Monday, April 29, 2013

My first official "haul?!"

So I have been away for well over a week...pretty sure that is a big no-no in the blogging world... especially when you're just starting out. :-/  My apologies to my 5 followers!  I really felt bad leaving you ladies hanging!  I kept thinking I should maybe just do a quick post to say I wouldn't be posting for awhile, but obviously it never happened.  Last week was kinda crazy (compared to a standard week in my life!), and then over the weekend I was at my parents' house, and after placing my Zoya order (Earth Day exchange - woot woot!!!), I SHUT DOWN THEIR COMPUTER! :O  *gasp  ...not realizing they hadn't been shutting it down (contrary to their normal practices) as it apparently takes hours to turn back on.  Well, I might've killed it, because it did not come back on no matter what my dad tried.  :-S  Sorry mom & dad!!

I am home now, and I believe the next couple weeks should be pretty normal, so I'm gonna try my darndest to get a few good posts up this week!  I think I might be running the risk of committing another nail polish blog no-no with this one though: it's not gonna have any pictures. *double gasp!  I know what you're thinking.  How on earth can you have a post about a haul and NOT have pictures?!  Well, I intend to - just not tonight as it's almost 11pm and I don't think I can get very accurate photos without daylight.  That and I'm pretty tired.  The stress of having a root canal today kinda sapped my strength.  Fun times! (note the sarcasm)

Ok, enough blabbing and explaining - on to the haul! ;-)
This has been a long, drawn out haul, and it's still not over!!  Well, I suppose technically my Zoya "mini-haul" can be a haul onto itself.  I bought 9 polishes, but 4 of them are for my roommate as she is the one with the old, nasty polishes we can send in for the exchange. :-)  And one of mine doesn't really count as it's from the Pixie Dust collection (Vespa).
So what, you ask, have I gotten?  This is THE LIST:
Essie - Sand Tropez (from Essie @ iHeartPrettyPolish)
Julep - Trina (also Essie - thanks again for the surprise!!)
Silly Lily Polish - Paint Splatter
Silly Lily Polish - Pacific Fantasy
Color Club - Alias (blog sale item from Amanda at The Nail Polish Enthusiast)
Darling Diva - Rescue Me (also from Amanda's sale)
MatteseElite - Attitude (a surprise from Amanda!! :-D)  *side note: these n.p. blog ladies are really SO kind!!
Hare Polish - Let Them Eat...What? (Llarowe order)
Jindie Nails - Fantastical (Llarowe order)
Hits Speciallita Mari Moon - Super Cute (Llarowe)
Hits Speciallita Mari Moon - So Unique (Llarowe)

WHEW!!!!!!!  Looking at that list, I feel like a nail polish glutton! ...or something like that?  But hey, I'm sharing the beauty - I did a mani for my bestie on Saturday with Pacific Fantasy over OPI Can't Find my Czechbook, and I believe she was pretty thrilled by it. :-)  We even took some pics (with her camera 'cuz I forgot mine at my parents' house) so those will be forthcoming as she is on her way to California tomorrow!! :-D  Gotta say, using Pacific Fantasy WAS rather fitting, no? ;-)

Ok, before I end this post, I HAVE to gush about the Hare Polish!!!! I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS!  The swatches (and OF COURSE the cute little rabbit on the bottle) captivated me right away, and it certainly does not disappoint.  I've put two coats on my bare thumbnail (no basecoat nor color underneath) and it has amazing coverage despite the whitish crelly microshimmer base, and the bigger glitters are so beautiful: the bright orange is a surprising touch, but it somehow works, the small gold squares and tiny flecks? are so GOLD (makes it look very rich), and the small pale pink matte hexes finish it beautifully.  This polish stands out, but is "neutral" and demure at the same time. Perfect for wearing to work!  I'm pretty sure I'll be staring at my nails all day tomorrow as I'm typing away! ;-)  Also, the formula itself is lovely and dry time is super short for a polish with this much of a glitter payload.  The glitter lays nice and flat on your nail and feels smooth enough to the touch that I really could forego my Seche Vite. WOW. :-D  So needless to say, I'm fairly certain that this is one indie polish that any lacquerhead should probably go out (onto the world wide web) and purchase right away!

I also need to brag on these Hits polishes - they are stunning!  Super Cute may be one of the most captivating polishes I've gotten my hands on. I urge you to look up swatches as I'm sure they'll be better than whatever I post.  It's a multichrome with a pretty decent linear holographic to boot! WOW as well.  So Unique is also very pretty, but I don't think the multichrome is as obvious.  I'll hafta re-evaluate once I actually get SU on my nails over a black base (always helps the multichrome come out & play! ;-) which happens to be something I learned from a blog.)  Ok, I think this is a big enough novel, especially with no pictures to break it up. :-(  My apologies!  I will be taking some glamour shots of this haul tomorrow, and my Let Them Eat...What? mani - of COURSE! :-D

Friday, April 19, 2013

NAIL MAIL!!! ...and the mani that's been waiting for it. :-)

Happy weekend, everyone!!  Ahhh do I ever love Friday nights!!  Even though I'm sitting at home doing nothing (other than reading blogs and looking at polish swatches on Google Images), I love the feeling of having two whole work-free days stretching out before me like the pages of an open book. :-)

Today was a pretty important occasion (in the life of a new blogger) as you can probably tell from the title of this post. I received my very first ever nail mail from a blogger friend. :-D
Essie from iHeartPrettyPolish sent me the wonderful, undeserved gift of her bottle of Essie Sand Tropez - a polish I've been ogling every time I go into Wal-Mart or Kmart as I keep seeing manicures that use a nude base, which I did not have up until this point.  Included in the bubble mailer envelope was a BEAUTIFUL, unexpected surprise: Julep Trina.  I have no idea how she could've known this, as I'm just starting to discover I have a thing for vampy, shimmery, glittery purples, and especially duochromes!! :-D  So imagine my surprise when I pulled that beauty out of the bag!  I already have a mani idea (inspired by my shower curtain, of all things!) that I will do as soon as the mani I'm showing you today wears to the point of being unacceptable.  As I said in my original post, part of my goal is to provide info about the wear time you may expect from a polish.  So here are the day 1 photos:

Super fun dot/gradient mani! Looking at this now though, I'm horrified at the polish I somehow left on my cuticles.  I swear I touched up before I took these pics, so I don't know how I missed it. :-/ Embarrassing!
Got a 'lil carried away on the pinkie! Whoops.
This is my favorite one. :-) So happy with how it turned out!
I decided I had to take a pic with my Lia Sophia rings since they match the color scheme so perfectly!
Other thumb. Also very nice.
And I had to get a good bottle shot of this one too. I'd been wanting a purty orange glass fleck ever since I saw China Glaze Riveting.  So I was very happy to stumble upon W 'n W's 9-0-2-1-Orange! Only $1.69, babyyy!

I just realized I posted manis inspired by other bloggers (and ironically, the same blogger two posts in a row!  Oh well.  See Chalkboard Nails' version here if you'd like. :-)  I sure wish I had long nail beds like hers!!

What I used:
L-R: Revlon Base, Essie Sand Tropez, Revlon Royal, Kleancolor Orange Metallic, Wet 'N Wild 9-0-2-1-Orange, and SV

I did one coat of the quick dry base, which I am fairly certain I will be replacing with a different brand as this one is getting so gloopy and stringy every time I take the brush out of the bottle.  I mean, I realize base coat is in part supposed to help the polish stick to your nails, but this formula is just kinda "ick."  So I'd like to see what else is out there.  
Ok, so base coat (I get off-topic quickly!) - then two coats of Sand Tropez which I soooo badly wanted to get good pics of before the nail art, but I had some bubbling issues (could've been from over agitation as I hopped up and down when I got the package, and/or the fact that I was so eager to get this beaut on my nails that I didn't allow proper drying time between coats).  Pretty smooth application though a tad streaky, it evens itself out very well!  Mmm, love it!
Also due to this eagerness, I forgot I'd intended to do an accent nail of just solid 9-0-2-1-Orange, so I ended up painting two coats of that over one coat of Sand Tropez on my ring fingers.  Oh well, it was probably good undies for it, as the orange has a jelly base. :-)
I then proceeded to scrounge up "dotting tools" . . .a.k.a. the clicker end of a retractable pen, and the lead tip of a pencil. ;-)  Rock what ya got, right?  I used Revlon Royal first, and then the Kleancolor, just trying to make the dots random and different sizes.  You can see the baby dots in Royal on my pinkie. 
Then of course I finished everything off with a medium coat of Seche Vite.  THERE YOU HAVE IT, FOLKS!  

I couldn't stop staring at my nails today.  Finally doing this mani made me happy...and it happens to remind me of one of my favorite movies, Finding Nemo.  The orange and the blue: Marlin/Nemo, and Dory. :-D  And of course, the fact that the dots look like bubbles:

Thank you for reading, and if you made it to the end of this LOOOONG post, you deserve a gold star!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A blog post inspired mani

One lazy Saturday while perusing blog after blog (I realized that had become a hobby after about a month of Saturdays spending hours a day reading nail polish blogs!), I came across this awesome manicure on Chalkboard Nails' blog and knew I HAD to try it for myself one day.  I resisted buying Mi Fantasia (Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez collection) throughout a few Wal-Mart trips, but after seeing this, my resistance was over!  And, it was meant to be, because I happened across the LAST bottle in the store - not in its little display - but right before my eyes (literally) when I was picking up my standard makeup remover wipes. :-D  It was also my birthday present to me. :-)  So, without further ado, my attempt at duplicating CN's mani:

I wuv the teensy tiny OPI bottles!! :-D

Whoa flash!! Down boy!
I apologize for the poor photo quality and not terribly great color accuracy. :-/  I really need a better camera if I'm gonna keep doing this!

Chalkboard Nails used a nude for her base color, but since Mi Fantasia has such beautiful iridescent bar glitters, I decided it'd look great over OPI Can't Find My Czechbook.  My roommate got me a boxed set of 4 Euro Centrale minis for my bday!! :-D
So, this is two coats of CFMC with my attempt at a a freehand ruffian/gradient using Mi Fantasia, topped off with Seche Vite.  
I'm pretty sure I would've had better results using a chunk of a triangular foundation sponge to make the gradient because the dense glitter is sooo hard to put on nicely with the bottle brush.  On the other hand, the glitter payload is AWESOME for just painting your nails with solid, glittery goodness!  (I did that on my toes)

If you'd like to see the actual Chalkboard nails post where she does several gradient manicures using the glitters from the Selena Gomez collection, you can find that here:

P.S. I'm SOOO excited; after ruminating for a day, I just placed another order at the SillyLilyPolish Etsy shop (I got Pacific Fantasy & Paint Splatter), so rest assured they will be showcased as soon as I get them!!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The world of blogging [enter stage left]

How to start my very first post ever?  Hmm, I suppose I should begin with some background, and why I decided to add my input to the blogosphere.  Well, sometime late last year, I discovered what I thought was a new trend: nail stamping with those amazing Konad plates.  :O  How did I miss this?!  It's creative, beautiful, eye-catching; the possibilities are endless!  That led to watching many, MANY, videos of Andrea's (aka PlasmaSpeedo!) on YouTube while I deliberated on what plate set to purchase.  So of course I watched videos showing her polish collection as well.  So many pretty colors!  I was hooked.  OPI and China Glaze were my new obsession, which led me to Scrangie's blog where I could spend hours (and trust me, I did!) looking at beautiful swatches and detailed reviews to help me decide which polishes I had to have.  I then discovered Scrangie was not the only nail polish blogger/lacquerhead out there! *gasp

The whole world of nail polish blogs opened unto me, and I've been hopelessly addicted ever since.  Every time a smallish package would arrive in the mail for me, my roommates would exclaim, "another one?!"  My stash is still very modest, compared to that of many bloggers I've come across.  But I'm sure it'll continue poor bank account!  Especially since I discovered indie polishes - WOW.  They blow my mind!  Don't get me wrong, there are tons of drugstore and mainstream polishes that are fabulous, but indie polishes are truly an art.  My first indie was "After the Storm," from Silly Lily Polish.  LOVE the story behind it too!  (she made it by candlelight in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and it has over 100 kinds of glitters in a clear base.) *swoon

Sorta macro bottle shot!

This is what happens when you put your finger over the flashbulb!
So, as I've waded deeper into nail polish blog reading, I began thinking to myself, maybe I should join 'em!  But there's no way I'll get the perfect, fabulous photos those gals have - not to mention, I really doubt I could keep up with posting every day or even every week.  But it could be fun!  That's the beauty of a blog - it's all  on YOUR terms!  SO, one last nudge by Essie Rae from iHeartPrettyPolish was all it took. ;-)  She said it was lonely being the only (or seemingly the only) polish addict in MN with a blog.  She's been a pleasure to converse with via email, and I would consider her my first "polish buddy." :-)
So here goes!  After extensive "research," it seems that because the majority of nail polish bloggers have such extensive stashes which are constantly being added to, one way or another, there's a lot of swatching going on, but not much about how long a polish lasts, which is of particular interest to...well, me, and I would imagine, there have to be other people out there like me!  Therefore, I've decided to take the road less traveled and post more about the durability of polishes, accompanied by photos of day 1, day 2, day get the picture (pun intended). ;-)  Of course, I love nail art and trying interesting layering combos and such, so I'm sure I'll do those types of posts from time to time too.  Who knows...we shall see what happens!

And now, to the reason why I added "n'stuff" to the end of my blog title.  I feel I can't really have a blog focused solely on nail polish because I have so many other interests and things that are important to me too.  So expect other topics as well!  Like my love of travel and the places I've been (hence my background image).  In the "dry periods" between travels, I've been sustained by reading of other peoples' travels and seeing amazing photos which expand my horizons - and add to my bucket list!!  Well, I think that about covers all the points I wanted to touch on in my first post.  Thank you for reading, and I hope my thoughts will be of use and impact to someone out there, sometime. :-)


P.S. Here's your laugh/chuckle/guffaw/teeheehee/ROFL for the evening: my dog Kali - awww so CUTE! . . . . .aaaand with a sock on her head!  I am not really sure how nor why I got the idea to do that, but it sure was funny! :-D

I recently shaved her & left a Moe-esque tuft.  I think it's CUTE!