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 #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 #10 – Glam Black Widow!

Hi everyone! This post was supposed to go up last night, but my photos wouldn’t download off my phone, so there will be two posts today! Let’s jump into the first one, this deadly spider inspired look:

OPI's Color So Hot It Berns, Zoya's Storm

OPI’s Color So Hot It Berns, Zoya’s Storm

I wanted to do something with deadly-looking colors, so I chose to use the black widow spider’s red and black color scheme. I used a base of Color So hot It Berns, although I really need a new red – this one is a bit sheer and takes forever to dry (I dinged two nails even after waiting 15 minutes), but I got it for free a few years ago and I hardly ever use red, so I always forget to try a new one. Anyway, when that was dry, I applied a piece of washi tape horizontally across the nail then painted on a layer of Storm.

10.28.15 black widow1

I looooove these gold spider charms! I got them last year but forgot to use them for Halloween, and I’ve kind of just been saving them since. I don’t usually like anything so big or chunky on my nails, but these are super awesome and glam!

Okay, guys – four manis left and counting! See you all tomorrow with something a little more complex. Thanks for reading – A x

Neons & Holo!

Guys, I have been very ambivalent about my nails lately. I haven’t been taking care of my cuticles and am just generally “meh” every time I go to paint them. Nothing is really exciting me lately, so I decided to pull out some fun colors in an attempt to jazz up my nails and get me excited about doing them again. I have a feeling this month won’t have much intricate nail art – fair warning – but maybe that’s just as well since the holidays are coming up and I don’t want to burn out before I have a chance to do some really fun designs, especially for my main event: Halloween!

China Glaze Rose Among Thorns, Color Club Harp On It

China Glaze Rose Among Thorns, Color Club Harp On It

Rose Among Thorns is an olllllld China Glaze polish – maybe from 2007? It’s a fabulous blazing, neon red, but it’s a little sheer – definitely needs at least three coats (I think I used four on my pointer?). I really love using neon red or coral with silver holos – there’s just something about that combo I really love.

9.4.15 FFG neon+holo curled

On my right hand I used Essie’s In The Cabana – I picked it up for my mom but I couldn’t resist trying it out (sorry, Mom!). I somehow don’t have anything quite like it, despite having way too many turquoise polishes (jk, you can never have too many turquoises) – most of my turquoise/aqua colors are green-toned, but this one has more of a true blue undercurrent. It’s so happy and pretty, I love it! Formula was great, too – this was two easy coats.

9.4.15 Fancy Finger Guns blue

If you don’t have any of the Color Club Halo Hues, you are seriously missing out. It seems like every indie polish brand out there is doing holos – I have quite a few from ILNP and Cirque – plus even brands like butter LONDON and Revlon will come out with one every now and then, but hands down, my favorite is Color Club’s.

Even in the shade the holographic prism of Harp On It is visible.

Even in the shade the holographic prism of Harp On It is visible.

The color range isn’t huge – the 2012 collection is all pastels and a few colors look very similar, and the 2013 collection has more vivid hues but nothing super interesting like an emerald or yellow – but CC has my favorite holo formula of all time. They go on easy (although you can get some balding if you don’t wait a few minutes before adding your second coat) and the holographic rainbow is blindingly bright with a smooth prism that most brands offering holos don’t have – they tend to be more scattered than very linear like CC’s. Don’t get me wrong – I love all kinds of holos, even super scattered ones like Zoya’s Dream – but CC’s holo flare is the best, in my opinion. I think they retail for $10 each, but you can find them online for $7. Even at the full price, I think they’re totally worth it.

Mmm check out that blingy holo rainbow!

Mmm check out that blingy holo rainbow!

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday, and we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in LA – Preux & Proper, New Orleans-inspired cuisine. Preux is the downstairs bar that features a smaller menu but has a killer list of New Orleans-esque cocktails (Hurricane and Sazerac, of course, as well as names like Category 5 and Vieux Carre) as well as a wall of alcoholic slushies behind the bar, just like on Bourbon Street.

9.4.15 FFG Preux & Proper drinks

Proper is the upstairs dining area, which has the full menu and continues the beautiful Southern-style décor, including balconies for lovely views of downtown. P&P is on the pricier side – cocktails are $10 and food is $10-$22 (it’s mostly small plates), but everything is amazingly delicious and the atmosphere is great. It’s a nice little splurge restaurant!

I forgot to take photos of the food, but these are the little glasses they give you after your meal to try the alcoholic slushies downstairs.

I forgot to take photos of the food, but these are the little glasses they give you after your meal to try the alcoholic slushies downstairs.

I’ve only been to New Orleans once (on my cross-country drive to move here to LA) but I loved the city and of course the food, and P&P really does have that Nawlins feel – even the outside looks like it belongs in the French Quarter.

9.4.15 FFG Preux & Proper outside1

I highly recommend Preux & Proper for awesome Southern food and charm in the middle of industrial downtown Los Angeles. I’ve only ever been at night, but I believe they have a 4–6 happy hour, which definitely makes it more affordable!

9.4.15 FFG Preux & Proper outside

Anyone else love New Orleans-style food? I’m also obsessed with the cocktails – I’m not usually a rum fan, but P&P’s Hurricane was one of the best I’ve ever had, and their hibiscus Moscow Mule was amazing, too! I need to figure out how to replicate that. Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

WNAC August Nail Art Challenge: Lemon & Cherry

Hi everyone! I hope your week is going well. I’ve been feeling a distinct lack of inspiration lately – you can probably tell from my slacking on posts – so when I stumbled upon this very leisurely (once a week!) Instagram nail art challenge, I decided to do it.

8.7.15 challenge

Today is the first prompt – lemon and cherry! These are probably the two colors I use the least in my nail color arsenal, so it was a bit tricky for me – plus I didn’t want anything that looked too “McDonald’s” or mustard/ketchup-y. I decided to throw a nude polish in to soften the stark red/yellow combo and I even pulled out a technique I haven’t used in almost two years!

Left to right: China Glaze Happy Go Lucky, Glitter Gal Love Bite, Nfu-Oh #62, OPI My Boyfriend Is Buff

Left to right: China Glaze Happy Go Lucky, Glitter Gal Love Bite, Nfu-Oh #62, OPI My Vampire Is Buff

I decided to use a little more effort than my recent manicures, so I created some little triangle decals for this look:

Sorry my skin looks hella busted, the sunlight was really harsh.

Sorry my skin looks hella busted, the sunlight was really harsh.

A quick set-by-step of this decal DIY: first, I painted a few coats of each color on some plastic wrap (I think this was three thin coats of each) then topped them with a quick-dry topcoat. When that was dry, I carefully peeled each color off the plastic wrap and started cutting the dried polish into little triangles with some cuticle scissors I have. I arranged the triangles on my nails over the dried base color, pressed them down lightly to sort of “attach” them to my nail, then floated a layer of top coat over the top to seal everything in.

Also please forgive the little cut on my pointer!

Also please forgive the little cut on my pointer!

This was the first time I’d used Love Bite, and I looooooove it! I’m not usually a red nails person, but add some holographic sparkle to anything and I’m a fan! I thought it would be cool to mix up the different kinds of holographic finish – Love Bite is more scattered, so for the nude I used Nfu-Oh’s #62 (unfortunately now discontinued). #62 has a very intense, super linear holo – no sparkles here, just smooth particles for a blinding rainbow! I took a macro to try to show the difference in finish:

8.7.15 macro

I’m not a huge fan of yellow/red but I think this looks pretty okay. What do you think? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, see you soon – A x

P.S. Cirque Colors is having a mini sale – they’re clearing out some older polishes to make room for new colors, so pop over and see if they have anything you like! It’s such a good deal, considering these are usually THIRTEEN DOLLARS each! I also scooped a few up, oops :)