Friday, May 31, 2013

Before & After: No Balance Left


I'm coming in just under the wire with the last of my May stamping entries for my Nail Challenge Collaborative group, but this is one I'm really proud of. :)

KBShimmer No Whine Left was a polish I had been lemming for quite some time. Sometimes when you want a polish for a long time like that, you build it up in your head and the real thing turns out the be not that great.

This is not one of those occasions.

My darling friend Dina of Secretary's Nail Art introduced me to KBShimmer a long time ago, when she mentioned someone else told her that she should check them out. I did, and I drooled, and finally I was able to buy. I purchased three lovelies, including this one, and was blown away by the quality. It wasn't long before I decided that KBShimmer had to be a part of my Indie Hall of Fame, which I just started to build and is under construction at the moment (see tabs at the top of the blog).

But I digress. This is about No Whine Left, a gorgeous deep purple jelly with a variety of purple and blue hex glitters. It applies like a dream. It covers in two coats. It's one of those miracle polishes that just makes you happy I built an outfit about it, which was one of my first entries on Instagram. If you've ever wondered if I actually wear my 'before' polishes before I 'after' them (and the tip wear isn't convincing enough, lol), here is the evidence that I actually do. :)

KBShimmer No Whine Left, indirect light

KBShimmer, direct sun

I submit to you that this is not an easy polish to stamp on. There's already a lot going on--what sort of pattern can you use that actually adds to the polish and doesn't distract from it?'s um...dark. Other than silver, gold or white, none of which I felt would work for this...what do you do?

After some speculation, I came up with an answer that I think is a pretty darn good one. I stamped it using China Glaze Hanging In The Balance (have I mentioned in the last 5 minutes how much I love China Glaze cremes for stamping?) and used Konad plate m63:

No Whine Left + Hanging In The Balance

= No Balance Left

I. Love. This. Somehow the pattern almost looks like a background and the amazing glitter shines through. And it's like the shade of blue was made to go with this manicure. Sometimes--just sometimes--you accidentally stumble on a win. :)

Thanks for taking a look, and please check out the other participants' manis, linked below. :)

Hugs and love,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: InDecisive Nail Lacquer (Ichor, Ichor my nails...)


I'm back with 4 more polishes from InDecisive Nail Lacquer, and I promised you something interesting today...and so I bring you InDecisive's Ichor line, sent to me for review.

Why are the Ichor polishes 'interesting'? They're a very cool way (no pun intended). You're possibly saying to yourself, as I did the first time I saw one of these, 'Isn't that just a fancy way of saying 'color-changing polishes?'. Well, technically yes, but in reality, no, they are absolutely not.

Ichor polishes are different for two reasons. First, the polishes change not from one color to another color, which makes a polish only a one-trick pony; rather, they change from clear to their target color, so you can put whatever color you like as your base color--and this means an extremely versatile polish with lots and lots of possibilities. Second, it's temperature that makes the color change, in a very particular kind of way...sure, if you're in a warm room, or outside in warm sun, the polish will be clear, and if you're in a cold room, or outside when it's cold, the polish will turn to its target color. The magic is where the switch happens--at body temperature (86 degrees, to be precise). What this means is that in medium temperatures, the polish will be clear on most of your nail, and colored at the tips. So, your undie color shows in cold temps, Ichor color shows in warm temps, and in moderate temps, you get a French manicure with the combination of the two colors.

That, in my opinion, is brilliant. And incredibly fun.

Aleksandra's original Ichor goes from clear to black. She has added three additional colors to her line: Blue, Red, and Purple, each shifting from clear to the target color. On her website, she shows you each of these polishes over naked nails so you can see the color shift; you can check these pictures out by clicking here. This freed me up to have some fun and play around with color combos, and that's just what I did!

Let's start with the original Ichor, which switches from clear to black; I put it over China Glaze Tart-y For The Party, a springy lavender purple:

Ichor Black over China Glaze Tart-y For The Party

In the second picture, the wind started to come up as I was taking the pictures in my backyard, an you can see how the gradient began to move higher up my nail. That was one of the things I loved best about these polishes--the type of the gradient I'd get changed with things like the wind, and it was so much fun to watch. I wore blue Ichor to an outdoor event, and got about 6 different effects over the course of the afternoon depending on the temperature, wind, etc. :)

Aleksandra suggests that you put two coats of Ichor over your base color, and recommends that you use cremes rather than shimmers, because Ichor dries a bit like a rubber-finish matte polish (my words, not hers), and she suggests you finish it with topcoat for the same reason. I actually love the matte finish it gives, and show it below. Also, I think that as long as you know it's going to have that slightly cloudy effect on the polish below it, you can do some fun things with shimmer and glitters, and I'm looking forward to playing around with that. But you should be aware of that when picking your base color, and factor it in accordingly. In all of my pictures I have two coats of Ichor over my base polish, as suggested.

One last point about original Ichor. As you can see above, in some temperatures, the pigment in the polish gives a flecked effect; this varies a bit from batch to batch. I love the dimension it gives to the gradient when it does show. :)

For the blue version of Ichor, I used Revlon Cloud as my underwear; Cloud is a very light blue with purple tones:

InDecisive Ichor Blu over Revlon Cloud

Seriously, how pretty is that! Of course this would look wonderful over white as well, and I can't wait to try it over a pale green. :)

For Ichor Purple, I decided to try something a bit darker underneath, to see how that would come out. Here I have it layered over Julep Sophie, a medium gray:

InDecisive Ichor Purple, over Julep Sophie; with topcoat

Yep, the color shows up even over a darker basecoat. :)

And here it is again, without the topcoat, so you can see how the finish dries on its own:

Outside semi-direct sun

I love rubber-finish mattes, so of course I love the natural finish of these polishes, and I like that you can leave the topcoat off for a different type of look. :)

For the final color, Ichor Red, I had to try something a little daring and fun. I put it over Zoya Arizona, a bright orange creme:

InDecisive Ichor Red over Zoya Arizona; with topcoat

My grandma and your grandma, sittin' by the fire

My grandma said to your grandma, I'm gonna set your flag on fire

Talkin' 'bout hey now! Hey now!

Ichor Ichor my nails!

Jockomo feena ah na nay, jockomo feena nay!

I love love love how this came out. Tell me that last picture doesn't look like some beautiful tropical drink you'd want to sip by the side of the pool or the ocean! Absolutely gorgeous, summery and fun.

And if you'd like your red to be darker, she can make that up for you, just contact her or let her know in your checkout notes that you'd like a darker shade of red. :)

The formula on all of these polishes is excellent, they apply easily and dry quickly. They can be a bit strange to work with because the polish turns clear almost as soon as you put it on, but it changed slowly enough that I didn't have any troubles applying evenly. However, Aleksandra warns that it can be easily to get some of the polish on your cuticles, have it turn clear, and then forget it's there until it turns colors later, so you may want to clean up your cuticles carefully.

All of these are available now in the InDecisive Nail Lacquer shop, which you can reach by clicking here. As with her other polishes, these are three-free, not tested on animals, and thoroughly human tested for months before she releases them.

I'll be back tomorrow with some nail art, and then I'll bring you the last (awwwww...big sad face) InDecisive Nail Lacquer review on Saturday.

Thanks for reading! Big hugs,

(The polishes in this post were sent for my honest review.)

Reminder: Fix My FAIL for-fun contest closes tomorrow!


Just wanted to remind everyone quickly that tomorrow is the last day to submit entries for the Fix My FAIL for-fun contest.

If you missed it, you can find it by clicking here. :)

The winner will be featured on my far, there is only one entry so your odds are good!

Big hugs,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Before & After: Jazz Age


This week's time period in my Llama Nails group challenge is: The Roaring Twenties! This is beautifully well-timed with recent release of The Great Gatsby and my Jazz Age Julep kit. :)

I started off with a base of Julep Gabrielle, a smoked eggplant creme:

Julep Gabrielle

Julep Gabrielle

Then I did a simple flipped-accent nail stamp over the base, using Julep Zelda, a light frosted lilac, and Winstonia 111:

Doesn't this look like the ultimate flapper wear??

I love how well these colors go together, and they have such a great retro feel. I can completely see this on a gown some beautiful chicky would be wearing at a speakeasy!

(Sorry about the cuticles...I did this back when my cuticles were trying desperately to recover from my move...:( )

Thanks for looking! Please check out what the other Llama-ettes did, linked below. :)

Hugs and love,

Review: InDecisive Nail Lacquer (Black and white and gray all over...)


I'm back today with three more polishes from InDecisive Nail Lacquer! Today I'll be showing you three glitter toppers (sent to me for review), to close out the new glitter toppers in her collection. I'll be back tomorrow to show you something a bit unusual from her collection...;-)

The first two polishes I'll show you are both called 'Speckled', but one is Speckled in black, and one is in white; I'll start off with the black version. This is a glitter topper Aleksandra made trying to  capture the look of a spray of paint splatter. She chose to use small, really small, and ultra-small glitters for the polish (set in a clear base) to achieve that almost-spray type of look, and has managed to create a polish that sets itself apart from other black-only toppers:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Speckled Black over China Glaze Hanging In The Balance

Macro-ish, because my new camera is now able to do this! 
This is one coat layered over China Glaze Hanging In The Balance (finished with my standard Seche Vite). Once again, I've put the polish on where it lay with a normal brush-stroke; no playing around with it to make it look better. The formula was wonderful--the glitters spread evenly, no fuss, no muss.

While I didn't do this intentionally, this pairing looked just like some sort of beautiful bird's egg, with the pretty blue and the black speckles. I got more compliments on this than on any of the other polishes I wore (and I got compliments on most of them). Even men noticed this pairing and mentioned how pretty it was. :)

Speckled White is the same idea, but made with white glitters instead of black. When I first heard about this polish, before I saw it, I wasn't sure if I'd be impressed with it. There are a lot of white toppers out there--I own two white glitter toppers myownself! But it became clear quickly that this is different from the others I own and have seen in two important ways. First of all, the white glitter is truly white. It isn't pearl or translucent, and because of this, it gives a bold, solid look rather than a more soft ethereal look. Second, as with the black version, the combination of tiny glitters gives a diffused-but-unified look to the glitter; the other toppers I own and have seen have the larger hexes in them (also beautiful, just different. :) ) In her description she says that this polish is good at livening up a polish without distracting from it; I'd go further than that--I think the contrast with the white livens up the base polish and makes it more of whatever it was to start with. Did that makes sense? Probably not, so let me explain, lol. In my pictures below, I have it layered over China Glaze Westside Warrior, and rather than detract from the deep green, the contrast actually seems to  make the base color that much richer and eye-catching:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Speckled White over China Glaze Westside Warrior

Here again I have one coat, applied with a normal brushstroke only, over the base color, and finished with Seche Vite. I chose to swatch this combination because of the dramatic contrast, but this polish would be lovely over other softer colors, too--I almost put this over a soft peach for you, because that combination was lovely, too. But when I wore this to a BBQ this past weekend, I had someone physically stop me as I walked by to ask me how I'd done this. So I figured this was the one you needed to see. :)

Hey, I think it's time for a joke, don't you? Okay, here's an oldie but a goodie...

Q: What's black and white and red all over?
A: Newspaper!*

Come on, it's a little bit funny...maybe? Well, anyway, Newspaper is a black, white and GRAY glitter topper made up of hexes and squares of various sizes, going from medium-small to extremely-small, all in a clear base. Why did I put gray in caps like that? Because I adore that this polish has gray glitter in it rather than just black and white. I have three black-and-white toppers already, but I 'yay'ed when I saw this because of that gray glitter. I think that along with the lack of bar glitter makes this polish special compared to the standard B/Ws out there--don't get me wrong, I'm one of those few who love bar glitter, but I know most polish-lovers don't, so it has always been a mystery to me why so many of the black-and-white toppers have them. Ah well, c'est la vie!

For whatever reason, that above silly joke would not leave my head from the moment I saw this I couldn't resist layering it over a bright red:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Newspaper, over Zoya Rekha

The index finger in this picture shows the relative color of the gray glitter the best. :)

Same as with the other two, this is one coat of Newspaper over Zoya Rekha, finished with a coat of Seche Vite. I love that the gray glitter makes the polish just a bit more nuanced, taking the edge slightly off the stark contrast of the white, black, and red. It softens it just a bit, and the variations in the glitter shapes give the polish dynamic energy. In the version you'll find in her store, there is actually one more size of very small black and white glitter in this--the version she sent me was a prototype and she decided to tweak it a bit, so check out her pictures in the store. I think it's wonderful either way. :)

All of these lovely polishes can be found in the InDecisive Nail Lacquer Etsy store, here. They all go for $9.50 for the full-sized bottles and $5.75 for the minis; they are all big-three free and not tested on animals.

Oh, and if you haven't done it already, don't forget to check out the giveaway that Aleksandra is sponsoring with me; she has donated a bottle of a special, limited edition polish made just for my blog. You can find the giveaway by clicking here.

Thanks for taking a look! I'll be back later today with some nail art, and tomorrow with some very intriguing polishes from the InDecisive shop. :)

Much love,

*Okay, this joke works better when you say it out loud than when you see it, because of the red/read thing. But work with me here. And as you probably know, there are many other answers to this joke (such as 'a sunburned penguin'), but 'Newspaper' is the original, from whence all the others spring. :)

(The polishes in this post were sent for my honest review.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: InDecisive Nail Lacquer...two stunning toppers!


When I announced my my giveaway with InDecisive Nail Lacquer yesterday (What? You missed it? Check it out clicking here!), I mentioned I'd be reviewing the new additions to her line over the next few days (and maybe one or two of her classics). Because there are so many gorgeous polishes to review and I want to do them all justice, I'll be doing this over four posts, and I'm kickig things off today with two of her stunning toppers, Mermaid (provided for review), and Antique (purchased by me). 

First up is Mermaid, a glitter topper made with different shades and shapes of turquoise and blue glitters in a clear base. The different shapes in the glitter (hexes, circles, and squares, all small but also varied in size) give visual interest and texture to the polish, so that they eye is drawn across the nail. The different colors are well-chosen to give depth to the monochromatic color scheme in a very pleasing way--it reminds me of the way the ocean looks when light sparkles across it:  

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Mermaid over Zoya Midori

This is one coat of of Mermaid brushed evenly over Zoya Midori; I didn't dab or make any special efforts to place the glitter. Application was excellent; if you're like me and don't want to have to fuss to get a light, even coat of glitter, you'll have no complaints here. If you want MOAR glitter--and who could blame you with a glitter this pretty--you can dab it on or put on another coat; you can see the polish applied this way on Aleksandra's Etsy shop here.

One of the color combos I love these days is turquoise or teal over purple, so I had to also try this out over a rich purple base; here is one slightly heavier coat of Mermaid over Misa Breakaway:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Mermaid over Misa Breakaway

In direct sunlight

I could seriously stare at the color combination for hours. It's like some sort of awesome cosmic blueberry-grape jelly explosion. :)

The second of today's polishes is Antique, and I'm gonna show you a um...few... pictures because I love it so much I had a horrible time paring them down. You know how real gold topcoats have been all the rage lately? Antique is the next phase in the evolution of this trend--a topcoat made with real sterling silver flakes, in a clear base. It's not quite as simple as that sounds, however...this polish is called Antique because the silver reacts a bit with the air in the polish and gets an antique-patina feel to it, which gives a silver-gold duochrome effect on the nail, depending on how the light hits it:

InDecisive Nail Lacquer Antique over Misa Bourbon On The Rocks

This effect will deepen with time so that in some lights the polish will look almost copperish; you can see the final effect on the InDecisive site (my bottle hasn't reached full maturity yet, lol). Here I have one coat of Antique over Misa Bourbon On The Rocks, finished off with a coat of Seche Vite. The formula was great, the flakes spread evenly and without a problem. Where the light reflects off of my topcoat it looks like there are patches with no flakes, but that's just a visual illusion--they're there if you look closely. :)

This polish is elegant, classy, sparkly, feminine. I can't image any holiday manicure that wouldn't be spectacular with this topper on it. Please don't make me take it off...Please...Please?

You can find both of these beauties in the InDecisive Nail Lacquer Etsy shop, by clicking here. They both sell for $9.50 for full-sized bottles, and $5.75 for minis. Of course her polish is big-3 free, and not tested on animals. :)

I'll be back tomorrow with three more InDecisive polishes for your viewing pleasure! Thanks for reading. :)

Hugs and love,

(Mermaid was provided for my honest review. I purchased Antique with my own money).