Once Upon A Dream…

I was oddly craving a darker, very saturated color the other day – I was watching something where a character had fantastic burgundy nails, which are not usually me, but something about it clicked. I wanted to use my new Love.Angel.Music.Baby, too, though, and I thought burgundy and gold would look very Christmas/holiday together so I chose Zoya’s Dream instead. Of course once I had those two on my nails, I realized that they were Chanukah colors. Oy vey.

05-14-14 bottles

I wore just L.A.M.B on my thumb and pinkie and Dream on my other fingers by themselves for a day or so, but then I got bored and attempted a striping tape look I’ve seen on The Nailsaurus.

On my nails Dream kept photographing more denim but it's really a brighter, more royal blue in person.

On my nails Dream kept photographing more denim but it’s really a brighter, more royal blue in person.

I haven’t used my striping tape in a long time and I forgot how frustrating it is sometimes, but after taking way too long fussing with my first nail, I got the hang of it. The hardest part is getting each nail to be uniform, which I failed at a bit (plus one piece of tape was weirdly thick and I didn’t notice until after painting, of course) but I still love this look.

05-14-14 diagonal

I’ve had my eye on L.A.M.B. for a while, but kept passing it up until I found it on sale for $4 at Ulta and decided it was a sign. I used to hate mattes but I’ve grown quite fond of the very few I have, and this one had a great formula – slightly thick but almost perfect in one coat, but I did two to cover up some weird texture from my getting-too-old base coat. I forgot how quickly mattes chip, though, which is kind of a bummer.

I mentioned how much I love Zoya’s Payton in my Zoya haul a few posts ago, and I love Dream even more (although Aurora is my #1 fav of that finish). It’s lovely enough indoors – a deep, saturated “space blue,” according to Zoya – but in bright light it’s jaw-dropping! The blue brightens a bit to a fabulous royal, the holo flecks come alive, and anyone who is gazing upon this beauty starts drooling. If I did a favorite Zoyas post, I would absolutely have Dream on there – I really think that everyone needs it, it’s just too gorgeous. It looks like a sex-ay galaxy on your nails!

As always, a blurred-for-maximum-sparkle .gif!

As always, a blurred-for-maximum-sparkle .gif!

Speaking of Dream…I’m tired of seeing promos for the new Maleficient movie – I think it’ll be terrible, like when they tried their live-action Alice in Wonderland a few years ago – but I love Lana Del Rey’s version of “Once Upon A Dream.” It’s perfectly eerie and haunting, and I only wish the movie would match the song. Annnnd now I want to watch Sleeping Beauty because Maleficient is da best.

Any thoughts on this mani or the soon-to-be-released movie? I need people to rant with!

Thank you for reading! See you next time!

Advertisements

Evergreen Skittles

I was going to do a red/green/gold skittle mani next but then I remembered how many luscious, deep green polishes I own and decided to just do all green instead. Green might be my favorite polish color, and I have a special fondness for dark, yellow-leaning greens, as you can see from the colors I picked for this combo:

China Glaze Winter Holly and Holly-Day, Nubar Reclaim, Zoya Veruschka

China Glaze Winter Holly and Holly-Day, Nubar Reclaim, Zoya Veruschka

First let me say that China Glaze has some amazeballs holiday collections. I have 2-6 from each collection of the past 4 years, which is saying a lot because who needs that many holiday polishes? Especially in their holiday collections but also in general, China Glaze knows how to do greens right. Basically all my favorite greens are from China Glaze – Emerald Sparkle, I’m With The Lifeguard, Gaga for Green, Four-Leaf Clover, Glittering Garland, Running In Circles, Jolly Holly, and two of the lovelies here, Winter Holly and Holly-Day.

From pointer: Winter Holly, Holly-Day, Veruschka, Reclaim

From pointer: Winter Holly, Holly-Day, Veruschka, Reclaim

Winter Holly is one of those “super-fine glitter in a clear base” polishes that China Glaze does so well – you can get it opaque in 3 thin coats, but I always prefer to do one or two coats over a similar base color. Winter Holly is composed of tiny forest green, holo, and (I think) gold pieces. When I gathered these polishes together I realized they were all different finishes, so I didn’t use top coat to play with texture a bit. By itself, Winter Holly is similar to the Liquid Sand/Gumdrop/etc polishes that are so popular right now – there’s definitely texture but it’s not super bumpy and gross like chunky glitter, and it dries matte but still has beautiful sparkle. I added two coats of Seche Vite over it on my right hand (it’s one of those glitters that polish people call “thirsty” since it kind of absorbs the first layer of top coat) and while I do like WH by itself, when there’s top coat the green color becomes a bit deeper and the sparkle shines more, making it even more awesome.

Matte/glossy

Matte/glossy. Also, I did SUCH a bad job of covering up the base coat with glitter!

On my middle finger I did two coats of Holly-Day. Actually, all the polishes shown here (except Winter Holly, which is two coats over one coat of Holly-Day) were pretty pigmented and barely needed a second coat. Check out how glossy Holly-Day is without top coat! I like shimmers and glitters as much as the next girl, but there’s something about glossy cremes that always draws me in. Love this.

My hand is kind of washed out, but you can see the textures really well here (this is what Holly-Day looks like in direct light, also).

My skin is hella washed out, but you can see the textures really well here (also, see how much Holly-Day lightens up when it’s in direct light?).

On my ring is Veruschka, a deep green matte. I just checked and it’s apparently not for sale on Zoya’s site anymore, hmmm. I think this may be the only matte polish I own (intentionally matte, I should say – most neons dry matte) and it’s lovely – very rich and really does look velvety, which was the name of the mini collection this came in (MatteVelvet). It’s really fun to see it constantly change, too, like when you wash your hands and it gets a little shimmery from the water, then dries back to being matte. I added a coat of Seche Vite to my right hand to show you what it looks like with top coat, though – like Winter Holly, the color gets deeper, and the shimmer makes it look like a green galaxy. So pretty!

Matte | Glossy

Matte | Glossy

Last but not least is Nubar’s Reclaim. This is an older polish, 2009 I think, and while it’s not as dark a green as the others here, I wanted to use a holographic color and the only other linear holo I own is very light, so grass green it is! This one doesn’t need much explanation, the formula is wonderful, the holo is strong, and it’s just a really cool polish.

Chubby, chubby pinkie!

Chubby, chubby pinkie!

Here’s a pic I snapped in my car the other day, slightly blurred so you can see the sparkle of Winter Holly. I can’t believe how well these all wore, I had a tiny bit of chipping on my thumb and pointer but that was basically it!

In strong midday sunlight.

In strong midday sunlight.

I don’t have quite as many favorite Christmas movies as I do Halloween movies (mainly because anything horror can be themed “Halloween”) but the ones I have I can watch a million times and never get sick of them. The list includes some classics like Christmas Vacation and Elf, but also the under-appreciated gem that is Just Friends.

Quick plot blurb: Chris (Ryan Reynolds) used to be overweight and lame in high school, and gets humiliated at his best friend Jamie’s (Amy Smart) graduation party when he tries to declare his feelings for her. He moves to LA, getting fit and a job in the music biz, in addition to becoming a douchey player. When his label forces him to spend time with ridiculous pop singer Samantha James (Anna Faris), who’s obsessed with him, their plane to Paris goes down in New Jersey, so he takes her home for a few days while they try to get another flight. He finds out Jamie is back in town and decides to finally try to get out of the friend zone, but she still thinks of him as his goofy high school self and is put off by his new attitude.

This movie is amazing, full stop. When I first saw it at a free screening in college my friends and I hated it, but I watched it again and for some reason everything clicked. (This happens to me with a lot of comedies, for some reason.) My sister and I love this movie and sometimes just quote lines to each other via text for hours. There’s so many little things that make us belly laugh despite having seen it a million times – Chris’ violent relationship with his kid brother; Samantha’s insanely narcissistic behavior; Chris’ reactions to his rival for Jamie, another previously lame dude from high school who’s now a too-perfect dreamboat… Everything about this movie kills me, and I beg of you to watch it if you’ve never seen it.

Anyone love Just Friends as Much as I do? Any thoughts on this mani?

Thanks for reading! See you next time! A x

Happy Halloween!

Man, I feel like this month has gone by so quickly! My official Halloween manicure is a repeat of last year, but this year it came out so much better, plus it goes with my costume, Shaun from Shaun of the Dead!

China Glaze Phat Santa and Sunset Sail

China Glaze Phat Santa and Sunset Sail

There are some truly gruesome manicures out there, which are a little too gross for me to want to wear myself. However, I have no problem wearing faux blood splatter around on my digits, so maybe I’m just a hypocrite?

10-31-13 angled fingers 3

This is weird and creepy, for sure, but I don’t think this is super gross, just cool and Halloween-y. It is really messy to do, though.

Basically looks like a crime scene.

Basically looks like a crime scene.

This was pretty simple – I painted two coats of Sunset Sail, a peachy nude, and set up my little station with a big area of paper towels to avoid staining my table cloth. I dipped one of those skinny red coffee stirrers into Phat Santa (China Glaze is so great at naming their polishes), quickly scraped the excess polish off inside the bottle stem, positioned the end of the straw above each nail, and blew through the top. Phat Santa is a deep crimson jelly, so it’s the perfect consistency and color for a blood splatter effect. Last year I used a plain red creme, and it didn’t really look like blood. In the past I’ve had a lot of trouble with loading the straw up with too much polish or having the straw be too close to my nail so it just blows one big blob onto my nail instead of a cool splatter, so I’m really pleased with how this came out.

I don't usually like reds, but this is so delicious.

I don’t usually like reds, but this is so delicious.

These go splendidly with my costume, since Shaun of the Dead takes place during a blood-splattered zombie attack. I didn’t know I was going out tonight until a day or so ago so my costume isn’t perfect (no cricket bat, bright red paint instead of realistic-looking blood splattered on my shirt) but I thought it was pretty good for being so last-minute! I wore a much better version of this costume in college, but only one person knew who I was. It’s become a pretty big cult hit in the past few years, though, so I’m sure way more people will get it when I go out tonight!

Clawwwww hand

Clawwwww hand

And this of course, means that the last movie on my favorite Halloween/horror films list is Shaun of the Dead!

shaun-of-the-dead-film_84683-1920x1080

If you like horror at all, you should see this movie. It’s a great comedy but also has a million references/homages to classic horror films plus some amazing gore and special effects. The story follows Shaun, a nice guy who’s in a rut – he’s about to turn 30 yet still works at an electronics store with a bunch of teenagers, he never does anything fun or new with his long-time girlfriend, Liz, and spends most of his time drinking and playing video games with his loser best friend, Ed. Shaun forgets his and Liz’s anniversary, leading to her breaking up with him. He spends the night drowning his sorrows with Ed at their usual pub, and they end up back to Shaun’s place. By the next morning, zombies have totally taken over the city but Shaun is too clueless[other word?]/self-absorbed to realize. There’s a brilliant scene where Shaun makes a leisurely trip to the corner shop and back, totally oblivious to the signs of destruction and even staggering zombies that surround him as he walks.

SOTD oblivious corner shop

Once he’s back, he and Ed realize what’s happening when they see a news report, and then of course some zombies attack their house. After a ridiculous (but eventually effective) attempt at killing the zombies, Shaun tells Ed they need to grab Shaun’s mom and Liz and bring them to their pub, The Winchester, to safely wait everything out. Shaun and Ed set off, dealing with ever-increasing hordes of zombies as well as human obstacles like Liz’s roommates and Shaun’s stepdad, who he hates.

SOTD zombie house

This movie is amazing. That’s really all you need to know – if you haven’t seen it, stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch it. Since I’m an Anglophile in addition to being a horror fan, this movie was just the greatest thing I’d ever seen when I first watched it. Simon Pegg (actor who plays Shaun) and Edgar Wright (director) co-wrote this script and they are seriously genius at seamlessly combining hardcore gore and deep belly laughs. Shaun of the Dead is incredibly quotable (“You’ve got red on you.”) and I’ve seen this movie at least 20 times yet it still makes me laugh really hard each time I watch it. I love, love, love horror comedies and this one makes me laugh both from the big jokes to the little background stuff (like Ed’s hilarable “I Got Wood” shirt). This isn’t only one of my favorite horror movies but one of my favorite movies ever.

SOTD playing zombies

I almost don’t know what to do with myself now that I don’t have any more Halloween posts to do! I hope you all enjoyed these themed posts and manicures, and that you have a fun and safe Halloween!

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time! A x

Classic Halloween

The glitter from my last manicure was a bastard to get off, so I’m sticking to cremes for a little while. I wanted to do something that was simple but super Halloween-y, since the big day is almost here.

Eva Neon Orange (never heard of this brand, I borrowed it from my sister when I couldn't find my OPI A Roll in the Hauge) and my old buddy, Wet n Wild Black Creme.

Eva Neon Orange (never heard of this brand, I borrowed it from my sister when I couldn’t find my OPI A Roll in the Hauge) and my old buddy, Wet n Wild Black Creme.

Can’t go wrong with black and orange for Halloween-y, eh? I decided to do a gradient, which as I mentioned previously I’ve never done before with regular cremes, only with glitter. I gathered my polishes and makeup wedges but I went to my sister for help with this one because she’s done a lot of gradients. I knew that basically you painted the two colors in strips that overlapped, like so:

10-30-13 sponge

She had a great tip I hadn’t heard of, though – before polish, dunk the wedge in water and squeeze it all out until it’s just barely damp. This way the wedge won’t leave those little fuzzies in your polish as you dab. However, you do have to work quickly, so the sponge doesn’t completely dry out. I prepped my nails with two coats of the orange as a base and waited for it to dry before doing the gradient over it, since neons are usually pretty sheer. I also learned to paint Black Creme on very thin, because it’s so opaque it would’ve overpowered the orange.

10-30-13 curled

Not bad for a first attempt, eh? I always want to do MOAR! so I contemplated adding glitter on top of this, but after consulting my friend A, we agreed it was too much. Sometimes less is more! Gotta learn that.

10-30-13 fingers spiderweb

One thing I didn’t like is that the gradient isn’t as smooth or seamless as I would like. It’s kind of a Monet.

Clueless

I think part of it is because the colors are such opposites, and if they were closer in hue (like orange and red), it wouldn’t be so noticeable. Also, cleanup was a nightmare – sponging gets polish all over your finger and black is always hard to get off. My method of polish remover and a pointed Q-Tip was working pretty well until I noticed it was taking off too much of the black so you could see the orange coming through around the cuticle, annnnnnd then I gave up because it was late. Eh, having a perfect cuticle line has never been that important to me, anyway.

Bleh.

Bleh.

I do like this, though. I’ll just have to keep practicing until I can get the gradient perfect.

For the second-to-last movie on my list of favorite Halloween/horror films, I’ve got one that is, simply put, scary as shit.

TheStrangers-2

My siblings and I saw The Strangers together in the theater and loved it (and by “loved it,” I mean “were totally freaked out by it”). Even though I’ve seen it a few times, this movie always makes me so tense and nervous, and I still get a little jump even at parts I’m preparing for. The story is pretty simple: the two main characters, Kristen and James, are a couple who have come back to James’ parents’ cabin (in the middle of nowhere, obvs) after a wedding where things have become awkward between the two. Weird things slowly start happening, like a girl appearing at their door despite the late hour asking if they’ve seen her friend (I know that doesn’t sound scary, but trust, it’s creepy as hell), and despite Kristen’s uneasiness, James has to leave her for a bit. The creep factor is amped up to 11 when the girl comes back…when she’s finally gone Kristen discovers her phone missing from its charger, and then this happens:

Strangers standing

Whaaaaaat?! Some random guy in a MASK is just hanging out in the darkness silently watching you, fading away until the right moment to pop out and scare the terrorize the crap out of you? Home invasion movies are incredibly scary to me – there’s just something so awful about being trapped inside your own home, a place that’s supposed to be loving and safe, plus the whole “no way to contact the outside world for help” most of these stories have. Anyway, James eventually comes back and of course, thinks Kristen is being crazy at first, but then they both start getting hardcore terrorized by the mask-wearing Strangers.

tumblr_lpsodmDc6o1qetk8mo1_500

Yeah, I also have a thing about masks. It’s SO SCARY when you can’t see someone’s face! Especially if that someone is attempting to axe murder you. It gives them a sense of power somehow, like they’re an unbeatable phantom or something. Ughhhhh gives me the creeps! I also really like this because yes, there’s some blood, especially at the end, but it’s not an incredibly gory movie; all the thrills are from the tense tone of these Strangers slowly, sadistically playing with and eventually (because of the masks) seemingly emotionlessly brutally hurting Kristen and James. Just don’t watch this if you get easily scared – seriously, I had to keep my light at night the first time I saw this.

Is my manicure sufficiently Halloween-y? Any The Strangers fans (well, not fans, exactly…) out there?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

Matte Vampy Glittahhhh

This is a quick and easy mani. When they first came out I looooooved Deborah Lippmann’s Ruby Red Slippers and Bad Romance, but I don’t ever spend that much on nail polish, plus the quality of the few I do have (on sale) is definitely not worth that price. Lucky for me (and admittedly shitty for expensive brands, but eh, mama’s got a budget), in the past few years drugstore brands have realized they could copy popular polishes and now you can often find a pretty good dupe of a cool but expensive polish a few months after the original comes out. Which is exactly what I did here.

10-27-13 bottle pic

After checking out comparisons other blogs have done with the real deal, I think these are pretty good dupes, although of course a $1.99 polish is not always gonna be perfect. Case in point, Behind Closed Doors:

10-27-13 WnW macro

See how some of the red glitter pieces have faded around the edges? They’re not a uniform color, either – some of them look more burgundy than red. I’ve had this polish for two years or so and I haven’t worn it that often so I can’t remember if there were always burgundy pieces or if those have morphed over the years, too. BCD is also incredibly sheer, even at 3 coats I don’t think it would be opaque. I just layer a coat or two over one coat of my go-to black, Wet n Wild’s Black Creme.

10-27-13 Revlon macro

Facets of Fuchsia is not as sheer as BCD but it’s still a good idea to layer it. FoF was part of a limited edition collection but is still available, it’s just called Scandalous now. Unfortunately BCD was also part of a limited edition collection a few years ago and I don’t think it’s available anymore.

I really love these polishes. I think the bright red and rich fuchsia against the black looks really mysterious and gorgeous.

10-27-13 curled hand auto

10-27-13 hand auto

Pretty, right? Then I thought: “Heyyyy what if I added a matte top coat?”

Sorry, I banged my middle finger, which is why it looks weird at the bottom.

Sorry, I banged my middle finger, which is why it looks weird at the bottom.

10-27-13 fingers matted auto

I reeeeeeally like this. The glitter pops more against the frosted black and looks really cool (and kind of badass?) in general. I might be mattifying glitter a lot more after this! I used a cheap matte top coat I think I got at Hot Topic a few years ago, but all the big name and drugstore brands have one now, so they’re pretty easy to find.

I know it’s kind of hard to see the difference so here’s a comparison of what the polish looked like before matte top coat and what it looked like after. (In the before my nails only have a thin coat of Gelous to smooth the glitter out; with a proper top coat it would look better but I knew I was going to mattify ’em and I don’t know if a matte top coat would work as well over my usual [thick] top coat, Seche Vite.)

The nails don't match up because I alternated colors on each hand. Also, I don't know what all that black haze is on the top left pic but I had already mattified all my nails.

The nails don’t match up because I alternated colors on each hand. Also, I don’t know what all that black haze is on the top left pic but I had already mattified all my nails and couldn’t take another pic.

I like the purple and red glitter together, too. This is a pretty easy and vampy but still Halloween-y mani. I like it a lot!

Okay, so next on my list of favorite Halloween/horror movies: Sleepy Hollow!

sleepy-hollow pic 2

Tim Burton kinda sucks now, and Sleepy Hollow is the last good movie he made, in my opinion. It’s not the most amazing movie of all time, but it’s a pretty perfect movie to watch around Halloween. Sleepy Hollow takes place in the late 1700s and is about the Headless Horseman terrorizing the town of Sleepy Hollow. Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a super squeamish forensic investigator (I think? Maybe he’s a constable?) who makes this face a lot when things upset his delicate sensibilities:

tumblr_inline_mtl0z5vTZH1r9wa6f

and gets sent to Sleepy Hollow to figure out some murders that are happening. Once there, Ichabod finds out that everyone in town thinks there’s a headless dude riding around on a ghost horse, cutting off the heads of townsfolk, so he rolls his eyes and condescends a lot (he’s a pretty hilarious douche, if you can’t tell). He uses his “modern” techniques to investigate the murders, and tries to figure out what the connection/big mystery is. Then one night he actually encounters the Headless Horseman and shit gets real.

tumblr_mbj7s8lA9C1qi1gl0o1_500

This movie isn’t terrifying but it does have a few little jumps, and there’s definitely some super bloody moments. The design and aesthetics are awesome, though – the color palette is almost monochromatic, with sprays of bright, paint-like blood, the costumes are gorgeous, and the setting is perpetually foggy, dark, and creepy yet beautiful. Also, the score is fantastically creepy, as always with Danny Elfman.

tumblr_m22fsq3OM71qmoyxko1_500

How do you feel about matte polish? Any Sleepy Hollow fans out there?

Thanks for reading! See you next time! A x