Saturday, June 29, 2013

A trip to Brazil with Hits Mari Moon Chameleon

WOW.  Breathtaking!!  I just can't get enough of this polish.  It literally made me oooh and ahhh as I shifted & angled my fingers to catch every color possible.  I'd MOVE to Brazil for these polishes alone!  Hits truly has some amazing multichromes - I have two from another collection that are not only multichromes, but linear holos. :O  You wanna see 'em??  Oh of course you do!  I will get them on the blog someday soon-ish.  So.many.PRETTIES.

In case you didn't suspect this, I'll warn you this is gonna be a very pic-heavy post!  More photos, less talk!  HA we'll see how I, Ms. Long-winded, do with that.  Let's ogle HMM Chameleon together, shall we? ;-)

Look at that insane emerald flash!  My poor camera can't even handle it! hahaha
It totally reminds me of the gorgeous green you find on peacock feathers.  Like, spot on.

^ Here you can see the rosy taupe shift.  And below, we're back to the unbelievable emerald!

For this mani, I used my Essie Fill the Gap basecoat (I have some horrible ridges on my thumbs lately), followed by one coat of Revlon Black Star (supposedly a Rapid Dry, but, and finally one coat of Chameleon.  He was a quite an eager little reptile, excited to get out of the bottle after being cooped up for who knows how long!  I thank the bloggers who have shared the tip of putting duo or multichromes over black, because they truly do make the colors pop.  My roommate tried putting a bit of Chameleon on her thumb, and boyyy was it ever sheer!  So I totally recommend black undies for these.  Oh, of course I topped it all off with some Seche Vite, which is an almost gone, gloopy bottle, so I re-topped them with that Sally Hansen 4 in 1 clear coat stuff.  Good stuff!

Outdoors, shade.  You can see the hint of blurple that shows up from time to time.  It's in the bottle for sure. ;-)

Outdoors, full sun.  It's almost a golden green at times.

Ok, as you can probably tell, this one was edited . . .  I tried to play with the colors and saturation, trying to get the rosy taupe color to come out 'n play.  It's quite evident IRL, but my camera just did NOT want to pick it up. :-(  Despite my efforts, it still looks more coppery.  Meh, oh well.  Hey LOOK - a purty geranium flower!

I actually picked Chameleon up in a blog sale, and I think I know why she wanted to get rid of it . . .

Yikes this brush is horrendous!!  It looks like a glitzy sea urchin. :-/  But I was somehow still able to do a decent paint job with it.  One day, I'll probably clip off those straggly strands & then it should be A-okay!  I originally saw this polish here on Llarowe, and drooled over it, so when I saw it on the blog sale, I emailed the seller in like 2.5 seconds to make sure someone else didn't swipe it first!  So, bottom line: get this!  Get it right now! hahaha  You'll thank me. :-)

Aaaand, as a little teaser trailer for you, I give you one of my true loves: An indie!  Cameo Colours Lacquers The Glass Slippers. :-D  I had originally ordered Zebra Diva and Neon Lit Lights from Cameo, but I had some issues with NLL, and even though I offered to send it back in exchange for something else, she simply messaged me back, apologized for the issue, and said she had already shipped me out some supplies (only a matter of hours later!) that should rectify the issue with NLL AND a full-size bottle of this amazing polish!!! :O  Now THAT is another fabulous example of above & beyond customer service!  I can't wait to try this one out. :-)  PLEASE do check out her Etsy shop here.  You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Knock Your Socks Off! A sock-inspired mani

Say whaaa . . . ?!  YES, you heard me correctly (or rather, you read that correctly ;-).  As a dear blogger buddy of mine has said, inspiration can come from ANYWHERE!  So when Liesl (yes, the Liesl of  Liesl Loves Pretty Things) posted a photo of her ailing knee, our mutual friend Essie (a la iHeartPrettyPolish) zeroed in on no, not the knee, but the SOCKS, and suggested we do a mani based off of them. :-)  And such is the life of a nail polish addict . . .& her friends!

I'll spare you the XL-sized photo of this one! ;-)
A flurry of comments ensued as we chimed in and agreed that would be a nifty way for our three blogs to connect, (I'd like to take this moment to mention that I'm incredibly honored to have anything to do with their blogs, as they're totally amazing & have earned their place in the big leagues!) and for us to have fun with something, shall we say, unique & a tad off-the-wall? :-)

And then I imagine our minds separately set to work attempting to puzzle through what we were going to do with a sock and a knee injury and . . . nail polish.  Well, this is what my cogitation kicked out:

First of all, can I just say how unbelievably GLAD I am that someone from PAA (Polish-aholics Anonymous, a fab Facebook group) mentioned their copious research on bulbs & came up with "daylight" compact fluorescent bulbs (Wal-Mart brand, no less!), because it looks like it's going to be stormy 'til the end of time here.  I was rather despondent until I remembered the lightbulbs I just bought!  For having no light box & simply putting one into our resident living room floor lamp, I am stunned at the color accuracy and ease with which I was able to get quite satisfactory photos!  Ok, that digression got to be a lot longer than I anticipated!  My apologies, but I was/am quite excited about this.  :-)  I can take awesome photos in the middle of the night!  Boom bayyyby!

This is what I used:

L to R: Sally Hansen 4-in-1 Complete Care (used as base), L'Oreal Eiffel For You, Zoya Neely, Zoya Yara, NYC French White Tip, NYC Skyline Blue, China Glaze Rich & Famous, Venique Ga-loshes Glow, NYC Matte Top Coat.  Oh, and the tiny craft paintbrush!  Couldn't have done it without him!

I really couldn't think of anything to do but replicate the look of the sock!  So after my ever-present base coat, I started with two coats of Zoya Neely on all my nails, then used the saran/cling wrap technique on thumb, pointer, & middle to sorta sponge on L'Oreal Eiffel For You - a beautiful, warm greige - to mimic the heather look of the sock.  I also went back over that with some sponged-on Neely to soften the boldness of the greige.
Originally, I was just going to do stripes on the standard accent nail, but since this is a mani in honor of Liesl's injury & her awesome sock, I thought: "why not do the pinkie as an 'accent' as well, like she does?"  :-)

I was able to use Yana, Skyline Blue, and of course, French White Tip right out of the bottle, but I had to get a bit creative for the other stripes.  So the pink & yellow-green were products of Rich & Famous + white and Ga-loshes Glow + white. The heather stripes didn't quite come out as good as they first appeared (esp. with the matte coat), but I don't think it was too shabby! :-)  Especially in light of this being my first attempt with freehand stripes.  It would probably be fine for someone with a steady hand, but that's not me!  And I suppose the medium latte with an extra shot earlier in the day didn't help much. ;-) ...well, it kept my head from hitting the keyboard at work!

Originally, I had not given any thought to my topcoat, but as I was gathering my polishes, it dawned on me that DUH, socks are not shiny, so MATTE is the obvious choice!!! :-D  I was quite pleased to have thought of that, and I think the matte is the perfect icing on the sock, so to speak. :-)

Well, I think that's all I have for you.  Please be sure to head over & check out Essie's & Liesl's posts - they're as stellar as always! :-)  And remember: inspiration can be found anywhere - have fun with it!

Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I DO like them, Sam I Am!

Today I give you another awesome indie polish: LynBDesigns I Don't Like Them Sam I Am!!  I really can't believe I actually have been going for a couple greens lately.  I don't know what it was about this polish, but when I saw it on Etsy, I kept coming back to it.  So I got an adorable itsy bitsy bottle juuust in case I couldn't handle the green. ;-)

Oh, I handled it, all right! :-)  I really liked the green and the small glitter that added just a bit of a "pop."  The photo is pretty much spot-on, color wise.  I'd describe it as a springy grass green.  Like the first leaves you see on the trees after the buds open.  Oh and get this: it's shimmery.  The glitters I saw were rosy pink and a lovely emerald green.  Supposedly there's also yellow (gold?) glitters in there, but I didn't really notice them, maybe because of the rich green pigment?  It's really quite opaque.  I think I did one, maybe two coats?

Shade, outdoors (hence the darker hue)

Lookit all that sparkle & shimmer!! :-D  The pink glitters are supposed to represent the ham, I believe.  ;-) Nice 'n clever!  My apologies for the weird whitish stuff at the edges of the polish...that would be my new base coat: Essie Fill the Gap.  I like it, but it's not clear, so yeah... I guess in macro photos, it can be noticeable.  One nice thing about it is it seems to be somewhat like those easy removal bases for glitters: I put this on on Thursday night, and by the end of the day Saturday, I think all of them had popped off on their own or I peeled them off.  Granted the fact that I was helping my sister unload a 26' Uhaul might have had something to do with that! ;-)

One of the things I love most about this polish is the label WITH DR. SEUSS FONT!!!  I'm a big fan of words & typography, so this is just a bit of icing on the green cake. :-)  LynB has more than a few fantastic fandom collections...I also purchased a polish from her Princess Bride collection (which I will need to showcase for you soon!)

Overall, I really liked this polish.  The application was good, maybe a tish of dragging, but some of that could've been due to the tiny brush making more strokes necessary & giving the brush more time to dry out when I had it out of the bottle.  Plus I was trying to be uber careful - blast you, clean up!!
So if you never have, or haven't already, head over to LynBDesigns' Etsy shop and look over her beauties!  Oh; and like her Facebook page!  She frequently advertises some great coupon codes (there's an active code for 35% off right now) - even half off!!! WOW.  :O  That truly makes indies more affordable for all, so hats off to her!

Since this is a non-pic-heavy post, I decided it'd be a good time to share a recent-ish photo of my Kali baby:

Awwww! :-D  Sooo tuckered (and stretched!) out! ;-)

Thank you for reading! :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My mismatched, matching, minty mani...Mmm Mmm Mmm!

After my trip to Chicago, I've been feeling rather uninspired and blaah about blogging...figure that one out: Chicago should've been chock-full of inspiration!  And really, it was, but I think the trip and the last couple weeks have just taken a lot out of me.  Anyhoo, after poring over some really awesome nail art posts this week, and pulling from some old favorites as inspiration, I came up with this:

Left hand!!  Oh YESSS! 
I decided it was time to "go big or go home," so to speak, and I think I accomplished "big."  :-D  It's by no means perfect like so many more experienced nail art bloggers, and of course the area around the cutes is not immaculate and perfectly rounded (I cannot for the life of me figure out how they manage that, even with detailed, intense cleanup!), but anyhoo, I feel rather proud of this mani. :-)

On to what I used and the process!
L-R: Essie Fill the Gap basecoat, Maybelline Green With Envy, Skinfood 22W (Korean polishes & their numbers...sheesh!), Essie Mojito Madness, NYC French White Tip, Rimmel Hot Black To Go, Zoya Vespa, and Sally Hansen 4-in-1 Complete Care

I started with Fill the Gap which is my new base and I really love it!  It's almost like OPI's Barre My Soul, but it dries to a satin finish.  I have considered wearing it on its own, actually. ;-)  Last night though, it was behaving strangely and driving me nuts...the humidity here was pretty atrocious (which I think gave all the polishes a bad attitude last night :-P ) and we had a ceiling fan on over the table, so that probably added to the issues.  I actually had to redo the base coat on  my left-hand thumb and pointer.

 ANYways, I proceeded to lay down Rimmel Hot Black To Go on my thumbs and pinkies and Maybelline Green With Envy on the rest.

Not too shabby!  This was with no cleanup. :-D  If I were channeling Essie, I would've probably happily stopped here. ;-)  . . . But I couldn't quit!  Must. press. on!

Having done dots before, I knew they were relatively quick 'n easy, so I started with Skinfood 22W (a blow-your-mind bright sky blue metallic foil!) & used a good 'ol yellow wooden pencil tip as my dotting tool, making a diagonal line across my pointer and ring fingers.  I then added rows in Mojito Madness and French White Tip.  Sorry, it went so fast I didn't have time to take pictures! :-P  . . . so I'll just have to show you another one of the finished product! Oh bother!

The middle finger was originally going to be stamped with a Bundle Monster design, but the Rimmel black and a Revlon shimmery black were not stamping well, and I stamped crooked, tried a different design, even gave black acrylic paint a try!  But I just wansn't feeling it, so my eye spied the newspaper on the table & thought ah HA! I've been hankering to try the newspaper transfer technique!  Only took a little rubbing alcohol, some rubbing, and voila!

Here's a YouTube video with a few different techniques:

Then on to the most challenging part of the mani: the hand-painted roses. :-/  The blog I originally saw them on ( said they were really easy to do as the lines that form the petals are supposed to be "organic" and not "perfect."  That is correct, but it was still a painstakingly long process as I wanted them to be easily recognizable as roses.  Working with a Zoya Pixie Dust was a tad difficult as it dries to its gritty, lumpy texture relatively quickly, especially in such small quantities (for all the dots & the roses, I'd just place a dab of the polish on a piece of cardboard).  I don't have an actual set of nail art brushes, but my roommate just bought a huge pack of pretty good quality craft brushes, so I used a brush with a rounded point, 1/8" wide x 1/2" long bristles.  The technique itself is fairly simple: start with a dot (either centered or off-center, whatever strikes your fancy) and make curved lines radiating out from the center.

I ended up loving my left pinkie ^ and right thumb the best. 
Right pinkie was awful!  I ended up going back with black to "erase" some of the misshapen Vespa blobs & then redefining them with more Vespa.  Painstaking process, let me tell ya!  No wonder it took me like, 3 hours start to finish!  Gotta give a shout-out to my other roommate for helping me keep my strength up during this nail art marathon by literally feeding me grapes when I couldn't touch anything. :-D

Speaking of finishing, I believe this post is coming to a close - to which you are probably drawing a sigh of relief!! 
I finished the minty fingers with the Sally Hansen 4-in-1 clear coat (given to me by my sister - she wasn't a fan).  But I really like it as it can be used as a base that is really nourishing & also claims to help fill ridges (thanks to bamboo extract), and then as a topcoat which although is not nearly as fast drying as Seche Vite and doesn't have that thick, glassiness to it, but it does add a nice shiny protective layer WITH NO TIP SHRINKAGE! :-D lol  There are tradeoffs to everything, I guess. ;-) 

Decided to try a pose I saw on another blog...kinda "meh" about it.
Well, I hope you ladies like this "mismatched" look as much as I do and maybe it'll inspire you to try something similar!  Thank you again for bearing with me through a long post . . . apparently I can't be succinct to save my life!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Liquid Lacquer - Safety Stick

I do declare this probably is quite possibly my most favorite indie polish of all time!!! (or at least the last 6 months since I started my obsession).  I originally saw this on some random blog while looking for swatches of the China Glaze Textures collection.  The blogger happened to have a CG Texture as her accent nail, but the rest were Safety Stick in all its glory!  I'm fairly certain I gasped & said: "" out loud.  It's that awesome.  In my opinion, anyways, since the combination of glitters is all of my favorite things:

Yesssss PLEASE!!!!!!

Bottle shot!  Which turned out waaay clearer than I thought possible with my macro.
Thanks macro man!
 Application was not too bad.  I do think the clear base could've been a tad runnier, but I can always add some thinner if I feel the need.  Better to be too thick to begin with than too runny!  I did do a bit of the dab & place method, but for the most part, all the glitters came out quite easily.  If I'd had time, I definitely would've done two coats to get MORE of the awesomeness on my nails. ;-)

I rather like this pose.  Reminds me of how I'd hold a pool cue, which HAPPENS to be a stick!
I'd like to thank my mom's hanging mini-petunia basket for
having blossoms that nearly match some of the neons. ;-)
I used one coat of NYC French Tip White (DON'T get this one...I was just looking for a cheap white, and that's exactly what I got. It's very gloopy and yet, streaky. :-/ ) with one coat of Safety Stick, topped by a generous coat or two of Seche Vite.

Notice the "stacked" hexes on my ring finger?  I couldn't separate them, so I got a cool rainbow/color wheel effect from purple, pink, and yellow.  They overlapped and created fuchsia and orange. :-)  Nifty!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the sweetest thing about this polish, or rather, its maker.  Once I found Liquid Lacquer's site, I perused it thoroughly, but alas, no Safety Stick. :-(  What to do?!  Not being one to give up on something I love, I found LL on Facebook and private messaged her about it . . . She promptly agreed to make me a bottle, no problem at all, no extra charge for what could be considered a special order.  And I think I got it within a week!  :-D  Now that, folks, is customer service!!!  I'll most definitely be keeping an eye on her site when I have a hankering for a new indie. :-)

If memory serves me correctly, she currently has a code for 25% off your order, and all orders over $75 will include a free, full-size, very limited edition polish.  Check out her FB page for more info:

Have a great weekend, peeps!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How do you spell "awesome?" C-H-I-C-A-G-O!

I'm in love.  For sure.  Spain will always have my heart, but I've a new-found love in this country, for once!  Sorry ladies, this post won't be about polish (well, I do plan on including a photo of our manis), but primarily I'm gonna share my awesome little vacation with you.  I hope you don't mind!  And if you do, well, come back in a few days, I guess.  ;-)

Gotta start out with a cloud pic from the plane, right?!  The thunderheads were awesome - from the air, anyways.  The ensuing storm wasn't as awesome.  
Well, actually it came at the perfect time, as you'll see in a bit.

My shoes, after about 6 hrs working in the backyard.  We decide we'd invented new platform shoes: Dirtforms.  They're all-natural.  ;-)
Our primary objective on this trip was taming the wild lily beds in my friend's backyard in preparation for new renters.  She now lives near me, but they still own their home in Chicago.

Michelle and I, in the pouring rain that came down just as we were finishing up.  Typically, I HATE rain, and make it a point to never be out in it, but in this case, it felt so good.  We were unbelieveably sweaty and dirty, you have no idea!!
Btw, you should totally check out Michelle's blog and her post about the very beginning of our adventure!  She is a fabulous writer who has many wise things to say - with a tish of hilarity for good measure. :-)

Our treat after the work and before going to a live improv comedy show in the Streets of Woodfield. :-)
Salted caramel cake pops!!!  NUM.
And yes, here are the manis that survived the work day, for the most part.  I have Liquid Lacquer's Safety Stick (a little preview for you - full post coming soon!) over NYC French Tip White, and Michelle got her nails done at the mall while we were wasting time because our 1st flight got canceled - don't get me started on that frustration! ;-)  Anyhoo, I'm not entirely sure what color she picked.  It was a sheer-ish shimmery, grapey purple base with a shimmery blue shift.  Pretty sure it was an OPI.

Out for SUSHI!!!!  We had one called a Tootsie Roll, and despite the seemingly incongruous, candy-esque name, it was to die for!
Michelle is one of my dearest friends...I was so thankful and blessed to go on this trip with her. :-D

Our day downtown!  Rode the Metra train from Roselle to Union Station.  I'd never been on a passenger train before, so that was yet another new experience for me.  Quite nice, really, and we rode in the top "floor" of a double-decker train, so that was super fun!  Union Station is big and beautiful, reminiscent of Grand Central Station in NYC. :-)  Actually, Michelle confused the heck out of a cab driver later when she told him to take us to Grand Central Station.  Personally, I think he was playing dumb just to be a pain in the butt.

I had to include this: see how there's a distinct dip in one part of the old marble stairs?  Echoes of all the hundreds of thousands of people that have passed through this station since it opened in 1925.  How cool is that?!  'Shel says she always thinks of the countless immigrants that passed through this very place.

I still don't know what this thing is called, but I know it has to be a famous statue, since a replica of it was in Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian. ;-)
If you have't seen that/those movies, please do!  I personally think they're hilarious.

Love old neon marquees like this! :-D  And the reflection of the skyscrapers in the building across the street just adds to the je ne sais quois of this photo.

Ok, I HAD to share some of the city wildlife with you!  I FED A CITY SQUIRREL!!!!
I couldn't believe it!  Look how CUTE she is with that bottlebrush tail and teensy, tiny fingers!  We ascertained it was a nursing mother, so I felt especially compelled to feed her. :-)

You may have spotted some green on my toes: that is Essie Mojito Madness, in case you were wondering.  Gorgeous, creamy, bright summery green color!

This was the bossiest seagull I've ever seen.  This is its "I mean business"/model walk pose.

'Shel & I in front of Buckingham Fountain.  I could've lingered there forever, with the city on one side and Lake Michigan on the other. :-)
Every half hour, a huge geyser comes out of the top of the fountain and runs for about 10 minutes.  It seriously reminded me of Old Faithful in Yosemite! (ok, maybe not quite that big)

Beautiful tranquility in the midst of the city.

Menacing, regal, and drippy patina-d lion in front of the...Art Institute?

Another very unique park (Crown Park) with two glass-block pillar fountains that have internal projectors that project close-ups of peoples' faces.  The eyes blink & everything... that was a tad creepy!  Oh, and then the water periodically streams out of the mouth, as shown here.

What is Chicago without a Bean photo?!  Here I am, showing you the skyline. :-)

A cancer memorial park/pavilion.  This is the entrance; the other side opens onto a big garden & sprawling lawn.

Eeeee!!  I think I took about a million photos of this!  Again, another iconic building from a movie: Transformers 3 - Dark Side of the Moon
Can you tell I love movies yet?! ;-)

Took me forever to realize it was the Tribune Building tower.  I just love it.  I think this is the first time I've photographed architecture like this, but that has an American flag flying from it.  
All my previous photos of similar flying buttresses are accompanied by Spanish flags. :-)

Yup, that's me.  Hiiii guys! *waves hello

The old, original water tower. SuhWEET!  Michelle said it was one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
I found this on Wikipedia: "The fire was said by The Chicago Daily Tribune to have been so fierce that it surpassed the damage done by Napoleon's siege of Moscow in 1812."  WOW.

I insisted that we ride the giant ferris wheel on Navy Pier.  Not entirely sure why, but I have a proclivity towards those things. 

And I leave you with a gorgeous nighttime skyline shot!  Sorry, I could not for the life of me hold steady enough, but I think the hint of blurriness adds a 'lil somethin' in this case. 
I hope you enjoyed a somewhat unconventional stroll through Chicago with me!!  I know I sure enjoyed taking it and would go again in a heartbeat!