My Fall Color Palette

Time for another nail polish post! Not manicures this time–I haven’t been doing much interesting since my Sculpture class destroys my manicures within 24-48hrs… not much to be done about that. But! I have ordered a lot of polish in the past couple of weeks, so I thought I’d share with you my fall colors for this year!OPI colors

From left to right: Ninja Polish Color-Changing Garnet, OPI German-icure, OPI Danke-Shiny Red, OPI Deustch You Want Me Baby?

I’ve worn all four of these colors and I am in love with every one of them! I rarely say that about colors that I pick up on a whim, but the formulas and color payoff on these polishes have been fantastic. Color-Changing Garnet looks amazing over German-icure, incidentally. Garnet is possibly one of the most multi-chrome-y colors I have. German-icure is an amazing burgundy (and I’ve been missing a deep burgundy in my collection, which I didn’t realize until now. Deustch You Want Me Baby? is a really fun autumnal orange, not copper, with a nice red undertone. But I think my favorite of these four is Danke-Shiny Red, which is unexpected; it’s such a super-saturated red it seems to glow from within, and I think it might be the exact shade I would refer to as my ‘power color.’ Oh yeah. Zoya colors

From left to right: Zoya Jinx, Zoya Goldie, Zoya Yara, Zoya Natty, Zoya Monica, Zoya Jem, and Zoya Edyta.

I may or may not have gone a little overboard with the BOGO coupon Zoya sent to all of its members a few weeks ago. I love lining the bottles up like this, it’s like an autumn rainbow!

Jinx is a nice coppery brown with a smooth shimmer. It’s very close color-wise to my China Glaze Harvest Moon, but with a wildly different finish: Jinx is a smoother, finer shimmer whereas Harvest Moon has a foil finish. Love them both, though. I haven’t worn Goldie yet, but it looks like liquid yellow-gold in the bottle and on my swatch wheel! Yara is an unexpected combo of olive green and silver shimmer–possibly glass fleck? Whatever it is, it makes the normally-neutral olive come alive. I was concerned Yara would look terrible on my skin tone, but no such problems!

Natty is a most unusual blue (of course I had to have another blue are you kidding) even for a collection like mine–it’s a smoky, slate blue, not too dark on the nail. Natty is definitely one of my favorites out of this batch, even though I usually favor the shimmers and glitters. Next up is Monica, a deep eggplant purple creme. Monica is more red than blue, which is readily apparent in the first coat, and is all-around a good basic color that I didn’t realize I was missing. Jem…Jem is probably my favorite. I haven’t actually worn it out (!!) but I keep swatching it on my nails and staring at the very intense red shimmer! I can’t wait to show ya’ll swatches of it! And finally we have Edyta, which I can really only describe as a blue-charcoal with gold shimmer–definitely glass fleck! Edyta is ridiculously shiny for being such a dark color, and I love that contrast. I haven’t worn this one out yet either, I really need to get moving on that.

Not included in this pic: Zoya FeiFei. I ordered it with the above seven but it was on backorder, so it’s coming to me in the mail now!

I’ve been trying to keep my fall colors to a consistent color palette with few deviations (Garnet is kind of an oddball, though). I love the muted, earthy colors of fall, they just seem to speak to me. Fall is absolutely my favorite season, can you tell?! And we get so little of it in Mississippi, I feel like I have to cherish every bit of cool weather and sunny skies. 🙂

I think my overall favorites are OPI Danke-Shiny Red, Zoya Jem, Zoya Natty and Color-Changing Garnet. What are your favorite fall colors this year?



Nora loves that window.


Monday Manicures

Sneaky back-post for Monday! Since I was sick last week I kept my manicures to a minimum–no one with a head cold needs to inhale that much acetone & nail polish fumes. 😉

First up, that other polish I told you I was craving from Hot Mess Lacquers: Yankee Star!

Yankee Star manicureThis is two coats of NYC Skin-Tight Denim with two coats of Hot Mess Lacquers Yankee Star. Yankee Star is packed with all kinds of holographic glitter–bar, square, small and large hex, stars (!!!) and some holographic shimmer to top it off. I cannot wait to do more galaxy manicures with this polish! Yankee Star has a nice density of glitter, including the coveted star-shapes, even though the formula is a little thicker than I prefer. Nothing a little thinner can’t help!

The only other polish I wore last week was my new color-shifter from Ninja Polish, Color-Changing Garnet:Color-Changing Garnet by Ninja Polish

This is two coats of Ninja Polish Color-Changing Garnet over two coats China Glaze Smoke & Ashes. I tried my best to show the shifty-ness of this polish so that you could appreciate the array of colors! I saw this color shift from deep garnet-red to burnt orange, bright gold, lime green and even turquoise in the dim light of my apartment. The shifts are even more dramatic in full sunlight. The pigment is a little grainier/coarser than I expected but it still has a nice finish on the nail. If you love multichromes/duochromes/all things shimmery, I would highly recommend this one. I want to try layering it over more colors than black, though, to see what kind of effects I can get.

So this week is going to be super super busy!! My department is traveling down south a little tomorrow for a lecture/exhibition by the legendary artist Christo; Thursday we’re having an opening reception for our exhibition of African-inspired Fiber Arts by artists Mary Hark & Nnenna Okore; and Friday I’m participating in a papermaking workshop with Mary Hark to create a collaborative piece to hang alongside her work in our galleries. I’m going to try to take lots of good pictures for ya’ll, so check back later this week!

Monday Manicures

Sorry for the long break in posts! Last week was my first week back to school–and the first week of my senior year!–and it’s been super crazy. But everything’s settled now, so we should be back on schedule. 🙂

Alright ya’ll, this week’s post is pretty simple, since I limited myself to fewer, more elaborate nails. Lots of compliments on these designs!!

First up, I did my current-favorite manicure: Galaxy nails!Galaxy Mani

This is two coats of China Glaze Smoke & Ashes with Revlon Colorstay Marmalade and China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint for the nebula. I sponged them on (mint and then coral) with a makeup sponge and then layered one coat of Revlon Stunning over the top for the starry effect. I love this look so much and it’s such an eye-catcher! I always get good wear out of it, too.

Next up, I followed this tutorial to create a cheerful floral pattern:Floral Mani

This is, again, 2 coats China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint for the background, and the flowers are Revlon Colorstay Marmalade & Zoya Maura, and Sally Hansen Instra-Dri Lightening and Sun-Kissed. The green detailing is from a mini bottle of Sinful Colors with no name–just a nice medium green with a little shimmer. These were such happy nails to have for the first week of school! I need to work on my technique a little more with this style, but it was certainly fun and something I’d like to try in a more muted color palette.

This week in polish is going to be pretty exciting: I managed to get 8 new Zoyas with the BOGO coupon they gave out a few days ago, and I managed to snag a new color-shifting polish from Ninja Polish. I can’t wait for them all to get here!

Monday Manicures

Aaand we’re back! I’ve been waiting patiently for today, because I finally get to share with you my newest polish loves from Hot Mess Lacquers, a new-ish indie seller on Etsy. These are some seriously amazing polishes, so get ready!

The trio that I bought are known as the White Trash Trio — number one is Redheaded Step-Child.Redheaded Step-Child by Hot Mess Lacquers

RHSC is a red jelly packed with red micro shimmer and red and black hex glitter. I love this combination, it reminds me so much of strawberries! This is three coats on its own, not quite opaque but not enough VNL to bother me. All of the glitter laid flat and was glass-smooth with a single coat of topcoat, and absolutely no problems with fishing for glitter. I was hesitant to pick this one up because I don’t wear much red, but juuuust before my package arrived I rediscovered the power in wearing red polish. Totally worth it.

Number two in our trio is Aquanet!Aquanet by Hot Mess Lacquers

Aquanet is composed of a violet jelly base and is absolutely–irrefutably–packed with holographic glitter in all shapes and sizes–super large hexs and even squares! I think this may be the most intense glitterbomb I own now. Believe it or not, those super huge hex glitters were no trouble at all to apply or get on the brush. This is three coats of Aquanet on its own–not quite as opaque as RHSC, and I may wear a solid lavender underneath next time. This polish definitely has the highest shine payoff of the three!

And, last but not least, is Across the Trailer Park.Across the Trailer Park by Hot Mess Lacquers

ATTP is a dark blue jelly base filled with blue and green hex glitters and some blue micro shimmer. This polish has completely killed my lemming for Deborah Lippmann’s Across the Universe, so if you’re as frightened of that price tag as I am, here’s a good substitute. 😉 And this is no second-rate version; this is three coats on bare nails. The glitter is dense and intensely glowy, even in dim lighting, at three coats it’s mostly opaque, and out of the three it wore on me the longest without chipping. Or maybe I just loved it so much I didn’t want to touch it for fear of messing it up! (I have a real thing for blue polish…)

I also ordered a 1oz container of Hot Mess Lacquers’ Cracks are Whack cuticle cream because I loved the little trial version so much. It’s a firm cream but feels silky to the skin–and it smells vaguely of baked lemon treats, which I love, so that’s a little bonus.

All in all, Hot Mess Lacquers has totally won me over with this selection of polishes, and so I have to highly recommend her shop! I have a couple more picked out on my wishlist–Yankee Star may have to be my next polish buy because omg holographic stars 😀

Now ya’ll stay tuned, I’ve got some good stuff coming up this week! It’s my last week before the beginning of my semester, so I’m trying to get everything done before then!


So I didn’t do a Monday Manicures this week. I’m really bummed out about it, too, because I had this gem in store for ya’ll:

This is Zoya Maura, 2 coats, along with an accent nail done with generic nail striping polishes. Steven and I have been on a real Twin Peaks kick lately, and it only felt appropriate to finally do a manicure based on the Red Room from Agent Cooper’s dream:

But, I’ve decided that I’m going to mix up how I blog about my nails (since that’s one of my most popular tags, currently) so I’m waiting for next week. We’ve also been house & pet sitting, so I’ve been away from my apartment and hanging out with this girl a whole bunch. She’s a pretty cool dog, even though I’m a cat/bunny person. 😉

And to kick off our new Monday Manicure format, I have MORE new polishes to show you!! It’s a brand-new shop, with brand-new polishes, and I’m honored to be part of her grand opening because look at these bottle shots they’re gorgeous! 

More on these come Monday!


A Tribute


These are polishes #100, 101, and 102 in my collection. I just felt that I needed to commemorate this moment.

Hello, my name is Ashlei, and I’m addicted to nail polish. 😉

(Polishes are, from left to right, China Glaze Unpredictable, Swanky Silk, & No Plain Jane, from the new Bohemian collection.)

Monday Manicures

Note: I noticed that apparently my last Monday Manicures didn’t post when it was supposed to, so I added it last night. You can find it here.

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It’s finally time to review my new polishes from Metametics! I was so excited when I got my shipment last Monday after work, I wanted to swatch and post about them all that very second. But, in the name of not-wanting-to-overpost-about-nail-polish, I saved it all for today.

First up, we have Lannister Gold.

Full sun. Look at that shine!

Partial sun/shade.

Lannister is a honey/amber gold polish with a jelly finish, which holds several sizes and shapes of luminous gold glitters. I love the base color here, it reminds me of honey, especially with the finish, and the glitter is so bright and happy. I kept thinking of happy little bees the whole time I wore it. The glitter is nice and dense too, I didn’t have to fish for it to get a decent amount on the nail–I was deliberately fishing for glitter on my ring finger, and you can see how dense that became!

Next up is Fire Nation:

Fire Nation is a glitterbomb of red and gold hex glitters in several sizes and some orange bar glitter (1 coat here over Revlon Bare Bones). The gold glitter in this one is particularly shiny, and I love the addition of the orange bar glitter for  some variety. Definitely no fishing for glitter here! Nicely dense in one coat.

And last but most certainly not least, is Frost Giant:

This is 2 coats Frost Giant over 2 coats Revlon Royal. I love this combination so much, I can hardly tear my eyes from it! Frost Giant has large, bright blue hex glitter, a smattering of smaller holo glitter, and the most gorgeous violet shimmer running throughout. Seriously, Revlon Royal is a dark blue-purple creme with no shimmer–and look at how this shines! I wore this one until it chipped off my nails, I loved it so much.

Now, I did have to fish for the large hex glitters in this one, but it’s not because they’re sparse. I usually have trouble with larger glitter in mini bottles, so this wasn’t really a surprise to me (actually, the other two being so effortless was the surprise!). I love this polish enough that I’ll probably buy a full-size bottle soon, so I’ll report back if I  continue to have to work for the glitter. It’s worth it, for me!

Overall, the formulas on these polishes were quite nice and applied smoothly–no cuticle-flooding here–and as mentioned, the glitter was a breeze to apply in 2/3 cases. Kas from Metametics states in her shop that she offers a 6-month warranty on her products to guarantee their quality, and I really appreciate that kind of peace of mind from an indie seller. She is also incredibly nice in convos and her turnaround time for mailing is superb! I highly recommend her shop, and I already have my heart set on a few more from her collections. 🙂

This past weekend I picked up three new Zoya polishes (Zuza, Wednesday and Ivanka) that I’ve been wishing for, so I’ll be wearing those this week, most likely. More shimmers, hooray!

Monday Manicures

It’s my favorite part of the week again; let’s talk about nails!

So this week I decided to start off with a bang and go as shimmery, bright, bold as I could–gold. I may be a little obsessed with gold these days.

This is L’Oreal Amazon’s Flash (3 coats) over Sally Hansen Instra-Dri in Lightening (2 coats). Pretty thick manicure, but it held up well and I ended up wearing it for four glamorous days. I love Amazon’s Flash, it’s such a nice gold, I just wish it were less sheer. Over Lightening it sort of turns out too yellowy for my preferences, but it looked okay on my skin tone so it was fine. I’ll have to keep a lookout for better underwear for that polish.

Now that I’m taking pictures of my manicures, I’ve realized that I don’t want to look at a million pictures of myself wearing a solid color and I’m trying more nail art. Hence:

BOWS! I love bows. They’re my one concession to girly-ness. This is Finger Paints Late Night Rendezvous (2ish coats) with tips in China Glaze Smoke & Ashes (1 coat) and a generic white nail striping polish. This is the first time I’ve worn Late Night Rendezvous on my nails and I LOVE it! The color has such richness and vibrancy, it’s mesmerizing to look at. (I’m wearing it on my toes now, too.) And Smoke & Ashes is my all-time favorite black polish–just a little sparkle, enough to keep it interesting, and great pigmentation. I even bought a back-up bottle. 🙂

But that mani chipped reeeaally quickly, so I decided on glitter.

This is Zoya Lotus (2 coats) with China Glaze Prism sponged on the tips. Lotus is one of my favorite polishes in my collection–a gorgeous warm violet, with red-violet shimmer that’s plainly visible on the nail, just…not in this image, sadly. And Prism is just ridiculously shiny. It’s been a pretty fun weekend mani to have.

Not sure what to wear next though.. I have several bottles headed my way in the mail, so I’m kind of getting anxious about those!

Monday Manicures

When I was little, I was known to carry around a purple makeup case filled to the brim with bottles of nail polish. Cheap, horrible, obscenely-bright bottles filled with shimmers and glitters that I adored. I painted the nails of every woman in my family–and extended family–and friends–for years. I gave it up, mostly, in my teenage years and for the majority of my college career as well. My nails have always been short and tiny, and I’ve always chewed on them.

Sometime in January or February this year, that all changed. I now have ~80 polishes, all organized by color and swatched neatly on nail wheels. I don’t do anything halfway, remember? Granted I know some lovely ladies with collections above 300 bottles, but I think it’s safe to say that I’m on my way to that point too. 🙂

Since I’m going to be keeping a log of my various manicures, I thought it would be fun to do a weekly update on what I’ve been wearing. I’d like to do a little reviewing of new stuff that I pick up along the way as well. Let’s go!

First up is Orly Gumdrop with polka dots in L’Oreal Amazon’s Flash and Milani Hi-Tech. I love contrasting shimmery and creme finish polishes, so this was a lot of fun for me. And Gumdrop is the loveliest light blue creme with a good formula. It’s like a staple polish for me.

Sadly, that manicure only lasted a day and a half, because then I bought this gem:

Milani Pink Flare (3 coats here) is a pretty close dupe for OPI Teenage Dream, which I was absolutely in love with, except for the pricetag. I found the Milani in-stock no-problem for about 5$ at my CVS. Totally recommend it. I love that the pink tone of the glitter and base is light and almost neutral. It certainly felt as weightless as wearing a neutral, but with lots of holographic glitter. When the light hits the nail, it’s so ridiculously shiny!  I wore this polish until it chipped off of me a whole five days later, which is incredibly unusual for me. I usually change polish at least every three days or so.

Damn, I needed to do a little more cleanup on this one, huh?

Eventually though, I needed something more punchy in my life, so it was China Glaze Ruby Pumps to the rescue! I love this polish so much, even though I only bought a mini of it because I thought hey, I don’t wear so much red. Yeah, totally going to have to get a full-size when this bottle runs out. I like to build this color up with 3-4 coats to really enhance the richness of the red glitter–this is 3 coats.

Of course, my nails are already different again, but that’s no surprise. 🙂 When Meta Cosmetics on Etsy opened again last night, I rushed to buy a set of three minis I had picked out of her collections beforehand– I got Frost Giant, Fire Nation and Lannister. I’ve heard good things about her polishes so I’m super excited to get some of my first indies from her!! I’ll be sure to swatch them all for ya’ll when they get here of course.

Here’s to an awesome new week!