Neon Gradient and a Witch Baby Soap Review!

Hi everyone! How was your weekend? Ughhhh it’s soooo hottttt here – it was 102 this weekend (unfortunately for all the actors at the Emmys red carpet who were sweating in their suits and gowns) and it’s still in the 90s so I’m going crazy. I’m ready for fall weather, dammit! It won’t stop me from putting up Halloween decorations in my apartment or lighting my “Leaves” Bath & Body Works candle, but it does feel wrong to wear anything other than bright-ass polish when it’s still so hot out. So I did a little something simple with some of my favorite pastel neons.

9.22.15 bottles

I’m actually surprised I haven’t shown Highlight Of My Summer more on this blog – a quick search showed that I’ve only posted it one other time, which is weird because I love and wear this color so much, even though like the rest of the 2013 Sunsationals Collection, the formula is crap (also, my bottle has gotten thick and goopy, bleh). It’s always difficult to tell in photos, but HOMS is a great bright mint – I can hardly wear any others, they all look so sad and pale compared to it. Anyway, for this look I did three painstaking coats of HOMS, and when that was done I did a gradient with Too Yacht To Handle (which I actually do post a lot on this blog). I also threw on a layer of Fairy Dust because SPARKLE.

9.22.15 Fancy Finger Guns curled

I couldn’t find my butter London white so I used an old NYC one I had rolling around and unfortunately it’s super sheer and goopy so my next design didn’t turn out so great, sigh. I applied some “tribal” decals I’ve had around for a while, painted over them with the white, and peeled the decals off – only it got a little messed up on my pointer, oops. I also don’t totally love the weird harlequin diamond look I accidentally made on my pointer with the little triangle shapes, but I do love how my ring turned out! I’d definitely try this again using just the decal from my ring and a better white polish.

9.22.15 Fancy Finger Guns straight

Since this is a shorter polish post, I wanted to add a review for one of my favorite new indie companies – Witch Baby Soap! WBS is an indie shop that started on Etsy and eventually became its own shop. They’re based out of New Jersey and have found a big following on Instagram, which is how I found them. First of all, I love the name – anything that’s witchy, I am IN. The packaging/branding is lovely and they’re also vegan, don’t use chemicals, and are cruelty-free. For my very first purchase a few months ago, I ordered just one soap to try them out – they were sold out of almost everything, but I wanted to try at least something so I got the Hex-Breaker soap (and allllllmost got the Gossip-Stopper soap just because it’s gorgeous and looks like a sparkly galaxy, but I hate star anise.) Hex-Breaker was a pretty mild scent – it’s got lemon, lavender, angelica, and clary sage, but I mostly smelled a light lemon scent that didn’t linger too much on my skin. Since I usually use shower gels, this soap really surprised me – it left my skin feeling clean but not dried out, and my skin was actually softer after use.

After that first soap order, I wanted to try as many scents as I could, so I placed two or three small orders in the next few months whenever items came back in stock:

Séance soap: This soap is sandalwood and rose scented, and also has dandelion root, which is an herb used to “bring about spirits,” according to the description. Like Hex-Breaker, the scent of Séance isn’t super powerful, which I like, but definitely smells fresh and lovely. The bar is a gunmetal silver with a very fine, barely-there shimmer. Also, a few days after using this, I saw my living room curtains move when the AC wasn’t on, so maybe it did bring out some spirits! :)

Mermaid soap: Loooved this one! It’s a gorgeous, super summery scent with sea salt, summer sweet citrus, agave, and ocean spray. The bar is made up of swirled with yellow and aqua, and it has a fabulous, strong shimmer made up of delicate particles, but it doesn’t stay on your skin. This scent is only available in the summer.

Love soap: The Love soap smell is amazing if you like apple scents (which I do!). It’s got rose, as well, but I mostly smelled apple, and it’s a stronger scent than the other soaps I tried. It also has poppy seeds for gentle exfoliation, and like Hex-Breaker, my skin definitely felt softer after use. Like all the others, the Love soap also just looks gorgeous – it’s a rosy pink dotted with poppy seeds and has an unexpected strong blue shimmer sheen, making it duo chrome.

Rune bath bomb: I’m not a bath person, usually, but I really wanted to try this one out because these bombs have a rune inside! The smell was nice – not my personal fav because it’s a bit earthy (scents include patchouli, vetiver, tonka beans, lily, rose, and geranium, but I mostly smelled the first few), but I loved how it turned the water a sparkly, witchy green and it did make my skin lovely and soft after. This bomb comes with a little chart that describes each rune – I got the success one, holla!

Love bath bomb: I wanted to see if I liked the Love scent enough to buy a scrub or body butter (since it’s a lot of product and $13-$15 each), so I grabbed one of these bad boys during a more recent restock, and the scent is even lovelier in bath bomb form! I will definitely be buying a body butter when my Blue Moon runs out. This bomb is topped with dried rose petals and turns your water a deep pink – it’s awesome, even to someone like me who isn’t a bath person, and it’s clear why this is one of WBS’s biggest sellers!

Blue Moon body butter: I was wary about this because I didn’t know if I’d like the scent (jasmine and crocus, and I had no idea what crocus is), but this was such a hot-ticket item – usually it’s just called “Moon Butter” but this version was “charged under the blue moon” as well as coming topped with a crystal – that I couldn’t resist grabbing one. I wasn’t a huuuuuge fan of the scent when I first got it – I think because I’m not super into super strong florals – but it’s definitely grown on me, which is good because the scent lingers on your skin. The texture is like a thick icing, if that makes sense? It’s not light and whipped like most body butters – it’s thick but not heavy or greasy, and it does take a few minutes to completely absorb into your skin, but it feels so lovely and moisturizing. I wasn’t paying attention and totally didn’t see that this was a shimmer butter, which is a fun little extra but happily doesn’t show up that much on your skin (it’s not the ’90s, body glitter is not acceptable outside of a stripper pole anymore). I also looooove the pale aqua color of the butter, and nestled in the center like a beautiful witchy surprise was a clear crystal! How cool is that?

I just placed an order of a bunch of Halloween products when they went on sale last week, and I can’t wait to get them! The only issue with ordering from Witch Baby Soap is that they sell out incredibly quickly – you can sign up for emails on their site that will tell you when items come back in stock, but I’ve found it’s way more effective to follow their Instagram (@witchbabysoap), which alerts you a few days or sometimes weeks in advance and lets you know exactly what date/time restocks happen at. The owner of the shop did say they’re going to try to be more regular with restocks in October – listing whatever items they have ready every few days instead of waiting until they have a huge amount, which is why most products are out of stock for weeks at a time – but keep an eye out on their IG for official info. I highly recommend this brand, though – I love the professional touches they give their products (butters/scrubs come in real glass jars, every order gets a free sample) and the products themselves are just so, so great. I hope this review helps someone – I couldn’t find any really detailed reviews out there, and it’s hard to just blindly purchase a bunch of things without knowing if you’ll like the scents (even though that’s what I did!) so hopefully you’ll find this helpful. I’m sure I’ll do another review when my Halloween scents get here, but for now thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time! – A x

Cactus Nails for Kacey Musgraves!

Hi everyone, how’s your week been going? I am having a tough one – I took Tuesday off for my birthday and had a lovely day, but for some reason it’s made the rest of the week just drag ughhhh. But last Friday I got to go to the Kacey Musgraves concert at the Wiltern here in LA and it was so great! I didn’t get the best photos, but I gotta say, my nails were pretty on point – I think Kacey would approve!

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Kacey Musgraves is known for her love of retro country with some added glitter and neon flair – so she’ll wear authentic cowboy boots but add bulbs so they light up, or have her band wear suits with bolo ties, but they’ll be pink and have rhinestone lapels. I saw her Crossroads performance with Katy Perry a few months ago and she had these great neon cacti as part of her set decor, so that’s where the inspiration of these nails came from. I decided to do a pink/green theme because it felt sufficiently fun and girly to suit Kacey’s style.

Yes, that is a tiny cowboy hat that I bought at Joann's just to pose with these bottles.

Yes, that is a tiny cowboy hat that I bought at Joann’s just to pose with these bottles.

After painting on two coats of You Drive Me Coconuts, my fav neon pink, I used my smallest dotting tool to make a bunch of little upright lines spaced out, then went back to make curved arms coming out like saguaro cactus. I was not totally perfect in my execution, but as the first time attempting a freehand cactus pattern, I feel like it came out pretty good!

Sorry about the cut on my ring finger!

Sorry about the cut on my ring finger!

Shockingly, I somehow actually did a better job on my right hand.

P.S. It's really difficult to pose while taking photos with your non-dominant hand, as you might notice based on how awkward this photo is!

P.S. It’s really difficult to pose while taking photos with your non-dominant hand, as you might notice based on how awkward this photo is!

On my thumb and ring fingers, I topped one coat of Wild Cactus with two coats of Holiday Splendor. I haven’t worn Holiday Splendor in foreverrrr and man, I forgot how gorgeous it is! So sparkly and it’s the prettiest jewel-toned emerald. So great.

The funny thing is, I did my cacti in the opposite direction on each hand. That's what happens when you're distracted by tiny house shows on HGTV while doing your nails.

The funny thing is, I did my cacti in the opposite direction on each hand. That’s what happens when you’re distracted by tiny house shows on HGTV while doing your nails.

Kacey’s show – aptly named the Country & Western Rhinestone Revue – was great! It was hot as balls at the Wiltern because there’s no AC and it was in the 90s, but even the heat couldn’t get me down. She did a few covers – a great, fun version of These Boots Were Made For Walkin’ where she pranced around in light-up boots and played tambourine as the song of the night – and No Scrubs, which was freaking awesome and got my sister and I way too excited, ha. At one point the band left and Kacey performed alone on stage, singing Merry Go Round with her acoustic guitar – she sounded perfect, and it was amazing hearing the entire venue sing along exactly. (Actually, the audience sang along well to basically every song, even the ones from her new album, which made up the majority of her set list. I know I personally am obsessed with it and knew all the words after a few listenings!) Another great moment was when she had everyone quiet down so as not to scare the newest member of the band that she brought out – a puppy she’d just adopted the day before in Washington (which I already knew because I’m a creep and follow her Instagram). Maybe my favorite performance was when they did an extended version of Die Fun, my favorite from the new album (tied with Dimestore Cowgirl) – it was gorgeous, and I really hope they release it for purchase one day because I can’t find any videos of it online but it was so great!

SO SPARKLY! via Mashable

SO SPARKLY!
via Mashable

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Labor Day Nails

Hi everyone! Americans, did you have a fun Labor Day weekend? Mine was pretty great – I got to hang out with friends I haven’t seen in a long time and even got to hit up a barbecue and the beach. Not too shabs! Of course, I wanted to deck out my nails for the holiday, and I decided to do something neon for Labor Day since it’s regarded as the end of summer, so I busted out my new KBShimmer matte neon glitter and got to work.

9.9.15 FancyFingerGuns bottles

I started off with a base of butter LONDON’s Cotton Buds on all my nails. (Side note: Cotton Buds unfortunately chips like a bastard on me – I already had SIX chips by the end of the first day I wore this mani – but I’m trying to use the bottle up before buying a new white. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!) After making sure my nails were thoroughly dry, I carefully eased on a coat of Scribble Me This, sort of spreading and dabbing so I got the glitter distribution I liked.

My iPhone camera can never catch the true color of Flashy - it's almost exactly the color of the neon green glitter in Scribble Me This.

My iPhone camera can never catch the true color of Flashy – it’s almost exactly the color of the neon green glitter in Scribble Me This.

Chunky glitters like this will always have some texture, even with a thick top coat, so it didn’t bother me, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re going to use this kind of glitter. The formula was good for what it was, though – lots of glitter in each stroke and it was easy to move pieces around on the nail. I only own a few matte glitters, but this might be my favorite – I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and finally bit the bullet when KBShimmer had a 20% off sale a few weeks ago (follow their Instagram account for sale alerts!). The color combo is great and I love the triangle and stars shapes mixed in with the regular glitter pieces. Weirdly, everyone who saw it at the Labor Day barbecue thought it was a nail wrap or freehand nail art – I think matte glitter is still mostly a lacquerhead thing!

9.9.15 FancyFingerGuns curled

For the gradient of Cotton Buds and Flashy on my pointer and pinkie, I first applied some liquid tape I just picked up at my favorite nail supply store around my cuticles. There are a lot of brands that sell something like this now, and let me tell you – it’s freaking genius! I can’t believe I waited to so long to try it, it makes clean-up a snap for messy techniques like gradients and it’s super easy to use – you just paint a layer around your cuticle, wait a few seconds for it to dry, then do your nails as you normally would and use tweezers to gently pull the liquid tape up.

Next time I'll apply it to the bottom of my finger, too.

Next time I’ll apply it to the bottom of my finger, too.

I wish this hadn’t chipped so quickly, I would’ve worn it all week, I love this combo! Do any of y’all have any KBShimmer glitters? I’m kind of obsessed now – I hope they don’t put out any Halloween glitters this year, I will totally snatch some up! Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

Neons & Holo!

Guys, I have been very ambivalent about my nails lately. I haven’t been taking care of my cuticles and am just generally “meh” every time I go to paint them. Nothing is really exciting me lately, so I decided to pull out some fun colors in an attempt to jazz up my nails and get me excited about doing them again. I have a feeling this month won’t have much intricate nail art – fair warning – but maybe that’s just as well since the holidays are coming up and I don’t want to burn out before I have a chance to do some really fun designs, especially for my main event: Halloween!

China Glaze Rose Among Thorns, Color Club Harp On It

China Glaze Rose Among Thorns, Color Club Harp On It

Rose Among Thorns is an olllllld China Glaze polish – maybe from 2007? It’s a fabulous blazing, neon red, but it’s a little sheer – definitely needs at least three coats (I think I used four on my pointer?). I really love using neon red or coral with silver holos – there’s just something about that combo I really love.

9.4.15 FFG neon+holo curled

On my right hand I used Essie’s In The Cabana – I picked it up for my mom but I couldn’t resist trying it out (sorry, Mom!). I somehow don’t have anything quite like it, despite having way too many turquoise polishes (jk, you can never have too many turquoises) – most of my turquoise/aqua colors are green-toned, but this one has more of a true blue undercurrent. It’s so happy and pretty, I love it! Formula was great, too – this was two easy coats.

9.4.15 Fancy Finger Guns blue

If you don’t have any of the Color Club Halo Hues, you are seriously missing out. It seems like every indie polish brand out there is doing holos – I have quite a few from ILNP and Cirque – plus even brands like butter LONDON and Revlon will come out with one every now and then, but hands down, my favorite is Color Club’s.

Even in the shade the holographic prism of Harp On It is visible.

Even in the shade the holographic prism of Harp On It is visible.

The color range isn’t huge – the 2012 collection is all pastels and a few colors look very similar, and the 2013 collection has more vivid hues but nothing super interesting like an emerald or yellow – but CC has my favorite holo formula of all time. They go on easy (although you can get some balding if you don’t wait a few minutes before adding your second coat) and the holographic rainbow is blindingly bright with a smooth prism that most brands offering holos don’t have – they tend to be more scattered than very linear like CC’s. Don’t get me wrong – I love all kinds of holos, even super scattered ones like Zoya’s Dream – but CC’s holo flare is the best, in my opinion. I think they retail for $10 each, but you can find them online for $7. Even at the full price, I think they’re totally worth it.

Mmm check out that blingy holo rainbow!

Mmm check out that blingy holo rainbow!

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday, and we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in LA – Preux & Proper, New Orleans-inspired cuisine. Preux is the downstairs bar that features a smaller menu but has a killer list of New Orleans-esque cocktails (Hurricane and Sazerac, of course, as well as names like Category 5 and Vieux Carre) as well as a wall of alcoholic slushies behind the bar, just like on Bourbon Street.

9.4.15 FFG Preux & Proper drinks

Proper is the upstairs dining area, which has the full menu and continues the beautiful Southern-style décor, including balconies for lovely views of downtown. P&P is on the pricier side – cocktails are $10 and food is $10-$22 (it’s mostly small plates), but everything is amazingly delicious and the atmosphere is great. It’s a nice little splurge restaurant!

I forgot to take photos of the food, but these are the little glasses they give you after your meal to try the alcoholic slushies downstairs.

I forgot to take photos of the food, but these are the little glasses they give you after your meal to try the alcoholic slushies downstairs.

I’ve only been to New Orleans once (on my cross-country drive to move here to LA) but I loved the city and of course the food, and P&P really does have that Nawlins feel – even the outside looks like it belongs in the French Quarter.

9.4.15 FFG Preux & Proper outside1

I highly recommend Preux & Proper for awesome Southern food and charm in the middle of industrial downtown Los Angeles. I’ve only ever been at night, but I believe they have a 4–6 happy hour, which definitely makes it more affordable!

9.4.15 FFG Preux & Proper outside

Anyone else love New Orleans-style food? I’m also obsessed with the cocktails – I’m not usually a rum fan, but P&P’s Hurricane was one of the best I’ve ever had, and their hibiscus Moscow Mule was amazing, too! I need to figure out how to replicate that. Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x