Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Gold on Gold Stripes

Sometimes it seems like manicure fails are the story of my life... I picked up this gold-flecked black Maybelline Color Show that looked so pretty in the bottle. On the nail, it was tragically disappointing. It went on poorly and messily, and just wouldn't look smooth. I had also grabbed one of the Essence Ready for Boarding collection, Via Airmail!, so I jazzed it up a bit with an accent nail of that. It was a lovely, bright, basic blue creme - exactly the sort of thing that I love.

Of course, that didn't quite do it for me. To bring things together, I decided a healthy helping of gold was in order. I liked the boldness of these stripes, and they were terribly easy to do - I just chose one polish with a wide brush, and one with a thin one. The first stripe was Jade Mystic Gold, and then a coat of China Glaze Blonde Bombshell down the middle of that.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fangs and Blood Nail Art

For my actual Hallowe'en nails, I wanted something a bit scarier! I really like this sort of cartoon-aesthetic nail art, and was especially inspired by this manicure for the general idea, and by this video tutorial for the style of the fangs.

And that's it for that holiday! Can I start posting Christmas nails now?

Monday, 5 November 2012

Candy Corn Nail Art

I've actually never eaten candy corn in my life - when I showed my mother this manicure, she didn't even know what candy corn was. So, I think it just isn't really a thing where I'm from. But I was seeing so many lovely candy corn gradients going around this Hallowe'en season, I had to make one happen.

I did a sponge gradient with white, orange, and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lightening for the yellow. For the accent nail, I followed this tutorial for mini-candy corns.

Unfortunately, my topcoat caused this to bubble horrifically, adding some unattractive... brown polka dots? That's what it looked like, the bubble were so deep. So the next day, I added glitter! Polish, Eh?!? Lil' Monsters upped the Hallowe'en factor, and the sparkle. I really love this glitter combination.

I know it's past Halloween, but I have one more to show you after this - think of it as inspiration for next year!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween Skittles Nail Art

My first manicure of the Halloween season was an opportunity to experiment, and try out every Halloween design that had caught my eye! These Halloween skittles were lots of fun to try out, and were helpful in deciding which designs to employ in full in the run-up to everyone's favourite holiday!

For the mummy nail, I looked up some examples and kind of... guessed at the technique. If I were doing it again, I think I'd use something like this mummy design as my model, more criss-crossing would have improved my attempt! My Jack-O-Lantern nail was on a base of China Glaze Riveting, much like Sincerely Stephanie's. The fangs were inspired (sort-of) by this video, and the eyeball was a blatant rip-off of these gorgeous nails.

Happy Halloween!

No Promises

I've been missing for awhile. It's really tempting to apologize and promise I won't let it happen again, but that's just unrealistic, and possibly sort of vain; I don't think that all of you have been waiting desperately for me to post again, but perhaps one or two of you miss seeing my designs a little bit :). The thing is, I'm a grad student, and that reallyreally has to come first; I started blogging because I already loved doing nail art, and wanted to be able to share it with people (other than the people I see through the week, and my parents - who I harass with frequent picture-texts!), but the perfectionist in me got carried away! The way I was blogging took too much time, and was unsustainable once classes started again. I read and heard so much great advice on how to build your blog and readership, but I can't afford for that to be my focus right now!

So I've taken a solid look at my priorities, and my big one? Sharing. My picture quality might not always be awesome, the work might not be perfect, and the posts may be irregular, but I have to let some of that slide so that I can still share something in this very-demanding time. So I hope you'll stick around and check it out - occasionally! I can't promise you anything, but I am still doing my nails, and I'd love to show you my sketchy, unedited iPhone pictures, if nothing else!

Stay tuned :).

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Girly Girl Challenge Day One

To kick-start a new school year and new blogging schedule, I've decided to participate in a new challenge! This one, with a "Girly girl" theme, will certainly be a challenge for me - my tastes in bail polish don't run so much to the "girly" end of things. Stepping outside one's comfort zone is generally worthwhile, though! So here we are.

This first day required the use of pink, and knowing I would be wearing this on my birthday, I chose to combine the deliciously pink and sparkly Claire's Candy Shop with accents of birthday cupcakes, made with various colours on a background of Zoya Wednesday.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

KBShimmer Radioactive

Summer is coming to an abrupt end, and lovely fall polishes surround us, but I'm not ready to let go of my neons just yet.

I'd been coveting KBShimmer's Neon Collection for what felt like a lifetime, and just recently I finally got my hands on my first one. This extraordinarily bright green, the appropriately named KBShimmer Radioactive, is really amazing. It glows in the dark, okay?!

It was also so very bright that it was unusually difficult to photograph. I've tweaked this photo quite a bit to give a better approximation of the actual shade, but it's very hard to reproduce. Trust me, it is made of awesome. This glow-y, neon green has variously shaped and sized black glitters - squares, hexes, bars, shards - swimming around in it, enough to add contrast and interest, without detracting from the effect. I used three coats to make sure there were no patchy bits, and the jelly-ish consistency of the polish held the glitter in an interesting suspension throughout.

Outside the States, you can buy KBShimmer from Harlow & Co.! I definitely would like to pick up more of the Neons at some point! Are you through with neons for the year, yet?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Enchanted Polish Marge's Blue Beehive

Oh hai! I've been absent lately, and without warning - I suck. I was preparing for and attending my first academic conference! It's over now, though, and hopefully things will get back to normal a bit! On to an actual post of a very pretty polish...

Fun fact: my favourite colour is purple. I like purple things, have a fondness for dying purple into my hair... but I have gradually found that when it comes to polish, I prefer blue to purple 95% of the time. I've come to terms with this! I think that, for some reason, blue looks better on me - or it might just be that there is a wider range of blues available? Whatever it is, my wishlist is dominated by blues, the blue section in my IKEA Alex is the most crowded, and I can't resist adding more blues to each on a practically weekly basis.

Don't get me wrong, I don't discriminate - there is a place in my heart and my collection for all shades! But blues like the beauty I have for you today will always draw my eye in a crowd.

Enchanted Polish Marge's Blue Beehive was certainly no exception! This shade is gorgeous, and it is named after a Simpson's character, and we all know how holos make all other thoughts leave our minds as we internally squeal "RAINBOOWWWS!" (That's not just me, right? ...) The $15 price tag had always had me resisting Enchanted Polish, but I finally pulled the trigger since hearing that many shades are being discontinued.

See? Such a pretty colour. I bought this polish from Harlow & Co., an awesome Canadian e-tailer. She offers free shipping on orders over $50! It is definitely a great place for fellow Canadians to be able to buy some lovely things that would otherwise be quite difficult to buy.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

OPI Guy Meets Gal-Veston Swatch and Jelly Sandwich

Awhile back I was playing with jellies and glitters, in a seasonally appropriate combo! I started with three coats of OPI Guy Meets Gal-Veston, which looked like this:

I topped that with Nicole by OPI Rainbow In The S-Kylie, with another coat of GMGv on top. I, however, wasn't satisfied! I added a coat of OPI Pirouette My Whistle, and then another coat of GMGv on top of that. Yes, including base and top coat, that is NINE coats of nail polish! Excessive? Maybe! But look how deep and squishy it is!

I'm so glad I've accepted the jelly sandwich into my life lol. So easy, so pretty. I still only have a few jellies, but they're perfect for crafting a nice summer-y manicure. And you definitely don't have to do as many layers as I did here! What's the greatest number of coats you've used in a manicure?

Friday, 3 August 2012

Polish, Eh?!? Oh Canada! Swatch

I have something exciting and timely for you today! A brand-new Canadian indie nail polish brand is opening its (virtual) doors today, and I'm thrilled to show you this lovely creation from Polish, Eh?!?

After seeing a photo of Oh Canada! that Janet (the creator) posted in a Facebook group, I talked her into selling me a prototype! I wanted this patriotic polish and was willing to play guinea pig. Because I purchased an early version, she has redesigned this polish slightly for her opening - it will no longer have the red bar glitters. The red bars in my bottle did have a tendency to flop over onto their sides a bit, so I think this change will be for the better. I don't have much experience with bar glitter, though, and I've heard that it is difficult, so I sort of assumed that was just bar glitter being... bar glitter.

I wanted a contrasting base that would make both the red and white really pop. I have a thing for blues, and it is a great complement to red and white, so I popped Oh Canada! on over one coat of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Blue Me Away! I love that both of these polishes are so enthusiastic that they need exclamation marks in their titles - a match made in heaven?!

These swatches are all one coat of Oh Canada!, though I did do a bit of dabbing to ensure even glitter coverage; there was definitely no trouble getting plenty of glitter out of the bottle, though! And a quick shake will ensure that those lovely white squares make their way onto the brush with ease.

Close-up of Polished, Eh?!? Oh Canada
Oh Canada! contains medium red hex, micro red hex, red bar (but not in the now-for-sale version!), white bar, micro white hex, and large white square glitters, all in a clear base.

I tried a few layering combinations to help me decide on Blue Me Away! These all feature one coat of Oh Canada! over China Glaze Pelican Gray, SHXW Blue Me Away!, SHXW Pacific Blue, Orly Stone Cold, and a black creme.

I love the well-designed labels and high-quality photos that Janet uses on her store, and her customer service is amazing; when I bought this polish (and some for my sister!) there was some confusion as it was over Facebook message, and didn't have the ease and clarity of an Etsy purchase. But Janet was helpful, generous, and quick to make things right!

As of today at noon EST, Polish, Eh?!? nail polishes are for sale in Janet's Etsy store. You can also check out Polish, Eh?!?'s Facebook page for photos and news updates. My next order will definitely include Gumballs; which one is your favourite?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Sally Hansen Pacific Blue Meets China Glaze Optical Illusion

Blue cremes are kind of my jam. I love all blue polishes, and I love cremes, so when they are combined I am a happy nail addict. Saving money on nail polish also appeals to me, so Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue is a gorgeous, bright, satisfying creature. It looks amazing by itself, and on toes. I wore it by itself and before taking it off, I decided to play around a bit.

I picked up China Glaze Optical Illusion at Winners, and I was very impressed by how opaque it is! So that meant that I should do nail art with it, right? I started with a v-gap accent, and then added half moons on the other nails. But I do thrive on overkill, so I went the extra step and added giant polka dots.

I think my favourite addition was the simple v-gap, and love that this polish is opaque enough to do an easy glitter one like this! The polka dots were probably a step too far, though...

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Braided Nails with Zoya Wednesday

Braided nails have been popping up all over the place lately! And I gave it a shot just last week, with the help of this tutorial from Lucy's Stash. Unfortunately, I would call this a bit of a fail on my part - I took it off a few hours later (and replaced it with something much better, I think, which will be appearing here soon). Now I know what not to do, though, and I think I'll try this look again - and I expect that it will go much better!

The base colour is Zoya Wednesday, and for the braided accent I added in OPI Planks A Lot and Revlon Silver Screen.

Have you tried braided nails? Did they go better than mine?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Guest Post at Geeky Owl

Happy Wednesday! You should go check out my guest post at the Geeky Owl. Brightly coloured fishtail nails? With PICTURES and background info? You know you want to see! So click on over there!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Summer Holographic Fun with Ludurana and Ozotic

Some foreign polishes for you today! Holos have been really exciting me this summer. They are fun to watch and "play" with in the sunshine, and cheaper than jewelry and diamonds, right?

First I have Ozotic 532 layered over Nails Inc. Baker Street. This combo really brings out the duochrome purple-y-ness underneath the holo. Unfortunately the Ozotic 500 series has been discontinued, but some of them can still be found hiding around the Internet!

And this baby blue gorgeousness is Ludurana Magnifica. I got this from Ninja Polish, who have reasonably priced and fairly quick shipping to Canada. It applied like a jelly, and this is three verrrry easy coats. No special base or top coats required! Just easy, pretty rainbows.

What are your favourite holos this summer?

Friday, 20 July 2012

KBShimmer Vegas Bomb Swatch

I've been absent lately! I've been in a bit of a nail rut - I keep having disaster-manicures, and I've also been getting bogged down in behind-the-scenes stuff, rather than creating and posting content. But no more! I have some good stuff coming, and will be focusing on posting more regularly.

To kick off this new leaf, I have my first KBShimmer polish. I've really been loving her stuff lately, and am so glad that they are now available from Harlow & Co.! There will be a new shipment coming in soon, and I hope to pick up more. Shipping is so fast and free with a purchase of $50. You can also check out KBShimmer on Facebook.

KBShimmer Vegas Bomb has a yellow-tinted jelly base, and is packed. full. of glitter. So much glitter! All the glitter, and all kinds; squares, hexes, bars, itty bitty ones of all colours. These three coats of it provided total coverage, and a sort of all-in-one jelly sandwich effect. And then I added some matte top coat for fun, below:

KBShimmer is currently having a giveaway on her Facebook page. Hurry and enter, it ends very soon!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Summer Stylin': Summer Fun Challenge

This manicure was born of a series of failures, more than anything intentional. But there are lots of gorgeous peacock themed dresses out there, and it would go perfectly with one of those! Also, Dior is a major fashion house, so what's more stylish than that?

I started out with two coats of Dior Waterlily, a gorgeous green shade with subtle shimmer (and it's scented!). I couldn't get it to even out fully on the index and middle fingers, though, so I decided to try stamping it. I vaguely recalled some cool peacock-esque stamping (which turned out to have been

this design from The Polished Perfectionist) that came to mind when I came upon my BM-212 plate, and I chose the peacock-friendly complement of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue. Unfortunately, my nails are very curved, and my stamping never goes quite right! So I filled in the blank spots with a pseudo-Ruffian in the same Pacific Blue. Finally, I dotted some Essie Sexy Divide among the stamped design.

I also tried out the Waterlily with just an accent nail of Pretty & Polished Tuesday Taurus. It took four coats here, but I think I'll also try layering it - maybe on top of Waterlily!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Aquadaisy Shazaam with Elemental Styles Actin-ium My Age

Check out this gorgeous layering of indie purples! Simple but lovely and full of sparkly.

A while back I was driven to purchase Aquadaisy Shazaam after seeing Pointless Cafe's swatches. I can't imagine photographing this gorgeous purple polish so well, so I didn't try! I was in a hurry and threw on one coat of it, which is all you need of this amazing stuff, but the topcoat dragged it a bit so it looked somewhat patchy in direct light. So the next morning, I topped it off with a coat of Elemental Styles Actin-ium My Age. Beautiful sparkliness ensued.

Also, you may have noticed my new watermark! What do you think? I like that it integrates itself into the photo more, but do you think it's too subtle? Let me know!

You can check out Elemental Styles on Facebook, and Aquadaisy, for info on how to get these awesome polishes!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

We Like It Hot, Hot, Hot!: Summer Fun Challenge

Verrry late, but I had a lot of trouble coming up with something original for this one! I wanted it to be really HOT! I landed on a flame manicure that also incorporates a very hot summer trend: neons.

On a base of the intensely red-orange China Glaze Japanese Koi, I freehanded an abstract flame design with China Glaze Sun-Kissed and an Orly red that belongs to my mother, and I can't remember the name of. I dry-brushed on a bit of CND Gold Chrome at the tips to give it a true glowing-ember effect.

This orange just won't photograph quite right, which is a complaint I constantly read about neons. But they just won't glow in the pictures like they do in real life! They have a crazy dis-embodied nail effect which I have grown to love, and will definitely be rocking more of for the summer.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Big Blue: Summer Fun Challenge

My first real gradient! I'd been putting this off for so long because it looked difficult. I was so wrong! I followed Sammy from The Nailasaurus' awesome tutorial and it went even better than I anticipated. I will definitely be trying this again soon!

It was hard, though, to decide on this in the first place! Today's theme is "The Big Blue," and I've been inspired by the ocean a number of times before (with Hokusai, colour, and texture), so to come up with a new interpretation was a bit of a challenge. I decided on this gradient, which goes from a more Caribbean ocean shade, to the more-familiar Atlantic's deep blue.

On a base of Sinful Colors Aqua, I sponged a gradient of Orly Stone Cold and Julep Megan, and added some glitter "bubbles" by dabbing a bit of Sinful Colors Nail Junkie on the accent nail.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Summer Fun Challenge: Are We There Yet?

And I'm behind again... I finally have some "Hot, Hot, Hot!" nails for you, too, but they'll be coming later today. For now, YESTERDAY'S design, "Are We There Yet?", brings us a special set of guest nails - my dad! He's always sad when I remove the pretty nail art, and he liked my "Hot, Hot, Hot" nails so much that he volunteered his own nails for this design so I could leave that one on!

Road trips are much more bearable with games to pass the time, and few things are easier to play in a car than Hangman!

Using a base of Orly Dayglow, I freehanded the design with Revlon Colorstay Stiletto. The first two nails are the word puzzle, the ring is the quickly-dying hangman, and the pinkie contains the rejected letters that have caused the hangman to reach this state.

Welcome to the world of nail art/hand modeling, Dad!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Polish Days: Jelly Sandwich!

I have become obsessed with jelly sandwiches. I don't even like glitter (I thought), but I guess it had to happen eventually! I recently got two of the OPI Texas jellies, and I've been getting a lot of use out of them! It just looks so squishy and delightful and summer-y, and has a great effect for something so easy to achieve.

A jelly sandwich is what happens when you layer a jelly polish (a sheer, squishy, buildable one) with a glitter, and then put some more jelly on top. So it's like the glitter is suspended inside! I'm excited that my first Polish Day inspired me to try out this awesome technique.

I started with two coats of OPI Do You Think I'm Tex-y?, followed by one coat of Lush Lacquer Salt n' Pepa, and then another coat of DYTIT?


For something so new to me, I've really taken to these! And links from other Polish Days participants will be coming soon, so you can check out lots of other jelly sandwich combination ideas!