Sally Hansen Color Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen – ‘Turquoise Chrome’

I received this Sally Hansen Colour Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen in a beauty sample box ages ago (possibly Bellabox?) and only came across it again while I was looking for a suitable base colour for a gorgeous new glitter polish I bought – more on that in a later post!

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I’m not sure if Sally Hansen have discontinued these as I did a search online and they were not listed on the Sally Hansen website, however you can still pick them on eBay and some other online retailers (I noticed that there are some shades are under ‘Clearance’ on the Priceline website).

“Click, Colour and Go! Just click to dispense colour, brush on and go! With panthenol, vitamins plus UV protector. Great for travelling, leak proof!”

‘Turquoise Chrome’ is a lovely shade of teal and comes in a thick 4ml pen (like a whiteboard marker) with a click-top and brush tip for application of the polish.

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This is what the brand new brush looked like before first use – instructions state to “click top of the pen to dispense colour” and to “re-click as needed”.

The formula was quite thick and I found it difficult to gauge how much polish was being dispensed when I clicked the pen. It was difficult to create a smooth application as you cannot control how much polish is being released, unlike traditional polishes where you can swipe the excess off the brush on the lip of the bottle before applying. I found the second coat came up a bit streaky as a result and I had to go over certain parts more than once to cover up some patchiness.

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The other thing about this design is that you cannot see how much polish you have left in the pen unlike a clear bottle so you never know if/when you are going to run out (not that I’ve ever finished a bottle of polish before, but it would be nice to know that you were not going to run out in the middle of a manicure). It also took a little bit to get used to applying polish with a pen as opposed to with a bottle-top brush, especially with my left hand, but I didn’t have much more clean-up to do than normal. For the record, I am quite useless when applying polish with my left hand!

The biggest positive about this polish though is how fast it dries – I was very impressed with the quick dry time – two coats was touch dry in just a few minutes and totally dry in less than 15 minutes (without top coat) which is very handy as I often try and sneak in painting my nails when my little boy is taking a nap or has gone to bed. I’m not usually far behind him so don’t want to spend hours waiting for my polish to dry before I can pass out exhausted too 🙂

Overall this product delivers on what it promises, which is a fast, quick-drying manicure and would be adequate to get something on your nails if you are in a rush. It may not be the best choice if you are looking for a perfect, flawless manicure. In my case, because I was using it as a base colour for a glitter polish, I wasn’t overly fussed about the streakiness as I was going to be covering most of it up and the quick dry time was a nice bonus.

I’ve also read reviews which say that this is a really good stamping polish as it is a thick formula so I must try that out next time and report back!

Have you tried the Sally Hansen Color Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen (what a mouthful!), or used any other great quick drying polishes?

Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy – ‘Galactic’

I picked up this Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy polish from Priceline as part of my Birthday Haul. ‘Galactic’ was the first one to jump out at me and I just had to try it.

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“Cosmic 3D effects for out-of-this-world nails! Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy™ allows you to get a gorgeous, iridescent effect inspired by outer space. The holographic glitter top coat is illuminated by the dark cream base coat, giving your nails a multi-dimensional look. The dual-ended package gives you everything you need to create a fun, cosmic look.” – revlon.com

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The base colour is fantastic – only one coat is required for full opacity. The formula was a bit thinner than I was used to so a little goes a long way on your nail. Even though the instructions called for just one coat of the glittery top coat, I chose to be a rebel and applied two coats so I could get more holographic goodness on each nail.

I had read reviews about the glitter coat being difficult to apply and having to fish for the holographic flakes but I didn’t have any trouble at all. I just made sure my brush was ‘loaded’ (ie. I dipped the whole brush into the glitter and didn’t swipe the excess off before using) and ran the entire brush length down each nail. In fact, I didn’t even need two coats of glitter on some fingers as the first layer provided enough flakes.

Clean-up was a bit difficult as the dark blue base stained my cuticles quite quickly so please pardon my neatness as my application of the base was a bit messy!

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I started getting tip wear after about three days and chipping after four days, but I might be able to prolong the polish next time by using two coats of the base colour.

Overall I really love this colour and effect – the name ‘Galactic’ is very apt as the holographic flakes give it a 3D effect which reminds me of the depths of outer space. There are a total of 10 shades in the Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy collection, all with space-related names like Meteor, Orbit, Milky Way and Universe. I have used plenty of glitter polishes in the past, but this is one of my first holographic polishes and I think I am liking the holos! Have I just entered a big black hole from which there is no return? 🙂

What are your favourite holographic polishes?

Birthday Haul

My 30th birthday fell on a Monday so whilst everyone was at work, I decided to take myself shopping. Now “shopping” with an active 1 year-old boy is very different to the shopping marathons I used to be able to participate in my younger days (you know the ones – where you start at 9am, stop for a quick lunch at 1pm and continue shopping with an arm full of bags until the shops kick you out at 6pm). Now I’m lucky if I can last 2 hours before my feet hurt, the baby is bored and whingy, my back is sore and I’ve accidentally run into numerous people with the pram.

I decided to head to Garden City in Booragoon where all the shops I needed were within brisk-walking distance of each other. Priceline, Myer, David Jones and whatever else took my fancy in-between – I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just wanted to see what would jump out at me.

As it turned out, I had only an hour before the bored-and-crying came in the middle of David Jones and I had to make a speedy exit from the shops. This is what I managed to haul before then.. probably a good thing as I was ready to buy a container-load worth of stuff from O.P.I. so it saved me some money.. for now.

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Whilst in Priceline, I remembered that I needed some basic nail supplies as everything is packed in a box somewhere due to the move. I picked up a Sally Hansen Problem Cuticle Remover (so I don’t frighten anyone else with my unsightly cuticles), a Manicare Base Coat Plus Strengthener and some Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover.

Oh and two more Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in 360 Laced Up and 480 I Love Lacey because, y’know, you can never have too many nail appliques right? 360 Laced Up is an intricate lace pattern over a nude base whilst 480 I Love Lacey is the same lace pattern but over a sultry red base instead. Looking forward to trying these out! I also picked up a cheapy pack of MUD Nail Stickers from Woolworths – I don’t hold out much hope for these, but for $5.00 I felt it was worth giving a shot.

And what’s a haul without nail polish? I’ve heard good things about the Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy range and 210 Galactic jumped out at me the most. It’s difficult to tell from the picture but the base is a dark navy colour whilst the glittery side looks like silver holographic confetti mesmerisingly suspended in an opaque aquamarine jelly.

Edit: How could I forget my Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in ‘Peony’? I have been using ‘Rhubarb’ which is sadly coming to the end of its little life (these things last forever!) so decided to try out a different shade. These lip shimmers are a cross between a lipstick and a lip balm and leaves your lips with a tingly menthol-y sensation as well as an little burst of colour – I use it daily and it’s perfect for that ‘quick pop into the shops, want some colour so I don’t look unkempt but don’t want to look like I’ve spent hours on my make-up’ look. You know the look.

I then swung into Mecca Cosmetica (the closest thing to Sephora in Australia in my opinion, but with not as large a range) to pick up their Brush With Success Conditioning Brush Cleaner and an oldie-but-a-goody NARS Blush in ‘Taos’ (a deep reddish-pink) which is just a fantastic shade for me. I had used ‘Orgasm’ for years before realising that, whilst it was a beautiful shade, may have been a bit light for me.

I then topped it off with True Blood Season 5 (mmm Eric Northman..) and a bottle of MooGoo Acne Cleansing Cream – the only moisturiser that my problematic skin can handle at the moment.

All in all, a pretty small haul but not bad for an hour’s worth of shopping – and yes, my feet did hurt after! Swatches and reviews to come.

What have you hauled lately?

Tracey xoxo

Sephora Collection Nail Patch Art Nail Appliques

I love nail art. I have a massive nail polish collection, I can’t stop buying polish (who can resist all the pretty colours and sparkly glitter and special effects?), I spend hours looking at nail art blogs or Pinterest on my iPhone while trying to get my little boy to sleep.. imagining how nice my nails would look, all the pretty colours I could put on them..

Actually finding the time to do my nails is a completely different matter. Unfortunately there is never enough hours in a day to sit down and wait for layers of polish to dry when you have a 1 year-old – something would always come up and I’d end up with dented, smudged polish. Unless the trashed-nails look ever comes into fashion (can someone please start that trend?), having amazingly unique nails will be a dream for now.

This is why the nail applique trend has appealed to me so much. The idea of being able to have stunning nail art on my nails in a matter of minutes (especially on those rare occasions that I get to dress up and go out) and that can be done while the baby is having his nap is just mind-blowing. No, it doesn’t take much to blow my mind these days.

I’ve purchased many different brands of nail appliques so far that have just sat in my box of nail polish; my first actual attempt at application was while I was on holiday in Bali last month with some Chi Chi Real Metallic Nail Strips that I purchased at Myer. Spectacular fail – the foils were thick and I couldn’t get them to shape and stick to my nail no matter now hard I tried. So it was with much trepidation that I attempted to use my Sephora Collection Nail Patch Art Nail Appliques which I purchased whilst in Singapore last year.

Give nail art a try with this collection of patches that adds fun patterns and shine to fingertips and toes! Each set of 18 patches were specifically designed to fit all nail sizes. They apply ultra-easily and provide long wear—with zero drying time or smudging! Each patch is made of three layers of film for extreme shine and long wear: the base coat film ensures long wear, the color film provides intense color, and the top coat creates 100-percent shine.” – sephora.com

The design that I purchased was “A08 Pretty Miss” which is a cute pink and white gingham. DH took one look at my nails after I had done them and said that it looked like our tea towels. Hmmm.. not quite the effect I was after!

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The Sephora appliques were sealed in an airtight foil packet which smelt very much like nail polish when I tore open the packet. I had read somewhere that some brands actually made their strips out of nail polish, which is a major difference between these and the Chi Chi ones. The instructions seemed clear and easy but, after my failure with the Chi Chi appliques, I decided to do a little research online on the best method of putting these babies on successfully.

One review suggested using a base and top coat to ensure a longer-lasting finish, which I decided to try on my thumb. You may not be able to make out the instructions in the picture above, but Step 4 says “Note: You can pull off and reposition without damaging the nail sticker”. That is, unless you are using base coat (I didn’t allow long for the base coat to dry). Oops, disaster on the thumb – and I don’t have access to any nail polish remover (we have just moved house and all my nail stuff is in a box somewhere). Lesson learnt here – unless you allow the base coat to dry thoroughly or you are an expert at nail applique application and can get it right on the first go, do not use base coat.

The rest of the appliques went on slightly more easily and I even managed to get some on the first go. Then I got a bit complacent and messed up on a couple of nails – luckily each pack contains 18 patches in various sizes so there is a little bit of room for error, you can just unpeel them from your nails and try again.

Sephora doesn’t include a nail file or cuticle stick in their pack unlike other brands as the instructions state that you should be able to “remove surplus by folding nail sticker under the nail; excess tears away easily”. I do have wider nails and the nail strips fit perfectly on most of my nails although I do feel that a cuticle stick would have been handy to help press down and trim the edges as “tearing” can be a bit brutal and you may rip or stretch the delicate sticker (yes, I did both as evident in the picture below).

I then sealed everything with O.P.I. Top Coat, even though the pack said you didn’t need to. I read another review which found that applying top coat caused shrinkage of the applique which led to lifting/curling of the nail applique around the cuticles. I did have some lifting of the applique around my cuticles on a couple of fingers, however I wasn’t sure if that was due to my amateur application, or because of the top coat.

Here is the finished look – what do you think?

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Please pardon my cuticles – I cannot believe what bad condition they are in and I didn’t even notice until I looked at the photos! We have been so busy moving house and I’ve been cleaning and unpacking boxes, so my nails and cuticles are in terrible shape.

Overall, I do really like these Sephora nail appliques – plus I have never had so many compliments about my nails before 🙂 They were relatively easy to apply (I’m sure my technique will improve with time) and I may even give the top coat a miss next time. They lasted for about the same amount of time as a normal manicure, it was 3 days before they started to chip but I do use my hands a lot doing housework, washing dishes, etc. They are expensive when you consider that the cost of one pack of appliques is the same as purchasing a bottle of polish, but they are definitely worth it if you are time-poor and need a quick way of getting something nice onto your nails.

Unfortunately Sephora doesn’t currently ship to Australia (my credit card would be in serious trouble if they did) so if you like this look you would need to either order through a freight-forwarder, find a good friend in the USA / Singapore / other Sephora location or try your luck on eBay. I am planning a trip to Singapore later in the year, so will stock up on these and perhaps even do a little giveaway so you can also try these Sephora nail appliques for yourself 🙂

In the meantime, Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips appears to be the best product on the market in Australia from all the reviews I have read – I have purchased a few of these, amongst other brands (did I say I was addicted to buy nail stuff?), so will be trying and reviewing them in the coming weeks.

Have you used nail appliques? Which ones have you tried and what did you think of them?

Tracey xoxo

Birthday Dinner @ NOBU, Crown Perth

So I’ve hit the big 3-0. You know what? It’s nowhere near as scary as everyone said it was going to be. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in a great place in life at the moment, but I’m happy to use the milestone as an excuse to celebrate and indulge 🙂 And indulge I did – we had 4 celebrations over 4 nights with various groups of friends and family!

My Birthday Extravaganza Weekend culminated with my actual birthday dinner on Monday night. DH had a surprise up his sleeve – I knew we were going out for dinner but I wasn’t told where, except that I had to dress nicely. I had an inkling that it may be NOBU as we dined there for our 1st wedding anniversary when it first opened two years ago, and I haven’t stopped going on about how good the food was and how much I wanted to go back.

WARNING: This is a pic-heavy post! Plus the danger of drool.. 🙂

I love everything about NOBU Perth – the décor and ambience, the pageantry of your entry as your hostess leads you through the bar area to your table and all the staff yell out “irasshaimase!“, a Japanese welcome greeting (quite funny watching the reaction of other unsuspecting guests as they enter the dining area); the service is attentive, nothing is too much trouble for the staff and above all, the food is incredible.

I started my evening with the obligatory cocktail – a Pina Martini with “mango infused vodka, peach liqueur and pineapple puree”. Yum!

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For those who have not dined at NOBU before and are overwhelmed by the menu, the staff are more than happy to make suggestions. We dined tapas-style as per the recommendation from our previous visit; the menu is divided into Signature Cold Dishes, Signature Hot Dishes, Toban-yaki, Sushi, Sashimi, Tempura, etc. but there are also more ‘traditional’ mains like Rib Eye steak, chicken or lamb chops if a 3-course meal is preferred. It’s the attention to detail that makes NOBU a fine-dining experience – the staff thoroughly explain each dish as it is served, describing the ingredients and how best to eat it, and your side plates are replaced with every dish.

We began with the special of the day – an ocean trout sashimi dish with avocado, chilli gel and a citrus soy dressing which the waiter described as a Japanese-Peruvian fusion dish:

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The citrus dressing was divine – tangy but well-balanced with the soy and each mouthful only had the most subtle hint of chilli (the gel were like thin sheets of jelly) and the ocean trout melted in your mouth.

We then had a salmon sashimi dressed with ginger shoots and sesame seeds and drizzled with olive and sesame oils and yuzu dressing:

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I couldn’t find it on the menu but recalled the dish from our first visit and requested it. It wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be (is anything ever as good?) as from memory the olive oil was slighty hot when it was poured onto the fish, searing it in the process, but I could have been mistaken. It was still very tasty though and the sesame oil really complemented the fresh salmon.

Next up was DH’s request of Pork Belly Spicy Aka Miso Sauce (he loves pork belly and orders it every where we go):

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Very high quality cuts of pork belly – the fat layer was not chewy. Each morsel was topped with a finely minced onion chilli mixture and sat on a smearing of NOBU’s famous sticky miso sauce which was very tasty and much more subtle than their signature ‘Black Cod Miso’ (which at the risk of being struck down by NOBU loyalists, I did not enjoy – I found the taste of the miso sauce overpowering).

Our next dish was the Waygu Gyoza:

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I now believe that everything should be served with Butter Ponzu sauce which is literally a bowl a ponzu dressing topped with a layer of melted butter. The waiter suggested mixing the shredded spring onion and spicy grated daikon into the sauce before dipping the gyoza in the sauce and then into the beetroot puree – heavenly and oh-so-naughty. Wagyu balls in a perfect wrapper drizzled with sticky soy and dunked in a tangy butter sauce – what could be better?

Still eager for more deliciousness, we ordered Scallops with Spicy Garlic Sauce:

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The scallops were served poached in the sauce with mushrooms, asparagus and capsicum strips. Doesn’t this look like the perfect winter dish to be ladled liberally over a large steaming bowl of rice whilst curled up on the couch? Whilst the scallops were fresh and full of texture, I couldn’t get enough of the mushrooms which were meaty and juicy having soaked up the sauce. Contrary to the picture, this dish wasn’t actually spicy at all although you can also order this dish with a Wasabi Pepper Sauce. Now that sounds spicy!

We finished off the meal with the Soft Shell Crab Sushi Roll:

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One would normally think of sushi as an appetiser or entrée dish but I like NOBU’s approach of serving sushi last as it is a fresh way of finishing off a meal. The sushi rice was light and not at all gluggy, the soft shell crab was lightly battered and the orange fish roe was very fine unlike the cheaper bigger roe that you normally get. I reckon I could eat sushi every day.

I don’t normally order dessert, but it was my birthday after all.. DH ordered the Nobu Cheesecake (the cheesecake had a burnished top and was served with passionfruit sorbet and raspberry sauce) which he simply described as “sensational”.

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I ordered the Bento Box (chocolate fondant and vanilla ice cream served on a thin praline wafter and topped with a NOBU chocolate disc) – this dish is usually served with green tea ice cream but I am not a fan. The fondant was fluffy and spongey on the outside but upon delving in with my spoon, I discovered a rich gooey-oozy chocolatey paradise. Definitely a dish for chocoholics.

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NOBU isn’t the cheapest place to dine especially once drinks are included (Crown Perth boasts an extensive but expensive wine list, which is to be expected. NOBU also stocks a large variety of sake.) but it is absolutely worth it for special occasions. If you are dining as a couple, try and request a table by the floor-to-ceiling window which overlooks the award-winning pool area for the wow factor. The staff are always eager to help fulfil requests – there was a marriage proposal whilst we were there which the chefs had written out in chocolate on the dessert plate. When I booked a table for our first visit, I simply mentioned that it was our first wedding anniversary and after our meal the restaurant presented us with a complimentary dessert platter with ‘Happy Anniversary’ piped in chocolate.

Oh and to top off a spectacular weekend, DH bought us tickets to see Blue Man Group in October! I’ve always wanted to see them perform and apparently we have great seats. I am so spoilt!

Have you been to NOBU and what is your favourite dish? Or what are you simply dying to try?

Tracey xoxo