Candy Splatter

I wanted to do something completely different with today’s look but I was stuck for a while before I thought of doing my usual blood splatter mani with Halloween colors instead of red. I’m pretty pleased with the result, although adding the black makes me think more of Reese’s Pieces than the candy corn look I was originally going for. :/

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I started with a base of everyone’s favorite white with a drop of gray, My Boyfriend Scales Walls. It was still streaky at two coats, but I knew I’d be splattering over it. Then came the messy part! I love splatter nails but I swear, I can never get it quuuuuuite right – see how on my pinkie the polish just looks smudged instead of splattered? And yet it’s perfect on my middle finger. Blerg. Maybe I’ll go back to using a regular straw instead of my current method of coffee stirrer, although in the past that just made big splotches. Sigh – I can’t win!

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However, I’ve finally landed on a way to make cleanup a breeze – smear Vaseline around your cuticles! I read this somewhere a long time ago but this was the first time I’ve tried it out myself, and it worked like a dream. After carefully making sure not to get any Vaseline on my nails themselves, I splattered away and when I was done, I just used an orange stick to gently scrape away the Vaseline from my cuticles, taking the excess polish with it. Huzzah!

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My Halloween-y movie today is a new favorite that I just discovered thanks to Netflix Instant – The Awakening. It’s set during one of my favorite time periods – the spiritualist movement of the 1910s/early 1920s – in England, where Rebecca Hall plays Florence, a famous writer who busts fake mediums making their living by tricking poor grievers into thinking they’ve contacted their deceased relatives. A teacher from a remote boarding school contacts her, urged by the school matron who’s a fervent fan of Florence’s work, and against her initial judgement, Florence makes the journey to debunk the pupils’ belief that a ghost is haunting the grounds.

I love, love, love the cinematography in this movie, especially how everything is gray and washed out, completely visually evoking the hopelessness of the time immediately after WWI and the massive influenza outbreak that together killed millions and basically destroyed a generation of young men. The only thing I loved more was Rebecca Hall’s performance – she is perfectly curt but not rude/mean, and shows a sense of humor lurking under Florence’s businesslike facade. I wish she were a bigger star – she’s been fantastic in everything I’ve seen her in, but I think she’s fallen into the Keira Knightley trap of being typecast as a “period” actress.
Oh, and baby Bran Stark is one of the boarding school boys! via

Oh, and baby Bran Stark is one of the boarding school boys!

I love this movie so much because it’s a haunted house (which I’ve already mentioned I love), there’s a pitch-perfect moodiness that accentuates the setting of a horror story in isolated England, the mystery is interesting and not cliched, and there are some genuine scares along the way! If you’re in the mood for a more atmospheric than jumpy scary movie, you should definitely try The Awakening.

Anyone ever seen The Awakening and loved it as much as I did? Any thoughts on this mani? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! I’ll be back in a few days with another Halloween look. ‘Til then – A x

Kicking Off Favorites Month

Soooo I have been spotty with posting lately, and I’m really sorry about that! I was trying to think of short but interesting posts I could do and I thought it might be fun to compile lists of my favorite polishes – I know that I love reading what other bloggers’ top polishes and products are, and hopefully you all will enjoy reading mine!

I must say, this is no small feat – I am hopelessly indecisive in all area of life – but I finally narrowed my choices down! I’m going to break them up into categories by color with 10 polishes in each category. These are my absolute, 100%, can’t-live-without-them favorite shades. The lists are interesting because you can see what shade of each color I gravitate towards, or how certain brands create colors I can’t get enough of (China Glaze and their greens!).

Today’s post will be warm tones – the “Roy” of “Roy G. Biv” – because I don’t have 10 individual favorites of red, orange, and yellow. (I also threw coral in this group.) So here they are, my top ten favorite warm-toned hues:

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Knees Up: Glowy metallic red gorgeousness! This is like Christmas wrapping paper on your nails.
Velvet Bow: This lush, sexy, and super shiny burgundy creme will make even the most non-traditional polish fan drool.
Glitter Goblin: China Glaze makes the best micro glitters and this one is sparkly as all get out. I adore the mix of holo and deep orange glitters, and of course the name!
Jinx : A slightly coral-leaning saturated orange texture with gold shimmer – I love OPI’s textures, and this is one of the best!
Surfin’ For Boys: I’m not usually a coral girl, but something about SFB’s neon coral with pink shimmer entrances me (not to mention gets compliments every time I wear it!).

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Son Of A Peach: Neon peach, do I need to say more? The formula is tough, but the color is definitely worth it.
East Austin: A more pink-leaning peach than SOAP, but with just as bright (and difficult) of a formula.
Lava Lamp: Insanely neon saturated orange – in low lighting this baby appears to glow, it’s so neon!
Sunkissed: It always pulls a bit too sunshine yellow on camera, and true, it isn’t the most neon-y neon, but the formula is so easy, the shimmer is beautiful, and I can’t resist neon yellow!
Solange: Golden-yellow textured perfection…I really can’t say it often enough – you need this shade!

I’ve used every polish here on the blog in the past year, some more than once. You can see I gravitate towards bright/neon hues, but I do love the glamour of Knees Up’s metallic red and Velvet Bow’s wine vampiness. I did a quick ombre look with a few of these colors because I was running out of time, but it actually worked out pretty well! Definitely an eye-catching look.

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Here’s a pic where it looks like I’m dead, but it showed the neon pop of these fabulous colors nicely.

Oh, did you not know that I was a zombie?

Oh, did you not know that I was a zombie?

Next time will be greeeeeeeeeeeens, so get excited! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x

A Bevy of Brights

I was craving something bright and easy, so I grabbed these polishes kinda at random and ended up with this fun mani. I love it so much – the bright colors kept catching my eye and making me so happy all day at work!

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I’ve featured Too Yacht To Handle and East Austin on my blog before, but the rest are old favs that are making their debut. Three are from one of my favorite nail polish collections of all time, China Glaze’s 2012 neons – Sunkissed, which isn’t quite an eye-searing neon yellow, but it’s still super bright; I’m With The Lifeguard, which is just neon green perfection; and Love’s A Beach, a fun warm-leaning Barbie pink. They all required three coats, but just barely – in fact, I think Love’s A Beach might’ve been okay at two, but with the crappy lighting in my apartment, I didn’t want to risk it. The retina-burning orange is Lava Lamp and I’ve only used it once or twice but I should really step it up because day-um that color is truly amazeballs! it’s like traffic cone orange on crack and even better, it’s only a two-coater.

Ack, sorry for the ding on my pinkie! And the tip wear, I've had this mani on for a few days now.

Ack, sorry for the ding on my pinkie! And the tip wear, I’ve had this mani on for a few days now.

I almost left this as is when I did my base coats but decided to throw a little variety in there so I did half-moons on my ring fingers with hole reinforcement stickers and freehanded angled tips on my pointers. It’s not perfect – I didn’t get the tips angled correctly or 100% evenly, and the moon on my left hand is a little off – but the colors just make me so happy! Seeing all these bright colors makes me want to do a neon ombre now, hmmmmm.

Also, I realize my hands look dead here, but when I tried to tweak the photo, Lava Lamp came out red instead of the glorious, vivid orange that it really is.

Also, I realize my hands look dead here, but when I tried to tweak the photo, Lava Lamp came out red instead of the glorious, vivid orange that it really is.

There’s not much to this mani so this is another short post! I heartily endorse all of these colors, and if you don’t have ’em, YOU NEED THEM. (Okay, East Austin is a bit of a pain in the ass, but dat colorrrrr.) Thank you for reading! See y’all next time – A x

Fireflies in the Garden

I know a lot of people don’t like them because bugs = gross, but I just love fireflies!

I’ve never lived anywhere that had them but we visited our extended family in Pennsylvania a few times when I was little, and I remember being obsessed with the fireflies flickering all around me on those warm nights – I thought they were magic! I was thinking about those moments the other day and decided fireflies would be a perfect summer nail art design.

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I wanted to do something with a deep blue sky that resembled the firefly scenes from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (which has some terrible stereotypes, but honestly, the animation is maybe my favorite ever. It’s so gorgeous!), but I also wanted a nice, subtle gradient. I think I achieved that but like the genius I am, I accidentally did the gradient in the opposite direction I wanted when I started on my left hand. I fixed it on my right, but that means the design is flipped upside down on each hand!

I'm sorry, these photos look super blown out, I'm not sure why.

I’m sorry, a few of these photos look super blown out and I’m not sure why.

I applied the grass with Posh using my dotting tool (I ordered brushes from Winstonia recently but they haven’t come in yet), then I added a few swipes of Holly-Day to try to add some dimension. I did the fireflies with my dotting tools also, although I do wish I had done less of the bigger dots.

Again, please forgive my tip wear and the freaking smearing of the dots from my dying Seche Vite.

Again, please forgive my tip wear and the freaking smearing of the dots from my dying Seche Vite.

My favorite nail is my right thumb for that very reason – the fireflies are all pretty small, so it really looks like they’re flickering in the distance.

This would be almost perfect if not for the few dots that smeared. Seche Vite, whyyyyyyy?

This would be perfect if not for the few dots that smeared. Seche Vite, whyyyyyyy?

My blingy pinkies (OPI’s My Vampire Is Buff with Milani’s Gold over it) are leftover from a previous mani I was trying out; I really like them, but I’m not 100% sure they go with this particular look. Hm. Overall, though, I really liked doing this – it was easy and fun to create, and I think they’re pretty adorable.

I don't know why my pinky nails keep breaking, ugh.

I don’t know why my pinky nails keep breaking, ugh.

If you like fireflies, do yourself a favor and check out this series the Japanese artist Yume Cyan did using long exposures. I can’t get over how gorgeous and magical this looks, I just adore it! I would love to get huge prints of these one day.

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I hope you enjoyed this post (and that the design actually looked like fireflies…?)! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x

Strawberries On My Fingers

Continuing my summer nail art month with this super cute look:

Color So Hot It Berns, Running In Circles, Happy Go Lucky

Color So Hot It Berns (CSHIB), Running In Circles, Happy Go Lucky

I did two coats of CSHIB and when it dried, I did little slightly elongated dots with Happy Go Lucky. This mani made me realize I really need to get some teeny tiny brushes for detailing – I used my smallest dotting tool for these dots and they were still too big for my liking. Oh well. I applied a coat of Seche and after waiting about an hour, I cut some tape pieces in little jagged shapes (sort of like my shark bite look but thicker), applied them to my nails, and quickly painted two coats of Running In Circles.

Please excuse my janky tips - my Seche Vite is at the halfway point, which means it's gotten way too thick/gloppy and it's started shrinking my tips. Sigh.

Please excuse my janky tips – my Seche Vite is at the halfway point, which means it’s gotten way too thick/gloppy and it’s started shrinking my tips. Sigh.

I’ve done this strawberry look before and I always manage to nick it because the greens I use for the top take foreverrrr to dry since I have to quickly apply a second coat on top of the first without waiting for it to dry – you can’t let the tape sit very long once you’ve painted over it because it dries on top of the tape so the tape will tear off the polish underneath. I’ve tried this look twice before with Orly’s Fresh and managed to ding it each time. This go ’round I did ding a nail but I kind of smoothed it back out, which I count as a victory. I also did yellow for the seeds this time – usually I do black, but last time I did that people asked if they were watermelons :/

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I think I’d like these better if the “seeds” could be smaller – they look kind of cartoony here – and I just now thought of using a darker red instead of the yellow, which I’m not crazy about. Why didn’t I think of that earlierrrrrr? Whatever, these are so freaking cute, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on them, and they definitely fit the summer theme!

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So yesterday LACMA had its second annual live commentary screening event where they screen a film and have the director, writer, and/or actors there with microphones to give anecdotes, facts, and general commentary on the movie (like the ones on the DVD). This year’s pick was Napoleon Dynamite, which is celebrating it tenth anniversary.

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I feel so freaking old! I remember when this movie came out – it was the summer before I began college and I was working at a multiplex. Napoleon Dynamite screened daily to nearly empty theaters, but I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen and ended up dragging friends to see it on three separate occasions that summer. I was a film student in college and it’s funny to remember how much I used to truly love movies like this (whereas now I rarely watch movies and haven’t bought one for probably five or six years. I’m all about the TV now). I have ND on DVD, but I haven’t watched it in years and I was surprised how well it actually held up – still a weird little flick, but funny. The director Jared Hess, star Jon Heder, and Will Forte (no idea why) gave commentary although they didn’t even talk that much, but I enjoyed the little behind-the-scens tidbits.

I was surprised how much of the film is made up from Jared Hess’ real-life experiences. The scene where the old farmer shoots a cow just as a school bus of children rolls up to see? That actually happened to the director’s brother (“That’s farm life, you guys,” he laughed). Also, a friend of his growing up really bought a “time machine” – for $800 from a guy in Florida (of course it was Florida) – like Kip and Uncle Rico do in the film, and later that kid also bought a “wish machine.” When Napoleon calls Kip and asks him to bring his Chapstick was taken from Jared’s younger brother actually calling Jared to bring him Chapstick at school.

Except for the unicorns, all the drawings of Napoleon’s in the film were drawn by Jon Heder. They also had to fly in a hand model for the opening credits because someone at Fox Searchlight thought Jon had a gross hangnail on one of his fingers, so half the hands are Jon’s and half are a much tanner models (Jon added that it was super awkward having to be there with the model and direct him how to move the plates). Tina the llama was Jared Hess’ mom’s llama in real life (named Dolly), and Jon said the line he gets quoted at him the most is “Tina you fat lard, come get some dinner!” Oh, and when Jared moved to Idaho, his school required everyone to join a club but the only one left was the sign language club, which was the inspiration for the “Happy Hands” club.

From left: Diedrich Bader (Sensi Rex), Shondrella Avery (Lafawnduh), Jon Heder (Napoleon), Carmen Brady (Starla), Efren Ramirez (Pedro), Sandy Martin (Grandma aka Mac's mom), director Jared Hess.

From left: Diedrich Bader (Sensi Rex), Shondrella Avery (Lafawnduh), Jon Heder (Napoleon), Carmen Brady (Starla), Efren Ramirez (Pedro), Sandy Martin (Grandma aka Mac’s mom), director Jared Hess.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I highly encourage you to do a little strawberry nail action yourself – they’re a real crowd pleaser, and they’re adorable for summer. I’d love to see your version if you do! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x