What The…Spam?

Hm, so as you may have noticed I put this blog on the back burner for a bit while adjusting into a new job/position. I hate that my return has to be to deal with some not-so-fun stuff, but so it goes!

I have been informed that some of my mailing list members recently received what appears to be a spam email and fake article. If you received is email – I am so sorry! I operate my mailing list through a WordPress plug in, and will be working with them to try and identify the issue. In the mean time I might de activate the mailing list temporarily to protect the innocent, but will only do so if absolutely necessary.

On an unrelated note, not polishing my nails for several months has left me with nails that are healthier than I have ever seen them before!

Darn you cold!

I wish I could say I’ve missed the last few posts because I was off galavanting on the beach for Memorial Day weekend. However that would be lie.

I’ve been plagued with the most obnoxious will-not-go-away cold that decided to rear it’s ugly head the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Of course.

I’ve recovered enough that I don’t think I need antibiotics but I’m at the end of my home remedy knowledge – I have a humidifier going, I’m taking Aleve-D, and using a personal steamer. Got a home remedy I haven’t listed? Please share!

Swatch & Review: Zoya ‘Megan’

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
~ Coco Chanel

I know a good base color, and Megan is her name.

Megan was a part of Zoya’s Winter 2011 Feel Collection. I actually received this mini during my very, very brief stint with Birchbox. I will probably end up purchasing a full sized bottle eventually because I’m going through this quickly! This is one of my favorite base colors when I want an almost-but-not-quite neutral.

Megan is a muted lavender lilac with gray undertones. Subtle enough that it is appropriate for work, but colorful enough to be fun in its own right! I adore using this under matte glitter – it’s a perfect canvas and never overpowers the top coat. As you can see, it has a wonderful creme finish.

My only issue with this shade is the formula. It is workable, but difficult. Somehow it manages to be overly thick at the same time as being too runny. Hm. This hasn’t bothered me too much since I tend not to wear this on its own very often – but it is definitely worth mentioning. I find that I have to allow my manicure to dry almost entirely before attempting clean up around the nail – otherwise my clean up brush will drag the polish. Boo!

Shown here: Nail Life Revitalizer Treatment, 2 coats Zoya Megan, 1 coat Out The Door

Megan

Opening Up For Guest Posts!

If you hadn’t noticed by my lack of posts, time got away from me this week! So I can think of no better time than now to implement something I have wanted to do for a while.

I am now officially accepting guest posts!

Do you have a blog or social media outlet you would like to help promote? Or maybe just a killer shade you just have to share?

If you would like to be featured on this site, please submit content & photos by either emailing me at polishpixelle@gmail.com or via my contact form (although you will still have to email the pictures).

General Rules

- Photos must be of good quality. In focus, preferably HD. iPhone photos are allowed but only if they are of high quality.
- Please be sure to add a watermark or text to your photos. If you need help with this, I can also add them in on my end
- Use common sense. This is a blog about nail polish, the indie movement, and cosmetics. No politics or unrelated controversial topics please! (duh)
- I reserve the right to edit as I see fit. I will not change the tone or general wording of content – but I will correct any spelling or grammar errors
- I will add in links to the products online so that readers can purchase if they so desire
- I reserve the right to reuse photos/content in future posts (credit will always be given to the creator). I.E. I might eventually do a recap of guest posts, or an overview of swatches in a particular shade etc.

Interested? I hope so!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I hope to hear from you soon!

Love and glitter,
AveSignature

Swatch & Review: OPI ‘Lemonade Stand By Your Man’

“If life gives you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade – make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, American author

Mmmm…lemonade.

I am extremely particular about yellow polishes, simply because it has the tendency to wash me out. I received this in a polish exchange and was surprised to find that I quite like the shade! Granted, I think it will look a million time better when/if I ever get a tan.

Lemonade Stand By Your Man (kudos for the name) is an older OPI (although not a black label) from their Retro Fun in the Sun Summer 2008 Collection. One of the reasons I was surprised to find that I liked this shade is because this has a shimmer finish – generally not one of my favorite finish types. However with this shade of yellow, it works! It has an almost candy-like appearance. It is a bright yellow in between light and medium which lends itself to being compatible with a variety of skin tones.

Perfect for summer. If I was more of a beach goer, this would be my first pick!

My only complaint about this shade is that the formula is sheer enough that it requires several coats and is a bit runny. The layering of multiple coats is what allows for the almost-but-not-quite jelly appearance. While the end result is nice, it was a bit of a pain. I wish it was a touch thicker to at least allow for greater ease of application. However these do not appear to be formula flaws, it is just the price we pay to achieve a finish like this!

Shown here: 1 coat OPI Base Coat, 4 coats Lemonade Stand By Your Man, & 1 coat OPI Top Coat

LemonadeStandByMan

Where Do You See The Indie Polish Market Going?

I got asked a compelling question yesterday – do I think the indie polish movement is sustainable? It’s an interesting concept given that the indie movement quite literally exploded on the scene. Many trends that shine that brightly burn out over time. Will that happen to indie polish?

My answer (pure speculation) is yes and no. Do I think indie polish has a permanent place in the cosmetic world? Absolutely. Do I think it will continue the way it has been? No. I think that over time the influx of indie brands will slow down – as the market plateaus fewer individuals will be getting into it solely for financial reasons. However there are so many brands out there that are motivated by things other than money. The few I know that were founded solely for financial reasons quickly closed or sold their formulas/brand names because in the end they couldn’t keep up. It is an intense niche market – a labor of love.

I think that the largest challenge that the indie polish market will face over time is protecting formulas and innovative ideas from mainstream markets. Even in its infancy the indie movement was plagued with mainstream brands ‘duplicating’ formulas and finishes. How can this protection be achieved? I’m not sure. However I do think this will push indie brands in the direction of establishing full fledged companies and brands surrounding their ‘label’. So many of the indie brands I know and love operate as a perceived brand – the same way that I operate under ‘Polish Pixelle’. The brand name is used and recognized, but is not an established company. I think that as the indie market ages more and more owners will look towards fleshing out their brand enough to achieve the protections that come along with officially registering a brand/company.

Another change that I foresee happening is a migration off of Etsy. I adore Etsy – and it was the perfect launching pad for a niche market like this. However the reality is that it can hold brands back after a certain point. When using Etsy there is less of an incentive to pursue certain brand protections and build up the operations side. For brands that are just starting out this works wonderfully – a user friendly entry into an open market. For larger brands it can become an issue because they can find themselves wanting to move off Etsy but with limited knowledge about negotiating shipping contracts, setting up a website (especially a retail based ones, adding a cart to a site is no simple task!), and other crucial elements of running a retail based business. Of course this is a transition that all companies and brands face, but I think Etsy can put people in the position of being faced with making the transition at a point when they have become extremely popular. In summary, I think most brands eventually out grow Etsy. This is definitely not a blanket statement though – one example off the top of my head that defies more or less everything I just said is Lush Lacquer. They have stayed on Etsy throughout their rise in popularity and managed it extremely well (read: they keep postings up and make more as they need to rather than only posting them when they have them physically in stock therefore causing a rat race restock).

So I suppose, in short, that I expect to see some changes in terms of how the indie market operates – but I do not see the core of it changing. Where there is demand, there will be supply.

What do you think? Where do you see the indie polish market heading?

Manicure: Professional or DIY?

Curiosity killed the cat. For those of you who do your own manicures for the most part – do you also, on occasion, get them done professionally?

I’ve never been big on getting my nails done but prior to getting ‘into’ nail polish as a blogging topic I would get a professional manicure a few times a year – just enough to keep them looking decent. However once I started blogging, and doing my own nails, I stopped completely. In fact, I haven’t gotten my nails done professionally a single time since starting this blog. Mainly because I haven’t felt the need, but also because I’m pretty sure I’d be the most obnoxious client ever (“you don’t know what squoval means?!?!” “No clippers, file in only one direction please” ….yikes)

Since I’ve been so completely consumed by my new job, my nails have been naked and neglected for over a month. So much so that I have resigned myself to getting a professional manicure to at least get them back to a decent swatching state (I simply don’t have the time to do it myself).

This has me wondering – how much is too much to ask from your manicurist? Certain things I am not willing to compromise on, like filing only (NO clippers!) and no buffing. But other things I feel self conscious asking about – like filing in only one direction. How do you handle this? Any professional nail techs out there have any suggestions?

Swatch & Review: Lush Lacquer ‘Mr. Bubble’

“The brain that bubbles with phrases has hard work to collect its thoughts.”
~ Unknown

I can’t believe I never posted this. This is one of my all time favorite indie polish top coats – and I found the already edited, ready-to-post swatch in a random document folder on my computer. Awesome. My swatches are multiplying and hiding from me!

Mr. Bubble is an extremely fun and versatile top coat. Consisting of a clear suspension base and pink, blue and white matte glitter – it works over a multitude of base colors. I like to play up the youthfulness and whimsy of the glitter shades and pair this over vibrant colors, or pastels for more of a pop. I adore this top coat so much that I do something I very rarely do – I purchased a mini bottle of this along with some other purchases, and after trying it once I immediately ordered a full sized bottle.

Formula is easy to work with – glitter is evenly distributed throughout the suspension base. I only apply one coat of this as I like the base color to be very visible, but you could easily achieve more coverage with an additional coat.

Shown here: OPI Base Coat, 2 coats OPI Funky Dunkey (swatch & review), 1 coat Mr. Bubble, Seche Vite

MrBubble1

You can purchase Lush Lacquer polishes via their Etsy shop and you can find them on Facebook here.

Why I Am (eventually) Cancelling My Julep Maven Subscription

DISCLAIMER: This is long. And it’s a rant. You have been warned.

I knew this day would come. The day when I have lost more or less all interest in the Julep Maven program. It’s a shame because I was an early supporter of theirs when things got hairy in the beginning between them and bloggers (referral debacle, stolen intellectual property etc) – but it has happened.

I started to lose interest in their polishes quite some time ago. The reality is that they don’t age well – at all. Within a few weeks of opening them they become separated and in many cases overly thick. One of the reasons I was drawn to Julep was because the polish bottles are sophisticated in appearance and looked fabulous when displayed in a neat little row. That is – until they all turned the same shade of awkward gray. Sure you can mix them back up, add thinner if needed – but they are definitely not display-worthy!

Another reason I started to lose interest in the polish is because in all honesty the vast majority of polish I get I have sent to me for review. At this point in time I simply can’t justify the expense of the Maven subscription solely for polish – I already have around 40 untried Juleps lurking around. I’ve gotten to the point that the only polishes I am willing to spend money on are those that I have specifically identified as ones I want to track down, versus the semi grab bag style of the Maven box. Yet at the same time I am not willing to plunk down $20 a month for miscellaneous products (perhaps if they were more consistent).

My one hesitation is that I do enjoy trying their other products – but lately it seems like they are going in a different direction than what I am looking for. I am far more of a lotion gal than I am a cosmetics gal – and when it comes to cosmetics I am quite picky about the colorings so dealing with a pre selected group of shades doesn’t work well for me.

However, this hesitation has become far outweighed by the hassle of dealing with the subscription. Truth be told – if they would simply offer an option to skip months in bulk (perhaps 3 and 6 month increments) I would be far more inclined to continue to participate. I love seeing what the boxes have to offer, and I would love the option to return at any point. However I inevitably end up forgetting to skip (since they also don’t offer you the option of skipping prior to the box contents reveal – so you have a limited window) and end up stuck with a box I didn’t want that I had the privilege of paying for.

I have called Julep’s customer service twice now to discuss this – asking if there was any way to put my account on hold for a set time, or skip in bulk. Nope. Nada. Nothing.

This in an of itself is an issue for me. Early on in my blogging career I went out on a limb and continued to feature their products at a time when the vast majority of blogs were calling for a boycott and blacklisting them as a company. I defended their status as a start up, with the hope that their product and service quality would rise to the occasion. This loyalty has been 100% one sided.

The best example I have of this is the transfer of referral points to ‘jules’ – when they changed their referral system 80% of the points I had were ‘lost’ On their previous site it would list the individuals who you referred (which was terrible – it would show peoples full names which as a blogger is concerning because I can guarantee that people who found my referral link via search engines wouldn’t be so keen on me having their personal info). At the time of the site transition I had approximately eight confirmed referrals. Yet when the new system launched I somehow had virtually no jules.

I called customer service and explained the situation. They asked for the list of names of those who I had referred. I explained that as a blogger, the people I had referred were not people I knew in real life and therefore I wasn’t certain of the names. I then was subjected to a lovely little lecture about how if this was so important to me, I should keep up to date records. Hm. Ok… so I should take a screen shot everytime I do anything on your site just in case you mess up? Doesn’t sound like an efficient system to me.

After quite some time, and back and forth, they ‘gifted’ me 1000 jules. They made it seem like they were doing me this HUGE favor when in reality they were only partially compensating me for services rendered. Sure they don’t technically ‘owe’ me anything on a contractual level, but it is very much the point of the matter! When I inquired about who I could contact to discuss the remaining ‘lost’ amounts I was told in no uncertain terms that I was ‘lucky’ to even get the 1000. Gee, thanks.

Was that experience a deal breaker? No. However it did highlight issues that I myself had previously defended them on – and I refuse to stay a part of a program that appears incapable of showing it’s members the same loyalty they show them. Having been a Maven from very early on in the program, I am disappointed in how impersonal it has become.

I have no doubt that the Maven program will continue to be successful with the general public. However I think it will be interesting to see how things develop in regards to their blogger relations. I wish them well, but I also hope they will take a closer look at some of these issues. Especially because some of them, like customer service problems, have been continuously inconsistent.

Now if only a Maven box would come up that I gave two hoots about – I just want to cash in my jules on a Maven box & add on and be done with it!