Author Archives: Mary S.

Pretty Serious Naileontology Collection (Quick Look at the 3 New Shades)

Pretty Serious Naileontology Collection 2At the end of June, you may remember that I shared a press release introducing three new Pretty Serious shades.

In today’s Quick Look post, I’m going to share a closer look at the new Pretty Serious Naileontology shades.

Included are bottle shots, but also some quick swatches to give you an idea of each one.

Later when I wear them as individual manicures, then I’ll do individual in-depth posts.

It should be obvious that my favourite from the trio is Blood of Knossos (the green). It’s exactly my kind of Comfort Colour, even though all three colours are very beautiful!

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FedoraHarp Whiskers on Kittens Swatches & Review

FedoraHarp Whiskers on Kittens Swatches & ReviewCreated by Leah, one of my readers, FedoraHarp Whiskers on Kittens is inspired by a song sung by the incomparable Julie Andrews in the classic musical, The Sound of Music.

The colour combination is unique in my collection, and since I’ve never worn anything like it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. (It was like a nail-polish Jack-in-the-Box for me.)

From the very first glance, this polish made me think of cookies and cream. (Yes, I have a sweet tooth…just one. The rest have all fallen out, so I resemble a hockey player. Don’t feel sorry for me. Cha-ching! I collected big time when the Tooth Fairy visited. Okay, so maybe not. I have more than just one sweet tooth. They’re all pretty sweet, especially the molar at the very back. Occasionally, it winks at me. How cheeky!) 😉

Back to the nail polish, it also reminds me a little of a calico cat, which ties in nicely with the nail polish’s name. (Only after did I look at FedoraHarp’s Etsy store and realize that she also mentioned the glitter as being ‘calico’. Nailphile minds think alike!)

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who left me a thoughtful comment on my 5th Blogiversary post and entered the worldwide giveaway! I read every single comment, and each one puts a huge, goofy grin on my face. (When I have a bad day, I plan to re-read those comments because your positivity really does wonders to lift my spirits!)

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Swatch And Learn’s 5th Blogiversary + Giveaway

Swatch And Learn 5th Blogiversary Giveaway

IMPORTANT (Please read to protect yourself from scammers):

To enter my giveaways, I never ask you to click on links that direct to places outside of SwatchAndLearn.com that are random websites. I’ve heard of scammers like that who prey upon innocent people, so please don’t fall for that. If there is a shortened URL that starts with something like ow.ly, bit.ly, etc., you can use the web tool called “UnMask Me“, and it expands and uncovers any short URL, so you know where it directs to without clicking on it.

All legit links to this giveaway should go to my blog, and in particular, this blog post. If you uncover a URL that goes elsewhere, do not click it! Report it! The safety of my readers is very important to me!

Before I get into the giveaway, I have a few things to say. :)

You may have noticed that in my most recent posts, I’ve been rather nostalgic. That’s because a lot has changed since I began this blog in 2010. But, at the same time, things have stayed the same. (As they say in French, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”)

I’m still blogging for the same reasons I started – I love interacting with readers like you and being able to share the excitement over nail polishes and beauty products!

Money has never been a motivating factor for me to blog. In fact, I don’t make any money from it, but I put money into it (to pay for things like hosting and keeping my domain name.)

Not going to mention any companies, but I’ve turned down opportunities for paid sponsorships over the years because I want my first one to be genuine and the right fit for me and my readers. I won’t be doing any sponsored posts for marble moustache combs, nasal kazoo lessons, toenail-clipping contests, or scented earwax candles. (Hehe, I’m being silly about those, but my overall point is serious. If I ever do a sponsored post, it will be mentioned in a straightforward fashion and it will be beauty-related.)

Posting in-depth posts several times a week with lots of content is very demanding, especially since I work on it after my full-time job and on the weekends. (Although sometimes I get on my phone during lunch and post on social media.)

Just like at work, for my blog, I have to efficiently manage my time, in order to get things done. And I still make room for family, friends, dating, relaxing, and pursuing additional hobbies (like knitting).

You’re My Inspiration

You, dear readers, have been the greatest source of inspiration for me, and when you interact with me via a comment left on the blog, social media, or in a private e-mail, it means so much!

There have been days that are tougher than 100-year-old beef jerky with a ‘Mom’ tattoo, and it brings happy tears to my eyes when I read encouraging comments from you. Sometimes it spins the worst day into the best day!

I value all of my readers.

Whether you heard about Swatch And Learn only today because of the giveaway or if you’ve been following since 2010, I’m glad that you’re here.

Thank you for making my blog the welcoming community that it is!

Outside my loyal readership, I’m fortunate to collaborate with incredibly supportive companies and PR firms.

They have invited me to attend exclusive launch parties, shared exciting embargoed beauty news, provided me with product samples to test out, and generally supported me on a personal level.

There are many companies that I’ve collaborated with over the years, but I’d like to give a special shoutout to these, in no particular order:

I’ve had incredible opportunities since my previous blogiversary, and these are just a few:

But going back to you, nothing would’ve been possible if my readers didn’t support me.

Read the rest of this post carefully to learn how you can enter my 5-Year Blogiversary Giveaway for your chance to win 12 full-size nail polishes that I purchased especially for this occasion!

It’s open to everyone worldwide.

Starts now, and it ends on Friday August 7th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EDT.

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Canadians, You Can Bring Back a Past Essie Nail-Polish Shade

Essie Bring Back

There’s always one colour that a company discontinues, even though you love it and thousands of fellow nailphiles also love it.

It can be disheartening when you’re found something that you consider to be of “Holy Grail” status, only to learn that it’s being discontinued or that it’s such a limited-edition shade, you never managed to get your hands on it to begin with.

Well a few days ago, I received a very interesting press release from the Essie PR team about a rare opportunity that I’m excited to share with you!

Guess what? With the Essie Bring Back campaign, you have the chance to bring back any past Essie nail-polish shade onto Canadian shelves!

In this post, I explain the easy process for how you can nominate any Essie colour of your choice via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

For your nomination to count, you must submit your vote by August 3, 2015.

From all the nominations, Essie will then choose the top 12 requested colours on August 6. At that time, you can vote for your favourite until August 20 on Facebook. (Each person can only vote once at this time.)

The shade that earns the most votes will hit Canadian shelves in January 2016.

How exciting is this? (I’m definitely going to participate, but I need to think carefully about which colour I’m going to nominate – haven’t decided yet. Which colour would you nominate?)

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China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy Swatches & Review (Revisited)

China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy Swatches & ReviewNeon nail polishes are incredible pick-me-uppers any season, and I’ve been known to wear them even in the winter. (Try it – it’s even brighter when you’re surrounded by snow!)

One of my all-time favourite neons that I turn to time and time again is none other than the original version of China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy, a beautiful, retina-searing coral that’s so bright, if my camera had eyes, they’d be squinting.

I purchased it when the China Glaze Poolside Collection first came out in 2010, and to this day, I still remember what the promo pictures looked like. It was one of the first neon collections I ever tried, and from then on, there was a soft spot in my heart for neons.

I’m halfway through my bottle of China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy, so I had to shake it up before taking these photos or the bottle would look pretty crusty.

Sadly, the new version of China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy is more of a pale peach, not the blazing coral that I fell for back in the day. I reviewed it in 2011 on the blog here. As you can see, my blogging style has changed since then, but there are still many similarities. Also, today’s review has more colour-accurate photos in natural light, in case you were wondering. (While I’m no photography expert, I’ve learned many things through trial and error during my blogging journey.)

I’ve never worn the new version of Flip Flop Fantasy, and I can’t quite bring myself to just yet. I don’t want to be disappointed. Until I finish every last bit of this bottle, only then will I finally crack open the new one.

China Glaze, if you’re reading this, please, please, please bring back the original version. So many nailphiles miss and love it. I know that I’m not the only one!

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OPI DS Extravagance Swatches & Review (Revisited)

OPI DS Extravagance Swatches & ReviewIn May, I wore a polish that I’ve loved for a long time: OPI DS Extravagance!

It’s one of those shades that, each time I wear it, I’m always in awe of its beauty and exceptionally smooth formula.

I have a lot of OPI DS (Designer Series) nail polishes in my collection from the original line when OPI first came out with it and they claimed to have ‘diamond dust’.

Just the other month, I was thinking about how much I love a bunch of them. I’ll need to share them on here sometime because I feel like they’re a part of nail history, and, in particular, my nail history. The OPI Designer Series nail polishes were the first pricer lacquers I ever splurged on.

I have many rare and discontinued OP DS Series nail polishes that I want to share with you.

(Sometimes bloggers feel uncomfortable showing old and hard-to-find lacquers because readers may be disappointed when they can’t track down the same colour to enjoy. However, my mindset is different. I’m not focused on showing you only things that you can buy. That’s not why I started blogging. I blog because I love to participate in the beauty community and to share opinions. Plus I enjoy seeing other bloggers share their rare polishes because it gives me a glimpse at something special and different than the current new collection that’s available. I enjoy seeing how polishes have evolved, and that involves going back to their roots. Keep your eyes peeled like a banana for upcoming posts on rare polishes!)

While many of the OPI DS polishes have been discontinued, OPI DS Extravagance is one that has stuck around over the years and is still readily available.

Since the first time I wore OPI DS Extravagance, I fell in love, and I reviewed it in 2010 when I first started blogging. (Speaking about evolution, check out that old post and compare it to today’s. You can see my roots, and I’m not embarrassed to expose my journey with you.)

However, I felt that it was time to revisit the nail polish, rekindle my flame for it, and to see how the formula has held up after all these years.

I’ve worn this polish several times since purchasing it back in the day, and I’ve even bought a new back-up of it. But instead of cracking open the new bottle, I decided to dip into my old, original bottle because that’s the ultimate test. (A brand new bottle should, technically, perform well, but sometimes an older bottle that’s been opened and used many times can dry out.)

How did it fare? There’s only one way to find out!

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Juicy Couture I Am Juicy Couture Pop-up Shop in Toronto July 17 & 18 (12pm – 7pm)

Juicy Couture I Am Juicy CoutureYesterday evening, I attended the Juicy Couture I Am Juicy Couture exclusive media and influencer launch party at 501 Queen Street West in Toronto in the pop-up shop designed by Candice and Alison.

This is where I got the custom-engraved Juicy Couture I Am Juicy Couture bottle with my initials that I showed you on my Instagram and other social media.

(Later in this post, I share with you how you can get your bottle engraved, too!)

It was incredible because there was music by Gillespie Bros to set the lounge atmosphere, food by Parts & Labour to appease your stomach, and portrait sittings by Renata Kraveh, a fashion photographer, to bring out your inner model!

(To get an idea of the vibe, click here to see the short video clip I posted on Instagram.)

We heard about the inspiration behind the perfume, and watched a little clip of Behati Prinsloo greeting us and welcoming us to the launch party. (Behati is the face of Juicy Couture I Am Juicy Couture.)

Cocktails were crafted by a handsome bartender (a photo of him is further down in this post), servers went around with hors d’oeuvres on platters, and there was also a fragrance bar that offered custom engravings on perfume bottles of Juicy Couture I Am Juicy Couture!

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