Fall Jewel Tones

I wore my previous manicure for almost a full week because I loved it so much and also it seriously wore like iron. I am very hard on my nails – I open boxes and soda cans with them, wash dishes without gloves, etc – so polish usually lasts about 3 days on me, max, but with this manicure I had only one small chip on one thumb after six days. I swear, it was magic. But since I wore it for so long, I only have time for two more manicures in my fall-themed month, and I already had an idea of what I’d do for Thanksgiving, so that left one last combo. I realized I haven’t used any purples or blues yet, so I decided to do a jewel-tone manicure.

11-26-13 bottles

I haven’t used any of these awesome polishes in far too long, so I was really excited for this. All these colors are extremely pigmented – Bermuda Blue, Wild At Heart, and Saint George were basically one-coaters (I did another thin coat on each because the lighting in my apartment is so crappy that I couldn’t see if they had any bald spots) and two very thin coats were all that was needed for Rodeo Fanatic. Rodeo Fanatic was the only one that didn’t have a 100% perfect formula (although it was still pretty good); all the others went on like butter.

11-26-13 fingers up

I was inspired by this manicure of The Nailsaurus’ from last week and decided to do DIY nail decals on my pointer and thumb, but just did skittles on my other fingers. In real life I think Saint George and Rodeo Fanatic are maybe a little too similar in color, but I wanted to use darker colors and in the end I liked that the decal nails came out very subtle; it seems fitting with these colors to not be too ostentatious.

11-26-13 curled around bottle

I followed the same technique as before but I really need to figure out the scissor situation. I alternated using regular scissors and the tiny cuticle cutting scissors (? I think that’s what they are, although I don’t use them) and each was very difficult to use – with the normal scissors I couldn’t cut the bars as thin as I wanted, and the cuticle scissors are curved so it was really hard to cut in a straight line. As usual, imperfections of the final product don’t bother me too much, but it was annoying while I was in the cutting process!

Apologies for my busted cuticles! I know this looks kinda gross, plus my painting wasn't that great because I was in a rush, but how pretty do the teal, blue, and purple look together?! Oh, and WAH isn't this read in real life, I couldn't get it color accurate here.

I know the edges look really terrible in macro, but how pretty do the teal, blue, and purple look together?! Oh, and WAH isn’t this red in real life, the macro farther down is more color accurate.

I think this is pretty. I debated using an almost-black purple instead of Bermuda Blue as my base, but I liked how you can tell it’s a really deep blue, and I think it shows off the colors well. Again, this is super subtle, but I like it that way. One thing this blog is teaching me is that in-your-face isn’t the only way to do your nails!

11-26-13 diagonal

I also took macros of Rodeo Fanatic, Wild at Heart, and Saint George because they are just so lovely. A-England is known for its subtle holographic shimmer, which gives such great depth to their polishes. Check out that macro of Saint George, it’s like you’re staring into a picture of a galaxy! That combined with the fabulous teal color, and you can see why this is one of my favorite polishes.

11-26-13 macro middle1

Rodeo Fanatic is a gorgeous peacock blue. It’s got light shimmer threaded through the blue and lightens up considerably in direct light. This is from the 2008 Rodeo Diva collection, which a lot of nail bloggers consider their favorite collection of all time. China Glaze is my favorite brand so I love a lot of their collections, but that one is really great, especially when you consider that nail polish wasn’t as popular or trendy then as it is now, so their color choices seem really bold.

11-26-13 macro - ring

Wild at Heart is one of the first polishes I bought when I was first starting to become obsessed with polish (and collecting). I didn’t have any holos (which were super scarce and/or expensive at the time) so I ordered WAH, Revvvolution, and Worth the Risque from Color Club. I was pretty disappointed when I finally got them since I was craving intense, full-on linear rainbow holos, but eventually I learned to appreciate WAH – the formula is amazing; it’s a one-coater so it’s great for stamping; the color is the most perfect purple; and just like Saint George, the holo particles give this polish a beautiful depth. In direct light it’s actually got a tiny bit of linear holo, as you can see below.

Somehow I made my pinkie look insanely huge in this pic.

Somehow I made my pinkie look insanely huge in this pic.

Here’s what all the polishes look like in direct sunlight (in my car, as usual), including Bermuda Blue before I added the other colors. So pretty!

11-26-13 in the sun diagonal

It’s finally gotten chilly here in LA! I run pretty hot so I haven’t worn any scarves yet, but I’ve gotten to pull out a few sweaters and definitely wear my boots everywhere, and I don’t have to drink my coffee iced anymore! But what I love best are cold fall evenings. I just want to sit outside on my tiny balcony with a cup of something hot and think about random stuff while listening to some appropriate music. I’m one of those weirdos who makes playlists for everything, and I definitely made a fall evening playlist a few weeks ago.

To me fall is a bit wistful, with the slow fade into darker days and the winding down towards the end of another year. Chillier weather makes you yearn to lounge in bed under the covers, and the way one day the sun disappears by 5pm is downright unsettling. There’s so many of these weird feelings wrapped up with the fervor and anticipation for the impending holidays, making it a really strange season. I went through a bunch of my music and found some songs I thought went well with this complex time of year, and I actually really like the final compilation; it’s fairly slow but not sad, making it perfect for me to put on when I’m chilling out, writing, or taking a mind-clearing walk. (I can’t get Spotify to work for me, for some reason, so I’ve linked to YouTube videos below.)

Lighthouse / Chris O’Brien
Do I Wanna Know / Arctic Monkeys
Embers / Just Jack
Lions in Cages / Wolf Gang
My Moon, My Man (Grizzly Bear remix) / Feist
Last Call / Brazilian Girls
Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me / London Grammar
A Little Bit / Lykke Li
West Coast / Coconut Records
Fade Into You / Claire Bowen and Sam Palladio (Nashville soundtrack)
Blue Blood / Foals
Something About Us / Daft Punk

Do you own any of these awesome jewel-tone polishes? Thoughts on my playlist?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

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Goldie Boo Boo Ombre

I looooooove this manicure, y’all. I can’t take credit for it, since I got the idea off I Love Nail Polish’s website, but I’m completely in love with this on my nails. I used a lot of polishes in this ombre:

11-21-13 bottle shot

I used slightly different colors than on ILNP’s site, just working with what I had, but I think it looks pretty great! Dark Coffee looks way darker than when I used it previously, but I think it’s because that was one coat over a lighter color, plus I used two coats here. Every color was two coats except sheer 2% Milk, which was three.

From thumb: 2% Milk; My Vampire's Buff; Sand Tropez; Berlin There, Done That; Dark Coffee.

Base colors from thumb: 2% Milk, My Vampire Is Buff, Sand Tropez, Berlin There Done That, Dark Coffee.

I was really surprised My Vampire Is Buff was only two coats, it’s rare that light colors aren’t super streaky/sheer and require three or more coats. However, if you use this luscious french-vanilla cream I suggest waiting a long time for the first coat to 100% dry, because I created a bald spot upon application of the second coat (although I managed to quickly touch it up so it turned out fine).

11-21-13 tilted

Sand Tropez is a mushroom beige with a surprisingly good formula for an Essie (I’ve mentioned before that I must have bad luck with Essies or something, because nail people in general love them but they’re usually a nightmare for me to work with). Berlin There Done That (I really wish there was a comma in there) is a polish I bought only for the name – in fact, I wanted to buy a lot of the polishes from that collection just for their names because I’ve been to a few of those places, but the colors just didn’t warrant it. I almost didn’t get BTDT because this purpley-gray taupe color (seriously, I have no idea how to categorize it) isn’t something I’d usually get, but a few months ago I started to warm up to neutrals and BTDT made its way into my collection after a trip to my fav downtown discount nail supply shop. Which is great, because otherwise I wouldn’t have a color to complete this neutral/brown-tone ombre!

11-21-13 curled around bottle sideways cloudy

And oh, Goldie Boo Boo. I went on and on about ILNP in another post, so I’ll just quickly say again how I love this brand! This glitter combo is autumn in a bottle – according to the website, it’s “inspired by an autumn sunset,” and the orange, brown, gold, and gray glitter pieces really reflect that. UGH I love that the creator put all those colors together, it’s so unique and they are perfect.

Teeny, tiny micro gold glitter; small gold, orange, and gray pieces; and slightly larger orange and brown pieces. I love that all the glitter is small and dainty.

Teeny, tiny micro gold glitter; small gold, orange, and gray pieces; and slightly larger orange and brown pieces. I love that all the glitter is small and dainty.

The brown glitters look black until the light hits them juuuuuust right. I did one coat of GBB on each nail; somehow my ring and pinkie fingers got more glitter than my other ones, but I surprisingly like it better when the glitter is a little more sparse, like on my middle finger (usually I am ALL GLITTAH ALL THE TIME).

Macro of my ring finger; this one shows each of the glitters the best.

Macro of my ring finger; you can see all the different glitters really well here.

Oh man, I just love this manicure – it’s so perfectly fall, but in a very lovely, delicate presentation. (And somehow has lasted almost entire week with no chips and little tip wear, which is unheard of because I’m really hard on my nails!) The problem is, I associate it with fall so much that I can’t see myself wearing it out at other times of the year. I’m a bit of a hypocrite; I say I disregard the “specific colors for specific seasons” thing, but certain colors like this – and almost all of my Halloween and Christmas glitters – are so much that season/holiday in a bottle that it feels weird to wear them at other times. Maybe I’ll get lucky and the weather will stay chilly a little later this year, so I can wear this again in the January/February time frame.

Mmm chai tea!

Mmm chai tea! Less “mmm” is the horrible lighting in my apartment – my hands look dead here.

On Monday I was rushing around trying to figure out plans because I totally thought Thanksgiving was this week. Luckily, I have an extra week to plan! My sister and I are having some friends over, and we’re trying to figure out what to make. My sister is really into side dishes and my jam is cocktails, so I’m trying to figure out a fun recipe that everyone will like. I’m a whiskey lady, myself, and I’ve seen some amazing-looking autumn whiskey cocktails on Pinterest, but my friends aren’t so keen so I’m going to do something with wine or rum, which seem to be crowd-pleasers. Right now I’m thinking mulled wine or some hot apple cider with rum to keep things appropriately fall-themed. Hot booze hits you a lot faster, though, so I need to make the drinks less intense so we’re all not falling asleep before we’ve even eaten!

Thoughts on this manicure? Have I managed to interest anyone in I Love Nail Polish? Any fun cocktail ideas for Thanksgiving you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Electrified Gold

I saw China Glaze’s Electrify and thought, what’s more fall than red and gold? Plus, I finally found all my stamping stuff and I’ve wanted to try Butter London’s Knees Up as a stamping polish for a long time (because it’s pretty opaque), so that’s where I came up with today’s combo!

Chinag Glaze Electrify, Butter London Knees Up, OPI Goldfinger

China Glaze Electrify, Butter London Knees Up, OPI Goldfinger

First of all, holy crap, OPI’s Goldfinger is uhmahhhhhhhhzing. I used three coats because my apartment has the worst lighting and sometimes it’s hard for me to see if a polish is really opaque, but my sister also used it and swears it was good in two coats. But the color is gorgeous, bright yellow-gold with what looks like micro flakes or something? There’s also sometimes red and green flecks when the light hits just right, you can sort of see it in the macro but it was hard to catch on camera. (P.S. I’m sorry for my pictures in this post, my nails were chipping and had tip wear, my camera kept freaking out, and I didn’t have time to mess around to get better photos because I’ve been really busy this weekend. Please forgive me!)

11-18-13 curled bottle

Awkward pinkie macro! You can see how it kind of looks like there's little flakes, almost, of gold in there.

Awkward pinkie macro! You can see how it kind of looks like there’s little flakes, almost, of gold in there.

I used to be terrible at stamping (and sometimes I still am) but I discovered nice, big images helped immensely. One of the first brands to come out with nail plates to rival the expensive Konad was Bundle Monster, but their first collection’s image were super small, so you have to place each image juuuuuust right on your nail (and sometimes even then they didn’t fit your whole nail), and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m super impatient, so mine usually turned out shitty. However, since then Bundle Monster has released bigger image sizes, and newer brands like Winstonia (which I bought earlier this year after Nailed It’s review) all have bigger sizes, too, which are great not only for the lazy people like me, but for people with bigger nails.

Hmm, the stamping looks smudged on my middle finger in this picture, but it's not.

Hmm, the stamping looks smudged on my middle finger in this picture, but it’s not.

You can just stamp the image down in an approximate of where your nail is instead of oh-so-carefully lining it up, and it’ll still look nice. Knees Up isn’t the best stamping polish everrrrr because it’s not 100% crisp and opaque, but it’s not too shabby. I am not a red person, as I think I’ve established, but this one caught my eye when it first came out (I think last year?), a bright, metallic true red that reminds me of wrapping paper.

11-18-13 fingers up

I had to really load up the nail plate with polish to get it to stamp well (I did a test on my right hand and it barely left an image) but once I did it turned out pretty well. I’m so glad I found my plates! I moved a few months ago and there’s still a box or two in my closet, and these guys were hanging out in there, of course. I chose the mosaic(?) image because I liked that it had an inverse that I could use for my skittles.

I couldn't resist using those little leaves again! Also, it was really hard to get this at an angle that didn't reflect everything in my room.

I couldn’t resist using those little leaves again! Also, it was really hard to get this at an angle that didn’t reflect everything in my room.

Electrify was a surprise hit for me. Actually, I ended up liking a lot more of China Glaze’s Hunger Games collection two years ago than I originally did. The colors seemed pretty lame at first but they definitely grew on me. I own Smoke and Ashes, Stone Cold, and Harvest Moon in addition to Electrify, which is brilliant red and gold glitter in a clear base. I did two coats of Electrify over one coat of Knees Up on my pointer, and two coats of it over two coats of Goldfinger on my thumb. It’s funny how the tiny empty spaces between glitter pieces lets the base shine through, and the glitter seems more red-heavy on my pointer and more gold-heavy on my thumb because of it.

ARGH I couldn't get my iPhone camera to focus on these nails individually because of the glitter, I guess? Anyway, here's a weird macro to so you can see how the base coat affected the nail as a whole.

ARGH I couldn’t get my iPhone camera to focus on these nails individually because of the glitter, I guess? Anyway, here’s a weird macro to so you can see how the base coat affected the nail as a whole.

I ended up going to a USC tailgate this weekend, so my nails were on theme! It was pretty fun, although I felt guilty semi-supporting a team that’s not mine. (And my team ended up losing that day, which made me feel worse.) I had a pretty busy weekend on the whole, actually, because a friend was in town too, but it was fun. Now I have to focus on figuring out what I’m doing for Thanksgiving! At least I’ve already planned out my nails, though :)

Thoughts on this mani? Do any of y’all have Goldfinger and love it as much as I do? Would you like to see more stamping in the future?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Books & Polish

This “fall-themed polish” thing is really throwing me for a loop because I’m actually liking the colors! I mean, no brown, burgundy, or nude will ever take the place of my beloved saturated blues and greens or neons, but I’m shocked that I can actually appreciate these more subdued polishes.

11-13-13 bottle shot

Today’s polish combo includes two polishes I’ve never worn before – OPI’s Warm & Fozzie and Designer…de Better! from the Muppets collection last year. A lovely friend of mine got me a mini set that has those two plus Wocka Wocka and Excuse Moi! The OPI mini are really mini! The brush surprisingly isn’t too awkward, but I felt like a giant trying to paint my nails.

So little!

So little!

I don’t even know how I ended up on these colors together. I wanted to use Milani’s Dark Coffee, which I have only previously used as the apple stem in my poison apple manicure, and came across this box of minis where I decided on W&F and thought eh, let’s throw in D…dB! too.

11-13-13 fingers normal

I think this might’ve looked cooler if I had done all different finishes, like crème, foil, metallic. The two OPI foils don’t look the best together, in my opinion, but altogether it’s still kind of cool. I meant to make a step-by-step collage to show how I did it but I forgot because I’m the worst, sorry! :/

Slightly out of focus so you can see the flecks of color in Warm & Fozzie.

Slightly out of focus so you can see the flecks of color in Warm & Fozzie.

First I painted a base coat of W&F – which annoyingly was super sheer and needed three coats – then added a light coat of Seche Vite and waited an hour or so. You can see on my middle finger it looks darker – I layered W&F over Dark Coffee to see if that would help the opacity problem, and it did, but I thought the polish lost a little of its pretty duochrome-ness, so I ended up not doing that on all my nails. After the base color was dry, I cut a bunch of angled tape pieces, stuck them to my palm a few times so they weren’t quite as sticky, then positioned them where I wanted them. I painted the lower section with one thickish coat of Dark Coffee, which applied really nicely, and the smaller upper section with 1-1.5 coats of D…dB!, which is surprisingly opaque. I removed the tape after a few seconds and added top coat when it was all dry.

My new $1 purchase, a historical fiction about Charlotte Bronte as a spy or something. SOLD!

My new $1 purchase, a historical fiction about Charlotte Bronte as a spy or something. SOLD!

W&F, despite being sheer (one of the most obnoxious polish problems, in my opinion), is pretty cool because it seems to change color. It’s a bronze-y brown foil packed with red, gold, and green particles, and in certain lights it shifts from a light brown/copper to a more greenish-gold hue. I also ended up really liking D…dB! because at first glance it seems like a boring taupe-champagne, but it has these awesome copper flecks scattered throughout that make it really unique. It’s really shiny and reflective, too! I still think OPI could’ve done a better job with that collection (the Muppets are a colorful bunch, yet half the collection is just reds, and the glitters were boring) but I like that even though the colors aren’t the flashiest, some of them have little extras that keep them from being completely boring.

Dark Coffee actually looks like perfectly melted chocolate. You can also see the copper flecks in D...dB! and the multicolored flakes in W&F.

Dark Coffee actually looks like perfectly melted chocolate. You can also see the copper flecks in D…dB! and the multicolored flakes in W&F.

The bookshelves in the background of my pictures are from an awesome place called The Last Bookstore in downtown LA. Downstairs there’s a mini stage where they have readings and books are organized into the usual sections like YA, History, Religion, etc.

First floor view from upstairs.

First floor view from upstairs.

Upstairs there’s a $1 wonderland with hundreds of books. It’s a huuuuuuge bookstore in what used to be a bank, so there’s still vaults and other cool set-ups scattered around.

11-13-13 vault

Sure, the $1 section has a lot of weird old cookbooks and business and travel guides from the early 90s, but there’s some good stuff in there too, if you root around. Last time I came my friend A and I were there for probably 3 hours, maybe more.

They even have some sections color coordinated!

They even have some sections color coordinated!

Upstairs also has a bunch of small artists’ shops that feature everything from jewelry to paintings to vintage goods. A bunch of their wares are placed around the bookstore as art installations that are for sale if one tickles your fancy.

11-13-13  instaillation

I love this place, I’d say if you’re a book lover and are in the downtown LA area you should definitely pop in. You can do lunch and cocktails at Cole’s before you go, which is what we did. It’s an au jus place (apparently the inventor of that style) with delicious cocktails and desserts, and it’s a really short walk from one to the other.

Thoughts on this mani? Anyone been to The Last Bookstore?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Glitter Elegance with Ginger Spice Latte

Are ginger spice lattes a real thing? I’m not sure, but I do know that the hot beverage of the season is the pumpkin spice latte, which I actually don’t like. I know, I’m like the only person evaaaaa who doesn’t, but one of the spices in that legendary concoction is something I just can’t stand. Bleh. I do, however, completely adore I Love Nail Polish’s Ginger Spice Latte polish, which is featured in today’s combo!

P.S. this is a caramel macchiato, a kind of treat for going so long without buying frivolous coffee drinks like this :)

P.S. this is a caramel macchiato, a kind of treat for going so long without buying frivolous coffee drinks like this :)

I’ve had ILNP on this blog before with Candy Apples & Razors, but I didn’t fully gush about it. I love this brand! It’s an indie company (with both a website and an etsy store) but everything about it is so professional and awesome. The bottle feels solid and expensive, is an easy shape for storage, and has a matted rubber cap that is great for gripping. The logo is etched on the front of the bottle, and there’s also a sticker on the bottom with the name of the polish. I really like indies, and part of their charm is that they have handwritten labels and such, but it’s also really impressive when an indie brand puts out a product that’s as well put together as ILNP.

11-11-13 bottle and box!

I got my first ILNP polishes during the Black Friday deal last year and sort of shocked myself by ordering Ginger Spice Latte since that kind of polish (tiny glitter, understated gold/copper color) wasn’t really my jam then, but ever since I got it it’s probably my most-used glitter topper. GSL has good coverage in just one coat and only takes one thickish coat of top coat to smooth everything out, which is pretty rare for glitter. All my INLP polishes have a REALLY strong smell since I got them before the owner changed her formula, but I actually don’t mind much because I kind of like the chemical smell of nail polish.

11-11-13 Curled hand - too dark?

In keeping with my fall theme, I decided GSL’s gorgeous mix of tiny gold and copper glitters would go beautifully with Zoya’s Shawn, a military green (more yellowish green/mossy) that covers well in two coats. This color is a shapeshifter – it’s darker on the nail than in the bottle, and it also appears lighter or darker and more of a yellow/khaki green depending on your lighting, which I’ve shown below in a collage. (It appears almost hunter green in my lightbox photos, but it’s not.)

Clockwise from the top: in very yellow/warm lighting in my apt, (next 3 taken in the car) in weak afternoon light, in very bright 1pm, and in the shade.

Clockwise from the top left: in very yellow/warm lighting in my apt, (next 3 taken in the car) in weak afternoon light, in very bright 1pm light, and in the shade.

It’s the kind of color that was in style a few years ago like all those other weird in-between colors (griege, dirty taupe), and I wasn’t into it then but can appreciate it now. I was originally just going to do a glitter gradient over Shawn but thought I should try something new.

You can see gold micro, square, and hex glitter, plus slightly larger copper hex pieces. Love!

You can see gold micro, square, and hex glitter, plus slightly larger copper hex pieces. Love!

11-11-13 macro - nail

I love this combination! My application of glitter in the curved sections along the side of my nails isn’t the best, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and struggled to make them all the same after my first few.

Up -  cloudy
11-11-13 From the side - shade

GSL’s caramel colors look so rich against Shawn. I did one normal coat of GSL and another thin coat, sort of dabbing in a few places to get almost full coverage. I wiped off the excess polish so I had just a little bit to work with for more control for the second coat, but since I had the cap off for so long it started to get a bit goopy and hard to work with, which is why the curves aren’t super clean. I don’t think that’s something the average person would notice, though. I really love this way of adding glitter!

This was taken outside in late afternoon light, and it's a pretty true representation of how this color looks most of the time.

This was taken outside in late afternoon light, and it’s a pretty true representation of how this color looks most of the time.

So I (finally) started watching Friday Night Lights. I have this unintentional habit of not watching shows that multiple people emphatically tell me I’d love, and this one has been on my “to watch” list for years. I guess maybe subconsciously I get annoyed by people constantly telling me to watch them, but once I watch whichever one I do really like it – Veronica Mars was one of those, and oh man I loved that show from the first episode. I’m about 6 episodes into FNL and I don’t “OMG loooooooove” it, but I certainly like it. I’m watching with my sister, who’s a huge fan, so it’s hard to not ask her “who’s that? what’s his deal? do those two stay together? what happens to her?” She also obviously knows a lot more about the characters so I sometimes feel out of the loop.

clear-eyes-full-hearts-cant-lose

I do think it’s pretty good, though, and despite me not having any super strong feelings about any of the characters, the football element really gets me going – even though I know it’s a TV show, and that everything is choreographed, I still get really into the games (“Go Smash! Run it!!!”). I don’t like pro football, only high school/college, because I feel like they’re more exciting since there’s so much riding on each game. I do really love how realistic everything feels, like how much religion plays into most of the characters’ lives in small-town Texas, and dialogue like Coach Taylor and his wife’s conversations feel really natural and real. And while I haven’t gotten a real connection with the characters yet, I do have a few favorites. I like Coach’s daughter, Julie, because I feel like she acts like how I would if I were the teenage daughter of a small-town football coach, and also Tyra, who’s sort of a hustler (I just got to the episode where they throw an anti-homecoming party for $) and just does what she wants. I’m excited to get to super-fan levels of adoration with this show like everyone else I know who watched it.

Any FNL fans? Thoughts on this mani?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x