Festival Nails

This weekend I went to a Coachella-themed dance party. I’ve never been, but I get super annoyed with the constant media coverage (well, on some of the blogs and Instagrams I read, anyway, so maybe that’s my own fault…?) leading up to it and the onslaught of “fashion roundups” during the two weekends. However, I sort of love the equal parts fun-and-douchey fashion people wear, so when I had the opportunity to throw on some Flash tats, a flower crown, and festival-themed nails, obvs I jumped at the chance.

L-R: China Glaze Neon & On & On, Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow, Lime Crime Pastelchio

L-R: China Glaze Neon & On & On, Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow, Lime Crime Pastelchio

I decided on a bright gradient with some tribal stamping, since tribal prints are very popular at festivals like Coachella, buuuuuuuut I got too lazy and just did the gradient, instead. Also, I kinda wish I had used a neon yellow instead of just a regular yellow, but I was trying for a combo where the hues were halfway between pastel and neon, and I originally thought a regular ol’ yellow helps balance the neon-ness of Neon & On & On and slightly bump up the neon of Pastelchio. Not sure if it was successful, hmm…

AHHH MY EYESSSS --> me, looking at my terrible clean-up job around my cuticles in this pic.

AHHH MY EYESSSS –> me, looking at my terrible clean-up job around my cuticles in this pic.

So this mani is a bit of a fail – I sponged the gradient over white (bL Cotton Buds) because usually when I do gradients, I paint a base of the lightest color, but with these colors I wanted them at their full brightest and didn’t want to layer N&O&O over the yellow or green and have its color be muddled. Howeverrrrrr, in combination with the crap job sponging my gradient (I’ll explain below), when I tried to clean up around my cuticles, the top layer of polish kept coming off and revealing the white underneath, which is why I usually don’t layer over white because ugh, I hate that look. So this isn’t my best work and it kind of pained me to post these pics, but trust, it looked way better in person/from far away.

See how good it looks from farther away? Stupid cameras, picking up every little flaw!

See how good it looks from farther away? The sad, peel-y Flash tats on my fingers have seen better days, though.

When you’re doing sponged gradients, remember to keep your cosmetic sponge damp – with this manicure, I had issues with tiny pieces of the sponge getting stuck to my polish, which is a) gross and b) obnoxious because it ruins your time-intensive manicure! My usual method: I run the sponge under the tap for a few seconds, wring it out until it’s just a little damp, then quickly apply my polish and get to sponging. If you think it’s becoming too dry, just run it under water and wring it out again (I’ve used the same sponge before and it was fine). However, I had to stop a few times during this manicure to do other stuff and forgot to re-wet my sponge because I was distracted, which is why the polish looks a bit lumpy and pieces got stuck in certain areas, like on my ring finger. :/

Sponges are tricky bastards who can be your best friend or worst enemy for nail art.

Sponges are tricky bastards who can be your best friend or worst enemy for nail art.

I still do like the gradient, even if my execution wasn’t the best. This would’ve ended up looking much nicer if I had done a white stamp over this like I’d originally planned, but hey, they can’t all be winners, right? I promise I’ll have a nicer-looking mani in my next post. :) Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

P.S. I bought this Lime Crime polish about three years ago; their recent scandal (not telling customers their card information had been compromised during their “Black Wednesday” sale until five months later, in an Instagram post with “cute” emojis, nonetheless) has ensured I won’t buy anything from them in the future. I’d always heard stories going around about LC’s various shady activities, but this really proves that they’re a terrible company and I won’t support them, although I do admit that I love their products that I already do have and so they might pop up from time to time like this.

China Glaze Neons 4 Evaaaa

I was needing some retail therapy last week – aka the longest, most annoying week of this year – so I popped into Sally’s after work and was rewarded with a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” deal on China Glaze polishes, exactly what I was there to get. It was nail polish fate! I snatched up three from their new Electric Nights line, blue-leaning neon green Treble Maker and two of the glitters, Let The Beat Drop and my precioussssss Point Me To The Party (PMTTP). I was so in love with PMTTP that I decided to do a neon mani with it and all China Glaze polishes, because every polish lover knows CG makes the best neons!

4.15.15 bottles

So technically this mani isn’t all CG polishes – the white is butter London’s Cotton Buds. But it’s just a base, so whatevs. More importantly, I looooove this mani! I snapped a billion photos because I was trying to catch the neon but of course neons are notoriously difficult to capture, even on real cameras, so my skin might look a bit dead in the shade pictures but it’s in the name of capturing that sweet, sweet neon glow:

I think maybe I've actually captured the true neon peach color of Son Of A Peach on my ring finger! Usually it looks too orange.

I think maybe I’ve actually captured the true neon peach color of Son Of A Peach on my ring finger! Usually it looks too orange.

Yassssssss. I dabbed a coat of PMTTP on my pointer and thumb, then sort of filled in any empty areas by placing glitter with the brush. This is definitely a glitter polish where the base is thick and doesn’t pick up as much glitter as I’d like with one swipe, but it’s not the worst I’ve ever encountered, and surprisingly one layer of top coat make it nice and smooth. The base doesn’t seem to be tinted, either, unlike Let The Beat Drop, which is slightly pink (I did a test swatch over white on my right-hand pinkie).

4.15.15 curled under

For my splattered nails, I blew through a coffee stirrer with each color dabbed on the bottom. My best one is my middle finger – I have a hard time getting that perfect “splatter” look, as you can see on my other two fingers which look more…blobbed? than splattered. It’s usually because I have too much polish on the straw, but then if I have too little, nothing even gets on my nail…sigh. The lack of a perfect splatter isn’t going to get in the way of me loving this mani, though!

4.15.15 shade pose

The combo of butter London polish (which don’t wear well on me) + thick glitter coat meant that this chipped on the second day, but it was really easy to touch up and still look seamless. I ended up wearing this for about four days before I got tired of constantly fixing the chips. I really love when China Glaze puts out polishes that show that they’re paying attention to indie polish trends, like when they had that black matte glitter and crelly rainbow glitter from the Cirque Du Soleil collection. It’s nice to see a big mainstream company paying attention to what lacquerheads love!

Splish Splash isn't neon, but this pic shows its nice bright color.

Splish Splash isn’t neon, but this pic shows its nice bright color.

I’ve got a little bit of a PSA here today – Women On 20s is an organization that’s trying to get that old, racist Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and replace him with a kickass historical lady by 2020! They’ve narrowed their original 16 candidates down to 4, so go over and vote for your favorite – they’re at a half million but want to reach their goal of 1 million votes. Tell everyone you know to go vote because I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time there was a woman on our money!

Thanks for reading, everyone! See you next time – A x

KBShimmer Review!

Hi everyone! Today I have a review of a few different products to share with you. KBShimmer had a 20% off sale a little while ago, so I decided to finally pull the trigger and scoop up some of their stuff! I love indie polishes but a lot of the time they’re a little more pricy than I want to pay, but even without the sale, I must say, KBShimmer is very affordable – $7.50 for cremes, $8.75 for everything else (including holos)! But I’m trying to not buy much polish lately, so only the sale persuaded me to try some stuff out. I decided to try a new crelly glitter, some decal designs, and a soap! I never see their bath products reviewed anywhere so I wanted to give them a try.

4.1 bottles

KBShimmer has so many fun and gorgeous polishes but I only let myself choose one (I allllllllmost got their supposedly two-coat white creme since I didn’t love bL’s Cotton Buds, but since I’m trying to save $$$ I decided that I’ll just keep using Cottons Buds for now). My recent spring-y mood (despite near 90-degree temps in the last few weeks) led me to choose Cool Hand Cuke. I’ve mentioned before that I love a good polish name – OPI’s make me want to barf and China Glaze’s are occasionally really clever or funny, but basically all of KBShimmer’s names are fab. I mean…”Beach Please”? “Funky Cold Patina”? “Men Are From Mars-ala” (the obligatory Pantone Color of the Year hue)? Although my favorite might be the gray called “My Life’s Porpoise.” They’re cute and pun-y but not cheesy or lame. So right off the bat, Cool Hand Cuke had my heart with that alone!

Sorry, I know my cuticles look super busted in all these photos.

Sorry, I know my cuticles look super busted in all these photos. Also, Bleached in Peach isn’t as orange as this in person, but the formula is terrrrrible – three coats and still some streaks.

I’m not usually a crelly person (the lacquerhead portmanteau for a polish that’s a combo creme/jelly) – I find that even though they’re pretty on, they feel too thick because of the layers you have to do to get them opaque and the amount of glitter, as well. But something about CHC’s soft pastels with fun star and triangle(!) glitter drew me in, and when I unwrapped the polish from its box my jaw dropped – the combination of pastel glitters in different shapes, the pale mint base, and the tons of holo micro glitter (which I somehow missed in the product description, so that was a happy surprise!) was gorgeous! I did have some issues with application, but that was from my own inexperience applying crellies – I loaded up too much glitter, so the end result was a little too lumpy for my liking, plus it was hard to see the glitter pieces clearly since I did semi-thick coats. There’s definitely a learning curve with this kind of polish!

See the white star towards the cuticle on my middle finger? There's star, circle, triangle, AND hex matte glitter in this bad boy!

See the white star towards the cuticle on my middle finger? There’s star, circle, triangle, AND hex matte glitter in this bad boy!

I think next time I might layer CHC over Sally Hansen’s Mint Sorbet or China Glaze’s Highlight of My Summer – I’m not a huge fan of the super washed-out mint that is CHC’s base color, so maybe layering would make it a little more saturated, and it would be easier to see the different shapes of the glitter if I only did two thin coats instead of three thicker ones. Besides that, I am super into this polish. What is happening to me, with this pastel phase lately?! I’m usually such a brights/neon girl!

My full KBShimmer haul.

My full KBShimmer haul. The red decals are connected lines, the blue is the scalloped design. Sorry, I realize now that it’s hard to see the shape outlines.

I also purchased some of KBShimmer’s decal designs. I am only good at stamping 50% of the time, so my fav way to bring in a little nail art is with tape/decals. It’s so easy and looks awesome, and KBShimmer’s were really great – sturdy but not too thick, easy to peel off, and they have a nice range of designs available. I was particularly excited to see the scallop design, since I love how that looks but I definitely would not have the patience to sit there with my dotting tool and make a hundred perfect little scallops. In addition to the scallops, I got the connected thin/thick lines set. You can use one whole section per nail for uniform stripes or what I will probably end up doing and cut individual stripes out to use. I used a scallop decal on an accent nail for my sister and it was great, easily leaving a nice, crisp line! I’ve only used the soap once, but it was wonderful – not only is the swirly design aesthetically pleasing, but the smell is fantastic (I got Southern Belle, which includes the scents of ginger, peach, mango, clove, citrus, orange blossom, rose, and jasmine) and it left my skin feeling clean and soft, but not dried out like bar soap usually does. I’d definitely get another scent!

Have any of you tried any of KBShimmer’s products? What are your favorites? How’d you like this review? Let me know in the comments! As always, thank you so much for reading! I’ll see you next time – A x

Cotton Candy Nails

I like to follow a few people on Instagram who have pretty, pastel-hued accounts. I know it’s kind of a cliche – girls with icy pastel hair who wear pale clothes and sip pink tea out of gold tea cups in perfect lighting – but sometimes it’s nice to see some dreamy pics in the middle of the boring work day. One of my favorite accounts is @studiomucci, run by Amina. She has an Etsy store, Studio Mucci, that makes tissue paper tassels, lanterns, and pinatas in pretty, happy color combinations, and paints her life with pastel from her lavender and pink yarn(!) hair to her workspace. A few weeks ago she posted a pic of her mani and I fell in love with it – having something of a pastel moment, myself – so I decided to do a look inspired by hers!

3.31 bottles

First I did two coats of Shelby as my base, then when that dried I took little chunks of a cosmetic sponge held with tweezers, applied Shelby, Sittin’ Pretty, and That’s Shore Bright on each one by one, and gently dabbed them randomly on my nails. This is the method I’ve seen people use for galaxy nails – which I’ve actually never done before, I’m a terrible nail blogger! – and this actually kinda looks like a pastel galaxy, no?

You can see the tail of my pink mermaid tweezers in the background there - very adorable. and goes perfectly with this cutesy mani!

You can see the tail of my pink mermaid tweezers in the background there – very adorable. and goes perfectly with this cutesy mani!

When I’d gotten my random gradient to how I liked it and each nail was dry, I applied a thin layer of Fairy Dust. I only recently picked this up, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. I have tons of holo glitter toppers, but this one is perfect for anything because it’s micro glitter, so it just adds a light sparkling layer over your nail without requiring tons of top coat to make the surface smooth. I mean, I love my holo toppers like OPI’s Which is Witch? but I haaaate having to put two (or more!) layers of top coat on to get my nails smooth – or at least as smooth as you can get with a chunky glitter.

3.31 around bottle

It’s not exactly like Amina’s – hers looks a bit more purple and has a pinky-gold shimmer on top – but I used the same general concept and I love how it turned out. Never in a million years would I think that I’d like having cutesy pink and lavender nails, but I’m super into it. It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore!

3.31 both hands

What do you think of my fairy nails? Do you follow any pastel princesses on Instagram? And does anyone else own a Studio Mucci garland? (I have one from right before they revamped the store, it’s hanging at work and I love the color combo.) Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, y’all! See you next time – A x

Neon 90s Vibes

Hi everyone! I hope your week is going well! I’ve been on a bright polish kick lately, and I’m pretty obsessed with this combo:

3.25.bottles

Neon Barbie pink + neon turquoise = yassssssssss! I’ve written before about the China Glaze Sunsational polishes – gorgeous neon pastel hues, terrible formulas – but even though I needed 3 coats to get rid of streakiness with these, it surprisingly wore really well! Usually when I do more than two coats my polish chip pretty quickly, but I wore just pink and blue skittles for a few days and they held up beautifully! Hm…

Taken in my car at 5pm on the way home (at a red light, obvs).

This is like, day four. Whaaaaaat?

I loved these two colors just by themselves (reminds me of cotton candy or these taffy candies), but decided to spice it up a little and added some decal art. I looooove tape manis. They’re really easy – which is great because I’m super lazy – but look like you’ve put time into your design. I did some cleaning last weekend and found an envelope of decals I thought I’d lost, including these awesome zig zag/lightning bolt(?) ones! Unfortunately, because I had to put on two coats of Bottoms Up to get it non-streaky, when I pulled the decal up on those fingers, it got a little messed up. Definitely try to use polishes that only need one not-so-thick coat when using decals/tape, because I’ve had this issue before.

3.25 curled

With the lightning bolt-esque shape and the neon pink and aqua, these nails look kinda 90s (and remind me of Clarissa Explains It All‘s credits), and that just makes me love them more! I wore this manicure for almost a full week, which should tell you just how much I loved it, because I usually get bored after about two days. That’s also why the polish is so far from my cuticles in these pics – I kept forgetting to take photos until the day I took them off and my nails grow hella quickly, oops. I know they look kinda gross, sorry about that!

3.26 curled under

I’m really feeling these neon pastels lately, so I’ll be back soon with another bright look. Thanks for reading, everyone! See you next time – A x