Nail Quickies: Bright Skittle!

I haven’t had any time for detailed nail art lately, so I quickly threw on this simple, bright skittle a few days ago that I actually ended up loving.

In person Lava Lamp is a true orange, but the other bottles didn't look as bright as they are in real life, so I had to tweak the photo to fix those, and poor LL came out super red.

In person Lava Lamp is a true orange, but the other bottles didn’t look as bright as they are in real life, so I had to tweak the photo to fix those, and poor LL came out super red.

I’ve used all of polishes before on this blog, and it’s because I love them all so much! Every time I use Lime Crime’s Lavendairy, I think I should scoop up the other LC polishes because the formula is so great – this guy was almost opaque in one buttery coat! I can’t seem to stop using Too Yacht To Handle, despite its sometimes-fincky formula (it can be streaky and need three coats if you’re not careful), and I noticed that next to the bluish-purple periwinkle of Electric Beat, it looked positively green even though it’s a bright aqua. Electric Beat, by the way, is another great almost one-coater and the kind of color I never used to like until about a year ago but now I love this medium periwinkle hue – it’s not too demure but also not too bright/in your face.

07-25-14 curled

You Drive Me Coconuts and Lava Lamp remain two of my top neon polishes. I love them because they’re both opaque in two easy coats, despite being neons (notoriously very sheer/streaky) and YDMC being a jelly, to boot (also very sheer). Lava Lamp is buh-rite – in low light it seemed to practically glow. I love this kind of traffic cone orange, so fun! (For a more accurate photo of Lava lamp, check out my Instagram.)

Wonky handddddd. I tried to find a pose that would get my thumb in without doing a claw.

Wonky handddddd. I tried to find a pose that would get my thumb in without doing a claw. Also, please forgive my tip wear!

Sorry this was kinda boring, hopefully next week I’ll have time to do something more interesting. Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x

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The Trend Continues…

I can’t stop using purple in my manicures lately! Which is weird because I’m not even a huge purple fan. But I saw this photo on Pinterest and the colors inspired today’s design.

04-11-14 bottles no outline

So I like this manicure but DUDE, I could not stop messing it up! Every time I had just applied a layer of polish, I’d bump my hands into each other or accidentally hit the table or something. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but this manicure was kind of cursed – I also had a hard time getting crisp lines with my tape, and weird little fuzzies (?) kept attaching themselves to my polish (unseen by me until I’d applied top coat, of course), plus I noticed that somehow little smudges of my purple tips got on the rest of my nails…? Bleh. Soooo not my best attempt, but I really dig this combo:

How on earth did Funky Dunkey streaks get on the rest of my nail? I didn't even swipe on my top coat in that direction!

How on earth did Funky Dunkey streaks get on the rest of my nail? I didn’t even swipe on my top coat in that direction!

I do wish I’d made the bottom angles on my middle and ring fingers more sharp because they just look like a straight line, but I really like these colors together. I think in my inspiration photo the wall was a light pink, but I don’t have a color like that and besides, I’m always happy to rock Sweet Hook! Mint Sorbet was kind of a headache, though – it’s always needed three coats to cover the streakiness but it’s also gotten thick, making it a bit unmanageable, hence my crappy cuticle line. Funky Dunkey was fine in two coats and I’m pretty sure Honey Ryder is a one-coater, but as I’ve mentioned before, my apartment has terrible lighting, so I did two just to be safe.

Sweet Hook also gave me a little application problem, as you can see by my janky cuticle lines. CURSED, I tell you!

Sweet Hook also gave me a little application problem, as you can see by my janky cuticle lines. CURSED, I tell you!

Hmm. Maybe I’ll do a little series on Pinspiration (hahaha ew) because I’ve been a little uninspired with my manicures and need a little push. I definitely need to do more interesting nail art things, but I’ve been pretty intensely lazy lately. I do loooove the gradient on my index, though – I’m only kind of okay at gradients, and I’m wary of colors that aren’t close to each other because I don’t think they blend together very well, but I think this looks awesome (might be the gold glitter top coat, though?).

04-11-14 curled

I apologize for the short post again, I’ve had a busy few weeks but it’s because friends are in town, so yayyyyy! Tomorrow I’m going to the Los Angeles Festival of Books, so I’ll prob write a little about that next time. I’m really excited because I’ve always wanted to go!

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

#nailartjan Day 31 – Silver

Sooooooo I didn’t get the last, like, five posts up in time, I’m sorry about that! But I managed to post almost all of these manicures up on time over on Instagram, and it’s an IG challenge, so I feel like that’s a win. Anyway, the last challenge was “silver,” but I was a little silver-ed out from the last manicure, so I decided to add a little bit of color to accent this design.

02-01-14 bottles with names

I used to be an only-silver girl for my entire life, then suddenly about two years ago I switched to liking gold. Ever since, my poor silver polishes haven’t gotten much use (except for my silver hex holo glitter top coats, obvs), but this prompt made me love silver polish again! Or maybe it’s the combo with Mason’s lovely magenta? That might be it, because I feel like Set In Stones – a nice, albeit somewhat boring, glitter topper – is particularly fabulous on top of Mason, looking super bright and beautiful in a way that I don’t remember it being before. It’s also a pretty packed polish, this is only one coat.

Please forgive my appalling lack of cleanup -  it doesn't look this bad in real life! Also the crappy job I did painting Mason on my middle finger, gah!

Please forgive my appalling lack of cleanup – it doesn’t look this bad in real life! Also the crappy job I did painting Mason on my middle finger, gah! This was a rush job, obviously.

My ring is one coat of OPI’s Silver Shatter over Mason. I know there’s been a LOT of nail polish fads the past few years, but I still like my shatters/crackles/etc. #sorryimnotsorry I hate that my favorite, Black Shatter, got so goopy and then dried out a few weeks after getting it (which I read happened to lots of other people, too), a problem Silver Shatter didn’t have. Maybe the metallic sheen helps Silver Shatter’s formula, because it’s perfectly fine.

02-01-14 around bottle

My pointer is stamped with Worth The Risque, an older Color Club that I thought would be great for stumping since its buddy, the similarly faintly holo Revvvolution, is fabulous for that. WTR did okay; the design (a fractal [?] image from Bundle Monster CYO plate BM-414) came out pretty crisp, but it wasn’t as opaque as I wanted. On my middle finger I did a half moon using a hole reinforcer on the lower part of my nail, painting one thickish coat of It’s Frosty Outside, and immediately removing the sticker. I’m in sweet dirty love with It’s Frosty Outside! The texture is divine – very, very smooth, unlike the Zoya PixieDusts I recently tried – and although I like the crazy sparkle of the Zoyas, IFO’s bright silver metallic is absolutely stunning! I like the tiny glitter + slightly larger hex pieces combination, too. Damn, this just makes me want Baby Please Come Home even more now!

Check out that beautiful shimmer in Mason! Also, please forgive my terrible clean-up around my cuticle!

Check out that awesome shimmer in Mason! Also, please forgive my terrible clean-up around my cuticle!

So that’s it! I kind of can’t believe I completed this whole challenge! The creator made another one for February but while I really liked doing this challenge, I think I’m going to do my own thing for a bit. It’ll feel so freeing to be able to do whatever when the mood strikes! (If I get stuck I might use one of her prompts, though…) I really liked how this challenge had fairly easy themes and was specifically created to be very doable, considering most nail challenges are of the “new manicure every day” variety. Here’s a recap of all the manicures I did for this challenge (I used the photos I put on IG).

It cracked me up to see all my different skin tones, sometimes even from the same setup! Oh proper lighting, will I ever conquer you? (P.S. This is my first gallery in WordPress and I luuuuurve it! I can’t wait to use the circle one in the future!)

I hope you enjoyed seeing my attempts for each prompt! It was a lot of fun and I found some really cool nail bloggers/artists on IG in the process. Thank you so much for reading! See you all next time! A x

Evergreen Skittles

I was going to do a red/green/gold skittle mani next but then I remembered how many luscious, deep green polishes I own and decided to just do all green instead. Green might be my favorite polish color, and I have a special fondness for dark, yellow-leaning greens, as you can see from the colors I picked for this combo:

China Glaze Winter Holly and Holly-Day, Nubar Reclaim, Zoya Veruschka

China Glaze Winter Holly and Holly-Day, Nubar Reclaim, Zoya Veruschka

First let me say that China Glaze has some amazeballs holiday collections. I have 2-6 from each collection of the past 4 years, which is saying a lot because who needs that many holiday polishes? Especially in their holiday collections but also in general, China Glaze knows how to do greens right. Basically all my favorite greens are from China Glaze – Emerald Sparkle, I’m With The Lifeguard, Gaga for Green, Four-Leaf Clover, Glittering Garland, Running In Circles, Jolly Holly, and two of the lovelies here, Winter Holly and Holly-Day.

From pointer: Winter Holly, Holly-Day, Veruschka, Reclaim

From pointer: Winter Holly, Holly-Day, Veruschka, Reclaim

Winter Holly is one of those “super-fine glitter in a clear base” polishes that China Glaze does so well – you can get it opaque in 3 thin coats, but I always prefer to do one or two coats over a similar base color. Winter Holly is composed of tiny forest green, holo, and (I think) gold pieces. When I gathered these polishes together I realized they were all different finishes, so I didn’t use top coat to play with texture a bit. By itself, Winter Holly is similar to the Liquid Sand/Gumdrop/etc polishes that are so popular right now – there’s definitely texture but it’s not super bumpy and gross like chunky glitter, and it dries matte but still has beautiful sparkle. I added two coats of Seche Vite over it on my right hand (it’s one of those glitters that polish people call “thirsty” since it kind of absorbs the first layer of top coat) and while I do like WH by itself, when there’s top coat the green color becomes a bit deeper and the sparkle shines more, making it even more awesome.

Matte/glossy

Matte/glossy. Also, I did SUCH a bad job of covering up the base coat with glitter!

On my middle finger I did two coats of Holly-Day. Actually, all the polishes shown here (except Winter Holly, which is two coats over one coat of Holly-Day) were pretty pigmented and barely needed a second coat. Check out how glossy Holly-Day is without top coat! I like shimmers and glitters as much as the next girl, but there’s something about glossy cremes that always draws me in. Love this.

My hand is kind of washed out, but you can see the textures really well here (this is what Holly-Day looks like in direct light, also).

My skin is hella washed out, but you can see the textures really well here (also, see how much Holly-Day lightens up when it’s in direct light?).

On my ring is Veruschka, a deep green matte. I just checked and it’s apparently not for sale on Zoya’s site anymore, hmmm. I think this may be the only matte polish I own (intentionally matte, I should say – most neons dry matte) and it’s lovely – very rich and really does look velvety, which was the name of the mini collection this came in (MatteVelvet). It’s really fun to see it constantly change, too, like when you wash your hands and it gets a little shimmery from the water, then dries back to being matte. I added a coat of Seche Vite to my right hand to show you what it looks like with top coat, though – like Winter Holly, the color gets deeper, and the shimmer makes it look like a green galaxy. So pretty!

Matte | Glossy

Matte | Glossy

Last but not least is Nubar’s Reclaim. This is an older polish, 2009 I think, and while it’s not as dark a green as the others here, I wanted to use a holographic color and the only other linear holo I own is very light, so grass green it is! This one doesn’t need much explanation, the formula is wonderful, the holo is strong, and it’s just a really cool polish.

Chubby, chubby pinkie!

Chubby, chubby pinkie!

Here’s a pic I snapped in my car the other day, slightly blurred so you can see the sparkle of Winter Holly. I can’t believe how well these all wore, I had a tiny bit of chipping on my thumb and pointer but that was basically it!

In strong midday sunlight.

In strong midday sunlight.

I don’t have quite as many favorite Christmas movies as I do Halloween movies (mainly because anything horror can be themed “Halloween”) but the ones I have I can watch a million times and never get sick of them. The list includes some classics like Christmas Vacation and Elf, but also the under-appreciated gem that is Just Friends.

Quick plot blurb: Chris (Ryan Reynolds) used to be overweight and lame in high school, and gets humiliated at his best friend Jamie’s (Amy Smart) graduation party when he tries to declare his feelings for her. He moves to LA, getting fit and a job in the music biz, in addition to becoming a douchey player. When his label forces him to spend time with ridiculous pop singer Samantha James (Anna Faris), who’s obsessed with him, their plane to Paris goes down in New Jersey, so he takes her home for a few days while they try to get another flight. He finds out Jamie is back in town and decides to finally try to get out of the friend zone, but she still thinks of him as his goofy high school self and is put off by his new attitude.

This movie is amazing, full stop. When I first saw it at a free screening in college my friends and I hated it, but I watched it again and for some reason everything clicked. (This happens to me with a lot of comedies, for some reason.) My sister and I love this movie and sometimes just quote lines to each other via text for hours. There’s so many little things that make us belly laugh despite having seen it a million times – Chris’ violent relationship with his kid brother; Samantha’s insanely narcissistic behavior; Chris’ reactions to his rival for Jamie, another previously lame dude from high school who’s now a too-perfect dreamboat… Everything about this movie kills me, and I beg of you to watch it if you’ve never seen it.

Anyone love Just Friends as Much as I do? Any thoughts on this mani?

Thanks for reading! See you next time! A x

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