May Nail Art Challenge #1: Hearts

Hello, dear readers! As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to be doing a nail art challenge this month that I found on Instagram. I love doing challenges every once in a while to help me to break out of my usual go-to techniques and colors.

5.2.16 Fancy Finger Guns challenge

The first challenge is hearts. Admittedly, hearts are not really my thing, so I just did some simple stamping using an old BundleMonster plate I’ve had for years over That’s Shore Bright, which has been featured a lot on this blog. But hey – purple + white is a pretty fool-proof color combination, right?

Ugh I forgot that the white I use for stamping ALWAYS smears when I apply top coat. So annoying.

Ugh I forgot that the white I use for stamping ALWAYS smears when I apply top coat. So annoying.

I did use a new stamper for this, though – a few months ago I bought this clear “jelly” stamper from Born Pretty Store after seeing clear stampers become all the rage for nail artists on social media. And I have to say, the hype is REAL. I am usually pretty terrible at stamping, but this stamper is larger than my old one so it’s easier to pic up an image, and for some reason the squishy jelly texture made it a breeze to roll the design right on my nail. Of course, the ability to look down and see exactly where I’m applying my design due to the clear stamper was a definite help, as well – half the time I’m lucky if I get the design mostly on my nail, let alone straight or where I want it. I think I actually might be stamping a lot more frequently now that I can do it so easily!

5.2.16 Fancy Finger Guns curled1

I also used my OttLite for the first time in these photos – gotta say, I kinda love it! I feel like it made my photos a little more crisp, and it’s definitely nice to have white light (instead of the more yellow bulbs I had in my old lightbox) if I can’t catch sunlight on a cloudy day.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back in a few days with a prompt that’s definitely more me – dots :)

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Dreamy Pastel Summer

Hi everyone! How’s your week been going? I’ve been a little behind on posting lately, sorry about that! I’ve got a lovely, dreamy pastel mani today that’s not your usual summer mani:

L-R: China Glaze'Sweet Hook, Essie Bikini So Teeny, Essie No Place Like Chrome

L-R: China Glaze’Sweet Hook, Essie Bikini So Teeny, Essie No Place Like Chrome

For the color scheme, I was inspired by a skirt I saw on Instagram a few days ago – I’m not often in a pastel mood, but that lavender/light blue gradient was so lovely it really caught my eye. Bikini So Teeny (BST) is pretty sheer/streaky, so I did a base coat of two easy coats of Sweet Hook and sort of dabbed a light layer of BST on the tips. Once that was dry, I painted both colors onto a damp cosmetic sponge so they overlapped, then dabbed it on my nail in an up-and-down motion.

8.5.15 with bottle

I wanted to add a little something, so I stamped two designs from my Mo-You plate Hipster plate 08 on my middle fingers and thumb using Essie’s No Place Like Chrome, a great, bright silver. I also added a coat of an old Sephora by OPI silver glitter topper on my pinkie and pointer fingers. Just the right amount of bling!

8.5.15 pose

I love doing out-of-season color combos like this, it’s a nice palate cleanser. I love neons as much as anyone but I can’t wear the same kinds of colors for weeks on end without getting bored. I love these colors together, though – it really reminds me of a hot, dreamy, sun-bleached afternoon.

8.5.15 lavender

Thanks for reading! See y’all next time – A x

Topshop Polish and 2015 PaleyFest!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a wonderful week! I did a little splurge last weekend and picked up two Topshop nail polishes, one of which I wore in a dreamy mani.

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So first of all let me just say that I thought the Topshop polishes were two for $10 – maybe I’d seen a sale the other times I’d gone or something, because when I got to the register they were definitely 2 for $15. I bought them anyway but ehhhhh I don’t think these are worth the price tag. They are tiny and maybe the cremes and mattes (the mattes did look cool, not gonna lie) are great but the formula on the two I got – this speckled lavender and a holo star-and-microglitter topper – weren’t amazing. But anyway, I do really love this color. It’s my favorite type of lavender, pink-leaning, and I love the tiny matte glitter pieces that give it that speckled Easter egg look. I used three coats by itself on my right hand but it doesn’t dry quickly so I did two thin coats over one coat of Sweet Hook on my left, which was so much better! The color didn’t really change but it was definitely more opaque and took me much less time to paint on.

Sorry about my busted cuticles, y'all!

Sorry about my busted cuticles, y’all!

For the stamped nails, I used my Fairytale 02 plate from Mo-You for the first time. Weirdly, there are certain designs I can stamp really easily, does that happen to anyone else? I used the swirly cloud part for my pointer and pinkie and it was really easy to stamp on just the way I wanted. My pointer got a little smudged but I love how the swirly design looks with the speckled lavender. So dreamy and spring-y!

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So last weekend I went to Paleyfest! You may remember I went last year for the Parks & Recreation panel. This year, honestly, the panel choices sucked so I didn’t have a hard time narrowing down my self-imposed limit of one to one of my fav shows, Jane the Virgin! I know a lot of people compare it to Ugly Betty, which I get – they’re both based on telenovelas, they both feature a large cast, colorful sets, and sometimes “wacky” humor – but they’re definitely not the same. If you haven’t seen it, a quick description: Jane was raised by her single mother Xiomara and grandmother Alba, both of whom she lives with, and she’s a very down-to-earth, practical person who knows exactly what she wants in life (to eventually marry her long-term boyfriend Michael, who she hasn’t had sex with yet, and to become a teacher). She works at a fancy hotel in Miami Beach while putting herself through school, and she had a crush on the owner’s son Rafael a few years earlier. Through a series of events, Raf’s sister, a gynecologist who’s got emotional and substance abuse issues, accidentally inseminates Jane with Raf’s sperm. And that’s not even getting to any of the good parts! It’s really funny and sweet, the characters are wonderfully fleshed out (especially the female family dynamics of Alba, Xo, and Jane, which I love), and with the “Miami” (aka Manhattan Beach, CA) setting the sets and costumes are beautiful.

The cast from left to right:  Executive Producer Ben Silverman, show runner Jennie Urman, Gina Roderiguez (Jane),  Justin Baldoni (Rafael), Jaime Camil (Rogelio), Andrea Navedo (Xiomara), Ivonne Coll (Alba), Brett Dier (Michael), Yael Grobglas (Petra)

The cast from left to right: Executive Producer Ben Silverman, show runner Jennie Urman, Gina Roderiguez (Jane), Justin Baldoni (Rafael), Jaime Camil (Rogelio), Andrea Navedo (Xiomara), Ivonne Coll (Alba), Brett Dier (Michael), Yael Grobglas (Petra)

But getting back to the panel – I didn’t take many pictures this time around, sorry! I do have some pictures of the cast and all the women were dressed great – Yael Groblas, who plays Petra, was wearing an amazing white jumpsuit; Ivonne Coll, who plays Alba, was wearing a lovely, fitted reddish pink frock, which was a welcome departure from her sort of frumpy abuella clothes on the show; Andrea Navedo, who plays Xo, was in a sort of conservative but cute yellow dress (again, a big departure from Xo, who’s a “hot mom”); Gina Rodriguez was in a cool, white fringed crop with a black skirt; and the show runner, Jennie Snyder, was in a great full-skirted print dress that I wanted to steal.

3.22.PaleyFest three

First of all, let me say that Jennie is awesome! She was funny and cool, she had a great relationship with the actors, and she seemed very genuine and appreciative of her position. I gotta say, it was so lovely to see someone who seemed so nice, normal, and down-to-earth, compared to the people I’m used to in the industry. Actually, the whole cast seemed that way – there was a natural, friendly chemistry they all had with each other, and you could tell they’re all very close. I only remember a few things in particular about the event since I was beyond exhausted at the time, sorry about that! Oh, and I want to say that Jaime Camil was basically Rogelio in real life, which delighted us all. (Hilariously, the moderator said it as “Ro-GEL-ee-oh” like three times, even after the cast said it correctly, until he finally caught himself.)

3.22.PaleyFest gasp

One thing I do remember that got a big laugh was when the cast was answering one of the audience questions, “How has your life changed since getting on the show?” When it was Ivonne’s (Alba) turn, she deadpanned, “Everyone thinks that I’m a actually grandmother.” She also noted that it was funny how she’d spent so much time and money on classes learning how to speak without an accent, and on Jane she only speaks in Spanish! That brought up another little talking point where Gina (Jane) discussed how Jennie the showrunner, who is Caucasian, was great about asking the cast for their experiences, to add authenticity – like when she originally wrote Alba only speaking in Spanish and Xo and Jane responding in English, she was going to change it but the cast assured her that’s how it worked in Hispanic families. It was so wonderful to Jennie using such respect when writing for characters from a culture she isn’t part of – when asked how she does it, she replied that it’s about “writing people, not writing race.”

3.22.PaleyFest smiling

It’s getting a little pricer every year (natch) and they stream each panel now on Yahoo, but I still think it’s a really fun thing to experience in person. If you have the chance to go, I highly recommend it!

Thanks for reading, everyone! See you next time – A x

Winter Woods

Hi everyone, how’s your week going? Sorry, I meant to have this post up a day or so ago but I forgot :/ If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you’re having a lovely Christmas Eve! My fan keeps it pretty chill for Christmas, but we always watch Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve, so we’re gonna be doing that in a little while. We’ve seen that movie a million times but it never fails to make us laugh our asses off.

Anyway, my family lives in Florida so we never get a white Christmas – or let’s be real, even a chilly Christmas – so I decided to channel some frosty weather with my nails!

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I knew I wanted to use Frosty, because it perfectly captures how snow looks, that glistening white with beautiful shimmer when the sun hits it just right. I originally wanted to do a red and white peppermint-isn look but I don’t have a white or red that stamps well enough, so I decided to just use some cool colors to evoke a wintery look, so I wanted to use two colors I haven’t yet done a full mani with, Loredana and Payton. Payton is a weird color – sometimes it looks burgundy and sometimes it looks like a deep plum. I couldn’t get any pics where it looks burgundy, which sucks because I loved the burgundy/white/gray color scheme, but eh, what can you do (when you use an iPhone for your photos)? Payton has my favorite Zoya finish, the irregular holo flecks, and while they’re not as bright in Payton as they are in, say, Dream or Storm, they’re still so beautiful! I think I have every Zoya in this finish except Blaze (because I’m not a red person) and I hope they make more of them because they’re awesome!

12-20-14 diagonal

I thought the cold gray matte of Loredana would go nicely with the other two. After I bought it, I could’ve smacked myself because I realized it looked a lot like China Glaze’s Stone Cold, another gray matte. However, once I got home and compared them I was relieved to see that they’re actually quite different (well, to a polish addict’s keen eye, of course) – Stone Cold has much more shimmer and is a lot darker than Loredana. Loredana didn’t have a great formula – it took me three coats to cover the balding near my cuticle, weird. I still like it, though! I stamped some wintery-looking trees over Loredana using Essie’s No Place Like Chrome, and I do love the contrast of the matte gray with the shiny, bright silver. I used Bundle Monster plate BM407 for the trees.

12-20-14 curled2

I’m not completely in love with this, but I liked it okay. I definitely think it evoked a wintery feel, though, which was what I was going for, so yay! What do you guys think about this look? Let me know in the comments! Thank you so much for reading, and have a lovely Christmas (or regular Thursday) tomorrow! See you again soon – A x

P.S. Did everyone hear that Zoya is discontinuing their PixieDust polishes? What the hell??? I know that OPI, probably their biggest texture polish rival, has already lost interest in making their Liquid Sands, but I think there’s still demand for that type of polish amongst lacquerheads and I’m sad we’ll never get some PixieDusts colors that I was hoping for like neons or a fabulous, bright aqua or mint. So I say boo to you, Zoya!

Gettin’ Christmassy Up In Here

Hi everyone! With warm days and a busy schedule, I haven’t really been feeling like it’s Christmastime. I decided to do a super seasonal look, but change up my usual red, green, and gold color scheme slightly and use silver instead – a little change can be nice, and I actually really loved the result!

12-12-14 bottles

I did two easy coats of Glittering Garland on my pointer and pinkie fingers, and two coats of Knees Up on my middle fingers. Knees Up is such a great, wrapping paper-esque metallic red, but the formula can be finicky; it usually shows all the imperfections on my nails, so luckily I was doing nail art over those fingers! Glittering Garland is just so dreamy – a dark forest green with slightly lighter golden-green shimmer, it looks streaky on the first coat but evens out beautifully on the second. Yum.

12-12-14 diagonal

I used two chevron nail decal from Make It Stick Designs on etsy over my middle finger, then did two quick, light coats of It’s Frosty Outside. I gushed about this polish more than once last year, and my love for it hasn’t diminished at all. In the last few years I’ve become a more gold than silver person, but ughhhh something about that super bright metallic glitter and sequins of It’s Frosty Outside totally draws me in. I should probably do a full mani with this one sometime soon. For my ring finger I used No Place Like Chrome – I own every polish from this mini collection except one, and they are all such great metallics that also stamp well, and NPLC was no different. For the snowflakes, I used two of the designs on Winstonia plate W120.

The only downside of It's Frosty Outside is that it can be difficult to maneuver into a perfect line around the cuticle, as you can see where it didn't quite cover all the way over Knees Up. :/

The only downside of It’s Frosty Outside is that it can be difficult to maneuver into a perfect line around the cuticle, as you can see where it didn’t quite cover all the way over Knees Up. :/

I’m not quiiiiite in full Christmas mode yet, but this mani definitely put me on the way there – what do you think, is this Christmassy enough? Do you prefer gold or silver with red and green? Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading! I’ll see you next time with a fun wintery look – A x