A Few Words on … BOGOs

My mother relies on my sister and me for all of her transportation needs which, of course, includes her grocery shopping.  So we have a deal worked out that whichever one of us takes her gets Savings Catcher rights to her receipt.  My mom is a Catcher’s jackpot!  She buys brand names, does no price comparison and pays absolutely no attention to sales.  While reviewing my savings balance, I’ve noticed that I almost always get double because she buys two of everything.  So what does that have to do with nail lacquer?  Is the Quest turning into a multi-purpose personal blog?  Yeah, like I have anything interesting to say about a variety of topics, or even on the general condition of the human race….

So, again, what does this have to do with nail lacquer?  Read on, Macduff!

I, as opposed to my mother, live for store brands and sales!  But in thinking about it, I realize that I have inherited her habit of buying two of something.  Of course, in my case, I buy two of something if it’s on sale.  And BOGOs?  They get me weak in the knees and send me into a spiritual awakening….

For those uninitiated in the jargon of cheap bastardity, BOGO stands for Buy One, Get One (the free is implied).  I’ve mentioned the joys of BOGO in the past, along with my recent disappointment over no BOGOs at Ulta for their spring Beauty Steals.  But wait, didn’t I say that I didn’t really have any butterLONDON wants at the moment?  Yes, it was a mild disappointment, but still disappointing because I get excited over BOGOs whether I actually want it or not!

So you know where this is going, right?

Uh huh.  The day after Ulta’s BL steal, I get an email from Sally that they’re having a three day BOGO sale on all nail polish!  Except for OPI, of course.  It’s always excluded from super deals just about everywhere.  I’m not sure if the gels were included this time, sometimes they are, sometimes not.  I don’t really pay attention because I don’t use gels.  I have been using the foundation and top and curing them for a clear base under my regular manicures, but I don’t need colors for something that’s supposed to last 2-3 weeks when I get sick of my current color anywhere from 3 days to 5 minutes after I complete it.  Not to mention that it’s time consuming and labor intensive as hell to remove.  But that’s another topic for another Few Words….

Thing is, I try like hell not to go to any stores on the weekend.  Not only do I hate people aimlessly milling about, and crowded parking lots, and standing on lines at the register, Sally in general and my Sally in particular are tiny little cubbies with aisles like rabbit warrens.  And I like to take my leisurely damned time aimlessly milling about while perusing both the regular lacquer display as well as the clearance racks (which are located in various dark, crowded corners of the store).  And, I didn’t have a lot of interest, as I haven’t even paid much attention to the spring lines for China Glaze, FingerPaints or Orly (the only three at Sally that I consider other than OPI).  However, last time I was there they had a whole slug of China Glaze in the clearance rack that hadn’t yet been marked down and I had my reward coupon for March burning a hole in…..well, burning a hole in the passenger seat of my truck.  What, everybody doesn’t toss any possible coupon or deal circular directly into their vehicle?  You never know when you might be innocently tooling about on the streets when a sale breaks out!

So, I made a deal with myself that if I happened to get my lazy bahonka out of the house on Friday, I’d go check it out.  And, true to form, I only made it outside to check the mailbox.  Crisis averted!  But I wasn’t quite out of the woods just yet….

Now, the one exception to no weekend shopping is early Sunday morning.  I stay with my mother on Saturday nights and if I leave her house early enough on Sunday mornings while the faithful are in church and the sinners are sleeping it off, I’ll do store errands.  Best time hands down for Costco is when they open on Sunday.  Well, my brother was in time visiting so we went out to breakfast and all that family happy times stuff so I went straight home when I left shortly after noon.  Okay, crisis really averted!  As it turns out, not so much….

Since I didn’t go to sleep until 5 am (because I’m wild like that) and got woken up at the crack of 7:30 to go to breakfast, I went home and settled in for a little nap.  Aren’t Sunday afternoon naps the best?  So I woke up around 3, puttered around a little and suddenly got THE URGE to go check out Sally BOGO and clearance polish right damned NOW!!

What could I do?  Well, what any reasonable person would do.  I threw on some sweats, piled the bed head up into a hair claw and hit the road!

Well I get to Sally, hit the clearance rack and find out that all the China Glaze has been snagged.  Dammit, if only I would have gotten there before the sale started and the vultures descended, I might have been able to score some of the ones I was scouting.  (BOGO was a limit of three, so that gets saved for the full price stuff.)

So, eh…. I did manage to find two FingerPaints on clearance that I found acceptable.  Nothing completely spectacular, but at $2.29 worth the chance.  And really, the only full price polish I’ve had on my Get When on Sale List was China Glaze Dorothy Who? so maybe I’ll forgo the BOGOs this time…..

(insert maniacal laughter)

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For those keeping score (like I supposedly do), that’s 2 China Glaze (the aforementioned Dorothy and Deviantly Daring, a duochrome I’ve looked at a few times), 2 Orly (I’m still mad about missing out on Mirrorball in their holiday collection) and 4 FingerPaint (2 on clearance).

So, after the BOGOs, the clearance, my Sally Club discount and my % off coupon, I got 8 bottle of nail lacquer for well under $3.00 each.  And I’ve already used one of them that ended up being something perfect that I’ve been looking for a long time now and nothing I get has been exactly right.

Sneak peek!

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So job well done, right?  Yeah, I’ll just keep telling myself that….

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butterLONDON – Dosh

This is the second half of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day manicure.   As I mentioned in my previous post, I used two colors, one for each hand with an accent nail in the opposite color.

Dosh is a color that BL describes as a metallic apple green shot with gold.  I really don’t get the shot with gold from it and think it’s a bit darker than apple green, but that’s an acceptable comparison.  It’s not yellow enough for chartreuse and not green enough for pea soup (thank goodness!), so I would classify it as a spring or leaf green.

Other than very specific shades, green is among my least favorite colors.  And yellowy-green is definitely not among those few shades!  So why did I even buy this when it looked even more pukey online?  I have no idea, the most reasonable explanation I can come up with was that I was either a) stoned at the time or b) drunk from the fumes of 50% clearance plus 30% coupons.  I’d bet on the latter, but not ruling out the former….

So I’ve had it for a while and have not even been tempted to use it because the color is atrocious.  Then when I was browsing through greens for St. Pat’s looking for something different…. I landed on Green on the Runway.  Ha!  After that decision was made, I figured that I’d go ahead and break ugly little wallflower Dosh’s maiden by giving it an accent nail.  Then a funny thing happened on the way to the ball…..

I absolutely love it!  I know, right?  Crazy talk!  But, there it is I like posh Dosh and I can’t deny it.

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As I’ve mentioned before, Seattle’s own butterLONDON’s conceit is giving their lacquers British-y type names.  (Their website is even worse, it’s full of terms like bezzie mates and the like.  Come off it, you’re American!)  Dosh is slang for money.  I don’t know why.  I’d say it’s because it’s green, but I’m not sure that British money is green.  Somehow I have the idea that it’s like Canada and all different colors.  But maybe that’s just because they all have Queen Elizabeth’s picture on them.  I’m not sure if the term “monopoly money” is considered derisive or not, but I choose not.  Because I was raised on monopoly and loved all of the money and I also love Canada’s money!  It’s so pretty and ours is so boring…

Aside: (you knew it was coming…) I’m assuming that British money has always had the current monarch on it but, since I wasn’t even a distant thought when ER II took over the place, I have no idea what the money looked like before that.  I’m assuming that Ed 8 wasn’t even on the chair long enough for the mint to change over from his pops, but was WWII already in high enough swing where the money making was slowed down before they got George VI going?

And do they have plates made up and ready to go for when the inevitable happens and they can get the new mug on the money ASAP?  If so, how long have they been holding Charles in abeyance?  And have they had to redo the engravings as he’s aged?  Do they have the William plates already engraved just in case Charles either turns it over to William or passes before his mom?  Or that he’s of an age to where he isn’t going to be on the money for long so they might just skip him as a cost cutting measure?  Although I wouldn’t put money (ha!)on that, since he seems to have longevity on both sides.  Even more so than the Queen, I’ve got to give props to the Duke of Edinburgh.  They both just keeping going, and going, and going….

So there you have it, that’s the kind of stuff I think about when I am contemplating nail polishes.  Scary, huh?  If any English types are reading this, hit me up in the comments and fill me in on this because my curiousity is only exceeded by my laziness in actually looking up stuff on the internet….ha!

Where were we then?  Oh, yeah.  Dosh.

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Although it’s classified as a metallic, I’d put it in that hazy, middle of the road spot between shimmer and metallic.  It’s more sparkly than a shimmer, but not quite as pronounced and shiny as a metallic.  It also goes on much better than most metallics.  A little streaky on the first coat, but smooth as silk afterward and leveled beautifully!  This is three coats and there was no VNL at all.

So am I rapidly becoming a BL stan-girl?  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I do love Dosh way more than I should and I can definitely see putting this in my regular green rotation amid the teals, sages, and emeralds.

OPI – Green on the Runway

For St. Patrick’s this year I used two different greens, OPI Green on the Runway and butterLONDON Dosh, with an accent nail of the opposite color on each hand.  I’d planned on just using Dosh as an accent but, once I got it on the nail I loved it so much that I decided to give it a entire hand by itself!  And according to my (admittedly small) sample poll, the Dosh hand won… well, handily!

So which review am I doing first?  Green on the Runway, of course!

But first, an aside: (because I never do that…)  How much do I love LunchMoney Lewis?  A lot!  That snappy piano on Bills never fails to make me happy when I hear it.

Back to the business at…hand!  Can you tell it’s just shy of 5 am and I’m apparently a bit punchy?  So, Green on the Runway… This was from the Coca-Cola collection put out by OPI last summer.  For some reason, neither my Sally or Ulta ever got these in stock.  So I ended up getting the mini-set.  As luck would have it, instead of putting out a mini-set with the usual four colors, this was a 10 pack with 7 of the 8 colors with a mini top coat and mini Nail Envy.  The only one they left out was an orange glitter that I had absolutely no interest in, so I was all over that for under 20 bucks on eBay!  Good news, I really liked several of them. Better news, there were none that I was absolutely so crazy about that I just had to have a full size.

This one was supposedly inspired by Sprite, but have no idea why.  It’s a dark, blackened green duochrome with flashes of brown and maroon.  Not Spritely at all.  Nicole by OPI is putting out a Coca-Cola collection this year and the Sprite in that one is much closer to the Sprite can.  It might already by out, but the only place I ever see NOPI is the grocery store and Wal-mart and I generally don’t scout out the nail polish displays in either of those places.

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It’s so hard to show duochromes in a picture, but you can kind of see brown cast in the bottle.  Not great, since it’s a mini, but it’s there. The blackened part of the green shows up a little better in this shot:

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This was three coats and I think I might have been able to get by with two, or at least a thinner coat for the third.  Like most duochromes, the first coat was just brown and maroon smears with a hint of green, but it covered really well with the second one.

I’m really not a green person, but the blackening gave this a bit more interest.  And while reddish-brown is certainly not my first choice for a duochrome flash, all duochromes tend to fascinate me.

So, much like it’s inspiration (Sprite), Green on the Runway isn’t my first, second or even third choice and I’ll generally leave it on the shelf, but every once in a while a couple sips of a nice cold one really hits the spot.

OPI – Gargantuan Green Grape

Yes, I’m finally getting to the one I sneak peeked a while back!  I have kind of a love/hate relationship with this polish, for reasons that will become evident…

Gargantuan Green Grape came out way back in 2005 in the Summer Brights Collection!  I actually had to look this up because I wouldn’t have taken this for a bright.  Then again, another one I have from that collection is Significant Other Color and that one is definitely not a bright, so who knows?  So GGG has been part of the core line forever, if you call ten years forever, which I do.  In the land of nail lacquer, that’s an eternity!  They brought this out in a matte version in 2009 back when everybody and their sister was gaga over mattes, but I avoid them like the plague so I don’t have any of those.

.Like most white based pastels, it’s a nightmare to work with this one.  It’s thin, streaky, patchy, you name it.  But I put up with it because I loved the color and there really wasn’t anything close to it, (I’ve since found alternatives, which I’ll go into below).  There are other mint greens, sure, but they were either too blue, or too dark, or had a shimmer, or whatever.  This was the perfect light mint green pastel creme!  Well, except for actually using it…..

Ggrape

“So what’s the problem?” you might say.  “Looks okay to me.”  Well, I’ll tell you.  For starters, you’re looking at six coats there, ladies and gentlemen.  That’s right, SIX persnickety, careful coats!  So six chances for everything to go terribly, terribly wrong.  For instance, you might notice that dent in the ring finger.  Yep that happened when I knocked it against a bottle on the end table reaching for the Seche Vite.  At that point, I damn sure wasn’t going to try to take off the polish on one nail to do over, because we all know in that way lies madness.  This happens so often that I finally faced facts and realized that I had to do something.  Options included:

  • Cleaning off the damned end table (I’ve tried that before, somehow it replenishes itself when I’m not looking)
  • Paying attention to what I’m doing when I’m reaching for something (Squirrel!!!)
  • Getting one of those grabby things from Sally to use with cotton balls so I won’t mess up the other fingers

I’ve always laughed at those things.  Like what kind of delicate flower needs an implement for a cotton ball so that their delicate little fingertips won’t get sullied.  It’s like people who use a bridge stick when they play pool.  Just swing the cue behind your damned back like a grown up and carry on with it!  Or using tongs to pull food out of hot grease.  Don’t be a baby, that’s what long nails are for!

Anyway, I didn’t get the grabby thing for a while, so I can’t promise there aren’t any more blemished nails coming up, but sometime after this I reached my breaking point and got one.  Behold!  So simple, yet so useful!  The only concession I’ve had to make is that I buy those big-ass cotton balls and the claw can’t contain all of their awesomeness at once.  So I have to cut them down, which makes them last longer. So all the better, I guess.

But, onward with the touchy little number that is Gargantuan Green Grape.  You have to be careful with the application.  It’s hard to get a good cuticle line as it’s prone to flooding, so it’s necessary to leave room for the Holy Ghost (it’s a Catholic thing…) and hope for the best.  And if you try to just brush it on, you could put on 33 coats and it would still be streaky.  Instead you sort of turn the brush horizontally and lay the polish down on the nail instead of just brushing it across.  But, the results were usually worth it, until….

I got a butterLONDON polish called Fiver.  I’ve had it so long that I don’t remember the circumstances behind it, but I’m sure it was some kind of a sale (natch).  Then I got it home and compared swatch sticks and it looked just like GGG.  Damn!  I could have gotten whatever other color I was considering.  But I loved this one soooo much!  Everytime I love a color soooo much, I’m sure to have at least one, usually several, just like it at home.

However, while it’s not a perfect application (it is a white based pastel, after all) it’s a complete dream compared to GGG.  Good going, BL!  So that solved that.

Fast forward to this year’s OPI collection for spring, Hawaii, and I’m not completely thrilled with it, but they have one I really love.  That’s Hula-rious!.  Yeah, that’s highlarious, OPI.  But I wised up and decided the reason I like it is because it looked like GGG and Fiver.  Not going to be fooled again!  Then I got the mini set (my mini set addiction is worthy of a complete post of its own) and that was one of them!

Around the same time I also picked up an OPI base coat called Put a Coat On! on clearance at Sally that’s supposed to be used with brights and neons to intensify them.  It’s a solid white so I got it thinking it might help those multiple coat polishes that are such a hassle.  The following is the results of those labors.

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From left to right:  That’s Hula-rious!, Gargantuan Green Grape, Fiver.  As you can see from the bottles, Hula-rious is way different.  That also might be a reason that I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, so the mini will do me fine.  The GGG and Fiver don’t look a whole lot alike, but maybe that’s because of the different bottle, because they’re a lot closer on the nail.  Observe….

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From index to pinky, that’s Fiver, GGG, Hula and GGG with the white base coat.  As you can see, Hula isn’t even in the same ballpark, much more yellow. So much so it makes the other look practically blue in comparison and they don’t look blue at all on their own.

The Fiver looks a skosh lighter in the picture than GGG (they’re practically  bang on in person) but that could be because that’s SIX coats of GGG to THREE of Fiver.  And I could have gotten away with two coats, but I did three on Hula so I wanted to have an even comparison.  Even with SIX coats, you can still see bald patches on the GGG.  To be totally fair, I didn’t top coat any of them and that might have helped.  I also didn’t baby it as much as I would have if it was going to be an actual mani.

I have to give a big pinky up! to Put a Coat On, though.  While it looks a little patchy in the picture, it didn’t seem that much in person.  Also (hold on to your hat), that’s only two coats.  TWO!  Had I noticed the patchy, I would have done another coat and I usually do three anyway.  As for the base coat, it was such a solid white that I thought it might go on like Liquid Paper.  No way!  It went on smooth as silk and was completely opaque in one coat!  I’m going to try it with some of my other really sheer but not necessarily patchy polishes to try and reduce the VNL.  Never mind that i have like half a dozen different whites for that purpose…..ha!

Speaking of green, I had what I thought was a pretty cool mani for St. Patrick’s Day so that might bump a few others back, just to be somewhat timely.  Yes, it irks me that St. Patrick’s color is BLUE, for God’s sake, not green!  And, yes, back in the day I was a smart ass who wore St. Patrick’s Blue and dared someone to pinch me.  But I’ve mellowed a bit since then and just go along with the masses these days.

But in looking through my to be posted manis just now, I do have one that could be deemed a nice St. Patrick blue that I had on shortly before this week.  Hmmmm….Maybe I’m still a rebel, just a subconscious one….

A Few Words on … Beauty Steals

So just last week I was thinking here it is almost the middle of March and I haven’t seen anything on Ulta’s semi-annual Beauty Steals promotion.  And then this weekend I get the newest circular with the BS (ha!) calendar!  I was so excited that I stood in the driveway and checked it out…

As an aside, what ever happened to the excitement that getting the new phone book generated each January?  Damn you, internet and your infernal immediacy!  That used to be a really big deal and I probably haven’t even opened a phone book in the last couple years.  I get two or three different ones every year and, when I finally toss them to be recycled, the spines aren’t even cracked.  Kind of sad, isn’t it?

But back to the matter at hand…

Generally, the only nail lacquer represented is butterLONDON, but I’m always hoping for a Zoya or OPI one.  Or even a CND Vinylux, since I really like a couple of shades in their spring collection, Garden Muse.  Hell, I might even check out some Orly or Essie on a BS!  But it’s still a BL-only world, so I’ll have to save my coupons for the others that I want.

So, BL fans, start your engines and circle March 19 on your calendars!  It’s so exciting!  Well, actually not.  Instead of the usual BOGO, it’s a flat $9.00.  Now that might actually be a better deal for some.  You don’t have to buy in pairs and it also covers nail treatments.  Those are usually $19 a pop, so that’s even better than 50% off!  However, I’m not even feeling a tiny bit of want on this one.  It could be because I still have tons of untrieds from my BL sprees last fall.  I even got a really good deal on cuticle remover/oil sets or I might go for some of the treatments.

For those wondering about the various treatments, I really can’t give much of a review.  The treatment products I have are the Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil, Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat and Hardwear PDQuick Top Coat.  Of those, I haven’t tried the cuticle oil or the base coat.  Once I run out of my current oil and base I’ll start using those, so a future review might be in the offing.  I’ve been using the Melt Away for a while now and, while I can’t say it’s appreciably better than any of the Sally Hansen ones I’ve used, I like it well enough.  But at 9 bucks, it’s only a few dollars more than the drugstore varieties and the BL treatments are in bigger bottles than the lacquers, so it might work out to the same or less per ml/oz than the ones in glass bottles with a brush.  Probably not the gel kind in a squeeze bottle, but I prefer the brush types so it’s worth it to me.  I will say I like it a lot better than Blue Cross remover, which is so thin it’s like water and just comes in a big ol’ plastic bottle with no applicator.  I have scads of the Blue Cross since it’s actually cheaper than water, so I started using it in the foot bath and went for better stuff on my nails.

I kind of banged on the PDQ top coat during my Seche Vite review, but I’ll backtrack a little on that.  All of my in use bottles of SV need some Restore and since I’m too damned lazy to do it when I’m thinking about it, I forget until my nails are wet and I pick up the bottle.  So I’ve been using the PDQ for my last couple manicures.  Is it as good as Seche Vite?  No way!  It’s not as glossy and it’s not as hard so you don’t get that satisfying click-click.  It also doesn’t dry as fast, but it does do a lot better than I previously thought.  I’ve been using it when I don’t have anything to do afterward except play on the computer with no typing involved.  If I needed to get up and go somewhere or have some activity right after, I’d still definitely go for the SV.

The only reason I have the base coat is that it came in a set, so it’s not that I’m dissatisfied with my regular OPI base or Seche Clear.  My OPI is really getting low, so I’ll probably switch to the BL after that’s gone and wait for a sale instead of replacing the OPI right away.  The cuticle oil was also in sets at a huge discount so I still had plenty of my other oils left.  I have a big bottle of Super Cheap Super Nail that I use when I want need a big oil drenching (like after my nails have been through an acetone soaking), but I’ve been using some Sally Hansen and Gelish as my daily oils.  Once one of those runs out, I’ll start on the BL.

Since I don’t have any pictures for this post, I’ll just give a random sneak peek at an upcoming BL polish:

All Hail the Queen with West End Wonderland accent

As well as a bottle shot of one of the cuticle oils that I’m currently using up before I start with the Handbag Holiday:

Polish is OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress

Polish is OPI I’m Not Really a Waitress

China Glaze – Grape Pop

Although I don’t always go in order of being used, I think that the pale green pastel is next chronologically.  But I took some comparison pictures with a couple of other colors that I want to include in the review and I haven’t uploaded them to WP yet.  So I’ll forge ahead and let something else take cutsies….

Grape Pop was in the China Glaze’s Spring 2010 collection called Up & Away.  It was mostly straight cremes of various candy shades.  I don’t know what that has to do with hot air balloons, but I do have a few from that collection and it was a pretty nice group.

This is a straight ahead purple creme.  If I had to pick, I’d say it leans blue rather than red, but it’s pretty much right down the middle.  While that might sound a little boring, it’s actually really great!

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See?  It’s vibrant without being flashy, highly pigmented without being dark and one of the best creme formulas from China Glaze that I’ve come across.  See that beautiful coverage?  TWO coats!  That’s it!  Even me, the Original Three Coat Queen, looked at it after two and thought, “eh, there’s absolutely nothing here that could be improved by another coat”.

And while the color seems like something that I have at least a dozen similar shades, not really.  I’ll have to dig through because the few I compared just by bottle were quite different.  I have one Sally Hansen CSM (Good to Grape, maybe?) that I think might be close.  When I find it, I’ll compare.

If you want a candy coated purple that’s not too dark, not too light, that’s a straight creme with no shimmer, glitter or fleck of any kind, covers well and goes on like a dream, Grape Pop is an excellent choice!