Holiday Mani #4: Holiday Stripes

I really love the color combo of red and mint – it’s a little retro, which isn’t normally my jam, but I love it for some reason. I thought it would be fun to use some of my new What’s Up Nails wrapping paper decals and use this color combo for Christmas!

Sally Hansen White On, China Glaze Highlight Of My Summer, OPI Color So Hot It Berns

Sally Hansen White On, China Glaze Highlight Of My Summer, OPI Color So Hot It Berns

I started with a base of two coats of Sally Hansen’s White On (my butter LONDON Cotton Buds is still MIA) and top coat, which I did the night before, although you don’t have to wait that long – just 15 min or so, until you’re sure the top coat has fully dried. Then I applied my decal, smoothing it completely down, and used two small detailing brushes to paint on each section – I alternated which colors went where on every other nail for funsies. Immediately after I was done painting, I carefully peeled each decal up so the polish wouldn’t start to dry and stick to the decal. I really need a new red, though – even after letting this dry overnight and attempting to paint on my top coat diagonally to match the direction of the stripes, my OPI red STILL streaked a bit across two of my nails! Plus, you can see it sort of bled under the decals because the red lines aren’t as crisp as the mint ones. Grrrrr freaking reds, man.

12.14.15 Fancy Finger Guns upside down

Overall, this looks pretty cute, huh? This is definitely a little time-consuming, since I used two colors and had to paint each little section separately, but it’s not too bad once you get in the rhythm. It does look like wrapping paper (which is the description of the decals on the What’s Up Nails site), which is a fun mani this time of year. I bet this would look really great using metallics.

12.14.15 Fancy Finger Guns diagonal

I’m attempting to get seven or eight manis done total, so hopefully I’ll reach my goal! I know everyone loves holiday manis, and I do have a lot of holiday polishes I only bust out once a year, so I should try to use as many as I can! Anyway, thank you for reading! See you next time – A x

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Holiday Nails #2: Snowy Winter Landscape

Hi everyone! How was your weekend? I went to the Unique LA Holiday Market today, one of my favorite things to do in December in LA. It’s a market with lots of booths selling all sorts of items from clothes to edibles to jewelry to home goods, and it’s so fun to go and see all the beautiful wares plus getting some tasty samples! It’s on the 12th floor, too, so it’s got an awesome view of downtown LA. Definitely recommend it for holiday shopping if you’re in LA in December! I wore my fav winter lip, Maybelline’s Divine Wine, and this manicure. I wanted to do something very light and wintery, so I decided on this simple look.

Zoya's Wednesday and Sally Hansen's White On

Zoya’s Wednesday and Sally Hansen’s White On

I started with two easy coats of Zoya’s Wednesday. I loooove this color – weirdly, I don’t think I’ve ever used it on my blog before, although it’s one of my favorites! The color is definitely brighter in photos than in person, but the formula is perfect, its true the washed-out aqua color is so dreamy…if you’re ever stuck for a color to get in one of Zoya’s deals, definitely pick this bad boy up!

Sorry my cuticles are so busted - it is soooo dry here.

Sorry my cuticles are so busted – it is soooo dry here.

I used Sally Hansen’s White Out for the snow, dotting with my smallest dotting tool for the falling snow and my lopsided little tree (I tried!), and just used the regular brush in the bottle to get the curved snowbank at the tips of my nails.

12.6.15 diagonal

Very cute, no? I really love the combo of a dusty/washed out blue with white for winter. I mean, obviously, it’s mostly more vivid hues with white – blood red, deep cobalt, evergreen – but the paler blue looks very dreamy and pretty. I love it! (Although I do get that I’m romanticizing snow, which has hit most of the U.S. pretty hard the last few years. Sorry, guys! It’s just so pretty!)

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Holiday Nails #1: Green and Glitzy

Hi everyone! I debated doing 12 holiday manis, but the 13 I did for Halloween almost broke me so I’m just gonna see how many I get to, ha. Today I have my first holiday mani of the season, and it’s super simple but definitely blingy – just the way I like it!

OPI's Bring On The Bling and Sinful Colors' San Francisco

OPI’s Bring On The Bling and Sinful Colors’ San Francisco

I started with a base of Sinful Colors’ San Francisco. This color is a classic – probably one of my oldest, and it’s one of the polishes Sinful Colors is known for. The color is soooo gorgeous – it’s a true emerald (unlike Zoya’s Giovanna, which I also love but it definitely leans blue) and has this amazing glow to it.
Unfortunately, the formula kinda sucks – it’s SO sheer at first coat, and if I wasn’t going to cover up my tips with glitter I would’ve needed four coats total to avoid any nail lines showing through. I guess it’s worth it for this gorgeous hue, though!

The glow of San Francisco was SO intense that it freaked out my camera!

The glow of San Francisco was SO intense that it freaked out my camera!

After SF was dry, I did a glitter fade using one of my favorites, OPI’s Bring On The Bling from their Burlesque collection in 2010. I didn’t get this polish then, though – back then, I wasn’t yet the crazy lacquerhead I am today, and thought paying $9 for a nail polish was way too much money. 😂 What a sweet, innocent baby I was! Anyway, a few years later I found this guy and my only other Burlesque polish, Glow Up Already!, for fairly cheap on eBay, and I’m so glad I snatched them up because these glitters are so fun! I don’t usually wear small glitters like this because they’re a bitch to remove, but mannnnn these are so pretty and sparkly! It’s very difficult to make a good fade with glitters that aren’t sparse, though, so this isn’t perfect but I tried my best!

Sorry my hands look so dead - all the bright green was throwing my camera off!

Sorry my hands look so dead – all the bright green was throwing my camera off!

And because I couldn’t resist, here are macros of Bring On The Bling on the nail and in the bottle. See how pretty? It’s mostly champagne-gold glitter, with a generous sprinkling of blue, orange, purple, red, and green glitters, as well. Glow Up Already! has the same multicolored glitter pieces, but its base is mostly light green glitter instead of gold.

Holiday season is already wiping me out – I did a lot of Christmas present shopping this past Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, and am scrambling to finish projects at work and set up hang outs with friends before I fly home. I also scored some major polish deals this weekend, so I might have a quick swatch post with those later on. Did you make any mega deals this year? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

Halloween Mani #13 – Holy Crap, I Made It!

Ahhhhhh you guys, I did it! I didn’t think I’d make it by the 31st, but somehow I completed 13 manicures for Halloween! (I am never doing this again, just to be clear, ha!) I figured I’d do something a little more involved for my last mani, so here ya go:

butter LONDON Cotton Buds, Sinful Colors Black on Black, China Glaze Phat Santa

butter LONDON Cotton Buds, China Glaze Phat Santa, Sinful Colors Black on Black

The past few years I’ve always done a splatter for my actual on-Halloween mani, so I wanted to keep up with that tradition. I added another favorite Halloween design, though – black and white stripes!

10.31.15 splatter curled

I put down two coats of bL’s Cotton Buds first, then after that dried I applied one of the thin stripe nail vinyls from KBShimmer with my curved tweezers, pressing them all down firmly once they were in place to make sure no polish seeps under the tape and ruins the look. Then I applied one coat of Black On Black and quickly removed each piece of tape and was left with a fun stripe that reminded me of something very Tim Burton-esque.

10.31.15 splatter claw

After the stripes on each nail were done and dry, then came the fun part – splattering! I wanted to use a brighter red since I’d just watched Sleepy Hollow and was inspired by the bright red, almost paint-like blood they use. Using a regular drinking straw instead of my usual coffee stirrer, I put some polish at the end and then blew through the top to get these perfectly gory blood splatters, and it worked wayyyy better, let me tell you!

10.31.15 splatter around bottle

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all my 13 Halloween manis! I had a lot of fun doing them, although I’m definitely looking forward to keeping a slower pace with manis for a little while – 13 in one month is a LOT. Thanks for reading, and have a safe and fun Halloween! – A x

Halloween Mani #12 – Graveyard At Dusk!

Here we are – sorry – once again, my photos wouldn’t download, so you’re getting a double Halloween post today! Unfortunately, I’m not super in love with this mani – it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but at least I know what not to do next time! So without further adieu:

OPI Funkey Dunkey, Sinful Colors Black On Black, OPI A Roll in The Hauge

OPI Funkey Dunkey, Sinful Colors Black On Black, OPI A Roll in The Hauge

I had a few issues with this mani – I should’ve made the orange part go higher up, so the graveyard “shadows” were more visible; I should’ve used a darker purple at the top instead of black again; and most importantly, I should’ve paid more attention and kept my sponge damp so I didn’t get all these tiny pieces that got stuck and made my polish bumpy. :( I don’t even think the gradients themselves are all that great – on my ring, the colors just look like horizontal stripes. Sighhhhhhhh basically everything went wrong with this look, but in spite of the flaws being super glaring to me, I still kinda like it for some reason.

10.31.15 graveyard bottle

The one good thing was the quality of the decals from What’s Up Nails. I seriously love them – I’ve already used the drip decals and had a great experience, but these graveyard ones really impressed me because the design is pretty intricate but still came out clear and crisp after I’d painted over it. They had a 20% off deal a few weeks ago, which is when I scooped up these and the drip decals, plus a few others, and now I can’t wait to try them all out! (Although the prices are actually really great even without a discount.)

10.31.15 graveyard diagonal

Although I wish I could’ve change the colors slightly, I do like the general idea of the color scheme I went for – I think dusk is a very spooky time of the day, when you can actually see the last bits of sunlight slipping away by the second, and I loved the idea of a graveyard right before total darkness sets in and the spirits start to come out. Mwahahahaha!

My skin is super blown-out because I was trying to show the colors of the mani better.

My skin is super blown-out because I was trying to show the colors of the mani better.

Thanks for reading! Sorry this one didn’t come out so hot, but my official Halloween mani is going to be super fun, and I hope you enjoy it, too! See you then – A x