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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Fall-ing Into China Glaze

Hi everyone! Whew, I’m still a little wiped out from doing so many manis for Halloween! I’ll probably just be doing some simple manis this month, I hope you understand! Today’s mani is a color combination I’ve never tried before, but it felt very rich and fall-like:

11.4.15 Fancy Finger Guns bottles

Desert Sun is a weird one. China Glaze describes it as a caramel, but I think it’s a little too orange for that – but it’s also a little too yellow to be a tan? I’m very confused by it, but I’m calling it butterscotch!

I actually really like this color combo – I love me a teal, and tan goes well with teal, so this weird more orange-y hue gives it a little something extra. Desert Sun has a pretty good formula, too, although I did need three coats.

11.4.15 Fancy Finger Guns around bottles

Custom Kicks is an old CG that’s pretty new to me – I only got it a few months ago, but it is awesome! It’s a beautiful, super saturated teal with fine gold shimmer that mostly only comes out in direct light, but it’s gorgeous. I probably didn’t even need two coats, but I did it anyway because I was painting in low light and wanted to be sure there was no patchiness.

11.4.15 Fancy Finger Guns curled2

The glitter, I Soiree I Didn’t Do It (ISIDDI), is from CG’s new 2015 holiday collection, and it is GREAT. I did two thin coats over one coat of Custom Kicks, and it was very opaque, plus the glitter is small so I don’t needed one layer of top coat for it to be nice and smooth. For my ring finger, I used some sample zig zag decals that came with my What’s Up Nails order a few weeks ago to apply ISIDDI over Desert Sun.

11.4.15 Fancy Finger Guns diagonal

As I mentioned, this color combo felt very fall to me, and it’s just in time, because it’s actually starting to feel like fall here, huzzah! It was pretty chilly today, and although it’s supposed to warm up later this week (classic LA weather), I’m enjoying it while I can – I got to wear boots today! I actually probably could’ve gotten away with a scarf, even, since it was pretty cold outside with the wind. Missed opportunities, y’all! I’m even enjoying the “it gets dark early” thing, because the nights are chilly even when the day isn’t, so I get to throw my windows open at home and have a nice, fresh breeze sweeping through our stuffy apartment and making it feel very nice, indeed, to snuggle into my blankets. It’s pretty great, you guys. Okay, I’ll quit rambling about the weather! Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

It’s Fall, Y’all!

Hello, lovely readers! I’m in such a good mood because fall has finally come to Southern California (well…for a few days, at least). I had a lovely Halloween weekend – a great night out Halloween night in my Cruella deVille costume, the fabulous Danny Elfman concert on Saturday, and a lovely day polish shopping then reading in the park on Sunday. Most importantly, I got to have my windows open all weekend and it was freaking divine. I’m in such a good mood I don’t even care that it’s Tuesday (the worst day), although that might be because I did a quick mani yesterday and it’s keeping me in the fall love bubble.

11-04-14 bottles

I mentioned this last year, but holy crap, Goldie Boo Boo (GBB) is autumn in a bottle! I say this every time but ughhhhh I’m so sad I Love Nail Polish has decided to not do glitters anymore because all the ones I have are awesome!

See??? This is ONE easy coat, people!

See??? This is ONE easy coat, people!

GBB is comprised of orange, gold, chocolate, and gray glitters in a clear base with gold micro glitter. I kind of regret putting it over Petra now, since you can’t really see the gray glitters, but I do love the gold and orange over Petra’s dusty purple-y gray.

11-04-14 diagonal

Unfortunately, this chipped pretty quickly because GBB’s base is pretty thick – this bottle if from ILNP’s original formulation, which is super thick and smells super strong – and combined with the kinda thick layer of top coat I added to make it smooth, well, it was a recipe for disaster. I got to enjoy the sparkle for a few days, at least!

11-04-14 around bottle

So I kind of had a two-parter Halloween – on Halloween night I went out in costume, then on Nov. 1, I went to the Danny Elfman concert with my friend L! The concert was held last year but this year was the first time he’d sang live in over 20 years, which is crazy. The concert was celebrating his 25-year collaboration with Tim Burton, and my pics aren’t the best, since it was obviously are to get great photos in such low lighting, but I tried:

11-04-14 Danny -main title

The show started with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory music playing over a video montage of Tim Burton’s films. I think they did a nice mix of Burton’s most well-known films and less iconic ones like Charlie (I didn’t even know what that music was until I looked at my program). Next they performed music from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, playing a segment from the movie (the bicycle race) on the screen, then mixing a few quick video clips with concept drawings. They did this for every movie segment, and it was awesome – I love seeing initial ideas and comparing them with what ended up being the final product.

Sleepy Hollow concept art.

Sleepy Hollow concept art.

Next up was Beetlejuice! This one got a montage of clips, plus a few different segments played (like where Beetlejuice shows up with the circus music playing). After that was Batman/Batman Returns. I have to confess: I used to have some of the Batman score on my iPod, I am weirdly obsessed with the music that plays as he’s taking Vicki Vale into the bat cave for the first time (oh boy, that sounds like a euphemism, doesn’t it?). Anyway, they also played my fav scene from Batman Returns, where Selena Kyle comes back to her apartment and wrecks the shit out of everything because she’s a badass now. My favorite part of the show, though, was how the audience would react to certain pieces – there was an audience-wide chuckle of recognition for Pee Wee and Mars Attacks!, and a swell of whispered excitement for Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love that so many people could tell which piece was which just from the opening notes, and I’m astounded that Danny Elfman has created so many iconic themes that thousands of people know instantly.

11-04-14 Danny - title card

The best part, though, was obviously The Nightmare Before Christmas, and it got the largest segment of the night. The orchestra played the overture, and Danny and a few helpers sang “This is Halloween” and “Making Christmas.” Danny performed “Jack’s Lament,” “What’s This?”, “Jack’s Obsession” and “Poor Jack” by himself, then brought out a special one-night-only guest, Catherine O’Hara, to perform “Sally’s Song”!

Catherineeeeee why didn't you come to the Beetlejuice Cinespia showing???

Catherineeeeee why didn’t you come to the Beetlejuice Cinespia showing???

The absolute best, though, was the secret encore – the official, on the program encore was Alice in Wonderland, and some people started leaving, but THEN Danny came back out and performed my favorite, “Oogie Boogie’s Song”! It was awesome, and hilarious because the conductor put on a Santa hat and played the part of Sandy Claws for his couple of lines. After Danny left and came back we thought we were in for another encore, but instead he gave a really lovely little speech that let the audience know that the orchestra playing that night was the same one that he used to record all his movie scores, and also that most of the orchestra had been there for almost 30 years, meaning they personally have been working with Danny for his whole career. How crazy is that? I thought it was really nice that he acknowledged the orchestra, and they were seriously so amazing.

11-04-14 Danny -Danny singing

A few random notes: I realized that Edward Scissorhands oddly doesn’t have a very memorable/iconic score except for the “Ice Dance” scene. The music is fairly nondescript, which was probably the point, but it’s very weird since it’s such a big movie and all the other classic Tim Burton film scores are instantly recognizable. I also thought the Big Fish segment went on way too long (real talk: I’ve never been a Big Fish fan), but I know a lot of people like it. Planet of the Apes, which I’ve never seen and have no intention of seeing, was kept blissfully short, as was Frankenweenie and Mars Attacks! – just enough of the music played without being overkill, which is fitting for the smaller films (real talk: I kinda love Mars Attacks!). Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite movies, and that spooky-ass music was so amazing to hear live, especially when they played scenes on the screen. They had some singers perform a small section of Corpse Bride which was fun, and the Dark Shadows score was really beautiful (although it’s another I don’t really have any intention of seeing).

This is the second year they’ve performed this show, and I think it’ll probably be an annual thing, so if you’re in LA around Halloween, I highly recommend you get tickets! It was seriously, just the coolest thing ever.

Thanks for reading, if you got through my endless fangirling! I’m preparing to start a new mani as we speak, so I’ll have another post up soon. See you next time – A x

Fall Jewel Tones

I wore my previous manicure for almost a full week because I loved it so much and also it seriously wore like iron. I am very hard on my nails – I open boxes and soda cans with them, wash dishes without gloves, etc – so polish usually lasts about 3 days on me, max, but with this manicure I had only one small chip on one thumb after six days. I swear, it was magic. But since I wore it for so long, I only have time for two more manicures in my fall-themed month, and I already had an idea of what I’d do for Thanksgiving, so that left one last combo. I realized I haven’t used any purples or blues yet, so I decided to do a jewel-tone manicure.

11-26-13 bottles

I haven’t used any of these awesome polishes in far too long, so I was really excited for this. All these colors are extremely pigmented – Bermuda Blue, Wild At Heart, and Saint George were basically one-coaters (I did another thin coat on each because the lighting in my apartment is so crappy that I couldn’t see if they had any bald spots) and two very thin coats were all that was needed for Rodeo Fanatic. Rodeo Fanatic was the only one that didn’t have a 100% perfect formula (although it was still pretty good); all the others went on like butter.

11-26-13 fingers up

I was inspired by this manicure of The Nailsaurus’ from last week and decided to do DIY nail decals on my pointer and thumb, but just did skittles on my other fingers. In real life I think Saint George and Rodeo Fanatic are maybe a little too similar in color, but I wanted to use darker colors and in the end I liked that the decal nails came out very subtle; it seems fitting with these colors to not be too ostentatious.

11-26-13 curled around bottle

I followed the same technique as before but I really need to figure out the scissor situation. I alternated using regular scissors and the tiny cuticle cutting scissors (? I think that’s what they are, although I don’t use them) and each was very difficult to use – with the normal scissors I couldn’t cut the bars as thin as I wanted, and the cuticle scissors are curved so it was really hard to cut in a straight line. As usual, imperfections of the final product don’t bother me too much, but it was annoying while I was in the cutting process!

Apologies for my busted cuticles! I know this looks kinda gross, plus my painting wasn't that great because I was in a rush, but how pretty do the teal, blue, and purple look together?! Oh, and WAH isn't this read in real life, I couldn't get it color accurate here.

I know the edges look really terrible in macro, but how pretty do the teal, blue, and purple look together?! Oh, and WAH isn’t this red in real life, the macro farther down is more color accurate.

I think this is pretty. I debated using an almost-black purple instead of Bermuda Blue as my base, but I liked how you can tell it’s a really deep blue, and I think it shows off the colors well. Again, this is super subtle, but I like it that way. One thing this blog is teaching me is that in-your-face isn’t the only way to do your nails!

11-26-13 diagonal

I also took macros of Rodeo Fanatic, Wild at Heart, and Saint George because they are just so lovely. A-England is known for its subtle holographic shimmer, which gives such great depth to their polishes. Check out that macro of Saint George, it’s like you’re staring into a picture of a galaxy! That combined with the fabulous teal color, and you can see why this is one of my favorite polishes.

11-26-13 macro middle1

Rodeo Fanatic is a gorgeous peacock blue. It’s got light shimmer threaded through the blue and lightens up considerably in direct light. This is from the 2008 Rodeo Diva collection, which a lot of nail bloggers consider their favorite collection of all time. China Glaze is my favorite brand so I love a lot of their collections, but that one is really great, especially when you consider that nail polish wasn’t as popular or trendy then as it is now, so their color choices seem really bold.

11-26-13 macro - ring

Wild at Heart is one of the first polishes I bought when I was first starting to become obsessed with polish (and collecting). I didn’t have any holos (which were super scarce and/or expensive at the time) so I ordered WAH, Revvvolution, and Worth the Risque from Color Club. I was pretty disappointed when I finally got them since I was craving intense, full-on linear rainbow holos, but eventually I learned to appreciate WAH – the formula is amazing; it’s a one-coater so it’s great for stamping; the color is the most perfect purple; and just like Saint George, the holo particles give this polish a beautiful depth. In direct light it’s actually got a tiny bit of linear holo, as you can see below.

Somehow I made my pinkie look insanely huge in this pic.

Somehow I made my pinkie look insanely huge in this pic.

Here’s what all the polishes look like in direct sunlight (in my car, as usual), including Bermuda Blue before I added the other colors. So pretty!

11-26-13 in the sun diagonal

It’s finally gotten chilly here in LA! I run pretty hot so I haven’t worn any scarves yet, but I’ve gotten to pull out a few sweaters and definitely wear my boots everywhere, and I don’t have to drink my coffee iced anymore! But what I love best are cold fall evenings. I just want to sit outside on my tiny balcony with a cup of something hot and think about random stuff while listening to some appropriate music. I’m one of those weirdos who makes playlists for everything, and I definitely made a fall evening playlist a few weeks ago.

To me fall is a bit wistful, with the slow fade into darker days and the winding down towards the end of another year. Chillier weather makes you yearn to lounge in bed under the covers, and the way one day the sun disappears by 5pm is downright unsettling. There’s so many of these weird feelings wrapped up with the fervor and anticipation for the impending holidays, making it a really strange season. I went through a bunch of my music and found some songs I thought went well with this complex time of year, and I actually really like the final compilation; it’s fairly slow but not sad, making it perfect for me to put on when I’m chilling out, writing, or taking a mind-clearing walk. (I can’t get Spotify to work for me, for some reason, so I’ve linked to YouTube videos below.)

Lighthouse / Chris O’Brien
Do I Wanna Know / Arctic Monkeys
Embers / Just Jack
Lions in Cages / Wolf Gang
My Moon, My Man (Grizzly Bear remix) / Feist
Last Call / Brazilian Girls
Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me / London Grammar
A Little Bit / Lykke Li
West Coast / Coconut Records
Fade Into You / Claire Bowen and Sam Palladio (Nashville soundtrack)
Blue Blood / Foals
Something About Us / Daft Punk

Do you own any of these awesome jewel-tone polishes? Thoughts on my playlist?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Goldie Boo Boo Ombre

I looooooove this manicure, y’all. I can’t take credit for it, since I got the idea off I Love Nail Polish’s website, but I’m completely in love with this on my nails. I used a lot of polishes in this ombre:

11-21-13 bottle shot

I used slightly different colors than on ILNP’s site, just working with what I had, but I think it looks pretty great! Dark Coffee looks way darker than when I used it previously, but I think it’s because that was one coat over a lighter color, plus I used two coats here. Every color was two coats except sheer 2% Milk, which was three.

From thumb: 2% Milk; My Vampire's Buff; Sand Tropez; Berlin There, Done That; Dark Coffee.

Base colors from thumb: 2% Milk, My Vampire Is Buff, Sand Tropez, Berlin There Done That, Dark Coffee.

I was really surprised My Vampire Is Buff was only two coats, it’s rare that light colors aren’t super streaky/sheer and require three or more coats. However, if you use this luscious french-vanilla cream I suggest waiting a long time for the first coat to 100% dry, because I created a bald spot upon application of the second coat (although I managed to quickly touch it up so it turned out fine).

11-21-13 tilted

Sand Tropez is a mushroom beige with a surprisingly good formula for an Essie (I’ve mentioned before that I must have bad luck with Essies or something, because nail people in general love them but they’re usually a nightmare for me to work with). Berlin There Done That (I really wish there was a comma in there) is a polish I bought only for the name – in fact, I wanted to buy a lot of the polishes from that collection just for their names because I’ve been to a few of those places, but the colors just didn’t warrant it. I almost didn’t get BTDT because this purpley-gray taupe color (seriously, I have no idea how to categorize it) isn’t something I’d usually get, but a few months ago I started to warm up to neutrals and BTDT made its way into my collection after a trip to my fav downtown discount nail supply shop. Which is great, because otherwise I wouldn’t have a color to complete this neutral/brown-tone ombre!

11-21-13 curled around bottle sideways cloudy

And oh, Goldie Boo Boo. I went on and on about ILNP in another post, so I’ll just quickly say again how I love this brand! This glitter combo is autumn in a bottle – according to the website, it’s “inspired by an autumn sunset,” and the orange, brown, gold, and gray glitter pieces really reflect that. UGH I love that the creator put all those colors together, it’s so unique and they are perfect.

Teeny, tiny micro gold glitter; small gold, orange, and gray pieces; and slightly larger orange and brown pieces. I love that all the glitter is small and dainty.

Teeny, tiny micro gold glitter; small gold, orange, and gray pieces; and slightly larger orange and brown pieces. I love that all the glitter is small and dainty.

The brown glitters look black until the light hits them juuuuuust right. I did one coat of GBB on each nail; somehow my ring and pinkie fingers got more glitter than my other ones, but I surprisingly like it better when the glitter is a little more sparse, like on my middle finger (usually I am ALL GLITTAH ALL THE TIME).

Macro of my ring finger; this one shows each of the glitters the best.

Macro of my ring finger; you can see all the different glitters really well here.

Oh man, I just love this manicure – it’s so perfectly fall, but in a very lovely, delicate presentation. (And somehow has lasted almost entire week with no chips and little tip wear, which is unheard of because I’m really hard on my nails!) The problem is, I associate it with fall so much that I can’t see myself wearing it out at other times of the year. I’m a bit of a hypocrite; I say I disregard the “specific colors for specific seasons” thing, but certain colors like this – and almost all of my Halloween and Christmas glitters – are so much that season/holiday in a bottle that it feels weird to wear them at other times. Maybe I’ll get lucky and the weather will stay chilly a little later this year, so I can wear this again in the January/February time frame.

Mmm chai tea!

Mmm chai tea! Less “mmm” is the horrible lighting in my apartment – my hands look dead here.

On Monday I was rushing around trying to figure out plans because I totally thought Thanksgiving was this week. Luckily, I have an extra week to plan! My sister and I are having some friends over, and we’re trying to figure out what to make. My sister is really into side dishes and my jam is cocktails, so I’m trying to figure out a fun recipe that everyone will like. I’m a whiskey lady, myself, and I’ve seen some amazing-looking autumn whiskey cocktails on Pinterest, but my friends aren’t so keen so I’m going to do something with wine or rum, which seem to be crowd-pleasers. Right now I’m thinking mulled wine or some hot apple cider with rum to keep things appropriately fall-themed. Hot booze hits you a lot faster, though, so I need to make the drinks less intense so we’re all not falling asleep before we’ve even eaten!

Thoughts on this manicure? Have I managed to interest anyone in I Love Nail Polish? Any fun cocktail ideas for Thanksgiving you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x