I'm Baaaaaa-ack!

Ladies, ladies, ladies. Please forgive me. I’ve disappeared before, but I really did it this time! This was not a planned hiatus.

Forgive me. Please?

Since I last wrote in early May, some major Life Events, capital L capital E, have happened. Let me fill you in...

I got a new job!

Although I sometimes wish beauty blogging were my full-time gig, the truth is that I am gainfully employed in a different field. I had been at my previous company for 2.5 years and it was so hard to leave! I count many of my coworkers amongst my closest friends. My requisite two weeks were bittersweet and filled with lots of bon voyage cocktails. And karaoke. And tears. ;_; (Don't those things always kind of go together?)

The new job has me firing on all eight cylinders. I forgot how exhausting being the NKotB can be! In addition to learning to the ropes, there are new faces, new names and new processes to memorize. It can be a little overwhelming to say the least.


I spent 10 glorious days in Italy!

Now THIS was awesome. My friend’s dad had a destination wedding. (!) At the Four Seasons. In Florence. Italy. It was MAGICAL. My 10 days in Italy were some of the best days of my entire life, no kidding.

I had always dreamt of going to Italy, so much so that I took two years of Italian in high school for the sole purpose of being able to order food and ask where the restroom was like a pro when I got to Italy, somehow, someday. You could say it was destiny.

My ensemble. It was a black silk floor-length dress with cobalt accents. I wore this ridiculous sequined, raven-like cape.

This is the gorgeous room where the reception was held. The room was lit only by candlelight. The good tasted as good as the room looked, if you can believe it.

Bonus points to anyone who recognizes my pal here.

Purrsonal Life Drama!

I will spare you the details — unless you buy me a drink, in which case you’ll get more of an earful than you bargained for. But there’s been lots of action and it's kept me busy. Not so busy that I haven't been painting my nails... just busy enough that I haven't had much time to write.

In Summary:

I miss you. I really have missed Polishment so. much.

I'm finally back in control and ready to focus on entertaining you once again with swatches captured while driving, the occasional tabby cat photobomb, unsolicited 80s music videos — and more. Much more.

My Goals:

I want to start giving more color advice around here. Whenever my family, friends and coworkers have questions about what kind of color they should get for their next mani-pedi OR, what color I’d suggest they wear to a special event (job interview, wedding, court appearance, etc.)... they come to me. And I want to extend my expertise to you.

Anytime you want an “expert” opinion, drop me a line in the Ask & Answer question, or email me at definepolishment@gmail.com. Send me the details of the event & a link to your outfit or a snapshot, and it will be my pleasure to recommend the perfect shade. :)

I will continue to post reviews of new colors & collections I come across, plus the occasional tutorial.

And if there’s ever any nail polish craziness (velvet manis! chalkboard manis! gold leaf! hex glitter!) you want me to try out on your behalf, I am happy to do it.

TL;DR: Love you, miss you, stay tuned for action because I am back. <3

xxo, Chess

Omgggg, so are you guys, like, loving that new JT album or whutttt. Let's go back to where it all began, shall we? My serenade to you:


OPI — You're Such a Budapest & The Lights of Emerald City


OPI is pretty amazing. I can't claim that this is an actual fact... but I'm pretty sure that they release more colors per year than any other nail polish brand. Imagine their color archives! It's gotta be incredible. I picture an endless hallway of bottles placed on shining pillars protected by glass, like in a museum.

OPI recently released their Euro Centrale & OZ collections. I'll cover off on those in depth later, but for now I wanted to show you a pairing I fell in love with. It's perfect for spring!

You're Such a Budapest* stole my heart the moment I saw it. I love a good lavender to begin with — and YSAB is a little richer and deeper than the usual pastel purples. It hovers between purple and lavender and leans on the blue side. It's technically a creme, but has a hint of jelly to it. That element of translucency adds a delicate touch to this color.

You're Such a Budapest

I contemplated wearing YSAB solo... but then The Lights of Emerald City* were twinkling at me and I couldn't resist. TLOEC is fantastic. Tiny pieces of square metallic glitter sparkle green, peach, pink and gold, suspended in a clear base. Mixed among them are larger squares of pearl white glitter.

The Lights of Emerald City

TLOEC closeup!

I carefully applied TLOEC so that the white glitter pieces were concentrated toward the middle and tips of my nails, leaving the area near my cuticles clean. I was going for a slightly gradated look.

Here's some indirect sunlight for you.

This is how I was driving the whole time. Gotta check out the nailzzz, lol

These nails felt very My Little Pony, Pretty Pretty Princess-y, in the very best way possible. These are two new bottles that I am thrilled to have in my collection. :)

These nails just scream "Blossom" to me.

LOVED this game. Anyone ever heard of the lesser-known "Tales of the Crystals?"

xxo, Francesca

*product provided for honest review

Sally Hansen — Salon InstaGel Strips

insta insta gel

You gals (and guuuuuys) know that I am a long-time reader of Allure magazine. I love Allure because they cover a great spectrum of beauty brands, from drugstore staples to department store indulgences. It's also one of the few magazines that doesn't give me some kind of complex after I've finished reading it, so there's that.

I was thrilled to be chosen for an Allure-sponsored product trial for Sally Hansen — Salon InstaGel Strips.

I went in with a personal bias. I love the normal Sally Hansen Salon Effects. Seriously, seriously LOVE. If I didn't blog about polish and have tons of colors to try out... I'd probably wear Salon Effects at least half of the time. They're fast, easy, dependable and have a great array of on-trend colors & intricate patterns. I just love them.

Allure sent the starter kit, which included a very demure shade of pink called Shell We Dance, and a more experimental snakeskin option called SSS-Snake Eyes.

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The strips enable you to sport a gel manicure with an intricate design for a much cheaper price than you'd pay for a professional for such artistry. If you already own a traditional gel kit and enjoy solid colors (which Sally Hansen also offers), then I cannot honestly say that this kit will save you an outrageous amount of time. You still need to sort out which applique is the right size for which nails... and it still never seems to work out perfectly, so you'd got to franken-nail things up here and there.

It's essentially a 5-step process. Prep (file, shape, buff, wipe with alcohol pad). Apply strips. Apply gel top coat. Cure with the UV light. Wipe with alcohol pad. Done!

A normal gel manicure means: Prep. Apply base coat. Cure. Apply color coat. Cure. Apply second coat of color. Cure. Apply top coat. Cure. Wipe with alcohol pad. And, finally, done. Depending on what kind of lamp you're using, that can be a bit of a time investment. But I don't think doing your nails is a very speedy process to begin with.

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Fantastic. By the end of my two-week trial, I had maybe three tiny chips, and they were only noticeable upon the very closest of inspections. And the look stayed shiny for all 14 days. Love that.

One bummer was the grow-out. Like the other appliques, these strips have a very defined edge that lies near your cuticle. As your nails grow, that sharp edge becomes exposed and you can get things caught in between the ridge of the applique and your cuticle. And by "things," I mean strands of your own hair. Eugh.

Note the growout. And the cat toy.


Hmmm. Removal. I mean, if a mani's going to stay pretty indestructible for two weeks, it stands to reason that it's not going to be incredibly easy to remove. That's just like, a law of physics or something, lol.

I gently scuffed up the surface of the gelicure with a nail file to break through the hard shiny shell that the top coat made. Then I used The Foil Method, of course. In the end, there was still a lot of soaking and a bit of scraping off carefully with a cuticle stick, but these were pretty standard gel manicure issues


If you're someone who loves gel manicures but doesn't want to drop that kind of cash twice a month or so, this is a great product to consider.

For those of you that already own a gel manicure kit, I am not sure that you need to replace it with this kit. In fact, I suspect you could probably skip the starter kit and just buy a pack of the gel nail appliques. As long as you already have a gel topcoat and a UV lamp to cure it, you should be good to go.

Don't wear gel manicures often, or only really get them for special occasions / vacations? I might suggest skipping at-home kits entirely and continue going to your favorite salon. If you view a gel mani as a treat, then you'll miss the whole salon experience when you use an at-home kit. They are pretty utilitarian, after all.

xxo, Francesca

Nail Art — It's Not for Everyone. And That's Okay.

Pshiiit, Nailside, and Chalkboard Nails are some of my favorite nail bloggers. Pshiiit's gift for photography and playful pairing of colours is truly magnifique. Nailside basically invented the tape manicure and she continues to come up with creative designs. And Chalkboard Nails is incredibly talented. She made a holiday mani with a string of Christmas lights... that glowed in the dark. Genius.

Such a fresh and pretty pink


Chalkboard Nails

If you guys are like me, after checking out such amazing nail art (and I do mean art) your first thought is, "What the... How did they do that?!" And your second thought is, "I'll never be able to achieve such wonder..." And then you stare sadly down at your poor, solid-colored nails.

And it may be true. Some people are gifted with steady hands. And for others, it's cause for celebration when we manage to paint our right hand half as well as we did our left. I totally get it! But there's no need to feel inadequate.

Nowadays, there are tons of options for those who want the nail art look, but don't have the painting chops to make it happen. There are appliqués, like Sally Hansen Salon Effects. There's Konad stamping. There's even Kleur Custom Nail Art if you live in the Los Angeles area.

And you know what else there is? The simple nail.

That's right. No nail art. No glitter. Just plain and simple, eye-catching color. It's always been my standby and still remains one of my favorite looks.

Sometimes a color's just so pretty, it needs no embellishment at all. Why gild the lily, amirite? Or perhaps you're going a bit daring with a neon or a nontraditional shade like green. Add some nail art or glitter and it can take a wild color into trashy-looking territory. But a pure, glossy finish can never be wrong.

Turns out I'm not alone in my love for simple color! Allure wrote a blurb on the return of the classic mani. Have a look-see.

allure_anti nailart

dowhatyouwannado, Francesca


CHANEL Taboo — New from the Révélation Collection

I cover new CHANEL colors for two reasons: 1. These pics are usually the closest I'll come to them because they're just too expensive for me to feel comfortable with. 27 dollars, whaddya think I am, Chanel, madea money? (Shout out to Kevin and Katie for feeding my addiction these past couple of birthdays, <3 you guys...)

2. This is the brand that gives birth to trends. We must maintain constant vigilance.

Here's CHANEL's latest colour: Taboo.

chanel_taboo_full size

Check out this closeup; looks like we've got some beautiful sapphire & ruby microglitter, all suspended in a navy-copper-purplish base:

chanel_taboo_close up

Oh, I just love that second shot. It's like a fuchsia-hued galaxy. And may I point you to fellow nail blogger Weekend Ramblings for a set of gorgeous swatches. Check out her post, she was pretty impressed...

If I make it to Nordstrom anytime soon, I'll paint a little Taboo on a crumpled old receipt or something classy like that — then I can judge this polish freely. Until that happens, I can only speculate based on these photos. But Taboo looks lovely. Spellbinding, even.

My one complaint: why is this coming out in Spring/Summer? Just when we're wanting to wear brights and pastels... just seems like an odd choice. But that doesn't mean I'm not drooling for Taboo...

taboohoohoo, Francesca