Friday, July 26, 2013

OPI Solitaire + OPI Budapest

OPI Solitaire
Solitaire is a really pretty one from the Bond Girls collection.  It has the Liquid Sand, or textured, formula, but it becomes a shimmer with a top coat.  

OPI Budapest
This is a dusty purple from the Euro Centrale collection.  It is pretty thin; I used two coats here, but it would be better with three, as you can see it isn't totally opaque.  I never show all four nails - my second nail is always so short!!  I am trying to figure out what to do for my wedding next summer; wear gel nails for months to get my nails at a matching length, or get fake nails (I am so worried about the damage that will do to my nails though...).  

OPI Solitaire + OPI Budapest
A winning combination!  I love how OPI Solitaire looks over OPI Budapest.  I used two coats of Budapest, which is still a bit sheer, and then topped it with one thin coat of Solitaire.  I love how it gives Solitaire a blue hue.  I can't wait to wear this combo in December - it is so snowy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zoya PixieDust - Fall 2013 Collection

Zoya always has the BEST glitters, so I was super excited when I came home from vacation and found this fabulous little package waiting for me.  These six glitters continue the PixieDust collection from Zoya, a line of matte shimmers that I personally like to wear with a top coat - I love shiny, shimmery nails!
Zoya Chita
Isn't that glitter phenomenal?  Chita (I am assuming it is pronounced "Cheetah") is a lovely forest green with lots of golden glitter.  I always love Zoya's bottles, especially when they are filled with glittery polishes, so enjoy the bottle shots too!

 Zoya Arabella
Such a pretty name!  And a beautiful magenta glitter too.  I really like this one (but I am always partial to pinks!).  Check out a few more pictures of Arabella below:

 Zoya Carter
Carter really made me say "WOW!"  This purple is absolutely stunning!  Just look at that bottle!  (Yes, that really is a swoop of glitter in the bottle - not a reflection!).  This purple covered with two coats and it is so deep, rich, and out of this world.  I was really impressed by this one.

Zoya Tomoko
I only used two coats of Zoya Tomoko, so it was still a bit on the sheer side.  I love that it is a pale gold; it is like understated glamour.

Zoya Sunshine
Sunshine is the other HUGE star from this collection!  As soon as I put this polish on, I could not stop staring at my nails.  Sunshine is so rich with glitter and such a stunning navy blue.  It is like looking into a perfect night sky (not anywhere around where I live - there are too many city lights here).  I love this one, and I can't wait to use it again soon!

Zoya Dhara
Dhara is a sunny shimmery orange.  I am personally never a big fan of oranges, but this one can be fun for a summer day (or Halloween!).  

I love this shimmery, colorful collection!  I used two coats for all shades and I was very happy with the formula - everything went on really easily.  Wear without a topcoat for a great matte look, or top with your favorite high gloss topcoat for tons of shimmer.  Learn more about Zoya at!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Babbling Brooke's 5th Anniversary GIVEAWAY!!

Five years ago, in July 2008, I decided to start blogging.  I was SO SCARED.  For months prior, I had thought about starting a blog, but I was terrified of putting anything on the internet.  I had this idea that either a) no one would read it, or b) everyone would read it (and judge me!).  But I am so glad that I started blogging, because I have learned a lot from it.  Creating Babbling Brooke meant everything to me those first few years; it was my complete passion and it gave me a hobby to keep me sane during graduate school.  Babbling Brooke gave me a space to write and express myself, and my wonderful readers gave me advice and wisdom that I still cherish.  Through the many highs and lows these past five years, I have had this blog; I moved out of my parents' home; I began graduate school and then, two years later, completed my Master's degree; I lost many loved ones - and sometimes I shared my grief here, and other times I took my grief and vanished; I celebrated my first teaching position, and then eighteen months later, I celebrated my full-time teaching position at a local college; I've talked about my pets (a lot!); I've shared holidays and celebrations; and I have posted many, many pictures of my nails and the many shades of polish that I love.  Honestly, I feel like my blog is an old friend, and I am so lucky that I have this diary encapsulating five years worth of my life to scroll through.

It is hard to believe it has been five years (time really does fly!), but I wanted to celebrate this big milestone with a fun giveaway.  I love giveaways; they are fun to host and exciting to put together!  I wanted this to be a really big one too, and since my readers love polish so much, there is a lot of polish!

To celebrate five years of blogging, I am giving away 35 bottles of nail polish as well as products from Burt's Bees and Murad!

Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion 1.0 fl oz
Burt's Bees Intense Hydration day lotion with Clary Sage 1.8 oz
Burt's Bees Ultimate Care Body Lotion 6 oz
Burt's Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream 3.2 oz
Burt's Bees Ultra Moisturizing Lip Treatment
Zoya Irresistible Collection: Bobbi, Tinsley, Kerry, Hazel, Rikki, Amy
OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, Love is a Racket, Mermaid's Tears, Get in the Expresso Lane, Don't Burst my Bubble, A Woman's Prague-ative, It's All San Andrea's Fault, I knead Sour Dough, Wooden Shoe Like to Know?, Tiffany Case, Jinx, Are We There Yet?, So Many Clowns...So Little Time, When Monkeys Fly, My Very First Knockwurst, Can't Find My Czechbook, Every Month is Oktoberfest, Vesper
Color Club Fame & Fortune, Backstage Pass, It's a Hit!, Sky High
Nicole Scarlett, Cinna-man of my Dreams, A-nise Treat, Sweet Dreams, My Jay or the Highway, Blue-berry Sweet on You, Inner Sparkle

Enter below!

To enter, simply comment below and fill out the following form.  You can earn up to eight entries, plus one new entry each day for sharing the giveaway on Twitter!  Giveaway ends August 31, 2013 at midnight, and the winner will be announced within the week.

The fine print: One winner will be selected after August 31, 2013.  The winner will be notified and will have four days to respond.  If I do not hear back from the winner within four days, a new winner will be selected and the same process will be followed.  Once I hear back from the winner, their name will be announced.  Entrants who do not abide by the rules will be disqualified.  Winner must have a valid United States addresses within the 50 states.  Any entries that do not comply by the rules will be considered invalid.  The winner will be selected by randomly choosing a number using a random number selecting tool online.  All entries will be automatically numbered by Google docs.  This giveaway begins onJuly 24, 2013, and ends on August 31, 2013 at 11:59 EST.  OPI, Zoya, Color Club, Burt's Bees, Nicole, Murad, Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger are in no way affiliated with this giveaway.  Many of the polishes have been used one time for swatching purposes; others were purchased specifically for this giveaway.  None have been used more than one time.  Burt's Bees products were provided by Burt's Bees and are new and never used; Murad product provided by Murad and is new and never used.  Apothecary jar not included.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

OPI San Francisco - Fall 2013

I have been so excited about the OPI San Francisco collection for Fall 2013!  Just today it started feeling fall-like to me; it is a bit cooler than it has been, and I've returned to checking my work email daily.  Back to school will be here before we know it, and it was perfect that this collection showed up at my doorstep today (of course, it arrived literally five minutes after I finished painting my nails with a pale OPI purple!).

The San Francisco collection puts me in even more of a fall mood, with loads of rich reds and autumn navys.  OPI's Executive Vice President and Artistic Director (and the "Suzi" from so many polish names!), Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, said:

“To me, the women of San Francisco and the city itself really epitomize today’s multifaceted beauty consumer. San Francisco offers a European flair with distinct West Coast attributes. These elements inspired a collection of urban chic nail lacquer shades, thanks to the sophisticated combination of high fashion and eclectic street style. 
With twelve colors ranging from moody grays and blues to garnet and ruby jewel tones, these lacquers are designed to accessorize fall’s hottest looks, from military details to winter whites. On fall runways, models were seen wearing luxurious textures from head to toe. The three new Liquid Sand nail lacquers incorporate the texture trend through nails, with rich matte finishes in colors to complement the season’s fashion.”
I am also SO excited to share these new swatches with you because I bought a new macro lens!  I love it!  It is super slow to autofocus though, and manually focusing with wet nails is always a disaster just waiting to happen, so I manually focused and just kept my camera on for the entire swatching time (which as you nail bloggers know is a LONG time!).  Luckily my Sony has a great battery, so it worked out just fine.

So on to the collection.  Enjoy these fun 15!!

Lost on Lombard
This is a very pretty red creme!  OPI loves their red polishes, and this one does not disappoint.  When I think of "nail polish" I always just think of red nails - red nails seem to be the traditional go-to polish color.  While I liked this red, I loved Golden Gate more. 

I Knead Sour-Dough
Well I do love sour dough bread - especially on a fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich... yumm.  Now where was I?  So this is a mauve-maroon shimmer that actually covered with one coat (I still used two... old habits die hard!).  

First Date at the Golden Gate
Adorable name - and so perfect for a bright red creme!  This color made me think "paprika" - it is spicy and fun.  This and Embarca were my two favorites of the six reds.

Embarca-Dare Ya!
I was having so much trouble photographing this one; the color just was not right.  With that said, I don't love how it looks in the pictures, but in real life, I really loved it.  It is a magenta, and my camera just was not getting it.  It is sparkly, shimmery, and very pretty, and the formula was great.  

Muir Muir on the Wall
This is a really pretty and unstated burgundy shimmer.  My fiance's parents visited the Muir Woods a year and a half ago and they sent us these incredible photographs from their phones.  I cannot wait until I make it out there (it is quite a long trip from Maryland, especially when you're afraid of flying) because I would LOVE to photograph those trees.

In the Cable Car-Pool Lane
This one was thinner than the others, which gave it a bit of a summery look.  I used two coats, and you can see it is still a bit sheer in some areas.  It is a lovely shade though; it looks exactly like the sort of color my friend Michelle always loves to wear.  

 Alright - on to the next six shades!
Peace & Love & OPI
I have seriously been excited about this shade since January!  It was SNOWING back when I started craving this polish!  Peace & Love & OPI has, for one, the best name ever, but what this color also has is MULTIPLE colors!  I've been a polish lover for many, many years (like 27... wow, I am starting to feel old) and the very first time I ever saw a duochrome polish was in 1999 when a friend gifted me one for my birthday.  Let me tell you - I still have that polish.  I was fascinated.  I could not believe a polish like that existed!  And Peace & Love & OPI is SO much better than any duochrome I own - and here is why: many duochomes are so metallically that you cannot even see the different shade variations - you just get glare.  This polish has a great purple and teal variation, with lots of glitter and very little metallic or frost.  This is beautiful and so fun.  If you don't have a duochrome yet, get yourself this one!  
Just as a PS: at the end of every swatch session, I wear one of the polishes I swatted.  This is the one I couldn't help put doing a full mani with!  Oh, and I used Alcatraz Rocks on my ring fingers :)

A-Piers to be Tan
This is a nice, warm caramel - YUM!!  Seriously - doesn't this shade look JUST like one of those caramels you buy every October?  It's like you could just pair this with an apple and have a perfect fall snack.  I actually really love this color - and I have nothing like it - that's always exciting!!  Not only does this caramel look smooth, it went on SO easily and covered perfectly with just one coat.

Dining Al Frisco
Beautiful blue!  Get this one before summer is over.  Isn't this a great pool-side shade?  (Or hey, a dining al fresco shade?).  This blue beauty has tons of blue shimmer.  I thought it would be a lot frostier than it was, since the bottle has streaks of silver running through it, but it wasn't bad.  I plan to pack this one for my upcoming weekend getaway!

Keeping Suzi at Bay
I love this blue - and I better enjoy it now because I am certain my sister will find a way to make this fabulous blue hers!  This is a perfect navy blue creme, and my sister is a total sucker for navy blue polishes.  I can't wait to wear this one in the fall with a camel colored sweater, although I am pretty sure I will need to visit my sister to use it if I wait until then!

Incognito in Sausalito
Between this and Keeping Suzi at Bay, I prefer the lighter blue, but this is still a nice shade - it depends on your preference.  Incognito is very dark (hence the name I guess!), but dark nails can be awesome.

Haven't the Foggiest
Lovely!!  I just adore sparkly silver and gold polishes.  Other than an awesome pink polish, it doesn't get much better than silver, does it?  There are some grey tones - this isn't a tin foil polish - and that makes this one unique.  I would describe it as "gunmetal" since I just returned from Colonial Williamsburg and spent a bit of time in the silversmith shop.  This one is a winner, and if I were choosing just a few from this collection to get, I would definitely pick this one.  Feel free to click photos to enlarge:

And now for the Liquid Sand shades.  We will start with my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE from the entire San Fran collection...

Alcatraz... Rocks
GASP!  I know... it is A-MAZ-ING!!!  Love, love, love everything about the polish... except the rather unfortunate name.  It is so glittery and glimmery and shiny and oh-so stunning.  I just love it.  I am not a big fan of the textured finishes (more on that later), but with a top coat, this one is super smooth and sparkly.  Just because you know you love it too, I have two more shots of this awesome polish:

It's all San Andrea's Fault
Even OPI doesn't want to take the blame for this one - it's all on you, San Andrea.  I should start by talking about the texture finish... I just am not a fan of textured finishes.  I know everyone is doing them, but I don't love it.  That said, we can correct a texture finish with a great, thick top coat (like Seche Vite).  So on the right you can see San Andrea without a top coat, and on the left, the same shade with one coat of top coat (this is an OPI top coat pictured).  This bumpy brown could be cool for Halloween, ocean-themed nails, or a day of archeology, but otherwise, I like it way better with the top coat - smooth and kind of speckled.  

Wharf! Wharf! Wharf!
Ok, this name did give me a chuckle (but hey, I love dogs).  This dark blue is a gorgeous shade, but again, I don't like the texture.  I should have tried it with a top coat, because I really think I would have loved it then.  

I encourage you to check out Vampy Varnish's post on the San Francisco collection; she is from San Francisco and has some great pictures of the area!

All of these shades applied nicely and the formula was great.  I am so excited about this collection and I hope you are too!  I would love to know which ones you can't wait to try.  Visit to learn more, and find these now at reputable retailers, such as ULTA and Sephora, or your local nail salon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

OPI Neon Minis

I ADORE mini nail polish bottles.  They are basically the kittens of the nail art world.  They are soo cute and tiny!  But even still, they hold a surprising amount of polish; I've already used Pink Outside The Box already for three full manis (and these two nails!).  I love that it is a gorgeous hot pink.  I wore it during vacation and loved it.  

OPI Pink Outside the Box
Fun bright pink creme.  Not necessarily "neon" but bright and very pretty.  I want this in a full sized bottle!

The Time is Pow
This is a bright orange creme.  Again, not neon in the "glowing" vibrant sense of the term (think 1980's), but bright and pretty.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July to those of you in the United States!  We celebrated with these too-cute jello and cream cheese desserts, complete with pineapple, strawberries, walnuts, and of course the final touch - a blue striped straw!  My mother makes this dessert every summer, and it is SO GOOD!  My sister made these this year and we could not stop eating them.  I hope you enjoy this also!

Patriotic Jello Recipe
2 packages Berry Blue Jello
2 cups boiling water
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup washed blueberries
1/2 cup finely diced walnuts
8 oz block of cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
Strawberries for garnish

Combine 2 cups boiling water with gelatin mix and stir for two minutes, or until dissolved.  All pineapple, blueberries, and walnuts, and pour into individual cups.  Place in refrigerator (I put them inside a cake pan to make it easier to transport).  Chill for two hours.  Set cream cheese out to soften during this time.

Once gelatin is set, in a mixer, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar.  Beat until smooth, then spoon onto blue gelatin.  Top with strawberries and additional blueberries, if desired.  Serve immediately or return to refrigerator.


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