Sunday, April 20, 2014

Before & After and Tutorial: Multi-colored stamping

Hello and Happy Easter!

Multi-color stamping, or using several colors on the same stamp at the same time, is one of the basic techniques every stamper should know--it's easy, and the results are fun. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to show you how easy this technique can be, while showing you my Easter manicure. :)

I started off with Barielle Peach Popsicle, a lovely soft peach creme:

Barielle Peach Popsicle
Barielle Peach Popsicle

I decided to transform this lovely into Easter eggs, so I pulled out Winstonia 212, to use along with Sally Hansen Lickety-Split Lime, Brisk Blue, and Lively Lilac. To do the stamping, I put a generous stripe of each of the three colors over the lines of decoration of the stamping image. Normally when you stamp, you can get away with only putting polish over half of the design, and then scraping the polish into the rest of the image, if you want to save polish. But I've found that for this technique, it's best to paint across the whole portion of the design; that way when you scrape, there is less risk that you'll get the wrong color in the wrong place:

Cover the area you want with the color you want for that area
Next, scrape in the direction that preserves your color best. What I mean is, in this case if you put your stamper below the green stripe and scrape toward the edge of the plate, you will risk getting bleed from the green into the blue, and the blue into the lilac; so instead, you want to place your scraper on the side where the three stripes all end, and scrape up in the same direction that the stripes go. That will minimize bleeding.

Then, pick up your image and stamp onto your nails as you normally would:

My nails after they've just been stamped, with no clean up and lots of animal hair. How does it get there no matter how much I clean my tools???

I wanted a little extra bling for this manicure, and I happen to have Milani holo toppers in matching colors, so I put a little of each onto my plate, and with a dotting tool, I went over the dots in the manicure:

I use my plate as a palette, since it's there anyway. :)

And here is my final mani, cleaned up, blinged out, and defurred (mostly, sigh...):

Happy Easter!

There you have it--if you like the look of multiple colors in a stamping image but have been hesitant to try it, it really is just that easy. Let me know if you'd like me to make a pinnable tutorial graphic. :)

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Giveaway: Part two of my two-year blog-a-versary!

Hello everyone!

I told you I'd be back with a Non-US only giveaway to celebrate my two-year blog-a-versary, to be fair since my other giveaway had to be for US residents only. I've finally sorted the details out and I'm excited to announce that the prize will be a $30 gift certificate to Nayll's online create-your-own-indie site! You know how cool I think the concept is, so I wanted to be able to share that with at least one person.

If you are a US resident, please check out my other giveaway exclusively for US residents by clicking here.

Here are the details for this giveaway:

1) The giveaway runs from now until 2 May 2014.
2) The giveaway is open to non-US residents only.
3) I'm not responsible if you aren't able to use the gift certificate for some reason, so be sure to check that Nayll ships to your country.
4) You must follow my blog either via Bloglovin' or another method. If you follow via another method, leave the relevant information in the 'Follow via Bloglovin'' option below.
5) Once the giveaway ends, I will contact the winner, who will have 48 hours to reply. If I don't hear back within 48 hours, I will pick another winner. This will continue until I get a response!

Here is the widget--have at it!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to everyone for supporting my blog...I love you guys!

Hugs and loves,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Nayll Create-Your-Own-Indie

(Press Sample)

Hello everyone!

I have the coolest thing to share with you today, an indie brand that specializes in create-your-own-indies! When Sara contacted me about her recently launched indie polish business, Nayll, pronounced 'nail', I was intrigued by the concept, and interested to try it out.

Turns out, it was SO much fun, I didn't want to stop. I mean, I always enjoy picking out polish. But this was above and beyond the normal polish fun.

Create your own polish? Can't I just do that at home? Sure you can. And I have, and I enjoy doing it. But if you're just looking to make a few bottles of polish, and you only want one or two of each, it isn't necessarily cheap or practical to buy all the materials and do it at home yourself. You need bottles and you need a suspension base, and you need glitters and/or pigments. And usually the smallest packet of glitter you can buy makes way more than one or two bottles, so you end up buying 3-4 types of glitter to make one polish, and then you have a ton left over--great if you have a bunch of polish-loving friends you want to gift the extras to, but not really practical for just making something cool for yourself. And, it can be messy. Very messy. Let's not talk about the places I find glitter months after I make a glitter franken.

What Nayll does is allows you to pick the glitters or pigments you want, in the base you want, and then mixes it all up for you and sends it right to your door. In a pretty, mess-free bottle. With the name you choose for your creation on a professional custom label. Check, please.

Right now, you can choose to make your own:

Shimmer polish: (1) Name your polish (or you can do this at the end). (2) Select the shimmer base, (3) pick up to three shimmer pigments to add in.

Glitter polish:  (1) Choose your base; there is a clear option, and a nice variety of tinted options so you can have a colored base if you want. (2) Choose up to 10 glitters to add into your base. (3) Name your polish (or do this at the beginning. I don't judge).

And coming soon:

Gel polishes, and topcoats: She is currently working to add in the ability to make gel polishes and topcoats with special ingredients (like holographic and glow-in-the dark--or wait--maybe holographic glow in the dark???).

I tested out both the shimmer polishes and the glitter polishes, and seriously, it was so easy and so much fun to do. I giggled and squeed and enjoyed picking different glitters and looking at them together and making changes and adding more and taking some away and playing and playing and playing. When you're choosing your glitters, all the ones you've selected appear together in a bar next to each other, so you can get a visual of how the glitters will look together. I found myself putting 5 or 6 up in the bar, and putting my fingers over one or two to see how the mix looked without that color, until I found a blend I liked.

And at the end of the process, my coffee table was still absolutely clean, lol.

Before I show you swatches and talk about the polishes on the nail, here are some bottle shots; I really loved that the bottles came with professional labels that included the names I selected; it made me feel like I'd created something very cool:

How awesome is that?

Here are Sizzling Hot and Cabernet Mousse, both designed by me:

Nayll Sizzling Hot and Cabernet Mousse, designed by me

And here are Hydrangea and Seaside, designed by me: 

Nayll Hydrangea and Seaside, designed by me

And finally, here is Red Bottom Heels, one of the ready-made polishes available from Nayll, and her Smooth It Out glitter topcoat:

Nayll Smooth It Out glitter topcoat and Red Bottom Heels

And some back shots just so you can see all of that lovely glitter goodness:

So remember that one called Cabernet Mousse? I kinda had a little brain-freeze when I was naming it, and couldn't come up with anything I liked until later. So, I'm officially changing the name to 'Mayan Mocha', because it makes me think of a thick cup of mocha with that little bit of red heat to spice it up:

Nayll Mayan Mocha

Nayll Mayan Mocha

Nayll Mayan Mocha

This is two coats; the application was easy and the formula was good; this is right up there with any top-quality pre-made shimmer you'll find. To get this color, I mixed a medium brown pigment with a red pigment, to jazz it up; when the light hits it, the undertones of red shine through, and I love it; it's a beautiful, very wearable rusty brown, I think.

For my next creation, I wanted to make my ideal orange/yellow/red glitter. I have several that I've tried before and that I like, but I've always had a picture in my head of what I wanted, so this was my chance to try. Here is the result, Sizzling Hot, over Mayan Mocha:

Nayll Sizzling Hot over Mayan Mocha, both designed by me

Nayll Sizzling Hot over Mayan Mocha, both designed by me

Nayll Sizzling Hot over Mayan Mocha, both designed by me

This is one coat easily brushed over my base polish, no dabbing. This is a gorgeous fall look, and I'll be wearing this glitter over bright yellows and reds in the summer. If you're interested, I used gold hexes, yellow shards, orange circles, and red squares and circles, and little micro red glitter.

For all of the glitters including this one, I used one coat of the Smooth It Out glitter topcoat, and followed that up with one coat of Seche Vite. The Smooth It Out was a fine topcoat, but it wasn't as shiny as Seche Vite, and I like that extra shine. Some people want less shine, so if you're one of those, this will be perfect for you.

Okay okay okay, I'm so excited about this next one, it came out even better than I had hoped, and I think it's just amazing. I just sit and stare at the bottle, I'm completely not kidding. This is Hydrangea, a blend of blue, green, and purple matte circles, along with green matte shards:

Nayll Hydrangea, designed by me, over Julep Gabrielle

Nayll Hydrangea, designed by me, over Julep Gabrielle

Nayll Hydrangea, designed by me, over Julep Gabrielle

This is one coat, semi-strategically brushed on for effect--this polish has a Monet/Impressionist look to it, so I wanted a look that wasn't uniform or covered each nail completely. In terms of the quality of ingredients and formula, I found all of the polishes to be exactly what I'd expect from a quality indie glitter.

Obviously I'm biased, but I really adore this, and I know it sounds like I'm patting myself on the back for my creation, so let me explain a bit. Yes, I picked these glitters to combine, it's true, but I'm not sure I would have ever thought of this on my own. I was playing around with the glitters, filtering them in different ways so different ones appeared, and as I did, I selected several different matte colors. I put them into my add bar, and then covered one or two of them with my fingers to see which colors I liked together. When I saw the purple and blue and green, I suddenly saw visions of purple and blue hydrangeas, and a polish was born! This is why the process was so fun--I got to play and explore and see what came together, without having to buy 40 different sorts of glitter ahead of time, never knowing which ones I'd actually ever use.

For the last of my creations, I wanted to test out her tinted glitter bases. This is Seaside, a combination of light and medium blue circles, green circles, blue and brown squares, and silver shards, in a blue jelly base (shown here over Julep Alaina):

Nayll Seaside, my creation, over Julep Alaina
Nayll Seaside, my creation, over Julep Alaina

Nayll Seaside, my creation, over Julep Alaina

Nayll Seaside, my creation, over Julep Alaina
This is two coats brushed on over one coat of Julep Alaina, a medium gray creme. I did some extra dabbing on the ring finger, to give a little extra bling on the accent nail. I put this over a creme because I wanted to test out how well the tinted jelly settled; when I put on one coat, there was some streaking, but with two coats, you can see it evened out beautifully. Usually when you buy a glitter polish in a tinted base you're hoping to wear it this way rather than just a single-coated topper, so this will work well.

This is a polish I've been designing in my head for quite some time, and I've actually frankened a different version of it myself, in a crelly base. But for this one, I wanted to be able to create a particular look I've been dreaming of--a manicure that looks like ocean waves washing over the sand. So, I brush/dabbed a coat of Seaside over two coats of Zoya Godiva, an sand-colored textured polish, to get the ocean-waves-over-sand look:

One coat Nayll Seaside, designed by me, over two coats Zoya Godiva

One coat Nayll Seaside, designed by me, over two coats Zoya Godiva

One coat Nayll Seaside, designed by me, over two coats Zoya Godiva

One coat Nayll Seaside, designed by me, over two coats Zoya Godiva
I am so in love with how this came together. I love the way the Zoya glimmers just a bit through the layers, and the colors of the glitter are so perfect in my mind to represent my favorite beach. I dabbed the polish so that the blue jelly isn't uniform, which makes it look (to my eye) like the water is in motion. You can't tell in the picture, but the texture of the Zoya comes through just enough that it does look like it's washing over sand. This is now my go-to beach manicure, and I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.

The last polish I have to show you is one of the pre-made polishes you can get on the Nayll site, Red Bottom Heels; this polish has tons of gold, red, and black glitters in a variety of sizes and shapes:

Nayll Red Bottom Heels over one coat of Julep Alaina
Nayll Red Bottom Heels over one coat of Julep Alaina

Nayll Red Bottom Heels over one coat of Julep Alaina

Nayll Red Bottom Heels over one coat of Nayll Mayan Mocha

Nayll Red Bottom Heels over one coat of Nayll Mayan Mocha

The first pictures show two coats of Red Bottom Heels over Julep Alaina, and the second pictures show one coat over Mayan Mocha. I brushed the glitter on in both cases, with a teensy bit of dabbing after the fact to get coverage the way I wanted it. Application was good, I didn't have any problems with it. This is sooo packed with glitter, if you wanted to make a glitter-bomb look with it, you absolutely could. I see myself wearing this over gold polish on my birthday or for other celebrations--it's a party in a bottle, and it's as close as I'm ever going to get to owning a pair of Lubus, lol. :)

If you've looked at any of the polishes above and thought something like 'Yeah, that Hydrangea is kinda pretty, but it would be so much prettier with pink matte glitters in it, too...', well guess what? You can go make that exact polish, right now. I find myself looking at so many polishes thinking, 'that's close to what I want, if only it had a darker blue in it', or 'How come nobody ever makes one like that without the pink!' This is a way you can take your inspiration, whatever it is, and quickly and easily make the polish that you want, just the way you want it.

The site is extremely user friendly, and if you're worried about doing it right (which you really don't need to be), Sara has a short video tutorial that shows you just what to do. And you can do it all for the same price as most indie polishes would cost you anyway, which is very cool, considering many makers charge extra if you want something custom made up.

You can find the Nayll site by clicking here. You can visit her Facebook page by clicking here, and you can also find Nayll on Pinterest by clicking here.

Her products are of course 4-free, vegan and cruelty free, and guess what: she ships INTERNATIONALLY!! So go get your global glitter on, my dear friends! And she has offered a 30% discount on your first order to my readers, good through the end of April; just use code LOLH30 at checkout. :)

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope your weekend is going well--happy hump day!

Hugs and loves,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Blues Before & After: Decorated Denim

(Press Samples)

Hello!'s that time of week again. Monday. Time to try to get past those Monday Blues...and here's my contribution to that cause, something you can grab a peek at during your morning break (of course you'd never be looking at nail blogs when you're on the clock...ahem.). ;-)

Today we're gonna take a look at the subtly radiant InDecisive Nail Lacquer Denim, a navy blue scattered holo that looks like the prettiest jeans you'd ever want to own:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Denim, outside light

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Denim, outside light

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Denim, outside light

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Denim, artificial light

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Denim, artificial light

Ah...there's nothing like a beautiful holo...And this one is nearly a one-coater, you'll certainly get full opacity in two. :)

For my decoration, know those jeans that have the cool bling on the tush or down one leg? Pretty rhinestones or appliques or studwork? I have a deep love of that look, and I wanted to put together a manicure that would match.

I drew stitches with my white Mash nail art pen, and then I stamped on the accent nail using Konad White polish, and Bunny Nails plate BuNa-A. Then I added decorative touches with some studs and dots of Barry M Silver Foil:

Every pair of jeans and every manicure deserves a little bling. :)

On my right hand, I decided to go for an acid-wash look. So before I did my stamping, I added a coat of InDecisive Nail Lacquer White Speckled:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer White Speckled over Denim

InDecisive Nail Lacquer White Speckled over Denim

 And then I decorated again as I had the other hand:

Retro acid wash 80s FTW!

Retro acid wash 80s FTW!

So which look do you like better, the regular or the 'acid-wash'? Either way the holo is gorgeous and that's what's most important. :)

Hugs to you, and I hope your Monday's done before you know it!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Two Year Blog-A-Versary Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

I mentioned briefly before that this month marks two years that I've been blogging about nail polish and nail art, and of course I have to mark that occasion with a giveaway to thank you for supporting me for these past two years! In fact, I will be having two giveaways, one *US only*, and one *Outside of the US* only.

To get to my Non-US resident only giveaway, click here. 

I have met a lot of wonderful people on this journey, and Aleksandra of InDecisive Nail Lacquer is one of the wonderfullest for many reasons, and right in line with that wonderfulness, she has offered to sponsor the giveaway!

Here are two swatches of the polishes you will be winning:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Bloodstone

InDecisie Nail Lacquer Snowstorm

And here are the deets:

1) This is open to people in the US only, due to the mail weirdness that surrounds shipping nail polish internationally. If you aren't a US resident, don't worry--I'll be back with a separate giveaway for you which is for people living outside of the US only. :)

2) The giveaway ends on 30 April 2014.

3) We'll notify the winner, who has 48 hours to reply. If the winner doesn't reply in 48 hours, another winner will be selected.

Here's the widget, so you can get your contest groove on:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much to Aleksandra for sponsoring the giveaway! You ROCK!!

Good luck to everybody, and have a great Saturday!!

Hugs, hugs, hugs,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review & How-To: MoYou London Greek Mythology Collection 02

(Press Sample)

Hello everyone!

I'm back with a second plate from MoYou London's Greek Mythology collection, plate 02. This is another of the collage-style plates that I adore, so I'm going to show it to you and walk you through some of the ways you can use it.

To start things off with a bang, here is my video of the plate:

And then we move on to the still shots of the plate:

MoYou London Greek Mythology Collection 02

MoYou London Greek Mythology Collection 02 Left Side

MoYou London Greek Mythology Collection 02 Right Side

And, of course, the size comparison with a standard Konad plate:

And now, on the the fun part! Here are my ideas on how to use this particular plate:

1) Full-nail images. This plate has plenty of areas that you can use for full-nail images, in a variety of styles:

There's Italianate flowered patterns. Swirling orchids. Diamond mosaics. Retro geometric shapes (above the lion's face in the picture). French flourishes. Mazes. Surreal swirls. You can get at least 10 very different manis just from those patterns alone. :)

2) Individual images. This plate is based on the labor of Hercules, so there are a number of animals, some in coin-like circles, on the plate. These can be used with the circles, to look like coins, or you can pull just part of them from the center of the circles to do a manicure with the snakes (you could even separate the snakes and use different ones on different nails), the horse, the crane, the bull heads, etc.:

You can do this with stamping techniques, or you can use...

3) Nail decals! This is a great plate to use for making nail decals. The diamond pattern mosaic-like area would be great for this; so would the curved patterns at the far left of the plate. This would be great for making the 'coins' in a different color than the base polish on your nails.

4) Patchwork and/or transitioning nails. I've combined these here because there are a couple of manicures you can do here that combine both. Normally I define a patchwork manicure as a manicure that has two patterns on the same nail divided by one or more lines, and a transitioning manicure is one where the pattern turns from one pattern into another. There are a number of very interesting possibilities for these with this plate; the first picture pulls out the patchwork areas, and the second shows some transition possibilities, and ways to combine patchwork and transitioning patterns:

Straight patchwork or transition possibilities

Areas where you can easily combine patchwork and transition manis

So, let me explain. Look at the labyrinth portion of the plate, lower left. You could do a combination transition + patchwork manicure with this by putting the maze pattern completely on one or two nails, the area where the maze is bordered with the rectangular pattern (to the left of the maze) on the next nail, and then just the rectangular pattern on your last nail (your pinky might be best for that, since it's a smaller area); this would result in a manicure that transitions from one pattern into another, via a patchwork nail. You could do something similar with the area I have circled just above that, where the patteren goes from maze to floret to square-snowflake pattern, each separated by a diagonal line.

Or, you can just do standard patchwork manicures, and there are a few areas that are perfect for manicures that gently transition from one pattern to another (like the flower-to-flourish area in the lower right). And don't forget that you can put that cool lion face over 2 or more nails!

5) Build-a-scene manicures. This plate doesn't have as many options here as some other plates do, but there are still some very fun possibilities, and my demonstration manicure shows one. In my Nail Challenge Collaborative group, this month's theme is manicures based on music/movies/tv. Well, I love the movie Labyrinth,so I decided to do a manicure in honor of it, even if it doesn't so much fit the contents of the movie exactly, lol...

I started with a warm, glowing brown-gold matte, Mentality Hope:

Then I stamped the labyrinth pattern over three nails using Sally Hansen Coco A-Go-Go; next I stamped the minotaur face with Barry M Silver Foil, and finally I dotted his eye with some fierce Konad red:

I love mazes of all sorts, so I really love the being able to have a fun maze manicure when I want it. I wish I'd had this back when I went to the corn maze every fall, but they don't do it in our area anymore (sadface).

I hope this has inspired you to play, play, play! And if you like the Greek Mythology theme, don't forget that they have two plates in their Explorer collection that have single images in the Greek theme.