Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Challenge #10: Re-creation

Good evening, lovelies!! :)  Today was my 3rd 12-hour work day in a row, hence why no post "on time" last night... I managed to get the 1st coat of base colors on & promptly fell asleep.  Somehow I found the strength to complete the mani tonight - huge thanks go out to a homemade Big Train chai latte. ♥  At long last, I have re-created this fabulousness from the queen of glitter placement!  Mine is of course not nearly as good by a long shot, but for my very first attempt at what she does, I must say I'm rather pleased. :) ...mostly with the fact that I persevered!

I used: SinfulShine My Kryptonite (2 coats), Zoya Noot (2 coats), and OPI The Living Daylights (meticulously placed with an orange stick!), Duri Rejuvacote (base & topcoat), plus a thick layer of Seche Vite to seal and smooth the accent glitters.  I know, this is highly atypical of my lengthy, wordy posts but honestly my eyelids are about to close!  I promise I am going to come back and expand on this mani and probably add another pic or two, as well as discuss my finds & follies and with this technique. ;)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Challenge #9: Match OOTD

Most of you probably already know this, but at first sight, I had to ask myself a few times: "match [OOH-tid]? What the heck is an oohtid?"  Google to the rescue!  OOTD = outfit of the day.  Well, this fell on the 25th - yeah, yeah, I'm not very good at meeting these deadline days - which obviously was a Saturday.  I typically don't even make it out of my pajamas most Saturdays!  BUT yesterday was a rare exception because I had to go into work for 4 hours of training.  So if I had  to go to work, I was going as casual as possible: jeans and a warm, comfy sweatshirt.

Fig. 1:  My Under Armor sweatshirt :)

Ahhh the never-ending complaint of polish bloggers: NEONS DON'T PHOTOGRAPH CORRECTLY!  This is actually a light neon peach, not orange. -_-  The neon fuchsia thread is pretty close though.  
Ok, so before I show you the resulting mani, I will warn you that super macro is SO not kind to detailed work with tiny brushes. :(  And getting an evenly symmetrical UA symbol is well, I'm going to say impossible.  For this medium anyway.  

I used Pure Ice Kiss Me Here for the base color, then took my L.A. Colors white striper to "sketch" the logo, and outlined it first with Sinful Colors Dream On (my very first SC purchase a couple summers ago), then filled it in with a Wet Seal neon peach polish that does not have a name.  I used cheapo brushes from a cheapo megapack I got at Wal-Mart for $4.77, baby!  Some of them actually work pretty darn well, I must say.  But ANYthing looks awful at the mercies of super macro + XL photo size. :-/  So I'm sorry for the assault on your retinas!
Oh, and I finished it off with NYC Matte Me Crazy because blue jeans and sweatshirts are not shiny. ;)  In case you hadn't noticed.

Fig. 2: My horrid recreation of said sweatshirt

I suppose this could be considered "indecent exposure" and I should be jailed for my indiscretions.

Ufff.  This kinda makes me shudder!  And WHY does China Glaze First Mate photograph much lighter than what I'm seeing on my nails right now?!  Sooo frustrating.  But hey, I gave it an honest try, and I think that's what counts!!  Not backing down from the challenge.  Which leads me to explain why Challenge #8 is mysteriously missing... it's supposed to be "Studs" and I do not own any because I don't like them.  There, I said it.  I don't.  I think they just look weird, and I'm not a huge fan of stuff sticking off my nails.  Except for tiny rhinestones... they're cool as an accent.  So I WILL do something for this "Studs" challenge... I just need to get creative! :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Challenge #7: Sweets

Remember the blank white canvases with an accent of neon sprinkles (aka Lush Lacquer Clowning Around) that I showed you in my previous post?  That was the springboard for this mani.   For a minute I considered skipping the "sweets" day, but then it would haunt me because I wouldn't truly be able to say I finished a challenge.  So I resigned myself to a boring mani that we've probably seen a hundred times; a smattering of lollipops & hard candy discs twisted in cellophane wrappers.  But wait, what do I have on my accent nail?  Neon candy-esque "sprinkles!"  And I have China Glaze neon jellies...hmm... I could totally do cupcakes with those, right?!  The answer: HECK YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

Of COURSE using neons also means none of the photos are going to be color-accurate, but I tried!  They're oh so bright and cheerful and NEON in real life! :D  The cupcakes were surprisingly easy and came out almost exactly how I'd envisioned them.  LOVE when that happens, don't you?

I was going to just do lines like realistic cupcake wrappers, but then I looked at one of my MoYou Suki stamping plates and saw all the cute little faces on foods.  Yup, everything looks cuter with a 'lil tiny smiley!

Poor pinkie cupcake looks like he has a shiner :(  Blame it on unsteady hands and a black striper brush + attempted coverup

A super fun "what I used" collage, courtesy of PicMonkey!! (and my creativity/effort, of course)  And you know what, I just realized the bottles are pretty darn color accurate!  WIN.

Clowning Around really was the inspiration for this mani, and I think it looks so awesome dabbed on the "frosting!"  I have a thing for neon glitters & own a fair few, but this one just might be my all-time favorite. :)  I wish I knew where to direct you to purchase it, but since their Etsy store went down due to the brand name conflict, I'm really not sure where to find them nor under what name. :-/  I'll be sure to update this post if I find something out. :)

And WOW I'm tired!  It's 3 am - imagine that! haha

Goodnight ladies!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Challenge #6: GRAYdient (aka FAIL!)

When I saw "gradient" was one of the inspirations for this challenge, I cogitated for awhile, mentally pouring over all the different creme options I had, or maybe even a holo gradient, but I kinda already did that this past summer... And then KABOOM!, outta the blue, I knew exactly what I should do: a GRAYdient!!!!!!!  Puns and plays on words are totally my thang, so don't that just beat all! :D  LOL

I laid down two perfect, smooth, shiny coats of Cult Nails Tempest.  Seriously, I was rubbing my nails ALL DAY.  Now that I've used it for a full mani, I would recommend it as the  ultimate white creme. PERFECTION!

And then I grabbed my grays; note that the night before I did this, a perusal of Wal-Mart's beauty aisle endcaps rewarded me Pure Ice's Kiss Me Here, which I'd been looking for since I saw it on my friend Essie's blog last spring!  Who woulda thought that a Pure Ice polish would be so stinkin' hard to find?!  Well it was, and it also happened to be the perfect gray to complete the GRAYdient!  'Twas meant to be!

Or NOT.  Uhhhh...NOPE.  Just no. :(  THIS LOOKS AWFUL!

Why did mine look more like color bands than a smooth, melty blend?! And patchy and ugggh... Well, for some reason I thought you were supposed to take a tiny piece of sponge and sponge on the colors one at a time.
After some research & consulting experienced nail art blogs, I discovered you're supposed to use a wedge makeup sponge & paint all the colors on in strips and use it rather like one big foamy stamp! DUH.  Oh well, I am now "in the know" for the next time I attempt a gradient.  But for now, I'm going to chalk this up as a learning experience and move on to the next mani!

BUT first... 
after that horror, I will give you a nice gray to feast your eyes on:

GRAY HOLO!!!  :D  This is Hit Polish Pewter Goblet.  Not a strong linear holo, but very purty nonetheless, and it satisfied my desire for Too Fancy Lacquer's Silent Night at a much  lower price!  Unfortunately, Hit Polish closed up shop as of a couple weeks ago due to a new business venture for her & her hubby.

This is one coat Pewter Goblet over two coats Kiss Me Here.  PG is a tad sheer on its own, and KMH really is the PERFECT MATCH to go under it.  Polish serendipity, I tell ya!  These photos are without topcoat - it's just that shiny. :)  PG actually felt a bit thick and gloopy to me, but a thin-medium coat was perfect, dried fairly quickly, and obviously, produces a nice holo effect.  

And I happened to be wearing a gray sweatshirt, so hey, why not do a good ol' Essie "sweater shot?!" :D  Except I'm clearly not her, so it didn't really turn out... I'm blaming it in part on the fact that I was operating the camera with my non-dominant hand! lol

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Challenge mani #5: Nature

For quite some time now, I've been fascinated whenever I see someone's galaxy mani post, and just the other day as we passed a rack in Rue 21, a friend of mine commented on how cool the "new" galaxy leggings look.  SO when the "nature" theme rolled around in this challenge, I decided why not attempt my very own nail galaxy?!

I dare say it turned out pretty well and I have no idea why I waited so long to try a galaxy mani!  This was surprisingly easy and FUN.  Choosing colors definitely got my creative juices flowing and really, the sky IS  the limit! hehe

According to one blogger who will remain anonymous, you have to use a black creme base for it to look realistic, but I think my alternating Zoya Ibiza and Skin Food 05 (darn Korean brands!) create a lovely dark blue shimmery space. ;)
This mani made me like Ibiza more than I did at first application a few weeks ago, but I still had some pulling/dragging issues and re: drying completely... let's just say galaxy manis are GREAT for covering up slicing gouges and sheet marks!

This may be a bit of a "wild" and colorful galaxy, but whatever... I think it's purty!  And boy did I ever use a plethora of polishes for that prettiness:

Top row, L-R: OPI DS Extravagance, Cameo Colours Lacquers The Glass Slippers, Zoya Ibiza, Cult Nails Tempest, Hits Cha Cha Cha,
Bottom row, L-R: OPI Solitaire, OPI The Living Daylights, NOPI Just Busta Mauve, Sally Hansen Lacey Lilac, Venique Galoshes Glow, Skin Food 05

My favorites were probably The Glass Slippers (amazing super sparkly white yet not white; it's made of tons of tiny pink, blue/green, and gold flakies) and Just Busta Mauve.  :)

Using tiny chunks of makeup sponge and a tweezers, I pretty much went to town; a dab or two here, a smoosh (no, not a smooch !) over there, swipes of flakie glitter, and dots of Tempest with one of my dotting tools.  I also used the dotting tool to place The Living Daylights "glequins."

Yup, I officially L♥VE it and foresee many more nail galaxies in my future. :)  I think next time, I want to try making actual constellations on them; hearkening back to my adolescent years with my little friends, studying books on stars and learning as many of the constellations as we could. :)  "What is life but a collection of memories, made and yet to be made?!" - uhh, ME!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Challenge mani #4: Pastel blue

What a RANDOM inspiration, if I may say so myself!!  And I only own one pastel blue.  I'm actually rather embarrassed to show you this mani as although it was a very cool idea in theory (a dear friend of mine sketched nails with cute little wine glasses, martini glasses, and champagne flutes) but my execution was seriously lacking!

Those darn striper brushes are not as easy to use as they may seem... or maybe it's just me. :P   But on a positive, warm fuzzie note, the "darn" silver striper brush was a surprise gift from said dear friend.  When I asked her: "Why on earth did you do that?!" (buy a 3-pack of stripers she didn't need), she replied: "Because I love you!" AWWWW! ♥

Not so awww; this is my feeble attempt at some "light blue" nail art:

2 coats shown here, most people would've probably needed 3 to be happy

Uhh yeah, those are supposed  to be olives...with pimentos... and that's a skewer, not a knife in the glass... Uffff.  Not one of my best days!  Speaking of my LACKINg execution, I give you some fabulous humor:

Hopefully that helps make up for this pitiful post! LOL

And I believe many of you might not have been around waaay back at the beginning of my 'lil blog when I did this mani, also including NYC Skyline Blue, so I figured why not show it again?  Especially since it "goes" with martinis. :)

Aaand I believe I will take this opportunity to remind everyone that in 35 days, 8 hrs, and 30 mins, I and a group of friends will be on a plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to stare at a view much like what is on muh nails here!!! Woot woot! :D  

G'nite all!  I pinkie promise I'll have something better for you tomorrow. ;)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Challenge mani #3: Pattern

Well well, as you can see I am clearly late on this one. :-/  Apparently even though this is the "Totally Doable I Have a Life Challenge," I must've had a little too much of a life for it! hehe
Again, I had a couple ideas for "pattern" inspired nails; my first was a white base with rainbow chevrons, but I forgot to look for a small enough brush and wasn't going to head back up town.  SO, I pulled out my trusty dotting tool set and with a mani I'd seen earlier in the week (and now cannot find even after scouring my history!) in mind, I set to work. :)

Found a scarf at Maurice's that echoed the Mexican/Spanish vibe & my dear friend took a couple shots for me with her Droid. :D  Gotta love it when friends "get" your blogger tendencies!

The base color is two coats of L'Oreal Orange You Jealous?, then using my largest dotting tool, I added a towering arch of dots in Cult Nails Tempest (which even after this tiny bit of usage, I firmly believe it to be the best opaque white creme!), then filled in the dotted area to the tip of my nails using the polish brush.  Let dry, and repeat with NYC Tudor City Teal, which might be the worst  teal creme in terms of opacity. :(  I love the dusty teal color, but wow was it sheer!  I'd definitely call it more of a crelly.  See?!

Orange You Jealous? is a bit of a misnomer because it's really NOT this orange!  It's much more of a pinky coral, and not this bold either. :-/

I love love love L'Oreal's cremes for their smoothness, shine, and opacity in two coats and am definitely eyeing up a rich dark teal in their new gel line.  Should've gotten it today, actually.  Also, the L'Oreal brush makes application a breeze; these lovely half-moons with no cleanup are thanks to their slight half-moon shape at the end of the bristles. LOVE!  It's so nice when they make it easy for us to have clean cutes!!

Although I could've done the same on my other hand, I wanted to play with an actual polka dot pattern on the whole nail simply because I'd never done it.  I know, right?!  Simple polka dots and I've never done them.  As Vizzini says: INCONCEIVABLE!

After doing the Tempest dots, I also remembered the "off-center double dots that kinda look like holes" effect and gave it a shot. :P

And for a little bonus, this is what my pattern manicure reminds me of:

These were both taken in Spain; this style of arch is called an "arco de medio punto polilobulado," and is very popular in the Mudéjar (essentially Arabic) architecture.  Little did the Arabic artisans know it would also be very popular with pidgeons!!! LOL  ;-)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Challenge mani #2: Sparkles

Well well, the challenge & I meet again!  And again, I was not entirely sure what to make of the theme for today...  I mean, obviously, glitter, but since this is an ART challenge, I couldn't really just do a bunch of glitter skittles & call it good...

I immediately settled on using some Shimmer Polish since I'd recently acquired Leslie & Julie from yet another Pinterest sale.  Gosh I love those things!  They're like the garage sales of the polish world! hehe  
For the rest of the nails, I had two different ideas & ended up going with the one I thought  I could execute the best. ;)  So without further ado:

Revlon Wild Violets

I give you Shimmer Julie as an accent, coupled with Revlon Parfumerie Wild Violets (which I FINALLY procured just yesterday at Target in the biggest "city" - roughly 15,000 people - near my hometown), and of course the requisite "sparkles."  P.S. I also scored Autumn Spice and China Flower, but they'll have to continue to hold their caps & wait in the wings for their debut on Must.Stash. ;)

Shimmer Julie

Knowing 2 coats of Julie would be a pain to remove - although I probably should've done 3, I decided to forego a base coat and apply a medium layer of Elmer's glue straight outta the bottle & directly to the nail in hopes that I can use an orangewood stick to "scoot" it all off like I've seen in various tutorials.  I'll keep you posted on whether or not it works.  I'm thinking not, because it didn't even start lifting in the shower this morning.  So I must be doing something wrong, or I need to break down & buy Nail Pattern Boldness's Glitter A Peel!

Shimmer Julie
The OTHER HAND.  Nope, no nail art sparkles, just a smattering of Set in Stones.
...ain't nobody got time for that!

Anyhoo, I used my recently acquired Duri Rejuvacote for the base on my other 8 nails.  It dries to quite a smooth & glossy finish, and I'm starting to wonder if that's why my new Zoyas and now this Revlon did not behave very nicely on the first coat... Lots of pulling and streaking and general unevenness.  The second coat however, righted all previous wrongs and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles; I had no polish acne!  So either this scented stuff cures faster or I just had a rare good polish night. :D

Revlon Wild Violets
Most of the time, WV looks darn near black on the nail (as you see in most of my photos), but this is the beauty that lies beneath!!  Oh, and the blurred out accent shows its many fine rainbow glitters. :)

Speaking of the scent, for me it was rather sweet & fresh with a hint of fruity, a bit strong for the first few hours and then I went to bed and I kept noticing it while trying to fall asleep.  I could still smell it at work today after adding Rejuvacote as a top coat, but much more muted.  Now (24 hrs later) it's completely gone.  I'm super excited to discover the scents of the other two I got!  Of course I've read other blogger's descriptions at length, but it's a different story to experience something for yourself. 

Shimmer Julie

Ok, so I suppose I should actually talk a bit about why/how I did this mani for the challenge! lol  Umm the first thing that came to mind were the cartooned "sparkles" you see when light hits something shiny, or for example, the glint in someone's eye.  So using dotting tools and Pure Ice Silver Mercedes, I drew the body of the sparkles and then hex by hex, I added my ever so useful Essie Set in Stones.  Voila!  It didn't look as fabulous as I'd envisioned, and I couldn't get my camera + daylight bulb combo to actually make them sparkle and capture it, but oh well.  I do like it enough to show you, and that's saying something!

Goodnight my dear readers!  Sleep well!! :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I challenge you to...a CHALLENGE!

I've never tried my hands (hehe!) at a blogger challenge before, but maybe now is a good time to start... it is  a new year, after all. And I just happen to like the subtitle of this challenge. :)  So today I have for you my take on the "fresh" mani.  Yes, I know it's a day late, but I worked 'til 6 last night and then had to pack up and drive to my parents' house in some mighty treacherous weather.
Side note: this also happens to be the first mani in a LONG time that I've even bothered to photograph & been excited to share on my blog, despite some imperfections.  The posts from this past week were all manis from months ago.

Using Zoya Godiva and L'Oreal Eiffel For You, I applied two easy coats each, then decided to add one extra coat of Godiva for maximum opacity and sparkle.  To me, these lovely nudes/neutrals classify as a "fresh" look.  I don't know, maybe I'm waaay off!  But alas I don't really know what Californails had in mind when she said "fresh."  So I'm using my imagination!

Please be kind - my cutes got trimmed against my will & I'm having a heck of a time reconditioning them. :(

What, you might be asking, is that fabulous stamping image?!  I know I always  ask myself as soon as I go to a blog and see what must be a stamp used in a mani.  This gem is from MoYou London's Pro Collection plate 04, stamped with Color Club Revvvolution.  Side note: they also have an XL plate with this script image for those of you with bigger nail beds.  Unfortunately, I'm not lucky enough to be blessed with 'em!  

Ok, this is an unconventional shot, and maybe it's not "okay" to do this on a polish blog, but I thought it might be fun to play with the exposure and make it look all softened out and glamorous, perhaps?  Oh, and check out all that silver microsparkle that becomes fabulously obvious in the bottle?!  Gosh I love Zoya's Pixie Dusts!  I scored this baby during one of their December flash promos.  :)  Pardon the fuzzy on my pinkie nail... Disclaimer: no fuzzes were harmed in the photographing of this mani.

 I purposely included this one to showcase the glorious Godiva sparkle!  So, so nice.  At first I was a bit dejected that it didn't have the golden crumpled tin foil look of Tomoko, but now that I have it on, I absolutely love it, as do my roommates and a couple friends. :)  Dry time is so nice and fast for the Pixies, compared to how long I have to wait to ensure my cremes don't bubble upon application of the second coat.  And it's especially nice that textures are supposed to be...well, textured!! lol  Can you tell how sick I am of bubbles in polish that is supposed to be smooth?!

Thank you for taking the time to peruse my humble blog, and feel free to jump in on the challenge with me!!! :D