September Julep Maven Box {Unboxing & Swatches}

Ready for some of the prettiest colors you’ve seen in a while? Well here they are!

When I first saw the full September Julep collection, I almost died. I needed the polishes, and I needed them now. They are rich, delicate and feminine shades that are so inspiring. And on top of that, Julep threw in their signature purple shade for free! Best month ever!

I’ve swatched out the five colors & added in some additional thoughts/details about each polish:

September Julep Maven Unboxing // Novels and Nail Polish

Julep Zoey – I adore this shade. It’s a dusty blue/green/grey that will transition between summer and winter so well. The formula was a bit thick, but nothing I couldn’t handle (which I will gladly do for the perfection of the color). It’s a little bit reminiscent of Julep Shelly, which is another of my favorites, but different enough to fit a fall color palette!

September Julep Maven Unboxing // Novels and Nail Polish

Julep Delores – Holo obsession, part 1 of 2. YAS. It’s a beauty, and I’m in love. I don’t have anything like it, which is rare to find since I own WAY too much nail polish. Two coats + top coat = heaven.

September Julep Maven Unboxing // Novels and Nail Polish

Julep Aubrey – Like I mentioned in the video, I had really high hopes for this polish before putting it on. Plum/burgundy during fall is everything, but this guy just fell flat on my nails. I suppose it’s pretty enough, but it really isn’t doing anything for me right now. I’ll try it again later in fall, and hopefully it’ll grow on me!

September Julep Maven Unboxing // Novels and Nail Polish

Special Edition Julep – WOO! Every maven is probably rejoicing at this freebie! It’s Julep’s signature color, and one of the main reasons for getting this box. Radiant Orchid {à la Pantone 2014 color of the year} returns in full force, and this is going to be the perfect color for spring and summer next year!

September Julep Maven Unboxing // Novels and Nail Polish

Julep Ellis – Holo obsession, part 2 of 2. Double YAS! If it’s possible to outdo holo number 1, than Ellis is the polish to do the job. This pale pink holographic shimmer and Zoey are my two stand-outs from this month. Is it weird that I can’t stop staring… ooh shiny!

Did you get a September Julep box? What were your favorite polishes? Happy Reading!

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White After Labor Day {Nail Polish Edition}

“Never wear white after Labor Day.”

White Negative Space Manicure // Novels and Nail Polish

While I definitely take cues from fashion rules, this one is a little bit harder to follow. Especially living in Southern California, where the weather is as hot as your Venti PSL through the end of November. With Labor Day coming up tomorrow, I decided to shine a spotlight on white polishes – my favorite brands and a fun negative space mani!

White Nail Polish Showdown – Top White Nail Polish Picks

Essie Blanc + OPI Alpine Snow + Ulta Snow White + Sally Hansen White On
Essie Blanc + OPI Alpine Snow + Ulta Snow White + Sally Hansen Let’s Snow

I tested out four white polishes: Essie, OPI, Ulta and Sally Hansen. I’ve been a religious Blanc user for years, but it was never the perfect white. It turns out that it’s actually not even in my top two from this test!

Best White Nail Polishes // Novels and Nail Polilsh

First thing I learned from trying out the polishes is that it’s really hard to photograph white nail polish and make it look true to life. Above are the four bottles and their corresponding swatches. You probably can’t tell, but the winner is…

Best White Nail Polishes // Novels and Nail Polilsh

OPI’s Alpine Snow (shown on pointer finger). A close second was Ulta’s Snow White (ring finger). Sally Hansen came in dead last. It was streaky and not opaque at all in two coats. Sadly, Essie Blanc wasn’t much better – still streaky and not very user friendly compared to the wide OPI brush or creamy consistency of Ulta’s Snow White.

White Negative Space Manicure // Novels and Nail Polish

Now that we’ve figured out which white does the job best, let’s chat about negative space manicures. First, make sure you have a good base coat that won’t peel off with striping tape, which can leave the unpolished area uneven. Next, tape off your negative space design and paint finger by finger, peeling off the tape before the polish dries. It’s the perfect subtle mani for Labor Day… and every day after that!

Happy Reading!

I Scream, You Scream! {National Ice Cream Day}

On the real, isn’t every day really National Ice Cream Day?? But if we must, let’s celebrate National Ice Cream day in style – with an Ice Cream manicure!

National Ice Cream Day Mani // Novels and Nail PolishFrom the time I was little, Mint Chocolate Chip has been my absolute favorite flavor! Nowadays, I tend to dabble in the cookies & cream realm too, and well, if you can combine mint and Oreo, I’m in heaven! So this little mani is an homage to to the creamy goodness that is frozen mint and chocolate chips.

Tools I Used // Plie Wand + Julep Max + Essie Sand Tropez + Fashion Playground + OPI Alpine Snow
Tools I Used // Plie Wand + Julep Max + Essie Sand Tropez + Fashion Playground + OPI Alpine Snow

The multi-mani still hasn’t lost it’s appeal for me yet, so that’s what I did! Julep Max is seriously the PERFECT chocolate chip glitter, which is what really inspired the whole manicure. I played with striping tape for my thumb and pinky to give a little bit of geometric fun to the whole look, along with a solid mint nail and color-blocked pointer finger.

National Ice Cream Day Mani // Novels and Nail Polish

Now let’s get down to it – the ice cream cone! I started with a base coat of OPI’s Alpine Snow and let that dry. Next, I used striping tape and Sand Tropez up half my nail to create the cone. I applied a couple coats of Fashion Playground to the other half of my nail to begin the ice cream. Once that dried, I used the dotting tool attachment for the Plie Wand to create the scalloped edge and small drip down the nail. Topped it off with a quick coat of chocolate chips, and there you go!

National Ice Cream Day Mani // Novels and Nail Polish

What flavor ice cream are you celebrating today with?? Happy Reading!

Nail Polish Favorites // Summer 2015

Summer – Now is the time to paint your nails the color you want and spend your days outside in the sunshine! This season, I’m all about textures and colors that stand out past the normal cream red that is classic during June, July and August.

Summer 2015 Nail Polish Trends // Novels and Nail Polish

Sun-bleached pastels, jellies and berry brights are living on my nails these days! I was really interested in the unique textures and finishes that the fashion shows and magazines were highlighting for summer 2015, so collecting these polishes was a lot of fun. Let me show you what I’ve found!

Summer 2015 Nail Polish Trends // Novels and Nail PolishPowder Blue – Bleached, pastel polishes like Essie’s Find Me An Oasis are just so perfect for summer. They have a little more personality than stark white, but are still clean and classic for those summer nights! Plus, they really make your tan look fab!

Glitter – No longer are glitter polishes only for the holidays! Chunky glitter is fun, AND a layer of it on top of your mani can extend the life of your polish for another couple of days. Play around with cream polishes and coordinating glitters for a punchy manicure!

Summer 2015 Nail Polish Trends // Novels and Nail Polish

Lavender – As the days get longer, summer sunsets are so gorgeous and I adore the blues and purples of twilight! Lavender always reminds me of that time of day when you’re sitting outside and watching the sun go down, cold drink in hand.  Julep London is full coverage and creamy, and a great pastel to bring into summer months.

Neutrals – I’m a huge advocate for big, bright colors during the summer months (you’ll see below!), but sometimes you want a nice, nude nail to polish off your crisp white summer sundress! I might be biased, but that’s where Zoya’s Taylor makes her debut!

Summer 2015 Nail Polish Trends // Novels and Nail PolishFuchsia – Flirty. Feminine. Fun! All my favorite adjectives to describe the berry bright fuchsia, especially OPI’s Pink Flamenco. Take inspiration from the blooming bougainvillea all around!

Tangerine Red – Jellies are all the rage this year, so why not combine the summery tangerine with a fun sheer look. One coat gives you a sexy, peek-a-boo mani, or pair with a chunky glitter for a whole new effect!

What are you wearing on your nails this summer? Happy Reading!

Happy Birthday America {4th of July}

Damn America, you’re lookin’ good for 239!

Happy Birthday America // Novels and Nail Polish4th of July is always the perfect holiday for nail art. Red, white and blue just seem to go together so naturally, which makes coming up with new designs that much more fun!

This year {with the help of Essie, Christian Louboutin, Julep and Nails Inc} I went for a more geometric, color-blocked design with a little bit of sparkle. My besties, striping tape and dotting tool, helped me get the crisp lines and polka dots!

Happy Birthday America // Novels and Nail PolishWishing everyone a safe and fun 4th! Happy Reading!

{Mani Monday} Lillian Eve

I’m so happy to introduce a great indie nail polish brand to the blog, Lillian Eve. I shared their anniversary giveaway last week, and today I’m going to talk all about their great polishes!

First, I want to judge the bottles by their cover… because they’re so cute! I love the bottle design, as well as their branding as a whole. They’re an adorable company, and I was so happy when they reached out to me to try their polishes. Even better, all of their polishes are 5-free, vegan, cruelty-free and bottled in the great USA. Talk about piece of mind!

Lillian Eve Nail Polish // Novels and Nail Polish

Another thing I really love about Lillian Eve is the selection of colors they offer! They’re so wonderful for every season, and I can’t wait to see the colors they continue to come up with.

Bijoux 

Bijoux Lillian Eve // Novels and Nail Polish

Bijoux has that cornflower blue vibe going on, just like the crayon! It’s definitely on point for summer 2015, because of its fresh, fun look. It took three coats to really get opaque, but it didn’t get overly thick or unmanageable.

Bijoux Lillian Eve // Novels and Nail Polish

Haute Night Out

Haute Night Out Lillian Eve // Novels and Nail Polish

Haute Night Out really satifies my love for a vibrant, fire engine red. It’s a three-coater as well, but has the same great finish. You definitely don’t have to try very hard to get an even finish, which I really appreciate.

Haute Night Out Lillian Eve // Novels and Nail Polish

If you haven’t entered the Lillian Eve Anniversary giveaway yet, check out my original post about it and enter! It’s an incredible prize package AND they’re picking an additional winner from Novels and Nail Polish to receive a polish.

Happy Reading!

I’ll Give You The Mani

I'll Give You The Sun Cover Inspired ManicureOne of the most anticipated YA reads of 2014 became one of my absolute favorite books of 2015, and maybe even ever! I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is a contemporary to rule all YA contemporaries, and I am so glad it came into my life. I have a feeling my overzealous review/opinion of this book might get a bit rambly, so bear with me!

Told from alternating perspectives of a set of twins, this book is liquid poetry and art. If I’m being objective, it could be a bit much for some people who don’t have the patience for flowery language, but it was just enough for me. Love and loss are the main themes, and it ultimately left me breathless.

I have a hard time forming sentences that correctly express my love for this story, so I’ll just throw out some adjectives instead: heartbreakingly beautiful, moving, inspiring and literally a million more. If you want to be moved to laughter and tears, I beg you, PICK UP THIS BOOK.

**I’m not sure if you can tell, but I feel rather strongly about how how incredible this novel is!

Now, let’s give you the mani!

Tools I Used // Essie Mojito Madness + Blanc + Julep London + Jeanne + Bailey + Nadia + Karen + Myrtle + Cover Girl Flamed Out
Tools I Used // Essie Mojito Madness + Blanc + Julep London + Jeanne + Bailey + Nadia + Karen + Myrtle + Cover Girl Flamed Out

This was another design that used ALL the polishes. Clearly I’m on some sort of rainbow kick, and I ain’t even mad! I went pretty literal with the design of this manicure, sticking mainly with the gorgeous rainbow sunburst on the white background. You’ll need as many polishes as you can carry, plus some, and for me that included my trusty stash of Julep and Essie colors.

I'll Give You The Sun Cover Inspired ManicureI’ll talk rainbow stripes first. I went with a random order of colors to mimic the lack of pattern on the cover. Grab your striping brush, or skinny paint brush in my case, and go to town! While I would have liked my colored stripes to be a bit thinner, I think I made it work. This design is great for ya’ll who are worried about painting intricate images because it doesn’t have to be exact!

I'll Give You The Sun Cover Inspired ManicureI stripped the dust jacket off for a bit of accent nail inspo. To play with the orange and white, I used striping tape (my fav technique) and a vibrant orange. Voila, you’ve got yourself a contrasting, geometric accent nail!

I'll Give You The Sun Cover Inspired ManicureDid you love I’ll Give You The Sun as much as I did? Let me know what you thought! Happy Reading!