Monday, September 29, 2014

Subtle Stamping with China Glaze & a-england

Purchased By Shelby Lou

I have been so tired lately. Is it the change in weather? Probably just staying up too late playing with nails. Make sure you check out the facebook-only giveaway that I am part of this month with the Hobby Polish Bloggers. You could win up to $165 in cash to blow on polish! It ends September 30th. Make sure you stay tuned in October for some fun things I have planned for my 1st Blogaversary, too!

I have been so drawn to purples lately, is something happening to me? I swear I am not usually into purple but I wore it all last week and then have another purple on as we speak. Here is a quick swatch of an oldie but goodie, China Glaze Jungle Queen. This beauty is from China Glaze's On Safari collection from Fall 2012. It's one of those collections I love wearing again and again.

China Glaze Jungle Queen

Then of course I decided some stamping was in order after I wore this for a day. Because I'm always like:

-Shelby Lou Nails
I used a-england Ascalon with an image from MoYou London Fashionista 07. I love the subtle sparkle it adds in the brocade pattern! I am branching out more and more in my stamping colors and it pleases me greatly.

China Glaze Jumgle Queen
Stamp: MoYou London Fashionista 07 & a-england Ascalon

Tell me what colors you are reaching for this fall!

MoYou London

Have you loved your cuticles today?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Zoya Ultra PixieDust for Fall 2014

Press Sample

I have a love-hate relationship with textures. Sometimes I love them and sometimes they make me want to scream. I have a different opinion at any given second haha! When I received this fall's trio of Ultra PixieDusts from Zoya I swatched them all on a nail wheel just to get an idea of what I was working with. I noticed the next day that they had all dried a little different and decided that a full-on wear test was in order for these so my swatches would be more accurate. Below are my fully-dried swatches.

Zoyas from left to right:
Noir, Arianna, & Oswin
A couple notes on my swatches. I wore Noir and Oswin for a full day before taking pictures. All swatches show 3 coats, no basecoat or topcoat because Zoya told me not to (well, not me personally but I decided to do it how they recommended this time around). I started with a first thin coat to get close to my cuticles, did a second thick coat, and dabbed on the third to fill in any barer spots. Leave plenty of dry time between coats. This fall's Ultra Pixies feature big and small metallic glitters embedded in that sugary pixie texture Zoya is known for. Lets get to the full swatches now!

Zoya Noir
Fall 2014 Ultra PixieDust
I will start with my favorite and the one I wore first, Noir. Noir is a dark plum texture, nice and vampy for fall. This one dried down like a heavily glittered jelly and felt smoothly bumpy (omg does that even make sense?) like the skin of a avocado. I liked this one so much--the unique look that wasn't a tactile nightmare, yay! The bad news: Since I didn't wear any basecoat I had two big old chips on my right hand by the end of the day. Next time I will wear it with basecoat, and there will be a next time.

Zoya Oswin
Fall 2014 Ultra PixieDust
Oswin is a red textured polish, true red like blood. The texture is very sugary and matte, it feels like sandpaper on your nails. Something you must understand at this point: I HATE sand paper, chalk boards, chalk, terracotta, dusty concrete or decks... omg just thinking about them gives me goosebumps. I knew this one was going to be tough for me to wear but I didn't realize how tough. As soon as they were dry and I started getting ready for bed, I wanted to rip my nails off. They caught on my fuzzy blanket which was highly annoying, like static cling on your nails, but I do have to admit they didn't ruin any fabrics I came into contact with. At work I wanted to scream every time I had to touch paper (which is all day). When I got home to photograph them I noticed that they looked a little worse for the wear, too. The matte polish had worn off some of the texture which was showing through silver. I did a couple touch-ups before photographing. I wanted to love this red texture but I'm sorry... I can't. Don't hate me. (Bonus points if you get that reference!)

Zoya Arianna
Fall 2014 Ultra PixieDust
Arianna is a pinky-red texture. The texture is more on the sugary side but not quite as sand-paper-y as Oswin. Unfortunately I just couldn't make myself wear Arianna to work after my day with Oswin, but I do plan to try it for a weekend of lounging instead of paperwork haha. I let it dry for an hour before photographing but after a few more hours it will get a little more matte. I do like the look of the glitters glowing in the texture in Arianna and Noir!

So, bit of a mixed review there. Thoughts on textures? Personally, I will stick to my texture pinky accent and Noir.

Zoya Ultra PixieDust

Have you loved your cuticles today?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Octopus Party Nail Lacquer Duo: Glow For The Gold & Gold Vibrations

Purchased By Shelby Lou

Oh blogging, I always have such good intentions...

Before we check out the polish, go enter the mega facebook-only giveaway I am participating in going on right now. You could win $75, $90, or $165 cold hard cash to spend on the polish of your choice! Check out my post here for more information and to enter the giveaway. Make sure you check out some of the other lovely bloggers you may have been missing out on as well.

Today's polish is a new-to-me brand: Octopus Party Nail Lacquer, or OPNL. OPNL is a newer indie out there who is killin' it as far as I am concerned. I have always read good things about the brand and had been envying this gold duo for quite some time. One of my friends was raving about it and it was finally all over--I ran to buy the last duo!

Octopus Party Nail Lacquer
Gold Duo
Glow For The Gold & Gold Vibrations

OPNL's gold duo comes in two 7ml bottles and the cutest little bag printed with the OPNL logo. I love the adorable packaging and fabric. What can I say? Indies win my heart for this very reason, a package that feels like a present! And then there is the polish...

Octopus Party Nail Lacquer
Gold Duo
Glow For The Gold & Gold Vibrations

Gold Vibrations is a gold holographic polish, somewhere between yellow-gold and antique gold. The formula is thin and has to be built up. I have four thin coats shown in my swatch, but it did not feel thick on my nail. While it is thin I did not have any issues with pooling or dragging when I built up my coats. There is an air bubble on my middle finger, that is from my topcoat (a crummy one I am trying to just use up, ugh).

Glow For The Gold is a yellow-gold glitter bomb with metallic and holographic glitters. Sparkle-tastic gold rainbows! I used two coats over two coats of Gold Vibrations. Very nice glitter formula, spreads well but doesn't pool or clump. I can't wait to try this in a gradient!

Overall Octopus Party Nail Lacquer has made a great first impression on me. Both of the golds are staples that I can see using in nail art and alone, especially that gold holo for a no-clean-up mani when I'm in a rush. I am also really pleased with how well the yellow looks on my skintone! Additionally, because I like to support nice people, I have only ever heard good things about the maker, Dave, and he enclosed a little note about me getting the last duo--how sweet!

Has anyone else out there tried Octopus Party Nail Lacquer yet? Check out OPNL's facebook and instagram for sneak-peeks of the Halloween Collection, releasing this Friday (9/26)! I already have a couple on my wishlist ;-)

Octopus Party Nail Lacquer on Etsy

Have you loved your cuticles today?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hobby Polish Bloggers Facebook-Only Giveaway!

If you haven't heard, Facebook is no longer going to allow "like-gating" through giveaways as of November 5th. There are a lot of feelings about this... but mostly that Facebook is being silly (other terms may have been used but I am in polite company right now).

Anyway, members of the Hobby Polish Bloggers are having one last all-out-facebook-only-like giveaway! The prizes are EPIC. There will be three winners of PayPal funds to blow on nail polish of their choice. Take a look at these amounts!

First Prize $165
Second Prize $90
Third Prize $75

Here is a list of the lovely Hobby Polish Bloggers who contributed to the awesome prizes. Be sure to check out what you might be missing!

A Little Polish
Addicted to Polish
BeginNails: Every Journey Has A Beginning
Canadian Nail Fanatic
Carinae L'etoile's polish stash
Copycat Claws
Doctor Crafty
Fashion Footing
I Feel Polished
Imperfectly Painted
Lavish Layerings
Les essais beauté de Schette
Lit From Within
Lustrous Lacquer
Manic Talons
Manicure Addict
Pamper with Polish
Peer Pressure Polish
Plump and Polished 
Polish Galore
Polished and Glittered
Sammy Gail's Nails
Sassy Shelly
Shelby Lou Nails
The Dalai Lama's Nails
The Polished Hippy
The Polished Mommy
The Sparkling Hoard
xoxo, Jen

The giveaway starts NOW and runs until September 30th
See terms and conditions for more information.
Thank you for your support and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you loved your cuticles today?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ah, the first mani of Fall...

Purchased By Shelby Lou
Press Sample

It's time, my friends. Fall is upon us and thus the first mani of the season is in order. Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons--the colors, the temperature, the pumpkin-everythings... But I digress. I went to my parents' house today in the country (where I grew up, cows literally outnumber people) and we had goulash with the back door open; you could smell the slightly chilly leaf-y smell that tells you fall is almost here!

For this fall mani I started with two coats of Pahlish Bad Wolf, a taupe creme with warm shimmer. When I'm doing a whole stamping mani I try to wear my base for a day or use Pretty & Polished's Swift Sparkle Top Coat because--holy crap--it dries so fast. I have to time it one of these days to prove my hunch that it is even better than Seche.

For my leaves I used MoYou London Mother Nature 07. This is one of those full-image plates that I am pretty much clueless on how to use but keep buying. I figured this would be a good one to finally start with because I'm just stamping individual leaves all over the place, how can I mess this up? I need to give myself polish pep-talks haha! I painted in the image I wanted and kept a precision q-tip handy to wipe off the other leaves I didn't want before I just went to town stamping layers and layers of leaves. I used Zoya polishes for the stamps: Nyssa (although it got lost in the bottom layer), Veronica, Claire, and Emilia. I know I look like some crazy pro-Zoya spokesperson, but the cremes I've gotten to review this year are just fantastic stampers.

For this manicure:
Pahlish Bad Wolf
MoYou London Mother Nature 07
Zoya Nyssa, Veronica, Claire, & Emilia

When I was done with this mani it didn't look that great to me. I think the close-up pictures do it more justice than seeing it in person, how is that for ironic. Ah well, I finally conquered a full-image plate! Who else is excited for fall?

MoYou London

Have you loved your cuticles today?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lemming: Pahlish Sarey's Berry

Purchased By Shelby Lou

I'm about to show you a polish you can't easily obtain, and for this I apologize. I just know us nailphiles have been all there. You see a polish and suddenly you lose your mind. It is so unique and perfect and you just can't get it out of your head. Every time you see a swatch you get a little flutter in your chest and you know this polish must be yours. You think about owning it and wearing it randomly throughout the day, even while engaging in non-polish activities. You might even put out an ISO or spend copious amounts of money to obtain it (Only a kidney? Shut up and take my useless one!). You have a lemming--and you have it bad.

Allow me to introduce Sarey's Berry.

I am not a purple person. I never have been. But for some reason Sarey's Berry just got under my skin! I'm usually too beat on a Friday night when Pahlish restocks to stalk the Bespoke Batches. But when Pahlish announced they were going to bring back some Bespokes for a preorder I set my alarm. I had that maniacal glint in my eye and I frantically clicked to make sure, even though it was a one-hour preorder window, I was still among the first to checkout. In case of any sudden pigment shortages you know.

Sarey's Berry
Bespoke Batch

I can't even decide how to describe Sarey, so I'm going to go with: An orchid crelly with translucent white flakies, purple shimmer, and there is something blue about it I can't put my finger on. The lighting changes this shade anywhere from violet to fuchsia, and in all its forms I adore it.

Pahlish Sarey's Berry
Left: With flash
Right: Without flash

I tried to do some stamping over Sarey. I'm only sharing one picture because I feel like I ruined her with attempting a straight-line image (sadness). I have super-curved nails and I just can't seem to get straight-line stamping to work. Any advice would be appreciated! I used a big squishy stamper for this, maybe I should have gone firmer with a rocking motion.... Oh well, at least I can't be accused of being perfect! You can see the clear flakies on my ring finger better where I had to wipe off a stamp that didn't work out. The stamping did look better in person. Like from a normal human viewing distance and not with close-up macro focus.

Pahlish Sarey's Berry
Stamped with MoYou London Pro XL 02 &
Just Ricarda Blackout

Pahlish restocks every Friday at 7pm Central--you could be reading this just in time! While this one is no longer available there are many other pretties to tempt you, including the Bespoke Batches and September Duo, which I will be purchasing myself tonight. Tell me about your lemming!


Have you loved your cuticles today?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Zoya Ignite Collection for Fall 2014

Press Sample 

At long last, I bring you the second half of Zoya's fall collection! If you missed the Entice Collection you can view my swatches and review (and stamping!) here. I hate to kind of throw these all at you and run, but such is life and I promise I'll get some nail art done with them in the future.

The Ignite Collection is made up of six polishes described by Zoya as "liquid metals." They are all super-pigmented jellies with all sorts of lovely silver, gold, and sometimes other colored shimmer sprinkled in. They do look like molten metal without frosty chrome-ness, which is awesome in my book. The shimmer you see stuck to the bottle isn't exactly what comes out on the nail since the jelly is so deeply colored, but you can see all the shimmery goodness that will be swimming on your nails.

All of my swatches show two medium coats of color. I feel like a broken record, but with all the pigment Zoya packs in I should just make this a given--paint carefully and keep an orange stick nearby to immediately clean up any time you bump into or flood your cuticles. When you do your cuticle sweep the pigment cleans up nicely but there is still a sparkle herpes alert. Clean up may leave you with a bad case but it will wear off after a couple handwashes. In a few of my swatches you can see what looks like tip wear. This is not due to a top coat or actual wear, it is my lack of wrapping my second coat of polish. For all intents and purposes, these are jellies and need the second coat wrapped, which I was careful to do for my last couple swatches.

Zoya Autumn
Copper Liquid Metal

Zoya Teigen
Cranberry Liquid Metal

Zoya India
Deep Red Plum Liquid Metal

Zoya Sansa
Eggplant Liquid Metal

Zoya Remy
Deep Blue Liquid Metal
Zoya Yuna
Warm Gray Liquid Metal

I felt like these polishes were so amazing they didn't need any accents. The brilliance in real life really is like polished metals and enamels on your nails. My favorites would have to be Yuna and Teigen, both work appropriate but so fun. Tell me what you are eyeing for your stash!


Have you loved your cuticles today?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Things I'm Loving: Hand & Cuticle Moisture

Purchased By Shelby Lou

Hey all! I can't believe my vacation is almost over, Monday is going to be rough. I got a lot of house projects taken care of and switched over my decor to fall. Fall is by far my favorite season and I love that I can leave all the decorations up for three months (September 1st to November 30th, baby!). I also love that everything for breakfast now has a pumpkin option (Starbucks PSL--I'm looking at you). I met up with some nail friends and old friends over my break and spent some quality time with my husband and my kitties. I also read some frivolous magazines that had piled up. All in all a wonderful vacation! Oh yeah, but I did forget about blog stuffs... oops. Okay, I'll make up for that now.

Things I'm Loving! Hand & Cuticle Care Products

Today I want to share the hand and cuticle products I am using and loving right now. I like to try new stuff and am always looking for the next best thing. But the products I'm using right now... I don't know if it's possible to get better!

Stock image from Amazon.

For general moisture I have been using OPI Avojuice. I recently got a couple bottles on clearance at Ulta, score! Avojuice is that wonderful soak-right-in-without-feeling-greasy lotion you've been searching for, perfect for summer. The fragrances are nice, not overpowering. I can be sensitive to floral fragrances but I actually have two florals and they don't bother me at all--I love them! I also like to use this while swatching or taking photos because it replenishes moisture on my hands and cuticles without looking greasy.

Click here to see the Starter/Refill Kit for Bliss Kiss!
Image from Nail Care HQ Website.

Generally for my cuticles I use Bliss Kiss Pure Nail Oil. I can't rave enough about this oil, it is life changing. I really urge you to visit Ana's website at Nail Care HQ to read testimonials for yourself. I don't know what the secret of this oil is, it is not only moisturizing but also healing. I do need to note though: I gave my mom an unscented pen to try and she ended up being allergic to one of the ingredients (we are guessing there may be chamomile in it based on her past reactions). If you have any allergies you might want to contact Ana first. She is a lovely person and always willing to help!

Cosmetic Sanctuary did a great review on
365 Days of Color, check it out!

For fragrance treats and intensive treatments I go to 365 Days Of Color. 365DOC has an insane number of fragrances (check out her detailed spreadsheet here) but my favorite is Lavender, it is seriously the best lavender scent ever. Once a week I take off my polish and slather on Sunny's Hand Cream for the night covered with cotton gloves. I can have crusty mummy hands at night and in the morning my hands are soft and plump like a fat happy baby's. I keep Sunny's Miracle Balm at work. It's a little greasy if you overuse it but it is not sticky at all. I recommend trying a sampler pack, you can choose all different fragrances for each product, too! There is also a fall exclusive box coming out mid-month, make sure you follow 365DOC for a heads-up about the release.

LUSH Lemony Flutter, Handy Gurugu, and Ultrabalm

Lastly, LUSH Cosmetics. Oh Lush, where have you been all my life? I had always heard about Lemony Flutter, but took awhile to finally pull the trigger and buy it. When I finally went in to a store this big guy with a crazy beard and curly mustache massaged Lemony Flutter into my cuticles and I was sold. You need so little and can see your cuticles just soaking up the magic. I also picked up Handy Gurugu which is a lovely hand lotion, it soaks right in! All of Lush's products are nicely concentrated and are to be used sparingly, I seriously don't know if I can get through that whole tub of Lemony Flutter in a year. When I compare Lush to other similar products and factor in the amount you need to achieve the same result (and better!) these are very fairly priced products. I am excited to see how Lemony Flutter gets me through the winter. I have also added this into my cotton-glove routine with great results.

Oh and that guy who demonstrated Lemony Flutter to me? I was highly amused to find out that he had also made my tub of Lemony Flutter--Thanks, Corey, it works great!

Lush Lemony Flutter made by Corey!

You can check out my Pinterest board, The Arsenal, to see what other stuff I am using right now on my nails.

OPI Avojuice
Bliss Kiss Pure Nail Oil
365 Days Of Color
LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Have you loved your cuticles today? What products are you loving or want to try right now?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Inspired by Hare Polish: Hidden Treasures in a Bowl of Roses

Purchased By Shelby Lou 

Not only is today Labor Day, it is the beginning of my week-long vacation, woot! I'm hoping to get a lot of blog stuffs done and play with some techniques I haven't done before. I've also got a few house projects lined up. Okay so I'm bad at taking vacations. Anyway, today I'm getting back to my first love--skittles. I've done so much swatching lately and needed to shake it up. Hare Polish and similar glitter-packed goodness are perfect for the easy skittles I'm about to show you.

I started with Hare Polish Hidden Treasures in a Bowl of Roses (herafter abbreviated as HTiaBoR) from the Viva Los Angeles collection. This is easily one of my favorite Hares, the color palette is so up my alley. HTiaBoR is a dusty periwinkle with black, white, neon pink, and gold glitters along with gold shimmer. According to the Hare description there is also neon green glitter, but I don't see it. Maybe the green looks gold to me? I painted three thin coats of HTiaBoR on my pointer and middle fingers. To see what I mean about thin coats, see my post here. I reeeeally want to redo that post.... ugh I was addicted to cuticle nippers and they look awful. Hydrated but awful lol. HTiaBoR applies like a typical glitter-packed crelly, thin coats, drying time, and practice are my best tips.

Hare Polish
Hidden Treasures in a Bowl of Roses
Accent nail: OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls,
MoYou London Sailor 05, Just Ricarda Stamping Black
Pinky: China Glaze Bump In The Night

Out of the glitter colors in HTiaBoR I used black and white for some accents. I love me some black and white! I keep all of my blacks, whites, and other neutrals like nudes, silvers, and golds in the same drawer to make it easy to pick out coordinating polishes.

On my pinky I did two coats of China Glaze Bump In The Night. It is a really nice texture, but it is also super-pigmented and caused some clean-up problems. I painted very carefully and just wanted to do a cuticle sweep, but then all the pigment pooled into my cuticles. Boo.

For my ring finger I did OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls then stamped it with MoYou London Sailor 05 and Just Ricarda Blackout. MBSW is a classic must-have OPI. I picked a more subdued white because bright white was not in keeping with the dusty color palette. I love MoYou plates and I think this wavy pattern is my new favorite image. Blackout was a fabulous stamper. It is super-pigmented but not too thick and easy to work with. I for sure need some more Just Ricarda stampers, her Glossy Glam is awesome as well! My stamping isn't perfect, but it was my first shot and good enough to enjoy. I hate redoing things because it sucks all the fun out of it. Don't get me wrong, I redo stuff sometimes, but other times you have to balance enjoyment and perfectionism.

I have been loving this mani immensely for the last few days. I almost can't bear to take it off! I must do more skittles. What is your favorite nail art look to do?

Hare Polish
Just Ricarda
MoYou London

Have you loved your cuticles today?
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