Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Movember Mustache Mani

Last Monday, The Trace Face Files posted about Moustache Mani Monday in support of prostate cancer awareness month. And she invited all of her readers to participate along with her. I didn't get mine done til this weekend, so I'm posting it today for my Mustache Monday. Also, today she posted pics that her readers submitted, and mine is included! You can check it out here, or right here:

Orly Sheer Nude with L.A. Colors Art Deco Black

Bonus pic of me having fun with my mustache! 

After a few drinks, my friends and I end up drawing mustaches on the sides of our fingers and holding them up above our lips. Ah, the crazy fun we have with finger-staches! That's why I had to do my mustache upside down, so that I could have a little fun with it!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My First Dupe and a Comparison of Olive Cremes

When I saw that a couple of my local grocery stores started carrying OPI polishes, and even had some of the Pirates Of The Caribbean collection that I never saw anywhere else, I picked them up several times, but always put them back thinking that I probably already owned something similar. But I kept seeing bloggers post pictures of manicures that included polishes from the collection, and I thought, I've just got to get at least a couple of them. Also, I had talked about having a POTC movie marathon with a few friends, since none of us have seen all of them. And I thought it would be fun to do pirate-themed manicures for us girls while we watched the movies. So having a couple of the polishes from the collection would just be perfect! 

So I did some research and decided I wanted to get Steady As She Rose and Skull And Glossbones. But when I went back to the store, they had already sold the last Skull And Glossbones : (. But for some reason I still wanted to get two polishes, so I got Steady As She Rose and Stranger Tides. Unfortunately, when I got back home, I realized that Stranger Tides looked a lot like another polish I already had in my stash that I had bought just a couple months earlier, Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Creamy Olive. So I decided to swatch them both in a direct comparison.
(Sorry for the bad cleanup! This has been sitting in my Drafts for a while, and I've gotten much better at it since I took these pictures!)
Can you tell which is which? This is 2 coats of OPI Stranger Tides on my pointer and ring fingers, and 1 coat of Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Creamy Olive on my middle and pinky fingers. The formula on Stranger Tides is thinner than Creamy Olive, which is why it took 2 coats to reach the same level of opacity. Because of that, and the higher price on OPI, I prefer Sally Hansen Creamy Olive much more to OPI Stranger Tides. In fact, I'm a little disappointed that I spent the extra money on it when I already owned a cheaper dupe with a better formula. If that weren't the case, I would probably be just as happy with Stranger Tides as I am Steady As She Rose. But, oh well. It happens. 
I do think it's funny that I can't find Sally Hansen Creamy Olive anywhere now, though. It must have been part of a Spring or Summer collection. I just picked it up at Walgreens the first week of August when I was first really getting into my obsession with nail polish and nail art, just because I thought it was a pretty color. Which must have been what I was thinking when I decided to buy it again as OPI Stranger Tides. At least I have it for my POTC party. Or maybe, since it's only been swatched once, I'll use it as part of my first giveaway, when I hit my first big milestone : ) 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Frankenstein Water Marble Halloween Mani

Okay, just a real quick post to show you my last Halloween mani, what I'm wearing today. Frankenstein & water marble nails!
 Sally Hansen Limestone with Tic Tac Green Litter, Wet n Wild Black Creme, French White & LA Colors Art Decco Black Liner

I've seen a bunch of Frankenstein manis this month, so I decided to try my hand at it. Again, I wasn't so sure I could pull it off on all 10 nails, so I opted for accent nails, with water marble on the rest. He didn't turn out quite as good as I hoped, or as good as my practice nail. So I must show you my nail wheel of practice Halloween nail art!

 Here's a closeup of my practice Frank, he turned out so good!

I'll come back later and give more info on each one, inpspirations and polishes used, but for now, enjoy the pics!

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

My Blood Spatter Halloween Mani

I remembered that I had Konad plate m21 with the paint splatter image (that I loved, but hadn't even used yet!), and I wondered if I used it with red polish if it would look like blood spatter... for Halloween of course... and it does!
Orly Dazzle stamped with Konad Red & Black and m21 & m28

I've seen quite a few "bloody" Halloween manis this month, and most of them have either a white, off white, or nude background, but I wanted to try something different. So I started with a silver foil background of Orly Dazzle, which I really love. 

I tested a couple of different reds, thinking that a darker red would look more like blood, or at least fake blood. I even picked up Sally Hansen Cinna-snap at the grocery store thinking it might be more perfect than anything I already had. But when I tested it on paper, it looked more purple stamped over the silver. Then I tried Sinful Colors Ruby Ruby, but it looked more like hot pink. So I actually tried my Konad Red Special Polish as a last result, and it turned out the best. I think because it is thicker and obviously made for stamping, so it actually stamped the truest red than my previous two attempts with regular polish. The other two polishes still stamped well, just not the color that I wanted. 
Sinful Colors Ruby Ruby, Konad Red Special Polish & Sally Hansen Cinna-snap

I wanted more than just blood spatter, and I wanted to use the other stamping images I had bought specifically for Halloween just one more time. So I stamped the skull and crossbones on my middle fingers, and the spider on my thumbs, both with Konad Black Special Polish, and both from Konad plate m28. I tried purposely stamping the spiders at an angle this time rather than perfectly centered. I got the angle part right, but they both ended up further to the side of the nail than I wanted. And my top coat smeared it just a little bit. But it still looks good though. I love these little spiders in black! So fun for Halloween!

Thanks for reading & Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Second Halloween Mani

Glow in the dark ghosties! I got this idea from Sarah at Chalkboard Nails. She did a whole mani of these cuter-than-scary ghosts. But I wasn't so confident in my abilities, so I decided to just do an accent on my ring finger. 

First I painted a base of Sally Hansen Wet Cement on all nails. Then I used a dotting tool and Sally Hansen French White to draw the ghosts freehand on my ring fingers. I had just picked up a mini Sally Girl Glow In The Dark polish at Sally's, so I dabbed it on top of the white ghosts. I also painted it over the Wet Cement on the rest of my nails, hoping it would show through the crackle, but to the naked eye it didn't glow. Then I painted the eyes and mouth on the ghosts with a dotting tool and Sally Hansen Black Creme. Sadly, they got smeared by my top coat (Damn you Seche Vite!), but since it's a Halloween mani, it kinda works, right? : ) Since I didn't want to paint ghosts on all nails, I wanted to try out Sinful Colors Black Crackle I had just bought at Walgreens, and even though I am a little over the crackle phase, I actually like it with this mani. And I think Halloween is probably the most appropriate time of the year to use black crackle, don't you? Oh, and I did try one more coat of Glow In The Dark over the black crackled nails, just to see if it would work. It didn't glow in the dark, but it did add the slightest sparkle to the black crackle. You can see it more in the pictures than in real life. 
 With the Camera Flash you can see more of the Glow In The Dark sparkle over the Black Crackle.
In the Sunlight it looks a little like fresh asphalt.
 Here it is glowing in the dark! And with the Twilight setting on my camera, you can actually see it glowing under the Black Crackle!
One more glowing shot where you can actually read the Sally Girl bottle.

These are so cute and so much fun! I'm loving Wet Cement so far this fall, more than I thought I would. And the fact that I can use it for Halloween makes it even better!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My First Comparison - Julep Miranda and Amy

Two of my first Boho Chic selections from Julep were Miranda and Amy, and at first glance they seemed similar. I saw some bloggers wonder why Julep wanted to send them Amy one month after they received Miranda in their Julep Maven boxes, when they both appeared to be in the turquoise family. This is kinda true, but I still decided to get them both because I like this family of colors anyhow. And once I had them both, it was clear that they are just as different as they are similar. So I wanted to do a direct comparison to show you just how different they are. 

Miranda is on my pointer and ring fingers, and is more of a seafoam green. 2 coats and gorgeous! Amy is on my middle and pinky fingers. It is a beautiful turquoise blue. This is just 1 coat and perfect opacity! It is a little lumpy on my middle finger, but that was just me. Sorry, I really should have re-done that finger, but I didn't really notice it til I was looking through the pictures, and since these are just swatches for color comparison, I didn't bother. 

Anyhow, I absolutely LOVE both of these colors, and the formula of these cremes is just to die for! I love them both. My husband thought I was wearing a full mani like this! I didn't, but maybe someday I will! Or maybe next summer I'll mix and match my fingers and toes, that would be fun! 

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My October Julep Maven Boho Glam Box & Giveaway Win Nail Mail

After wearing my first halloween mani for 4 days, I loved it, but it was so dark, I was ready to change it up with something lighter. So I was super-excited to get my October Julep Maven box just in time! (If you don't know about the Julep Maven program, click here to read my first post all about it, or click here to try it out for yourself.) First, let me show you what it included:
A full-sized tube of Glow On, an age defying hand brightener (ie. lotion) that I like much better than the regular Hand Cream they sent in the September box. This smells and feels so much better. And of course, the nail colors! Malin - a light pink champagne shimmer - and Gayle - a deep eggplant purple creme that is new for this holiday season.
Malin was the perfect breath of fresh air I needed after my last dark mani. I love the color, but my biggest complaint is that it chips so easily. It chipped on me in less than 24 hours. I reapplied and it chipped again in less than 12 hours! It is possible that it was either my base or top coat, or maybe I just had a nail that was prone to peeling no matter what. I will try it again later to find out for sure, and will hope for the best, because I do love this color.
I know, I know, I was just wearing a dark purple before I wore Malin for 2 days, and yes, part of me wanted to wear something else for a few more days before trying another dark purple, but I really wanted to swatch my other new Julep nail color so I could include it in my post. So here is Gayle. In sunlight on top and flash on bottom. This one has a wonderful formula just like all of the other cremes I've received from Julep so far. I think this was just one coat! I wore it alone for one day, and then I received my giveaway prize from Concrete And Nail Polish! So I just had to try out Nubar 2010!
My first Nubar and my first flakie!!! Can you tell I love it?! This has got to be my most picture-heavy post yet! And this is only one coat of Nubar 2010, it's that flakie!
Here's a pic of everything I got in my first giveaway nail mail - Tic Tac 174, Green Litter, 231, Nubar 2010, and she also included the cute Sonia Kashuk makeup bag as a surprise! I love it so much! Thanks April! You'll always be my first...giveaway win that is! 

Well, I think this post is long enough!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My First Halloween Mani

In past years, the most I've done on my nails for Halloween was either press on some fake nails I bought at the drug store, or just paint my own a dark blood red. I was never confident enough to even try black polish on my short nubbins, I was always afraid it would look too goth on me. I only recently purchased my first bottle of black polish for nail art purposes. I actually like the look of it on my healthy nails! : )  So I used it for underwear with my first Halloween nail art.

1 coat of Wet 'n Wild Black Creme, topped with 1 coat of Revlon Facets of Fuchsia, stamped with Orly Dazzle and Konad m28

I absolutely love this combination! I was able to wear it for 4 days, with some touchups on the tips and extra coats of top coat every day to freshen it up. Otherwise it wore extremely well. One thing I noticed after I stamped my very last spider just a little crooked, is that I think they would look even better if I purposely stamped them all a little crooked rather than trying to center them perfectly on each nail, which is near impossible anyway! Stamping them a little crooked would be much easier to do, and it makes them look more like they are crawling on my nails rather than dead specimens from science class or something. So I still love this mani, but I'll definitely try to improve on it the next time I stamp my little spiders.

I bought Orly Dazzle specifically to stamp with, since the last silver I tried stamping with (Sally Hansen Celeb City) wasn't thick enough and turned out barely noticeable. Dazzle worked better than Celeb City, but I've seen other bloggers stamp with silver polishes that just pop, and I'm having trouble finding the perfect one for me in stores. Maybe if I leave the bottle open on Dazzle for a little while it will thicken up a bit and will have the consistency I'm looking for in a silver stamping polish. Otherwise I might be forced to buy the silver Konad Special Nail Polish. What do you guys think? Do you have a go-to silver polish that you love to stamp with? And is it still available in stores? I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below, so let me know.

Oh, I almost forgot! When I first bought Facets of Fuchsia about a month ago now, I wore it by itself for a few days. I took pictures of it then and planned to post them as soon as I had the chance. But when I finally got back to posting last weekend, I couldn't find those pictures to save my life! I thought I had somehow lost them forever. Then I finally found them, just in time to add them to this post. So, if you haven't already seen enough pictures of this beautiful polish in all of its glory, here you go:

2 coats of Revlon Facets of Fuchsia and 1 coat of Seche Vite top coat

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My First Giveway Win & Military-Inspired Mani

I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long, September got really crazy for me! My Mom came to visit for about a week, then I caught a terrible cold the following week, that I'm still trying to get over. I have been doing my nails and taking pictures, but I just haven't had time to post, or felt like posting when I did have the time. But, I have several new followers, which is awesome! Thank you so much for following my little blog! I promise to try to post more often, and hopefully you'll enjoy!

I do have some exciting news. Yesterday I won my very first giveaway! And two new brands of nail polish for me! I won three Tic Tacs and one Nubar from one of my favorite blogs, Concrete And Nail Polish. Thank you so much, April! You totally made my day! And I can't wait to try them all, especially Green Litter! ha!

Okay, so now on to some nail art! This one was somewhat inspired by one of my best friends who just got back home from Iraq this week. Although I'm sure he'd love the idea that he inspired nail art! I wore Finger Paints Military Green alone for one day, and had a bit of tip wear and shrinkage thanks to Seche Vite. So I wanted to try my hand at a Military Chic mani a la Nailside. Jane makes it look so easy and awesome. But I didn't have any gold polish for the tips, the closest I had was copper, and when I tried it on paper, I just didn't like it as well. So I decided to stamp something, since it had been a while since I stamped anything. I tried a bunch of different stamp and color combinations on paper, and finally ended up with this:

Finger Paints Military Green stamped with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Slick Slate and konad m62

I didn't get all the stamps centered on each nail, and you can already see some shrinkage on my ring finger, thanks again to SV, but overall I'm pretty happy with this mani. It still has a bit of a military theme to it, and I love these colors together. Finger Paints Military Green really does look a lot better on the nail than in the bottle. I had picked it up at Sally's several times and put it back. But after I saw a few bloggers swatch it, and talk about how this is one of the trendy colors this fall, I just had to go back and pick it up! And I'm so glad that I did. 

Well, that's all for now. I will post more soon, I promise!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Julep Maven September Box

I actually received this in the mail last week right before Labor Day weekend, but in my excitement about trying my first patchwork quilt mani, I forgot to even try out the new nail color I received until now! First, let me show you what was packed in my box:

A full-sized Hand Cream, Cuticle Oil, Amy Nail Color, and two extra gifts to thank me for being one of the first Julep Mavens! - A travel lint brush/comb/mirror/sewing kit and a double-sided glass nail file - pretty awesome!

My Julep Maven style was determined to be Boho Glam, and while at first look it seems like the nail color in this month's box, Amy, is awfully similar to one of the nail colors in the Boho Glam Introductory Box, Miranda, they are just different enough. Miranda is more of a bright seafoam green. While Amy is more of a bright turquoise blue. I didn't think to swatch them both in a direct comparison until just now as I'm typing this, so I will have to try that later and post pics. But for now, here is Amy in all of her beautiful turquoise glory:

This is only one coat! With a top coat of Seche Vite, of course. For some reason Julep nail colors don't seem to be very shiny on their own, but since I'm always going to use a fast-dry top coat, it doesn't really matter to me. I really love Julep's creme colors so far. They are really bright and pigmented, and just gorgeous colors. I thought about stamping over this one, but it's so pretty on it's own, I'm going to wear it like this today, and maybe stamp something over it tonight, if I have time. Of course I will post pics if I do! I was thinking of stamping silver on it, but then I thought about stamping it with Julep Olivia, the warm brown creme that came in my introductory box. But I haven't tried stamping with any Julep polishes yet. Have any of you? Is the formula thick enough to stamp with, or would it just be an epic fail? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear about your experiences, good or bad. 

One last note about the Julep Maven program, they did have some glitches with their referral codes, but they seem to have worked it out. So if you are interested in trying out Julep Maven, getting a box full of nail goodies worth more than $40 each month for only $19.99, click here to check it out. I will get a $15 credit for every person who signs up from my referral, and you will also get a $15 credit for every friend you refer, too! It's like a big ole circle of awesomeness! : )

Okay, enough rambling for this morning, I seriously need to get to work now!
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My First Patchwork Quilt Mani

So this weekend I had plenty of time to play with my polish and try out some new techniques. Recently I had seen a few blogs about patchwork manicures. It seemed fairly easy using scotch tape, as long as I could get the tape to come off clean this time! : ) The only thing is, all of the pictures I saw labeled as patchwork looked more like color block to me. Remember some of those rad ‘80’s and ‘90’s fashions?

I actually had a color block leather jacket back then! So trendy, ha! While all of those patchwork (or color block) manis look awesome - I’m looking at you, Chloe’s Nails : )  – the word “patchwork” makes me think of quilts, more specifically, my grandmother’s quilts. My grandmother made some of the most beautiful hand sewn patchwork quilts. Each piece of fabric had a different design on it, and when the patches were sewn together they made the prettiest patterns, like my favorite, Grandmother’s Garden. When I thought of trying a patchwork mani, I wanted to pay homage to my grandmother and her beautiful handmade quilts.

I wanted each “patch” to have its own little design, and yet blend together with the other “patches.” Originally I planned to use three base colors, like most patchwork manis I have seen, but I ran out of time before I could add a dusty green “patch.” So this patchwork quilt mani is just dusty blue and grey. Not bad for my first try though, if I do say so myself!

Sally Hansen CSM Gray by Gray stamped with Wet Cement m21 & Sally Hansen Wet Cement stamped with Gray by Gray m62

I will definitely try this again when I have more time to add a third color. And will, of course, post pictures!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My First Taped & Stamped Manis

I just realized that so far I have only posted water marble nail art. But I have actually been trying more techniques. Thanks to my good friend, Tawny, for telling me to check out Chloe's Nails, I tried working with Scotch tape. I tried to replicate her shredded mani using different colors. I did have a little trouble peeling some of the tape off, so it's not perfect. And for some reason I didn't take pictures til after I had some tip wear. So it's really not perfect! But still kinda cool-looking. It's been a while since I first tried it, and now I kinda want to try it again to see if I can do it better. When I do I'll be sure to post some pics. But for now, here's my first shot at a shredded mani:

Sally Hansen CSM Pedal to the Medal & Wet n Wild Black Creme

Then my first Konad stamping set arrived in the mail! I shopped all over the internet to find exactly what I wanted to start with and the best deal, and I ended up ordering the B Set from Nail Essential on Amazon for $24.

It came with 1 stamper, 1 scraper, 3 Special Polishes (black, white and red), and 4 plates: m4, m8, m15, m21. I also ordered 4 additional plates from them, all for less than $4 each: m12, m28, m62, m63. I had seen m62 and m63 on other blogs and loved some of the images. I chose m12 because of the Christmas images I know I'll play with this December, and m28 for the skull & crossbones and spider images I thought would be fun for Halloween.

Since my shredded mani was on its last legs when I got my stamping kit, I decided to try my first stamping over it, just to see how it worked. If I totally screwed it up, well I would be removing it anyway. But it actually kinda worked. Again, far from perfect, but fun, and a learning experience.

SH CSM Pedal to the Medal & WnW Black Creme stamped with Konad white special polish & m28

My next several stamped manis, for some reason, I still didn't take pictures of until they were a couple days old and showing wear. I think maybe I wasn't real confident with them at first, but still wanted to document them before I removed them. So here are pics of some more fun with stamping:

Sally Hansen Creamy Olive stamped with Konad white special polish & m62
I absolutely LOVE this dainty image!

Sally Hansen Gunmetal stamped with SH CSM Pedal to the Metal & m63

Revlon Blue Lagoon stamped with Sally Hansen Celeb City & m63
LOVE this blue polish, but Celeb City is not opaque enough to stamp with. Will keep looking for a good opaque silver.

Julep Miranda stamped with Konad black special polish & m28
I did this on my thumbs just before I removed this polish because I wanted to see how the spider looked. It turned out better than I thought it would with even more detail than I could see on the plate! I can't wait to use this for Halloween!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my super-long post about my discovery of stamping and taping! Now I am completely caught up with posting pictures of everything I have tried so far since I really started playing with nail art just a little over a month ago. So now I'll really have to start working at it so I've got some cool new stuff to post more often. I can only hope that I keep getting better at it as I go along, for your sake and mine! Let me know if you have any ideas you want me to try, and I just might give it a shot!

Thanks for reading, and inspiring me!