Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3D Nail Art: Black And White

So for about five minutes I was considering piercing my nail, maybe keep it for a week or two.  Then I looked up how to do it and the first tutorial said to use a hot needle.  I'm terrified of burning myself, so I decided that was too hardcore for me.  Instead, I went out and bought a set of acrylic nails to pacify myself.  This is my birthday present to myself, my outrageous acrylic nail set!

I managed to go a little bit overboard from the original urge to pierce my nail.  I think it started because I bought some really long acrylics and felt like I had to DO something with them.  It's understandable, right?  Well, even if it isn't, I only wore these today to take pictures of them. 

I don't like to wear fake nails because I hate the glue.  I used a bit of it in constructing these because I was making them heavy and I knew top coat wasn't going to be strong enough to hold all the jewelry on them.  I managed to glue my fingers to stuff a lot, which is NOT fun.  At all.  In addition, using that glue on your bare nail can really damage them.  I got around this by using stick-on tabs.  They held really well considering I was photographing my hand while wearing these things!  Afterward, they slid right off with a little gentle but firm pressure.  Perfect for fun!

This is how my right hand set turned out.  Isn't it exciting that you get to see it for the second time in the span of only one week?

I have a little box full of broken jewelry that is about half full of earrings that are missing their other pair.  Most of the things I used for these were from that box.  Recycling!

First, I filed each nail down to the appropriate size for each finger so they fit well.  I have rounded cuticles so this was pretty much a must.  Then I painted each nail individually using Finger Paints Black Expressionism and OPI's Alpine Snow.  I added an acrylic top coat and then let them dry for several hours.

I actually didn't end up piercing any of these, but I did add that dangling bobble with a bit of chain and some jewelry pliers.  And glue.  This was the first occasion where I glued my fingers together during this project.

This is one of my favorite nails--and also the one with the biggest ornament.  It pretty much has two full earrings on it!

Another one of my favorite fingers is the one in the middle of this picture.  I used a needle marbling technique on it and couldn't stand to cover it up all the way, so I kept the ornaments minimal!  I want to try needle marbling on my natural nails now.

Of course, I made sure to toss in a little Hello Kitty!  Or rather, a huge Hello Kitty compared to the size of the finger nails!

The acrylic nails weren't damaged at all by the sticky tab adhesive I used, unlike with nail glue, so the best part is that I can wear these again!  Hopefully on an occasion where I don't actually have to DO much.  When I was loading them onto the computer, I didn't take them off to make sure my photos came out alright.  I had to name the folder by typing with a chopstick!

I hope you enjoyed these!  Thanks for reading!

The Birthday Haul

So yesterday I had a birthday, happens every year to the best of us.  My husband is a real sweetheart and spoils me rotten, especially going out of his way on my birthday.  This year, it turned into an epic nail polish quest through Tacoma and Seattle and we came out pretty victorious.

Here's an overview of the whole thing.  It's the second largest haul I've done, the first being when I was in LA before Christmas.  Some of it came in the mail too because I had a gift card, but most of it was a result of browsing around yesterday.  I was on the look out for decent sales and found quite a few BOGOs!

These are part of the nail mail portion.  I've been eyeing them around and debating whether or not I wanted to get all 3D with my nails and decided to give it a go.  I'll have a blog post and a mani experience with them up on the blog soon!

One of the things on my list that I didn't find was Revlon's Whimsical.  I'd kept my eye out for it at several stores, but after no luck, I spotted a bottle of glitter that reminded me of it.  I decided to try to franken something similar out of it.  These are my two test bottles.  I need to thin them out a little bit more, but I'll have a post about these frankens soon too!

I hit up Ulta by the end of the day and found some Barielle polishes on their sale rack for 99 cents.  The brown actually has a big chunk of glass missing from the bottom of the bottle so I don't know what it's called yet.

Ulta also had a few polishes from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection on sale, so I caved and bought them.

OPI Ink, on the left, has been on my wishlist for a while, but I just always pass it up for something else.  Not this time!  It was one of the very few that was full price.  I got Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow with a buy two, get one sale.

These...H&M and their novelty.  That's really the only reason I bought them, because they looked fun in their dual-colored, polka-dotted tubes.

Ulta does these polishes for a buy two, get two offer.  I picked up Pinata-Yada-Yada because I want to franken with it and Chic Peek because it was pretty.  The other two went promptly into my Whimsical project.

I popped in to Icing at some point to look for their magnetic polish, which I found and I will get to it eventually.  Their polish is always buy one, get one half off, so I picked out these two.  As pretty as After Party (Left) is, I may have to stick it in a care package to my BFF because it screams her name with its rainbow glitter goodness.

We walked through a Daiso store because my hubby and I miss Japan and wanted some green tea.  I picked up these funky looking things because they looked fun and outrageous!

I'd been eyeing Nubar polishes at a beauty supply in the mall and decided it was time to try them.  This is Unfaithful Red and her friend Amethyst.  I did nail wheel swatches of these and I am fascinated by them!  I'm certainly going to be showing them to you this week!

I found some China Glazes on sale as well!  I'd passed on Glittering Garland for a while, but it was $3 at the store where I found the Nubars.  Ultamate Holiday was leftover at Ulta for $2, so I picked up yet another bottle.  I am actually bummed about Wicked Style from the Electropop collection.  It's not that I didn't want it or don't like it, but I ordered it by mistake.  I intended to buy Dance Baby, but I was ordering a bunch of things and must have flubbed up my order.  I still want Dance Baby...but I'm not likely to get it after this haul! The last one in line is Concrete Catwalk, which came in the mail with Wicked Style.  I've been wanting it for a while, but usually it is the one sold out at the displays in stores!

Sephora sent me an email wishing me happy birthday and saying they had a free gift, so of course I went to get it!  I didn't get a picture of it, but it was a sample of two tinted lip balms.  I'm going to give them a try eventually, but there's no way I could walk into Sephora and not come out with polish.  This is the Wyndham flakey duo by Nails Inc.  I passed on the Finger Paints flakies because my Sallys sold out before even I got there and stalking Sallys here would be a lot of driving.  I still really wanted a green flakey though, so I bought this one.  I did a nail wheel swatch of these two and the dark green cream it comes with is pretty amazing on its own too.  

I stuck my head in Forever 21 and found these.  They didn't have any glitters, so I didn't spend too much time there, but I love the mint green one.  It has a beautiful gold shimmer in it!

We accidentally came across an American Apparel store when we went to the university district in Seattle.  I say accidentally only because I hadn't thought about it with all our other plans, but five minutes later I picked up three of the polishes I've wanted since I found out AA makes amazing one-coaters.

And finally, the Icing Magnetix.  I am super disappointed with these polishes for one reason: The brushes are completely destroyed.  I like to check my bottles before I buy them, but I got snapped at by a sales associate, "No testing!"  (This happens a lot in Claires and Icing, so I actually have avoided them lately, but magnetic polish!!  I needed it!)  In any case, they look like they were bent in half and crushed, in both bottles.  I'm going to trim them into a better shape, but I doubt that will even save them.  No clean lines for me =(

I also picked up a Color Club set at Ross that isn't pictured.  It's the second one of the Back to Boho Collection that I didn't own all of.  I had Nouveau Vintage, so now I have two of those.

I'm about to go put on my Super Secret Birthday present to myself and take some pictures, so stay tuned!  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Busy Bees Bring You Swatches!

Hey there!  I'm having a bit of a busy weekend, so I'm going to bring you some swatches while I run around, just to tie you over until I break out the big guns on Tuesday and show you the Super Secret Nail Present I made myself for my birthday!  I'm super excited about that, but for the mean time, I'm wearing more Connect the Dots and doing a short wear test.

I painted it over alternating fingers of Julep's Leah and Pure Ice's Free Spirit.  I put them through a round of dishes today before my husband smashed his wedding ring into my knuckle really really hard (he was flailing around like a moron!  Lucky he missed my nails, but I can't bend my middle finger without some pain now).  In any case, if either of them chip before Tuesday, I will let you know.  For my purposes, three days of wear is all I can stand from a polish, fickle creature that I am.

But enough about that!  On to a little bit of swatch spam!  I decided to pull some colors that I consider staples that I use frequently.  Three of the four are new to my stash, but they fill a niche that I've been making do with other polishes.  They won't be going anywhere, except all over my nails!

This is another one of the new Wet n Wild Megalast colors, I Need a Refresh-Mint, that I went back for after loving On A Trip, which I wore under Connect the Dots for the first time.  I honestly wasn't going to buy this one because it is a color dupe for Color Club's New Bohemian, which I already owned, but I wanted to see if it was more opaque.  It is, which I like better for nail art.  

I wish I had taken I picture of the brush, because it's another reason why I bought this and why I went back for more of them.  I'll do my best to describe it for you, because my camera is charging right now.  These have what they refer to as a "ManiCurve Pro Brush" and it's my favorite shape for polish application.  If you're familiar with Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure line, they have this type of brush too.  It is wide, like an OPI brush, but the corners are rounded, like the shape of my cuticles.  I find it really easy to use this to get a clean line.  I did have more trouble with the individual brushes in this bottle and the next polish.  They were a little more distressed than the one in On A Trip and held a little too much polish.  I'll probably trim them at some point.

This is clearly from the same line as the previous one.  It's a re-release of Through the Grapevine, which was a shade available from the Megalast line before this revamp.  I picked it up because it was pretty and that was about it.  

Everything about these two polishes is the same for me, application, feelings about the color, brushes.  I like them and they're inexpensive.  Need to trim the brush!

I haven't praised American Apparel polishes for a little while, so I think it's time I remind you of my glowing love for them!  These pictures are a bit older and I've been wanting to post them somewhere.  This is Gold Flash by American Apparel.  It's part of their Metallic line and is my go-to gold.  I'm not a huge fan of gold polish for some reason.  Standard gold is too yellow, but while I was at an AA store browsing, I decided I had to at least have one gold and this is what I ended up with.  

It's a very opaque polish like my other AAs and if I am ambitious, I can get good coverage with one coat.  I use it more as a base for other colors, like holos and glitters, where it will get covered up, so a thin not quit opaque coat is good enough to do its job.  It has a fabulous, smooth consistency, which is why it will always have my affection!

Here's the last swatch of the day, Zoya Breezi.  She's new to my stash but is already pretty much one of my new babies.  I am definitely going to need a backup bottle sometime because I can't get enough of her.  She's a blue, which I have many bottles of, but she's a bit different from her siblings.  She's dusty and has a little darkness to her and just seems a bit feisty but fun .

I'm sure I'm starting to creep someone out with all that personification!  Sorry!  Breezi just deserves our admiration!  These pictures show three coats with no top coat and you can see how beautifully shiny this color is on its own.  

Well, there you have it.  A mini-swatchathon.  I'm going to take a break from the blog until Tuesday, but I hope to see you all back then.  I'm hoping to get a blog sale page up then, as well as show you some really fun things I've had sitting around!  Take care and thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Manicure

Today's manicure took me a few hours to get done, but I think it was worth it.  I hope it lasts a few days, because it's a blast, but it has a lot of layers of polish so we'll see.  It was inspired by Kyary, of PonPonPon fame.  If you don't know who that is, that's okay, but you are missing out on some seriously crazy, fun and adorable Japanese fashion, among other things.  Her videos on Youtube are fabulous!

This is the specific picture that my manicure is based on.  

And the first, extremely rare chance to get a glimpse of my right hand.  It does exist and it is a human hand!  I thought it turned out too cute this time not to post a couple shots!

This was all done freehand on my nails with a pair of dotting tools, an itty bitty nail art brush and the brushes in each nail polish bottle.  They're kind of wild, but I'm having fun with them!  Thanks for reading!

Julep Penny Box: My Thoughts

Hello all you lovely people!  I wanted to show you some of the nail mail I received in the last week or so and decided to start with my first Julep box.  When I saw the promo for a box for a penny, I decided to give it a try because I've seen a lot of swatches and good reviews for Julep's Maven program.  I was on the fence about trying it because of the size of the polish bottles and the standardness of the colors, so I waited for a promo.  I'm glad I did, because I think I would have been very disappointed with this box if I had paid full price for it.

I received the It Girl Intro box with Hayden, Leah and Megan.

Hayden is up first and I absolutely abhor this color on my nails!  I think it would be alright for dots or small details in nail art, but I gag when I look at it on the whole nail.  It is a bright orange peach cream.  The application was pretty annoying as well, too thick, so after two coats, I took it off, added thinner and tried again.  It worked out okay then.  

These pictures show three coats of Hayden with no top coat.  

This is Leah and the only polish from this box that I love, but I have reservations about our love that I'll get to in a moment.  I love green polishes and Leah is not a disappointment in that area.  I didn't have anything of this bright shade.  It's a cream with a little bit of a sparkly surprise in it, if you look closely.  My camera couldn't pick it up well enough, so I can't show it to you now, unfortunately.

 Leah's formula was thankfully a lot better than Hayden's.  I didn't have to thin it and it was creamy and smooth.  These pictures show three thin coats.

Finally, I received Megan.  This polish is a dusty blue shimmer and I like it well enough, but when I looked at it closely, I knew I'd had a close dupe for it that I frankened away.  A lot of it went into my Star Trek Franken, I'm A Doctor, Not A Nail Polish!  In any case, I suppose that Megan wasn't too much of a disappointment because I don't have that color anymore and I also found it agreeable to swatch.

I had swatched Hayden right before this, so I was feeling bummed and didn't do my best to eliminate brush strokes and I apologize for that.  I actually also don't remember if Megan took two or three coats.  It was the thinnest of the three, so I think it was probably three.

And here is what makes me have reservations about Leah, and Julep polishes in general.  Dupes that are easy to find and waaaaaay more affordable.  If you're not a Julep Maven, you can purchase their polishes for $14. Their bottles are on the small size, 8 mL or 0.27 oz.  I'm not shy about spending money on spectacular polishes, even in small bottles, but they have to be special!  

This is a comparison between Julep Leah and Pure Ice Free Spirit, which I picked up at Walmart while I was bargain hunting.  I spotted it and thought it looked familiar, maybe similar but surely not the same thing.  I couldn't tell the difference in the bottles or on the nail and I most certainly can't tell the difference in photos.  Leah is on my thumb, middle and pinky fingers.  Free Spirit is on my index and ring fingers.

I only have a few Pure Ice polishes, the others being glitters that I was actually going to franken with, but after using this one, I'd certainly be willing to try a few more.  It was just as creamy and nice in its application as Leah.  I haven't worn either for a full manicure yet, so I can't talk about wear here, but it's probably only a matter of time given how I feel about greens!

In any case, I'm not unhappy with my Julep Maven program in general because I signed up through a promo and they give you a lot of options with your membership.  In addition to getting these polishes for $11.20 and free shipping on your orders (Though I still consider $11.20 steep for what their polish is), you can skip months or send your box to a friend.  Case in point, I skipped my February box because none of them wowed me.  I'm at least going to give one more box a shot in the next few months before I decide to keep or cancel the program.  I've heard customer support horror stories though, but as long as I can avoid them, I don't see the harm in stringing Julep along.  

In addition, I'm not putting up my referral link on my blog until I decide if I endorse the program, but if a promo comes up again, I'll let you guys know!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I've kind of been sliding into a funk lately and I can't really tell why.  I know that things are starting to get odd when I start getting into weird sleep schedules.  Yesterday I slept way too much and today I can't sleep at all.  It's really hard for me to buckle down and write a blog post right now, but I have a cute bit of nail art to show you.

I honestly don't know why I painted orchids.  I have some weird fascination with them that has nothing to do with how pretty they are but more to do with how easy they are to kill.  My parents tried very hard for a while to keep potted orchids, but they all died in the end.  I guess it's that idea that you can't squish beautiful things into your control, but damn it if you won't try.  I do all the time.

In any case, this is my little attempt to capture them, in some way.  I ordered Zoya's Breezi from their new year promo for two polishes.  I am kind of in love with it, like fully and completely hooked on this shade of blue.  It's just so creamy and bold without being super bright.  However, I am totally on a search for the perfect shade of bright blue, which I am thinking Zoya Robyn might be for me, but suffice to say, I love Breezi today!  

Trying not to ramble is really difficult right now!  In any case, I put down two coats of Breezi and on my thumb and ring finger one coat of Milani Cyberspace.  Then I painted the leaves with Avon Olive Green and Icing Free Spirit.  Finally came the orchid flowers with the bottom of my China Glaze White on White bottle (Almost gone!!), Wet n Wild Through the Grapevine, Finger Paint's Black Expressionism and a bit of blending between the three.  

It was fun and I was almost ambitious enough to try my non-dominant hand...but then I decided not.  It got polka dots instead, but my nails are kind of ugly on that hand right now so I don't have a picture.

Thanks for reading!