Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Born Pretty Store giveaway!!!

Hello everyone!!

Because my Born Pretty Store discount code has been used enough times, Born Pretty Store is sponsoring a giveaway for a $20.00 gift certificate to their store! And if you've been in their store, you know you can buy a LOT of goodies for $20!

Okay, so here are the deets:

1) You must follow Born Pretty Store in at least one of the ways listed on the Rafflecopter widget (e.g. blog, facebook). Of course, the more ways you follow the more entries you get, but you must have at least one to have your entries be valid.

2) You must follow me via Bloglovin'.

3) The contest is open to anyone that can use a Born Pretty Store gift certificate. They ship to pretty much everywhere, but check to be sure your area isn't one of the few not included.

4) The contest will run from now until 13 March 2014.

5) The winner will be chosen by the Rafflecopter widget, and will have 48 hours to respond. We will send notification to the e-mail address you provide in the widget, so make sure you spell it correctly!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Daisy from Born Pretty Store for sponsoring this!!

Let me know if you have any questions, and good luck, everyone!

Hugs and loves,

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Blues: Jeweled Octavia


Well, it's Monday again, but the good news is, by the time you read this, the official workday will almost be over. So your Monday Blues don't have to be bluish for too much longer!

This week I'm celebrating Monday with Julep Octavia, a blue creme that's sort of like a navy crossed with a royal blue. It's more of a navy really, but it has a little bit more bright than I think of with a navy, so I'm gonna stick with my hybrid model:

Julep Octavia

Julep Octavia

To decorate this lovely, I decided to go with some textured studs I was sent for review by Born Pretty Store:

What I like about these studs is that not only do they add bling, but they have a more matte finish, and add some texture more than a typical stud does. And you get round and square in both gold and silver, for $2.26. Seriously, you can't beat that with a stick.

First, using the Saran-wrap method, I tapped on some Barry M Silver Foil onto half of all of the nails except the accent nail. Then I put three studs onto the accent nail at a jaunty angle:

This is one of the fastest looks I've ever done. The Saran-wrap tapping took about 20 seconds, and the studs were another minute. Three dots of polish, position the studs, wait a minute, add fast drying topcoat to all. Bing, bang, boom, you're out the door, you're fancy, and Monday isn't such a bummer after all. :)

A quick reminder that I have a coupon code for 10% off your purchase at Born Pretty Store, and since more than 10 people have used it, they are sponsoring a giveaway for a $20 gift certificate! I will have the rafflecopter giveaway up on the blog tomorrow, so come back and check that out. In the meantime, here is the code if you want to shop the night away:

I hope your Monday has had the minimum of the bad blues, and lots of the pretty blues!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Before & After: Amy Gras


Mardi Gras is getting close, and it's one of my favorite celebrations of the year! I mean, I don't really usually do a whole lot for it or anything. I live in California and it's not like we have huge Mardi Gras celebrations here. But I usually try to find some way to celebrate it, even if it's just doing nail art and wishing I was in New Orleans. :)

I did this manicure a while back when I first got my Pueen plates, because one of patterns on Pueen 31 just screamed 'Mardi Gras beads!' at me. So I picked myself a bright orange worthy of a happy celebration, Zoya Amy:

Zoya Amy

Zoya Amy

Zoya Amy

I'm a sucker for glass-flecked finishes like these, and the tangerine with yellow shimmer is right up my alley. It's funny--I don't wear much orange, but I love orange nail polish. Go figure.

Next, I threw on a coat of Sinful Colors Green Ocean, which is an iridescent flakie with glitter that normally looks green, but also looks purple over some colors--you know how iridescents can be. Green Ocean is a seasonal polish that normally gets released around St. Patrick's day, so if you want to grab a bottle of it, you should start looking soon--it disappears quickly. But, to be honest, I found my bottle on eBay, and I payed less than $5 for it. :)

Sinful Colors Green Ocean over Zoya Amy
Sinful Colors Green Ocean over Zoya Amy

For the accent nail I stamped with Manic Panic Blood Thirsty, and then decorated with a slew of microbeads, half-pearls, rhinestones and glitter hexes:

Now tell me that doesn't look like Mardi Gras beads!!

Thanks for stopping by today--tomorrow I'll have some Monday Blues, and it looks like I'll finally be able to post my Born Pretty Store giveaway. :)

Happy Sunday,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Barielle Summer Fun Collection

(Press Sample)

Hello everyone!

How's it going? Having a good week? Glad it's almost over? Tomorrow's Friday, woo-hoo!

Today I have a lovely collection from Barielle to show you. It's called the 'Summer Fun' collection, and while it would be fun for summer, I personally think it's also perfect for spring. Take a look and tell me if you agree. :)

Today I'm going to start off with my favorite of the bunch, Dusty Lavender, a soft, shimmery, well, dusty lavender:

Barielle Dusty Lavender

Barielle Dusty Lavender

Barielle Dusty Lavender

Barielle Dusty Lavender

I have two coats on here, and the same for all of the polishes in the collection. The formula and application on this were excellent, with no problems. Shimmers that border on frosts like this can be streaky, and in the extreme close-ups that you see here, you can see some brush strokes if you look. But in real life this wasn't noticeable at all.

I love spring colors that have a muted aspect to them, and I think this is a perfect example of that. It's a beautiful color if you like pastels, and a beautiful color if you're not a huge pastel fan. I'm finding that over my nearly two years as a nail blogging polish fanatic, I'm coming to appreciate pastel polishes more and more, but I still prefer mine in a slightly dusty package, like this. :)

Next we have Mint Ice Cream Cone, a pistachio creme:

Barielle Mint Ice Cream Cone

Barielle Mint Ice Cream Cone

Barielle Mint Ice Cream Cone

The formula and application on all of the cremes in this collection (and the rest are all cremes) were ah-maze-ing. I have a love-hate relationship with cremes because I love the look of the finish, but application can be truly, truly horrific. So many cremes will drag and pull and be patchy and refuse to level. But these were a joy to apply, were smooth, leveled easily, and had no patchiness after the second coat. And as for this color, I like that it is more along the lines of a sage than a mint--I have a ton of mint pastels, and I think this shade is a bit more interesting.

The third offering in the collection is Pink Flip Flops, a Barbie-ish pink creme:

Barielle Pink Flip Flops

Barielle Pink Flip Flops

 This is for all you pink creme lovers out there; this is a solid contender for a basic in your collection. Application was good, and the color is soft enough to get you through spring. I used this as a base for my Valentine's Day contest mani; you can see that by clicking here if you missed it. I used Dusty Lavender on that one, too. :)

I don't think any spring or summer palette is complete without a beautiful peachy-coral, and Peach Popsicle is just such a polish:

Barielle Peach Popsicle

Barielle Peach Popsicle

Barielle Peach Popsicle

 I really love this coral--it's not too bright, but it's not washed out. It gives a splash of color without being obnoxiously bright. For me, this is a basic neutral sort of polish that makes me feel pretty and is highly work appropriate, too. Again the formula was wonderful.

And the last pretty in the collection is Ocean Breeze, a sky-blue creme:

Barielle Ocean Breeze

Barielle Ocean Breeze

Barielle Ocean Breeze

Barielle Ocean Breeze

This one is the one that forms the most fluid bridge into summer, I think--it looks like summery skies and swimming pools. Application was wonderful, and while blues like this can wash me out sometimes, even Mr. LHOLH commented on how pretty this was. :)

If you're looking for a collection of pastel cremes for this spring and summer, I highly recommend this collection. I have never before had such a uniformly wonderful application experience with cremes as I had with this collection. The quality is great, and you can't beat the Barielle price. :)

Thanks for taking a look! Big hugs,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review, How-To and Before & After: MoYou-London Landscape/MotherNature Collection 06

(Products in this post were purchased with my own money.)


I'm back today with a review and how-to-use MoYou-London's Mother Nature 06 plate, previously known as Landscape Collection 06. The video I did for this contains three plates total, and I've already posted it, so you may have seen it before...but here it is again in case you haven't, or want a refresher:

Aaand next we have the stills:

Full shot of Landscape/Mother Nature 06

Left side of Landscape/Mother Nature 06

Left side of Landscape/Mother Nature 06

And, of course, a comparison with Konad so you can get a feel for the relative size of the images:

Note that the balloons and houses (most of them) will fit onto your nails without too much problem, and the design areas in the mountains are large enough that you should be able to get enough to do full-nail look on your nails if they aren't too long. But, in my experience so far, this is the plate that has been the most tricky in terms of using those patterns--some of the spaces are a little tighter than on other plates. But it can still be done, depending on what you're hoping to do.

A final note on using this plate. I found that in some areas that were a bit more tight, it was a little trickier to pick up clean images. If you find that you have this issue, there are a couple of things that make it easier. First, try using a plastic scraper or a credit card; the softer edge on these scrapers won't catch as much on the engraving. The downside of this is you may have to scrape twice, and work a little faster. Another thing I found was helpful was to roll my stamper over the image rather than just come directly down on it; normally I prefer the downward motion, but in this case, rolling may improve your pick-up.

On to the How-To-Use portion of today's journey!

This is one of the more straight-forward of the MoYou-London Collage plates. For the most part, you'll be able to make great use of this plate without too many shenanigans, and probably only need to know how to isolate an image (in addition to basic stamping, of course). If you're not sure how to do that, check out my tutorial on it, by clicking here.

So how can you use this plate? As always, I'm sure you all can come up with lots more ideas, but here are some to get you started:

1) A beautiful hot-air balloon manicure. There are a ton of balloons here to choose from. The easiest way to use them is to stamp in one color (e.g., black or silver), and add some decoration. A nail brush and/or some dotting tools can add a ton of detail without a ton of hassle. There are even two sets of matching balloons in different sizes, so you can coordinate that way if you want to. These images are also perfect for making decals.

2) A neighborhood village scene. You can do this in any color scheme, but how cute would this be for a Christmas village! There's a building that could either be a town hall or a church, depending on how you decorate it, and if you put the buildings with snow drifts and a snowman or two, you'd have a beautiful festive scene. These also would be wonderful for making decals, because you can paint the houses any color you want, and decorate them accordingly.

3) A mountain landscape. This is the manicure I showed you last Monday. Here it is again to refresh your memory:

To make this, I first stamped the three mountain tops; this is pretty hard to get wrong because your mountain can be as big or as small as you need it to be, based on the size of your nails. Next, on the ring finger I wanted a little more visual interest, so I selected an area where two mountains intersected. Finally, I picked up the birds and clouds to complete the scene. Here are the portions of the plate I used, circled approximately where I hit them with my stamper:

4) Use portions of the images as design elements. Sure, there are mountains and balloons, and houses, and trees here. But don't forget the pretty patterns inside of the mountains--those make great full-nail images on their own (look at the spray of blossoms in the middle of the mountain second from the left)--and there are fun design elements here, too. The trees on the right could be used as arrows, depending on how you orient them. And the trees on the left can be used as a leaf-style design.

In fact, here's a manicure using that last suggestion. Here is how you could use that last design element in a manicure...I started with Julep Jillian, a deep raisin-brown shimmer:

Julep Jillian

Julep Jillian

Next, using China Glaze Passion, I picked up the tops of the leaves. On three of the nails, I stamped on the tips, in a faux-French soft of look. Then, on the accent nail, I added a larger stamp along the cuticle line:

Winter Leaves

Add caption

Because I knew I was just going to be using the tips of the leaves, I used the ones mostly under the second mountain, because the pattern doesn't run right up to them--that makes it easier for me to isolate the edge.

I hope this post has helped you explore the possibilities of this plate, and I hope your week is off to a pleasant start. :)


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Review + Before & After: InDecisive Nail Lacquer

(Press Sample)

Hello hello hello!

Here I am, reporting from Sochi, with two winter lovelies to show you from InDecisive Nail Lacquer!

Okay, That was a lie. I'm not in Sochi. But it sounded good for a minute, didn't it??

What is true is I do have two very awesome winter pretties to show you from InDecisive...Plus, a Before & After that I did with one of them. :)

Okay, on with the show!

Bloodstone is a deep pine-green beauty with small red, gold, and black glitters, with a background of red and gold shimmery goodness:


As the name indicates, this polish was inspired by bloodstone; I've never seen bloodstone, and this polish makes me think I need to change that. The deep pine green is beautiful for jewel-tone lovers like me, and while it might be a bit on the dark side for some people if it were just plain, the glitters and the shimmer give it light and depth. I think it's a beautiful for all year round, particularly winter, but it's absolutely going to be one of my favorites for Christmas.  It's elegant and it's adult, but it's still sparkly!! :)

The formula on this is excellent. You won't have to fish or worry about how to apply to get an even coverage of the glitters, it just glides right on. :)

And then there is the milky beauty that is Snowstorm: a soft concoction of white jelly base, navy and robin's-egg blue glitters, and a flash of aqua shimmer:


Look at that gorgeous shimmer

There are a few things that make this a special polish, in my opinion. First, I've never had a white or white-based polish that applied as perfectly as this one does. Normally no matter what I do, white is patchy and gross and I need at least three coats to make it acceptable looking--and so I really just avoid it. This had no patchiness, no gloppiness, just pure white beauty.

I also love the two colors of blue that Aleksandra paired here. Because she went with a navy and a very light, pale blue, when the white polish covers the glitters to differing degrees, it gives more of a variegated effect, like you have 3-4 different colors of glitter in there. But the thing I love most of all is the beautiful shimmer; most polishes of the milky type have a more solid creme finish, but the shimmer on this one gives it a more glimmering appearance. You can see it a little more in real life than you can in my pictures here (the best picture to see it in is the second-to-last), but it's not overwhelming. Just a subtle splash of extra pretty. :)

The dark-to-light effect of the glitters, and the snow-blizzard sky inspired me to do a little nail art on this one. I love the look of purple and blue together, so I decided to stamp some cloud-ish swirls over the polish, in a light-to-dark purple effect. So, I took Sally Hansen Pronto Purple and Lively Lilac, and put dots of them over the stamping plate image (Winstonia 203), and then scraped across the whole mish-mash. Then I picked up and stamped:

If you lived in a surreal Candyland-type place, this is what a snowy, stormy sky would look like! I think it came out happy and fun, with a ton of whimsy. I love that the blue glitters shine through beautifully, and the splashes of purple glide and blend into one another. :)

You can find InDecisive Nail Lacquers in Aleksandra's Etsy shop, by clicking here. I've known and worked with Aleksandra for some time now, and I can assure you of a few things. First, her polish is top-notch quality; she does extensive human testing on her products before she allows them into her shop. For example, she made a stunning blue holo polish a while back that would have sold like hotcakes--but it stained, so she refused to sell it (the good news is, she's currently working on finding other ingredients that will give the same look without the staining!). Second, dedication to her customers is unequaled. If you are looking for a custom polish, send her a note--I've ordered customs from her and seen customs she has made for other customers, and she isn't happy until you're happy. So check her out, if you haven't already! :)

Hope you're having a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend. :)