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

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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

Halloween Mani #11 – Water-Spotted Gradient!

Hi everyone! I’m chugging along with my Halloween manis, and this might be one of my favorites yet!

10.28.15 waterspot bottlesJPG

First, I put some of my latex stuff all around each nail for easy clean up, then I did the gradient – after two coats of Cotton Buds was dry, I did a gradient with CB and Arizona over top each of them, with Arizona at the top.

10.28.15 waterspot around bottle

I gave that about ten minutes to dry, then did the water spotting. So there are way better tutorials elsewhere, but the basic rundown is: I filled a Solo cup with lukewarm water, added one drop of Black On Black, and when it spread out I sprayed a little tester perfume spritzer in the middle so the polish got cool, weird spots and swirls, then lowered my nail into the polish and swirled away the excess with a Q-tip. After pulling my nail out of the water, I removed the latex (which meant I barely had to do any clean up – thank Yeezus someone thought that up!) and let it dry for a few minutes before adding a layer of top coat.

I was annoyed by how much the black almost completely covered my pointer finger, but now I kinda like how different each nail's coverage is.

I was annoyed by how much the black almost completely covered my pointer finger, but now I kinda like how different each nail’s coverage is.

This is a really fun look, but man, I need to find another way to do it – spraying that perfume makes the whole area smell SO strongly for a full day after, but I’ve tried it before using just alcohol and it didn’t do anything. Hmmmm must research.

Eeeeee only two manis left! They’re also a bit more work than my last few, so wish me luck! Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

Halloween Mani #7: Spooky Gradient!

Hi lovlies! This is going to be another lightning-quick post as I just got home from a Jimmy Buffet concert at the Hollywood Bowl with my folks and I’m about to go to sleep for DISNEYLAND tomorrow! I’ll have a weekend round up at some point, but since it’s getting to be the end of the month, I want to pump out as many posts as I can so I make my goal of 13 Halloween manis. So this short and sweet post is about my gradient nails!

10.23.15 Fancy Finger Guns bottles

I loooove China Glaze’s Harvest Moon. I mean:

Look how gorgeousssssss Harvest Moon is!

Look how gorgeousssssss Harvest Moon is!

It’s from their 2012(? no time to Google!) Hunger Games collection, which I hated at first but now I own almost all the colors, and this is one of my favs – I adore a burnt orange, and this one is a gorgeous, reflective foil, to boot! I did a rough gradient (using my usual damp sponge routine but didn’t take too much care to ensure a smooth, even gradient to keep it ~*spooky*~), and I think the deeper orange makes this a really chic look as opposed to the more kitschy or cutesy Halloween manis that pop up a lot (sometimes even my own designs)!

10.23.15 Fancy Finger Guns diagonal

I also added an accent glitter nail on my pinkie – the copper doesn’t quite match, but it looks pretty close in real life. It’s really a struggle for me to keep the same design on all my fingers, it’s like nail polish ADD or something!

10.23.15 Fancy Finger Guns curled

P.S. this is the mani that cracked 400 followers on IG for me! This is very exciting – I know I’ll never be a “big” nail blogger, but seeing my number grow higher and higher during the less-than-a-year I’ve been putting my designs on Instagram has been really lovely and affirming. I don’t do anything too complex, but I appreciate everyone who likes checking out what I keep coming up with. If you’re one of my IG followers, thank you so much for your support! And doubly thanks since you’re taking time to read my blog post, and I know the nail game is mostly IG now, so it’s really swell that you want to read some words written by little ol’ me. Thanks so much, and I’ll see you in a day or two with my next mani! – A x