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 :)

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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

Yellow, Green, and Glittahhhh

Hi everyone! Today I have some gorgeous new (to me) polishes to show you!

4.30 bottles

So back in 2009 when I was first really getting into the lacquerhead game, OPI released a holiday collection based on the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland. I saw pics on my fav nail blog, All Lacquered Up, but just sort of skimmed because it seemed like the usual boring “ten kinds of reds” collection. There was a pretty glitter I liked, but at that point I still thought $8 for a nail polish was pricey (ha!). Later, of course, that glitter, Mad As A Hatter (MAAH), would become one of the most sought-after, hard-to-find polishes that many a nail fiend would go crazy over. I remember trying to find a good enough dupe in the years that followed, but nothing really matched it and I wasn’t about to pay $100 on eBay for a bottle. However, about three weeks ago I got an email from Ninja Polish, saying they were having a 40% off sale. Ninja Polish carries brands that are difficult to find in the U.S. like Models Own as well as their own brand and indies, like Cover Band, which made dupes of htf cult favorites, like OPI’s legendary Glamour and MAAH. They still had both those two in stock, which I snatched up within minutes.

4.30 straight up

I paired CAAC with OPI’s AmazON…AmazOff (ughhhh these names are killing me) from the recent Brazil collection, and You’re So Flippy Floppy from their mini Liquid Sand collection. I reeeally wish OPI had made these minis full size – they are so great, and way more interesting than most of the polishes in their recent collections! (I particularly loved I’m Brazil Nuts Over You, which was basically a textured version of my fav, China Glaze’s neon coral Surfin’ For Boys.) I think I only used one coat of AmazON…AmazOFF – if there were any streaks, the glitter covered it up. And what a fantastic glitter it is! I’m so glad I signed up for the Ninja Polish newsletter, y’all – CAAC is disgustingly gorgeous. It’s a combination of fine pink, purple, blue, copper, green, and silver glitter and this is only one coat! It’s super sparkly and gave perfectly even coverage of glitter with one easy swipe, plus the size of the glitter meant I only needed one layer of top coat for a smooth finish. I mean…swoon.

Yassssss

Yassssss

You’re So Flippy Floppy (YSFF) also had an amazing formula – this was only two coats, and there wasn’t any VNL. Like my fav texture polish, Zoya’s Solange, YSFF is such a happy yellow I couldn’t help but love it, although Solange has an additional metallic gold finish that YSFF doesn’t have – it’s just pure yellow sunshine! I am SO SAD there isn’t a full-size bottle available of this! I guess I can conserve it by doing one coat over a yellow creme base in the future, but… :(

4.30 sun curled under

If you’d like to pick up Crazy As A Capper, it’s still available at Ninja Polish, as is the OPI Glamour dupe (which I will be featuring in an upcoming mani). I highly recommend both, but I must admit Crazy As A Capper has a special place in my heart. Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

Festival Nails

This weekend I went to a Coachella-themed dance party. I’ve never been, but I get super annoyed with the constant media coverage (well, on some of the blogs and Instagrams I read, anyway, so maybe that’s my own fault…?) leading up to it and the onslaught of “fashion roundups” during the two weekends. However, I sort of love the equal parts fun-and-douchey fashion people wear, so when I had the opportunity to throw on some Flash tats, a flower crown, and festival-themed nails, obvs I jumped at the chance.

L-R: China Glaze Neon & On & On, Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow, Lime Crime Pastelchio

L-R: China Glaze Neon & On & On, Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow, Lime Crime Pastelchio

I decided on a bright gradient with some tribal stamping, since tribal prints are very popular at festivals like Coachella, buuuuuuuut I got too lazy and just did the gradient, instead. Also, I kinda wish I had used a neon yellow instead of just a regular yellow, but I was trying for a combo where the hues were halfway between pastel and neon, and I originally thought a regular ol’ yellow helps balance the neon-ness of Neon & On & On and slightly bump up the neon of Pastelchio. Not sure if it was successful, hmm…

AHHH MY EYESSSS --> me, looking at my terrible clean-up job around my cuticles in this pic.

AHHH MY EYESSSS –> me, looking at my terrible clean-up job around my cuticles in this pic.

So this mani is a bit of a fail – I sponged the gradient over white (bL Cotton Buds) because usually when I do gradients, I paint a base of the lightest color, but with these colors I wanted them at their full brightest and didn’t want to layer N&O&O over the yellow or green and have its color be muddled. Howeverrrrrr, in combination with the crap job sponging my gradient (I’ll explain below), when I tried to clean up around my cuticles, the top layer of polish kept coming off and revealing the white underneath, which is why I usually don’t layer over white because ugh, I hate that look. So this isn’t my best work and it kind of pained me to post these pics, but trust, it looked way better in person/from far away.

See how good it looks from farther away? Stupid cameras, picking up every little flaw!

See how good it looks from farther away? The sad, peel-y Flash tats on my fingers have seen better days, though.

When you’re doing sponged gradients, remember to keep your cosmetic sponge damp – with this manicure, I had issues with tiny pieces of the sponge getting stuck to my polish, which is a) gross and b) obnoxious because it ruins your time-intensive manicure! My usual method: I run the sponge under the tap for a few seconds, wring it out until it’s just a little damp, then quickly apply my polish and get to sponging. If you think it’s becoming too dry, just run it under water and wring it out again (I’ve used the same sponge before and it was fine). However, I had to stop a few times during this manicure to do other stuff and forgot to re-wet my sponge because I was distracted, which is why the polish looks a bit lumpy and pieces got stuck in certain areas, like on my ring finger. :/

Sponges are tricky bastards who can be your best friend or worst enemy for nail art.

Sponges are tricky bastards who can be your best friend or worst enemy for nail art.

I still do like the gradient, even if my execution wasn’t the best. This would’ve ended up looking much nicer if I had done a white stamp over this like I’d originally planned, but hey, they can’t all be winners, right? I promise I’ll have a nicer-looking mani in my next post. :) Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

P.S. I bought this Lime Crime polish about three years ago; their recent scandal (not telling customers their card information had been compromised during their “Black Wednesday” sale until five months later, in an Instagram post with “cute” emojis, nonetheless) has ensured I won’t buy anything from them in the future. I’d always heard stories going around about LC’s various shady activities, but this really proves that they’re a terrible company and I won’t support them, although I do admit that I love their products that I already do have and so they might pop up from time to time like this.

Mustard Mani

Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a great weekend! Today I have another fall-hued manicure, using my new Sephora Formula X Brushed Metallic (what a mouthful, eh?) polish.

11-08-14 polishes

This is two careful coats of Ambitious. These polishes are weird – I had to re-do one nail because the first coat dried with a weird line/crack thing, and even putting another coat didn’t cover it, it just kinda…sunk right in. I don’t know why, but I love this polish. I’m weirdly drawn to this color – it’s one of those “ugly pretty” shades that normally aren’t my jam, but something about the this particular mustard (or “goldenrod,” as it’s described on the Sephora website) plus the metallic sheen and the super matte texture is really drawing me in right now.

11-08-14 curled around bottle

I did a little berry-colored accent nail on my pointer with Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, an old fav. To make everything more cohesive, I stamped with black on my middle fingers and used a dotting tool to put a little black dot on my pointer and pinkie. The stamp I used is from one of my new Mo-You plates, which I adore. Look how fun these designs are:

Hipster Collection plate 08. Also, damn it's hard to get a picture with stamping plates that doesn't reflect everything yet still shows all the designs!

Hipster Collection plate 08. Also, damn it’s hard to get a picture with stamping plates that doesn’t reflect everything yet still shows all the designs!

This didn’t wear very long because mattes always get chip wear super quick, sometimes within a matter of hours, but I really liked this. I love manicures with a little bit of everything – different textures, stamping, mixed designs…

My sister made me laugh at an inopportune moment so the dot on my pinkie is a little wonky :/

My sister made me laugh at an inopportune moment so the dot on my pinkie is a little wonky :/

Do you have a favorite matte polish? Did you get any of these Sephora ones or the new, limited-release Zoya ones? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x