Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Sweater Skittle

Hi, all! So, I finally felt inspired to do a Christmas manicure. For this one I started with a regular base coat over a school glue base. I thank all the ladies who shared the glue tip with me...I've been wearing glitter nearly every day since! Here's what I came up with.

The main polish for this mani is from a new-to-me brand called Glitz 'n Glimmer Polish. This brand boasts a 5-free base, and I stumbled upon it in a Facebook group that I frequent. I used two thin coats of Christmas Sugar Cookie, a white crelly with multi-colored glitter. The glitter is most prominently red and green, although I think I spotted some yellow, pink, and blue, as well. It covers beautifully, and I think it could have been a one-coater if I'd been as heavy-handed in application as I normally am. With glitters, though, I am finding I prefer thinner coats, because I like the way the particles look suspended in the different layers of base. See, I've been learning. :) The wear time is quite nice. Before I attempted any art, I wore it solo for a few days with only minimal tip wear. For this look, I stamped a pattern from Bundle Monster plate BM-603 on two nails. For my index finger, I used Revlon Top Speed in Emerald, and on my pinky, I stamped with Wet n Wild Megalast in I Red a Good Book. On my ring finger, I added a coat of Emerald, then sponged on a glitter gradient using an other brand I hadn't tried before, Barielle Goldfinger.

While I (clearly) haven't yet mastered the art of stamping, it still turned out better than I expected. I found myself a squishy little Vaga stamper on Amazon and have had slightly better luck than with my much firmer Konad stamper. I thank you for stopping by, and I wish one and all a Merry Christmas if you don't hear from me before then!

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Fun and Snowy Manicure

Greetings! Today I have a fun winter manicure to share. This one started with Colors by Llarowe's Sandy, We Ain't in Kansas Anymore. I love this color in particular because it's a multichrome holo. Even without any special properties this one would be a stunner. It's a rich turquoise with silver shimmer. While my favorite color is purple, blue and turquoise are my favorite nail polish colors to wear, so this one was a no-brainer. The holographic flame in SWAIKA isn't particularly strong, but it is still quite visible, even though it was difficult to capture in photographs. What grabbed me, though, was the multichrome effect. It shifts from turquoise to royal blue to! I took a couple sunlight shots in an attempt to capture the shift.

I wore Sandy, We Ain't in Kansas Anymore for a few days. Since the weather's been cold, I've been trying to change my polish less often in order to minimize dryness and breakage as much as possible. I generally add some sort of nail art when it's time for a polish change. This way, I get some practice, build some confidence, and (in the event that it looks halfway decent) extend my manicure a bit. I stamped several designs using Konad white with plate QA19, purchased from Born Pretty Store (found here). I sponged Sinful Colors Snow Me White on a couple of the tips, and added rhinestones in blue and clear, also from Born Pretty, because I thought they'd go well with the snow theme and add a little shine.

All in all, I was pretty happy with how this attempt turned out. I got to practice my stamping and use some embellishments, but still managed to keep this gorgeous color in its rightful place as star of the show. As always, I thank you for looking!

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Thanksgiving Manicure

Hello, all! I hope all of you who celebrate it had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm still recovering from my turkey-induced coma. :) As you can tell, as a beginner I'm sometimes too ambitious with my nail art. This time is no exception. I've shown you proof that I'm just no good yet at stamping. That being said, what did I try on this attempt? Double stamping!

For this look, I used a base of Wet n Wild Megalast in Under Your Spell, which is a rich, vampy burgundy that's full of red shimmer. I then stamped it with a wood grain pattern from Bundle Monster's 2014 CYO collection, plate BM-608. For this I used Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Bittersweet, which I'd describe more as a creamy milk chocolate color. After a top coat, I stamped a leaf pattern from plate BM-617 using Sally Hansen X-treme Wear in Golden-I. I love this color for stamping because of its super shiny foil finish. I finished it all off with a matte top coat that I got months ago from a Cult Cosmetics buy 1, get 2 free sale.

So, while it's by no means perfect, (some gaps in the stamped images, I flooded a couple cuticles with acetone rushing through clean-up), I'm actually quite happy with how this manicure turned out. I hope you enjoyed it, and thanks so much for looking!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gradient for a Snowy Day and Help Me Ronda Body Care

Greetings! Yesterday, we got our first covering of snow. It wasn't much, just a little lake-effect snow, but it was enough to stick. I love the way snow looks (particularly when I'm inside and toasty), so I was inspired to attempt a gradient. Naturally, I chose blue, my favorite.

I started with a layer of Nubar Foundation and a base of butter London Slapper. Then, I sponged on a couple layers of Slapper with butter London Cotton Buds and a darker blue by Polish & Co. called Bout That Life to create my gradient. What I like best about snow is how when the light hits it in a certain way, it glitters like diamonds. For that effect, I chose to add a layer of KBShimmer Happily Ever Aster. It's a glitter topper containing white, light blue, lilac, and holographic glitters in different shapes and sizes. What especially reminds me of snow are the holo microglitters that give off that little flash when I have my hand at a certain angle. It's all topped off with Seche Vite.

As it seems we've skipped fall and headed directly into winter, at least here in Chicago, I've got a product I'd like to share with you. I have eczema and also suffer from dry skin in general. A couple months ago, I entered a giveaway hosted by AIPAS, the Australian Indie Polish Appreciation Society. I was super lucky and won the prize offered by the very sweet Ronda, of Help Me Ronda. I received the Rub-A-Dub Scrub and Cuticle Hydration Balm, both in my choice of scent. I picked the Green Appletini, because...yum! Ronda was also kind enough to send me a Cuticle Cocktail in Pina Colada, as well!

First, let me tell you about this scrub. It is so luxurious! It's written on the package that a little goes a long way, and that's no exaggeration. Just a dab rubbed into my hands and rinsed off made a huge difference from the very first use. My hands have always been rough and dry, and even with the heavy duty moisturizing I do because of my eczema (Vaseline, Eucerin), a few hours later they'd be dry again. With Rub-A-Dub Scrub, though, my hands remained soft and supple throughout the day, even after all the hand washing I do. I intended to use this strictly as a hand scrub, because the eczema makes my skin extremely sensitive. The oils and butters it contains, though, are all natural and made from various seeds and leaves, so I took a chance...I'm so glad I did. This is so much more moisturizing than the sugar scrubs and body washes I normally use, and the effects last much longer. It's even great on areas that are generally rougher, like heels and elbows.

I love the Cuticle Cocktails just as much, if not more. They're extremely hydrating, and I find I don't have to reach for my cuticle remover as often. It also works great on any dry bits you might have. It, too, lasts through multiple hand washes. A little goes a long way for these, too. Just a tiny dab moisturizes all my cuticles! I use this after manicures and before bed. I also keep one in my purse to use when I'm out.  Even the one I'm using twice a day or more is still more than half full! You can see in my pictures that it's not greasy or shiny. Even when just applied, it doesn't leave residue on my keyboard or fingerprints on my phone screen. I also love the scents. They smell delicious and just like real fruit, but they are not at all overpowering. If you just can't bear any type of fragrance at all, though, Ronda's products can be purchased unscented, as well. I absolutely adore these skin care products, and I'll definitely be restocking my supply. I'm also dying to try the bath salts...they're next on my list! As always, thanks so much for looking!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bundle Monster 2014 CYO Stamping

Greetings! Today, I have Burning Embers from the Colors by Llarowe fall 2014 collection. Sadly, it is no longer offered, as it was one of their limited edition shades.To me, it's perfect for fall and I was lucky enough to grab one before they were gone. It is a gorgeous multichrome that shifts through copper, black, and magenta and contains tons of red and gold shimmer. It reminds me of my absolute favorite thing about fall, the changing leaves.

I just love CbL's formulas! The few I've tried have applied like a dream, and Burning Embers was no exception. It was a little thick, so I added a few drops of thinner, and applied two syrupy smooth coats over Nubar Foundation, then topped it with Glisten & Glow's HK Girl.

I'd gone four (chip-free!) days and decided it was time for a polish change when the mail arrived...containing my Bundle Monster CYO 2014 collection! This is my first Create Your Own collection (and only my second ever stamping plate purchase), and if you're not familiar, it's a stamping plate set filled with designs created by fans. I'm new to stamping (as you can clearly see), so it's exciting to have plates designed by bloggers I follow and whose art I admire so much. So, I immediately reached for my Konad white. The first design I tried was created by the talented Eva over at Flight of Whimsy. Her design can be found on plate BM-607, and my attempt does it no justice.

I also tried another image from the same plate, and here you'll have a rare look at my right hand. I keep the nails on this hand trimmed much shorter, mostly because it's my dominant hand and I just cannot grasp the fact that I'm not supposed to use my nails to do things. They grow just as well as on the left, but I always end up hurting myself. I chose a more forgiving design for these since I'm not at all adept in the use of my left hand.

These Bundle Monster plates are amazing! My only complaint is that the full sized images are a little too small. I currently use the firm double-ended Konad stamper. I'm waiting for what I think is a squishy stamper to arrive. I understand beginning stampers have better luck with the squishier ones, so I'm hopeful. Until then, I'll keep trying. Thanks for looking!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A fun and simple Zoya manicure

Hello, again!

Today I kept things fairly simple with an easy Zoya-cure. My base coat was the usual CND Stickey, to which I added two coats of Zoya Teigen and a coat of Seche. This is a raspberry color, and while I am admittedly not a fan of reds and burgundies, Teigen is shot through with a ton of red and gold shimmer that caught my eye immediately. In fact, I wore it for a few days as a full manicure.

All the shimmer gives Teigen a lit-from-within quality that really impressed me. I also loved its smooth and easy application.

After about three days, I had some minor tip wear, and decided to freshen things up a bit. I used tip guides and Zoya Ryan for a quick french manicure. Ryan is a blackened navy creme that I'll definitely be using again soon for another look. To liven it up further, I used Ryan and a dotting tool for a few dots near the cuticles before topping it all off with Seche Vite.

In all, I thought this was a fun look to wear, and Teigen is a fabulous fall color that reminded me of the changing leaves. It was nice to wear something in the red family, which is definitely not the norm for me. It's not surprising, though, that in the end I managed to incorporate blue anyway. I still think the whole manicure managed to be appropriate for fall. What do you think? Thanks for looking, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My First Striping Tape Mani...and Fail!

I'd been to several beauty supply stores trying to find striping tape, all to no avail.  Since I had no luck finding any, my very sweet mother ordered this set for me as a surprise. Thanks, Mom! :) She shakes her head at my obsession and enables me all at the same time...that's love! I figured striping tape was something I'd be able to master fairly quickly. Hey, it's hard can it be to use, right? Well...

For this manicure I used a base of my usual CND Stickey, followed by two coats of Essie No Place Like Chrome. I let it dry and added striping tape, which I then covered with Sally Hansen Midnight in NY and removed the tape. Then, I topped it all with Seche Vite.

What I learned:
In applying the tape, I realize now that in some places it wasn't completely flat on the nail, which means some polish got underneath. I also let the Midnight in NY dry too much on some nails, which caused it to lift in some places when I removed the tape.

Still, I wore this mani for a few days, because it was actually kind of cute (especially if you didn't look too closely), but mostly was my very first time using striping tape! So, while it's clearly not my best work, I'm committed to sharing my failures as well as my's all about the journey.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Colors by Llarowe - Mercy

Greetings! Today's post is about Colors by Llarowe Mercy. Mercy is part of the CbL Fall 2014 collection, and is described as a "deep eggplant intense linear holo". Although on me, the color read more burgundy than eggplant, it was deep, rich, and almost vampy under indoor lighting. When the sun hit it, though, the rainbows came out to play! The holographic effect was so strong I could hardly take my eyes off it.

Please note: Any flaws are the result of my terrible polishing and clean up skills...I'm working on it!  Mercy applied smoothly, and was fully opaque in one coat. That's right, a one-coater! I did apply two coats, though (pure habit), over a base of CND Stickey. I topped it with a coat of Darling Diva Pryzmatic Performance Enhancing Top Coat. I'll be writing more about PETC at a later date.

Photos were taken in a combination of direct and indirect sunlight. I used my flash for the last two in an attempt to capture the holo flame and show off those amazing rainbows.

Generally, I am not a fan of traditional fall colors. I prefer blues and brights year-round, but CbL Mercy is a stunner. Mercy, indeed!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sinful Colors Frankenstein Fun!

Greetings! Today, in the spirit of Halloween, I've attempted a Frankenstein manicure inspired by a super cute mani I saw here by Nidia of Lit From Within. She's got a ton of fun and fabulous artwork posted! For the sake of challenging myself, I decided to enter a fun little contest being hosted by Influenster and Sinful Colors. Without further ado...

I began with a base coat and two coats of Sinful Colors Pine Away. Pine Away is an emerald green with so much shimmer it looks like foil. I'll definitely be pulling it out again for Christmas. I used Sinful's Black on Black and Snow Me White with a striping brush and dotting tools for the stitches, hair and eyes.

So, in keeping with my skill level (or lack thereof) I kept it simple and fun. Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 24, 2014

My First Halloween Manicure

Today, I did my first Halloween manicure! Here, I attempted a spider-cure I saw on YouTube by Gianna of Lancengi, who posts lots of neat nail art tutorials for beginners. The one I picked can be found here. It wasn't the easiest of the three tutorials, and I'm sure I was a little ambitious in choosing the one I did, but it sure was fun trying! I'm showing it off despite the fact that most of my spiders look like baby frogs. :)

Baby spider-frogs?

Colors used: Julep Kaylen, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Good to Grape, Sinful Colors Black on Black, Sinful Colors Tokyo Pearl
Base coat: CND Stickey
Top coat: Seche Vite

Thanks for looking! Where do you get your Halloween mani inspiration?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hello, World!

  So, here first attempt at nail art and the first at writing a blog post, as well! I thought I did okay for a n00b and wanted to share. Hey, I've got to start somewhere, right? So, please look over all my newbie mistakes...I hope to get better at it soon, and I wholeheartedly welcome suggestions! I used a base of butter London Blagger, which is one of my fall favorites. I stamped (which I am also new first ever stamping plates arrived just a few days ago!) using a Cheeky jumbo plate (Z1 bundle, plate E, found on Amazon) and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Gilty Pleasure. I then added different sized dots using J nail lacquer in Light Green and finished with a coat of Seche Vite. I'll likely be the only person who ever sees this, but in the event I'm not, thanks for looking! :)