Thursday, January 31, 2013

Before & After: Dream if you dare


Today is the last day of the 31 Day Challenge! Woo-hoo, I made it to the end!!! YeeeeeeHaaaawwwww!!! I am so proud of myself, but I have to admit I'm happy to be getting back to my regular blogging after this last post.

The final prompt is to recreate a mani that another participant made at some point in the challenge. Early in the challenge I fell in love with this beauty by My Nail Journey, and knew I wanted to recreate it.

Of course, I wanted to make it a little bit different, so I decided to change it a bit and go with orange. I started with China Glaze Bare If You Dare, a soft, feminine, peachy orange:

China Glaze Bare If You Dare

Then I taped off the tips, and added some China Glaze Dreamsicle, a fun orange glitter: 

Knock Knock. Who's there?

Orange. Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

I like this except for one thing. I seem to be a bit tape-challenged. For whatever reason whenever I do tape manicures, I can never, ever, ever get clean straight lines. If anyone has any advice on how to not get leakage, please please please let me know. :)

Thanks for looking!!! And please check out the manis listed below, as we end this challenge with a bang! :)

Big hugs,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Preview of coming events!


The 31 Day Challenge has taken up a lot of time and posts, and I've had to put a number of things on the back burner. So I thought I'd do a quick post about some things I have lined up for you once February starts:

1) Dupe Or No Dupe shall return!

2) Nail art contest: I am partnering with a colleague of  mine to host a nail art contest for a good cause (and with a great prize!). Stay tuned for more details...

3) Born Pretty product reviews: I have three products to review for you from Born Pretty Store...You've seen a sneak peek of one of these already...hint, hint. :)

4) Fix My Fail!: I'm going to host an event on my Facebook page called 'Fix My Fail'...As you may be able to guess, this involves a for-fun opportunity for viewers to take a manicure I did that didn't come out very well, deconstruct it, and rebuild it in a beautiful way. :) If viewers like this feature, I hope to make it a recurring thing.

5) Favorite polish recaps: I'm going to start a feature, probably 1-2 times per month, recapping some of my favorite polishes grouped by color, brand, etc. Feedback from you on what you'd like to see is greatly appreciated.

6) Stamping plate size comparison post. Several weeks ago I promised a YouTube follower that I would do this, and it has been pushed back for too long, so I want to have this up soon!

And of course, plenty of Before & Afters, and NOTDs. :)

Thanks to everyone for hanging out with me and encouraging me through the 31 Day Challenge!

Big hugs,

NOTD: Gargoyle Elegance


Today's prompt for the 31 Day Challenge is to do a mani with our favorite technique. Of course my favorite technique is stamping, but one of the things I currently love to do with stamping is a faux-half-moon technique, where I stamp a design in the place where a half-moon would be.

For this manicure I started with a base of Pretty Serious Gargoyle Ganache, a subtle purple-grey-green duochrome polish with a very cool name (from their Halloween collection). Then I stamped using Cheeky plate GA44, and Pure Ice Silver Mercedes. I finished off with a rhinestone at the center of the ring finger flourish and silver beads at the center on the other nails.

Check out that cool purple-green shift. How awesome is that??

I love this polish (if you haven't checked out Pretty Serious, you should), and I love the way the manicure turned out. Elegant and polished, no pun intended! :P

Thanks for looking, and don't forget to check out the manicures linked below. :)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Before & After: Stamped holo gradient


Today's prompt is to do a manicure that's inspired by a blogger. This was an easy choice for me--the blogger that has had the most influence on me is without a doubt Laurie of Dressed Up Digits. Laurie is, plainly and simply, the queen of gradients. If it can be gradiented, she has gradiented it--even magnetic polishes. Oh yes. And not just of doing gradients, but then doing amazing stamping over them. Total and complete bliss.

Clearly, then, I had to do a special gradient, and a special over-stamp for it.

I started with a base of Color Club Angel Kiss, a beautiful light blue linear holo:

Color Club Angel Kiss

Then, I did a gradient using Angel Kiss and Hits Apolo, a darker blue holo. Finally,  I stamped over it using Nfu-Oh 61, and Cheeky plate GA30:

Blue holographic gradient, stamped

I am soooo proud of how this came out. These two blues go so beautifully together, and the subtle stamping feels like clouds in a blue sky to me. I love love love it, and it's another one I never wanted to take off. I will absolutely be wearing this again. :)

Thanks so much for looking, and please check out the other participant's manis, linked below.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Before & After: Red Skittle


Sometimes I overthink things, lol...When I saw 'Inspired by your favorite color' as a challenge prompt, I thought a lot about what that meant, particularly since we've already done 'your fav color family' and 'your fav polish'. Of course my favorite color is red, and people talk about it as a 'power' color and a color that people are attracted to because it gets attention. I certainly like the fact that it's a bold color, but for me I think it has more to do with the warmth of it. It feels warm and cozy to me, and I love being surrounded by it. I thought about doing something with flames or fire, but that just didn't quite feel right, so I kept thinking. I also have always favored red because it favors me--it has always set off my dark hair and my light skin beautifully, so I like the way it looks on me, and I love contrasting it with neutrals.

It was that contrasting-it-with-neutrals thought that captured my attention when I was thinking things through, and I decided to do a mani that uses the contrast between red and black and silver. :)

I started with a base of Layla SE07; This is a dark red polish with a matte finish:

Layla Softouch Effect 07 in indirect light

Direct light

I like the matte finish, but honestly I think this polish is at its most beautiful with a shiny topcoat, so I did some skittle madness with it and then shined it on up:

Look at that rust-gold sparkle that comes out when you add topcoat!

On the pinky finger, I put a silver and a black study; on the ring finger, I put a stripe of Orly Liquid Vinyl and a stripe of Pure Ice Silver Mercedes. On the middle finger I put some loose diamond glitter; the silver ones are from Born Pretty Store (I will do a review later this week) and the black diamonds were a gift to me from a friend. Finally, on the index finger, I painted half of it with Orly Liquid Vinyl, and then stamped over it with Silver Mercedes and LeaLac Plate LLC-B.

The more skittle manis I do, the more I love them. This is the second or third set I've done with red, and I think it's just such a great look!

Thanks for stopping by, and please check out what the other challenge participants came up with, linked below. :)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

NOTD: Disco Superfly


Today's prompt for the 31 Day Challenge is 'Inspired by me'. Hmm...I'm not quite sure what that means, so I've decided that it means 'go with something cool that you love'. So that's what I'm gonna do!

I started with a base of La Femme Unica, because I love me some holos and I needed an excuse to play with this one. It's a dark olive green holo, and it reminds me a bit of Chiralty Kale, so I'm going to have to do a comparison post on it asap. But in the meantime, we'll just move forward...I don't have a picture of it on its own, because the sun did not want to cooperate and show my holo, but I should have taken one anyway...I'm a very bad blogger and need to be sent to bed without my supper.

(not going to happen, btw. supper is one of my 4 favorite meals of the day.)

Then I played around with some glequins, and decided to do a sort of progressive effect with them:

And of course, I have one of the elusive white fibers hanging from my ring finger, just to prove the authenticity of the photo. Seriously, how is there always one I miss, no matter how hard I try? I am going to have to write a poem dedicated to the mystery and tenacity that is the ever-present random white fiber. Sigh...

Anyway, I hope you like it, cause I really love it. It was simple to do but I love the way the light hits the glequin, and I'm sure it would have been even cooler if the sun had been out to light up the holo. Ah, the fun we'll have with it when the sun comes back to play...:)

Thanks for taking a look, and please check out the other manicures inspired by the awesome tartlettes below. :)


Saturday, January 26, 2013

NOTD: We The People


Today's 31 Day Challenge prompt is to do a manicure inspired by our country. I wanted to go a different way than the typical flag manicure since I've already done a couple of those, and I wanted to challenge myself to stay away from red, white and blue.

I agonized over this a bit, spent some time thinking about what symbols other than the flag and the Statue Of Liberty are iconic for the United States Of America, something that every American recognizes and feels pride in.

"We The People". These three words, the words that start our Constitution, are pregnant with meaning for Americans; they hold the promise of all the ideals of our democracy. And these three words, as they appear written at the top of the document, are instantly recognizable to most, if not all, Americans:

I decided to recreate the look of these words as they appear on the constitution. I printed out this image in reverse, and attempted to do the newspaper technique on my nails; unfortunately, I think I waited too long after printing the document, so it came out very faint. But that inspired me to free-hand the design, using the faint imprint as my guide.

I started with a base of Sally Hansen Beige Blast, and sponged over it with China Glaze's Kalahari Kiss. I free-handed the letters with Wet n Wild Ebony Hates Chris, and then stamped scroll-work around the design using China Glaze's Mahogany Magic:

We The People

Of The United States Of America
I do wish the writing looked a little more polished, but overall I think I captured the look and feel of it fairly well. :)

Hope you like it, and thanks for checking it out! Please look at all the other patriotic manicures from around the globe, linked below. :)


Friday, January 25, 2013

Before & After: Funhouse Of 1000 Corpses


Today's 31 Day Challenge prompt is to do a manicure inspired by your childhood. To be honest, my childhood doesn't inspire very many good memories and much of what I could come up with to represent my childhood took things to a darker place than I think this prompt is meant to go! So I decided instead to do a manicure inspired by 'childhood', rather than my particular childhood.

When I think of the magic of childhood, I think of bright colors and happiness. And I recently got a polish that just speaks all of that to me--ironically, it's meant to be a Halloween polish, Jindie Nails Funhouse Of 1000 Corpses:

Jindie Nails Funhouse Of 1000 Corpses

...and up closer :)

This polish makes me smile when I wear it, and it makes me think of cupcakes with sprinkles and those inflatable rooms filled with colored balls. It makes me think of circuses, and parties, and fun, all things that every childhood should be full of.

I know everyone is going to hate me for this, but...I felt that the perfect added touch would be two bright, pretty crackles I recently got in my Spoiled bucked (Spoiled Pretty Pink Punk and Inmate In Love). I know most people don't care for crackles, but I really love them; I just don't love them all the time. Anyway, I did a gradient with them, but putting the orange vertically across half of the nails, and then the pink horizontally on the bottom part of the orange stripe:

Bright, happy colors

...for a bright, happy life.

For me, this manicure has whimsy and fun. Sure, it's not something I'd wear to an elegant night out. But every woman has to have a multitude of sides, right?

Thanks for looking, and please check out the other child-ish manicures linked below. :)


Thursday, January 24, 2013

NOTD: Clothing Makes The Man (or, this is why I use stamping plates)


I didn't mean to make him look like Gonzo.

It's hard to paint with nail polish, it really is. But you know what's harder? Painting with nail polish with your off-hand. If I've told myself once, I've told myself a thousand times---do your freehand with the hand you actually write with. This greatly improves your chances of not creating an accidental Gonzo, and improves your chance of not accidentally making a psychopathic-looking Gonzo even more.

So, this week's theme in my Let It Snow challenge is 'Snowmen'. And I decided that a good concept for this would be 'Clothing Makes The Man', where I have a snowman on each nail, but only one of them is happy because only that one is dressed up and looking spiffy.

(holy crap did i just use the word spiffy?)

Well...I still think the concept is great, we just have to alter it a bit to 'Clothing Makes the Gonzo'...which possibly argues *against* the up-lifting effect of spiffy awesome clothes, rather than *for* it:

Please don't ask me why my top hat looks like a sombrero-cowboy hybrid. Or why Gonzo looks like he's about to stab you to death. I don't have answers to any of these questions, and what's sadder is...this is the improved version over the initial attempt.

Actually, more I look at it...the more it looks like a troupe of zombie snowmen coming to clear out a sleepy small-town village...That can't be good... Brb, I have to look up in the DSM-V to see if there are any psychological disorders that are characterized by accidentally making zombies out of all of your free-hand nail art, whether you mean to or not.

As I'm sure you're all rushing to recreate this, let me share with you the polishes I used. The base is Zoya's Mimi, and it's actually quite lovely when not covered with vagrant snowmen. I used Sally Hansen White On, Wet n Wild Ebony Hates Chris, Pure Ice Siren, Pure Ice Silver Mercedes, Revlon Cloud, and Sally Hansen Orange Impulse for the Snowmen themselves.

Well, on the positive side, linked below you will find other snowmen manicures, many of them probably well-executed and without psychopathic zombie muppet overtones.


Before And After: Whodunit?


Hee hee hee hee hee...I really love today's prompt in my CNT 31 Day Challenge. It's 'Inspired By A Game'.  My favorite game when I was a child was Clue, so I had to try to do a mani that represented it. I started with a base of Misa Uptown Glamour, a deeply vampy dark purple:

Misa Uptown Glamour

Next I added a coat of holographic topcoat, because I was playing around and wanted to see how it would look:

Misa Uptown Glamour + Holographic Topcoat

That wasn't quite what I had hoped it would look like, and I wasn't quite sure where to go from there with I tried a coat of Ninja Polish Color Changing Garnet:

Uptown Glamour + holo topcoat + Ninja Polish Color Changing Garnet

Okay, that's pretty and it's cool and it actually looks similar to the color and tone of the Clue board game I had as a child! So on we go to the stamping phase!!

Okay, so here's what it all means. On my index and pinkie, the magnifying glass (Cheeky plate GA47; Pure Ice Silver Mercedes) and the questions marks (Cheeky Plate CH48, Pure Ice Siren, Pure Ice Silver Mercedes) are meant to symbolize the 'whodunit' and the search for who done it. The ring finger (Red Angel Plate RA202; Sally Hansen White On) is the gameboard, with the paths that the game pieces (marked with dots of Pure Ice Siren and Sally Hansen Lickety-Split Lime) travel to get to the rooms. And finally, on my middle finger is a candlestick, the weapon the murder was committed with (Konad plate m5; Pure Ice Siren; Sally Hansen Lightning).

 This isn't necessarily the most aesthetically beautiful manicure, but it was so much fun to plan and to make. I hope it brings you at least a little zing of nostalgic happiness, thinking back to fun times. :)

Thanks for looking, and please check out what the other participants did, shown below.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Indie-licious Review: Fanchromatic Nails part 2


I'm baaaaack! And I have more Fanchromatic beauties for you. :) And despite the fact that I consider myself a fairly intelligent individual, I somehow have lost the ability to count--I have *4* more pretties for you today rather than 3. :) If you missed the first half of the review, you can see it be clicking here.

To jump right in where I left off, here is the beautiful Misty Mountains. This is a grey-green crelly with small and large gold glitters:

Fanchromatic Nails Misty Mountains in indirect light

Misty Mountains in direct sun

Mistyy Mountains in Shade

Misty Mountains in shade
The name for this could not be more perfect. When I look at it, I feel like I'm looking out at a distant mountain range in the morning, far enough away that all I can see is blue-green haze with small points of trees poking out. It has such a peaceful, serene feeling to me, and I couldn't stop staring at it when I had it on. This is another one that I'm going to have to get full size in my next order, if it's still available.

This is two coats with one coat of Seche Vite--it applied like a dream, no real hassle at all, although when I was marking the pictures I noticed that there are no visible large hexes on my middle nail. Shows you how much I loved the polish as is, I didn't even notice, because I loved the random placement effect so much. :)

Next is The Horse Lord.This is a blend of yellow, brown, blue, red and golden hexes in a gorgeous butterscotch jelly:

Fanchromatic Nails The Horse Lord, indoor natural light

The Horse Lord three-quarter profile

Aaand one last smile for the camera

I really love how the brown hexes blend beautifully with the butterscotch base, while the bright cerulean and yellow contrast with it. It creates a calming, but dynamic blend that I adore. This is two coats with Seche Vite on top; the formula was fine, with no major struggles to get the glitter to cooperate.

I can't decide whether I like it better that way, or layered over China Glaze Mahogany Magic:

Fanchromatic Nails The Horse Lord over China Glaze Mahogany Magic

Love that pop of blue

The blue, gold, and red pop even more over this, and the darker base give an almost soothing effect. Somehow it makes me want chocolate and a bubble bath all at once. Is that weird? >.>

Next is Spatial Anomaly, a silver-blue lightly scatteresmall d holo base with orange, gold, and blue glitters, and holographic hair glitters:

Fanchromatic Nails Spatial Anomaly

Spatial Anomaly in shaded indoor light (notice the smoothness)

Blurred to show the holo sparkle

In the first picture, the surface looks gritty, but that's a trick of the light--what you're seeing is holographic sparkle. Take a look at the second picture to see how truly smooth the surface is. Then, finally in the final picture, you can get a good feel for the degree of scattered holo glitter there is in this. :)

This is two coats of Spatial Anomaly, with topcoat. The formula was good and this went on easily. But these pictures don't do full justice to just how beautiful this polish is. I'm proud that I got the shots I did, cause I had to do backflips to get them--but that's because of the complexity and sparkle of this polish. It's stunning and unique; I never would have thought that the combination of the steely silver-blue base with gold and orange glitters would work so well.

Of course I had to see how this one looked layered, and I tried one layer over China Glaze Swanky Silk, for a soft metallic pairing:

Fanchromatic Nails Spatial Anomaly layered over China Glaze Swanky Silk

The glitter stands out beautifully in this combination, and I can't wait to try it over some others. Hey, I know--a blue-based purple!! :)

Last, but certainly not least, is Your Lordship. This is a deep olivey-green jelly-based polish with red, green, purple, silver and gold small hex glitters, and green, silver and black large hexes: 

Fanchromatic Nails Your Lordship, in indirect light

Side-shots R coolz

This is two coats, with topcoat. Of all the glitters, this was the one I had to play with a bit to get a mix I liked of different-sized glitters to lay the way I wanted them to. But it didn't require all that much effort, certainly nothing off-putting.

I know you're gonna think I'm crazy for saying this, but...I love this for a Christmas polish. Something about it just makes me think of a vintage Christmas tree, from Dickensian times. And, with a quick little polish trick, I can turn it into a renaissance Christmas polish, too:

Fanchromatic Nails Your Lordship over China Glaze Starboard

Your Lordship over China Glaze Starboard
This is one layer of Your Lordship over China Glaze Starboard, and it just feels like the sort of Christmas you'd see celebrated in an English or Italian Castle in the late 1400s. I see boughs of pine, holly, and mistletoe, with sugared plums on beautiful gold plates in an elegant dining hall. Sigh...

And there the journey through the polishes and my strange interpretations of them ends, lol. Fanchromatic Nails is on vacation right now to adjust to the new changes in postage, but will be back open later this week; You can find the Etsy shop by clicking here. Also, Lynae will be introducing polishes from her new line, called 'I'm Your Secretary', on January 31st, 2013. As mentioned in the first half of my review, her polishes are three-free and cruelty-free; her prices vary depending on ingredients, but are competitive with (and on the less-expensive side of) other indie polishes.

Thank you for looking!


(Misty Mountains was purchased with my own money. The other polishes in this post were sent for my honest review.)