Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fix My FAIL: Glitter Fail


Just in under the wire for February I'm introducing, as promised, a new feature: "Fix My FAIL"!

Sometimes my manis come out okay, and sometimes they just...don't. And sometimes they don't more than other times...And I sit staring at them saying to myself 'that looked so much better in my head...there is so much I'd do differently...'

Well, I thought that it might be fun to see what you'd do differently.

The idea is this. Take my mani and make it better. Deconstruct it and rebuild it.  You can do this any way you want--maybe you like the polishes, but not the design, so you want to do a different design with the same polishes (or similar ones). Maybe you like the design, but not the colors I chose. Maybe you see what I was going for and decide to replicate it, but know you can execute it better. Maybe you like what I did exactly as is, but would have added something else to finish it. You just have to have some element of the original manicure, take it, and run with it. I'll give you some more specific examples with the failed manicure below.

This is a for-fun contest, meaning there will be no prize, just the fun of doing it and bragging rights if your manicure 'wins'. For this first go-round, the winner will be chosen by popular vote--whichever entry gets the most 'likes' on the Facebook page will win. If you enter the contest, you cannot like your own entry, of course. I will include the winning manicure in a follow-up post on my blog. :)

Okay, let's take a look at the first FAIL manicure. I started with the beautiful Hare Polish Rusty Hearts, which is a deep red with orange-gold flecks:

Hare Polish Rusty Hearts

Hare Polish Rusty Hearts

With a polish that pretty, you wouldn't think you could possibly be able to make it a fail. But oh, oh, oh, I did. I added a gold-and-black glitter in a swipe around three-quarters of the nail; in my head, this looked really elegant and pretty... Here's what it looked like IRL:

Yeah...not so much.

I hereby officially apologize to these bottles of polish for doing this to them.

Yeah. Not much to be said there except...What a waste of polish.

Okay so. What would count as a 'Fix My FAIL' entry? You can't just submit a swatch of red polish or just any manicure with a totally different design on red polish. What you could do is use a red polish with a black-and-gold glitter, but combine them differently. Or you could do a sweep design with similar placement, but maybe not with glitter, maybe with a hand-drawn flourish instead. Or maybe you think this mani would have worked if the glitter were exactly the same and positioned the same way, but it was over a grey instead of a red. The point is, there must be some recognizable element that relates to this manicure. Other than that, go nuts! Have at it! Have fun! And Fix My FAIL!!!

Can't wait to see what you guys do. :)


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Empowering Women nail art contest: Winner announced!


As you may know, I recently held my very first nail art contest; the theme was 'Empowering Women' and the purpose of it was to raise awareness for Inspire Me 2 Aspire's International Women's Day chat event, and to encourage strong, creative women to become mentors for the project. The contest brought in both beautiful nail art and women willing to mentor teen girls, so on both accounts it was a huge success!

This contest was very graciously sponsored by Llarowe; as everyone knows, Llarowe specializes in hard-to-find nail polishes and gorgeous indie brands. The prize they donated was a $50 gift card for the winner.

The contest judge, Jenny Ellis of Inspire Me 2 Aspire, has chosen the winner, and is debating her two honorable mentions. However, before I announce the winner, I want to show you the beautiful entries we received. I'll present them here in the order we received them.

First up is this entry by MesiaszCiszy:

Next up is Misha of Enigmatic Rambles, with a manicure that represents the different stages of womanhood:

The next entry was submitted by Norma Maria:

Here is what she had to say about her entry: Hello, here is my entry to the nail art contest. My main idea was to demonstrate how women can support and empower each other and how some women might feel isolated (looking at one nail) but looking at the bigger picture (all the nails) there are other women around them, with open arms, ready to go together and support each other. I am aware that my design looks rather simplistic but I wanted to take part of the contest to raise awareness of empowering women and people overall, being a mentor for a teenager myself (unfortunately for another charity), I know how rewarding the job is and how much it helps people in need. Mentoring online sounds very interesting and definitely has big future because of the accessibility. I hope more people will join IM2A mentoring in the future.

Next up was Diana Van Nisselroy: 

Here is her description of what inspired her: Inspired by a song from Delta Goodrem - Be Strong

"And when you're like a single flower, Whose colors have turned to shades of grey, Well hang on, Be strong"

From thumb to pinkie the flower turns in to shades of grey but from pinkie to thumb the flower gets his colors back :)

I find her songs/ lyrics especially this one beautiful and inspirational when you feel down for some reason it will gives you power to be strong and hang on and don’t give up. And Delta is a beautiful empowering woman who overcome Hodgkin's Lymphoman cancer at the age of 18. Be strong is inspired by that period of her life. She was strong did not give up and now is a beautiful strong adult woman with an amazing music career. And she got strength and inspiration from her bad period in life.

Next to enter was Gin Shivers of Baroque Fool: 

Here is her description of her manicure: This is my Empowering women nail look. It has a simple base and over it OPI Spotted black that represents that a strong women can always get what she wants no matter how hard is it to attain. Over it I added some Essence flakies that give the impression of fire wich represents the passion that makes this woman an inspiration to others. And on top there are some studs becouse a strong modern woman must be though.

The next entry was from Brush Me Blush:

This is what she had to say about her entry: It is a surreal design I call "creation of the universe".
This design was inspired by the saying: you guide the stars, the stars don't guide you. It's supposed to show that even seemingly the most insignificant actions may be the most important to someone.

And last but not least, the final entry was from Amber:

Here's what she had to say about it: Contest entry: For my mani, I channeled Cleopatra, who I see as a strong independent woman also known for her shrewd political moves and beauty. She was known to create her own makeup even, so I though she was perfect because… I'm really into polish and making my nails pretty! At the same time, she showed that women don't have to ditzy if they are pretty (she showed that you can have it all and still be taken seriously), you can be strong and smart, maybe even enough to rule a country!

From Wiki: Cleopatra originally ruled jointly with her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes, and later with her brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV, whom she married as per Egyptian custom, but eventually she became sole ruler. Cleopatra is portrayed as a great beauty, and her successive conquests of the world's most 
powerful men are taken as proof of her aesthetic and sexual appeal.

And the winner is...:

I'm very glad I didn't have to choose, because I'm not sure I could have! Jenny chose her winner based on how well she thought it represented the theme of empowering women, in line with Inspire Me 2 Aspire's mission statement. Her choice, and the winner of the $50 Llarowe gift certificate is...

Diana Van Nisselroy!

I love that Diana won because she was so worried that her manicure didn't fit with the theme, but it completely did. It's a beautiful visual representation of how a woman can bloom through life's difficulties and obstacles to become even more beautiful than before. :)

Please join me in congratulating Diana, and come back tomorrow to see which two manicures were chosen for honorable mentions!

Thanks to everyone that entered, thanks to Llarowe for sponsoring, and thanks to you for reading!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dupe Or No Dupe? Spoiled Pirate's Booty vs. Sinful Colors All About You


I promised you that it would return before month's end, and so it has! I also promised to introduce another new feature this month called 'Fix My Fail', which will be an interactive feature on my facebook page, so stay tuned for that!

But in the meantime, Dupe Or No Dupe returns, and I have an all-drugstore installment today. My drugstore world is slowly getting smaller and smaller since I discovered there seems to be some lack of clarity about whether or not Revlon is involved with animal testing in China. There seems to be no clear answer for this, but Revlon is now selling product in China, and animal testing is actually *required* there for cosmetics, although there do seem to be some cosmetic types that are exempt from this. Revlon hasn't clarified this, and I hope they do (clarify) and I hope that they don't (test on animals).

Anyway, point is, other drugstore brands like Wet n Wild that are definitely cruelty-free play a bigger part in my life when another brand goes to the darkside! So let's return now to the actual dupe-or-no-dupe post. :)

When I recently began re-swatching my polish collection (before my life exploded into a haze of packing boxes and moving madness) I noticed that these two polishes seemed to be awfully similar...Take a look at Spoiled's Pirate's Booty and Sinful Colors' All About You in their bottles:

Spoiled Pirate's Booty vs. Sinful Colors All About You

Both are pretty glitters that consist of mostly gold, with bits of orange thrown in for good measure. Here they both are layered over China Glaze's Budding Romance; can you tell which nails have which polish?

Pirate's Booty vs. All About You
Pirate's Booty vs. All About You...which have which?

What's the verdict? I CALL DUPE. I can't tell them apart in the bottle, in the pictures, or in real life. These are exactly the same as far as my little eyes can detect. Even the formulas were dead-on the same.

So which should you get? Well...these polishes are the same price normally ($1.99), and periodically go on sale at the drugstores such that you can get them for $1. So I'd say, whichever you get on sale first! The other issue I should mention is that Sinful Colors is now owned by Revlon if that controversy matters to you; it seems that Sinful Colors still doesn't test on animals themselves, but are owned by a parent company that does. (If you want more information about my position on these issues, please visit my Cruelty-Free Stance page. )

(Oh, yeah, btw...All About You is on my index and ring fingers, and Pirate's Booty is on my middle and pinkie. :) )

Thanks for taking a look, and Happy Tuesday!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: China Glaze Avant Garden Part 2


Okay, after a brief pause, here is part 2 of the China Glaze Avant Garden collection. If you missed part 1, you can find it by clicking here. I'll be back with the final three polishes that I bought from the collection later this week.

Let's take a look at China Glaze Sunday Funday, a muted sky blue creme:

China Glaze Sunday Funday in the shade

China Glaze in the sun
The formula on this polish was great, and that's the last time you'll be hearing this during this post. It applied like a dream, smoothed out on its own, and gave flawless coverage. This is one of my favorites of the collection. :)

Next is China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around, a frosty creme concoction that I really wanted to love, but that just didn't love me back:

China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around in the shade

China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around in indirect light

As I say, I really wanted to like this. When I have nail art that I want to do with a white base, plain white cremes are usually too stark and uneven. So on the surface, this seemed the possible solution to my issues--a softer white with a pretty shimmer and an awesome China Glaze formula. Yeah, not so much. This certainly was better than a standard white, but not by a whole lot. It was uneven and took three coats to get even--and if you look, you can still see some patchiness. Also, it wanted to do strange things at the tips of my nails for some reason, not sure why--either it didn't dry the way most China Glazes do or it reacted with my Seche Vite, I'm not sure which. Sigh...

And finally for today, China Glaze Budding Romance, a split-pea green crelly:

China Glaze Budding Romance in the sun

China Glaze Budding Romance in the sun

China Glaze Budding Romance in the shade

China Glaze Budding Romance in in direct light

China Glaze Budding Romance in the shade

I absolutely adore this color--it's my favorite from the collection, by far. I love greens and this is a pretty-ugly sort of green; not quite ugly enough to be ugly-pretty but definitely with an edge. In terms of color, this will quickly make my favorite-greens list. However...the formula...the formula...::weeps:: This gave me all the hassle of a jelly, with patchy, draggy application no matter what I did. I took three coats to get anything that looked remotely like full coverage, and even then, if you look closely on my ring finger, you'll see a patch. Grrrr. Nonetheless, I love the color enough that I will probably throw down with it in the future...maybe I can convince myself to forget the formula issues. #LikeItNeverHappened.

That's it for now--stay tuned for part three where I will rant about the fact that it's spelled 'Mimosa's Before Mani's' on my bottle label and why that drives me completely bat-crap crazy...>.<

Thanks for reading!


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

Sunday, February 24, 2013

UPDATED! Review: Blackheart Beauty Stacked nail polishes


UPDATE: I just want to let everyone know that I called Hot Topic about a replacement for the polish that arrived mixed up, and they sent one out no problem. Great customer service! :)

UPDATE: These polishes contain lead. While it seems that this is probably in trace amounts such that it doesn't need to be disclosed in most states, it does contain some, and you should be careful to not bite your nails or put your fingers in your mouth while wearing polishes from this line.

I was recently contacted by a reader asking me if I'd had any experiences with the new Blackheart Beauty 'Stacked' nail polishes. "New Blackheart Beauty stacked polishes?!" said I, "No I haven't, but I'm sure gonna!!!"...and off I ran to order some since they were having a sale. I did manage to keep myself under control, and only bought four of them...>.>...:

Blackheart Beauty Bruiser

Blackheart Beauty Dark Alley
Blackheart Beauty Iridescent
Blackheart Beauty Bright Stick (note that this bottle arrived mixed up and not properly stacked)

The concept behind the 'Stacked' (also called 'stackable' on some of the bottle labels) nail polishes isn't really explained on the site, which makes the idea mysterious and intriguing, but frustrating. There are several different coordinating colors of nail polish 'stacked' on top of one another in the same bottle, and the implication is that this will create some sort of interesting effect on the nail, when the polishes in the bottle somehow work some magic with one another. Of course, after you sit and think it through for a few minutes, you start to come up with some potential problems. What if the colors just streak and look like crap? Does it do whatever it's supposed to do in one coat, and if not, how does a second coat not mess things up? And what if it all just muddies together and turns brown?

These were questions to which I needed to know the answers. I am nothing if not dedicated to the search for information, and selflessly devoted to helping others. Those are definitely my motives. Of course this does not have anything to do with some polish addiction/obsession that I have. Not even one teeny bit... ::clears throat:: #TwelveStepProgramForNailPolish?

I tested each bottle out on one nail. In each case I started out with a base coat of white, so that the colors would show up as clearly as possible. I didn't pay much attention to perfect application or cleaning up my cuticles, as I wanted to just get a down-and-dirty test of how these polishes work. First I'll show you the pictures, then I'll discuss my findings. :)

Blackheart Beauty Bruiser
Blackheart Beauty Bruiser
Bruiser was definitely my favorite in the bottle. As you can see from the pictures, the colors stayed separate to a degree, and there was some differentiation of color. In the closer-up picture, you can see what happens when they blend, and you can see the pretty sparkle in the polish.

Blackheart Beauty Dark Alley
Dark Alley is the one I was most worried about, given the sharp contrasts between the pinks and the black. You can definitely see the color differentiation even though it melds a bit, and the glitter does add an interesting dimension. I'm on the fence, however, about whether or not this just looks too messy for my taste.

Blackheart Beauty Iridescent

Iridescent gave my favorite result. The colors go on the nail and settle to give a cool dimensional effect--the purple layer with the smaller glitter seems to go to the bottom while the blue glitter stays on the top. I couldn't capture it easily in the picture, but there is a very slight blue-green duochrome aspect to the glitter in the right light.

Blackheart Beauty Bright Stick
 As you can see in the bottle shot above, Bright Stick showed up at my door all mixed up, so I wasn't able to test out the 'stacked' effect. I will be calling Hot Topic on Monday to ask them to send me a new bottle, and I'll update you here about the customer service I get--I think it's a lot easier to take a risk on these polishes if you can feel secure knowing that they'll arrive at your door in their proper state or be replaced. In the meantime, the silver lining to the situation is that I was able to see what the polish looks like when all mixed up, and the good news is, the final color is very pretty, certainly something I'd buy on its own. Plus, I love that the finish on this is the 'rubber' sort of finish, not just a typical creme or jelly finish--that's a fun bonus in my opinion.

Okay, so overall, what do I think?

These polishes were neither as good as I hoped or as bad as I feared. They don't give super dramatic rainbow effects like part of me had hoped they would, but they do give subtle rainbow effects that are pretty cool. Each type gave me a somewhat different effect--Iridescent was a uniform effect over the nail, but it had amazing depth (this is the sort of gorgeous glitter you usually only find in Indie brands). Dark Alley was a more marbled/streaked effect with a glitter accent--this would be a tough look to create another way (although as I mentioned, for me personally, I'm still on the fence about it). And Bruiser gave more of the rainbow-stripey effect I had been anticipating. All three were cool, and I'm glad I got them.

Bright Stick eased my fears about what these polishes will eventually look like when they've been used enough to mix them up, which is inevitable, no matter how careful you are with them. I don't know exactly how long it will take to lose what differentiation there is, but I do know that the bottles say 'do not shake' clearly on them, and that every time you open the bottle and dip the brush in and out, you're going to get some mixing. So, what will you be left with? In each case, it seems fairly clear to me that the color you'll be left with is an attractive one, not an unpleasant mosh of ick. Bright Stick is a pretty deep grape purple when mixed that I'd be glad to wear in its own right. Bruiser looks like it will turn into a sparkly deep blurple, also pretty judging by the area on my nail where it mixed a bit more. I'm not sure Iridescent will change much at all once it gets blended, since its effect seems to be more of a settling of colors on top of one another across the surface of the nail. And Dark Alley looks like it will turn into a pretty muted dark-lavender purple with glitter. I think this was a very smart choice on the part of the developers, to ensure a beautiful final color.

A couple of words of advice if you decide to get these. I found I got the best results when I abandoned the standard application method of putting a dot of polish at the base of the cuticle, pulling it to both sides, and finishing up the middle. I got uneven, streaky results when I did this. Instead, I used even strokes starting on one side of the nail and working across toward the other. I tried to minimize dipping and swiping off polish on the side of the bottle, as well. Last but not least, I do recommend some sort of underwear under these, so you can get away with one coat; two coats is going to minimize any color differentiation you get in your first coat. Plus, if any of your undies end up showing through at the edges (like you can see on my fingers) you can always clean it up with a little acetone and a nail brush. Regardless of your method, you'll want to apply these slowly and carefully for best effect.

So, do I recommend these? I do, with conditions. If you like the effects I got above, you'll enjoy these. Beware that you may get a bottle that is too mixed up to get any special effects--but I'm hoping Hot Topic will make that right, and I'll let you know if they do. Finally, be aware that you aren't going to get the specialty look for the full bottle; I'm not sure how long it will last, maybe for a lot of manicures, maybe for only a few. So I'd also recommend that you pick a bottle where you like the ultimate potential color of the polish when it's mixed up, so you get your full use out of the bottle. From what I can tell, each bottle will turn into a pretty color even once the stacked effect is gone, and that's good news.

When I bought my polishes (you can find them and other Blackheart Beauty polishes by clicking here), they were selling for $5.00 each, but were on sale buy-one-get-one-50%-off. Shipping was $4.95, although they do periodically have free-shipping specials. But if you have a Hot Topic near you, these would be a good thing to pick up in person, because then you can be sure your bottle is stacked properly. :)

Let me know if you have any other questions, and my deep thanks to Blue Violent for bringing these to my attention! :)


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

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Before & After: Cosmic Snowflakes


Thanks to my move, I find myself a bit behind on things again. The week I'm on right now in my Let It Snow! challenge is 'Winter Wonderland'. I'm really excited about this one and I've been waiting for it!

A while back, I showed you this gorgeous polish, Cosmic Bubbles by InDecisive Polish:

This is a breath-taking combination of deep blue jelly and multi-sized white glitters. I told you at the time that it reminded me of a special snow experience I had, so of course it was a no-brainer that I had to do a snowflake manicure. :) I stamped on it using Magno plate M and Konad White special polish. First I did a middle mani, with just the middle nails decorated:

Then I decided to see what it would look like on all of the nails:

What do you think? I love it both ways and can't decide. And I love how the plates with bigger images give you flexibility to put a somewhat different image on each nail. :)

Thanks for taking a look! Please check out the other Winter Wonderland manicures, linked below. :)


Friday, February 22, 2013

Twin post: Cheeky 41


Today's post is the next in my twin post series with Dina of Secretary's Nail Art. We're on Cheeky plate 41, and we agreed to use the cake image from this plate.

A while back, I did a Warhol-esque 'pop art' manicure featuring when I was deciding what to do with the cake image, I figured why not make it a follow-up on that pop art theme? If you want to see the original post, you can see it by clicking here. :)

I started with a base of China Glaze's Keep Calm, Paint On from the Avant Garden Collection, a very soft frosted mint green. Then I stamped the 'yummy' background from Cheeky plate CH42 in my pop art colors (Sally Hansen Lickety-split Lime, Brisk Blue, Lively Lilac, and Orange Impulse). On top of that, I isolated a single slice of cake from the CH41 image, and stamped it in a contrasting color. I filled it in with a dotting tool, and then stamped over it again with Konad White. Finally, I put little cherries on the top with China Glaze Red Satin (one picture shows the manicure without that final touch). Here's how it came out:

Psychedelic cake slices make me happy

But psychedelic cake slices with cherries on top make me happier

What do you think? I smudged the one slice of cake a bit, but hey, that's true to life--when you cut a cake, the first slice that comes out is always jacked up. :P

Thanks for taking a look, and don't forget to check out what Dina did with this image; you can see her version by clicking here. :)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Before & After: Retro 70's Den


Today's prompt in the Flip-Flop February challenge is 'Flame/Dots', and I chose dots. :)

I started out with Zoya Kalmia, a rich rusty orange:

Zoya Kalmia

Next, I stamped on it with China Glaze Mahogany Magic, using a retro design from LeaLac plate LLC-A. Finally, I put green dots in the center of some of the design's 'petals', using Sally Hansen Lickety-Split Lime:

Pay no attention to that random cat's not really there...all in your imagination...

Man does this give me crazy flash-backs to my very early's like the 70's exploded on my nails! What a perfect look to go with your bell-bottoms and angle flights as you catch up on old re-runs of the Brady Bunch, lol...

Thanks for taking a look! And please check out what the other participants did, linked below. :)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Empowering Women Contest: Last chance to enter!!

This is the final reminder to get your entries uploaded by noon today (20 Feb 13) for the 'Empowering Women' nail art contest!

Here are the details about the contest:

  • To submit your entry, please upload it to the Lacquer Or Leave Her! (LOLH) Facebook page, which you can find by clicking here.
  • One entry per person, please.
  • The manicure must include at least 4 fingers of one hand; you don't have to include the thumb in your entry, but we'd love it if you do!
  • Please include an explanation of why your manicure fits the theme. This may be especially important if you do a design that is more abstract than literal.
  • The deadline to submit your entry is noon on February 20, 2013. 
  • Since Jenny is not a nail blogger and doesn't follow nail art blogs (she doesn't even know who Scrangie is--OMG), she will be the unbiased judge who will pick the winner, along with two honorable mentions. Her decisions are final.
  • The contest is open to anyone who wants to enter; Llarowe ships internationally to most countries, however there are some exceptions, and it's up to you to make sure you can use the gift certificate should you win it; we can't make substitutions. 
  • Pictures submitted to the contest may be used by LOLH, IM2A, or Llarowe, with proper photo credit to you and/or your blog.
The nail art entries for the contest will be posted to the LOLH and IM2A Pinterest boards; they will also be featured on the IM2A site, in an article about the contest and event (we will post these as the come in). Finally, the winning entry will be featured on the cover of IM2A's Facebook page for a month! 

Before & After: Stamped triangle


Today's prompt in the Flip-Flop February challenge is flowers/v-gap. To be honest, I'm not sure what a v-gap is, so I've decided to give it my own definition. :)

I started with a base of Nfu-Oh 51, everyone's favorite purple flakie:

Nfu-Oh 51

Yummy flakie goodness...

Next, I free-handed triangles where my half-moon would be, using the striper from Revlon's Jackson Polish. Finally I stamped on each of the triangles using Cheeky Plate GA38, and China Glaze Joy:

So does that count as a v-gap? And what do you think? I think I like this better than half-moons, and I'm going to play with these shapes again. :)

Sorry this is so short today--I'm running on fumes...

Thanks for looking! Please check out the other participants below. :)