Ye Old Gold Filigree Mani

This past weekend I went to my first Renaissance Faire! It was pretty awesome, and obvs I had to do nails on theme. I knew I wanted to use my new Gilded Rose by Maybelline polish and some gold nail decal/stickers I got forever ago from Born Pretty Store, and since Gilded Rose is a dupe of a-England’s She Walks in Beauty, I ended up basing my design on this gorgeous look by The Polished Perfectionist.

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Ever since I first saw swatches of She Walks in Beauty I was weirdly entranced – weirdly because this very feminine polish with its pale pink glitter is not usually my style, but something about it really got me. However, I try to not spend too much on individual polishes, and at $10 a pop before shipping, a-Englands are out of my reach unless I’m treating myself (like when I got Dragon and St. George a few years ago), so I was excited when I found out Maybelline had a dupe. It’s taken me a loooong time to find one in stores because it’s always sold out, but I managed to score this guy along with some seriously discounted OPIs at Ulta a week ago.

Taken in front of the pretty tent where we got henna tattoos.

These pics were all taken in outside in blinding sunlight/dusty air, so they’re not the best. Also, please forgive the dried Seche Vite on the sides of my nails, I know it looks kind of gross. :/ This was taken in front of the pretty tent where we got henna tattoos.

The formula was a little annoying – the glitter tends to clump together and if the bottle cap is off for more than a few seconds it gets thick, but nothing too unmanageable. I did two coats of Gilded Rose over two coats of OPI’s Samoan Sand on my ring, and dabbed it onto my tips on my pinkie, pointer, and thumb. Alas, I’m terrible with creating fades no matter how much I try, so my tips don’t look as great at The Polished Perfectionist’s, but I don’t even care because I loooooove the combination of Open Seas’ soft green with the bright yellow-gold and pink sparkliness of Gilded Rose.

In this shaded pic (holding my delicious raspberry cider!) you can  sort of see how reflective Gilded Rose is.

In this shaded pic (holding my delicious raspberry cider!) you can better see how reflective Gilded Rose is.

The sticker on my ring was a bit tricky. I applied a sticker to the middle finger on my right hand and applied a coat of Seche Vite over it to ensure it wouldn’t come off, but putting top coat on ruined the beautiful matte gold effect. On my left hand I tried putting top coat down first and then laying the sticker on top, but it still seeped through and messed up the finish, plus it kept catching on things and half pulling off, so I eventually put top coat over it as well. These stickers are definitely not going to last a week, but they’re pretty for a day or two. I’m determined to eventually figure out how to keep that bright matte finish…

The best photo I managed to take was this one, weirdly enough! It was the only one where Open Seas was color accurate, plus you can kind of see the reflectiveness of Gilded Rose in the shade of the sword.

The best photo I managed to take of my mani was this one, weirdly enough! It was the only one where Open Seas was color accurate, plus you can kind of see the bright gold of Gilded Rose in the shade.

If you’ve never been to a Ren Faire, you should def go because it’s super fun. The one here in Southern CA was huge – we were there for about five hours and still didn’t get to see everything! There were weapon demonstrations, vaudeville-esque shows, turkey legs, jousting, and endless booths selling everything from corsets to candles to chalices and entertainment varying from archery to turtle racing to some weird thing where people get into plastic bubbles and flail around on water. The location and weather were gorgeous and the people watching was maybe the most fun of the whole event. I only wore a flower crown but I’m tempted to go full medieval next time – there were so many amazing costumes and y’all know how much I love a theme!

Has anyone ever been to a Ren Faire? I regret not getting to try the throwing stars booth but there’s always next year!

Thank you for reading! See you next time – A x

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Chevron Chic

I started following Make It Stick on Instagram and a week or so ago they posted about a sale they were having. I do a lot of tape manis, so I loved the idea of having pre-cut shapes at my disposal and ordered a few designs.

My order came in a fabulous pink package including a business card with tips on the back and a piece of gum, how cute!

My order came in a fabulous pink package including a business card with tips on the back and a piece of gum, how cute!

My order shipped quickly so I got it a few days ago and couldn’t wait to play! I also wanted to use a few polishes I’d recently bought, and so this is the combo I came up with:

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I’m not sure why I bought this Essie – as is well documented on this blog by now, I’m not a red/coral person at all. But something about this little guy popped out at me every time I visited my fav nail supply store, so when I was there last weekend I decided to just finally buy it. And I like it a lot! I knew I wanted to use it with a dusty blue, so I chose Electric Beat. I own almost every polish from China Glaze’s 2012 Electropop collection, but I only got Electric Beat and its cousin, Kinetic Candy (a lighter version of the same color) a few months ago because those kind of blues aren’t normally my jam; however, I’ve used both a lot since acquiring them. I think this cornflower-y blue and the bright coral-orange work really well together here!

Come Here! is slightly more orange in person.

Come Here! is slightly more orange in person.

I almost just used Come Here! and Electric Beat with the chevron tape by themselves, but then I thought breaking them up with a neutral color would look better, so I chose my old buddy My Vampire Is Buff. I used two quick coats (would’ve done another if I was wearing it alone due to slight streakiness) and a layer of Seche Vite, then waited about an hour to add the tape and additional layers of polish – I tried it on a finger on my left hand after only about fifteen minutes and when I removed the tape, it pulled up my base layer of MVIB. :/ Since neither Come Here! or Electric Beat are normally one coaters, I did one super thick coat over the tape in an attempt to get them completely opaque, but as you can see in the closer photo below, that thicker coat meant my lines weren’t 100% crisp when I pulled the tape up. You definitely can’t tell unless you get up close, though.

I somehow managed to smear a little of Come Here!, probably while putting on top coat…I will never learn that patience is a virtue :(

I somehow managed to smear a little of Come Here on my ring finger, probably while putting on top coat…will I ever learn that patience is a virtue?

My pointer and pinkie fingers are topped with another fairly recent purchase, Rose of Light. It’s composed of rose gold hexes/micro glitter and small holographic square pieces, and is a pretty densely packed glitter. It’s really pretty! I’ve been into rose gold more and more lately, and this glitter is a nice, subtle way to add it in.

You can see the rose gold-ness better in this macro taken inside...

You can see the rose gold-ness better in this macro taken inside…

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…and the sparkliness in this blurred .gif (I can never resist!).

P.S. The name “Come Here!” makes me smile because it reminds me of how Jenny Lewis says it in “Portions For Foxes.”

Daaaaaamn you guys, remember when summer used to be an empty wasteland for television? Sunday night I was typing up my Easter post and realized that later that night Mad Men, Orphan Black, Game Of Thrones, Veep, AND the new show Salem were all going to be on. I’ve been anticipating Salem because I thought it would be a hilarable cheesefest, but apparently Salem is going the Ryan Murphy “balls-out crazy” route. (Minor spoilers below!)

Oh man, I couldn’t stop laughing every time Shane West popped up – he just looked so out of place with long hair/period garb plus his character seemed to be incongruously modern compared to everyone else (it may have been his acting, though?). His love interest, the main girl Mary, is kind of coldly beautiful which I think works, plus I like that she goes from “sad young girl in love” to “bad bitch who owns the town and tortures her enemies.”

There are lots of faboosh capes, though! via

Puritans didn’t have a lot of fashion options, but there were still faboosh capes, apparently!
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I was really startled at the random, pretty intense sex scene that came out of nowhere at one point, causing me to turn to my sister and confusedly ask, “Isn’t WGN the channel that edits out the word “poop” in its 30 Rock reruns?” And we watched it at like, 7 or 8 pm… You can’t even say things like “asshole” until 10pm, right? There were a lot of wtf moments though, from the literal frog in Mary’s husband’s throat (not to mention the thigh suckling???) to the possessed/haunted girl getting walked like a dog in the town square to the orgy of molasses people.

"We're here to partyyyyyyy!" via

“We’re here to partyyyyyyy!”
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I can’t quite tell if I liked this or not – I have a tendency to enjoy shitty/cheesy shows if they’re fun (see: Reign) but Salem isn’t quite “so bad it’s cheesy good,” yet it’s definitely not actually good… Jury is out, but I will give it a few episodes to see if they embrace the camp or take themselves (far too) seriously.

Anyone else get goodies from the Make It Stick sale or watch Salem? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! See you guys next time – A x

Easter Nails!

Hi all! I tried to actually post on Easter but alas, I just missed the mark. I had a lot of ideas on what to do for my Easter nails, but the choices kind of overwhelmed me so I ended up just doing something super simple – pastel neons and matte glitter.

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I apparently can’t stop using China Glaze’s Sunsational colors, because I used four of them in this mani! I did three coats of each color except That’s Shore Bright; Too Yacht To Handle probably would’ve been good in two if I had been more careful. I think all of these colors have been shown on my blog before except Too Yacht To Handle, which is a gorgeous, super-bright aqua. It’s like my fav Aquadelic on steroids, so of course I love it.
Edit: I have actually used Too Yacht To Handle on my blog before, in this post from January; I’ve never shown it on its own before, though!

Apologies for the chips/tipwear on my thumb and pointer!

Apologies for the chips/tipwear on my thumb and pointer!

I added one coat of Lynderella’s Love, Lace and Lilacs atop each nail. I use my few Lynnderellas sparingly, and they are really beautiful, but I forgot how chunky they are – I put two, maybe three coats of Seche Vite on top and my nails still weren’t perfectly smooth (you can see a few pieces raised off the edge of a couple of nails). Other brands are doing the matte glitter thing now – the Maybelline Street Art collection and Sephora’s new Formula X polishes come to mind – but Lynn’s were the OG, as far as I know. LL&L also has pretty, sparkly micro glitter and a few sheer pieces that add a little something extra. The formula is a bit finicky – sometimes it’s hard to move the glitter pieces around because I think there’s a bit too much glitter for the amount of clear base, so it’s hard to get even coverage. But look how pretty!

Also, see that weird discoloration on the glitter on my pinkie? I have NO idea what that is, but I'm pretty sure something similar happened last time I used a Lynnderella…

Also, see that weird discoloration on the glitter on my pinkie? I have NO idea what that is, but I’m pretty sure something similar happened last time I used a Lynnderella…

I tried to capture the true colors in the shade, but it didn't really work. Too Yacht/That's Shore Bright are good, but Highlight is definitely not that bright, and East Austin and Neon & On & On are wayyy more bright/neon than they're showing up. The bottle pic at the top of the post is actually fairly accurate.

I tried to capture the true colors in the shade, but it didn’t really work. Too Yacht/That’s Shore Bright are good, but Highlight is definitely not that bright, and East Austin and Neon & On & On are wayyy more bright/neon than they’re showing up.

My sister and I started Easter with a nice brunch then spent a few hours at a local winery.

Nothing better than a fountain of vino!

Anyone up for a fountain of vino?

I’ve been there many times and it’s just so freaking lovely – bringing a picnic, stretching out on a blanket in the sun with the beautiful Malibu scenery around you, sipping a glass of delicious vino… Heaven. They also started a mimosa flight in addition to their regular wine flights, and that shit is good. Guava limeade, never leave me.

Awww yeahhhhh, you like those lens flares? Just call me J.J. Abrams.

I hope you all had a nice Easter if you celebrate or just a nice, relaxing Sunday if you don’t. I’m going to put off removing this mani since Lynnderella glitters are a bitch and a half to get off, but I just got my order from Make It Stick so hopefully I’ll have something fun with those soon! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x

Textured Bubbles

Back with another simple mani!

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I bought OPI’s Jinx sometime last year along with Get Your Number, back when the texture trend was juuuuust starting out. I’ve written before about my love for the OPI texture shades so when Jinx caught my eye the other day I knew I had to wear it again. I decided to pair it with another bright color and some quick ‘n’ easy nail art.

Jinx looks really orange in the bottle but on the nail it's more muted and definitely more coral than straight orange.

Jinx looks like a super-saturated orange in the bottle but on the nail it’s a bit more muted and definitely more coral.

I’ve also had Aquadelic on this blog before, and man, I think I need to grab a backup bottle before it gets too hard to find. I don’t know what it is about this color, but I just adore it – it’s the perfect bright aqua, has an easy two-coat formula, and it just makes me happy to look down at my nails and see it! I really like Aquadelic paired with the orangey coral of Jinx; often I’m nervous to pair complementary colors since in their most basic hues they can have very strong connotations (red + green = Christmas, yellow + purple or blue + orange don’t look like anything but sports team colors to me) but this aqua and coral look beautiful, especially with the gold shimmer in Jinx!

DAT SPARKLE.

DAT SPARKLE.

I’m terrible at doing basic, uniform polka dots with dotting tools, but something like this where the size and position of each dot is supposed to vary are much easier for me to do. I always start out intending to do a subtly curved line just along the side of my nail, but inevitably I end up with a sharp slope across half of it. I think it’s cute, though – the aqua/coral is a bit sea-like in a The Little Mermaid kind of way, and the dots remind me of tiny bubbles.

Also - my pinkie nail finally doesn't look gruesome so I can show my left hand again! Thank God, posing my right hand is so awkward.

Also – my pinkie nail finally doesn’t look gruesome so I can show my left hand again! Thank God, posing my right hand is so awkward.

Did everyone see the new trailer for season two of Orange Is The New Black? I’m thrilled that there’s less Piper, that Daya is calling that hot guard out on their power imbalance, more background on characters, and just…damn, this looks good. I watched all eight season of Weeds but really it only had four good seasons (and that’s being a little generous with season four) so I’m a little nervous that Jenji Kohan might not be able to pull off the amazingness of season one again, but I have hope! I feel like with all the many, diverse characters and their unique microcosm of prison that there’s room for more stories than Nancy Botwin selling drugs in the ‘burbs – not that Weeds’ story wasn’t fantastic when it was on top (I will forever count those first few seasons as some of my favorite of TV!) but there were only so many jams Nancy could “I’m a hot white lady” her way out of.

(Random fact: there used to be an It’s A Grind – the coffee shop from the opening credits that Nancy is often seen sipping – a few minutes from me and it was my faaaaav but it changed owners and now it’s called something really lame, and it never fails to make me sad when I drive by.)

Oh Celia, I think I miss you most of all. And Conrad. And Isabelle. And Heylia. Damn, now I kinda want to start rewatching from the beginning… via

Oh Celia, I think I miss you most of all. And Conrad. And Isabelle. And Heylia. Damn, now I kinda want to start rewatching from the beginning…
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Any thoughts on this mani? Anyone else super mega excited for OITNB (or Weeds? I can talk about Weeds all day)?

Thank you for reading! See you next time! A x

Roman Summer Nails

I haven’t had much time for super inventive manicures in the past week because I’ve been very busy with a few friends in town, and this weekend one of them threw an ancient Rome themed murder mystery party! Obvs I had to theme out my nails as well as my outfit, but I was a little stumped on what to do, plus I didn’t have much time. I ended up with this very simple look – I’m not quite sure it got the “Roman” theme across, but it did in a pinch! I knew I wanted to do something with matte gold – for some reason it seemed Roman to me (well, Roman nobility – I ain’t no pleb). I was originally going to stamp with a foliage-ish design I found because I thought it kind of looked like designs on I’ve seen in fabric worn on the late HBO show Rome (yes, I started rewatching it because of the party), but I liked the knot one I ended up with better.

Oh Antony, I miss you the most.  via

Oh Antony, I miss you the most.
via

I didn’t put a top coat on my left hand before adding my matte layer and the design smeared, but my right hand fared much better, as you can see. I’ve never used Good As Gold for anything but stamping, but it’s awesomely reflective on its own, and while it was plagued with some visible brush strokes, that’s par for the course with metallics and the matte top coat smoothed most of them out anyway.

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My current mani is this fun, summer-y one! Everyone and their mother is at Coachella right now, and while I do find the constant coverage a bit annoying, I like how many people embrace super bright nail art for the festival. It got me itching for some neons, and I reached for three from China Glaze’s Sunsational collection.

Argh I realized I forgot to add Ginger Spice Latte to this photo! It's been featured a few times before on the blog, though.

Argh I realized I forgot to add Ginger Spice Latte to this photo! It’s been featured a few times before on the blog, though.

I forgot how fussy these hues are. Too Yacht To Handle (aqua) and That’s Shore Bright (purple) are normal two-coaters for me, but all the others I have from this collection take a little patience (and we all know how little of that I have!). I needed four coats of Neon & On & On for my pointer, pinkie, and thumb, and even so there were still streaky areas. I think in the future I’ll try more to do the “three-stroke” method for each layer, as well as waiting longer between coats and doing thinner coats – I was painting my nails while watching TV, as I often do, so I wasn’t paying much attention to how much I was globbing on, which might’ve been the problem because I think this was only three coats last time I used it.

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On my middle and ring fingers I did two thin coats of N&O&O then sponged a gradient of Son Of A Peach, N&O&O, and You Drive Me Coconuts. I think I should’ve done a heavier coat of N&O&O on the sponge – I thought since it was the base color it would come through more but it gets a little lost. I do love how these three blend together, though! I added a coat of Ginger Spice Latte, one of my fav glitter toppers, to add a little bling.

I think this is a slightly more color-accurate photo go N&O&O, the photo before this was a smudge too pink.

I think this is a slightly more color-accurate photo of N&O&O, the photo before this was a smidge too pink.

I was going to stamp on my pointer, pinkie, and thumb, but I kind of liked how they looked plain with my super crazy middle fingers so I left ’em. I’m surprised that this has lasted about three days since the polish is on so thick, but I do have a few tiny chips. Even though the formula on these neons is obnoxious, I do love the colors. China Glaze makes the best neons, hands down. The 2012 neons? Ugh SO GOOD, even the formulas were amazing. Now I’m thinking that a neon rainbow of China Glazes would be awesome. Maybe I’ll give it a shot later this summer…

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This weekend I met up with some friends at the LA Times Festival of Books, and it was really fun! Like a dummy I didn’t look at everyone single author going, so I missed that both John Green and Veronica Roth were going to speak, and there were no tickets left by the time I found out. But my sister and I did get to see Rachel Zoe’s talk, and it was actually pretty good. Did you know she was a psychology and sociology major in college? But when she realized that field meant many more years of school and she was like “screw that” and switched to fashion. She was friends with the moderator and they were both very charming. During the Q&A portion there were the usual questions (“How did you get to where you are today?”, “What advice do you have for aspiring stylists?” [which was asked twice in a row, Jesus, listen people]) but a few fun ones like an awesome older gentleman asking “How high are your heels and who makes them?” We also managed to see a little of Alicia Silverstone’s talk and LaVar Burton doing a Reading Rainbow live at the children’s section. (My sister asked what Reading Rainbow was, further reminding me how old I am.)

The book fest was held at the USC campus, where we’d been before (tailgating, heyohhhhh) so it was easy to find and all the areas were pretty clearly marked. There were lots of interesting booths of indie/niche publishers and artists, book sellers, a Penguin book bus, music, and cool exhibits. We got some free swag, signed up to win tickets for the opera, and just generally had a lovely day strolling around in the pretty weather. Next year I’m definitely reading through the whole listing to see who’s going and getting my tickets early, but even if you don’t see people speak, it’s a free event that you could easily spend a whole day at, so if you’re in LA in April I highly recommend going!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted as much lately – I’ve been super busy, but I’m going to try and do better the rest of the month. Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next time – A x