my own bottle. Money was not the issue in this situation. It was simply the idea of getting free OPI nail polish from Banana Republic. I mean, how many times do you hear of stores giving away free whole bottles of OPI nail polish?!?!?! Fortunately, my parents were in the area and picked me up a bottle. Although, they didn’t manage to get the original color that I really wanted (Muir Muir on the Wall), they managed to pick up a bottle of my second favorite (Lost on Lombard), which was the color I had originally set out to buy a few months ago when I really wanted to nice red that matched the new oxblood colored Dr. Martens, but I ended up getting Malaga Wine (which I totally don’t regret, because that color does match my Dr. Martens better) However, I was totally not expecting my parents to drop by and grabbing me a bottle, so it was a really nice surprise to come back and see it sitting on my table! Thanks Mom and Dad! I love you guys!!!


Playing with Stripes

Ok, so this summer was suppose to be the summer where I really had a chance to sit down and make this blog exactly how I wanted it. I had also planned to do lots of updates, and had planned on posting a lot about the different nail designs that I did. However, I made exactly two posts this summer, one on June 28th about me coming back from a serious illness, and then one on July 24th about Sephora’s new nail polishes.

If you had a chance to read my previous posts, you will discover that I was incapacitated at the beginning of summer due to a horrible problem with a viral infection in my inner ear, which caused me to have en extremely bad case of vertigo. It took me almost a month to get over my illness. Right after I had gotten better, I had to do a lot of personal things and didn’t have really a lot of time to do my nails and blog. I finally found time to blog about Sephora’s new nail polishes and had planned some more posts, when I got sick for a second time. My ear, nose, throat (E.N.T) doctor diagnosed my illness as benign positional vertigo, which basically caused me to  really dizzy and have horrible vertigo for approximately another month, which brings us to today. So basically, I wasted my entire summer being sick. Unfortunately, school starts in a week, which means I will not have a lot of time to do my nails, but I will try and keep this blog going because this is really a passion of mine.

I finally had time this week to do my nails, and I will be talking about them in this post. This morning I was sitting around trying to decide what color or colors to paint my nails. I knew I wanted to do something fun, but also interesting, but appropriate for a teacher. School starts in a week and I probably won’t have time to re-do my nails before then, and so I want to make sure that my nails are funky and cool but also appropriate for my position as a teacher. Recently I’ve really been inspired by all things British, especially the British flag. It has also been an iconic logo in fashion and recently it has made a return in all things fashion, and I’ve really been digging it. So I finally decided that for my nails I would emulate the feel of the British flag using similar colors, but not copy the design exactly. To be honest, I don’t even think I am talented enough to actually draw the Union Jack on my fingers. Now, I must say that I don’t have a striper tool at home. I have two very basic dotting tools and a small paintbrush (to clean off my cuticles) that I actually got at Michael’s when I first started doing my nails and that is basically it when it comes to nail tools. Now, of course I wasn’t thinking when I started, and then by the time I realized, I was like screw it, I’m plowing ahead anyways. As a result, I painted the lines on my fingers using my dotting tool and basically creating lots of stippling dots connected together to make it look like a line. The cons with this method is that unless you have a very very steady hand (like robotic steady), your lines will come out with varying thickness and will not be perfectly straight. However, I am somewhat pleased with the results considering what I had to work with, but this is by no means a perfect manicure, so please forgive the slight sloppiness of the look.

So for this manicure I basically used four different colors. The first two colors came out of the Sephora by OPI Life’s a Beach mini nail polish collection that I got from my best friend for my birthday this year. We’ve been friends for almost 20 years, and I absolutely love her. The first color from the set is called “I’m Wired” which is this coral-y orange color and the second color I used form the kit is called “Havana Dreams” which is this beautiful shade of light blue. I also used Essie’s “Butler Please” which is this bright wonderful cobalt blue, and finally Essie’s “Marshmallow” which is a white as you could probably tell by the name. I also used Sally Hansen’s “Advanced Hard as Nails Strengthing Top Coat” to finish off my manicure.

So you can see pictures of my nails below. Again, not one of my best executed nail designs, but I still love it. Hopefully next time I try to do a manicure with stripes, I will have purchased a striper tool or at least a really thin paint brush.

OPI Sephora vs. Sephora X Nail Polishes

I was shopping at a local Sephora this past week and I noticed that all the Sephora OPI nail polishes are on sale for 50% off. Curious, I bought bottle for only $4.50 and then asked the girl who was ringing me up at the counter. She informed me that OPI and Sephora have parted ways, which was why everything was 50% off, and that Sephora was creating their own line of nail polishes that would be called Sephora X. Before I continue this post about the new line of Sephora X nail polishes, I just wanted to mention that everything nail related by OPI Spehora is 50% off, EVERYTHING!!! However, that also means that if there is a color that you really love, run to the nearest Sephora and grab as many bottles as you can because once they sell out, it is gone forever.

After coming home, I looked up Sephora X and noticed that they were already selling on the Sephora website (Although I think they aren’t making an official debut until Ssptember.) I think currently you can only find them in Sephora’s in NYC, although I could be wrong. I do know for a fact that I checked in a few stores (5 to be exact) in NJ and I have only seen them in one Sephora thus far. Sephora X nail polish will eventually become a massive collection of I think over 200 colors, which have been divided into multiple categories. These categories are:
The Illusionists: Top Coats That Transform
The Cosmics: High-Coverage Glitters
The Sparklers: Glitter Goes 3-D
The Prismatics: Twinkling Luster Dust
The Pearlescents: A Shimmering Spectrum
The Electrics: True Neon Pigments
The New Classics: Essentials Boldly Reimagined
The New Neutrals: Universal Shades – With a Twist
The Minimalists: Sheer Color Washes – With a Twist
The Industrialists: Elements of Grey
The Under and the Cover: Priming Base Coat and Glossy Top Coat

Although I have not had a chance to try any of the actual Sephora X nail polishes, I have to admit I was very sorry to hear the news. I personally really like OPI nail polish and was really happy that they had partnered with Sephora. The OPI Sephora nail polishes were as wonderful as the regular OPI nail polishes and I loved being able to run into my local Sephora to grab a bottle whenever I was either in the mood, or had to have a certain color. I also loved how each bottle of OPI Sephora was $9.50, no matter what color or kind, which is about the same as a bottle of regular OPI nail polish. Since OPI is such a great nail polish brand, I didn’t feel bad paying the $9.50 since I knew I was getting the same wonderful quality.

As I mentioned above, I have not had a chance to try the new Sephora X nail polish, so everything I am saying from this point is based on my personal feeling, or things that I have read online about the Sephora X nail polishes. If this information is for any reason wrong, or offends anyone, I apologize. The first thing I would like to talk about is the price of the new Sephora X nail polishes. After again checking online, one of the first things I noticed was the difference in price  between the different types of nail polishes. From what I can tell by looking online, there seem to be two big price ranges for the new Sephora X nail polishes. More simple nail polishes, like the neon ones or the pearlescent nail polishes will sell for $9.50, the same as the old OPI Sephora nail polishes. However, I guess you could call them more special nail polishes (anything with glitter pieces or luster dust), will sell for $11.50, making them slightly more expensive. Sure, $2 is not a big deal, but as Sephora didn’t specialize in nail polish prior to this split, I can’t speak for the quality of their nail polishes, making me a little more hesitant to purchase them. This doesn’t mean that I will refuse to purchase them simply because they are Sephora Brand, but I would definitely have to try them or do more research before I pulled out my money.

The second thing I don’t really like about the Sephora X nail polishes is the packaging. I LOVED how the packaging of the OPI Sephora nail polishes were the same as the regular OPI packaging. Call me anal, but I like having all my nail polishes the same size and I also thought the OPI packaging is really cute and easy to manage when using. From what I have seen and read online, the Sephora X nail polishes have a square bottle top, however this is not a type that you pop off like the Butter London nail polishes or Chanel polishes. Due to the size and shape of the tops, this makes using the brush a little more inconvenient. Also, as it is with most bottles that are square in shape, they never line back up correctly no matter how hard you try. This leaves you with bottles of nail polishes that have caps that are in weird angles and in my mind are extremely ugly.

This is my review of the new Sephora X nail polishes. I am hoping to get my hands on them soon so that I can do another review of what I personally think about these nail polishes and not just based on what I have read. Hope this helps and until next time!

So, it’s been almost 20 days since my

So, it’s been almost 20 days since my last post. The reason is that I was sick for those 20 days with a viral infection that infected my inner ear. This caused me to be stuck in bed for those twenty days because the world would spin and I would get really nauseous every time I tried to move my head. I’m feeling better now, although I still get slightly dizzy when I turn my head too quickly, but I’m glad to be on the mend. Unfortunately, that also means that I have not done anything with my nails for these 20 days, so I have nothing new to post. However, I am hoping to be back and posting about nails SOON!!!!   

Butter-ing your nails

Since I have started painting my nails, I have typically bought either Essie or OPI nail polish. Those are the two big nail polish brands that everyone really likes, and I really like the colors. However, today I am not going to talk about either one of those brands. Instead I am going to be talking about BUTTER LONDON nail polish (As if you couldn’t guess from the title…I know, I know, I’m lame :P)

So, I recently discovered the Butter London brand while browsing at my local ULTA store. I had seen the brand before in magazines, and I heard about them online, but I never knew where to buy them (until I start going to ULTA, which like I mentioned in my last post, I I’ll talk about it a future post hopefully), and I was happy with using just Essie and OPI. However, now Butter London is one of my favorite nail polish brands. Before I get to why I personally LOVE Butter London, let me introduce you to what it is.

Butter London was a company founded in 2005 by Sasha Muir who wanted to provide affordable nail service and high quality prices. Butter London nail polish or should I say Nail Lacquer (Since Butter London believes that Nail Polish is created in a lab, but Nail Lacquer is created on the runway) is a 3 free nail lacquer. This means that all Butter London nail products are free of formaldehyde, toluene and DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate). Now I’ve read many websites and there is basically controversy as to whether or not those chemicals are actually harmful to humans. All nail polishes sold in the United States are FDA approved. Although they may contain potentially harmful ingredients, they are allowed on the market because they are safe when used as directed (meaning they are fine on your nails,nut you probably shouldn’t be drinking nail polish) . Also, if there is only a certain percentage of the chemical in a product, then it should be safe for use. Now, there have been situations of people having allergic reactions if they have really sensitive skin, but for the most part you should be safe using these products. However, I am a firm believer that it can’t hurt to try and not use those products, which is why I am really happy that Butter London does not have those chemicals in their nail polish. If you are more interested in learning about these chemicals, I will include links at the bottom and you visit them and read all about them in detail.

Now, for why I love Butter London other than what I have mentioned so far up top.
First of all I LOVE the packaging for Butter London. The love the rectangular shape of the bottle. I have always loved rectangular or square things. I think they are easier to organize, take up less room, and just look cleaner overall. You can like them up nice and straight and there are no odd corners or wasted room. I also really love how Butter London has two caps, a square black cap that completes the squareness of the bottle, and a smaller black round cap underneath. I also love who there is a small crow logo printed on the top of the small black cap for nail polish colors, and the crown logo for all nail treatment bottles.

Second, I think Butter London is extremely true to the color in the bottle. One of the things I hate the most is picking up a nail polish bottle and buying it without trying it on, taking it home and then realizing later that the color is not at all what I expected. Even though I only have one bottle of Butter London nail polish, I have tried different Butter London colors, and so far all the colors that I have tried have been true to the color that you see in the bottle, including the one bottle that I have. I will continue to try Butter London nail polish, and if I find otherwise, I will let everyone know.

Third of all, Butter London nail polish was really easy to apply. The color went on smoothly, not streaky and splotchy. I have sometimes had problems with Essie nail polish being streaky, causing me to have to apply multiple coats to get an even coating. However, one coat of Butter London is enough to cover the entire nail and give it a nice glassy color and the color dried relatively quickly, without puddling. Also, the brush is smaller than the OPI brush and I thought it was easier to use and get into the corners due to the size.

Now, I would like to share some cons with the Butter Nail lacquer as well.
I used Butter London nail polish “Slapper” to paint a ruffled nail design on my fingers that only covered part of my nail. However, when I was removing the nail polish a few weeks later, I found that the nail polish was really hard to get off. It might have been because the nail color is so saturated that when I wiped it off with a cotton swab, it got all over my nails and the skin around the nail. I had to use quite a bit of nail polish remover to get all the color off my fingers. I’ve never had that happen with the other nail polishes I’ve used (and I’ve used some dark colors like when I did my galaxy nails using black nail polish, which I will talk about in the future). That was one of the major problems I had with the nail polish.

I have heard that Butter Nail polish chips more easily than other nail polishes, but I personally have not had that problem. I used a regular top coat with Butter Nail polish and my manicure lasted for at least a week before I personally wiped the polish off.

Below are the websites I mentioned about giving more information about chemicals in nail polish: – this page is extremely comprehensive about the chemicals found in nail polish and other nail products.

Back to Base-ics

My first official post on a nail polish is going to be about something every nail polish fanatic must have which is the …the base coat. Ever since I started painting my nails, I have always used a base coat because I have heard how important it is to use a base coat. The base coat that I was originally using was by a Japanese brand MUJI, that typically sells household use items and furniture. However, it also carries a small selection of makeup, nail polish, and shampoos, etc. I purchased the base coat the summer of 2012 after stopping in to look at their lightweight spring scarves. I actually only intended to buy their other nail polish which was a beautiful shade of clear rose color and gave your nails an extremely subtle rose tint on your nails, but since I needed a base coat, I ended buying their base coat polish as well. Since it was the first and only base coat I tried, I thought it was relatively good. My nails never turned yellow from the colors I painted on my nails thanks to my base coat. The only complaint I ever had was that the base coast was really really really hard to remove. Even after going over the nails a few times with nail polish remover, you could still see small patches where the base coat refused to come off.


The polish on the left is the MUJI nail base coat. The color on the right is also from MUJI. It actually doesn’t have a color name on the bottle, but it is a beautiful shade of pale rose color.

Not wanting to waste more money, I stuck with my MUJI base coat. However, I was getting really sick of having patches of base coat on my nails. I finally decided to invest in another base coat recently and headed to ULTA to pick out a brand (speaking of ULTA, I never used to like ULTA. I always preferred Sephora to ULTA, but recently I’ve changed my mind especially about their nail polish selection, but that is for another blog). After wandering through their store looking at their nail polishes, I was almost ready to leave with a bottle of the OPI base coat, as well as a bottle of the OPI matte top coat. When walking towards the checkout counter, I happen to pass by the Butter London display. Now, I have recently grown the love the Butter London brand, and had bought my first bottle about two weeks ago (again, a story for another post), so naturally I stopped and took a look. I was really surprised to see that their base coat color was a beige color instead of the typical clear coat. Unfortunately, you cannot try Butter London nail polish like you can try OPI, Essie, or the other brands, so I wasn’t sure what it would look like. I really liked the nude color though, so I figured I really couldn’t go wrong. I also picked up a bottle of Butter London Matte Top Coat just because I really wanted to try a nail design with matte nail polish. Before leaving the store, I did manage to talk with an ULTA salesperson and ask her a few questions about the different base coats. She informed me that her favorite base coat was actually the Butter London base coat because it is actually a really sheer, really light, matte coat and you could use it as a base coat or you could wear it as a stand alone nail polish.


The nail on the top is the nail without the Butter London base coat. The nail on the bottom has one coat of the Butter London base coat. You can’t really tell in the picture, but the nail on the bottom has a very very subtle beige color.

I finally tried the Butter London base coat last night because I wanted to get a head start on prepping my nails for Friday (I’m chaperoning Senior Prom and I promised my students I would do a really cool design to match my dress – pictures coming soon I promise) and I have to say I was extremely surprised and pleased with the result. After one coat the color is a very very sheer and slightly matte. Just looking at the hand that I painted, it doesn’t look like I have anything on my nails, but if you compare it to the hand that I have not yet painted, you can see a very subtle difference. On my unpainted nails you can clearly see where my nail plate ends and where the distal edge of the nail starts, but on the nails that I have painted, there is more of a blurring between those two parts of the nail. Because I didn’t have time to do anything else on my nail, I ended up going to school with just my base coat on and I really like the result. Even though nobody could tell I had anything on, I felt like my nails were just more polished and looked more even and clean.

Overall, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Butter London base coat. I haven’t really tried some of the other base coats, but I really like how sheer and matte it is, and not shiny like other base coats, and I love how I can wear it as a stand alone polish. I really want to see how the color builds up if I do more than one coat, I’m hoping it will turn out to be a very beautiful nude color that I can use often, and I want to see how it looks once I layer color on top of it. I promise to do an update the this post after I have done more with this polish.

The Foundation of Me and Nail Polish

I wanted to start off my first post by introducing everyone to who I am and why I am writing this blog.

I wasn’t always obsessed with nail painting, in fact I didn’t start painting nails at all until this year. However, since I have discovered nail painting, I’ve become completely obsessed with it and I am always painting my nails with new colors and designs. I am a teacher by day, and my students love to see what new nail designs I have painted every week.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you a little about my past. I was a really shy girl when I was young. I wasn’t great at making friends, although I did have a few really great friends that stood by my side through thick and thin, and I was always a little different from everyone else. Because I was really shy, I also really hated talking to new people and I would get really anxious. When I was in situation where I was feeling pressured or anxious, I would rely on my nervous tic, which was to gnaw at the skin around my fingernails. After a few year of just gnawing at the skin, my bad habit started getting worse. After accidentally biting of a piece of nail while gnawing away at my skin, I kept biting at it because the jagged edge irritated me. From that day on I started not only biting at the skin, but biting my nails as well. Soon I had bitten all my nails down to the tips. My parents and grandparents tried everything to get e to stop biting my nails. The tried pulling my hand out every time they saw me to it, scolding me, bribing me with money (they did this twice, and I made off with a bunch of money, only to relapse as soon as they stopped the bribes). I even tried everything. I wore a rubber band on my wrist that I snapped every time I started biting (supposedly I was learning through pain or something), covered my nails with nail polish that was supposed to help stopped the biting (which also didn’t really work as I didn’t really have nails to cover in the first place), and bandaging my nails so I couldn’t get to them (only I could because I just took the bandages off…LOL). Nothing worked and I mean NOTHING. I resigned to the fact that I was just a weak person who would always bite my nails.

In the summer of 2010 I spent the first half of the summer working at a summer camp dedicated to teaching students Chinese. The schedule of camp was insane (between writing lesson plans, making props, and endless meetings) to be honest, I didn’t really have time to bite my nails. Since my hands were always doing something, I couldn’t spare a minute of my time to put them in my mouth. By the time camp was over, my nails had started to grow out. I was determined not to ruin my achievement and was very diligent that entire summer not to bite my nails, even after traveling to Taiwan that summer to visit relatives. In fact, one of the last things I did was to get my nails done before leaving Taiwan. Because my nails were not long enough, I had to get acrylic nails glued on. These nails stayed on for a good two months before one of them finally popped off, and I ended up soaking my hands in hot warm to remove the rest. After taking the acrylic nails of, my nails were yellow, extremely brittle and I went right back to biting them all off.

After suffering with horrible looking nails, I made a resolution in 2012 that I would stop biting my nails for real this time. I failed, again, but finally stopped biting my nails towards the end of the year. It took a lot of willpower, but I finally did it. After spending a boring afternoon painting my new nails with a friend, I started discovering my love for nail polish. I started accumulating a bottle here and a bottle there, picking up an occasional bottle with I stopped into a Target, CVS, or Walmart for other things. Pretty soon I had approximately 10 bottles in different colors. After a while, I was getting bored with just one color, so I started looking online for good ideas. My first nail art design was a white and turquoise polka dotted manicure using Essie Turquoise and Caicos and Essie White. It was a big hit with my friends and students and I was hooked. Since then, I have tried to do a different nail design every week and am always looking online for new inspiration and techniques.

My purpose for starting this blog is to show how I do my nails, the different designs I’ve tried and some tips and tricks that I have learned along the way. I also hope this blog will be an inspiration to others who are still biting them nails that you too can have beautiful nails one day.

Finally I wanted to apologize for this extremely long and rambling post. I promise I will try to keep my posts in the future short and sweet!!