Happy Halloween!

Man, I feel like this month has gone by so quickly! My official Halloween manicure is a repeat of last year, but this year it came out so much better, plus it goes with my costume, Shaun from Shaun of the Dead!

China Glaze Phat Santa and Sunset Sail

China Glaze Phat Santa and Sunset Sail

There are some truly gruesome manicures out there, which are a little too gross for me to want to wear myself. However, I have no problem wearing faux blood splatter around on my digits, so maybe I’m just a hypocrite?

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This is weird and creepy, for sure, but I don’t think this is super gross, just cool and Halloween-y. It is really messy to do, though.

Basically looks like a crime scene.

Basically looks like a crime scene.

This was pretty simple – I painted two coats of Sunset Sail, a peachy nude, and set up my little station with a big area of paper towels to avoid staining my table cloth. I dipped one of those skinny red coffee stirrers into Phat Santa (China Glaze is so great at naming their polishes), quickly scraped the excess polish off inside the bottle stem, positioned the end of the straw above each nail, and blew through the top. Phat Santa is a deep crimson jelly, so it’s the perfect consistency and color for a blood splatter effect. Last year I used a plain red creme, and it didn’t really look like blood. In the past I’ve had a lot of trouble with loading the straw up with too much polish or having the straw be too close to my nail so it just blows one big blob onto my nail instead of a cool splatter, so I’m really pleased with how this came out.

I don't usually like reds, but this is so delicious.

I don’t usually like reds, but this is so delicious.

These go splendidly with my costume, since Shaun of the Dead takes place during a blood-splattered zombie attack. I didn’t know I was going out tonight until a day or so ago so my costume isn’t perfect (no cricket bat, bright red paint instead of realistic-looking blood splattered on my shirt) but I thought it was pretty good for being so last-minute! I wore a much better version of this costume in college, but only one person knew who I was. It’s become a pretty big cult hit in the past few years, though, so I’m sure way more people will get it when I go out tonight!

Clawwwww hand

Clawwwww hand

And this of course, means that the last movie on my favorite Halloween/horror films list is Shaun of the Dead!

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If you like horror at all, you should see this movie. It’s a great comedy but also has a million references/homages to classic horror films plus some amazing gore and special effects. The story follows Shaun, a nice guy who’s in a rut – he’s about to turn 30 yet still works at an electronics store with a bunch of teenagers, he never does anything fun or new with his long-time girlfriend, Liz, and spends most of his time drinking and playing video games with his loser best friend, Ed. Shaun forgets his and Liz’s anniversary, leading to her breaking up with him. He spends the night drowning his sorrows with Ed at their usual pub, and they end up back to Shaun’s place. By the next morning, zombies have totally taken over the city but Shaun is too clueless[other word?]/self-absorbed to realize. There’s a brilliant scene where Shaun makes a leisurely trip to the corner shop and back, totally oblivious to the signs of destruction and even staggering zombies that surround him as he walks.

SOTD oblivious corner shop

Once he’s back, he and Ed realize what’s happening when they see a news report, and then of course some zombies attack their house. After a ridiculous (but eventually effective) attempt at killing the zombies, Shaun tells Ed they need to grab Shaun’s mom and Liz and bring them to their pub, The Winchester, to safely wait everything out. Shaun and Ed set off, dealing with ever-increasing hordes of zombies as well as human obstacles like Liz’s roommates and Shaun’s stepdad, who he hates.

SOTD zombie house

This movie is amazing. That’s really all you need to know – if you haven’t seen it, stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch it. Since I’m an Anglophile in addition to being a horror fan, this movie was just the greatest thing I’d ever seen when I first watched it. Simon Pegg (actor who plays Shaun) and Edgar Wright (director) co-wrote this script and they are seriously genius at seamlessly combining hardcore gore and deep belly laughs. Shaun of the Dead is incredibly quotable (“You’ve got red on you.”) and I’ve seen this movie at least 20 times yet it still makes me laugh really hard each time I watch it. I love, love, love horror comedies and this one makes me laugh both from the big jokes to the little background stuff (like Ed’s hilarable “I Got Wood” shirt). This isn’t only one of my favorite horror movies but one of my favorite movies ever.

SOTD playing zombies

I almost don’t know what to do with myself now that I don’t have any more Halloween posts to do! I hope you all enjoyed these themed posts and manicures, and that you have a fun and safe Halloween!

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time! A x

Classic Halloween

The glitter from my last manicure was a bastard to get off, so I’m sticking to cremes for a little while. I wanted to do something that was simple but super Halloween-y, since the big day is almost here.

Eva Neon Orange (never heard of this brand, I borrowed it from my sister when I couldn't find my OPI A Roll in the Hauge) and my old buddy, Wet n Wild Black Creme.

Eva Neon Orange (never heard of this brand, I borrowed it from my sister when I couldn’t find my OPI A Roll in the Hauge) and my old buddy, Wet n Wild Black Creme.

Can’t go wrong with black and orange for Halloween-y, eh? I decided to do a gradient, which as I mentioned previously I’ve never done before with regular cremes, only with glitter. I gathered my polishes and makeup wedges but I went to my sister for help with this one because she’s done a lot of gradients. I knew that basically you painted the two colors in strips that overlapped, like so:

10-30-13 sponge

She had a great tip I hadn’t heard of, though – before polish, dunk the wedge in water and squeeze it all out until it’s just barely damp. This way the wedge won’t leave those little fuzzies in your polish as you dab. However, you do have to work quickly, so the sponge doesn’t completely dry out. I prepped my nails with two coats of the orange as a base and waited for it to dry before doing the gradient over it, since neons are usually pretty sheer. I also learned to paint Black Creme on very thin, because it’s so opaque it would’ve overpowered the orange.

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Not bad for a first attempt, eh? I always want to do MOAR! so I contemplated adding glitter on top of this, but after consulting my friend A, we agreed it was too much. Sometimes less is more! Gotta learn that.

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One thing I didn’t like is that the gradient isn’t as smooth or seamless as I would like. It’s kind of a Monet.

Clueless

I think part of it is because the colors are such opposites, and if they were closer in hue (like orange and red), it wouldn’t be so noticeable. Also, cleanup was a nightmare – sponging gets polish all over your finger and black is always hard to get off. My method of polish remover and a pointed Q-Tip was working pretty well until I noticed it was taking off too much of the black so you could see the orange coming through around the cuticle, annnnnnd then I gave up because it was late. Eh, having a perfect cuticle line has never been that important to me, anyway.

Bleh.

Bleh.

I do like this, though. I’ll just have to keep practicing until I can get the gradient perfect.

For the second-to-last movie on my list of favorite Halloween/horror films, I’ve got one that is, simply put, scary as shit.

TheStrangers-2

My siblings and I saw The Strangers together in the theater and loved it (and by “loved it,” I mean “were totally freaked out by it”). Even though I’ve seen it a few times, this movie always makes me so tense and nervous, and I still get a little jump even at parts I’m preparing for. The story is pretty simple: the two main characters, Kristen and James, are a couple who have come back to James’ parents’ cabin (in the middle of nowhere, obvs) after a wedding where things have become awkward between the two. Weird things slowly start happening, like a girl appearing at their door despite the late hour asking if they’ve seen her friend (I know that doesn’t sound scary, but trust, it’s creepy as hell), and despite Kristen’s uneasiness, James has to leave her for a bit. The creep factor is amped up to 11 when the girl comes back…when she’s finally gone Kristen discovers her phone missing from its charger, and then this happens:

Strangers standing

Whaaaaaat?! Some random guy in a MASK is just hanging out in the darkness silently watching you, fading away until the right moment to pop out and scare the terrorize the crap out of you? Home invasion movies are incredibly scary to me – there’s just something so awful about being trapped inside your own home, a place that’s supposed to be loving and safe, plus the whole “no way to contact the outside world for help” most of these stories have. Anyway, James eventually comes back and of course, thinks Kristen is being crazy at first, but then they both start getting hardcore terrorized by the mask-wearing Strangers.

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Yeah, I also have a thing about masks. It’s SO SCARY when you can’t see someone’s face! Especially if that someone is attempting to axe murder you. It gives them a sense of power somehow, like they’re an unbeatable phantom or something. Ughhhhh gives me the creeps! I also really like this because yes, there’s some blood, especially at the end, but it’s not an incredibly gory movie; all the thrills are from the tense tone of these Strangers slowly, sadistically playing with and eventually (because of the masks) seemingly emotionlessly brutally hurting Kristen and James. Just don’t watch this if you get easily scared – seriously, I had to keep my light at night the first time I saw this.

Is my manicure sufficiently Halloween-y? Any The Strangers fans (well, not fans, exactly…) out there?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Matte Vampy Glittahhhh

This is a quick and easy mani. When they first came out I looooooved Deborah Lippmann’s Ruby Red Slippers and Bad Romance, but I don’t ever spend that much on nail polish, plus the quality of the few I do have (on sale) is definitely not worth that price. Lucky for me (and admittedly shitty for expensive brands, but eh, mama’s got a budget), in the past few years drugstore brands have realized they could copy popular polishes and now you can often find a pretty good dupe of a cool but expensive polish a few months after the original comes out. Which is exactly what I did here.

10-27-13 bottle pic

After checking out comparisons other blogs have done with the real deal, I think these are pretty good dupes, although of course a $1.99 polish is not always gonna be perfect. Case in point, Behind Closed Doors:

10-27-13 WnW macro

See how some of the red glitter pieces have faded around the edges? They’re not a uniform color, either – some of them look more burgundy than red. I’ve had this polish for two years or so and I haven’t worn it that often so I can’t remember if there were always burgundy pieces or if those have morphed over the years, too. BCD is also incredibly sheer, even at 3 coats I don’t think it would be opaque. I just layer a coat or two over one coat of my go-to black, Wet n Wild’s Black Creme.

10-27-13 Revlon macro

Facets of Fuchsia is not as sheer as BCD but it’s still a good idea to layer it. FoF was part of a limited edition collection but is still available, it’s just called Scandalous now. Unfortunately BCD was also part of a limited edition collection a few years ago and I don’t think it’s available anymore.

I really love these polishes. I think the bright red and rich fuchsia against the black looks really mysterious and gorgeous.

10-27-13 curled hand auto

10-27-13 hand auto

Pretty, right? Then I thought: “Heyyyy what if I added a matte top coat?”

Sorry, I banged my middle finger, which is why it looks weird at the bottom.

Sorry, I banged my middle finger, which is why it looks weird at the bottom.

10-27-13 fingers matted auto

I reeeeeeally like this. The glitter pops more against the frosted black and looks really cool (and kind of badass?) in general. I might be mattifying glitter a lot more after this! I used a cheap matte top coat I think I got at Hot Topic a few years ago, but all the big name and drugstore brands have one now, so they’re pretty easy to find.

I know it’s kind of hard to see the difference so here’s a comparison of what the polish looked like before matte top coat and what it looked like after. (In the before my nails only have a thin coat of Gelous to smooth the glitter out; with a proper top coat it would look better but I knew I was going to mattify ’em and I don’t know if a matte top coat would work as well over my usual [thick] top coat, Seche Vite.)

The nails don't match up because I alternated colors on each hand. Also, I don't know what all that black haze is on the top left pic but I had already mattified all my nails.

The nails don’t match up because I alternated colors on each hand. Also, I don’t know what all that black haze is on the top left pic but I had already mattified all my nails and couldn’t take another pic.

I like the purple and red glitter together, too. This is a pretty easy and vampy but still Halloween-y mani. I like it a lot!

Okay, so next on my list of favorite Halloween/horror movies: Sleepy Hollow!

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Tim Burton kinda sucks now, and Sleepy Hollow is the last good movie he made, in my opinion. It’s not the most amazing movie of all time, but it’s a pretty perfect movie to watch around Halloween. Sleepy Hollow takes place in the late 1700s and is about the Headless Horseman terrorizing the town of Sleepy Hollow. Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a super squeamish forensic investigator (I think? Maybe he’s a constable?) who makes this face a lot when things upset his delicate sensibilities:

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and gets sent to Sleepy Hollow to figure out some murders that are happening. Once there, Ichabod finds out that everyone in town thinks there’s a headless dude riding around on a ghost horse, cutting off the heads of townsfolk, so he rolls his eyes and condescends a lot (he’s a pretty hilarious douche, if you can’t tell). He uses his “modern” techniques to investigate the murders, and tries to figure out what the connection/big mystery is. Then one night he actually encounters the Headless Horseman and shit gets real.

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This movie isn’t terrifying but it does have a few little jumps, and there’s definitely some super bloody moments. The design and aesthetics are awesome, though – the color palette is almost monochromatic, with sprays of bright, paint-like blood, the costumes are gorgeous, and the setting is perpetually foggy, dark, and creepy yet beautiful. Also, the score is fantastically creepy, as always with Danny Elfman.

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How do you feel about matte polish? Any Sleepy Hollow fans out there?

Thanks for reading! See you next time! A x

Zesty Zombie

Getting close to Halloween now! I hope the weather turns more fall-y in the next few days, it’s sad enough not living where leaves change colors! One day I want an October that looks like this:

Autumn cinemagraph

I wanted to do a gradient (which I’ve actually never done before!) but in a different way. Then I remembered the gradient triangles that Pshiiit did. Sold! Obviously I wanted to use Halloween-y colors, so I chose two with appropriate names, Skull & Glossbones and Zombie Zest.

China Glaze's Zombie Zest, OPI's Skull & Glossbones, and my weird but awesome little zombie arm necklace, complete with oozy green heart.

China Glaze’s Zombie Zest, OPI’s Skull & Glossbones, and I had to use my little zombie arm necklace as a prop!

I’ve shown S&G on here before, it’s a ghostly light gray with an okay formula, needing 2-3 coats. The real star here, though, is Zombie Zest. Isn’t that an amazing name? I got it on sale for $2 at Sally’s a few years ago despite not liking the color at ALL at the time, because I couldn’t resist the name. It’s fairly sheer, probably needing at least 3 coats for full coverage, but I don’t know for sure because I’ve only layered it. I’ve never worn it on its own because it’s a pretty ugly green, a light olive heavily leaning yellow – it looks like phlegm or something, which is gross but fitting since it was in a Halloween collection (2010). There’s some gorgeous duochrome action happening at the edges of the bottle but as is usually the case, it doesn’t show up on the nail.

See the dark green and blue towards the edge? And those fantastic glassflecks!

See the dark green and blue towards the edge?

I usually layer ZZ over a darker color, and I chose a hunter green (Finger Paint’s Scenery Greenery, which I used in the last post). Once I’d painted S&G and let a coat of quick-dry top coat sit for a few hours, I taped off a triangular section on each nail. Then I added a little of Scenery Greenery to a triangle makeup and sponged it heavily at the bottom of my nail, sponging a little less as I went up the nail, finally leaving the top part of the triangle without anything. After all the Scnerery Greenery sections were dried, I dabbed ZZ on another sponge and gently sponged 2 or 3 coats over the whole triangle area.

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I do love this necklace. Adorably macabre!

I do love this necklace, with its oozy green heart. Adorably macabre!

10-26-13 macro

When ZZ is layered over a dark color the barfy green goes away, leaving all the gorgeous glass fleck shimmer front and center. I didn’t tape off the triangle sections perfectly, but admittedly I was doing it in crappy lighting while I was watching TV and it doesn’t really bother me. I still think it looks cool and I’m pretty pleased with it overall!

For every Halloween mani post I’m writing about some of my favorite Halloween/horror movies. There’s only a few days left until Halloween, and I feel like I still have so many favorite movies I want to write about! But there’s always next year, right? Today I’ll be discussing one of the best recent horror movies – 28 Days Later.

28 Days group

The premise of this movie is that a “rage virus” quickly spreads and infects the (possibly worldwide) population, basically making people into zombies who can run. WUT. A huge horde of zombies trying to eat you is pretty scary, but a horde of zombies who can run just as fast as you is so much worse. Our main character wakes up alone in the hospital to discover a totally empty city.

28 Days empty London

I love this sequence. Seeing famous locations of huge city like London completely deserted is extremely unsettling. Apparently they managed to get this footage by holding up early-morning traffic for a few minutes at a time while they filmed, backing up inch by inch. This sounds like THE WORST for those drivers, but it’s such a cool couple of scenes and completely sets the tone for the movie.

28 Days zombie

Which is totally terrifying. “The infected”/zombies make weird grunting sounds, have violently jerky movements, and glare through blood-red eyes, making them scary as shit. What is great about this movie, though, is that the little band of survivors who make up our main cast are rescued, only to realize zombies are bad, but power-mad soldiers in survivor mode are even more frightening.

28 Days End is Nigh

I don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t seen this movie, but if you like horror you should! I’ve seen this movie a million times but just thinking about certain scenes (when they get a flat in that tunnel!) practically gives me heart palpitations, which is how you know it’s a great horror flick. (I’ve seen the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, and it’s surprisingly good for a horror sequel, but 28 Days is still the best.)

Thoughts on my mani? Anyone a fan of 28 Days Later?

Thanks for reading! See ya next time! A x

A Bewitching Combo

Simple manicure today. Still glittery though, of course – I have too many Halloween-themed glitters and the month is speeding by, I need to cram them all in!

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The glitter is one of my favorite Crows Toes, VooDoo:

Halloween perfection: orange bars and medium hexes; deep purple shards, hexes, and lighter purple squares; and micro glitter pieces in orange, purple and green.

Halloween perfection: orange bars and medium hexes; deep purple shards, hexes, and lighter purple squares; and micro glitter pieces in orange, purple and green.

This came out for the Crows Toes Halloween collection last year. I own this one, Frogs’ Breath, and Last Call at the CrowBar, and I still lust after Tangled Web (it’s almost identical to the blue/black glitter from last year’s China Glaze Bitz ‘n Pieces collection, but the blue glitter in Tangled Web is holographic). Ugh last year was SO GREAT for Halloween collections from my favorite indie companies – both Crows Toes and I Love Nail Polish had amazing collections and I’m sad they didn’t do any new ones this year! (Although honestly, I have way more Halloween polishes than I can handle already since a lot of them just scream Halloween to me so I never want to wear them any other time of year since they feel out of place.)

You can see by the clumping at the neck how loaded with glittahhhh this puppy is.

You can see by the clumping at the neck how loaded with glittahhhh this puppy is.

I’ve worn this a few times, but only over black or dark purple. I wanted to try something new, but it’s difficult to pick a color that complements VooDoo well since it has orange, purple, and green glitter pieces, and I didn’t want any of the glitter to disappear over a similar base color.

I brightened this a little so it's easier to see the glitter on the dark green.

I thought green would show off the orange and purple well, and depending on the hue would also keep the tiny green glitter visible. I liked it with China Glaze’s Def Defying, a delicious acid green (although it’s hard to get a color-accurate pic, it’s definitely not neon looking in real life), and Finger Paints’ Scenery Greenery, a classy (one coater!) hunter. I couldn’t decide which look I wanted to go for more, since Def Defying made VooDoo fun, over-the-top Halloween, and Scenery Greenery made it more darkly elegant. I’m the least decisive human on earth, so I did just did both! 

[caption id="attachment_423" align="alignnone" width="800"]Left hand. It was so hard to get a good photo, but in real life the glitter stood out much more against the dark green. Left hand. It was so hard to get a good photo, but in real life the glitter stood out much more against the dark green.

Right hand.

Right hand. Sorry, I have a little burn mark on my middle finger :(

Like all my Crows Toes, this is a jam-packed glitter, so it takes a bit of manuvering to get it fairly evenly distributed on each nail. I did quite a heavy amount of glitter on Def Defying (right hand) and used a lighter touch on Scenery Greenery (left hand), and I think I like that way better. Either way, VooDoo is pure Halloween magic. I looooove this brand, the creator makes the coolest, often unusual color/glitter combos and they always look amazeballs.

I even painted my nails on theme, while watching American Horror Story: Coven. I have a very love/hate relationship with Ryan Murphy (great ideas and hilarious one-liners/can’t write good character or plot development to save his life) but I like that there’s this weird, fucked up, completely crazy pants TV show. In this iteration I’m ready to be delighted all season long with Emma Roberts’ bitchy teen movie star.

Coven gif

I admit, I like witchy shows/books/movies, which leads me to the next pick on my list of favorite Halloween-y movies – The Craft.

"We ARE the weirdos, mister."

“We ARE the weirdos, mister.”

I had no idea every ’90s kid didn’t know this movie. Last year a movie theater downtown played a double feature of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Craft – which may be one of the greatest movie pairings of all time – and I was the only one of my group of 5 who had seen both these movies (like, a million times – I [and half the audience] shouted “I bind you Nancy, from doing harm…!” along with the movie). I begrudgingly gave the guys a pass because I can’t imagine a preteen dude wanting to see these “girl” movies, but FOR SHAME, FEMALE FRIENDS.

Devil

I don’t think The Craft is objectively good, but I grew up with it and as a horror-loving kid I always liked it. It’s is a super weird story that would never be made today because they apparently don’t make teen movies anymore (!), no studio likes to make a movie with an all-female cast unless it’s a bawdy comedy, and the only supernatural movies that are being made now consist of cheesy plots and “epic true love” type stuff.

They do play slumber party games, though!

They do play slumber party games, though!

The main characters in this movie don’t look like they walked off a CW set and there’s certainly no love story – in fact, all the dudes in this film are portrayed as huge assholes (although there is a love spell gone horribly awry). There’s actually a lot of intense themes like suicide, rape, racism, addiction, and the darker elements of some high school experiences in general. Despite the fact that it’s about magic, the characters are trying to figure out how to get what they want in a way that is realistic of teenagers, like Neve Campbell’s disfigured character who wants to be beautiful, and Nancy the misunderstood goth kid with an abusive home life who wants to be powerful.

Nancy

Wow, I bet that’s more than has ever been written about The Craft. As a kid I just really liked this movie because it dealt with the supernatural in a dark, weird, and moody, and I was a kid who loved horror and creepy things, Damn, when I think about ’90s movies – teen movies in particular – they really don’t make ’em like they used to.

Please tell me some of you have seen/love The Craft? Any thoughts on my mani?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x