Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Week 9: "Vintage" Mani & a Bonus mani

It's that time of the week again! I've seen two different interpretations of this theme: painting your nails in the way they did in the past, like the 20s or 30s, or using an old pattern or picture as the theme for your nails. The former interpretation didn't even occur to me until I saw the first handful of this week's manicures start popping up on the blogs!

Since an old pattern is what I thought it was about when I read the challenge list, I googled "vintage" in the image search, and saved off a handful of pictures that I thought I might be able to use. Here's the one I ended up going with:

As always, if you click on that, it'll get bigger. ::blinkblink:: Is it just me, or does that phrasing sound kinda wrong? Probably just me; my brain's not the cleanest spot in the house.

The carpet in that bottom picture sort of caught my imagination, and I decided that I could recreate it...or you know, at least approximate it. :) Here's my attempt!

This is turning out to be a long post, so I'll cut it here and let you click if you're interested in the details.

From the File Drawer - January 30

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far...okay, okay! It was a month ago, in my own living room. So picky about insignificant details!

Ahem. As I was saying, back on January 30, I don't actually remember what possessed me, but I decided I wanted green leopard spots on my nails. I also don't remember why I decided that if the leopard spots were green, then the base coat needed to be yellow. But decide these things I apparently did, because this is what the result looked like:

This was done with a base coat of China Glaze Solar Power (I assume I used two coats as that's my standard unless the polish is sheer or streaky and needs another coat for evenness.) The green spots were done with China Glaze Tree Hugger and NYC Big Money  Frost, and the black was China Glaze Black Diamond. I have a larger colour palette to choose from now, but at the time I had a basic rainbow of CG's and a basic rainbow of NYC, and whatever polishes I had leftover from my years of only occasionally putting some colour or other on my fingertips.

Ezili Freda Watercolour

I have a friend who is a Voudon priestess (though she may have a different title within the religion, this is what I call her, as I am not familiar with all of their terms.)  

"Ro, why the ::bleeep:: should I care about what religion your friends are?" 

I can hear you, you know... I don't expect you to care, so there! :P There is actually a reason I'm telling you, though. She invites her friends when she holds feasts for the loas, and this past weekend was a feast for Ezili Freda. 

"Ahhh, that's what the title of the post meant." 

See, told you I could hear you. I'm psychic, you know. ^_^ Anyway, her colours are pink, pale blue, and white. Since as you may have read on this blog, I don't do pastels, I didn't have any clothes to suit those suggestions (well, I have a few white shirts.) So instead, I wore a red skirt with a white shirt, and I did my nails for the occasion! (You expected anything less?)

My very first watercolour! After applying my Sally Hansen Miracle Cure as a base coat, I started with two coats of Sally Hansen White On. I then added one or two drops of China Glaze Sex on the Beach to one nail, took a paint brush dipped in acetone, and blobbed the colour around. After doing this on each nail, I went on to repeat this step with each of the following colours, one at a time: Sinful Colors Courtney Orange, a Pure Ice purple glitter that I've had for years and no longer has a color name sticker, and finally Zoya Karina. After all of that dried on both hands, I added a coat of Zoya Fleck Effects - Chloe to top it all off!

A few more views, with and without flash (I think it's obvious which is which!)


Well, I don't know if Freda appreciated my nails, but the other ladies at the party did, and I hope you did, too!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Gaggle of Giveaways

Okay, only one so far today, but that subject line popped into my head and I had to use it. :) Today we have the Do It Yourself Lady who is having what is listed as a 100+ Follower Giveaway, but she's got over 400 followers! ::grin:: Not that I'm begrudging her the followers, because I can see what they all like about her blog, but I find the giveaway name ironic. ::shrug:: What can I say? I'm easily amused!

She is, however, giving away one China Glaze Ultamate Holiday, one FingerPaints flakie, two L.A. Colours Limited Edition Glitter Brights, and a nail polish ring, to each of TWO winners! :) Inn't she speshul?!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

From the File Drawer - January 17

While most of my nail art is undoubtedly on my own hands, my best friend Vicki was lamenting one day over the fact that her UV gel manicure was growing out and she didn't have the money to get another manicure until pay day. So I invited her over to my living room for a Ro-style manicure. :) She really loved what I had on my nails at the time, with the taping and striping tape, but green's not a good color for her, so we changed it up in a different pattern with two tones of brown:

The beige is Mary Kay Mocha Glaze (a staple that's been in my stash for probably a decade) and the dark brown is China Glaze Unplugged, a rich chocolate brown that is sure to be a favourite on my nails for ages to come. We added the rhinestones in a half-flower pattern on her accent nails and she got lots of compliments at work for the next week! :)

Another entry in the giveaway day roll!

Glitter Obsession has reached 300 followers, and she's having an amazingly generous 300-follower giveaway! She's giving to a lucky winner this haul: 1 bottle of Seche Vite, 1 Sally Hansen Glass Slipper, 1 Hard Candy Beetle, 1 Hard Candy Matte Top Coat, 1 Migi Art pen in metallic green and bronze, and 1 Migi Art pen with rhinestones and topcoat. That's a HUGE amount of gorgeousness there - and here's the picture to prove it!

I know why I haven't been following this blog for long - she does a lot of swatching on both nail polish and makeup, and when I started following blogs I was only looking for freehand nail art, because that's what I am learning how to do. But I should have started following this blog sooner, because she does have some great nail art gems in there, and I've learned to seriously appreciate the swatching. I'm still going to skip over the makeup posts, but you know what? Most women *like* makeup, even if I don't, so I'm definitely going to recommend her blog to others! :) You should check it out.

It's Giveaway Day

ColorSplash Nails has also reach 100 followers, and is having a 100 follower giveaway! She's giving out China Glaze Ring In The Red, Zoya Ali, & Orly Androgynie to the lucky winner. Androgynie looks like an awesome color in swatches I've seen. I love this blog and her nail art is a great inspiration to me.

Another Great Giveaway

Tin Roof Nails has hit 100 followers, and she's having a 100 follower giveaway! She's offerinthree polishes from China Glaze's Eye Candy collection: Lorelei's Tiara, Love Marilyn, and Blonde Bombshell! How awesome is that? Tin Roof Nails is one of the first blogs I started following when I started this nail art craze of mine. She does great nail art and even greater swatches. You should check her out!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Green Ocean Grades

My Zoya Verushucka didn't manage to stay on my nails too long. The flakies were crying out to be tried! I had this gorgeous unopened bottle of green ocean that begged to be used. So use it, I did!

I started with a base of Sinful Colors Cinderella, and for a girl who doesn't like pastels, it means a lot for me to say that is such a pretty color. I then sponged on some China Glaze Tree Hugger, followed by Sinful Colors San Franciso on the ends. After that I liberally layered on the long-awaited (okay, so I first saw swatches about a month ago, that wasn't -too- long of a wait ;) Sinful Colors Green Ocean. I then made the mistake of putting a layer of top coat on top of it. I say mistake because my index finger went dull. The flakes no longer shone and glimmered, they just sort of lay there a solemn milky blue. I'm sure I've read other bloggers using top coat with flakies, but what do I know?

Here, this was the best picture I caught to show you the difference between that one finger and the rest. I honestly have no idea what happened here.

And a few more images of the prettiness, just because I spent the next few days wiggling my fingers to watch the shimmer.


Friday, February 24, 2012


Having never owned a matte polish before, as soon as I got my nail mail from Zoya, I was hitting the acetone bottle to remove my manicure. It took mere moments before I discovered something I absolutely LOVE about mattes - the texture!

Here's a little factoid about me you wouldn't know if I didn't tell you - I'm autistic. I have Asperger's Syndrome (I've seen it referred to as a "disorder" in some places, but to me it's just a label which helps codify all the many ways in which I'm different than "normal" people...different, not wrong, so not a disorder.) The reason I'm telling you this in this context is because I'm very, very tactile. Texture is a big deal in every aspect of my life, in so many little small ways that other people take for granted. I love rhinestone manicures because I run my fingers over the little bumps and shapes over and over again during the day.

So the texture is of course THE first thing that hits me about the matte polish. It's so smooooooth. It feels like somebody filed down suede and put it on my nails. No nap, just that smooth...brrrrrrrssshhhhh feeling. Ya, I know, made up a word there. Can't figure out how else to say it! Regular polish and top coat is a slick silky texture across the nails. This is a rough, soft, smooth texture. It bugs me trying to say that it's both rough and smooth at the same time...hence the brrrrssshhh! :)

Of course, being that my fascination is not in nail polish itself, but in nail *art*, I couldn't just leave it at that. I had to muck with it. Regrettably, I failed to take pictures before I splashed on it, and I apologize for that, but here's the sparkly/satiny/brssshhhh goodness that resulted on my fingers!

I actually thought these pictures were better than they are, looking at them days later. ::grumble:: Ah, well. The base is, of course, Zoya's Veruschuka. I added Sally Hansen Celeb City with a fan brush, and though it doesn't show up clearly in these pictures, I put them on in upwards strokes from one corner of each nail (except the ring finger, which has an all-over light brushing) in sort of fan or feather sweeps.

As you can see on my thumb, I haven't quite mastered the art of clean-up with glitter or glittery polishes. Even after I added the Celeb City, the mani retained its smooth/rough matte texture. It felt sooooo nice!

What can make a Friday even better? Giveaways!

The Polish Well is having a 100 follower giveaway, and they're going to be choosing three winners! Top prize is three colours of your choice from the China Glaze Hunger Games, OPI Holland and/or Tony Moly Galaxy Collections! Second prize is two colours, and third prize is one. You can't GET much better than that!

Nail Mail Deals!

I took advantage of two great online deals this past month. Zoya was giving away our choice of one of their red polishes with a purchase of any other, for Valentine's Day. And Gilt City had $40 coupons for $20 (including free shipping), plus if you were a new customer, you got a $15 credit. So the $40 coupon cost me $5. I went slightly over the $40, so I paid another $4 for my order, so I got $44 worth of polishes for $9! That's a HAUL!

My Zoya choices were Veruschuka and Karina. Well, the website lists the name of that first one as Veruschuka, and that's what my invoice says, but the bottle says Veruschka. ::shrug:: Here are my pretties:

My haul? Take a look!

From left to right, I bought: CND Shimmer Effects - Gold Shimmer, Zoya Fleck Effects - Chloe & Opal, and Essie LuxEffects - As Gold As It Gets and Shine of the Times! My stash now has a LOT of special effects polishes! Let's take a comparison look at my polish stash. Here it is back in January:
On February 17 I had to expand to a bigger box after I hit the Sinful Colors sale at Walgreen's:
And now? Check out how much more full that puppy is!
On the top left I have the polishes I bought for trading/giveaway, though I apparently need to pick up another bottle of that blue glitter (Pure Ice Strapless) because as soon as my daughter saw it she complained that I'd bought it to swap with someone. On the bottom right I have all my glitters/special effects. (Oooh I just realized I forgot to take a picture the day I picked up Green Ocean at Walgreen's & the Pure Ice at Walmart, because I also bought a couple of cheap crackles on sale and I don't remember what else.) My whites and blacks are mixed in there, too. Actually, this picture is turned sideways - the picture above it is the angle I usually look at my polishes, and on the left (top left in this picture, just to the "right" of the rhinestone wheels) are my base/top coats, and then all the polishes are organized clockwise in a rainbow (yes, I'm geek enough that they're in ROYGBIV order!) The browns are kind of in the middle, to the side of the orange/yellows.

If I want to continue to contend this is just a hobby, I need to not buy any more polish for a while! :) I have some contest-winning polish coming in the mail, and I have a Girly Bits order that will be processed tomorrow, but after that, NADA! I will buy China Glaze Capitol Colours later in the year, definitely (or at least 5 or 6 of them), but for now I'm done for a while. I've got quite the palette for making nearly any nail art my heart desires for the time being, and it's going to be a *while* before I've used all of what I've got.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

From the File Drawer - January 16

Back in January I got my first nail mail. I had ordered a bunch of rhinestone wheels, glitter powder, and some striping tape. It was an awesome ebay haul, as I got the entire bunch for only $10! It took about four weeks to get to me from Hong Kong, but I wasn't complaining for the prices and free shipping. This is what I got at the time:
And a closeup of all the different rhinestones!
I got 8 wheels of rhinestones, 12 colors of glitter powder, and 12 colors of striping tape for less than $10. Definitely worth the wait.

So that week, I needed to use some of my new bling. The manicure that resulted was this:

The base coat of green is NYC Big Money Frost. My first attempt at taping went okay, though it didn't come off with neat lines on the corners. I needed to work on taping off the edges better. Anyway, the brown on the accent nails and on the taping is China Glaze Unplugged. Then I added a gold foil strip on the tape lines, some yellow glitter on the tips, three rhinestones on each accent nail (thumb on my left, ring finger on my right) and three glitter trails. Didn't all come out exactly as I pictured it, but still awesomeness! :) I didn't know until I had it on my fingers that the "gold" glitter was very multi-colored! As you can see in the first haul picture (I used the glitter shown on the bottom left) it looked just gold...until it was on the nail, and then all sorts of pretty colors popped out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Crumpet's Giveaway!

The Crumpet is having a 300/500 follower giveaway! She reached 500 followers on blogspot, and 300 on Facebook, and now she's being sweet and giving away an OPI Mad as a Hatter. :) Ain't she coooooool?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Not used to this girly stuff

I have to admit that it's surreal to stand around discussing cosmetic brands with other women in the office. This is seriously a conversation I've never had in my life before...and here I am seriously discussing pros and cons of Sally Hansen, Sinful Colors, China Glaze, and details of why Wet N Wild's brushes suck! (I've yet to buy a WnW that I didn't have to trim the brush 'cause the brand name might as well be talking about their brushes!) Do I need to reiterate that I'm not a girly girl? I buy all my clothes (excepting underwear, of course!) at thrift stores. I don't wear makeup. My hairstyles are limited to down, braids, and ponytails. Okay, I'll admit that I can do a french braid in less than 5 minutes without a mirror, and I get ooohs and aaahs about that, but my hair goes down to my waist! I haven't cut it other than trimming split ends (and bangs once or twice a decade) in 23 years now. Yes, I can do a half-dozen different styles of braids...but I've also had three daughters in that time. That's a lot of braiding practice! :) The extent of my girly-ness is the fact that I like swishy skirts, honestly. So yeah, this is a very new thing for me, and it can make me stop and wonder if I'm hallucinating at times.

Plus my husband adores teasing me about it. 

Also, I feel really honored by the fact that several people have repinned pictures of *my* nail art to their nail boards on pinterest. I have a separate board on my pinterest page for nail art ideas I'd like to try and for my own nail art that I've done. (I'm only putting up pictures of the nail art I've already discussed in this blog. :) And several people have repinned pictures of my tiger stripe this week, as well as having one person repin my poinsettias and one my green taping & glitter nails. This just...flabbergasts me. MY nails being repinned by people in with all these other amazing pictures of nail art. People who don't know me, and have no reason to tell me my nails are pretty. It leaves me speechless.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week 8 - Corset Mani

I'm thankful that I saw a couple of other people's renditions of this week's challenge before I got around to attempting mine. Otherwise, I would have been horrified at my inability to make this come out looking at cute as the tutorials I've seen. Since none of the others like their results, either (at least that I saw earlier today before I got offline and started working on my nails) I don't feel so bad about saying that this picture you're about to see is icky.

First, let me tell you that it wasn't even my first try. No, that one did not get camera treatment. It got glares and imprecations and cursing. I took the remover to my nails before it was even dry, I was that annoyed. It was BAD. I hemmed and hawed and looked through my polish colors to see if I oughtn't to change my mind about the polishes I was using...I didn't change the polishes I was using, but I did move them around a bit. I had intended to make the sides of the corset the same color as the rest of my nails, and just use black for the lacing, but as gorgeous as that looked in my head, it just doesn't translate when using a jelly that needs more than one coat for opacity.

Okay, I've put it off long enough. I have to show you how bad my second attempt turned out. I'm almost tempted to put it behind a cut-tag.

Like I said earlier, I didn't even bother to do clean up. I waited for a few minutes, trying to decide whether they were kind of cute or not before admitting that I couldn't dredge up even the tiniest shred of liking for this manicure, so I took pictures and then utterly removed the paint from the offending two nails of each hand. I put this picture up first because it shows the design more clearly (the better to see how bad it is!) but this picture is far better in terms of color accuracy:

Because the index, middle, and pinky fingers are far more purple than that first picture looks. And this picture picks up just a hint of the pretty glitter hidden away in this jelly.

Oh, right, I didn't tell you what I used yet, did I? ^_^ Almost all Sinful Colors today, from my new haul. That's three coats of Daddy's Girl on most of the nails, and one coat of China Glaze Reggae to Riches on the thumb and ring finger, with a coat of Purple Diamond layered over it. I used Secret Admirer for the corset and lacing, and dotted a bit more of Daddy's Girl along the top of the corset.

You know, I've never really been one to care whether there's a visible nail line underneath my sheer polishes, but I was honestly surprised when I looked at these pictures, because I hadn't realized there was one under that Daddy's Girl. It looks pretty opaque in person. The pink and gold glitters when the light hits it, though, are just fascinating.

I really wanted to like this manicure, and maybe I'll try it again some day, but I couldn't stomach the idea of wearing this in to work tomorrow, so the accent nails got stripped. I replaced them with three coats of Purple Diamond and some rhinestones, to get this result:

MUCH better! This I can wear to work without cringing at my co-workers asking to see what I did on my nails over the weekend. :)

From the File Drawer

Continuing to alternate between posts of my current manicures and the ones I did before I started this blog, the next in the file is the mani I did on January 8.

I used China Glaze - Solar Power, Coral Star, and Go Crazy Red for the base gradient. I put a drop of each next to each other on a palette, then using a fan brush, I brushed it onto my nail all at once. This provides the best seamless shading I've found. Requires a lot of clean-up, because you get pain all over your nail, but it comes up pretty easily, too, so I haven't bothered taping off my finger when doing it. Then using a detail brush, I used China Glaze - Black Diamond to add the tiger stripes.

I could see using the same yellow/orange/red gradient and then using a dark color to outline flames - I think that would be impressive looking. It's in my idea file, anyway. :)

This week's challenge is corsets. I've got my colors picked and my idea mapped out. Moisturizing my cuticles as I type. See you later for my new manicure!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fantasy Fire Giveaway!

Polish Ninja (and I love that name!) is giving away a bottle of Max Factor Fantasy Fire! I desperately want this polish. Not that I'm holding my breath to win the giveaway (but really, isn't she awesome for offering it?) but I have NO IDEA where to buy this polish! I don't see it available online anywhere but ebay, where it's going for an average of $40 (American)!! Yeah, I love the polish, but I'm not spending that much on any one polish. :)

So if anybody knows where you can buy this polish in America? I can't even seem to find who carries the brand. Max Factor's website is SINGULARLY the most non-useful commercial website I've ever seen. An international online seller would be fine if I could get it for less than $20 including shipping.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Haul Aboard!

Sue me, I like puns. They don't have to be good ones. :)

I had planned to hit Walgreen's on the way home from work today to pick up a quick dry product for my nail art and a late Valentine's Day present for my hubby. (I picked up pizza on the way home on Tuesday, and he appreciated hot yummy pizza more than he would chocolate...though he really liked getting his favorite candy today!) However, having found out from all you fabulous bloggers out there that Walgreen's was having a sale on Sinful Colors? Well, I knew I was going to increase my stash. I decided that I could afford to pick up 10 before my boytoy would start rolling his eyes at me about spending so much money on a "hobby". (Holding back the comment on how much the amplifier he's eyeing on ebay costs...) Although in the end I couldn't narrow it down quite that much and ended up with 12.

I could have saved myself $3 more dollars, but my honest nature couldn't let the clerk ring up the quick dry as just another polish. ^_^

Without further new stash pretties!


Chelsea over at The Nail Network is having a 600 follower giveaway! You should definitely check out her blog, regardless, because she has great photographs and inspiring nail art.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gotta love a giver!

Glam Polish is having a giveaway that's making me bounce up and down in my seat! She's actually giving away the winner's choice of 6 colors from China Glaze's upcoming Capitol Collection! Go here to see! I can't imagine having over 800 people eagerly reading your nail polish reviews and ogling your nail art. Heck, I was shocked when someone repinned one of the pictures of my own nail art on Pinterest!

But I love reading her blog, and you should go read it, too. Lots and lots of pretties! And isn't that why we're here?

Wacky Wednesdays!

At one point, I'm sure that I said I was going to do nail art on my fingers ONCE a WEEK. However, for the last three weeks, my nails have decided to stage a rebellion on Wednesday night. One week I broke the tip of one of  my nails, and about half the polish came up with it. The next week a couple-millimeter sized piece of my thumbnail decided to get flaky. This week half the polish on my pinky finger decided to chip off (and I didn't bang it or anything, I just looked down and it wasn't there.)

So apparently my nails have decided that I must have a new manicure twice a week instead of just once. I still contend this is just a hobby. Pay no attention to the amount of time I spend on the web looking at things that pertain to nail polish...

I have created a successful tape mani! Woo, and I say, hoo! Even following all the tips and tricks found all over the blogosphere, however, still resulted in having to redo one of my nails when the base polish peeled up with the tape. Only one out of ten, though, and I consider that a success! :)

The base colour on this week's pretties is China Glaze Tree Hugger. Using tape to mark off the triangles, I painted them with NYC Big Money Frost, and sprinkled some pretty green glitter on it. Then I added some bling, and two layers of topcoat later, I have pretty hands! I probably would have been fine with one layer of top coat, but for some reason loose glitter leaves me more paranoid than glitter in a polish. I'm always left thinking that even a light touch will brush it up off!

I thought I was pretty messy with it, given how I had a dusting of green sparklies all over my pants when I was done, but I didn't realize just how much glitter got everywhere until I was getting ready for work this morning. Glancing in the mirror while brushing my hair, I spotted a few pieces of stray glitter on my face. And then when I went to wipe them off with a damp washrag? Tilting my face just right showed another...and another...until I'd spent a ridiculous amount of time looking absurd, tilting my face this way and that way, because that darned glitter was completely invisible until the light hit it just right! It's a good thing I'm easily amused, so I was giggly instead of annoyed at it. ^_^

I took these pictures last night after I finished my manicure - I decided to go ahead and post the second one even though it's a little blurry because it shows the glitter sparkle so nicely.

And since it was supposed to be sunny today, I took my camera with me to work to see if I could catch some pictures in better lighting. I'm still learning the techniques needed to take pictures of my nails, though (not the least of which is my hand doesn't naturally curl that way! grrrrr) so forgive me if they're not the greatest.

I'll have another file drawer post up in a day or two, and then this weekend's 52-Week Challenge theme is CORSETS! Again with the woo and hooing! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

From the File Drawer

I totally meant to do my archived nail post tomorrow on my lunch break, except for one problem. I had a big chip off one of my nails this evening, so it was time to do a new mani. And if I'm going to alternate posts between current and past until I'm caught up? I need to do my archive post tonight. :)

The next up on my list is the first manicure I did this year, on January 2, 2012. It was my first attempt at a gradient, and I wasn't happy with the way the sponging turned out. So I pulled out a technique I'd seen on Robin Moses, and I put drops of the paint on a palette next to each other, then used a fan brush to pick up all the colors at once, and brushed it across my nail. It requires a lot of clean up after, but it's still my preferred method of doing a gradient.

It was pretty simple, and I wanted just a bit more sparkle, so I added some glitter powder along the tips. It was still simple after that, but I was happy with it. :) My third-manicure-EVER that consisted of more than base coat, polish, top coat!

Forecast says there should be sun tomorrow, so while I'll take some pictures of my new manicure tonight, I'll try and get some in the sunshine tomorrow and have a post up for you tomorrow night. Happy mani's, everybody!

Your past hobbies will always haunt you...

You know you spent too many years in the quilting community when, after dinging your wet nails and grabbing the remover, you think to yourself that you have to reverse-paint that one. ::facepalm::

Giveaway Gel Polish Starter Kit!

Goose's Glitter is having a 500-follower giveaway! (And she's up to 547 already. ;) This generous blogger is giving away a SensatioNail Starter Kit + One Extra Color. I've never used soak-off gel polish and I've been considering it. I'd love to be able to do my friend's nails for her rather than her shelling out the $$$ to get them done at the salon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Zoya Valentine's Day Special!

I got the info on this from the Lacquered Tips blog, so I thought it only appropriate to send you there. She's got the full press release with the instructions.

But the summary is: buy any one regular nail polish, and get any red free (gotta be on their "red" page, but that's a LOT to choose from, even for someone like me who doesn't really care for red nails! :)

Given that it's free shipping, this is like getting two bottles of Zoya for $4 each? Yes, I snapped it up! The hard part, of course, was deciding WHICH COLORS TO BUY!

I don't own any Zoya, mind you. I don't own any of a lot of things, actually, since I've only been paying attention to my nails for a few months now. After looking through their entire listing and checking out swatches on various blogs of polishes that I thought might be interesting based on the website pictures, I started out with a short (!) list to choose from...

For the non-red colour
Opal Fleck EffectRicaCherylVeruschukaPennyGoldieIvankaSuviJinx, and Ivy

That's what I was deciding between. GAH! CHOICES!!! I finally decided on Veruschuka, because I don't own any mattes; I don't, in general, even like matte (the only exception seems to be nail art where the art isn't in a separate color, but in the differential between gloss and matte on the same polish, like dotting, striping, or taping gloss top coat on a matte polish, or vice versa), and so I'm not likely to ever buy a matte top coat. However, this green looks absolutely stunning with a regular glossy top coat, AND I could do the gloss/matte art on it. It's a glorious green, my favourite shade, and none of the other greens they have really came close to that shade. While I still think I might get Cheryl some day, just for the RICH red/brown of it, I'm happy with my non-red choice today.

Harder still was deciding on the red, because I honestly don't really like red on my nails. So if I was going to get red, I wanted it to be something with pizzazz - sparkle or fleck or something.

There are some that look like they might be something special from the website swatching, like Tori, but when I checked out bloggers' swatches, it just seemed like a bright red to me. I did notice that Rica, which I had looked at earlier, turned out to be in the red page (I thought it was more copper/orange/brown-y than red) so I put that on my short list, which ended up being Rica, KarinaKym, and Delilah. (Jade was another that I thought might be something special from Zoya's pictures, but blogger swatches showed it to be, while a very pretty red, just another red to me.)

After much hemming, hawing, and debating, I ended up ordering Karina. It looked like some awesome glitter on the blogs I saw, even if it is red. :P I can always layer it over a brown and see what shades it turns! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week 7: Valentine's Day

Somewhere along the line, I'll go back and do weeks 1-5 themes, since I dropped into this challenge on week 6. :) But this week is, of course, Valentine's Day. I originally had planned to do a plaid, with hearts and flowers on the accent nails. However, no matter how I tried it out ahead of time, I couldn't do a plaid that looked decent. Gave it up and decided to do dots! Still got hearts and flowers, though. (I mean, I had those pre-made heart transfers that I did the other day, so I had to have hearts somewhere! I ended up putting the red-on-white heart actually on top of the pink-on-white heart, and it really made a cool look, I think.  :)

As always, the left hand comes out far closer to the image in my mind that I was going for. The right hand, however...

Yeah, not as good with the dots as I wanted to be. I didn't even *try* to do roses on that hand. It would have just annoyed me, I'm sure.

Standard color run-down: the base color is two coats of NYC Prospect Park Pink. This polish was bought strictly for my Princess Wednesday Barbie Addams - I totally expected never to wear it. I HATE pink! The dots are in China Glaze Go Crazy Red, CG Reggae to Riches, and Sally Hansen White On and CG Black Diamond, depending on the hand.

Hopefully the next manicure I can get back to some nice greens and browns. I'm sick and tired of pink. (Yes, two manicures with pink is at least one too many for me. :)

Gotta love the gimmes!

Heh. Lacquer Me Silly is having a Super Freakin' Awesome Giveaway! (Hey, she named it, not me!) Nonetheless, it really is super freakin' awesome. She's offering Cult Nails – Living Water, A England – Ascalon, Lynnderella – Ruby Red Ruby, Nerd Lacquer – Pinin’ for the Fjords, and Dollish Polish – Random Dancing! Gotta say, Lynnderella and Nerd Lacquer are both on my "GOTTA get me some of these!" lists, Dollish Polish has some fab glitters, and what I've seen of Cult Nails and A England on all these blogs shows some cooooool things as well.

And Lacquer Me Silly looks like a pretty great blog. I hadn't followed her before, because I'm pretty much looking for nail art examples that I can do, so I'm mostly following blogs that are heavy on the art and lighter on the swatching, but she's got great writing and some gorgeous pictures reviewing a lot of great polishes!

Friday, February 10, 2012

From the file drawer: December 26

Having shown you what's currently on my nails, my next post is about what I've done since I started this nail art thingie. (That's a technical term, that is.)

Back in December, just having recently purchased a set of nail art brushes, and eagerly browsing youtube for tutorials (I hadn't yet discovered the wonders of the blogs!) I decided to try my hand at poinsettias. Yes, that's actually what those are supposed to be... Let's not even talk about my horrid first attempt at french tips. *grin*

On funner topics (that's not a technical term, but it makes me smile anyway), I do have a few more pictures today that are new. First, I have mentioned (briefly) my 7-year-old daughter. Her name's Brianna, and she's...well, the way I've learned to describe her is to say that she's a cross between Wednesday Addams and Princess Barbie. How she manages to make pink and purple look goth I couldn't tell you, but she does occasionally manage it. On other days, she just switches back and forth. Yeah, trying to explain any further is just babbling. ^_^ But the reason I bring her up is that she did her nails tonight.

China Glaze Frostbite for the base, and Sally Hansen Inventive Frost for the stripes. Yes, she used my nail art brush. The detailer, though, not the striper. When she uses the striper it comes out *more* wavy! :)

And I spent my evening, in between blog surfing, creating some...okay, here's where the fact that I'm new to this comes out. I don't know what these are *called*. Transfers? Home made stickers? Somebody tell me. But anyway, I made some of whatever-they-are on plastic for this weekend's manicure.

(The white blob at top is just that - a blob. It was coming out bigger than it should've been and shaped wrong, so I scooped up the puddled polish and started over in another spot.) ^_^

I'm currently planning to put the black-backed ones on one hand, and the white ones on the other...but I'm not real consistent with following through on my initial plans. I need to work more on the designing before I jump in and start painting.

Drumroll, please...

Another awesome blog is having another great giveaway! Polished Criminals is having a 300-follower giveaway! Two chances to win - she's giving away a China Glaze Halloween 2011 collection and an OPI Nice Stems mini collection. It's a win-win choice! :)

Augh! More choices!!

Okay, I was originally planning to join the 52-week challenge over on RedditLaqueristas...but then I ran across Meisie's Nails blog today, and she's doing a 52-week challenge, but the themes aren't matching up. I was a little confused at first, then I got a few posts further back and she linked to the challenge she's following. It's over on I'm Still Thinking (which is cool, another blog to follow! :)

Looked over the themes on RedditLaqueristas, and compared them to the themes on I'm Still Thinking...and decided I like the Thinking ones better! ^_^ I'm just not artistic enough to come up with something with themes like, "Inspired by a Song," among others. So I'm now officially following Jenna Froggy's 52-week challenge. :P

Doesn't change my plan for this weekend, of course, since they're both calling for Valentine's Day manis (there's a shocker!) but the week after that, instead of "green", I'll be having corsets on my nails. *snicker*

Oooh! Oooh! I think I had a thought! Yes, yes, I I'm sensing...a PLAN! I've already got this bondage nail design from Pretty Digits in my "art to try" file:
And now I'm thinking that I could combine that concept with a corset for next week...

**rubbing hands together** I love it when a plan comes together!

The Good, the Bad, and the...wait, it's just the Bad and the Okay

Like I said in my last post, I'm going to be alternating my current manicure with what I've done between when I started this hobby and when I started this post, until I've posted everything I've done. (Since I started in December, and it's mostly been once a week, there's not a huge backlog. :)
So, today's post is about what's on my nails right now. I redid my nails last Sunday, which is my "normal" day for a manicure, but on Wednesday, a large (like 3mm wide) chunk of the end of my thumnail flaked up, of course taking the polish with it. This flaking problem of mine is why I'm taking biotin and using Sally Hansen's Miracle Cure as a base coat regularly, but even Miracle Cure can't work miracles in just a month. I've had less flaking, but it's certainly not stopped yet.

Regardless, I didn't think highly of my ability to touch up the base coat and glitter I had on at the time without it looking spastic, so I decided that I'd made a clean spot, and now I'd have to do the whole thing! ^_^ (Yes, I'm a geek, I did mention the non-girly part earlier, right? Expect reference to sci-fi movies and shows on a regular basis.)

As you can guess, based on the title, my Wednesday evening did not go to plan...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hypocrisy? Never!

Is it sad that I have absolutely no interest in stamping, for some odd idea in my head that it's "cheating", or I want to do my own art or some such thing...but I'm really really interested in buying stencils? Admittedly, this is the first time I've thought about it (having just discovered that somebody actually sells these things) but I hate having discrepancies in my thought patterns. Maybe it's an autistic thing, but this is gonna *bug* me until I figure it out.

Why do I have no interest at all in stamping, but I like stickers just fine, and I want some stencils?

It's just a HOBBY...

The title of the blog is in reference to both my daughter and my husband trying to tease me and tell me that I'm obsessed with nail art. Okay, to them this might look like obsession, given that I'm one of the UN-girliest girls you might ever meet, short of a butch lesbian. (We had to get my daughter a make-up kit because when she was playing "dress up" she had to use lipstick for blush - I didn't own any. In fact, the only reason I own eye shadow is for an 80's party I went to last year. :P When I wear makeup, which is strictly for parties, pretty much, it's generally eye liner, mascara, and light lipstick or lipgloss. I have foundation and powder, but I don't use them. And I don't think anyone at work has ever seen me in any kind of makeup.) But honestly? I'll admit to being obsessed with reading fanfiction. I'll admit to absolutely loving science fiction, in books, movies, and TV shows (yes, I've seen every episode of Highlander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Stargate: SG-1, among others, and given that those shows ran 7, 7, and 10 years long, respectively, that's a LOT of TV right there) but deciding to give myself a pretty manicure once a week? That doesn't qualify as an "obsession", in my opinion.

What got me, the non-girly-girl, started on this whole nail art thing, was when an acquaintance of mine on Facebook picked up the 52-week challenge over on RedditLacqueristas, and started posting her nails on her FB. I liked looking at them, and thought they were cool, but never really thought about it until she posted a link to the tutorial for Galaxy Nails one week. Her mani was really pretty, so I went and checked out the tutorial. Then I noticed all these other tutorials on the sidebar, and started clicking...I was enraptured by the idea of water marbling.

My 7-year-old daughter and I decided to try it, and try valiantly we did...but in vain. We went through the nail polishes we had, first to find out which ones would spread out in the water and which wouldn't. You'd be surprised by how many we had that actually went ker-plunk! And a few the color just stayed in the middle and didn't spread in the water at all. Finally we had a dozen or so that spread right, so we picked a few colors that would go nicely together and we gave it a try. We taped off one of my fingers, dropped the polish, swirled it just a bit, and did the dip. We got...well, a little swirly and a lot globby. ^_^ We did a few more on her nails (which she did in fact top coat over and pronounce them "gorgeous", but she's seven!) and then I gave it up as a bad try.

However, my sister had sent me an Amazon gift card for I did a little internet research, went through who used what polishes in water marbling, what worked and what didn't...and decided to give China Glaze a try. Found an seller who had the rainbow colors we wanted and sent off an order, along with an order for a small set of nail art brushes. I also found a supplier on ebay that had nail art rhinestones, glitter, and foil striping (among lots and LOTS of other bling!) for insanely cheap prices, if I was willing to wait the several weeks for shipping (free!!) from Hong Kong. So I spent ten dollars there, too, and got a set of dotting tools, eight or nine of those round wheel-things (what are they called?) with 12 colours each of stones (four or five wheels in rhinestone and four in pearly colors) in different shapes (though I accidentally got two wheels of rhinestone hearts), a set of 12 colours of glitter, and 12 colours of foil striping tape. For less than $10 total!! Now that's a HAUL!

While I got the China Glaze polishes fairly quickly (and have used most of them, and they're *awesome*) I haven't gotten around to trying the water marbling again. It's just so much WORK for each and every nail! I'll still get to it one of these weeks...but in the meantime...

When my nail art brushes came in the mail on December 21st, we *had* to try them out. My first nail art ever was this:

I did a gradient white-to-blue by putting a drop of blue and a drop of white next to each other on a palette (in our case, a plastic lid from a food storage bowl :) and then using a fan brush to brush them both on the nail at the same time. It makes for lots of clean-up (and as you can see, I missed a few spots) but it makes the most perfect gradient ever. Drew the snowflake in with a detail brush, of course, and I think I need a tinier detail brush, because I still (month and a half later!) can't draw thin detail lines.

I decided that I really liked this nail art thing, and that I would re-do my nails every weekend. After a few weeks of posting my nail pics on my FB, my oldest daughter (who lives in Kentucky, while I'm in Arkansas) tried to tease me that I was obsessed. I argued that if I were changing my nail polish every day, she could call me obsessed. Once a week? That's just a hobby...

I bought some more nail polish when I got paid at the end of January, and my husband teased me about needing to get more bookshelves for my nail polish than we have for books. (Never mind that all my nail polish, bling, *and* tools currently fit in a box smaller than 10x18x8"!) I immediately pulled up pictures of some people's WALLS of polish shelves and again argued this isn't an obsession, it's just a hobby. ^_^

And mind you, he was teasing me again about less then $10 of supplies. I'd bought more nail polish remover, and the following items:

From left to right: Pure Ice Gold Mist, Sally Hansen Celeb City, Pure Ice Splash, Pure Ice Best Friend, Sally Hansen White On, NYC Starry Silver Glitter

So now you know the background to my blog's title, and you've seen the beginnings of my nail art journey. I'll add my current manicure next, and then I'll alternate with the ones I've gone through up 'til now with my current manis until I'm up to date. I hope, over time, we'll see some improvement in my art skills, but at least I'm enjoying having the pretty on my nails. Now I need to go hit Google Reader and see what everybody's updated since this morning... ^_^

Did I say last??

Oops. So the last one wasn't actually the last one. I did "giveaway" search on my Google Reader, and found one I'd missed posting about.

Neverland Nail Blog has made me wish I didn't live in the U.S., because she's giving away a Lynderella polish to one of her international followers! She is, however, giving away two gorgeous blue OPI polishes, one to each of two winners, to her U.S. readers. Oddly enough, I'm more likely to wear blue on my nails than I am on my clothes, and I don't own any OPI polish yet (remember, I'm new to this polish addiction...ahem...hobby!) so I'm interested to try it if I were to win.

Not that I'm holding my breath! I know waaaay too much about statistics and math - my first husband was a mathematician/programmer - to get my hopes up. While I'm waiting, though, you should go enter her giveaway, but more importantly, follow her blog, because she's got some beautiful nail art over there to ogle!

You gotta give, give, give!

Last, but not least, of the giveaways I'm posting about here (because while I'm new to this blogging thing, others aren't, and they're such giving people!) is this one over at Lacquered Lover. Carly's giving away the Barielle Gem Stone Earth Collection, and anyone who knows me (which isn't anyone in the Blogosphere as of yet, though I have my little circles of friends on Livejournal, Facebook, and Google+!) knows that I nearly live in earth tones. Greens, blacks, and browns dominate my wardrobe, with occasional jewel tone accents of ruby red, royal blue, and deep purples (generally shirts, sweaters, and socks worn with my brown or black pants and suit jackets, though my favourite color combination is without a doubt green and brown.) So you can see why I'd want to enter this particular giveaway! :)

Go enter, but more importantly, go browse her beauteous nail art and follow her blog. ^_^

The gods love a giving heart

Again, I've entered a few giveaways that some of the amazingly talented nail art bloggers have posted, and you get extra entries for blogging about them. Not that I mind, since I'm following these guys for a reason, know, I'm running out of words for "awesome", "amazing", "fabulous"...they're all great nail artists, so I don't mind linking to them. :P

So this is from over at Talon-ted...but Tawdry who is giving away a couple of different polishes and flair for guessing how many different polish swatches she has. Enter her giveaway, but more importantly, enjoy her (amazing/awesome/fabulous/insert-flattering-adjective-here) nail art and follow her blog!

Blog giveaways are so cool...

Jonochi over at Just Add Polish is having a Giveaway! for her 9000 page views. It's the Zoya Fleck Effect collection, and I may be new at this, but I already know I'm in love with glitters. ^_^ So yeah, I'm entering. And you get extra entries for blogging about it, so here I am, doing so! :)

Everything has to start somewhere!

I only created a blogger account to have a convenient way to follow all the *amazing* nail art blogs I was coming across. Then I realized that since I was already posting my nail art adventures on my LiveJournal, that I should probably post them here, too. Maybe I can help other beginners be a little less intimidated by all the astounding nail art that's out there. Even Robin Moses had to start somewhere, right?!