Rose Gold in Beverly Hills, Darling!

I rarely buy pricey nail polishes – I just don’t find that the formula/wear time is any greater, and unless it’s a really unique color, I don’t see what’s the point. (Plus I’m super cheap.) However, last year Cirque Colors had a limited edition set of neons that I coveted SO HARD, and I kept waiting because I thought they’d go on sale, but instead it totally sold out and I never got any. :( So when I saw before Christmas that they’d released an amazing rose gold-coated silver flake polish, I finally bit the bullet and purchased it. And ohhhhh how glad I am that I did!

2.3.16 Fancy Finger Guns bottles

I am OB-SESSED with Halcyon! Not only do I love the name, but this polish is ev-er-y-thing! Metallic flake polishes have become very popular with indie brands in the past year, with a few brands eventually branching out into colored metallic flakes. From reviews I’ve read, though, everyone raved that Halcyon, with its perfect rosy hue and shine, was THE metallic flake polish to get if you were going to get one, so I wasted no time snatching it up! Halcyon is incredibly opaque – I barely needed two coats to get full coverage – and it’s SO shiny. More than one person noticed how sparkly and reflective it was while I was out wearing it (especially the shop girls at the Beverly Hills souvenir store). Ugh, I just love this polish so much – if you like rose gold, I highly recommend picking Halcyon up!

Once again, sorry for my dry-ass cuticles!

Once again, sorry for my dry-ass cuticles!

I was trying to think what to pair it with, and I was still craving brights after my neon mani, so I used China Glaze’s Too Yacht To Handle (TYTH). I’ve written about the CG Sensational pastel neons before, but basically: the colors are amazing, the formulas are shit. TYTH isn’t as streaky as most of them, but I definitely needed three coats, and it usually chips on me by the next day. Sigh. I definitely had to touch these up already for these photos, and it was only the next day! Still, though, that color is to die – it’s such a gorgeous, incredibly vivid aqua, I just can’t quit it. (Color Club’s Blue-Ming is similar but slightly less green-toned; however, its formula is even worse than TYTH.) I used tape to make a diagonal shape to apply Halcyon on my pinkie and a thin stripe on my middle finger over TYTH, then threw on a layer of CG’s glitter I Pink I Can on my pointer. I Pink I Can has a pretty good formula and nice glitter distribution, so I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a rose-gold glitter!

2.3.16 Fancy Finger Guns with bottle

I put this mani on for the weekend my sister and our friend decided to have a Beverly Hills tourist day. It was overcast and gloomy out, which wasn’t great for photos but meant there weren’t too many other people out. Beverly Hills is actually one of my favorite places to walk around LA – there’s plenty of parking garages with free two-hour parking and the area is especially made for crowds to easily wander through all the chic shopping. On the day we went, we decided to take a tour on the Beverly Hills Trolley – it’s $5 for a 40-minute tour, and I highly recommend it! They begin by going through the famous shops on Rodeo, then chug along through the residential area across Sunset to show homes previously owned by Hollywood celebs (Clark Gable, the actor who was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Charo [lol]) and sites like the Beverly Hills Hotel and the famous Witch’s House. Our tour guide was lovely and beyond chic in her black suit and flapper-esque hair, and she knew so much about the area. Definitely worth it if you’re in the area on the weekends (it only runs Sat-Sun for certain months out of the year: info here)!

After our trolley tour and a wander around Rodeo and the surrounding streets (hitting up MAC and Coffee Bean, obvs), we went back to the Witch’s House to get better photos and to the Beverly Hills Hotel to see the grounds. The Witch’s House was first created on a movie lot in 1921 before being moved to Beverly Hills in the 1930s, and it’s appeared in a few movies including Clueless (which is how I knew about it). There was a lot of detail when you get close up – tiny lanterns, a fake vulture in the tree out front, signs saying “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out” in a witchy font, and a carefully overgrown-looking garden. The Beverly Hills Hotel should need no introduction – we wanted to get lunch at the tiny coffee shop in the hotel, the Fountain Coffee Room, but there are only 19 seats around the curved counter and although we came at an in-between time, there was still a line, so we walked down to the gift shop, instead, where I couldn’t resist a pink wine opener with the famous logo in green.

We had one last stop before we left Beverly Hills: the Greystone Mansion. You can’t go inside unless you’re there for a special event, but the grounds are free for anyone to explore. There’s a huge parking lot that was almost totally empty when we arrived, and we wandered through the beautiful fountains and perfect shrubbery, and when we got the the main courtyard, we all noticed it looked familiar. My sister looked it up and sure enough, that’s where they filmed the scenes for Chilton in Gilmore Girls! That’s one of my favorite shows, so I was beyond excited.

So if you’re visiting LA and want to do some Beverly Hills exploring, this would be a great itinerary – even with all our wandering at Rodeo, it only took us about three hours to do it all. Very good plan if you’re trying to be chi chi chi, Beverly Hills on a budget!

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Neon Craziness

This mani was obscenely neon – I even had random dudes commenting on it because it was so bright it caught everyone’s eye! I was inspired by a contest Melt Cosmetics was having on Instagram – they’re releasing another one of their famous eye shadows stacks, this time in eye-searing pink, orange, yellow, and green, and had a giveaway that involved posting your best “radioactive” look on IG. I was a little stuck on color combos, so I decided to use theirs and run with it!

I couldn't find my bottle of China Glaze's Sun-Kissed, so this neon yellow Essie is standing in.

I couldn’t find my bottle of China Glaze’s Sun-Kissed, so this neon yellow Essie is standing in.

I was a little bummed because I’d forgotten that the ultra-neon Warhol and Lava Lamp don’t blend well in gradients, so the gradients weren’t as smooth as I prefer on my middle fingers, but this was still a super fun look! (Note: my skin looks super dead in these photos, but I couldn’t really edit them at all because it took away from the fabulous neon-ness of these polishes.)

 Guys, I am SO sorry about the state of my cuticles in these pics! I didn't realize they looked this bad until I posted these.

Guys, I am SO sorry about the state of my cuticles in these pics! I didn’t realize they looked this bad until I posted these.

Besides the gradients on my middle fingers, I used some neon studs from Born Pretty Store over I’m With The Lifeguard (pinkie) and Sun-Kissed (pointer) to still use all four colors but in a different way. On my thumb I tried a weird pseudo-gradient by putting small dots of colors on my sponge and dabbing it over white, but since Lava Lamp and Warhol don’t blend that well, it kinda looked weird. Oh well, ya gotta experiment sometimes!

1.30.16 Fancy Finger Guns neon curled

All these colors are over one thick coat of butter LONDON’s Cotton Buds. People usually layer neons over white using the excuse that it makes them “pop” more, but I feel like if it doesn’t look eye-searing unless it’s over white, it’s not neon. All the colors I used here are definitely neon – Sun-Kissed and I’m With The Lifeguard look exactly the same with one coat over a white base as they do 3-4 coats on their own, but since I started late at night, I didn’t want to wait for all those coats to dry. Warhol and Lava Lamp are extremely pigmented for neons – Lava Lamp barely needs two coats! (This is probably why they don’t blend well in gradients.) If you’re craving a truly cornea-burning neon pink or orange, those two are your best bet.

1.30.16 Fancy Finger Guns neon around bottle

Two weeks ago, I was able to go to the newest (and hardest to get into) LA museum, The Broad. It’s a free museum, so it booked up as soon as it opened in September and we had to reserve our tickets in November for our January date! Located downtown, The Broad houses what used to be Eli and Edythe Broad’s personal art collection – when they moved to LA in the 1960s, Edythe began to collect modern art, soon Eli shared her passion, and they eventually ran out of room in their home for any more pieces, so they began loaning them out to museums. The Broad was created last year to keep their collection all in one place.

My – and probably everyone’s – favorite was Balloon Dog (Blue) by Jeff Koons, the giant, metallic balloon dog on the second floor. I also loved his Rabbit, a silver metallic rabbit whose reflective property reminded me of the Millennium Bean in Chicago. (I couldn’t get a good photo because there was some obnoxious couple taking 10,000 selfies in front of it, so here’s a link.) Other favorites of mine are below:

The Disney Concert Hall is right next door to The Broad – and as I learned from the video I watched there, the concert hall was built with fundraising efforts from Eli and Edythe Broad and was created by the same architect the Broads used for their museum and their house, Frank Gehry. It’s sculptural and gorgeous, and you can wander around outside when you’re done with your museum trip.

Thanks for reading! I just got some goodies in the mail from Cirque Polish, so I’ll probably have a mani up with one of those polishes in the next few days. Thanks for reading – A x

Halloween Mani #4: Splatter

I’ve mentioned before that I have such a love/hate relationship with splatter manis – they look SO cool and fun when done well, but I have a lot of trouble getting the kind of splatter I want on the nail (often I end up with just a blob, not that cool splatter shape). But I wanted to do something fun and easy with traditional Halloween colors, so a-splattering I went!

10.12.15 Fancy Finger Guns bottles

I’ve actually kind of forgotten about poor old Orange You Hot? in the years since I bought it. I have almost that entire collection (China Glaze’s 2012 summer neons), and this color is fun, although a bit sheer (not totally opaque at 3 coats), but I didn’t mind because I was going to be splattering over it, anyway. I decided to use all bright versions of the traditional Halloween colors, so after my base of Orange You Hot? I splattered with Morgan Taylor’s Anime-zing Color!, an almost-neon true purple, and Orly’s Fresh, a bright yellow-toned green (aka my favorite).

10.12.15 Fancy Finger Guns around

I know I just used Zoya PixieDust polishes in my last mani, but I just couldn’t resist adding some accent nails using Dahlia – it’s a gorgeous almost-black with bright silver sparkle, and gave just that right amount of pop to the mani, I think. I’ll never get over the fact that Zoya didn’t make PixieDusts in neon or other fun colors like aqua – I love the formula and sparkle of them, and wish they hadn’t stopped production. Sigh.

I lightened this photo up a bit so you can see what Anime-zing Color looks like more accurately.

I lightened this photo up a bit so you can see what Anime-zing Color looks like more accurately.

This weekend I went to a showing of Hocus Pocus at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The El Capitan is pricey – general admission tix are $16 and the various levels of VIP go from $20-$30 – but luckily we found cheaper prices at Goldstar.com. Either way, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see one of my favorite movies in such a gorgeous venue. I’ve been to the El Capitan once before, to see Tron a few years ago, but I didn’t really remember much about it because we got there late and had to just hustle into our seats. This time, we got there the recommended 45 minutes early and were delighted when we finally got inside – not only is the restored 1920s theater beautiful on its own, but it was decorated for Halloween!

In the half hour leading up to the show, an organist performed onstage using an organ from the 1920s, one of five in the world. He played some classics with “spooky” titles like “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead,” and “Witchcraft,” as well as a slew of Disney songs like “Bibbity, Bobbity, Boo,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” and my favorite, “Grim Grinning Ghosts” (aka the Haunted Mansion ride music!). When it was time for the movie to start, he turned around and gave a wave, which is how I saw that he was wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt under his blazer (adorable!), and then played one last number while the organ sank down below the stage. It was really cool, and honestly the price of admission was worth that alone.

10.12.15 Fancy Finger Guns El Cap organist

There were two trailers before the movie started (for Disney animated movies Zootopia and The Nice Dinosaur, which looked like it would make me cry, freaking Pixar!) but they were pretty short and then the movie started! I don’t remember seeing Hocus Pocus in theaters when I was a kid, so it was really fun to see it on the big screen now! The theater was probably only half full, and it was a decent mix of adults my age and parents with younger kids, but happily none of the kids were a distraction and it was really cool to see HP with a big crowd. After the movie, we went down to the “basement,” where they had photos, props, and other little tidbits on display from the three movies the El Capitan would be showing for their Halloween line-up – Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Black Cauldron. I don’t really remember The Black Cauldron, but I love the other two movies, so I was delighted to see not only the Sanderson sisters’ costumes and cauldron, but also boooooook!, plus a car and the City Hall building from Nightmare.

If you don’t want to watch a movie, I saw that they do give tours where they talk about the history of the theater, which sounds pretty awesome, too. If you’re any kind of Disney lover, I think the El Capitan is a total must-see. Thanks for reading, everyone! See you next time – A x

Cactus Nails for Kacey Musgraves!

Hi everyone, how’s your week been going? I am having a tough one – I took Tuesday off for my birthday and had a lovely day, but for some reason it’s made the rest of the week just drag ughhhh. But last Friday I got to go to the Kacey Musgraves concert at the Wiltern here in LA and it was so great! I didn’t get the best photos, but I gotta say, my nails were pretty on point – I think Kacey would approve!

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Kacey Musgraves is known for her love of retro country with some added glitter and neon flair – so she’ll wear authentic cowboy boots but add bulbs so they light up, or have her band wear suits with bolo ties, but they’ll be pink and have rhinestone lapels. I saw her Crossroads performance with Katy Perry a few months ago and she had these great neon cacti as part of her set decor, so that’s where the inspiration of these nails came from. I decided to do a pink/green theme because it felt sufficiently fun and girly to suit Kacey’s style.

Yes, that is a tiny cowboy hat that I bought at Joann's just to pose with these bottles.

Yes, that is a tiny cowboy hat that I bought at Joann’s just to pose with these bottles.

After painting on two coats of You Drive Me Coconuts, my fav neon pink, I used my smallest dotting tool to make a bunch of little upright lines spaced out, then went back to make curved arms coming out like saguaro cactus. I was not totally perfect in my execution, but as the first time attempting a freehand cactus pattern, I feel like it came out pretty good!

Sorry about the cut on my ring finger!

Sorry about the cut on my ring finger!

Shockingly, I somehow actually did a better job on my right hand.

P.S. It's really difficult to pose while taking photos with your non-dominant hand, as you might notice based on how awkward this photo is!

P.S. It’s really difficult to pose while taking photos with your non-dominant hand, as you might notice based on how awkward this photo is!

On my thumb and ring fingers, I topped one coat of Wild Cactus with two coats of Holiday Splendor. I haven’t worn Holiday Splendor in foreverrrr and man, I forgot how gorgeous it is! So sparkly and it’s the prettiest jewel-toned emerald. So great.

The funny thing is, I did my cacti in the opposite direction on each hand. That's what happens when you're distracted by tiny house shows on HGTV while doing your nails.

The funny thing is, I did my cacti in the opposite direction on each hand. That’s what happens when you’re distracted by tiny house shows on HGTV while doing your nails.

Kacey’s show – aptly named the Country & Western Rhinestone Revue – was great! It was hot as balls at the Wiltern because there’s no AC and it was in the 90s, but even the heat couldn’t get me down. She did a few covers – a great, fun version of These Boots Were Made For Walkin’ where she pranced around in light-up boots and played tambourine as the song of the night – and No Scrubs, which was freaking awesome and got my sister and I way too excited, ha. At one point the band left and Kacey performed alone on stage, singing Merry Go Round with her acoustic guitar – she sounded perfect, and it was amazing hearing the entire venue sing along exactly. (Actually, the audience sang along well to basically every song, even the ones from her new album, which made up the majority of her set list. I know I personally am obsessed with it and knew all the words after a few listenings!) Another great moment was when she had everyone quiet down so as not to scare the newest member of the band that she brought out – a puppy she’d just adopted the day before in Washington (which I already knew because I’m a creep and follow her Instagram). Maybe my favorite performance was when they did an extended version of Die Fun, my favorite from the new album (tied with Dimestore Cowgirl) – it was gorgeous, and I really hope they release it for purchase one day because I can’t find any videos of it online but it was so great!

SO SPARKLY! via Mashable

SO SPARKLY!
via Mashable

Thanks for reading! See you next time – 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