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Happy Christmas! On this occasion I’m wearing another stunning red. Essie Leading Lady (Winter 2012) is a garnet red shimmer packed with ruby red glitter:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, and pretty smoothly for a glitter-loaded formula. I got full coverage in two coats, with some touchups. As soon as I got this polish, I knew I’d end up wearing it for Christmas. I love it; it’s absolutely gorgeous! I didn’t expect the base to be a shimmer, so that was a nice, unique twist. I like that overall, the color looks darker than your typical, Christmasy ruby red. It’s a little vampy! The brightness comes from the glitter, which looks great against the darker red base. It kind of gives the finish that burning ember quality. It has that lit-from-within look as well. This is a glitter, after all, so it has a beautiful sparkle. I can see why this is called “Leading Lady,” it definitely looks glamorous. I paired it with China Glaze Jolly Holly on my toes.
Starting with this pre-Christmas mani, I have a slew of reds to try through the end of December. Chanel Malice (Éclats du Soir, Holiday 2012) is a deep, ruby-burgundy shimmer:
Picture taken in weak sunlight. The formula was so smooth and glided on effortlessly in two coats. This is breathtakingly gorgeous! The contrast between the darker red base and the brighter red shimmer is perfect. It’s deep and vampy but not almost-black. It definitely has that lit-from within look, where the color looks brighter in the center and darker around the edges. It also has a subtle metallic glow (the brushstrokes are totally covered up by the shimmer and are imperceptible as long as you paint in straight lines.) I catch myself staring at my nails a lot, especially when the delicate shimmer is illuminated by the light. The name may not be cheerful and holiday-like, but I love it anyway, and I think it’s very fitting for this wickedly sultry color. I paired it with OPI Tease-y Does It on my toes.
I opened Oktoberfest with this, and I thought I would mark its final weekend with another polish from the same collection. OPI German-icure by OPI (Germany, Fall 2012) is a deep brownish red shimmer:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well and was richly pigmented; I needed two coats for complete coverage. The look of the finish is in the same vein as Every Month is Oktoberfest, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s nicely dark and vampy, and it also has a warm, lit-from-within look. The shimmer gives it that lovely, metallic-like glow. The color’s not too brown-toned so it still looks red. It’s an incredibly rich, velvety shade of red. This may look similar to EMiO in the bottle, since the finishes are virtually the same, but once on the nail, the difference in color is clear. Both are definitely the must-haves from this collection. I paired this with OPI Here Today…Aragon Tomorrow Suede with topcoat on my toes.
I planned to put on a different polish today, but I was reminded that Oktoberfest starts tomorrow and I couldn’t pass up the timely opportunity to try OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest (Germany, Fall 2012) is a dark reddish plum shimmer:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well and was richly pigmented; I needed two coats for full coverage. This is so beautiful!! It’s dark and vampy, and because it’s a shimmer it also has that lit-from-within look. The red shimmer is what stands out when you look at the bottle, but when the finished mani is viewed in the light, you can see that it’s obviously purple-based. It is one wickedly delicious shade of plum! I love dark shimmers like this, the kind that have an almost metallic glow, and I think OPI does them so well. I can’t help but stare at the rich and velvety finish. I paired this with Essie Dive Bar on my toes.
For the last weekend in September and my first new mani of the fall, I chose another lovely, lovely jewel-toned polish. Illamasqua Baptiste is a royal purple shimmer:
Picture taken in artificial light. (How I wish I had sunlight for this NOTD, but artificial light was the next-best option ih this shady weather.) This applied well; gliding on effortlessly in two coats. This is an amazing shade. It doesn’t lean too blue or too red, it’s just a perfectly balanced, rich, velvety purple. It’s deep enough to create that lit-from-within effect, yet it doesn’t venture into almost-black territory. The shimmer shows up beautifully in the light. The whole look, from the gorgeous color to the stunning finish, is very elegant and sexy. C’est magnifique! I paired this with Wet n Wild Morbid (Craze) on my toes.
For the final days of this year’s US Open I chose another gorgeous navy. I did my nails hours before men’s semifinal play began, before knowing who won. I am so unbelievably happy that my two favorite players, Nole and Rafa, made it through to the final, a rematch of last year. This is exactly the result I was hoping for! Having worn Load a couple of manis ago, it only made sense that I try this one too. Illamasqua Phallic is a dark sapphire blue with blue microglitter:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied so well and very smoothly. I got perfect coverage in two coats. (This is another one I left untried for way too long.) Calling this gorgeous is an understatement. The finish isn’t really like a typical microglitter; it appears to have this incredible depth to it. In the shade this just looks like a dark midnight blue, with just a hint of that blue sparkle lying deep underneath the surface. But it totally comes alive in the light! Again, this is unlike a typical microglitter in that it’s not overtly or obviously sparkly, but the microglitter is in there, creating a beautiful lit-from-within effect. It’s absolutely stunning. When I call this sapphire blue, it’s because it really makes my nails look like sapphires (and I’m not just saying that ’cause I was watching something about the Titanic as I painted). I don’t know why it’s called Phallic, but I’m not complaining. I paired this with Barielle Pin-Up on my toes (I was happy to see that Nole has some red in his kit).
Déjà vu is a funny feeling. This Saturday last year I was doing the exact same thing, watching the men’s semifinals at home, riding an emotional rollercoaster. And watching Nole face two match points down against Roger Federer. Just like last year, Nole saved those match points and went on to win the match in a deciding fifth set. That comeback last year was amazing, but I think this year’s was even more impressive, since he rallied from two sets to love down. Not only that, but he faced those match points while Federer was serving for it. (Seriously, that return ace he hit at 40-15 was unreal!) Coming back to win a match in a slam after being down two sets to love seems impossible against Federer, but it happened at this year’s Wimbledon, and it happened again today. I love Rafa too, but I’m hoping the result of Monday’s final will be the opposite of last year’s, and that Nole will raise the championship trophy. Idemo!!!
I was trying out softer shades, but I still want to take care of more of my untrieds from this year’s spring and summer collections, and this is one of the brighter ones. Essie Braziliant (Summer 2011) is a glowing orange with pink shimmer:
Picture taken in sunlight. This was very pigmented and applied quite well in two coats. This turned out to be another nice surprise for me; I like it so much better than I originally thought I would. It’s beautiful! It’s not just a regular orange shimmer; it’s so much more than that. Normally I wouldn’t pair orange manis with pink pedis (and vice versa) since they’re not complementary colors, but the pink shimmer works perfectly well in this orange base, and gives the overall shade a bit of a pinky-tangerine tone. I also wasn’t expecting the finish to be so glowy! (Not in the neon kind of way, but the lit-from-within kind of way.) It makes me think of a gorgeous sunset. I paired this with Sephora by OPI Skinny Jeans on my toes.
Although Christmas was over, I wanted to do one last red mani for the holiday season (and Christmas music was still being played at the malls anyway.) Diamond Cosmetics Cherry Tobacco (Winter 2009) is a blackened red shimmer:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well in two coats. This looks amazing in the sun; the gorgeous burnt, velvety red color combined with that lit-from-within quality. Unfortunately, the effect is mostly lost when viewed in the shade. I paired this with Brucci Black Emerald on my toes.
I’m keeping with my holiday theme, but this time with a shade of red unlike any I’ve worn this month. Illamasqua Scarab (Art of Darkness, Fall/Winter 2010) is a deep burnt red shimmer:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied very well; I did two coats here but it’s so pigmented that I probably could’ve gotten away with just one. This is an interesting shade of red. It’s not red-red, and it’s deep but not blackened; it has a warmth to it. The finish looks so gorgeous and velvety, plus it has a lit-from-within quality. I paired this with Sephora by OPI In the Shadows on my toes.
As soon as I saw this polish, I knew I had to use it for my Thanksgiving mani. (And in a bit of inadvertent advertising, Burlesque also happens to open today!) OPI Tease-y Does It (Burlesque, Holiday 2010) is a plum-brown with pinkish-red and gold microglitter:
Picture taken in artificial light. (I really wish I had some bright sunlight to take the picture in. I chose artificial light over natural light because the pictures under direct light showed the sparkle off much better, although it photographed a little browner than it is in real life.) It applied well in two coats. This polish is downright gorgeous! The microglitter looks like it’s trapped under a glass surface; it glows and sparkles, creating a lit-from-within effect. The color is dark, rich, and quite interesting; sometimes it looks more brown, and other times it looks more plum. I think the base is brown, and the pink-red microglitter is what gives it a plummy tone. I really love it, and I can’t help but stop and look at my nails. I paired this with FingerPaints Magenta Mood on my toes.