Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Before & After: Happy Chinese New Year!

(Press sample)

Hello!

Today I've got some art inspired by Chinese New Year!

I started out with a base of Spellbound Nails Mudblood, a deep red jelly with gold glitter, from her Harry Potter 2 collection (see here for entire review):

Spellbound Nails Mudblood
Spellbound Nails Mudblood


This is a great building polish, so I decided to do a stamping sandwich with it; I started with one coat, and then stamped my index, middle and pinkie nails with Barry M Gold Foil and It Girl Nail Art fashion plate IG105:


It Girl Nail Art Fashion Plate IG 105
It Girl Nail Art Fashion Plate IG 105

Then I put on a second coat, and stamped my ring and thumb nails:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!


On all the nails but my ring finger, I centered the image so that the square part of the design stood out, and for the ring finger, I centered the circular medallion part. That way there are two factors that pop--the brighter gold on the accent nails, and the different design on ring finger.

I love the subtle dimension to this and the way the glitters glint through the design. Perfect for all your Chinese New Year celebrations!

You can find Mudblood in the Spellbound Nails shop starting on Valentine's day, and It Girl Nail Art fashion plate IG105 is available now.


Happy Stamping,

M.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review: Tristaenia Love, Houses, and Baby plates from Messy Mansion

(Press sample)

Hello!

We all know it's Valentine season, love is in the air and on our minds, and I've got a set of whimsical, light-hearted plates to help you celebrate it all, by a line I've just been introduced to: Tristaenia via Messy Mansion. Many of these plates have names rather than numbers, so for my first review, I grouped together three plates that I think fit the Valentine theme: Love, Houses, and Baby.

'Cause you know--first comes love, then comes marriage (and often a house together), then comes the baby in the baby carriage!

*Ahem*. Okay, I feel better now.

You know I made a video to show them to you:


And let's take a look at some still shots, starting with Love:


Tristaenia Love
Tristaenia Love
This one has a flurry of hearts, flowers, heart flowers, lace, and dot patterns: Everything you need to create a fun, happy Valentine's manicure.

Then Houses:


Tristaenia Houses
Tristaenia Houses

This one has architectural elements like windows, paths, fences, signs, and textile patterns: what I love about this one is all the textural elements you have to play with in admit the house images.

And finally, Baby:


Tristaenia Baby
Tristaenia Baby

This plate has everything you need to celebrate your little ones: totes adorbs faces, toys, prams, and frills. You're all set for baby showers, kid's birthdays, or any other bouncing baby business.

I have a couple of general notes about these plates, stylistically. I love that the plates have positive and negative sides of the same image, so that you can choose whether your stamping polish outlines the images, or you base polish does--that alone gives you a ton of options for easy, attractive manicures.

Also, I think plates like this can be overwhelming when you first look at them--there's a lot going on, and it can be hard to pull out ideas about how to use what for a mani. In these cases I recommend using a template to plan your mani--and by template I mean a piece of paper with a hole cut out of it in the shape of your nail. Take a look at my video review to see what I mean--this will really unlock the potential of the plates for you.

Let's talk size! Here are a couple of shots with a ruler to help you get a feel for how big the designs are:







And how do they stamp? I had pretty darn good results:




You know I had to do a Valentine's mani with one of these plates--I decided to go the most lovey-dovey route and used the Love plate.

I started with a base of Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Eden:



Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Eden
Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Eden

Then I stamped with Barry M Cotton; to show what I meant about the negative/positive sides of the plate, I played with that in the mani:


Sweet Valentine with messy mansion love spellbound nails howler zoya eden
Sweet Valentine


Sweet Valentine with messy mansion love spellbound nails howler zoya eden
Sweet Valentine


I used my Messy Mansion clear stamper (seem my review here) to line up the image right at the edge of my nail--look at the index, middle and pinkie, where I put the thin line right on the tip of the nail. I did mess the one on the middle finger up a little, but I could have easily swiped off that one bit and put it on again with the clear stamper. This is my first attempt trying to do something like a French manicure with a clear stamper and I LOVE how easy it was.

I love how this mani came out! It's lighthearted and fun, and that's coming from a person who doesn't normally do either pink or the traditional Valentine's style mani.

You can find these plates and the clear stamper on Messy Mansion's website, and you can follow them for updates on sales, giveaways, etc., on their Facebook page.

Happy stamping!
M.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: Messy Mansion clear stamper & stamping polishes

(Press sample; affiliate link)

Hello!

Have you jumped on board yet with the clear stamper phenomenon? If you haven't, you should, and today I'm going to review Messy Mansion's clear stamper for you. I'm also going to review two of their stamping polishes, Messy Mansion Carbon (their black), and Sterling (their silver). I have been on a constant quest for a black stamping polish that won't streak, so I was stoked to see how this one did.

If you prefer your reviews video style, you can check out all the products in motion here:





Alright, let's start with the clear stamper! If you haven't heard of these yet, the idea here is that the stamping head is clear, so that you can look down the barrel of the stamper and see exactly where you're placing your stamp. Messy Mansion's has a frosted handle and comes with a scraper:


Messy Mansion clear stamper
Messy Mansion clear stamper



The stamping head is pretty soft; not marshmallow soft, so you probably don't want to try to shrink images with it or anything like that, but you can push your nail into it rather than roll the image on, if you prefer that method:


Messy Mansion clear stamper
Messy Mansion clear stamper

Messy Mansion clear stamper
Messy Mansion clear stamper


The head is also perfectly clear so you can see exactly where you're placing your stamp:


Messy Mansion clear stamper
Messy Mansion clear stamper


The stamper doesn't need to be primed (and you shouldn't prime it--that would mess up the clarity of the surface), and you can clean it with tape or with a swipe of remover. I'd avoid pure acetone as much as possible to keep the head from clouding.

To test it out, I used the two stamping polishes they sent for review, Messy Mansion Carbon and Messy Mansion Sterling:




Messy Mansion Carbon and Sterling
Messy Mansion Carbon and Sterling


I did three test swatches using Messy Mansion MM24; I wanted to test two things. First, I wanted to test out how well the stamper allowed me to align an image in the center of a nail, and to properly align vertical and horizontal images. Second, I wanted to see if the polishes would smudge when I covered them with topcoat; this is a particular issue for black stamping polishes, so I was most concerned about how Carbon would work.

Let's take a look at how they turned out...First, I put a book image in the center of my thumb, and as you can see, there is no smudging, even with topcoat: 




Test of Messy Mansion clear stamper and stamping polishes



I also wanted to try out lining up a vertical image. In the picture the image looks a little distorted, but that's mostly the curve of my nail; it's almost perfectly aligned. I waited about a minute before putting on my topcoat; there was no smearing except for one small area where I went over the image with the brush twice, and even then the smudging was minimal. 


Test of Messy Mansion clear stamper and stamping polishes



Other black stamping polishes I have will smear even after several minutes' wait time, and with only one brush stroke; with this one as long as you don't go over the same spot right away, you'll be fine. This is a huge improvement, and I've been using this as my black stamping polish ever since I tried it out.

For my horizontal image I tried out the silver, Messy Mansion Sterling; alignment turned out perfectly and there was no smudging whatsoever:



Test of Messy Mansion clear stamper and stamping polishes


The color in both polishes was saturated and covered well; I had no issues getting it to pick up even though I was using a stamper I'd never used before.

So, long story short: both the stamper and the polishes are top-notch quality, and I definitely recommend them. The stamper picks up well and allows you to see where you're placing your stamp; it's soft enough that you can push your nail into it if you prefer rather than rolling. The polishes have excellent coverage and pick up well, and don't smudge! You don't get better than that, my friend.

You can find all of these in Messy Mansion's shop, and you can keep up with sales and new products on their Facebook page.

Happy stamping!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02 plate (plus sample mani!)

(Press sample; affiliate links)

Hello!

That's right, love is in the air, and to celebrate, we're gonna take a look at UberChic Beauty's new Love & Marriage 02 plate!

You know I made a video review for the plate:




And let's take a look at some still shots:


UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02
UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02

UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02
UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02

UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02
UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02


I love the way UberChic captures both elegant images and whimsical images--but without going over-the-top cute. So you can do light-hearted manis or more sophisticated manis depending on your mood. I also love the way she makes sure you have single images that match the full-nail images, so you can mix and match for easy creativity in your art.

My personal favorite images here? The cabbage rose spray, the love birds, the heart candies, the swirly hearts, and my #1 favorite--that hedgehog. Check out what I did with that image here.

Hey, how  big are those images? Well, there are a variety of sizes, so let's take a look next to a ruler:

UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02

UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02



And most important of all, how do they stamp? Pretty darn well. Take a look at my sample swatches:






For my sample mani, I started with a base of Zoya April, a soft neutral creme with a hint of peach. I made a decal with the candy hearts image; I stamped with Barry M Gold Foil and filled in with Sally Hansen Ablazing, Snappy Sorbet, and Lively Lilac. Then I stamped the other nails with the stringed-hearts image, using Snappy Sorbet and Lively Lilac:



Zoya April plus uberchic beauty love & marriage 02
Be Mine, Cutie Pie


I love how flirty and feminine this is without screaming pink pink pink red pink...A little bit untraditional, but still soft and sweet.

You can find UberChic Beauty's Love & Marriage 02 plate here; a little birdy told me that they also have see-through stampers now, too! You can also follow them for updates on the UberChic Beauty Facebook page.


Happy stamping,
M.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Incoco Sweet Romance collection for Valentine's Day 2016

(Press Sample; affiliate links)

Hello!!

It's February, and that means it's the season of LOVE! That's right, it's time for Valentine's Day manis! And we're gonna kick off the season with the easiest way to get awesome Valentine's nails that there is: three full applique sets and one accent set from Incoco's Sweet Romance Valentine's Day 2016 collection!


Incoco's Sweet Romance Valentine's Day 2016 collection
Incoco's Sweet Romance Valentine's Day 2016 collection



Let's start out with my favorite set from the collection, Mon Amour, which features a varied combination of red hearts, black stripes and the words 'Mon Amour' over a white background:


Incoco Mon Amour
Incoco Mon Amour

Incoco Mon Amour



I love how well these patterns go together to make a simple, fast skittle mani that's varied but cohesive, and I'm such a huge fan of red, white and black together, this set called out to me:


Incoco Mon Amour

Incoco Mon Amour
Incoco Mon Amour


The next set, First Date, has a whisper-soft pink background with small black polka dots and teensy scribbled hearts:


Incoco First Date
Incoco First Date

Incoco First Date
Incoco First Date

 This set seemed like the perfect match for the accent nail set they sent, Be Mine, which have a white background with polka dots and little red hearts:


Incoco Be Mine
Incoco Be Mine

 So I had to try them together:


Incoco First Date full set + Be Mine accent nails
Incoco First Date full set + Be Mine accent nails

Incoco First Date full set + Be Mine accent nails
Incoco First Date full set + Be Mine accent nails

 I completely adore how these two look together, the mani has such a fun retro feel, you can help but feel girly and pretty in it. I like both of them separately too, and would love to wear Be Mine with a cherry red polish on the other fingers.

The last set they sent me is Sugar Sweet, which has a spray of multi-colored hearts over an shimmery white background:


Incoco Sugar Sweet
Incoco Sugar Sweet

Incoco Sugar Sweet
Incoco Sugar Sweet


I think the name for these is perfect--this is such a sweet look, pretty with a hint of flirty femininity. In fact, it inspired me to do a little nail art (hey, it wouldn't be my blog without some nail art thrown in, now would it?), so I stamped a little addition using UberChic Beauty's new Love & Marriage 02 plate, with Kleancolor Metallic Orange and Sally Hansen Rapid Red:


Incoco Sugar Sweet + UberChic Beauty Love & Marriage 02

He has such a shy little expression on his face, I figured no way would he be on the accent nail, he'd be off sneaking that valentine in from the side--isn't he adorable?!

The Sweet Romance collection has two other sets, and you can find them and all the ones I've shown you over on Incoco's website; you can also find selected sets at your local Walgreens drugstore.

Happy appliqueing!
M.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Spellbound Nails Harry Potter Book 2 Collection

(Press sample)

Hello!!

I have a soft spot in my heart for polish collections that celebrate books and shows that I love...so when I got the opportunity to review Spellbound Nails' Harry Potter Book 2 collection, you can bet I was allll over it like foam on butter beer.

Let's jump right in, and take a look at these magical potions...

Spellbound Nails Acromantula is inspired by Aragog, the spider Harry and Ron go chat with under the cover of night. It's a glitter topper with black, gold, copper and glow-in-the-dark glitters in hex and squares, with a few spider-leg gold glitters thrown in for spidery goodness:


Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha
Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha

Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha
Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha

Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha
Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha

Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha
Spellbound Nails Acromantula over Zoya Rekha

This is one coat brushed on with no fishing; excellent formula and application.

When I buy polishes that are inspired by something, I want two things out of them. I want them to put me in mind of the book/movie, and I want them to be beautiful in their own right, even if you didn't know they were inspired by the book/movie. All of the polishes in this collection do both of those things for me, and that shows the thought and love that went into them both from a nail polish lover's perspective, and a Harry Potter fan perspective. This polish makes me think of all the little spiders dropping down from the trees coming to feed on Harry and Ron...the glow-in-the-dark glitter even reminds me of spider eggs, but in a good way.

And yet, this is a beautiful topper even if you've never read the book (shame on you!). It makes me think of confetti at a swank Oscars party or New Year's Eve party; it's fun, and has an adult feel to it.

Next on our alphabetical list is Basilisk, inspired by the poor critter brought in to do Tom Riddle's bidding; it's an Irish green crelly with gold and red glitters:


Spellbound Nails Basilisk
Spellbound Nails Basilisk

Spellbound Nails Basilisk

Spellbound Nails Basilisk

This is three thin coats; you might be able to get away with two if you want a sparser look to your glitters. The formula was excellent, and the polish applied well; some patchiness on the first coat as with most crellies like this, but smooths out beautifully with the second/third.

I love the glitter choices she made here; the gold glitters make me think of scales and the red glitters look like glowing red eyes. It's a fun combination for any time of the year, but you can be darned sure I'll be pulling this out come Christmas.


Floo powder is inspired by, well, floo powder, the magical substance that allows witches and wizards to travel via the fireplace superhighway. You'd expect this stuff to be like a slightly ashy version of some Tinkerbell fairy dust, and that's exactly what it is; it's made up of holographic glitters with a spray of lavender glitters to give it a special feminine kick:


Spellbound Nails Floo Powder
Spellbound Nails Floo Powder

Spellbound Nails Floo Powder over Tom Riddle's Diary
Spellbound Nails Floo Powder over Tom Riddle's Diary


Spellbound Nails Floo Powder over Tom Riddle's Diary
Spellbound Nails Floo Powder over Tom Riddle's Diary

Spellbound Nails Floo Powder over Tom Riddle's Diary
Spellbound Nails Floo Powder over Tom Riddle's Diary

This is one coat--seriously, only one!--over Tom Riddle's Diary (which you'll see in a minute). Formula was excellent, and it applied like a dream.

These pictures show the coverage and the depth of the polish, but they don't capture the sparkle of the holographic glitter, which adds to the magical effect of this topcoat. Anything you want to make extra-special, throw a coat of this over it; it'll be softy sublime over spring pastels, summer brights, and even the heartier jewel tones of winter.

Oh, and did I mention? It glows in the dark! I forgot to take a picture of it before I did some nail art with it, but luckily the mani I did was a skittle and I'd left one nail completely uncovered:




Taking pictures of glow-in-the-dark polish can be a pain with a regular camera and without blacklight--but this one was so bright, it was no problem at all. This is my hand under my bedspread with my little Nikon Coolpix. You can even see it on my thumb, which was mostly covered by other polish.


And of course, Book 2 would never have happened if Harry and Ron hadn't borrowed Ron's father's Ford Anglia; Spellbound Nails Ford Anglia is a minty-blue crelly with blue, red and gold glitters:

Spellbound Nails Ford Anglia
Spellbound Nails Ford Anglia







This is two coats, and I have a bit of visible nail line; this showed less in person, but keep in mind you might need three coats if you have lots of staining like I do.

I love this polish--it's fun, it's flirty, it's retro. It's a great spring color, but the red and blue flashes keep it from being too sweet the way some spring polishes can go. And, it captures the joy of the boys flying that vintage car up, up, and away...I love, love, love it.


Next we have Howler, inspired by the very angry 'howler' letter Ron gets from his mom; this is a topcoat packed with red and white glitters in hex and square varieties:


Spellbound Nails Howler
Spellbound Nails Howler

Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Sia
Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Sia

Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Sia
Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Sia

Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Sia
Spellbound Nails Howler over Zoya Sia


This is one coat over Zoya Sia, brushed on with no fishing. The formula was great and I didn't have to struggle to get even coverage.

This perfectly captures the moment when that howler self-destructs, and when I was wearing it, the thought of those little bits kept making me smile. And that's what pretty polishes are really about, right, making us smile?

Because we have a few patriotic holidays coming up soon, I decided to try this over blue, and I love the effect--this is a great look for a Memorial Day lake trip or a Fourth of July BBQ. I'll also be wearing this over gray and purple, probably also yellow and orange come summer. I adore it.


Next we have one of my very favorites, Mudblood, a brick jelly polish with gold glitters:

Spellbound Nails Mudblood
Spellbound Nails Mudblood

Spellbound Nails Mudblood
Spellbound Nails Mudblood

Spellbound Nails Mudblood
Spellbound Nails Mudblood

Spellbound Nails Mudblood
Spellbound Nails Mudblood

Spellbound Nails Mudblood
Spellbound Nails Mudblood

This is three coats--this is a polish that is meant to be built up and layered, and is good for 'pond manicures' or stamping sandwiches; I've already done one for you with this polish that you'll be seeing soon. Minimal patchiness on the first coat evens out beautifully, and the formula is a breeze to work with.

I love the shade of red she chose for this, not a typical cherry red, one a little more, well, muddy and bloody. I think it's sexy with just a dash of vamp, and the glitters call out with that extra little flash. Another one that's great all year, but so perfect for Christmas! I love every polish in this collection, but this one has a special place in my heart.


And to wrap us the collection, we have the villain himself, in horcrux form: Tom Riddle's Diary. This is a matte-finish black polish with a subtle blue sheen:


Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary
Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary

Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary
Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary

Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary
Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary

This is three very thin coats, but only because I had ridge issues with one nail--my fault, not the polish's, and you'll likely be fine with two regular coats. Formula was excellent, and application was lovely.

This is another of my favorites from this collection. I've never seen a polish quite like this; when you have on only one coat, it almost looks like micro-est of all micro glitters, but it's not a glitter at all. The pigment has been milled in a way I haven't seen before, and something about that (I'm guessing) comes together into a matte finish that's not fully matte and not even what I'd call waxy. It's supposed to mimic the leather of Tom's diary, and I think it captures that feel quite well; the blue sheen adds to the effect, making it look like something you'd find on a luxurious leather book.

That blue sheen also makes this possibly my favorite black polish, ever--often black polishes can be harsh, but the blue here makes this very wearable, like a beautiful black pearl rather than a harsh chalkboard. You can see this even more once I add topcoat:



Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary with topcoat
Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary with topcoat

Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary with topcoat
Spellbound Nails Tom Riddle's Diary with topcoat

If you've always wanted to wear black polish but don't because you're afraid it will look too harsh or too goth, this might just be the polish for you. It's now my go-to black to wear solo or as a base for art.


So what do I think of the collection overall? I love it. The quality is top-notch, and there isn't a single polish here I don't love. This collection makes me smile, plain and simple--it captures the magical fun of the movie in polishes that are wearable and versatile. I'm in love with the collection, and with the brand. And I can't wait to see what she does for the rest of the books...no pressure...ahem...:)

Spellbound Nails' Harry Potter Book 2 Collection will be releasing on February 14th; you can find the polishes in the Spellbound Nails store, and don't forget to follow her on Facebook for updates, sales, and fun stuff like that.


Mischief managed,
M.