Category Archives: Product Reviews

OPI Iceland Collection Swatches

OPI Iceland Collection Swatches

It’s been so long since I posted that I feel rusty. Pass me the oil can, Tin Man!¬†ūüėČ

Thanks for being patient with me, especially when we live in a society where “instant” isn’t fast enough and people are continuously racing to the finish line.

As you will have noticed, I’ve taken a more relaxed style to blogging compared to what I used to do. It’s mainly because of three reasons: (1) I don’t want to burn out, (2) I’ve been diving deeper into another hobby (the planner world), and (3) I’ve been spending more time with friends and family. I am still passionate about blogging here, so I will continue to share my thoughts (and my nails!) for as long as I can.

Today, I have swatches of the¬†OPI Iceland Collection¬†for Fall/Winter 2017! Autumn’s my favourite season, so I was really excited to try out all the colours.

I appreciate the diverse colours included. There’s something for everyone from the posh grey and slate blue to the retro green and rich brown.

In all of my OPI Iceland Collection swatches, I used two coats to achieve full opacity, except for¬†Reykjavik Has All the Hot Spots (the frosty pink), which required three coats. (This one was my least favourite of the bunch. I’m not a fan of frosty-shimmer finishes that show brushstrokes.)

My top picks from the collection:

  • Less Is Norse¬†– You’ll want more of this medium slate blue.
  • Turn On the Northern Lights!¬†– This dark blue with pink sparkle is lit.
  • Suzi & the Arctic Fox¬†– A vampy blue for foxy nails.

I’m in love with this one because of the name:

  • Check Out the Old Geysirs¬†– Teach an old dog new tricks with this light blue.

The other shades:

  • Icelanded a Bottle of OPI¬†– The nail-polish has landed with this pale taupe.
  • That’s What Friends Are Thor¬†– A dark, earthy brown.
  • I’ll Have a Gin & Tectonic¬†– Pale, classy peachy pink.
  • One Heckla of a Color!¬†– A purple so pretty, it won’t get heckled.
  • Reykjavik Has All the Hot Spots¬†– A sizzling frosty pink.
  • Aurora Berry-alis¬†– ‘Pink’ about this rosy hue.
  • This Isn’t Greenland¬†– A retro green has nails singing Sam Cooke’s¬†“You Send Me.”
  • Krona-logical Order¬†– Get your nails in line with this dark mushroomy taupe.

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Zoya Wanderlust Collection Swatches

Zoya Wanderlust Collection Swatches

The¬†Zoya Wanderlust Collection¬†for Summer 2017 consists of 12 colours that make this little one’s heart race fast like a nail NASCAR driver!

There are eight cremes, and yes, they all apply beautifully. If they went on any easier, they would apply themselves all while feeding me grapes one by one, fanning me with palm branches and playing Lana Del Rey’s new Lust for Life¬†album. ūüėČ

Full of sizzling personality, the remaining polishes are shimmers that are fun to look at when you move your fingers around and admire your manicure like a vain polish peacock.

For all the swatches in this post, I used two coats of nail polish and no top coat, so you could see the original finish and shine that each one has. With a glossy top coat, however, you’ll add even more brilliance and extend your manicure mileage, of course.

The cremes covered the best, and I was able to achieve full opacity at the two-coat mark. For the shimmers, you could get away with full coverage if you use medium coats. Alternatively, you could apply three thin coats, if you don’t want to see the nail line. I was happy with two coats.

My instant favourites from the Zoya Wanderlust Collection are the greens. No surprise there for my regular readers! Green continues to wrap me around its little finger, as I paint it on all of my nails.

These are my top picks:

  • Arbor¬†– Olive-green creme makes your nails see the forest¬†and¬†the trees
  • Scout¬†– Floss like a boss with this moss-green shimmer
  • Sonja¬†– A coral-based creme sets the red-hot stage for a pinup-worthy manicure
  • River¬†– Cry me a river…of happy tears with this shimmery blue

The others are also gorgeous, and if you’re just starting your collection, they’re wonderful ones to add to it.

The formulas on all the Zoya nail polishes in this collection are very consistent, which I appreciate. This is particularly great if you’re new to polish and need an easy-to-use polish that allows you to concentrate more on your painting technique rather than struggling with a lacklustre formula. (By the way, if you’re new to polish, WELCOME! Welcome to the highly addictive drop down the rabbit hole of colour, creativity and self-expression.) ūüôā

  • Lois¬†– Take the ‘grape’ escape this summer with this purple creme
  • Winnie¬†– Nails play ‘pink’-a-boo with this flirty light creme
  • Esty¬†– Crown your nails with a princess pink-creme tiara
  • Byrdie¬†– A little birdie told me this deep pink creme is to tweet for
  • Mandy¬†– Sweet shimmery berry pink that’s reminiscent of ribbon candy
  • Journey¬†– Orange-based red shimmer will take your nails on an adventure
  • Cora¬†– Orange cream is a tangerine dream
  • Sawyer¬†– Pale peach cream has pastel prowess

Did you pick up any of these? Which are your favourites? If you could add an extra colour to the Zoya Wanderlust Collection, what would it be?

See the rest of this post for a closer look at all twelve colours, as well as the official press release that gives you the colour story and more details.

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Essie Summer 2017 Collection Swatches & Review

Essie Summer 2017 Collection Swatches

It feels like forever and a day since I blogged on here. So much has happened behind the scenes.

After the recent passing of my best friend’s dad and someone else suffering a stroke that paralyzed half of her body, I was reminded of the importance of stopping to smell the flowers and appreciating little moments.

I’ve had my needed ‘Me Time,’ and now I’m ready to get back to blogging – it was sorely missed! However, going forward, I plan to have a more relaxed schedule to ensure that I don’t get burned out. (Despite concerned emails that I received in my absence, I want to assure you that I don’t have any intentions of abandoning my blog, which I worked so hard on. I will keep the fire burning brightly! Stay tuned – more swatches are coming. Lots of exciting new nail-polish collections have made their way to Swatch And Learn’s headquarters!) ūüėČ

Today, I’d love to share with you the¬†Essie Summer 2017 Collection, which officially launches on June 13!

This Parisian-inspired collection graces nails with six sweet shades ranging from pastel blue and pink foil to soft lilac and iridescent white.

My first impression was that the Essie Summer 2017 Collection reminded me more of traditional spring colours, but, if you’ve poked around my blog for a while, you should get the memo that I’m a big believer in wearing whatever you want, whenever you want. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to nail polish. Express yourself, and have fun!

I really love how mainstream companies are breaking away from “what’s expected” for a given season. It adds that ‘wild card,’ which I appreciate.

All of these swatches have two coats, except for the white, which has three coats. All of the nail polishes have easy-to-work-with formulas that glide on like a dream with David Beckham. Plus they are buildable, so you can cover the nail line.

My snapshot thoughts on each shade in the Essie Summer 2017 Collection:

  • √Čclair My Love – A red-hot creme for a Harlequin nail romance
  • Blue-La-La – A pastel blue creme that says ohh-la-la
  • Baguette Me Not – You won’t forget this soft lilac creme
  • Fondant of You – You’ll be fond of this shimmery apricot
  • S’il Vous Play – Celebratory pink foil that sparkles like a disco ball
  • Sweet Souffl√© – Iridescent white with the look of whipped cream

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When Your Nails Match Your Yummy Gelato

CND Creative Play Amuse-Mint Playland Collection Fiasco Gelato

If you haven’t tried¬†Fiasco Lavender Vanilla Bean Small Batch Gelato, you’re missing out!

I’ve oinked my way through several flavours by Fiasco Gelato, and they’re all so delicious, you could easily finish the entire jar in a single sitting.

On my nails, I’m wearing¬†CND Creative Play Amuse-Mint from the Playland Collection.

(On the weekend, I swatched all the colours in the collection, and as soon as I have a chance to carefully put together a blog post, I’ll share photos with you! Thanks for your patience.)

Disclosure: This post contains a press sample provided by PR.

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Zoya Charming Collection Swatches & Review

Zoya Charming Collection Swatches

As polite as a curtsy in a 1900s ballroom and as captivating as a graceful ballerina’s fouett√©, in comes the¬†Zoya Charming Collection¬†for Spring 2017!

Surprisingly, although I’m a green lover, the purples (Abby, Tina and¬†Millie)¬†stole the show for me.

  • Abby is a great transition hue because the whisper-soft lavender is white-based and wintry, yet has enough saturation to keep the Easter bunny hopping.
  • Tina is a medium purple private dancer on your nails with a youthful spirit that’s simply the best when you need a pick-me-up.¬†(Bonus points for those who saw what I did there.)
  • Millie¬†is the showgirl in Vegas with an extravagant sequin mini dress accented with oversized feathers! In every lighting condition, this shimmery plum catches the light and takes centre stage without hesitation.
  • Amira¬†is reminiscent of the scales on a mermaid’s tail that shimmer softly yet with gusto as the sun kisses them with summer dreams.
  • Lacey¬†is a muted sage that twinkles like it’s full of little stars amidst a nail-polish sky. (Even if you’re not as big of a fan of green as I am, this could be your gateway green. Hehe!)
  • Jordan¬†is a bubblegum pink that has a princess personality. If it was a person, it would wear a seven-layer tulle ballgown with satin corset to the prom.

Let’s talk about the formula. It’s not always just about the colour. Substance versus beauty. Even though I’m willing to put in more effort for a tricky formula if the colour is a showstopper, the less effort I need to exert, the better.

I’m happy to report that the formula for all of these shades is great! They are easy to work with, and you can build up opacity quickly.

In all of my swatches, I used two coats of colour and no top coat. (For these quick collection swatches, I don’t use a top coat, so you can see the finish of the polish by itself. For future in-depth reviews on individual colours, I always wear a top coat, unless it’s a textured polish that’s designed to be worn solo, of course.)

I applied a thin first coat and then a generous second coat. The cremes are solid at this point. For the shimmers, you could apply a third coat if you want to intensify the colour, but I was very happy with the second coat.

See the rest of this post for a closer look at each swatch, as well as bottle shots and the official press release (to give you details about the colour story).

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L’Or√©al Colour Riche Le Vernis √† l’Huile Jardin des Roses

L'Oreal Jardin des Roses

They didn’t promise you a rose garden, but here’s one anyway.¬†ūüôā

It’s L’Or√©al Colour Riche Le Vernis √† l’Huile Jardin des Roses!

To get the opacity in my photo, I used two generous coats.

The formula was smooth, easy to apply, and very shiny. Pictured above is what the nail polish looks like without a glossy top coat.

I love the the bottle design Рso elegant and luxurious. It looks much more expensive than a drugstore polish.

Wishing you all a Happy Monday and a great start to a fresh new week!

Disclosure: This post contains a press sample provided by PR.

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I Attended The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Launch Dinner Tonight

The Body Shop Almond Milk and Honey Collection

Tonight, thanks to the generosity of The Body Shop¬†and PR, I was treated to a delicious vegan dinner at Planta¬†in Yorkville! As if that wasn’t enough, I also left with a big bag full of amazing The Body Shop Almond Milk and Honey skincare.

This new The Body Shop Almond Milk and Honey collection is specially designed for those with sensitive skin. Its scent is so yummy, it smells edible, even though it’s not. (My all-time favourite scent from The Body Shop is Wild Argan Oil, but this is tied for first place.)

During dinner, Dr. Christine Choi Kim, the Global Dermatologist for The Body Shop came from Los Angeles to give us a presentation.

To put the cherry on the top, the founders of Greenhouse Juice Co., Emma Knight and Hana James spoke about how to nourish your skin from the inside out.

We all got to flip through and preview their debut cookbook called The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing, which has lots of healthy recipes from dinners and desserts to smoothies and appetizers.

(I was eyeing the chia pudding recipe, as I’m on a chia seed kick lately.)

PR informed us, to my delight, that we’d all be getting a copy of the book when it’s officially released in April! ūüôā (This is perfect timing because I am in desperate need of some food inspiration. I used to cook new dishes and experiment all the time. I stopped for a few years, but I want to get back into it.)

While I didn’t photograph every dish that arrived at our table (I was busy stuffing my face…), here’s one that I managed to capture before devouring.

Planta Toronto Vegan Restaurant Dessert

Above¬†is the dessert that’s made with toasted almond cream, dragon fruit, and a field of green “pearls.” It was like nothing I had ever eaten before, and I assure you that it was nothing short of heavenly!

I almost didn’t want to eat it because it looked like a work of art, but, well, my oink-ish instincts kicked in, and the rest is tummy history.

(It’s cute how the cubes look like little dice.)

Some other things on the menu tonight were cauliflower tots with truffled parmesan, rice rolls with mango, basil coriander, and Thai dressing, and coconut ceviche with avocado, toasted nori, and citrus soya.

There were also these incredible “crab” cakes made with hearts of palm, spinach, coconut milk, and warm spices. Aside from the dessert, this was the other standout dish.

Again, a huge thank you to The Body Shop, the fantastic PR team, and Planta for making tonight’s dinner a wonderful experience all around! ūüôā

What’s your favourite item from The Body Shop? What’s the most delicious vegan dish you’ve ever eaten? Are there any specific products from this new The Body Shop skincare line that you’d like me to do an in-dept review on? Let me know, and I’ll see what I can do!

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