Sunday, September 30, 2012

Indie-licious: Fanchromatic Nails The Iron Price & the Elmer's Glue Technique


Today I have a triple-purpose post for you. This is a review of a polish (Fanchromatic Nails The Iron Price), a before & after post, and a review of a new tip I've been hearing about (the Elmer's glue basecoat trick).

If you haven't heard about the Elmer's glue trick, I can't wait to share it with you. Lots of polish lovers, me included, don't use glitter quite as much as we might otherwise because it is such a huge pain to remove. Recently, however, a polish company came out with a glitter basecoat that some savvy polish bloggers noticed looked and smelled a lot like white children's glue (Elmer's in the US). Since this glue costs about a dollar a gallon, they figured they'd try it out as a basecoat--and apparently, it works.

This excited me, but also raised a lot of questions. How does a water-soluble glue hold up through showers (especially the long ones I take) and hand washing (I'm a germophobe and wash my hands about 100 times a day)? How do you apply the glue evenly, so that your base polish doesn't look all icky, if you aren't using an over-all glitter? What sort of wear do you get with this technique? And does it really truly come off easily?

I decided to try it out with a new polish that just came in the mail, Fanchromatic Nails The Iron Price. This polish is a brown-red crelly with a ton of silver and red glitter in all sizes--silver shards, small silver hexes, red squares, red bars. It builds up over several layers, but because it's not a straight creme, you can see the underlying glitter and it gives the polish great depth. The downside is, you need 3-4 coats if you wear it on its own; so if you want less glitter, use an undie. :)

Fanchromatic Nails: The Iron Price

Fanchromatic Nails: The Iron Price, glitter shot

Fanchromatic Nails: The Iron Price, direct sunlight

Fanchromatic Nails: The Iron Price in direct sunlight

The above pictures were taken after three days of wear with an Elmer's Glue basecoat, and Seche Vite as the topcoat. I was stunned to find that after much immersion in water and three whole days, there was barely any wear! No lifting at the cuticles, normal tip-wear. And no indication that it was going to let up any time soon. :)

The whole time I wore this polish, I couldn't help wondering what it would look like with matte on top of it--such a pretty color with so much exceptional glitter, I figured it would be stunning, and it was:

The Iron Price mattified in the sun

The Iron Price mattified in indirect light

I honestly can't decide which way I like it better--they're both just beautiful. I wore it this way for most of the rest of the day.

How about application of the glue and removal of the glitter with the glue polish? I have seen several suggestions on the web about how to apply the glue basecoat. The first one I tried is just to squirt out some glue onto plastic and apply it directly to the nail with a nail art or paint brush. I tried this, but found it hard to get an even coverage. So, I tried a different method--putting it into a polish bottle and applying it like any other basecoat. This worked well, after I learned some things.

One of the things I learned was to wash the bottle out thoroughly. I had just finished up a Seche Vite bottle, and I washed it by rinsing it with acetone. After doing that, I should have rinsed the bottle out thoroughly. Because I didn't, the acetone reacted with some of the glue and made clumps. Luckily, I was mostly able to get those out. The other thing I learned is to put in a tiny bit of water into the bottle with the glue. If you don't, the glue will stay pretty thick, and will be hard to apply with the brush--the brush gets plank-stiff. But with a little water, the glue stays a bit thinner and you can apply it with ease.

I've seen a couple of people on the web show their polish come off in a single piece using this technique, with no hassle at all. I didn't have this experience--mine took a bit more work to peel off, and came off in smaller pieces. However, it was still infinitely easier to remove than normal glitter removal, so don't take this as a criticism--it's just me saying mine didn't come off quite as easily as other people's did, but still pretty darn easily. And, I think the reason I had a slightly harder time might have been the length of time I wore the polish; I wore mine for three days while the other people I've seen use the technique removed it after one day.

So, my conclusion on this technique is that it works very well, and really is a life-saver when it comes to glitter. I am looking forward to using this for manicures I've been terrified of removing before. :)

EDIT: Thanks to comments from my awesome readers, I realized I forgot to mention a couple things. First, I used 2 coats of the Elmer's basecoat. Second, the only downside I've found to this method is that it takes a bit longer for the glue to dry than a normal basecoat does.

And what about The Iron Price? How gorgeous is that?? I am partial to reds, I admit, but I think even if you're not this is a special polish. Also, I found most of her polishes to be interesting and unique; even the ones that on the surface seem a bit more 'typical' are surprising. For example, take a look at her take on a gold glitter, Fistful of Latinum, which I used for this mani. Not just a gold glitter bomb, but a thoughful, pretty polish blend.

You can find Fanchromatic Nails' Etsy store here. Both The Iron Price and Fistful of Latinum are currently $8.25 for full-sized bottles, and $4 for minis. :)

Wow, that's a lot of information for one post! Thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far. :)



(The products reviewed in this post were purchased with my own money.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Indie-Licious Review: SoFlaJo The True Death and Frankie's Lab Dance


Halloween is soooo close I can almost taste it...and I've been branching into some awesome Indie polishes to help me design my upcoming Halloween manicures. I've joined not one but two Halloween challenges, since I've been waiting to sink my teeth into some awesome Halloween nail art anyway. Don't worry, I won't be posting Halloween stuff every day, because I know Halloween isn't everybody's thing. But I'm not gonna lie, there will be a fair number of ghastly, ghostly, ghoully manis. :)

A great place to start any Halloween manicure is with the polishes from SoFlaJo's Halloween collection, and I snapped up two of them, Frankie's Lab Dance and The True Death. When the package arrived, I was very happily surprised at the thoughtful touches that she put into the package:

Contents of package from SoFlaJo
In addition to the polishes, she invluded a fortune teller fish, a little Halloween get-the-balls-in-the-right-spots game, an orange spider ring, a black balloon, cool confetti and paper shreds, and cute Halloween stickers on the packaging! Honestly, I haven't had such kid-like joy upon opening anything for a long time. It felt like I'd just gotten back from trick-or-treating. :)

And then there were the polishes...first up, Frankie's Lab dance:

SoFlaJo's Frankie's Lab Dance in the bottle--check out that glitter

SoFlaJo's Frankie's Lab Dance--look at that color shift

Check out that glitter...

Better shot of the color shift...

Frankie's Lab Dance is a stunning sea blue/ sea green polish that has a liberal amount of tiny orange, green and purple glitter and a gorgeous duochrome shift. This polish is beautiful at any angle in my opinion, and while the glitter is clearly in Halloween colors, I think it's subtle enough that this polish would definitely work at other times of year. I don't know about Frankie, but this polish definitely makes me want to dance. :) The only issue I had with it is that it does take several coats to even and become opaque--but for a polish this gorgeous, who cares?

Next up is The True Death...(love that name so flipping much)...:

SoFlaJo's The True Death in the bottle

Look at that color shift!

SoFlaJo's The True Death on the nail

SoFlaJo's The True Death showing color shift
The True Death is a very dark vampy purple-red that has tiny flecks of red-orange and green in it, and a subtle duochrome shift from sexy-vampire purple-red to deep zombie green. This is a very subtle shift--you won't see it often or strong, but you will see it now and again. It's more versatile than it looks at first glance; I've used it for some Halloween nail polish and when I put orange over it, the orange flecks come out more strongly; it seems to shift a bit depending on what you put it with. The formula on this was okay; I had a little unevenness, but it cleared up after that second coat. :)

I love both of these polishes in very different ways, and can't wait to show you some nail art using them. You can find the Terrified Collection by clicking here;  at the current time, her full-sized bottles sell for $10 and her minis go for $5. :)

Thanks for looking,

M. xoxo

(the polishes in this review were purchased with my own money.)

(UPDATED) Haul: Happy Birthday Part 2


A couple of weeks ago I showed you the first half of my birthday haul, and promised you that there was a part two coming...I'm finally able to post it today! Have a look:

So excited to play with all this awesomeness!

One of the things I was really excited about was getting my first Enchanted Polishes; these are normally out of my price range, but they're so gorgeous!:

Enchanted Polish 'Hey Jude' and 'Secret Sauce'

And of course I had to have some glitters:

Lush Lacquer Camo Queen, Sizzling Hot, and Fuzzy Peaches

My first Impalas

And no stamping fanatic's birthday would be complete without some cool plates! I finally was able to order some plates from Magno Nails, and get the new LeaLaC plates. I've already reviewed LeaLaC plate A (if you're interested, you can find the review by clicking here), and will be reviewing the other plates shortly:

LeaLaC Plate A

LeaLaC Plate B

Magno Nails Plate M

Magno Nails Plate O

Magno Nails Plate T
UPDATE: I've had a question about pricing here, and I should have put it in the first place! Here is pricing/ordering information:

I got the LeaLaC plates, the Enchanted Polish, and the Impala polishes Llarowe:

The Impala polishes are currently $4.50 each.

The Enchanted Polish line can be found here and have currently been reduced to $13 each.

The LeaLaC plates  can be found here; there are different sizes, but the ones I bought are $20.

The Lush Lacquer line is here, and her full-sized polishes are $8.75 each (she also has minis available).

Last but not least, the Magno Nails line is here; this is a German store, but don't let that stop you from ordering from them. I got the best customer service from her, and they are very on top of the packages they ship. When the *US* post office temporarily misplaced my package--not the German post--she filed a complaint that day and I got my package the next! The large plates that I got go for 15 euro, which came to about $20 American when I bought them.

So, just a hint of some of the things I'll be featuring in the blog soon, or am in the process of featuring! And if there are any images in particular you'd like me to test from the plates, please do let me know. :)

Thanks for looking!



Friday, September 28, 2012

NOTD: CGC Retro 80's manicure!


Today I'm starting a twin-challenge with a friend of mine, Dina from Secretary's Nail Art. We both bought the new set of Cheeky plates (you can see my review of them by clicking here), and decided it would be fun to pick an image from each plate, one plate per week, and each do a manicure with that image. We decided to call it the 'Cheeky Girl Challenge', and we'll be posting our manicures together every Friday. Dina made a graphic of the images we chose, which I'll put at the bottom of the post, if you want to see what we'll be doing ahead of time. :)

For the first plate, Cheeky plate CH30, we agreed to use the cassette tape image. This is not an image I probably ever would have used on my own, I have to admit. But that's what I love best about these images, when I'm pushed to create something I wouldn't normally create. It helps keep my perspective fresh and keeps me out of that creative box I put myself into when left to my own devices!

So here is the manicure I came up with...I took inspiration from the cassette tape and went for a retro 80's look:

Close up in the shade

In direct sun

Here's how I did it.

1) Started with a base of Sinful Colors Cinderella, to get that 80's pastel feel.
2) Stamped using Wet n Wild Black Creme, Cheeky plate 30, and Cheeky XL plate N
3) Using the purple, pink and blue polishes from my Migi Nail Art set, I drew over parts of the overall nail design, and added accents to the other nails.

The cool part of this is, I really, really love how this came out! Even though I never would have put this together had it not been for this challenge, I fell in love with this and didn't want to take it off. I almost wanted to throw an 80's party just so I could wear it!

Thanks for taking a look, and don't forget to go see what Dina did with the same image over on her blog!



Thursday, September 27, 2012

NOTD: For Sabrina's Wedding


Today's manicure is an extremely special one for me. If you follow this blog, you may have seen me mention in a 'random facts' list that I am a teacher at a university. Any teacher will tell you that what makes teaching worthwhile is the students you get to see grow and become successful. Even among those, there are usually a few really special ones that you'll never forget.

Recently I was invited to the wedding of just such a student. Not only had she taken classes with me, but she was also a research assistant in my lab, and always always always brought laughter and happiness into my classroom, my lab, and my day. I was beyond honored to be invited to her special day, to celebrate this aspect of the amazing life she has built for herself.

Sabrina and her groom are both of Indian ancestry, and I knew there would be traditional decorations and dress at the wedding. I don't own anything like that, so I wanted to honor her in my own way on her day with my nail art, and months ago when I saw Cheeky XL plate C, I knew it was exactly the right way to do so. Yes, I've been planning this manicure for literally months, and yes, I bought the plate just for this occasion. My original plan was to use traditional red for the base color, and dark brown or black to stamp the mehndi-style designs. But thanks to Laurie the gradient queen at Dressed Up Digits, I decided to do a gradient of red and gold underneath the stamping. Here is how it came out:

The Bride's side

The Groom's Side

There's that beautiful bride again...

Such a handsome groom :)

Luckily, no nails broke, and for the most part the stamping went well. I was very proud to contribute a tiny part of the decorations for what was an incredibly beautiful day.

Sabrina, if you read this I want to echo the 7 blessings for you and your groom:

May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.
May this couple be strong and complement one another.
May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.
May this couple be eternally happy.
May this couple be blessed with a happy family life.
May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.
May this couple always be the best of friends.

Best wishes to you, and all of my love, always. :)


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NOTD: C is for Cat


This week in Llama Nails we are on to the letter 'C'...and of course I chose 'C' for cat, lol. How could I not? If I hadn't, my four little darlings would never have forgiven me. And cat guilt is just no fun...

I decided to stamp my cats on an ombre manicure (Catombre manicure?), or at least an ombre-style manicure, and contrasted the stamping with the base polish:

Kitties in the sunlight

Kitties in the shade
 To make this manicure, I used Sally Hansen White On; China Glaze Elephant Walk; China Glaze Mahogany Magic; and Wet n Wild Black Creme. I stamped using Bundle Monster plate BM-04.

This manicure makes me smile. They're almost as cute as my real-life babies! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. :)

Thanks for stopping by, and please check out my fellow Llama-alphabeters, linked below! :)


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Indie-licious review: The Nail Junkie Halloween Collection


Okay, I admit it. I have a polish crush. You may have's on The Nail Junkie.

I did a review of two of her polishes a little while back--Snake and Tiger--and talked about not just how amazing the polishes are, but the other thoughtful details she put into packing them. So I was very excited to find out shortly after that post that she was releasing a Halloween collection, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Gorgeous indie polish + Halloween = massive WIN!

I hurried to buy myself more of her beauties, and I'm going to show you two of the Halloween polishes today. The polishes came packaged just as beautifully as the first polishes I purchased, in cardboard tubes, and with the cutie balm and the felt glitter removers. This time, however, she also sent me my very own Halloween treats--trick-or-treat sized fruit snacks and rice-krispie treats. Much nomming was done. :)

But on to the polishes! First up, Frankenstein:

Frankenstein in the shade

Frankenstein in the sun

Frankenstein is the color that grass would be if it had been turned into zombie grass, with an awesome zombie-pus mustard shimmer. It contains a liberal amount of black hexes and bar glitter, which are meant to represent the nuts, bolts, and stitches of Frankenstein. As much fun as I'm having describing it in Halloween terms, I can see myself wearing this the rest of the year, as well. This is two coats, with a little bit of dabbing to get the glitters even, but no fishing needed. Application was a dream, opaque and beautiful.

And next, Pumpkin:

Pumpkin in the shade

Pumpkin in direct light
Pumpkin is a shimmer with a rich pumpkin-orange base, along with green-apple medium and small hex glitters. This is two coats, and I didn't have to fish or dab to get this coverage; application was a dream. I love the depth that this polish creates--the orange in coat two covers some of the glitter partially (but not in that gross lumpy way that some glitter polishes do) but leaves enough color to give a range of glimmer effects from the glitters. There is a perfect match here between the shade of orange in the base and the shade of green in the glitter--if she had gone a shade or two off in either, I don't think the effect would be so magical. When I look at this I see beautiful pumpkin patches in the afternoon sunlight and crisp fall air. Great for Halloween manicures, of course, but a solid color for all of fall, as well. I'm going to try this in a gradient with a shimmery brown for a Thanksgiving manicure.

Both of these polishes easily met the high standard that had been set for me by Snake and Tiger, and I couldn't be happier with them. What sets The Nail Junkie apart for me is the base colors--every one I've seen could easily be a stunning polish on its own, and despite that, still work well with the glitters. Neither overtakes the other; they work well together to create a lovely effect. These polishes don't rely on a ton of glitter or a ton of colors to make them beautiful--they are carefully planned and edited to accomplish exactly the targeted effect. Bravo.

You can find The Nail Junkie's Halloween collection (along with her other polishes) by clicking here. They sell for $10 each, with free shipping in the US, and $5 flat rate shipping internationally. And, she donates 10% of each purchase to charity. They are also cruelty-free and 3-free. Check them out--you won't be sorry. :)

Thanks for taking a look!


(the polishes reviewed in this post were purchased with my own money.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

MSMD Monday: Mossy Britches glitter sweep


It's Monday again, which means it's time for another Monkey-See-Monkey-Do manicure. Today I wanted to recreate a manicure that I fell in love with a while back because of the way it uses glitter--it showcases the glitter beautifully without being glitter-bomb overwhelming, and adds cool depth. Since I am still being converted over to the glitter side, I found the approach really appealing--you can see the original manicure by clicking here.

I wanted to change up the colors a bit, so I started with an olive-ish green (who me?); this is Mossy Britches by Nina Ultra Pro:

Nina Ultra Pro Mossy Britches in indirect light

Nina Ultra Pro Mossy Britches in direct sunlight

Mossy Britches is a really pretty almost-duochrome olive-mossy-gold green polish with a hint of brown in certain lights. It has an excellent formula, and covered in two coats.

For the glitter sweep, I started with Fanchromatic Nails Fistful of Latinum (Indie Alert!!), and sponged it in a diagonal across each nail. This was the perfect polish for this, because it contains several different sizes of gold glitter. Then, I added a yellow-gold large gleequin and a gold stud to each nail, to give added texture to the design:

I couldn't be happier with how this came out, and it was so easy! I can't wait to do with with red and gold or red and silver for the holidays. For someone like me who likes a little bit of glitter, there are so many possibilities here. :)

Thanks for looking, and please check out the MSMD manicures by my fellow bloggers, linked below. :)


Sunday, September 23, 2012

NOTD: Pop Art Cupcakes


Today's challenge in my Adventures In Stamping group is to have someone else pick out the plate or image that you use in today's manicure. My request was met with the answer 'Pop Art', which isn't a plate or an image, but works for me! I've always been intrigued by Warhol's work with the Campbell's soup cans and Marilyn Monroe; the exploration of popular images that capture the world's attention is fascinating to me:

. So, I looked through my images to see what I had that could be considered to play a similar role in today's culture, and I decided on a cupcake! Cupcakes are so popular these days, with cupcake stores, cupcake tables at weddings, and even wedding cakes themselves made out of cupcakes. Plus, this is an image I normally wouldn't use in a manicure, so it seemed a perfect way to challenge myself. Here's what I came up with:

Pop Cupcakes

Pay no attention to the pinkie with that yellow cupcake underneath the red one...

To make this, I used Pure Ice Siren, Pure Ice Silver Mercedes, Sally Hansen's Lightning, Lickety-split Lime, Lively Lilac, Orange Impulse, and Brisk Blue, and Wet n Wild I Need A Refresh-Mint. I stamped using Bundle Monster plates BM-14 and BM-301.

This was a fun manicure to make, and now I can say I have something in common with Andy Warhol. :)

Thanks for looking!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Before & After: Hot Topic Blackheart Beauty's Violet Tendencies + China Glaze DV8

Hello there!

Today the manicure I'm going to show you features one of my favorite blurples--Blackheart Beauty's Violet Tendencies. This is a really gorgeous glass-fleck finish duochrome that I fell in love with a few months ago:

Hot Topic Blackheart Beauty's Violet Tendencies

Hot Topic Blackheart Beauty's Violet Tendencies in sunlight

After wearing it for a day (sorry for the tipwear, I always forget to wrap my nails!) I decided I wanted to do a subtle stamping to highlight the beauty of the polish without overwhelming it. To do this I picked another of my favorite purples, China Glaze's DV8 from the OMG holographic collection. I used Konad plate m69 to stamp on it:

Violet Tendencies + DV8 in indirect sunlight

Violet Tendencies + China Glaze DV8

Violet Tendencies + China Glaze DV8, with holo sparklin'

Violet Tendencies + DV8 in direct sun

And a picture to show the duochrome flash :)
The more I stamp with holos, the more I fall in love with it. It's an excellent way to exploit the different effects that holos give in direct vs. indirect light. I love the way that this gives a subtle color-on-color effect in more indirect lights, and a sharper, flashy contrast in direct lights. :)

I hope you love this as much as I do...Have a great weekend, and thanks for looking!