Saturday, January 31, 2015

Purple & Blue Floral Wallpaper (NCC #4)

Hey guys! I'm back just in time with my final Wallpaper post! This was such a fun theme for me, I had a really great time playing around with ideas and searching around the web for inspiration. I love florals and I love patterns so naturally, wallpaper was right up my alley. As I mentioned, I've gotten a lot of my inspiration this month from Wondrously Polished, so I definitely can't take credit for those ideas. This is another one of Lindsey's manis that I fell in love with and attempted to recreate. To see her original post, click here!

And here's my attempt! :)

I didn't have the polishes that Lindsey used, so I just chose similar colors from my collection. I started with a base of Sinful Colors Cool Gray, and for the flowers, I used Sinful Colors Savage and Zoya Pinta. I used Sinful Colors Beau Khaki for the leaves. HK Girl to top everything off and done! :)

I absolutely LOVED how these came out! They were super easy to do and yet they look complicated, which is always nice. :) My flowers didn't come out quite as good as Lindsey's, but I'm sure practice will help! Besides, this is one of those looks that the lines don't have to be quite perfect for it to look nice.

Such a fun look, and a fun theme for this month! I've really enjoyed creating wallpaper-themed looks and sharing them with you! I'm super excited to share my February looks with you as well, the next theme will be animals - yay!!!

Be sure to have a look at the other ladies' final wallpaper looks. Thanks for reading! <3

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pink Stripes & Floral Wallpaper (NCC #3)

Hello lovelies! Today I have my third Wallpaper inspired mani to share with you today. I realized I accidentally did one too many wallpaper looks haha, I guess I got excited about this theme! So one of my Wondrously Polished-inspired looks will have to wait and be shared with you another time. :)

This look was inspired by a mani I saw on Pinterest when I was googling around for wallpaper ideas. 

I really loved the mix and match of designs, so this one stood out to me right away. Plus, it really reminded me of wallpaper! :)

I used Julie G Miami Beach for the base on the index and pinky nail, and also the roses. Sinful Colors Snow Me White is the base on the middle two nails, the stripes and the dots. I used Mentality Empress to outline the roses and Sinful Colors Exotic Green for the leaves. I used HK Girl topcoat.

This mani was actually super easy to recreate - the roses were much easier than I expected! Empress was the perfect accent for the roses, since it's a matte polish packed with shimmer, it really stood out.

I thought this was a really fun look and definitely fit the wallpaper theme for me. Gotta love Pinterest for inspiration! :)

Don't forget to check out some of the other amazing nail art from this week! <3

Monday, January 26, 2015

Orange and Grey Floral Inspired by Wondrously Polished (NCC Wallpaper #2)

Hey guys! I've got ANOTHER post for you today. I know, two posts in one day - crazy, right!? 

I've had my wallpaper-themed nail art looks for the Nail Challenge Collaborative finished for a while now, but I haven't had a chance to get photos edited and posts written up. So, even though I was on top of it and got my looks done early this month, I'm still sliding in right under the wire to get my posts up in time haha! It's always something, isn't it?

This look was based on one I saw on Wondrously Polished. Actually, the rest of the looks for this month are! When I think wallpaper, I think patterns and floral, and Lindsey of Wondrously Polished, just happens to be the queen of florals. This look is my attempt to recreate her Orange and Grey floral!

I almost did not post this mani because I was so frustrated with how it turned out haha! Lindsey makes it look SO easy but this was really hard! I think a part of the problem was that I didn't have brushes quite thin enough. In the end, I decided to show you guys anyway, even though I was disappointed with it...because it took me so long to do it so I didn't want it to be for nothing lol. 

I started with 2 coats of OPI My Vampire is Buff, then I used Sinful Colors Clementine and Ardoise to paint in the flowers. I topped it off with Seche Vite topcoat.

Overall, while this wasn't my favorite look I've ever done, it could have turned out a lot worse. I still have a long way to go before I can catch up with Lindsey's amazing skills! Check out her blog if you want to be inspired. Her nail art is amazing!

And, don't forget to have a look at the other bloggers' nail art looks for Week 2!

Pahlish: First Day of my Life Duo

Hey everyone! Today I have a super late post to share with you, but it's too good not to share. For a while now, Pahlish has been releasing duos each month. These duos are available only during the month they are released, and typically they are a pair - a base polish and a glitter topper. I don't always have the extra cash to pick up the monthly duo but I could not resist last August. As soon as I read the name, I knew I had to have it - before I even saw the polishes haha. 
It's called the First Day of my Life duo, and it was inspired by an amazing Bright Eyes song! 

I have loved Bright Eyes since I was about 14 years old, their songs have always had a special meaning to me and have gotten me through some really tough songs. This song, however, is a wonderful love song that makes me cry in a good way haha! The video especially, give it a watch here if you have the time - it's an adorable video.

The first polish in the duo is called Meet Me in the Morning. It's a tiffany blue creme with a copper micro-flakie shimmer. Formula was absolutely perfect, no issues to report whatsoever. I used just 2 easy coats for full opacity here, plus HK Girl topcoat.

Next up is the glitter topper of the duo, called Blankets on the Beach. It's packed full of gold, copper and aqua glitters in various sizes and shapes, including hexes, squares and dots.

I've done two thin coats of Blankets on the Beach here. Again, no issues whatsoever with formula. All the glitters came out easily and evenly, I had no trouble with clumping and no need for fishing. I love how these polishes look layered together - truly a perfect pair! :)

I thought this polish was really aptly named as well! The glitters, especially the copper ones when paired over Meet Me in the Morning's flakies, just brings sand and sun to mind. Love it!

I think it's safe to say this is my favorite ever Pahlish duo, which made me happy because I was going to buy it no matter what it looked like because of the name alone haha. I do love how these two look together, but I bet Blankets on the Beach will look amazing over lots of colors. Next I want to try it over black or maybe an emerald green!

Be sure to check out the Pahlish shop and follow them on Facebook - there will be one more restock this coming Friday at 7pm Central, where you will have a chance to pick up the January duo, called Warmest Winter. It's stunning!

Thanks for reading! <3

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stamping Decal Flowers

Hi guys, happy Friday! I have a fun post to share with you today. This was my second or third attempt at doing stamping decals. I got a little bit braver this time and used multiple colors on a full-nail image! :o Check it out...

I was inspired when I got my Vivid Lacquer plates in the mail. This image is from plate VL-028 and as soon as I saw it, I felt like it spoke to me haha! I started with a grey base to allow the colors in the flowers to really pop. The grey is Sinful Colors Cool Gray. I used Sinful Black on Black to stamp onto my stamper. Once the black was dried, I painted over it with the colors - Sally Hansen Lightening, Sally Hansen Heat Flash, Sally Hansen Sonic Bloom, and Sinful Colors Most Sinful. I placed the decals over the grey base after sealing them in with a slow dry topcoat and letting it dry for a while. Then I cleaned up around the edges with a paintbrush and acetone. I used another coat of topcoat over everything to make it really shine. 

The Seche Vite gave me a bit of trouble with shrinkage (hee hee) but otherwise I really loved this look! I wore this for a party that weekend and got a lot of compliments. :)

I'm SO glad someone discovered stamping decals. I am still working out the kinks, but for someone like me who can never seem to get quality stamping images, this was the perfect solution, and a great way to add a pop of color to your stamping nail art! And it's easy enough that anyone can do it, even nail art beginners! :)

What do you think of this look? Have you tried stamping decals before? I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

Thanks for reading! <3

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chaos & Crocodiles: Love in the Jungle

Hi everyone! I have a quick swatch post to share with you today. This is a polish I purchased forever ago and only recently pulled out of my untrieds. I wish I hadn't waited so long! 

This is Chaos & Crocodiles Love in the Jungle!

I layered 2 coats of Love in the Jungle over Essie Mink Muffs. I did drag around the hearts a bit to get them where I wanted them, but I had no trouble getting them out of the bottle. I loved the flakies in this polish - this polish was released WAY before flakies were the craze they are now haha. I think the mix of these colors of glitters are really unique and would be pretty over lots of different bases I love it over a light brown though, it really goes with the jungle theme. :)

I believe this was the first ever Chaos & Crocodiles I tried, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I love the colors and mix of glitters, formula was great and super easy to work with. I used HK Girl topcoat and all the glitters lay completely flat, even the big hearts. I will definitely be buying more from them in the future. :)

You can check out the Chaos & Crocodiles shop here. Right now it looks like the shop is sold out, but you can follow Chaos & Crocodiles on Facebook to stay up to date on restocks and new releases. It looks like the next restock is scheduled for this Saturday, January 24th, and you'll be excited to know that there are several amazing flakies that will be restocked. I can't wait to get my hands on some of those - I still have yet to try one!! :D

Thanks for reading! <3

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jindie Nails: You Can't Turn a Ho-Lo Into a Housewife, O Holo Night, and Vixen

Hi guys! Sorry I've been a bit MIA lately, I lost my job last week and have been alternating between job hunting and cleaning my house spotless, and wallowing in self-pity lol. But, I did get an interview today so the fiance and I are going out to dinner to celebrate (with a gift card of course)!

So, since I'm in a better mood, I thought I would bring you some gorgeous holos to brighten up your Tuesday! I have 3 from Jindie Nails to share with you today - You Can't Turn a Ho-Lo into a Housewife, O Holo Night, and Vixen. These are from the Winter 2013 collex.

First up, You Can't Turn a Ho-Lo into a Housewife. "This one is a gorgeous multi-chrome and linear holographic polish. The colors in this one include red to blue and all shades in between. "

Overall, the tone of this polish looks purpleish to me. But I definitely see pink, red, lavender and even greyish tones. It's super hard to describe, but the holo is unreal! It's one of those that you just can't help but stare at haha.

I had to include a couple blurry flashy shots to just show you the holo amazingness! :D

Next up is O Holo Night, "This one is a blackened navy blue linear holo with violet/blue glass fleck shimmer and made with SpectraFlair, the most potent holographic pigment on the market.  This is opaque in 2 coats!"

This is such a stunning polish! These first couple photos were taken in direct sunlight. I love this navy blue, it's gorgeous as a standalone polish but also an amazing base for winter nail art and again, very strong holo effect! :)

These next two are with flash, indoors in shade. I love how many rainbows you can still see, even indoors! :D

Last up for today is Vixen. "Vixen is a very intense deep burgundy/wine, highly pigmented, linear holographic polish loaded with shimmer, linear holo pigment (SpectraFlair) and color changing flakies.  This one is a deep burgundy/wine linear holo with color changing flakes & SpectraFlair throughout. This color is opaque in about 2-3 coats.  "

Darn it, I dinged my index finger before I got photos of this mani, but I am hoping you guys can overlook that because this is a beautiful polish!

I love how blue the holo flashes in these photos. These were taken in direct sunlight. I love this polish! Another one that's great for wearing alone or using in nail art. :)

Right now, these colors are unfortunately sold out, but you can see other bloggers' swatches at the following links and/or bookmark them for the next time there is a restock: You Can't Turn a Ho-Lo into a HousewifeO Holo Night, and Vixen. These colors range from $12 - $12.50 for a full size bottle. They are definitely worth adding to your lemming list! :)

Also, be sure to check out Jindie Nails shop to see what other pretties she has to offer, and follow Jindie Nails on Facebook to keep up to date on new releases and sales!

Thanks for reading! <3

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Damasks Inspired by Robin Moses (NCC Wallpaper Week #1)

Hi everyone! Super excited to share this post with you guys today. I have been holding on to this one for a while now, and I'm glad to finally get it out there!

It's currently Wallpaper month at the Nail Challenge Collaborative and I have the perfect first nail art for this theme! I used an amazing nail art tutorial from Robin Moses to create these Damask nails - hope you guys like! :)

I kinda sorta loosely followed Robin's tutorial because to be totally honest, her patterns were way more intricate than I was capable of and I gave up on them pretty quickly haha. So I generally tried to mimic some of her damask-y patterns and came up with this!

I used Sinful Colors Snow Me White for the white base, and Zoya Sooki for the red base. I used my Stripe Rite striping brush in black for the damasks, and Sinful Colors Pinky Glitter for the glitter topper over the red. HK Girl topcoat to finish it off! :)

I loved this look - it looked so complex but thankfully, doing just two damasks for accent nails made it simpler and it didn't take me that long! :) If you want to try your hand at recreating this cool look, you can check out this tutorial by Robin Moses here. She's seriously amazing to watch - she makes it look effortless! :)

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the other ladies' looks for Week 1 of Wallpaper month!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winterize Your Nails with tips from Julep!

Hi everyone! I've got a really fun post for you today, brought to you with the help of Julep!

As I'm sure we all know, especially those of us who are beauty enthusiasts, winter is not always kind to our hands and nails. :( I know for me especially, my hands can get dry, cracked, and painful in the winter. And my nails can get brittle and peely. Worst of all, my cuticles - UGH! They look so gross in the winter if I don't take extra good care of them. 

That being said, it's important to "winterize" your nail care routine during these bitter cold months, so that you can keep your nails and hands in perfect health and looking fabulous!

Julep has shared a few helpful tips on how to winterize your nails. I'll show you their ideas, and then I'll give you the rundown on my typical routine! :)

When I read over the tips sent from Julep, I realized that they were very similar to what I do for my nails, so I must be doing something right lol. ;) Here's a look at my nail care routine - the whole gang!

I know, I know. It looks like a lot. But it's really not. And there are very few of these items that I actually use every day. I'll break it down and explain what each item is, what it is used for, how to use it and how often I use it.

My first step? Starting with a clean slate!

Before a manicure, you want to start with clean nails, and that includes removing excess cuticles. I skipped the step about removing old polish, because you knew that already, right? :) Be sure to wash your hands after removing polish with acetone. Dry your hands off well, and then you can grab your trusty cuticle remover. I use Blue Cross, which can be purchased at Sally's, and it's extremely affordable. I think this huge bottle was about $5, and it will last you forever! I drip a bit along the nail bed line and a little underneath the free edge as well. It is a bit watery, so I do this over the sink. After that, I use the curved, spoon-looking edge of the cuticle tool (I got this at Wal-Mart for a few dollars) and push up toward the curve in the nail bed, pushing up and off excessive cuticles. Then, I use the other end of the tool (Careful, that one is sharp) to gently scrape around the curve of the nail and then underneath the free edge to get all that grossness out of there. Sorry, not every part of nail care is glamorous! ;) Once you've scraped off all the excess, wash your hands with warm water and your favorite soap or scrub, I love Sunny's Hand Scrub for this, which of course, I forgot to show in the picture! Then, dry off your hands and get ready for your next step.

The next thing I do is file my nails, both for length and shape. I don't usually cut my nails using clippers unless they're really really long, because that tends to make them crack or peel. I use a very coarse file or emery board to take down length, and also to shape my nails. Lately, I've been keeping the rounded or almond shaped because they grow longer and stronger that way on me. Once I'm happy with the length and the shape, I paint on my base coat. In the winter, I typically reach for strengthening or hardening base coats to help fight off the brittleness that winter brings. This one from Sally Hansen is a good one. Then apply your polish color, which I've left out of the photos because that is up to you (though I'll have some good suggestions at the end of the post). My go-to topcoat is always HK Girl though. It's the best in my opinion!

Now, you're all polished and topcoated...what to do now, you ask?

The answer is simple - MOISTURIZE! If there is one tip you can take away from this post on how to better care for your hands and nails in the wintertime, it is simply to moisturize. The cold, dry winter air is torture on our hands and nails, and you can never have too much moisture at a time like this. For overall hand lotion, I am LOVING the new (at least to me) Carmex hand lotion. It might have existed before, but I'd never heard of it...I'm so glad I found it! It is ultra moisturizing and long-lasting. It's kind of like when winter is really bad to your lips and you know Carmex is the only thing that will do? It's the same with this lotion. It just feels really heavy duty, but in the best sense possible - and it feels amazingly silky smooth!

Now, onto the cuticle products. There is not a day that goes by that I don't use something from Sunny's Body Products hand and cuticle care line. I use her Miracle Balm every single night before bed, her cuticle oil every single time before I take nail photos, and I reach for the Intensive Oil and the Hand Cream for times when I really need some extra moisture. I've shown a few of my favorite scents in the photo. I've been loving Satsuma lately in the Miracle Balm and Caramel Apple Intensive Oil smells good enough to eat! Don't do that. Some other favorite cuticle balms/butters that I use, but less often, are the Burt's Bees Lemon Butter cuticle cream - which smells absolutely fabulous and works wonders on dry cuticles, and Fortune Cookie Soap's Polyjuice Potion cuticle butter. The FCS cuticle butter is aptly named; I would definitely say it is thicker and harder to spread on than any of the balms I've tried. The smell is absolutely phenomenal, I'm so upset I missed out on the "Polyjuice All the Things" sale at FCS, but such is life. Anyway, just due to the consistency, I only use this one at bed time, it's not as practical to use on the go, in my opinion. 

See? Pretty simple! 

Now, I promised you I'd talk a bit about some up and coming trends in polish colors for winter. Now, everyone's different, but during winter months, I find myself reaching for more subdued, darker, or vampy shades, typically cremes, but not always. I enjoy a good shimmer in the winter also. I always love holographics, but since the sun likes to hide here during the winter, I often feel like I'm not getting the full effect so I do try to save those more for summer.

Julep also shared some great ideas with me, showcasing some of their popular winter shades! Check them out!

You can pick up the above shades of polish and as well as the rest of Julep's products by clicking here. I'm especially feeling Sawyer out of these, I think...but I can also see Joanne making a perfect base for some winter nail art!

So there you have it, my winter nail care routine! To recap, it goes as follows:
Step 1: Remove old polish and excess cuticles.
Step 2: Prep nails by filing for length and shape.
Step 3: Polish! Base coat, polish, topcoat.
Step 4: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! (This step can be repeated as often as necessary!)

I hope you've enjoyed this post and possibly even learned something! Nail care is especially important during winter because as I'm sure you know, healthy nails are pretty nails. Please don't hesitate to ask if you want more information about anything or have further questions about my winter nail routine! Thanks so much for reading!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Galaxy Nails (Sally Hansen Miracle Gel topcoat wear test)

Hello loves! Don't forget to get your entries in for my giveaway - only two days left to enter!!!

This post is a bit late, but that's typical for me haha.
A while back, I decided to do a wear test with the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel topcoat, right after it first came out. Since I was going to be doing a wear test, I wanted to come up with a nail art look that I wouldn't get sick of looking at for a long time - so I thought I'd do a galaxy!

I hadn't tried one in a long time, so I was nervous I wouldn't be able to do it again. But, I think it turned out pretty great! :)

For the base, I used Sinful Colors See You Soon, which is a black with blue shimmer. From there, I used ripped up pieces of a makeup sponge and dabbed using the following colors: Sinful Colors Snow Me White, Bikini, Sugar Rush, Blue By You, Kissy, Let's Talk, Wet n Wild Deadly Dose, and Nubar Star Sparkle over top.

I really loved how these turned out. And, I got SO many compliments on them! Always a great feeling. :)

I took this next one after (I believe 9 days of wear). You can see some slight tip wear, but other than that - these held up incredibly well! And I did a lot of cleaning, washing dishes, typing, and writing - meaning I put them through a lot!

I was definitely super impressed with this topcoat! Like I said, I did not take it easy on this mani and it still lasted much longer than I expected. It is a slow dry topcoat so I wouldn't recommend if you are just doing a quick look and heading out the door. For a situation like that, I'd still go for HK Girl or Seche Vite. But, if you are doing your nails for an event or a longish trip like a vacation, this is perfect! I will definitely be using it in the future when I want to leave a mani on longer than a couple days (which isn't that common for me haha).

Thanks for reading! <3