a-england Moments With Virginia: My Picks Swatch & Review

It’s my first nail polish review of 2021 and it’s none other than a constant favorite, a-england! If all goes to plan, it is going to be very a-england-y on the blog this year. I am going to be starting a color comparison project that I hope will be helpful for some. However, today we are looking at one of the four new collections a-england dropped on us at the end of 2020. It is based on works by Virginia Woolf and, I have to admit, I haven’t read much of her work. I had to read A Room of One’s Own for either a lit or geography class (cannot remember) but that’s it. I do have several of the books that inspired these polishes on my enormous to-read list, hopefully I will get around to those at some point. But I definitely got around to trying the polishes first. I am the proud owner of six of the seven new shades, the seventh being a light pink called Shakespeare’s Sister. I’m not a fan of pink, but definitely am a fan of these rich jewel shades. So perfect, there are colors here I would wear all year round!

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Hand & Nail Empties: July-December 2020

I haven’t done an empties post for a bit… since this time last year in fact! I did end up tossing all the stuff I saved during January-June of last year, but I still had all the stuff from July-December, so we’re going to just do one massive post! I want to get back to doing quarterly empties so I can do more in-depth reviews on the stuff I used up, but for now we’re going to try to breeze through these or else we will be here for a thousand years (the key word is “try” – you know I’m wordy)! For a lot of the things I have used before, like Bath & Body Works hand soaps or the Baroness X Acetone Antidotes, I’m just going to review the scent and not the formula; I’ve re-purchased these a lot and clearly like them!

MDJ Creations Smooth Finish Fast Dry Top Coat: reviewed previously

a-england The Ridgeway Ridge Filler: This is my favorite ridge-filling base coat hands down. First of all, it’s clear and not that weird nude opaque color that peeks out from the edges of your mani if you don’t cover your nail perfectly. The formula is awesome and stays awesome, I barely had to use any thinner. I already have repurchased it!

Holo Taco Glossy Taco: I really do not like this top coat. Yes, it does dry fast but it gets gloopy super quickly and it just applies weird. It does self-level, but it looks super uneven until that point. I had to use so much thinner to get through this, would never repurchase.

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20 Favorite Nail Polishes from 2020

*Some gifted polishes used in this post.*

I feel like pretty much everyone has said everything they possibly can about 2020 being quite the year, so I won’t blather on about that. It was, despite of or in spite of everything, a great year for nail polish. There were a lot of amazing new collections released and some of us may have ramped up the amount of polish they were wearing because what else was there to do? Might as well paint your nails! Like the previous year, I have rounded up some of my favorites from this year, but I decided to only include polishes that are still available, at least still available as of this moment. I saw someone on Instagram mention that they don’t like favorites lists filled with limited editions and I can really respect that! So, without further ado, these are the top twenty polishes I wore for the first time this year. Some of these were released this year, but others may be old favorites of yours. Enjoy :]

The list is in alphabetical order of brand name and polish name within the brand name categories if there are more than one. They’re all equally my favorite for different reasons! You will see different hand poses throughout because I can’t stop experimenting. These are all polishes I wore as a full mani, I did not count polishes I only swatched.

1. Butter London 24K Overcoat (shown above with one coat over Rather Red)

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Holo Taco Frosted Metals Collection: Swatch & Review

Merry Christmas everybody!!! This is the last full review of the year and I am finally getting back to doing Holo Taco reviews. The Rainbow Collection and Multichrome Collection have not made their way to the blog yet despite being swatched, but I’m certain they will make an appearance at some point! The Frosted Metals collection is another untraditional holiday collection from Holo Taco (see previous year) and it features a finish I have not seen a ton of in the nail polish world. All of the polishes are packed with a super reflective metallic foil silver flake. I find this to be a much more enjoyable way to wear metallic polishes because you get a lot more dimension and none of those annoying visible brushstrokes! As of writing this post, I think there are even still some of the beautiful box sets available for purchase, so if you want to get yourself/your nails a great gift, you still can!

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Olive & June Blue Jeans Set: Swatch & Review

For the first time this year, I don’t really have any Christmassy content to share. I guess I have been a little underwhelmed with the Christmas collections or my collection has ballooned so much that I’m not buying as much polish. It’s not the latter, let’s be real 😛 We’re just going to jump into some wintery polishes because they work for Christmastime too! After seeing Olive & June all over Instagram, I decided to grab some of their polishes earlier this year. I don’t know why, but creme polishes always draw me in and their line thus far is mostly cremes. The darker blue shade CNH is what tipped me over the edge to make a purchase. Olive & June offers sets of four polishes plus top coat, which I thought was a fun way to try the polishes. You can buy seasonal collection sets, but these sets are also available if you don’t want every polish in a certain collection. The Blue Jeans set was right up my alley with two shades of blue including my coveted CNH, a greyish purple, and a slightly off-white. The images online show all four being worn as a skittle ombre mani, so I decided that’s how I would wear them too for this trial! The cool tones are perfect this time of year and make for a winter wonderland on your nails.

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Olive Ave Polish Deciduous Fall 2020: My Picks Swatch & Review

I know that fall doesn’t technically end until the winter solstice, but in my USAmerican mind the day after Thanksgiving signals the start of Christmas/winter, so this will be my last fall blog post of the year. Compared to last year, I REALLY slacked. But hey, if one of the terrible things that happens to me this year is that I don’t keep up with my blog very well, then I’m walking on sunshine. I reviewed picks from Olive Ave Polish’s spring collection earlier this year and was just delighted with them (I did swatches for the summer release too but never got those posted). I made my initial purchase because I wanted to support Walker aka Olive Ave Nails, who is definitely one of my favorite nail YouTubers, but at this point I’m buying her polishes because they are genuinely SO GOOD. While Olive Ave only has three collections total thus far, this one has got to be the best. The formulas on the ones I grabbed are S T U N N I N G. Couldn’t ask for better cremes! Best of all, she plans on keeping her collections stocked much longer than just seasonally, which is the number one way an indie polish brand makes its way to my heart. I understand releasing a bunch of LEs from a business perspective, but it’s a bit exhausting as a customer. Let’s luxuriate in these polishes today and, hopefully, for many years to come!

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Duri Cosmetics Primal Instincts Fall 2020: Swatch & Review

*The polishes featured in this post were gifted to me by Duri Cosmetics. I am under no obligation to review them or write this post. All opinions are my own.*

Duri kindly sent me their fall collection a couple months ago (sorry guys). It took me a while to get this post together, but I think I owed it to this collection to take my time and do it justice, you know? It’s called Primal Instincts; I think they were on the same wavelength as some other brands with the nature inspired theme! This is a super fun fall line up of polishes, they went full jewel-toned as opposed to dusty and muted. It’s composed of all the primary and secondary colors with a fall twist. All the polishes in this collections were cremes, totally fine with me, and I found the formulas superb. The last Duri collection I swatched had amazing cremes too, they have clearly mastered the formula. None of them took more than two coats (yes, even the yellow!) to reach full opacity and some of them only needed one. You really cannot ask for more.

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Fall Favorites: OPI My Italian is a Little Rusty

OPI My Italian is a Little Rusty, 2 coats plus top coat

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiiime of the year…. no, it’s not Christmas yet, but it is FALL!!!!! Although 2020 has been a steaming pile of poo, one of the bright spots has been all the incredible fall and Halloween polishes that have been released this year. Well, not from my wallet’s perspective. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but nail polish and happiness are pretty much the same thing, sooooooo… all the fall polishes, please! I’m hoping to share a few of my favorites with y’all before the other holiday season starts, but with my current schedule of posting every two weeks, we may not fit as many in as in the past. But I would rather go for quality and we are starting off Fall 2020 with a banger! It’s from OPI’s Milan collection, which was pretty much made for me: I ended up getting 11 of the 12 polishes (thank you polishpick.com, no way could I have done that paying full price). This beautiful burnt orange rusty dirt color, My Italian is a Little Rusty, is the first of those 11 polishes I have worn. You guys KNOW I go insane for oranges and while this is definitely brown and not orange, it’s the orangey-ist brown out there and I adore it. The name is definitely a 5/5 too, maybe not specific to Milan but perfect for the hue!

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Butter London Jelly Preserves

*The polishes featured in this post were gifted to me by Butter London. I am under no obligation to review them. All opinions are my own.*

I got a mystery package in the mail and was seriously wondering whether I should open it or not… USPS had lost a previous package of mine and I thought there was a longshot chance that was it. Upon finally opening it… goodies from Butter London! I was, of course, sad that it was not my long lost package but that sadness was quickly dashed by the appearance of the cheerful packaging. I have seen the new Jelly Preserve polishes/treatments on Instagram and hadn’t purchased them yet because I don’t think I am the target audience for them. But, put the bottles in my hands and you know that I’m going to give them a go! I actually don’t own any true jelly polishes that never get opaque on their own nor do I own any treatment type polishes that aren’t for hardening, so these are truly unique in my collection. Other brands have done these tinted treatments before, OPI and Essie come to mind. Butter London is cruelty-free, so perhaps there is a niche for these that needs to be filled in the cruelty-free market! I both polishes on their own for you today and then got creative with a good ol’ jelly sandwich. Remember when those were super popular? Always love rediscovering old nail polish community crazes!

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Palate Polish Spring/Summer Haul Part II

Palate Polish Cookies & Cream, 1 coat over Cauliflower, Pistachio, Spirulina Smoothie, & Lavender Macaron

Hey friends, long time no see! This post was supposed to be up last week after my camping trip, but then the wildfires hit (not only Southern Oregon, but all of Oregon). I evacuated for one night and let me tell you, never want to experience that kind of terror again. If you even THINK about saying “Can 2020 get any worse?” just stop yourself because YES IT CAN! But, I digress, I have had these swatches for possibly months now and I am really excited about these polishes, it’s time for you to lay your eyeballs on them. This is the second Palate Polish haul I did earlier this year. They had a 5 for $50 sale and you know I can’t pass that up!

I’m going to start with the first polish here, which is the black and white topper Cookies & Cream. This is one of my new favorite toppers and probably my favorite of the black and white ones I already have. It has a variety of black and white circular/hex glitters, which means you can see the base underneath really well and it gives a splattered polka dot effect. It also looks fantastic over… everything? I think the only colors it won’t look good over are plain black and plain white, but hopefully someone will prove me wrong. It has a great density in one coat which is so key for me in a good topper. I put it over the other cremes I got in this haul!

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