Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Stripes

It seems I took too much time away from nail art this year because the simplest things have given me a heckuva time lately!
I saw this pin, which is from Work Play Polish, in a guest post from Kellie Gonzo.  You following me?  The main point is, it's adorable and I wanted to give it a try!

*1 coat Gelous base
*2 coats China Glaze Winter Holly
*2 coats OPI Danke-shiny Red
*2 coats Cover Girl Boundless Color White Night
*Zoya Logan
*Salon Perfect Champagne Toast
*2 coats Out the Door

I've never been able to paint straight lines, so I pulled out my striping tape for the accent.  They were lined up beautifully, spaced perfectly.  Then, I painted with Logan and pulled the tape up...and was too slow.  Most of the stripes came up with it.  I had to freehand the stripes back on, which worked MUCH better on my left hand than my right (not that you've had that happen).  Hearts are a really easy accent to add, but again, I'm pretty basic in my skills, so I added a red rhinestone instead.
I used the always wonderful Danke-Shiny red, smooth, shimmery, and rich.  I wanted a little more sparkle, so I added Champagne This went went well with Winter Holly, a dense, dark green and holo gold glitter that dries very gritty but covers well.  This picture REALLY doesn't do it justice--it's gorgeous!
This original design is so adorable and luckily something I can try again with any color combo.  Overall, this wasn't horrible, just not as neat as I hoped.
Do you have any tips on painting crisp, straight lines?  Do tell!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Legendary Christmas

I was doing so well!  Then life got a little it goes!
I never did a final Thanksgiving mani, which is okay because the design is one I'm itching to try and will work with any colors.  I had an amazing time at home and then an insane week back to work.  I've been wearing this mani for a week now (hence the chippage) and before I swapped it out, wanted to gush over a couple of polishes.  So, here's the first Christmas look of the season!

*1 coat Gelous base
*3 coats You Polish Godrick
*2 coats Aengland Saint George
* 3 coats OPI My Favorite Ornament
*2 coats Out the Door

Just a holo-y, sparkly, festive mani!  I ordered Godrick (as in,  Gryffindor) when You Polish clearanced out her polish to focus more on nail decals and art (there are still some polishes left to check out if you move quickly!).  I have been looking for a holo red, so I picked up Godrick.  This picture makes it a deeper red than it is in real life.  On the nail, it's a bit more muted, like a brick red, and pretty sheer, but still lovely--I think I might try it over another red next. 
I paired it with Aengland's Saint George, which is a good match.  The deep teal has a gorgeous formula and really didn't need 2 coats, except I bumped my nail when it was tacky...
The fine, linear holos look great together, but I couldn't stop there and grabbed My Favorite Ornament again and added a little sticker for Saint George.  Done.
You're only seeing half of my index finger because I have a little corner chip, but for almost a week of not-so-gentle wear, these held up magnificently!

Have you started rocking some holiday looks?  What are your go-to colors? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Thankful Movember

This is the first year since 2006 that I will get to go home and spend Thanksgiving with my family and I canNOT wait!  That being said, November will be over before I know it and I really wanted to get another Movember mani in.  I was struggling for some inspiration.  (It struck and I must warn you, I'm feeling full of some thoughts, so this post is a little long-ish.  I make no apologies.)

*1 coat Gelous base
*4 coats China Glaze 108 Degrees
*4 coats Zoya Harper (accent)
*1 coat Wet 'n' Wild Kaleidoscope
*1 coat Out the Door

Mani deets: I had to use FOUR coats of each of these polishes and still have some noticeable visible nail lines.  They are sheer!  But, they are also super pretty, so I'll remember to layer them in the future.  I wanted a dark pink and realized that, despite my bigger-than-I-like-to-admit collection, I really don't have one!  108 Degrees is my darkest and a pretty shimmering berry pink.  Harper is a light pink PACKED with iridescent shimmer and glitter.  I added an RLR Creations decal mustache, obviously because they are awesome :)  I am loving this one!

I was trying so hard to think of something inspired by men's health or my dad.  I was coming up blank.  I couldn't think of anything except that this cause has become dear to me because I am an all-out daddy's girl. 
I went with sparkly, bright, over the top pink because that's what I love.  I am thoroughly a stereotypically girly girl.  I am my dad's firstborn.  I know men have a special dream of having a son, someone just like them, but if he was ever disappointed that his first was a daughter, it was his little secret.
My dad has supported and embraced all that it is to raise a girl.  He loves my brothers, too, and did more than his share of coaching and camping and rough and tumble play with them.  He also, however, buys me nail polish (awesome story: when the OPI San Francisco line came out, he went to a salon and bought almost the whole collection to send me.  He stopped short, worried he'd gone overboard.  He knew I liked OPI and also wanted to send me something to remind me of home.  Dad of the year, am I right?).  He watches terrible TV with me (cough*Grey's Anatomy*cough).  He learned to get excited about Mock Trial and dolls and Broadway musicals and let me be me. 

Especially at this time of year, I am SO thankful for the support and love he has shown me in every aspect of my life.  I am thankful that he made a decision to be healthy for his family and himself, faithfully going in for checkups and not-particularly-enjoyable tests.  He kept a brave face and positive attitude when he was diagnosed with cancer and worked with amazing doctors to make the best decisions for him. 
He didn't let cancer win.  He got ahead of it because he has bigger, more important things to do in life.  He was open about the hard parts and strong through the scary parts.  I am thankful that his experience was not worse, that he and his doctors let early detection ease his fight. 

I am thankful for my dad.

So, I figured it was fitting to celebrate a man that I love, a father who embraces all of the girly-ness of his daughter, for this last Movember mani.  Men's health affects women too.  That's why we need to care.  That's why we DO care.  It's not necessarily the most comfortable thing to talk about, because it's personal and private and scary.  I think that's why this movement is so awesome--it makes it easy to talk about in a casual way. 

A final Movember thought: I found some pins while creating my Movember Pinterest board that I thought were brilliant.  (Word of warning: these are probably the least suitable for work)  The Checkum Testicular Cancer Awareness Campaign is a UK photo series of famous men, many athletes, strategically posed in their birthday suits.  The ads read "Embarrassed?  The only person embarrassed by this is you."  This, I think, is the essence of Movember.  And breast cancer awareness.  And mental health awareness.  And SO many other issues we face.  Your doctor has heard and seen it ALL.  Like, more insane and weird than you could ever imagine ALL.  The have learned not to bat an eye at weird question or concerns.  I am just as guilty as most when it comes to this, but it is a striking, effective reminder that this is not the time to feel embarrassed because it's your health, or the health of someone you love.  Take a deep breath, embrace the awkward, and remember that it will pass and then life can move on.  

Thanks for sticking through this long post with me!  If you didn't, well, that's okay too.  I understand.

If you've been rocking some Movember looks, let me know!  Feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your manis--I'd love to see them! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Agro and a decal fail

My eyes are heavy tonight, so I'll make this short and, well, not quite so sweet.
First up, I've been dying to try out Agro and thought it would be the perfect fall green.  I was NOT wrong!

*1 coat Gelous base
*2 coats China Glaze Agro
*2 coats OPI DS Classic (accent)
*1 coat Sally Hansen Dries Instantly top coat
*1 coat Out the Door

I love the way that the pictures above shows how complexly beautiful this olive green is!  Agro has a gorgeous golden glow to it and I am really digging it!  I couldn't really decide what to do with it to make it more interesting, so I used trusty Classic, an easy, smooth nude/golden holo.  Here comes the fail, part 1...

Poor Chuck.  He never catches a break, does he?  I added a Thanksgiving decal that I bought from RLR Creations last fall.  I used the decals on nekkid nails last time and some of the lines got a little rough.  These Peanuts designs (my other hand has Peppermint Patty, who matches Agro beautifully!) are more delicate that the others I've used, so I learned last night to carefully peel the decal from the paper with tweezers instead of sliding it so that the design doesn't rub away, and they transferred perfectly.  This, however, was NOT the proper background for the decal and it's really hard to see.  Totally not doing this adorable set justice!
My second fail of the night was a new top coat.  My Out the Door is getting thick and stringy as it nears the bottom of the bottle, and the store I usually purchase it from (because it is cheaper there than anywhere else I've found) also happens to be one I can't bring myself to enter (since I quit working there almost 5 months ago and still don't feel free of the way it crushed my spirit).  SO, I thought I'd try a new one, and Sally Hansen tends to be pretty good.  Pro?  It dries SUPER fast.  Con?  It's not great.  Well, it's okay, but super thin.  It's not as glossy as I like and doesn't give that awesome, glassy feeling that I like.  While really not noticeable to anyone else, I also feel like the polish doesn't look as good under it, not quite as deep and dynamic.  That's why I gobbed it on my left hand for pictures. 
So, long story still pretty long, I just ordered an insanely huge bottle on Amazon Prime and tomorrow will be able to just about bathe in Out the Door!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Golden fall

I. Am. LOVING. This!
I was feeling SUPER uninspired last night, but needed to change out my mani.  I was trying so hard to think of something creative and fall-inspired so that I could post (there are so many awesome swatchers out there--I don't really feel justified posting a simple polish change).  I was tired and decided to go boring with a simple accent color and call it a night.  
Sometimes simple is perfection. 

*1 coat Gelous base
*2 coats Zoya Channing
*2 coats OPI My Favorite Ornament (accent)
*1 coat Out the Door (2 on accent)

Ahhh!  Warm, glowing, autumn perfection!  I've had both of these colors for a while and really regret not wearing them sooner.  Channing is a rusty orange foil finish with gorgeous, shimmering flecks.  This was 2 easy, thin coats. 

My mom gave me My Favorite Ornament last Christmas.  It wasn't on my wish list because it's just another gold glitter...except it's amazing!  (Side note: my mom's awesome and clearly knows me better than I know myself) This is a fine white-gold glitter.  I used two coats here and, while you can see nail line in the photo, in real life you can't.  This sparkler dries gritty, so I used 2 thick coats of topper and may add a 3rd tonight.  It's so pretty though!  The picture above is a little blurry so you can see the sparkle better on the accent--love it!
I was ready to stop after the polish but had a little baggie of of decals sitting on my table.  I saw a sheet of stickers that I think I won, definitely didn't buy, and didn't expect to like.  The little swirls are a sticker (I know, I could try to paint them on, but let's be real--it would not end like this!) and I LOVE it!  It was the perfect little extra.
I'm trying to post more often, and I'm so sad that this one will get taken off sooner rather than later.  I could stare at this all day (and may have for much of the afternoon while I typed...).
Have you been surprised by something you underestimated?  Is there a sleeper gem I should try?  Do tell!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Movember 2014

It's November, which means that lips are starting to get fuzzy and I get extra thankful for my daddy.  That's right it's...

In the past, I've told my story about why this month is close to my heart.  Due to early detection, my dad has been cancer free at every check-up since his surgery!  There is a lot of information out there to take in and I've started a board on Pinterest (fair warning--some pins may be slightly Not Suitable For Work due to the focus on men's bodies and health) with more info, links, and support for the movement to focus on and discuss men's health.  

I'm planning to do a couple of manis this month in honor of prostate and testicular cancer awareness.  This one is the first, and I'm kind of adoring it!

*1 coat Gelous base
*3 coats Lucky 13 Lacquer Cliffs of Heaven
*2 coats Butter London Fairy Cake
*Sinful Colors Snow Me White
*Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out
*1 coat Out the Door

Look at all that sparkly, holo goodness!  This is my happy place :)
Light blue is the color of prostate cancer awareness.  I recently bought my first Lucky 13 Lacquer polish.  I saw a message on Facebook that Kyoti was trying to get to her family due to a loss and my heart went out to her.  I've been there and was more than happy to do something, little as it was.  The good news--the polish community is awesome and she made enough to get home!  Also, this polish is amazing!  Also also, she is wonderful to work with when you accidentally screw up your order (Thank you!)!
Cliffs of Heaven is a light blue, slightly teal-leaning holo--these photos aren't quite true to color because it's a bit dustier.  I used 3 coats because they were VERY thin coats, which created some bald patches.  The holo particles are gorgeous in the sun!  I paired it with Fairy Cakes, possibly my favorite micro silver holo.
I dipped back into my awesome RLR Creations decals for the little mustaches.  I love these water slide decals and am planning another order because through Saturday there is a promo--order through PayPal on Facebook and you can buy 5, get 1 free or get 10% entire order, whichever is the better deal.  TOTALLY worth it at less that $3 per sheet of 20 decals!  I dotted on eyes and sealed it all with a top coat.

That last pictures is way out of focus, but just look at all that holo goodness!  I had to capture it somehow!
So here's to another November of talking about men's health!
If you've created any Movember manis, I'd love to see them!  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Stunning Cowgirl

I wore my candy corn nails as long as I could justify and then decided to transition into a look that was more fall-y.
Last year I realized that I didn't have many maroon/wine colors and added a bunch to my watch/wish list.  I ended up getting a few from my amazing mom for Christmas and haven't really used them, but I'm totally regretting that now!
I decided to start my cozy, rich fall manis with a real stunner:

*1 coat Gelous base
*2 coats China Glaze Cowgirl Up
*Revlon Stunning
*1 coat Out the Door

How GORGEOUS is Cowgirl Up?!   It's darker in real life, closer to the bottom photo than the ones above, but it is spectacular!  I used 2 thin coats for easy coverage.  The wine/deep maroon foil glows in the sun and micro purple shimmer (see middle pic) definitely shows on the nail.  I can't get enough!

I was super tempted to leave well enough along and just wear Cowgirl Up, but I wanted to post and didn't want to bore you with a simple swatch (plus, there are SO many better swatches of this one out there), so I dabbed some Stunning holo glitter on the tips and  tried for a little bit of a gradient down the nails.  I'm still trying to get the hang of the glitter gradient and think I'll keep trying--next time I think I might try an eyeshadow sponge for more control.  For these I just used the polish brush because I botched them with a makeup sponge on my first try.
Do you have any tips for glitter gradients?  Please share!