Polish Pickup Part One | May 2018 | 1990s!

Hey guys! Guess who is (half of) the official blogger for the Polish Pickup for May 2018? If you guessed me, then you're right. If you didn't...how did you get here? No matter! I'm glad you're here! Let's get into the latter part of the alphabet for this month!

Are you new to the Polish Pickup? Well welcome to the madhouse! It offers a fun, interactive experience that allows you to submit theme ideas, vote for your favorite theme, and selectively purchase your favorite polishes every month. The theme for May 2018 is 1990s!

This month is a little different than previous months. Instead of one poor, overworked blogger doing seven hundred thousand swatches we have two! My terrible friend Jenny of Lavish Layerings is handling the first half of the alphabet while I do the last half. It is far more manageable this way, and I think it will be the way we roll over at the PPU.HQ from now on.
  • If you are new to my blog, welcome! I write a little differently than some people, so I have written this handy primer so that people who don't care about my blathering don't have to read it if they don't want to. I've also included a little FAQ, just in case. 
  • I have bolded the polish name, number of coats, and price/cap information for each polish. Everything below that is my own thoughts about the polish and a wee blurb about the inspiration. 
  • Every polish is topped with a layer of Seche Vite unless otherwise specified. It is my top coat of choice. 
  • I used a latex peel-off base for every swatch, unless I say otherwise. 
  • I use artificial daylight-spectrum lights for swatches, and regular daylight for the product shots. I live in coastal California, and the sun is unreliable. 
Without further ado, let's get to the shinies!

(promotional samples ahead)

le polish Queen of Grunge | two coats
200 bottles available
This is a lovely warm neutral filled with shifting shimmer, iridescent flakes, and a slight holo twinkle. There was some concern about lobster hands with this shade, but I am  so happy to report that there is none. And my hands were very cold here, which makes my fingertips red anyway. I think this shade would flatter warm fair tones and warm deeper tones the best. But I really like it, even on my cool/fair skin. 

The inspiration here is Courtney Love...a slightly devisive character in music circles, but shes definitely made her mark on the scene. I am a fan of Hole, but I still don't know how I feel about her even after all these years.

Lemming Lacquer You're Standing on My Neck | two coats
250 bottles available
This is the perfect murky, swampy green shade filled with aurora pigments. The shift is delightful and perfectly suited to this color. It has a syrupy, jellied formula which might be a bit unusual for people new to the brand...but I really like it. It is thick enough to keep the shimmer in place, but light enough to level itself. It doesn't even give me lobster hands! That is very unusual for a green.

This color was inspired by Daria. If you have never seen Daria...you need to. This color, if she could be bothered to paint her nails, would have been perfect on her. It matches her green jacket flawlessly. It is also a very on-point 90s hunter green, so bonus points there.

LevelUp Lacquer Shaken, Not Stirred | two coats
This is a medium warm leaning gray with soft gold hexes, moon-shaped glitters, and black shards. I was worried about these black shards, but it applied smoothly and nicely...no fishing or poking required! Which is good, because I really like the finished look of this polish. It is one of those that you have to wear to truly appreciate.

It is inspired by the game Goldeneye 007, which is a damned classic. I remember my high school boyfriend (now husband of 19 years) playing this for hours. It was such a good game. I can tell because it made him swear so much, but he kept on playing. As soon as I saw it, I thought "yesssssss. This is definitely a Nintendo game."

LevelUp Lacquer Body Glitter
You weren't a 90s girl unless you had at least three different colors of body glitter. If you were supercool like me, you just used it at night or on your makeup. This is the precursor of today's blinding highlights. This one is an updated version of the old-school stuff

Lilly Anne's Garden | Rayanne
$5.50 | no cap
This cream is a Polish Pickup all-star at this point. Every month, people rant and rave about the scents, the formula, everything. If I hadn't ended up blogging this month, I had planned to finally break down and buy it. The scent is described as "bubbly yet feminine...green apples and gardenia". I definitely agree. I am a huge fan of gardenia, but I can't say that it was exactly what came to mind the first time I smelled this cream. I did think of flowers, though. It was fresh and clean and lightly floral. ..like walking through a flower market in the springtime. Definitely the kind of scent I want to sniff for hours. The texture of this cream is really appealing as well, and worth noting. It feels like a thick, rich frosting...but somehow melts into the skin nicely. I'm really enjoying it so far, and I've been using it before and after I start my swatch sessions this month.

The inspiration for this lovely cream is the one and only Rayanne Graff of My So-Called Life. She was the free-spirit that we all aspired to, but with that tortured soul to which so many of us could relate. I was a huge fan of the show as a teenager and was pretty sad when it was cancelled.

Lilly Anne's Garden | Rayanne

Lilly Anne's Garden | Rayanne

Lollipop Posse Lacquer Born and Raised | two coats
Holy hot pink, batman! This is an electric cool toned pinksplosion of flakes and holo. Pictures cannot capture how bright this is, so if you even kinda like pink just buy it. It is such a fun color, and would work for any sort of 90s manicure. The cool, icy flash reminds me of the duochrome clothing that all the cool kids had back in the day.

This was inspired by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I watched this show pretty regularly for years, and I consider it a classic sitcom. Even my kids watch it on Nick at Night now...which creeps me out a little bit, frankly.

Lucky 13 Lacquer So Fucking Special | two coats
160 bottles available | $11
You know those times when you open a package, see the polish, and just pause to enjoy the moment? Opening this package was one of those times. This dazzling, dancing multichrome deserves a moment or two...just to be enjoyed. It has a living, breathing, simmering look on the nails. I think it is the teeny, tiny multichrome flakes swimming in the black semi-jellied base. This one does have that smell, like a good skunky blue, so if you're sensitive you should use this one in a well-ventilated area. 

This was inspired by one of my all-time favorite songs, Creep by Radiohead. It came out in 1993, and the whole album really resonated with my black teenage soul.

LynBDesigns SPOON! | three coats
This is a brilliant sky blue scattered holo with a rosy lavender glow and tiny iridescent flakes. It is so sparkly and soft, definitely a good 90s color. I had a Benefit loose eyeshadow in just this color way-back-when. I did use three coats here, but it was super humid and rainy while I swatched this...so I think normal weather would be fine for two coats. All those delicious little flakes laid nicely on my nail and dispersed in a very orderly fashion.

This polish was inspired by one of my favorite Saturday morning characters catch phrases. The Tick was on at an ungodly hour for my teenage soul, but sometimes I would get up early (for Saturday School. Don't judge me) and watch it. I loved it so. I can't say the same about the live action version...

LynBDesigns SPOON! | Polish Pickup May 2018

LynBDesigns SPOON! | Polish Pickup May 2018

LynBDesigns SPOON! | Polish Pickup May 2018

MCKFresh Nail Attire Oh Rexy, You're So Sexy | two coats
 $15 |130 bottles available
This is my first tri-thermal! If it's yours too, let me just explain a bit. This polish has three color states! In the very coldest state you get a soft, rich black. Then it shifts through purple and into the squishy warm pink. My fingers run pretty cold, and this was black on me for a long time. So you will see that black color sometimes. I wore this one, post shower, for a couple hours...and it pretty much looked like the photos below until my hands cooled. I love it. The formula is just amazing. Even with the intense level of glitters here (round glitters!!) it flowed on easily and without a single fuss or dab. 

The inspiration for this is Empire Records and Rex Manning. It is a perfect match for Sexy Rexy. This movie is a classic, and everyone needs to watch it. Right now.

Mckfresh Nail Attire Oh Rexy, You're So Sexy! | Polish Pickup May 2018

Mckfresh Nail Attire Oh Rexy, You're So Sexy! | Polish Pickup May 2018

Mckfresh Nail Attire Oh Rexy, You're So Sexy! | Polish Pickup May 2018

Moonflower Polish I Just Can't Wait stamped with BPL-027 over a black cream
$10 | 50 bottles available
Can we all freak out, collectively, at my stamping for a moment? Sometime last year I lost my damned mojo when it came to stamping, and I have been afraid to try ever since.  But this searing neon coral made things happen! I'm so excited by it. I was worried the shimmers and tiny flakes wouldn't translate, but if you spy the macros you can see them twinkling sweetly. I am just over the moon with how well this worked for me. Nadia did recommend a squishy stamper instead of a clear jelly...and I definitely agree. My stamper picked it right up without issue. This isn't the first Moonflower stamping polish I have, so I already knew it was going to be good stuff. I was not disappointed. 

And yes, it is UV Reactive. Break out your blacklights!

This polish was inspired by The Lion King, a modern classic in the Disney universe. I remember my teenage heart just being torn in two watching this movie...no spoilers though. I definitely want to use this to create some of those stunning savannah sunsets that were such a memorable part of the aesthetic in that movie.

Moonflower Polish I Just Can't Wait | Polish Pickup May 2018

Moonflower Polish I Just Can't Wait | Polish Pickup May 2018

Moonflower Polish I Just Can't Wait | Polish Pickup May 2018

Moon Shine Mani I'm Just a Girl | three coats
This is a vibrant corally red-orange drowned with holo, shimmer, and iridescent flakes. It is a wonderful lipstick kind of shade and all these crazy flakes are just plain dazzling. It is a little sheer and jellied, but you want that in a polish with this much going on. If it were any more opaque, you would lose that amazing "lit from within" glow. If you use medium coats, you can get away with just two. 

The inspiration for this one is Gwen Stefani and her hyper-saturated coral-red lipstick. Coupled with her signature black winged liner and bleached-to-hell retroesque hairdo, she revolutionized young womens fashion in the mid-90s. All of a sudden, everywhere you looked there were matte red lips, black eyeliner, rockabilly-sporty clothes, and bindhis. I actually saw No Doubt (with Goldfinger!) in 1996 and it was amazing. The horn players were such a staple of ska music, and I really lament that she went in another direction in the 2000s.

Ms. Sparkle Chemical X | three coats
This is a blushing orange-red holo-sparkle-fire-gasm filled with shifting tiny flakes. I had never tried a Ms. Sparkle before this, and omgyouguys. It flowed onto my nails of its own accord. I swear there is witchcraft involved here. It has a jellied formula stuffed with flakes, so I recommend doing thin coats and letting each one set a tiny bit before adding the next. You'll be glad you did. I mean, it'll still sparkle regardless...but it'll be better my way.

This shade was inspired by the mysterious labratory accident that created The Powerpuff Girls! I had a trio of friends who were obsessed with this...and made me watch it constantly. When I had kids of my own, I found the old episodes on line and fell in love. They still hold up...the new ones aren't bad either.

My Indie Polish Oh My Caboodle! | two coats
$12.50 | 100 bottles
This is a rich royal purple jellied polish with a scattering of holo glitter and sparks. It reminds me of some alien sky. It has a really good squish to it, and it looks as though it is a liquid on the nail forever. It is a simple and classic combination, and the shade is just the right depth to be universally flattering. It does dry matte, so you definitely want to check out the next product if you want the glossy finish seen here.

This shade is inspired by the ubiquitous Caboodle cosmetic case. You know the one. That plastic rectangular cube with the silver embedded sparkles...or maybe you had the pale aqua and pink version? I had both of them at one point or another. You can actually still get both versions on Amazon. I actually bought the purple one last year for my "regular rotation" makeup. My kids were in awe...I can't wait until I can buy them their very own.

My Indie Polish Oh My Caboodle! | Polish Pickup May 2018

My Indie Polish Oh My Caboodle! | Polish Pickup May 2018

My Indie Polish Oh My Caboodle! | Polish Pickup May 2018

My Indie Polish Top or Bottom Duo Coat
The second item for My Indie Polish this month is a two-timing top and base coat. It does the job of two products in one bottle. I used to love Sally Hansen's Double Duty back in the 90s, so I think this is a perfect product for this month. I used it both as a base and a topper for Oh My Caboodle (seen above). It knocked the matte right out and left me with a nice glossy finish. It isn't a quick-dry, but it isn't terribly slow either.

My Indie Polish Top or Bottom Duo  | Polish Pickup May 2018

My Stunning Nails Peephole | two coats
$10.95 | 100 bottles available
This is a shimmering golden champagne microflake dusted with holo sparkle and shifting pink to blue flakes. I love a good, brilliant neutral and this definitely fits the bill. I can't wait to see this one more skintones, because I bet this is going to look dazzling on someone of medium skintone. This is your work-appropriate shade, if you have to be a grown-up during the week then this is the shade for you.

This was inspired by the gold picture frame surrounding the peephole from the tv show Friends. I admit that I have never seen more than an episode of this show...I was too cool for Friends in the 90s. It's my hipster soul, preventing me from seeing the classics.

Nail Hoot Hang On to Your Diapees, Babies | two coats
$9.25 | no cap
This is a soft minty robbin's egg shade filled with coppery gold holo and shimmer. It is a bit of a cream-jelly hybrid, which I think is perfect here. You get easy application and opacity in just two coats, but it has enough squish that you can see the shimmer and glitter shining from below. On me, this pulls a little more green, but I've seen it look slightly more blue on other folks. If you like unusual shades, I can't recommend this one enough. I wish I had this for Easter, because this is more my speed.

It was inspired by the Rugrats cartoon, a Nickelodeon staple for more than a decade. I watched this every weekend as a tween, and I remember seeing it when I was well into my twenties. It was a bit of a family favorite for years. We used to call my young cousin Angelica...

Nail Hoot Hang On To Your Diapees, Babies  | Polish Pickup May 2018

Nail Hoot Hang On To Your Diapees, Babies  | Polish Pickup May 2018

Nail Hoot Hang On To Your Diapees, Babies  | Polish Pickup May 2018

Nailed It Hawaii Furbalicious | two coats
85 bottles available | $11.50
This is a soft, feminine sky blue with a strong shifting shimmer and a holo twinkling. It dries matte, but you can add a glossy topper if you want. I just fell in love with the matte look for this one. The pink-to-golden shimmer looks so stunning when its matte. I love how diffuse the holo is in this one too. Its just enough to catch the eye, but it doesn't overtake the polish. 

This was inspired by furbies. They were/are the creepiest toys ever. I remember my friend's little sister got one for Christmas and we spent hours trying to teach is to say bad words. I don't think she has forgiven us yet.

Nevermind Polish Minute of Decay | two coats
$12 | 230 bottles available 
This is a deep, inky violet with so much going on. There are multichrome flakes, shifting shimmer, holo, iridescent flakes, and aurora-ish pigment. It is slightly jellied and just so worth staring at for hours. I love a good, wicked, vampy shade. It applied really smooth and easy, and the flakes dispersed themselves almost like magic.

This was inspired by Marilyn Manson. This was the band for those of us with slightly square parents. I loved them. Everyone in my circle were fans. I had a girlfriend who was in love with Marilyn himself, and had her whole room covered in pictures of him. Even the ceiling. It was actually a pretty cozy little cave...albeit a bit dark.

Night Owl Lacquer Beep Me! | two coats
$11 | no cap
This is a blinding neon orange-red jellied shade filled with aurora pigment and a rainbow of warm iridescent flakes. It is brighter in person, guys. It is so bright and alive that it almost doesn't need the UV light to make it glow. If you are a "neons in summer" sort, then you must have this shade. It makes even the ghostliest person look like they have a healthy glow. I do end up with the tiniest bit of visible nail line but I have that problem a lot...my nail line is fairly aggressive. 

The inspiration behind this one is the pager, our communication device of choice in the 90s. I think I still can remember almost all of my pager code. 0035 7487 1773817 1177 070?

Night Owl Lacquer Beep Me! | Polish Pickup May 2018

Night Owl Lacquer Beep Me! | Polish Pickup May 2018

Night Owl Lacquer Beep Me! | Polish Pickup May 2018

Noodles Nail Polish I'm Blue | two coats
$10 | 150 bottles available
This is a rich navy jelly filled with glitter and holo and flakes and so much craziness that I might need a new thesaurus to explain it without using "wow, guys" seventeen times. It has a very Whovian vibe, which pleases me greatly. I was surprised by how even and smooth it applied, even with the intense level of flakes in there. I love chaotic polishes like this, and the jellied formula lets the iridescent flakes glow from the depths like some sort of lurking space monster.

The inspiration for this polish is the song Blue (Da ba dee) by Eiffel 65. I didn't immediately recognize the name, but I did as soon as I listened to it. I bet you'll recognize it, too. Check it out, but be warned...it is an earworm.

Noodles Nail Polish I'm Blue | Polish Pickup May 2018

Noodles Nail Polish I'm Blue | Polish Pickup May 2018

Noodles Nail Polish I'm Blue | Polish Pickup May 2018

Northern Star Satan in High Heels | two coats
$11 | 150 bottles available
This is a glowing raspberry filled with sparkling flecks of silver and indigo. It looks like a foil, but applies like a dream. Northern Star formula is always good for me, so I might be a little biased here. I just love how smoothly it slides on and how well it levels. Even before the top coat, it dries to a gel-like shine.

It was inspired by the movie Jawbreaker. It came out in 1999, and I missed it completely. 1999 was a wild year for me. But looking at the posters for the movie, I immediately see the connection. Also, this description appeals to me:

Northern Star Satan in High Heels | Polish Pickup May 2018

Northern Star Satan in High Heels | Polish Pickup May 2018

Northern Star Satan in High Heels | Polish Pickup May 2018

Northern Star Jawbreaker Scented top coat 
$7.25 | 150 bottles available
I used this for the swatches (above) and holy cow. It is super lustrous. It smells exactly, infuriatingly, precisely like jawbreaker candies. I have been tasked by my tiny masters to procure some GIANT jawbreakers now...yay. I'd also like to note that the scent on this one lasts for days. I tried it out on my thumb when it arrived (I kinda hate scents, so I wanted to see if it was actual candy or "meth lab candy". We're safe, it is literal candy) and the scent outlasted the top coats grip on my bare nail. It was soft, but clear. I am such a baby about scents that some scented polish has woken me up in the middle of the night...but this one I forgot all about until I got my hand close to my face. That makes me happy. It is worth mentioning that this has a slight violet tinge, so be careful using this on whites and yellow/oranges.

Northern Star Satan in High Heels | Polish Pickup May 2018

Nvr Enuf Who's Got a Crush on You? | three coats 
$11.50 | no cap
This is a warm, plummy facing multichrome with a strong holo and iridescent flakes throughout. It reminds me exactly of burnished titanium...but with holo and flaky goodness. The formula is good and smooth and delightful. I did use three coats, but two would have been just fine. It was just so sparkly I couldn't stop myself.

This delight is inspired by the game Dream Phone. It was a staple of sleep-overs for decades, and it was a source of embarassment and hilarity for thousands of girls everywhere. I always ended up with the nerd...I should have taken that as a sign.

Pahlish Mother of Invention | two coats
$11 | no cap
This is a plummy shade filled with silver holo flakes over a pronounced aurora-like shift. It is so shifty and dynamic I really want to call this a multichrome. I really love this one, and it might be in my top ten for this month. I do have a slight bias though...

This was inspired by the epic and amazing Street Wear line by Revlon. This was my favorite makeup line. Ever. The polishes were delightful, the eyeshadows were amazing, the liners...sigh. This line was the drugstore take on the popularity of polished grunge style and brands like Urban Decay. If I could get one thing back from the 90s, I would pick this line a thousand times. Revlon, take note.

Pahlish Velvet Balm in Linger 
$6.50 | 100 available
This is a delightful, soothing, creamy...cream. I am really enjoying it and have put a significant dent in my little half-ounce jar so far this month. It has a feminine but strong scent that is described as "...dried cranberries and cherries with tobacco and a hint of smoked vanila." I don't know if I get those notes, but I could smell this all day. It is almost matte and very hydrating. I've been carrying it in my bag this month, and everyone who has sniffed it has fallen in love.

This was inspired by the band The Cranberries and by the song Linger in particular. I was/am a huge Cranberries fan, and this is particularly bittersweet to me as Dolores O'Riordan tragically passed away this year. 

Do you have a favorite shade so far? Or maybe a product? Let me know in the comments below! I definitely do, but I am holding my tongue until after the sale. I may do a favorites wrap-up later on.

 Stay tuned for part two!

In the meantime, click the image below and start browsing! I am nearly finished loading up the shop!
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  1. Wow, my poor wallet!!! Awesome swatches and that velvet creme sounds divine!

  2. Wow, what an amazing post! Your descriptions and photos are wonderful- thank you for putting this together. And I’m so happy you enjoyed the jawbreaker scented top coat and polish! :)

  3. Wow, someone has been busy! Also All of them are pretty and the names are so fun!

  4. I so want that body glitter!!! Yes, I'm a 12 year old in a 36 year old body!!!

  5. OMG that green! It's everything I wanted and then some.

  6. OK so I'll have to give up food to buy all these lovelies but it'll be worth it!

  7. I'm scrolling through this blog...need it...really need it...want it...on my list...need it...must get it....MINE.

  8. So many to choose from I can't decide!

  9. So many pretties! I love the stamping you did with the Moonflower :)

  10. Am I supposed to pick a favorite? Cause that’s impossible!

  11. Lucky 13 Lacquer So Fucking Special, Lollipop Posse Lacquer Born and Raised, and Nail Hoot Hang On to Your Diapees, Babies all look amazing.

  12. I went to buy those 3 but it appears they're all sold out :(

    1. Friday at 11am eastern. The store is in preview mode still :)

  13. So many great polishes this month, I swear I am gong to go broke. Beautiful swatches.

  14. I've never heard of MCKFresh Nail Attire but I dig the funky crelly/glitter combo!

  15. I need You’re Standing on My Neck! Fantastic post!

  16. You survived! I love all your 90s-related commentary!

  17. So many awesome polishes this month! Love your swatches :)

  18. So many pretty shades here! I'm sure a few bank accounts will be crying on Friday!

  19. That lemming Lacquer needs to be mine, I love the deep green shade. Kudos on gaining your stamping mojo back, it looks fantastic and I'm excited to have Moon Flower Polish as an option this month.

  20. You did an amazing job swatching and reviewing! And I’m glad I was able to pick up the Furbalicious polish!

  21. Congrats on being an official blogger! I love that someone made a body glitter; I wore tons of that stuff back then!

  22. This post must have taken you three hours just writing alone!!! You have some beautiful polishes!

  23. Gorgeous swatches. I picked several polishes this month and I can’t wait for them to arrive!


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