Autumn Leaves

Apologies for my absence, lovely readers! I was out of town in Nashville for a few days, and the week leading up to that was crazy at work, so I was running around with chipped nails like a pleb. But now that I’m back, I’ve whipped up a cute, fall-appropriate mani I can’t wait to share with you!

Whoops, forgot to add Essie's Barefoot & Topless, which was my base coat.

Whoops, forgot to add Essie’s Barefoot & Topless, which was my base coat.

So you may have noticed that I’m very into nail decals, especially the ones from What’s Up Nails. If you’ve been a reader for any length of time, you’ll know that I am super lazy when it comes to nails – I always want to do super cool, intricate designs, but then I realize how much work/time it would take and just settle for something more plain. But with nail decals, you can make your nails look fancy in no time at all, plus they make sure each design is uniform, which is something that always bugs me when I try to hand-paint stuff. What’s Up Nails had a sale a few weeks ago, so I scooped up a few different decals, including this adorable fall leaves one.

My pointer looks like crap because I'd forgotten to add top coat after I put down the last layer of Barefoot & Topless, so everything smudged when I pulled the decal back up.

My pointer looks like crap because I’d forgotten to add top coat after I put down the last layer of Barefoot & Topless, so everything smudged when I pulled the decal back up.

Now, having just raved about how easy decals are to use, I will say that this leaves one was a bit trickier – I had to use my tweezers to sort of punch through each leaf cutout and make sure the inside came out so I could paint through the hole, since most of them stayed firmly attached when I peeled it off the backing. I kept the little golden leaf cutouts, though – maybe I’ll use them for another mani!

11.19.20 Fancy Finger Guns around bottle

As for the colors…last year at fall I was allll about the jewel tones – deep purple, teal, and orchid. This year I’m really feeling those traditional fall colors – rich reds, muted oranges, olive greens, and shimmering golds – and once I pulled out polishes in these tones I was majorly into it. I wanted to use polishes that were all foils, or at least shimmers, and luckily I found some in every color I wanted.

11.19.20 Fancy Finger Guns upside down

Orly’s Emberstone is supposedly infused with minerals to create a “multidimensional effect.” I don’t know about that, but it IS gorgeous, and once I remembered I had it I was kicking myself for not having used it in forever – it’s a beautiful, glitzy pinky-coral. Just Be-Claws is one I got earlier this year – I’m not a red fan, but I just couldn’t resist this gorgeous, incredibly rich cherry red foil from China Glaze’s holiday collection last year. OPI’s Goldeneye is one that I rarely use, and I almost gave it away but I’m so glad I didn’t! It’s a bright yellow gold loaded with sparkly shimmer. Harvest Moon is an old fav of mine that’s getting some major use this year – I’m recently obsessed with copper, and when the light hits this one it’s magic! Last but not least, the golden-green shimmer of my fall dreams! My sister just finished her bottle, so I’ve got to keep a close eye on mine in case she tries to steal it – although I couldn’t blame her, it’s absolutely beautiful.

11.26.15 Fancy Finger Guns macro

I managed to see some fall leaves myself when I was in Nashville a few days ago – alas, the bright colors had mostly gone already, but there was still some lovely color! Nashville was incredibly fun – it’s way smaller than LA, so traffic was almost hilariously a non-entity, and because it’s small there was more than enough time to do everything we wanted to in three days. Nashville is quite a foodie town – half the “to do in Nashville” lists I found were mostly restaurants – and boy, did they deliver! Some of my favorite food spots we hit were Virago (sushi and cocktails), Whiskey Kitchen (the wait was insane on Friday night, which is why we popped over to Virago in the first place, but we scored on Sunday and got right in), Edley’s Bar-Be-Que (their cornbread alone is to die for), and Mellow Mushroom, a delicious pizza joint right next to Vanderbilt (although that one is a chain, but I’d never had it before so it counts!).

We also hit up most of the other must-see tourist-y things like the Parthenon in Centennial Park and the pedestrian bridge, but the most fun thing we did was the Pedal Tavern! You bring your own booze and drink while pedaling this weird cart contraption down to Lower Broadway where the honky-tonk bars are. It sounds weird, but it’s incredibly fun (although I felt bad for the cars stuck behind us!) – our guide Larry would pop out from his seat during stop lights to refill drinks and played fun songs the whole time, in addition to being great at giving tips about what to do in Nashville.

Imagine this but at night, with a billion cars and people around and a group of older lady bffs who kept yelling about their sports teams while downing whiskey. Awesome.  via

It’s basically this, but at night, with a billion cars and people around and a group of older lady bffs who kept yelling about their sports teams while downing whiskey. Awesome.
via

I highly recommend a trip to Nashville if you can – since we went in early November the weather was beautiful – chilly and no humidity – and there’s a lot of fun things to do (and especially eat!). Thanks for reading, everyone! Until next time – A x

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Halloween Mani #9 – Sparkly Drips!

Hi everyone! Today’s mani was one of the quickest I’ve ever done – thank God for nail decals!

10.26.15 bottles

For the base color, I used two coats of Skull & Glossbones, a dirty light gray from OPI’s 2012 On Stranger Tides collection. I really love this color – the faint green tinge gives it a spooky feel, so it’s perfect for Halloween manicures. The formula is pretty good, too – if you’re careful, you can usually get away with only two coats, which is pretty great for such a light color.

10.26.15 around bottle

For the drips, I wanted to to something a little jazzier than my all-creme version last year, so after I applied my What’s Up Nails drip decals – which also saved me a ton of time, since last year I hand-painted the drips – I quickly applied two thick layers of Orly’s Here Comes Trouble (HCT), an acid green glitter. HCT has a sheer base filled with green micro glitter and larger, scattered hex glitter. It’s a pretty opaque glitter, but definitely needed two coats to make sure there were no sheer areas. After painting on the two coats, I quickly but carefully peeled each decal off, then left about 20 minutes for it to fully dry because of the heavy coats.

10.26.15 tombstone

I loooove how this turned out! I will never get tired of oozy drip nails for Halloween, so don’t be surprised if you see them next year, too! Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with mani #11 tomorrow, see ya then – A x

Halloween Mani #4: Splatter

I’ve mentioned before that I have such a love/hate relationship with splatter manis – they look SO cool and fun when done well, but I have a lot of trouble getting the kind of splatter I want on the nail (often I end up with just a blob, not that cool splatter shape). But I wanted to do something fun and easy with traditional Halloween colors, so a-splattering I went!

10.12.15 Fancy Finger Guns bottles

I’ve actually kind of forgotten about poor old Orange You Hot? in the years since I bought it. I have almost that entire collection (China Glaze’s 2012 summer neons), and this color is fun, although a bit sheer (not totally opaque at 3 coats), but I didn’t mind because I was going to be splattering over it, anyway. I decided to use all bright versions of the traditional Halloween colors, so after my base of Orange You Hot? I splattered with Morgan Taylor’s Anime-zing Color!, an almost-neon true purple, and Orly’s Fresh, a bright yellow-toned green (aka my favorite).

10.12.15 Fancy Finger Guns around

I know I just used Zoya PixieDust polishes in my last mani, but I just couldn’t resist adding some accent nails using Dahlia – it’s a gorgeous almost-black with bright silver sparkle, and gave just that right amount of pop to the mani, I think. I’ll never get over the fact that Zoya didn’t make PixieDusts in neon or other fun colors like aqua – I love the formula and sparkle of them, and wish they hadn’t stopped production. Sigh.

I lightened this photo up a bit so you can see what Anime-zing Color looks like more accurately.

I lightened this photo up a bit so you can see what Anime-zing Color looks like more accurately.

This weekend I went to a showing of Hocus Pocus at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The El Capitan is pricey – general admission tix are $16 and the various levels of VIP go from $20-$30 – but luckily we found cheaper prices at Goldstar.com. Either way, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see one of my favorite movies in such a gorgeous venue. I’ve been to the El Capitan once before, to see Tron a few years ago, but I didn’t really remember much about it because we got there late and had to just hustle into our seats. This time, we got there the recommended 45 minutes early and were delighted when we finally got inside – not only is the restored 1920s theater beautiful on its own, but it was decorated for Halloween!

In the half hour leading up to the show, an organist performed onstage using an organ from the 1920s, one of five in the world. He played some classics with “spooky” titles like “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead,” and “Witchcraft,” as well as a slew of Disney songs like “Bibbity, Bobbity, Boo,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” and my favorite, “Grim Grinning Ghosts” (aka the Haunted Mansion ride music!). When it was time for the movie to start, he turned around and gave a wave, which is how I saw that he was wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt under his blazer (adorable!), and then played one last number while the organ sank down below the stage. It was really cool, and honestly the price of admission was worth that alone.

10.12.15 Fancy Finger Guns El Cap organist

There were two trailers before the movie started (for Disney animated movies Zootopia and The Nice Dinosaur, which looked like it would make me cry, freaking Pixar!) but they were pretty short and then the movie started! I don’t remember seeing Hocus Pocus in theaters when I was a kid, so it was really fun to see it on the big screen now! The theater was probably only half full, and it was a decent mix of adults my age and parents with younger kids, but happily none of the kids were a distraction and it was really cool to see HP with a big crowd. After the movie, we went down to the “basement,” where they had photos, props, and other little tidbits on display from the three movies the El Capitan would be showing for their Halloween line-up – Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Black Cauldron. I don’t really remember The Black Cauldron, but I love the other two movies, so I was delighted to see not only the Sanderson sisters’ costumes and cauldron, but also boooooook!, plus a car and the City Hall building from Nightmare.

If you don’t want to watch a movie, I saw that they do give tours where they talk about the history of the theater, which sounds pretty awesome, too. If you’re any kind of Disney lover, I think the El Capitan is a total must-see. Thanks for reading, everyone! See you next time – A x

Orly Key Lime Twist

I’ve recently bought quite a few polishes, oops. But they are so pretty, I couldn’t resist! A few were long-time lemmings of mine, but some were new, like Orly’s Key Lime Twist.

5.12.15 bottles

Key Lime Twist is a pretty unique shade – it’s sort of a soft neon, if that makes sense? I guess the Maybelline term “bleached neon” would fit here – it’s still quite bright, but not a true KAPOW IN YOUR FACE neon. It’s a soft neon yellow with a little green tinge, but not enough to make it chartreuse. It’s a total chameleon, so I took a bunch of pictures to try to capture all its different facets.

In a slightly shaded area behind my work.

Taken in a slightly shaded area.

This took me four coats – I followed Rach’s advice to do one thin coat and two thicker ones, but it was still too streaky so I had to add a fourth. However, I will say that this many coats normally chips super quickly on me, but KLT lasted about three days before I had a tiny chip on my thumb and middle finger, so that’s great! I haven’t worn an Orly in forever, so I can’t remember if I usually get good wear time with them, but this was pretty awesome.

5.12.15 blue light

Above is a picture of how neon KLT really is – in the bluish shade behind my work building, it looks radioactive and positively glows. Below is what it looks like under my daylight bulb in my lightbox – the green disappears and it just looks yellow.

5.12.15 curled up

I loved this color but got a little bored, so I decided to add silver chrome drips! I had to be verrrry careful with this – chrome polishes look amazing but they’re difficult to work with and show every little flaw. I used a dotting tool to get the drips, then used Sterling Silver’s brush to fill in the tops, and I had a little trouble getting the drips to be filled in completely because chromes are so weirddddd but while it doesn’t look amazing here in photos, it really didn’t look that bad in person. I don’t LOVE it, but I think it looks kinda cool. What do you think?

5.12.15 diagonal

If you’re okay doing 3-4 coats, definitely pick up Key Lime Twist – it wore really well and is such a fun, fab color, especially as we roll into the summer months. Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Dark Glamour

Hi everyone! How’s your October going? it’s a super busy month for me and I’ve been planning nonstop – I’ve got my apartment fully decorated for Halloween, a trip to a pumpkin patch scheduled for next weekend, and I’m starting to put together my costume, yay! Today I’ve got a manicure using one of my favorite spooky color combos, black and green.

Orly's Here Comes Trouble and Sunglasses At Night

Orly’s Here Comes Trouble and Sunglasses At Night

I originally want to do something with green and purple glitter, but then I couldn’t find the purple glitter I wanted so I ended up with this look and I love it! I used one coat of Wet ‘N Wild’s Black Creme, my go-to black, and added a layer of top coat to my middle two nails. After an hour or so, I applied hole reinforcement stickers at the cuticle then painted two thin coats of Here Comes Trouble, and removed the stickers. I love Here Comes Trouble – it’s a perfect grass green, has a subtle depth from the combo of fine glitter and small hexes, and even has a pretty smooth texture that only needs one layer of top coat.

10-06014 curled

I was less impressed with Sunglasses At Night. I’ve been picking up and putting back down this polish every time I go to my fav polish supply store, and a few weeks ago I finally bought it because I thought it would be perfect for Halloween. Sunglasses At Night is composed of black holographic bar glitter in a sheer tinted base, and while I’m not normally a fan of bar glitter, something about it really caught my eye. Unfortunately, the formula is really shitty – it’s super watery and difficult to grab a good amount of glitter. I do love the actual glitter itself, though – it’s definitely holographic but when it’s on the base color looks blue instead of black, which is pretty unique and looks really cool.

10-06-14 up

Today’s movie post is a total guilty pleasure – Practical Magic. This movie is not great, and at times is quite painfully ’90s (that soundtrack!) but for some reason, every time this movie is on ABC Family, I have to watch it. I’m totally a sucker for the “small-town New England in October” setting, so that’s definitely a part of this movie’s allure for me. Anyway, if you’ve never seen the movie, it has three generations of Owens witches – Aunts Jet and Frances, main characters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman), and Sally’s daughters Kylie and Antonia – living in a small town where Sally is trying to deal with her husband’s death and raising her kids in a place where people gossip about the Owens being witches.

Sally, of course, is the “super talented witch who just wants to be normal and doesn’t use her powers” cliche, trying to raise her kids to be “normal,” which is difficult as they live with the super witchy aunts. Sally is the wild child who left home as a teen, and the main story is kicked off when Gilly calls Sally for help escaping abusive Jimmy. The women end up accidentally killing Jimmy as they try to escape, and when they bury him in the aunts’ backyard they think they’re safe, until weird things start happening and a cop comes calling to find him.

There are a few jump-y moments when Jimmy comes back, and I think the movie does a nice job at creating tension for the scenes with Jimmy and later with the hot cop who’s investigating. The end exorcism (I guess?) scene is also pretty cool. Mostly, I just really love the sisters’ relationship – Gillian is flighty and immature, Sally is stubborn and jaded, but they appreciate each other despite their flaws and will do anything for each other. Also, Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest really make the most out of their short screen time as the aunts. When you’re not in the mood for something scary but still want that October/Halloween feel, Practical Magic is a good movie to pop in.

Thoughts on this mani? Anyone else feel oddly compelled to always watch Practical Magic? Has anyone read the book (which I also like a lot)? Let me know in the comments! Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next time – A x