Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nail Challenge Collaborative: Negative Space #3

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a great week so far. I can't complain with this warm weather! :]

Today, I have my latest NCC mani to share with you. This month's theme is Negative Space, and I've had a lot of fun with it so far! For this look, I combined a couple of designs from Robin Moses.

I really love how these came out! Here is a list of the polishes I used:

  • Yellow Stopper base coat
  • Zoya Sooki
  • Sally Hansen Lightening
  • Sally Hansen Heat Flash
  • Sinful Colors Most Sinful
  • Stripe Rite White
  • Stripe Rite Black
  • Stripe Rite Green
  • HK Girl topcoat
I used striping brushes to do the string and the candy cane tips and dotting tools to make the bulbs. It was harder than I thought to make the bulbs because they had to be so small, but I still really like how it turned out. :)

I got a lot of compliments on these, and they are so festive for the holidays!! I think this is an easy enough design too, that anyone could attempt it, even a beginner. :) I didn't watch Robin Moses whole tutorial, but I'm sure it would be helpful! I just based this off two of her designs that I found on Google images. Here are the the images I used for inspiration: this Christmas lights design, and this design for the tips.

I had a great time with this nail art and I didn't want to take it off!! I have one more negative space design to show you next week. Thanks for looking, and be sure to have a look at the other ladies' looks! <3


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gingerbread Winter Scene for Nail Polish Canada

Hi loves! A while back, I was contacted by Nail Polish Canada and asked to join their holiday nail art challenge. I was so excited! And I worked really hard on this look - it took me like 2 hours lol. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going for, but I knew I wanted to do a winter scene. Here's what I came up with! :)

I started with a base of Sally Hansen Babe Blue on all nails. I'll just list here the polishes I used rather than going through what I used for each detail:

  • Stripe Rite in White
  • Stripe Rite in Black
  • Stripe Rite in Green
  • Zoya Sooki
  • Sinful Colors Black on Black
  • Sinful Colors Nirvana mixed with OPI First Date at the Golden Gate
  • Julie G Hot Cinnamon
  • Julie G Tangerine Dream
  • Julie G Rock Candy
  • Seche Vite
  • Butter London Matte Finish

That gingerbread house took me forever!! I couldn't get quite the right shade of brown, which is why I mixed my own. I used dotting tools and thin brushes to do the smaller details. I was a bit disappointed that the Seche Vite smeared my gingerbread house a bit, even though I let it dry forever!! I think it's probably time for a new bottle. I also just recently got KB Shimmer's Clearly on Top, which I've heard great things about. Maybe it will become my new go-to! :)

I was SO in love with how these came out! And I got a ton of compliments on them. People kept asking me if they were stickers. :) I went through and took macros of each nail to really show the detail. This is the gingerbread house before matte topcoat.

After matte topcoat:

Snowman, matted!

Gingerbread man, matted :)

And snowy Christmas tree, matted!

These nails really got me into the holiday spirit. I am super excited to work on some more holiday nails before Christmas gets here. 

I am really thankful to be a part of this Holiday Nail Art contest with Nail Polish Canada. I've seen some of the other artists' work, and they are killer!! You can join in and enter the contest yourself, by checking out the link below. Just click that you are interested in participating, and follow the instructions. The deadline is December 18th! I'd love to see what you guys come up with! <3

If you like my Gingerbread Winter Scene nail art, please vote for me at this link. I so appreciate your support!!

Thank you for reading, and Happy Holidays! <3

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Zoya Fall gradient

Hi everyone! Today is my birthday! :) I still have to go to work, so it's not too different from any other day unfortunately. Today, I'm sharing a fun mani I did this past fall with you. I had ordered some new Zoya shades during their early Earth Day promotion and I paired a few of them together for a seasonal gradient.

I started with a base of Channing, then used a makeup sponge to fade it into Blaze, and then Isa on the tips. I loved how this came out!! I used HK Girl to seal it all in. I wore this for over a week, on both hands! :)

I'm obsessed with gradients, I think they have such a cool look with minimal effort. And I really like these colors together. I think the bright pop of Isa on the tips adds a really cool effect. And the holo sparkles in Blaze really showed up well in direct sunlight or in flash, as shown below!

I didn't do any special birthday nails for today or anything, so I thought these were a fun alternative post to show you guys today. I can't wait to try gradients with some of the other new shades I got!

Thanks for looking! <3

Monday, December 7, 2015

Nail Challenge Collaborative: Negative Space #2

Hi loves! Today I have my next Negative Space mani for the Nail Challenge Collaborative to show you. I wasn't sure what I was going for with this, I just kinda started painting and went with it. :)

I started with a base of Yellow Stopper and once that was dry, I freehanded the French tips on using Azature Lapis Diamond and just the brush it came with. They weren't perfect, but I knew I was going to stamp over it anyway. I wanted a geometric looking design, so I stamped using Konad Black and BM-322. And of course, my lovely squishy stamper from Born Pretty Store. I'm pretty much in love with it. I topped it off with Seche Vite. It was kind of interesting, the pair of the Yellow Stopper and the Seche Vite, or one or the other, really changed the color of the Azature polish. It made it look a lot darker. I was kind of disappointed by that, but I still like how it came out! :)

I've really been having fun playing around with negative space!! My naked nails don't look nearly as bad as I used to think. And I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with. :)

Thanks for looking! <3

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Swatch Spam!

Sometime last winter, I won a prize on Reddit from Kyoti of Lucky 13 Lacquer. I swatched all the polishes at the time and never got around to posting them!! So I'm doing that now. I have forgotten some of the names - I'm sorry. But the polishes are lovely and deserve to be shown off!!

First up is Starlight Polish - Blaze Crystal. It's a lovely copper holo! This is 2 coats, no topcoat. 

Next up is a pretty glitter topper from Sweet Heart Polish. I layered it over a dark green polish from Sinful Colors that I can't remember the name of. It was included in my prize! :)

This next polish is my favorite of the group! This is Lucky 13 Lacquer - Half the Sugar, Twice the Spice. It's a really pretty shade of purple that is unlike quite anything in my collection. There are little pink and copper glitters scattered throughout the polish. But not too many, just a smattering, which adds just a little something extra. I love it! This is 3 easy coats, with topcoat.

Next up is a glitter topper from Kawaii Nail Lacquer. I layered this one over the same dark green Sinful Colors polish. This topper is full of lots of little silver and gold squares and hexes, very festive for the holidays!

This last one is probably my second favorite of the bunch. This is Literary Lacquer - Lovely Intangibles. It has a super strong holographic silver base with little red, green, and silver glitters. This is 2 coats with topcoat. This is such a fun polish for the holidays!!

I was so, so thrilled to win this prize last year. It came at a perfect time for Christmas and I had so much fun trying out all these new brands. I'm glad I finally got around to sharing them all with you! :)

Thanks for looking! <3

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Nail Challenge Collaborative: Negative Space #1

Hi loves! I am so excited that my nails are healed up enough to jump back into nail art. I'm starting with my challenge group, the Nail Challenge Collaborative, and this month's theme is Negative Space!

I wouldn't typically do negative space manis because my nails have always been stained, but especially now, after all they have been through, they're not nice looking nails lol. The free edge is all misshapen from where they had been separated from the nail bed, I have a huge "onycholosis" bump in the middle of each nail, and another weird ridge a little higher up. So, when I saw negative space, I was like - crap. Then I thought- what the heck? I'm ready to get back into nail art fully, 100% so, this is me. These are my nails. And, I still like what I came up with!

I used Yellow Stopper base coat so you can't see quite how stained my nails are lol. Then, I used striping tape on the outside two nails with Sally Hansen Golden-I and Wet n Wild Black Creme. I used some decals from China Glaze for the two middle nails. I used a small pair of nail art scissors to snip off pieces of the decals to cover up most of the ugly parts while still showing negative space! :)

Nail decals never seem to work for me. They will stick initially, but even with 2 layers of topcoat sealing it in (I used Seche Vite this time), they don't stay on more than a day. The edges start to peel up. Any tips would be greatly appreciated on that! :) But, I loved how the striped nails came out. I wished I could have worn these longer but the decals started to drive me nuts.

Overall, I really liked this look! I love these colors together, and I liked the sharp angles of the geometric designs along side the stripes. And I thought the negative space looked really cool! I really haven't done much nail art incorporating negative space - actually, maybe none, I can't think of any, but this was fun. And, it got me really excited for the rest of the month - I'm already working on my next idea and I just keep thinking of more.

Thanks for looking, and be sure to check out what everyone else created!
<3 Kelly

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: Born Pretty Store Stampers, Plate and Polish!

Hi everyone!

A while back, I was contacted again by Daisy at Born Pretty Store to review some items. One of the things I chose was this awesome stamper set. I have been in the market for a new stamper for a while, and this set has a few different types to try, so I felt pretty sure one of them would work for me! :)

I also opted to try this Konad black stamping polish. I had never tried it before but I am always looking for a great black stamping polish!

Lastly, I picked out some stamping plates! I loved the packaging this large one came in. So pretty! When I picked these out, I was super into leadlighting and I liked this plate because it had lots of designs that I could color in. :)

I also fell in love with this smaller plate with several pretty floral designs, that I also thought would be great for leadlighting!

I decided to try to test/review all these products at once! I tried each stamper with one of the rose designs on the smaller stamping plate, using the Konad black. To keep all the conditions similar to see how each stamper stacks up, I just stamped the same stamp on a piece of paper to see how it worked.

Here's my stamping experiment! First up is the mint green stamper. This was the firmest of the bunch.

This one actually picked up surprisingly well, given how hard the stamp felt to me. I'm still no pro at stamping, so a lot of problems you may see here are probably user error. This stamper actually had one of the crispest transfers of the 3!

It looked even better once it transferred to paper! I was blown away!

Next up is the pink stamper. This was the middle of the road when it comes to squishiness. I have had stampers that feel similar to this before.

It picked up great! Super clean, crisp transfer. The lines are incredibly dark!

It didn't transfer quite as well as the green, but still - solid stamp. I really liked this one too!

And last, the one I was most excited to try - the humongous, oversized, super squishy marshmallow stamper! I had seen lots of posts about stampers like this and I was so excited to finally get my hands on one. I have a hard time "rolling" my stamps on with the firmer stampers,, and I have a pretty arched nail bed, so I felt like it would really help my nail designs to just be able to squish it straight down on my nail and have it cover even the creases of my nail along the cuticle. 

This one also has a little red side that could be used if you have just one small design to transfer.

It picks up really well! I forgot to get a shot of this one on the paper - oops!

I was initially really disappointed with how this one turned out. It seemed patchy, there were some blank spots and the lines weren't very dark or clean. 

But, it actually transferred better onto paper than it looked on the stamp! And, I got better with this stamper the more I used it too. Now it's the only stamper I use! I think I just had to get used to how to use a stamper that is SO squishy.

One small issue I do have with this marshmallow stamper is that it really picks up EVERYTHING. Before every stamping mani I do with it, I have to clean off tons of tiny little hairs or dirt particles it has picked up, but I have to be careful if I use a cotton ball, because the wispy little pieces get stuck to it. But that's such a small annoyance when compare to how easy it is to use. I love how you barely have to push to pick up an image, because it's so soft. Because of how little you have to push, you have less of a chance to smear or smudge the design. I love it.

Overall, this stamper set was a great experience for me to be able to see what I like in a stamper. Hands down, I would choose the soft white one, but both of the others are great too. It just depends on the shape of your nail or your stamping technique (rolling, straight down, etc) which one would work best for you. I like the set because you can try all 3, and see which one is the best fit for you. The set is a great deal at $6.99 USD, and you can grab it here.

The Konad black stamping polish is great! It's super pigmented and transfers really well. It's all I've been using for my stamping since I got it. This polish retails for $7.59 USD and you can see the listing here.

And, both plates I have tried are great. The images are etched deep enough that you get a nice clean image transfer every time. The larger one is a steal at just $1.99 USD, and you can see the listing here, and the small one - which can be found here - is just 99 cents!!

Don't forget - if you want to pick up any of these items or anything else from Born Pretty Store, you can use my discount code to receive 10% off your order!! 
And, shipping is always free!! Treat yo'self for Christmas, I won't tell! ;)

<3 Kelly

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi everyone! I'm still here! I apologize for the long hiatus - I got married in October and then on Halloween we had our wedding reception. And I was also working on letting my nails heal from the whole Mentality debacle. They are getting there!! The lifted part is almost totally grown out. So, I'm finally ready to start getting back into polishing. I'm still not polishing as much as I used to, and I've been using non-acetone remover to keep babying them for a bit, but I think they're strong enough to polish again. I'm excited!

Today, I'm showing off my Thanksgiving nails that I've been wearing since last weekend. My family celebrated our Thanksgiving last Sunday so I wanted something festive for that. Today, I'm cooking a small Thanksgiving dinner just for my husband and I. :)

Here is my simple but fun Thanksgiving look!

I started with a base of Pahlish Marshmallow Pumpkin, a gorgeous pumpkin orange holographic. I bought their whole Halloween collection, and I am so glad I did - they are gorgeous. Of course, it was dreary and overcast in Ohio when I took these, so I had to get a shot with flash to show off some of the holo sparkle. I did a sort of glitter gradient/waterfall look using Lac Attack Felix Felicis. I love how these colors look together! I felt it was the perfect color combo for fall. I used one coat of Seche Vite to seal it all in. :)

I think I'll be redoing my nails tonight if I get time after I cook, but I've loved wearing these! The holo in the Pahlish is super strong when the sun hits it, and the glitter topper adds the perfect bit of sparkle!

Thanks for looking! I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving if you celebrate it! :)

<3 Kelly

Friday, September 11, 2015

Nail Challenge Collaborative: Inspired by Jewelry #1

Better late than never, right? I'm so sorry guys. My nails have taken a pretty bad turn. They were starting to look a bit better, but once I swatched some more Mentalitys that I was told were safe, my nails started lifting worse than ever and it's been pretty painful. So, my nail art lately has been pretty limited. I have an appt with a dermatoligist at the end of the month, to see if he can help at all. I hope so - my wedding is in 29 days - ahh!! 

So I was so bummed that I barely got to participate in August's Nail Challenge Collaborative theme - Inspired by Jewelry! I had some great ideas. I even did a second look after this one, but I used Mentalitys Earth Tone mattes and I am not comfortable sharing it after everything that's happened. So here it is, my one and only Inspired by Jewelry look! 

I wanted to do a turquoise look, so I looked up some tutorials. It was harder than I thought lol! I have never been good at saran wrap manis, for some reason, I can't get quite the right scrunch pattern. But, I think it still looks cool, even if it doesn't immediately bring "turquoise" to mind.

I started with a base of Sally Hansen Big Teal, then once that I was dry, I used a crumpled up piece of saran wrap and dipped it in Essie Good as Gold, Sinful Mint Apple, and Sinful Black on Black. I topped it all off with HK Girl topcoat.

Even though it wasn't exactly what I was going for, I really love how this turned out!! I can't wait to try another technique for the turquoise look, and see how it turns out.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thoughts from a [former] Mentality Blogger

**I want to note that I am no longer affiliated with, or a supporter of, Mentality Nail Polish**

Sigh. Hi everyone. I've been watching all this drama unfold and I wasn't sure how I wanted to respond. But, I do feel I owe it to you guys to say SOMETHING, even if it is just to tell my personal story in case it might help someone somehow.

I was beyond excited a while back - I think it was during summer-fall of 2014 - when Mentality announced that they had chosen me for as one of their featured bloggers. Me!! I admired them so much, and I already had a ton of their polishes. Throughout the next year, it was a wonderful partnership. I got to know a group of wonderful ladies that were in the Mentality bloggers group. Danny and Hillary's generosity blew me away. Nearly every time Mentality got a new collection, they sent it to us all to try out. On several occasions, like around the holidays, they gave us an option to choose a certain number of polishes to try. It was amazing! And I can honestly say, I never had a single negative experience with them until this summer. 

The first weekend of June, I went to a festival with my fiance and our friends. I kind of caught my ring finger nail on my left hand on the car door (very lightly) and went about my day. I left that mani on for a few days (not Mentality) and when I went to take it off, around the 10th, I noticed that my ring finger was lifted up some. I felt some pain on that finger, especially if I pressed on the nail. It seemed like a no brainer to me - that was the one I caught on the car door. (Unfortunately, I did not get a pic at this point - I didn't see a reason to). I didn't see any reason to stop polishing or anything, and I had just received a package of Mentality Neon Glazes to try. So I went straight to work trying them out. Hillary and Danny sent out a bottle of Sunny (white matte) along with my glazes, and I thought that was a perfect base for my leadlighting nail art that I wanted to try. Because it was white, I didn't think to use a base coat, which I normally always do. I did probably 3 nail arts using Sunny and the glazes that week, leaving each on for a couple of days at a time. 

At some point, I was in our Mentality Bloggers Facebook group and I saw a message from Danny saying if we experienced any sensitivity to the 5 free base, to discontinue use immediately. I commented on the thread saying that I hadn't experienced anything, but I hope everyone was doing okay! A couple of the girls started explaining what symptoms they were having and it clicked - pain, lifting of the nails from the bed, tingling - it sounded just like what was going on with my ring finger. I was told that in some of the other girls that was how it started as well, with one finger - usually, the ring finger - and then the other nails followed suit. I started to think that I was experiencing the sensitivity Danny had mentioned after seeing some photos of the other girls' nails who were dealing with this. This was on June 19.

I immediately took my polish off to check (it was a mani I did with the Neon Glazes) and noticed that, sure enough - my pinky nail was starting to separate from the nail bed as well and my ring finger was getting worse.

**Note: My nails are stained from polishing constantly for the past 3 years - the discoloration is not related to the other symptoms that I am discussing in this post.**

I panicked and pretty much stopped polishing my nails. I am getting married in October and I was so afraid they would fall off. I didn't just stop using Mentality, I didn't wear anything except Yellow Stopper base coat for the next couple of weeks. Eventually, around this point, I felt like it was safe to start polishing with polishes I knew were safe, like those that I had used before. I didn't frequently polish, remove, polish either. I used Sally Hansen for a week, Pahlish for a week, etc. And they were getting better, and the lifted parts were growing out!

I continued this plan for a while because it seemed to be working. Polishing with only mainstream polishes or indies that I've used many times before and I knew to be safe. Either that, or just base coat. I was so excited to see that by early August, my nails were almost totally healed!

On August 12, I got my box of Earth Tone Mattes from Mentality. Here is where things get a little confusing. You see how nice my nails were growing out in the above photo on August 8. I didn't get a chance to try the Mattes on the 12th because I had a migraine. So, before I went to swatch the first one the next day, I snapped this pic...

You can see my pinky had started separating again. This was BEFORE I put Mentality back on my nails. I did try the Earth Tone Mattes after this photo, and this is the most recent photo of my pinky. As of right now, my other fingers on my swatching hand are fine and have not been showing symptoms again. Just the pinky. It's actually worse now than it was when I took this photo. About 50% of it is lifted, if not more now.

So, I guess what I'm saying in this long, drawn out post is I can't say definitively that it was Mentality Nail Polish that is causing the problem that I'm experiencing with my nails. At first, I thought that made the most sense, but now, I have no explanation. I'm open to ideas?

I do want to say a few more quick things. First of all, I did go to my doctor yesterday to have her check out my nails. She said to her it looks to be fungal. I explained the situation with Mentality and how so many others have had similar reactions. She thinks that there could be a harmful chemical in the polish that exacerbates bacteria/fungal infections or caused a chemical burn that could exacerbate other issues, etc. She prescribed Lamisil to see if it helps and she said if it doesn't, we can do a nail scraping/clipping and hopefully get some more answers. I will let you all know if I find anything else out.

Additionally, I want to apologize for not speaking out sooner about what I was experiencing. Like some other bloggers, it took me quite a while to realize that my nail polish might actually be the culprit. At the end of June, when a few of us bloggers put our heads together in the group and figured out that it may be the Mentality, I didn't speak out because I didn't feel it was my place. I didn't know what about the polish could be doing this and I felt it was the company's place only to announce this problem how they saw fit. Did I think it would take them a month? No. But I also hadn't heard about anyone else complaining, so I thought - could the few of us in the group be the only ones?

Finally, I want to say that I do not agree with the way Mentality handled this situation. I cannot thank Hillary and Danny enough for all that they have given me and the other bloggers, and I still appreciate them for that. But, I am also extremely hurt on a few counts. When the FIRST person came forward with possible sensitivity issues - whether that be April 2014, September 2014, whenever the first report came in - THAT is when people should have been notified. I do wish they had said something. I might not be in the situation I'm in. My wedding is in a little over a month, and my pinky nail is more than half detached. I'm embarrassed of it, and it's painful.

Additionally, I think the snarky posts and not-so-subtle digs at customers were in poor taste. I do think it's normal for people to be outraged. This is different than some sinking or curling glitter. These are people's NAILS that are coming off of their fingers. It's serious. My doctor said if I didn't get on top of this right away, it could continue separating all the way up to the cuticle and it could take 6 months to grow back. For people like myself, who pride themselves on their nails and in fact, run an entire blog devoted to it, this is devastating.

The public "firing" of the Mentality bloggers was humiliating and demeaning. We weren't tagged in the post, so I just happened to see it and I was blown away. We were not notified about this beforehand, so I was shocked and more than a little hurt. I couldn't understand why we were being fired when we hadn't done anything wrong. I understand that Danny stated that this was to distance us from the company to avoid the negative comments and backlash we had been getting, but I also believe that sentiment could have been conveyed without informing the entire internet world that we were FIRED. I was doing my best to stay out of the drama, and I was holding out hope that Mentality would right this wrong, continuing to support them despite everything. It just felt like a major slap in the face.

Please, if you own any Mentality polishes from the past few months, call your local waste company and find out how you can dispose of them. Don't risk your nail health. If you do develop some sort of infection or chemical burns on your nails, it could spread and get serious. Last I've seen from Mentality's updates, they are no longer offering returns or refunds on their polishes, unfortunately. On one hand, I get it. There is only so much they can do financially and physically. However, if your nails are coming off and the company tells you they won't do anything about it? That's bad practice. It would make more sense to say, hey, we're tapped out, we will get you when we can. But, we're not taking any more requests? Not cool.

I want to finish out by again apologizing for my failure to come forward sooner. I should have let you guys know if I even suspected a problem. If you made it this far, thanks for listening.

I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have, but please, keep it civil. This whole situation is enough without the attacks and personal digs. I truly appreciate all of you.