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 #7: Spooky Gradient!

Hi lovlies! This is going to be another lightning-quick post as I just got home from a Jimmy Buffet concert at the Hollywood Bowl with my folks and I’m about to go to sleep for DISNEYLAND tomorrow! I’ll have a weekend round up at some point, but since it’s getting to be the end of the month, I want to pump out as many posts as I can so I make my goal of 13 Halloween manis. So this short and sweet post is about my gradient nails!

10.23.15 Fancy Finger Guns bottles

I loooove China Glaze’s Harvest Moon. I mean:

Look how gorgeousssssss Harvest Moon is!

Look how gorgeousssssss Harvest Moon is!

It’s from their 2012(? no time to Google!) Hunger Games collection, which I hated at first but now I own almost all the colors, and this is one of my favs – I adore a burnt orange, and this one is a gorgeous, reflective foil, to boot! I did a rough gradient (using my usual damp sponge routine but didn’t take too much care to ensure a smooth, even gradient to keep it ~*spooky*~), and I think the deeper orange makes this a really chic look as opposed to the more kitschy or cutesy Halloween manis that pop up a lot (sometimes even my own designs)!

10.23.15 Fancy Finger Guns diagonal

I also added an accent glitter nail on my pinkie – the copper doesn’t quite match, but it looks pretty close in real life. It’s really a struggle for me to keep the same design on all my fingers, it’s like nail polish ADD or something!

10.23.15 Fancy Finger Guns curled

P.S. this is the mani that cracked 400 followers on IG for me! This is very exciting – I know I’ll never be a “big” nail blogger, but seeing my number grow higher and higher during the less-than-a-year I’ve been putting my designs on Instagram has been really lovely and affirming. I don’t do anything too complex, but I appreciate everyone who likes checking out what I keep coming up with. If you’re one of my IG followers, thank you so much for your support! And doubly thanks since you’re taking time to read my blog post, and I know the nail game is mostly IG now, so it’s really swell that you want to read some words written by little ol’ me. Thanks so much, and I’ll see you in a day or two with my next mani! – A x

Favorites Month: Metallics

Oh man, I really thought I was going to be able to get all of my categories up by the end of August but that last week was INSANE, so my favorites month will bleed into September a little bit. For this post I’ve got my favorite metallics! Like most of my other categories, this one was harder than I thought it would be – I didn’t think I really used metallic all that much but it turns out once I started looking at my stash I had more than I thought and remembered how awesome they were! But I got ‘em narrowed down to ten, so here they are:

09-03-14 holo bottles1

Nfu-Oh #61: The master of holos! It doesn’t look like much in the bottle (except that the bottles are so freaking adorable!) but in direct light this sucker is the blingiest holo I’ve ever seen! SUCH a strong, bright, linear rainbow that really pops over the metallic silver base. The formula is finicky as hell, but I find if I’m able to do two quick strokes for each base with plenty of drying time in between it’s not too bad.

It’s Frosty Outside: My love of It’s Frosty Outside is well documented on this blog, but seriously – get this polish! It screams holiday with the bright metallic silver and matte glitter sequins that give just enough extra bling to make this polish so freaking pretty.

Diamond Geezer: Not much to say about this bad boy except if you’re looking for an amazing, bright metallic silver with sparkles, pick up a bottle of this!

Champers: I love rose-gold, and this one by Butter London is fabulous! It does seem to lean slightly more gold than rose on me, but I still really love it.

Penny Talk: This one is just a really great copper to have in your collection – smoothly metallic, almost reflective, with minimal brushstrokes. It looks very similar to Champers but in real life Champers is more rosy.

I don't even know what happened here - I keep losing bottles! I'm hoping I can find these MIA polishes soon, but for now please forgive my use of stand-ins!

I don’t even know what happened here – I keep losing bottles! I’m hoping I can find these MIA polishes soon, but for now please forgive my use of stand-ins!

Nothing Else Metals: I was intrigued when Essie’s Mirror Metallics collection came out but since neither Essie nor metallics are elements that make me go crazy with polish-lust, I didn’t pick this bottle up til I was at my fav polish shop last year and realized that I’d picked it up every single time I’d been there so I should probably just buy it. And thank goodness I did! A lavender metallic is just such a great idea, and this one has an easy formula, to boot!

Honey Ryder: Not super metallic in a reflective way, but I like that. Honey Ryder isn’t a super blingy texture polish but it’s a lovely neutral gold that goes with everything, and since in the last few years I’ve switched to favoring gold more than silver, I adore this guy.

Glitzerland: My go-to gold, as you can see by how much I’ve used it! Oddly for someone who loves bright polish, I usually do very neutral colors on my toes, and it’s usually Glitzerland. It’s just a really nice yellow-leaning shimmery gold to have in your arsenal!

2030: Awww, one of my oldest polishes! A cool-toned champagne gold, 2030 is fantastic at stamping. The designs come out perfectly crisp and gorgeous, and this hue looks especially great over darker colors.

Designer…de Better!: Another polish that was a gift! I got a mini set of these Muppets polishes, and I unexpectedly really loved this one. It’s a really unique shade – a silvery foil with flecks of copper – that seems fairly unassuming but looks really freaking cool on the nail. I can’t wait to bust this bad boy out again soon!

I had to use #61 (don’t you hate it when brands don’t name their polishes?) for my metallic mani, but I also wanted to add a little pop of something extra, so I did a gradient of gold dots using 2030. I really liked this, although it ended up looking like a New Year’s Eve mani, ha. I had a hard time getting good photos but I attempted to show that gorgeous holo flare:

09-03-14 holo curled around bottle

09-03-14 holo tilted back

09-03-14 holo curled under

So what did you think, see any of your favorites on my list? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, I’ll have my last favorites category up soon! – A x

Glitter Elegance with Ginger Spice Latte

Are ginger spice lattes a real thing? I’m not sure, but I do know that the hot beverage of the season is the pumpkin spice latte, which I actually don’t like. I know, I’m like the only person evaaaaa who doesn’t, but one of the spices in that legendary concoction is something I just can’t stand. Bleh. I do, however, completely adore I Love Nail Polish’s Ginger Spice Latte polish, which is featured in today’s combo!

P.S. this is a caramel macchiato, a kind of treat for going so long without buying frivolous coffee drinks like this :)

P.S. this is a caramel macchiato, a kind of treat for going so long without buying frivolous coffee drinks like this :)

I’ve had ILNP on this blog before with Candy Apples & Razors, but I didn’t fully gush about it. I love this brand! It’s an indie company (with both a website and an etsy store) but everything about it is so professional and awesome. The bottle feels solid and expensive, is an easy shape for storage, and has a matted rubber cap that is great for gripping. The logo is etched on the front of the bottle, and there’s also a sticker on the bottom with the name of the polish. I really like indies, and part of their charm is that they have handwritten labels and such, but it’s also really impressive when an indie brand puts out a product that’s as well put together as ILNP.

11-11-13 bottle and box!

I got my first ILNP polishes during the Black Friday deal last year and sort of shocked myself by ordering Ginger Spice Latte since that kind of polish (tiny glitter, understated gold/copper color) wasn’t really my jam then, but ever since I got it it’s probably my most-used glitter topper. GSL has good coverage in just one coat and only takes one thickish coat of top coat to smooth everything out, which is pretty rare for glitter. All my INLP polishes have a REALLY strong smell since I got them before the owner changed her formula, but I actually don’t mind much because I kind of like the chemical smell of nail polish.

11-11-13 Curled hand - too dark?

In keeping with my fall theme, I decided GSL’s gorgeous mix of tiny gold and copper glitters would go beautifully with Zoya’s Shawn, a military green (more yellowish green/mossy) that covers well in two coats. This color is a shapeshifter – it’s darker on the nail than in the bottle, and it also appears lighter or darker and more of a yellow/khaki green depending on your lighting, which I’ve shown below in a collage. (It appears almost hunter green in my lightbox photos, but it’s not.)

Clockwise from the top: in very yellow/warm lighting in my apt, (next 3 taken in the car) in weak afternoon light, in very bright 1pm, and in the shade.

Clockwise from the top left: in very yellow/warm lighting in my apt, (next 3 taken in the car) in weak afternoon light, in very bright 1pm light, and in the shade.

It’s the kind of color that was in style a few years ago like all those other weird in-between colors (griege, dirty taupe), and I wasn’t into it then but can appreciate it now. I was originally just going to do a glitter gradient over Shawn but thought I should try something new.

You can see gold micro, square, and hex glitter, plus slightly larger copper hex pieces. Love!

You can see gold micro, square, and hex glitter, plus slightly larger copper hex pieces. Love!

11-11-13 macro - nail

I love this combination! My application of glitter in the curved sections along the side of my nails isn’t the best, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and struggled to make them all the same after my first few.

Up -  cloudy
11-11-13 From the side - shade

GSL’s caramel colors look so rich against Shawn. I did one normal coat of GSL and another thin coat, sort of dabbing in a few places to get almost full coverage. I wiped off the excess polish so I had just a little bit to work with for more control for the second coat, but since I had the cap off for so long it started to get a bit goopy and hard to work with, which is why the curves aren’t super clean. I don’t think that’s something the average person would notice, though. I really love this way of adding glitter!

This was taken outside in late afternoon light, and it's a pretty true representation of how this color looks most of the time.

This was taken outside in late afternoon light, and it’s a pretty true representation of how this color looks most of the time.

So I (finally) started watching Friday Night Lights. I have this unintentional habit of not watching shows that multiple people emphatically tell me I’d love, and this one has been on my “to watch” list for years. I guess maybe subconsciously I get annoyed by people constantly telling me to watch them, but once I watch whichever one I do really like it – Veronica Mars was one of those, and oh man I loved that show from the first episode. I’m about 6 episodes into FNL and I don’t “OMG loooooooove” it, but I certainly like it. I’m watching with my sister, who’s a huge fan, so it’s hard to not ask her “who’s that? what’s his deal? do those two stay together? what happens to her?” She also obviously knows a lot more about the characters so I sometimes feel out of the loop.

clear-eyes-full-hearts-cant-lose

I do think it’s pretty good, though, and despite me not having any super strong feelings about any of the characters, the football element really gets me going – even though I know it’s a TV show, and that everything is choreographed, I still get really into the games (“Go Smash! Run it!!!”). I don’t like pro football, only high school/college, because I feel like they’re more exciting since there’s so much riding on each game. I do really love how realistic everything feels, like how much religion plays into most of the characters’ lives in small-town Texas, and dialogue like Coach Taylor and his wife’s conversations feel really natural and real. And while I haven’t gotten a real connection with the characters yet, I do have a few favorites. I like Coach’s daughter, Julie, because I feel like she acts like how I would if I were the teenage daughter of a small-town football coach, and also Tyra, who’s sort of a hustler (I just got to the episode where they throw an anti-homecoming party for $) and just does what she wants. I’m excited to get to super-fan levels of adoration with this show like everyone else I know who watched it.

Any FNL fans? Thoughts on this mani?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x