Saturday, November 30, 2013

Twinsies featuring Jindie Nails Sparkle On The Vine

It's still November so I have one last fall polish post to share! Earlier this fall my polish friend, Joy, and I went on a wine tour and she suggested a twinsies mani for the day. Joy is the one who introduced me to Jindie Nails so I suggested Sparkle on the Vine. This one was still in both of our untrieds and so fitting for a wine tour!

My nails are on the left and Joy's are on the right. She has gorgeous nails, doesn't she?! We used OPI Funkey Dunky, a silver foil, and small silver studs. Joy actually discovered after I stuck my studs down that she didn't have silver, so she flipped hers over and it worked out perfectly.

At the last stop I actually ripped my thumbnail really badly. I believe it ripped because I was using my nail to slide my car fob off of my key ring earlier that day. I was in a hurry and decided to ignore one of the most important nail commandments, Thou Shalt Not Use Thy Nails As Tools, but next time I will use a staple remover like I should have.
When I got home I used Orly Nail Rescue and it saved my nail until it grew out enough to not be painful when I filed it down. Joy was also the one who convinced me to buy ONR to have on hand just in case and I urge you to do the same! I will just file all of my nails into uniformity if needed, but sometimes the break is too low and that's not possible.

Later that evening, Joy sent me a picture of her thumb that had an accident with a ketchup bottle. I swear we were not *that* drunk....
You can purchase Jindie Nails on her website! Joy (IG@JoyRSerio) is now one of Jindie's social media gals, I am so proud of her :-)

What do you think of our twinsies manis? Tell me about your nail tragedies!
Love those cuticles!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Beautiful Cuticles: My Favorite Products

With my nubbins for nails this week I decided it was finally time for a product post. When I first started looking at blogs I was always envious of all the beautiful cuticles. It must be witchcraft! I thought. Well surely Photoshop... I am proud to say that I do no editing of cuticles on this blog and can tell you it is possible without selling your soul or spending hours fiddling with technology.

I want to talk about a few basics so everyone can get started. First I recommend reading THIS POST by The Lacquerologist for some science basics on nails. The Lacquerologist is a trained nail tech and really knows her stuff while making it understandable for us laymen (or laywomen). Please note, I will continue to use the vernacular terms I know we all understand.

Okay, now that you've read the science, here is the beginning routine!

I'm serious. I put mine away in the bathroom so that I will not sit and clip every little piece of skin I see. It's not healthy and ends up making your cuticles look worse. Only for hangnails, no more! While you're at it, throw away the nail clippers and use a file only to shorten and shape your nails (that will be another post).

Step 2: Cuticle Remover
I do this about once to twice a week. I first tried Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover and it worked great so I never looked for anything else. It is affordable, available just about anywhere, and it lasts forever (mine is going on a year and still over 1/4 full).

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover--comes in an orange box!
I do one hand at a time and use an orange stick to gently slough off the remover and dead cuticle, operative word being GENTLE.
Please note: Read the directions as this is a chemical and can be harmful if used improperly. I promise you will be amazed at the difference in your cuticles, however DO NOT be tempted to do it everyday because you will get a chemical-burn-type of thing (and yeah, I know from experience). Trust me, once or twice a week at the most is all that is needed. Especially if you do Steps 3 and 4 religiously.

Step 3: Moisturize
You know from The Lacquerologist's post that the skin around your nails is different from the skin on your hands. In order to best moisturize your cuticles you need special products, not just any old body lotion. Sometimes I can be a real cheapskate, but I have really noticed a difference in my cuticles since I started using specially formulated oils.
Here are the current lotions and potions that I collected from around my house and purse:

Soap & Glory Hand Food, Gold Bond Ultimate Intensive Healing, Sunny's Hand Cream, Avon Moisture Therapy in Intensive and Oatmeal, KBShimmer Lotion
Sunny's Miracle Balm, Glisten & Glow Nail & Cuticle Balm, Badger Balm (not pictured, but is also great--so great my mom stole it from me)

NailNation 3000 Pineapple Cuticle Oil, Butter London Holiday Handbag Cuticle Oil, Glisten & Glow Glis-tics Cuticle Oil, Avon Cuticle Oil Pen, KBShimmer Cuticle Oil Pen, Bliss Kiss Pure Nail Oil Pen, LynBDesigns Bubby & Toot's Cuticle Loot Oil (not pictured--I forgot it I have so many haha, but it smells wonderful!)
Step 4: Repeat Step 3
...several times a day, as needed.

So while I showed you an arsenal of products, these three are my Holy Grails and will likely be my exclusive future purchases now that I know what works best for me:

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover + Hand Food + Bliss Kiss = Beautiful Cuticles!
I hope this has been informative! With the dry winter upon us in the US, December is an excellent time to make this a resolution. I find the best time to do my routine is Sunday and Thursday evenings while vegging out in front of the TV. I also keep lotion and oil on me at all times so I can moisturize whenever I notice my hands and cuticles look or feel dry. Stick with it and it will become a reflex.
It takes 30 days to make something a habit. Just think... by New Year's you can have beautiful and healthy nails!

Check out the "Beautiful Cuticles" tab on my home page for more information and purchasing info on some of these products! And for the love of humanity... I hope you've moisturized ;-)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Nails feat. Hex & Covergirl

I really underestimated how much adjustment my new work schedule was going to need. I am literally waking up when I used to go to bed UGH. I apologize for my unplanned weekend off from posting anything. I lamely tried to get people to post on my facebook page but that appears to be a fail as well. Then I had a bad break and my nails are beyond nubby at this time.... I have some ideas for nail care this week though which I hope will help everyone with the dropping humidity!

So who hasn't seen Catching Fire yet? I went on Saturday with a friend and of course I needed some appropriate nails. They needed to be quick though because that is the story of my life... I wait until the night before to figure out what I want to do hehe. I have two new-to-me brands which I purchased and received at just the right time to inspire this quick look!

For these nails I used:
Undies--Sephora by OPI Hi-Def
Covergirl Rogue Red from the Capitol Collection, 3 thin coats
Gold Studs from Born Pretty Store
"Free Bird" Gold Charm Hex Nail Jewelry

Rogue Red is a foil-metallic polish made up of red, orange, and golden-yellow flakes. I had swatched the Covergirl Capitol Colors on a piece of paper and they are very very sheer. Plus the undies make the polish super bold and they literally look like an ember's glow!

Let's talk about the bird charm. I am in love with Hex Nail Jewelry and I am going to be ordering more for sure. I stuck on my Free Bird with a dab of nail glue a couple hours before I left the house, which is important so the glue is good and dry. I did make sure I was careful when wearing it and it stayed on well even through mitten changes (it went into single digits that night, brr!). When I went to remove the charm I found it popped off fairly easily and I was able to peel off the glue without damaging the polish. I was able to stick it back on the next day, but I wasn't paying attention and it popped off when I opened a cereal box... luckily it just fell into the box and I didn't lose my bird!

Oh, and Catching Fire was amazing and even better than the first!
You can purchase Covergirl Capitol Colors in most drug stores.
You can purchase Hex Nail Jewelry from their website. They are very affordable!
Cuticles should never be on fire, sooth them with some moisture today.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Picture Polish Majesty--Part Two & Stamping!

I finally crashed early last night and got a full night's sleep for today, yay! I swear my brain still does not want to function so early in the morning though. The woman I'm shadowing is basically having me do her job with supervision (which is totally awesome) but right after I got in at 8am I could not completely compute what she was telling me about a form.

Anyway here is my lovely stamping I did over Majesty! I wore Majesty for THREE days, which is unheard of for me. I really really think I should invest in a back-up bottle--it's that perfect.

To see Part One and swatches of Majesty, go here.

I decided to stamp over Majesty with a pretty floral design from Nailz Craze plate NC 03 (you can see the plate's images here). This was the first time I used a Nailz Craze plate and I was very pleased! The images came out nice and crisp after scraping and transferred beautifully--note that a gift card or credit card is the best scraper you can use.

The stamping is definitely... subtle. I really wanted a brown polish but I had no browns that would have stamped. I settled for Konad special white. Must invest in more stamping polishes...

Here is a different angle and lighting so you can see the pattern. It is really very pretty without being too much like grandma's doilies on the couch. I turned the pattern and stamper around a bit to get a different look on each nail. There was no way I would get them to look uniform so I went for randomness.

One last shot with adjusted lighting. I used to have this reverence of indies and only wear them in their true state, like it was blasphemy to alter their beauty with art. Obviously I was mistaken! I think the stamping really adds to the polish and I love it.

You can purchase Nailz Craze plates here.
So did you buy Majesty yet? Have you tried Nailz Craze?
Winter skin is thirsty skin, make sure you moisturize!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Picture Polish Majesty--Part One

Today was my first day at my new job, yay! The first day is always the longest and most boring though.... benefits, rules, safety, blah blah blah. I've been thinking about how much I should disclose about my job and I think all anyone needs to know is I am a social worker (holla at my social work peeps!) and my nails needs to be work appropriate, although from what I saw today I have a bit of leeway. I think as long as I don't stamp skulls over neon green I'll be fine. It will make me explore softer colors and delicate stamping though which I can totally dig.

I decided to pull a truly stunning Picture Polish out of my untrieds for my first day--Majesty. Work appropriate but with a twist! I love PP's blogger collaboration shades and Majesty was made with direction from Sahriah Adeel (view her blog here!). PP tells us that she wanted a universally flattering shade for any occaison. I think they achieved that!

PP can be a bit pricey for me, but when a color is this beautiful and unique I am more than happy to spend my money on it. I took lots of pictures to bring out this tan pinky-nude with a pearly-gold shimmer and plenty of holographic sparkle. Pictures describe this polish much more easily, it is a true chameleon!

I used three thin coats--here you see the best of both the shimmer and the sparkle!

Focus on the shimmer

Adjusted lighting to show off the holo sparkle

Here are some photos to show off the shifting shimmer and holographic sparkle. This polish changes to much depending on the angle and lighting. I literally found myself staring at this polish throughout the day and moving my hand all around. I hope no one noticed.

I can't even take it, Majesty is so perfectly gorgeous. I will be defaulting to this one a lot.
Check back mid-week to see my Part Two--I am feeling the need to stamp this :-)

Visit Picture Polish's website for purchase information and their international stockists.
Remember to moisturize!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stamping: Old Man Pants

I'm not sure, but this could be a total fail here gals.... all I can think of is Old Man Pants. I'm pretty sure my Uncle Butch had a pair of pants in this color and pattern. My husband was also oddly fond of buying plaid old man pants from thrift stores when we were in college and he might have had a pair in brown with pale blue stripes.

Anyway, I just received Essie Parka Perfect from the Winter 2013: Shearling Darling collection. Such a pretty yet understated blue, love! I think it is more gray in real life than it is showing in my photos, but screen settings differ so much I try not to mess with the colors.
After a day of wear I decided to do some stamping and thought about snowflakes or polka dots, something wintery, right? Well then I saw Vivid Lacquer plate 001 and Mentality Prim in my stamping box... this is what happened:

Mentality Prim is a beautiful deep brown stamping holo from Mentality. I don't know how Mentality stays in business because their polishes are such high quality and yet inexpensive! Their stampers are unique, beautiful, and flawless.

As I am sure you remember, Vivid Lacquer makes my favorite stamping plates ever. I found for this image it helped to brush the polish on up and down then left to right to fill in the lines.

I'd really like to point out that this stamping is NOT perfect. I fudged camera angles to make my lines look more straight than they really are. This is my first attempt at straight line stamping--it's hard. But is it good enough to enjoy? Hell yes! Not every mani has to be perfectly executed to be fun. I think it's easy for us nailphiles to look at the top bloggers and feel nail envy (Will Paint Nails For Food--I'm looking at you!). Get inspired by them but have fun, don't be afraid to experiment, and when you have a total fail just take it off and slap on a holo :-)

You can purchase Vivid Lacquer here.
You can purchase Mentality Nail Polish here.
Essie is available just about anywhere and winter polishes are available now.

Any questions, comments, rude remarks about my old man pants?
Remember, moisturized cuticles make any skill level look lovely :-)

Friday, November 15, 2013

CrowToes: Shoot The Butterfly

Posting will get back to normal next week while I'm focusing on getting my life back in order before starting my new job Monday (!). I was telling my husband my cleaning plan for my week off and he decided I shouldn't kill my back, which I admit I would not have been able to move at the end of each day. Anyway, he found a great deal on a cleaning service and they cleaned my house top to bottom, light fixtures to baseboards, moved furniture, and even cleaned the INSIDE of the microwave which was horror-movie scary (I had a latte explosion that morning and I kind of left it for the cleaners... I tipped them very well, don't worry). I suppose the house will need cleaning again in a week though *sigh*

Anyway, onward! I have a stunner to show you today, CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly from this past summer collection One Mad Crazy Summer. It is a beautiful interpretation of a monarch butterfly for your nails. Shoot The Butterfly is a black jelly with orange metallic glitters along with small matte white and holographic glitters. Alas, the holo glitters were the only shy part of this polish in my photos.

I used just one coat of Shoot The Butterfly over a black creme for this mani. While it came out this summer I think it is a gorgeous fall polish, don't you? I couldn't believe the amount of glitter in each stroke and it applied so easily, I only dabbed and smooshed in a few places.

I topped it with two coats of KBShimmer Clearly On Top, which to me is like the Seche of the indie world only better. It's not as stinky, doesn't get gloopy, and is like glass on top of your mani.

This was one of those polishes that got noticed by all kinds of people. It also photographed perfectly--if you take pictures of your manis you will know what I mean, every picture was dead-on!

You can purchase CrowsToes from Llarowe or visit CrowsToes website for more stockists. Llarowe is having a restock Saturday the 16th and Shoot The Butterfly is currently in stock!

Have you tried CrowsToes? I have a few colors by them and I love how unique their polishes are!
Remember to moisturize :-)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hare Polish for Fall 2013: The Coin Operation

I just wanted to write a quick note that my first giveaway is over, the winner has been notified and the prize sent! Thank you to everyone who took a look and decided to stick with me, it means so much :-)

How is it that my week off has become so busy? While I have been getting a lot done, unfortunately nails are not one of them. So I looked into my photos to see if I had any nail art to share and I found some Hare stuff I did in September, yay! I literally own every HARE polish, I can't get enough of what Nikole does! And also bunnies. I did these before officially blogging so I don't remember all the specifics and I think my color-adjusting was off.... I also think I ended up having to pull the green-blue one off of Pinterest because I lost it, too, so photo quality isn't the greatest. But I still love these manis and think they are fairly easy concepts for most people to try or get inspired from.

The polishes I used in today's nail art are from The Coin Operation. All of these beautiful polishes have "flakies of gold and silvery white" (in Nikole's words). These all have excellent formula and coverage, paint carefully though because the flakies can be tough to clean up.

Peepshow Magique & Test Your Love!
Peepshow Magique is a baby pink and Test Your Love! is a bright raspberry pink, both have the lovely gold and silvery flakies. I used a basecoat of a pale pink creme and painted Peepshow on, then sponged Love! closer to my tips with a cosmetic sponge. Love! isn't as bright as alone but I liked the look. I decided to go crazy and add gold studs, too.

So remember how I said earlier flakies can be tough to clean up? Yeah, I had flakie herpes BAD when I was done. I photographed these the next evening after clean-up, showering, and gently scrubbing to get the flakies off. I even used an Elmer's shield around my cuticles. So yeah, won't be doing that again, but isn't the gradient beautiful? If you are afraid to try gradients practice on paper to get the feel of it first. I use cheap-o sponges from Wal-Mart that I cut in half and then cut into even more smaller triangles.... I'll have to take a picture for a future gradient post.

Read My Biorhythm & Zoltar Speaks
Read My Biorhythm is a grass green jelly and Zoltar Speaks is a teal-leaning blue jelly, again both with the gold and silvery flakies. This was my favorite look, and possibly one of my favorite manis of all time.

Index: Read My Biorhythm with pale gold studs
Middle, Thumb (not shown): Read My Biorhythm
Ring: Zoltar Speaks, stamping with Vivid Lacquer plate VL005 and Revlon Gold Coin
Pinky: Revlon Gold Coin
I never tire of skittles--quick, easy, and high-impact!

I also noticed I used different hands for each set of photos. Some days the right hand somehow turns out better than the left, weird! I hope some of you feel inspired to try some nail art looks with indie polishes. If you come up with anything inspired from these manis post them on my facebook wall :-)
Have you loved your cuticles today?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Glitter Guilty Pleasures Box November 2013: Sugar and Spice & Pumpkin Spice Cake

Friday was my last day of work at my old agency. I am going to miss my friend-workers so much! Not gonna miss anything else though, it was time for a change. I start my new job on Nov 18th and it also marks the start of work-appropriate polish. Dun dun dunnn.... think I might need to do some work NOTDs. I have been making a list of what y'all want to see and so I feel bad posting another swatch post. I have a week off to play with art though so I promise it's coming!

Anyway, this is my second Glitter Guilty box of three that I ordered the subscription for.  Just like my first box in October, I love it! It is such a fun and inexpensive treat to look forward to each month. Jessica, the creator of Glitter Guilty, really takes into consideration your likes and dislikes and once again she sent me a polish I already love. Here is what I received in my box:

Monthly Mini: Sugar and Spice
Full-Size Custom: Pumpkin Spice Cake
Mini Mattify Top Coat
Chocolate--I already sampled it and it was delicious

More after the break!

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 2013: Llarowe's A Box, Indied

So even though I was sooo tired I still had to swatch all of these right away when I got my box earlier this week. I am annoyed though at some of my pictures--my pinky nail is still looking all wonky. I had a major nail accident in June this year and I'm still training it to grow in right, blah. Anyway....

I wasn't super excited for the A Box, Indied from Llarowe for November, but I am such a sucker for exclusive and LE polishes. This is very picture heavy, read on to see what I thought after the break!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My first Giveaway!

I recently ordered a mini set of Liquid Sands from OPI's Holiday collection collab with Mariah Carey. I received the wrong set from the seller, who ended up sending me the correct item and telling me to keep the incorrect item as well. I thought I'd share the love and give everyone a chance to win my extra set!

The Prize!

The only mandatory entry for this giveaway is to provide me with your email. In exchange for a chance to win this prize, all I am asking is you take a few minutes to check out my blog and some social media you may already have.

Giveaway starts now and ends Monday night at 12am EST, good luck!

And thank you so much for checking me out :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

KBShimmer for Fall 2013: Turbulence

This was a mani I wore earlier this week. Turbulence is a fall release from KBShimmer this year. I am kind of addicted to KBShimmer and I hope this post shows you why.

KBShimmer says on their website of Turbulence: 
"Turbulence is my nod to the those chilly days full of storms.  A satin matte finish slate gray polish inspired by storm clouds.  Silver flakes are surrounded by micro blue and fuchsia sparks inspired by lightning and rain."
Love that description!

I did actually wear this polish with topcoat for two reasons. 1) I needed it to dry fast and 2) I don't like mattes. I honestly just can't get over the feeling of it, it's like a chalkboard, agh. 
However mattes with shimmer? I can topcoat that and love them. Here is Turbulence with topcoat. 

Even with the matte formula this polish applied so well. I used three coats and one coat of CND Air-Dry.

I can't get over that complex shimmer. Turbulence is so photogenic, too. I am not the best photographer, but this polish loved getting its picture taken.

And a last parting shot. I loved wearing this every minute!

You can purchase KBShimmer polishes at KBShimmer's website. Polishes are a very reasonable $8.75 each, which is no reflection on quality, these polish are perfection!
KBShimmer just released an epic Winter collection that you must check out as well. I wanted to buy all 22 (!) releases, but I had to be realistic for my budget and only bought 6... I hope they arrive soon!

Have you tried KBShimmer yet? What are you waiting for?!
You might want to check out KBShimmer's cuticle oil pens, they are great for hydrating winter-cry cuticles.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Oldie But Goodie: OPI Ink Suede

I'm currently finishing up my last week at my current job. I can't believe I'm moving on yet again, I'm nervous but excited. I still am working plenty though... I got called in today and worked 12 hours, ugh, I am NOT going to miss this on-call nonsense.

I've been short on time lately so I thought I'd show you my favorite way for a quick but gorgeous mani--suede nail polish. I did this mani a week or so ago when I got home after 4am from yet another 12 hour shift. I was still in bed before 6am and also woke up with no mani damage. How I love a suede!

OPI Ink Suede
Ink Suede is a blurple suede polish with silver shimmer, I love the look of this so much. Suedes dry super fast and have this gorgeous matte shimmer. They are easy to apply, the formula is thick but stays right where you put it. Then the next day you can topcoat it for a whole new look!

Ink Suede came out in 2009 with several others which I would love to hunt down. I have suedes from a few different brands but OPI is the best--I think it's because of the pro-wide brush which makes it easier to apply a smooth coat.

I used a toothpick and dotted some nail glue where I wanted the studs and then stuck them on with tweezers. They stayed on really well! I only lost one when I was sleeping (I stuck one back on before going to work the next day) and I only lost one other in a fight with panty during the day haha!

Here is Ink with topcoat. Also gorgeous.

And here is a comparison. This was a weird shot to take, and you can see where I started to pull the studs off my other hand before I decided I needed to take this photo and put on a fresh coat.

Not everyone likes suedes, but I am for sure a fan. I need more suedes in my life! I wonder if different colored shimmer or lighter colors is possible...?

Have you ever tried suede nail polish? Any favorite suedes?
PSA: Your polish should be dry, never your cuticles. This message brought to you by Shelby Lou Nails.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Finger Paints "A Pair Affair" Collection from All Lacquered Up

I consider Michelle of All Lacquered Up fame to be among the pop stars of the polish world. In September this year Michelle and Finger Paints created one of the most amazing collections EVER called "A Pair Affair." I love the pairing concept and the colors are amazing, right up my alley--even the purples! These are the first Finger Paints I've purchased and I am in love. Since this set came in pairs, I decided to try some simple nail art with each pair. Also, rockin' the nubs in these pictures ;-)

Sarong So Right & You Yacht To Know Better
Sarong So Right is an orange-y coral jelly with beautiful holo shimmer.
You Yacht To Know Better is a dusty blue with bright blue shimmer.

This was the pair I was drawn to the most. I love coral and blue polishes and these are so full of win! The holo in Sarong is much more evident in real life... my lightbox kills holos :-(

First I did two coats of Sarong So Right and one coat of HK Girl Topcoat to get it dry.
Then I used some striping tape to tape off the angles, and filled those in with You Yacht To Know Better, removing the striping tape as I went. I only used one thick coat of the blue for some very nice coverage.

Sage It Ain’t So & A Grape Catch
Sage It Ain’t So is a silvery green with glass-fleck shimmer.
A Grape Catch is purple with silver glass fleck shimmer.

I tried to do this dotted feathery effect with a fan brush, I think I should have practiced first though. I read a tutorial that afternoon so I just decided to go for it on my nails :-/

You can see how nice and opaque the colors are though, I didn't do have to do much with my fan brush to cover A Grape Catch with Sage It Ain’t So.

Our Tips Are Tealed & Bare No Secrets
Our Tips Are Tealed is a sandy tan with gold shimmer and glitter.
Bare No Secrets is a green-leaning teal full of shimmer and glitter. In real life it looks mindblowingly 3D.

I saved my surprise favorites for last :-)
I love love love Our Tips Are Tealed and Bare No Secrets together, and polka dots make this so classy.

I just used a dotting tool for this look. I don't care what anyone says though, polka dots are hard to get even and straight! I have to really take my time to get them to look any good.

Removal Tip--I used the foil method to remove all of these to avoid shimmer/glitter herpes. I use this method for almost all of my polishes to contain shimmer and pigment so I don't have it all over my fingers.

I really really really hope that Finger Paints will let Michelle do another collab! My photos don't do these justice, you need these in your stash now. These are all still available on Sally Beauty's website and if you use Michelle's Link, you will be supporting her blog :-)

Do you follow All Lacquered Up? What do you think of her collection?
Remember to moisturize, that foil method can be rough on your skin!
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