July Nail Art Challenge #2: Dry Brush

I haven’t done a dry brush in forever, I forgot how fun and easy they are!

7.6.16 Fancy Finger Guns bottles

My sister chose the color combo – pale pink and cobalt – because sometimes I get way too overwhelmed with all the choices/possible combos and just can’t deal, ha. I did a base of MBSW because my Fourth of July mani made me remember how awesome it is as a canvas for nail art.

7.6.16 Fancy Finger Guns around bottle

I’m not sure how I feel about the final result. I think the color combo looks very ’80s… Seriously, doesn’t this remind you of like, those satiny pale pink couches, neon light accents, and sketched lady art that was weirdly popular back in the day? I think if I had used a navy instead of royal blue it wouldn’t be so bad, but now I can’t un-see how ’80s it is! It’s making me want to watch Back to the Future or Miami Vice or something.

7.6.16 Fancy Finger Guns vertical

I wasn’t a huge fan of this, as you might be able to tell, so this will be a super quick post! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time – A x

Fireflies in the Garden

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

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

06-20-14 bottles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06-20-14 Yume Cyan

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

#nailartjan Day 14 – Nature

I attempted to mimic malachite for today’s “nature” theme using water marbling. I don’t know what I was thinking! Water marbling has long been my nemesis and today’s attempt was no different than any of the other times I’ve tried – I got pissed, made a huge mess, and the final product wasn’t even worth it. Sigh. Polishes used:

From back: Sinful Colors Open Seas, Revlon Posh, OPI Jade Is The New Black, SH Insta-Dri Jumpin' Jade

From back: Sinful Colors Open Seas, Revlon Posh, OPI Jade Is The New Black, SH Insta-Dri Jumpin’ Jade

I put one coat of Milani’s White On The Spot as my base, although in retrospect I should’ve used my lightest green color, since it was very sheer when I marbled with it and the white came through, messing up the effect on a few nails. I got all my supplies ready – cup of room temp tap water, millions of Q-tips, dotting tool, remover, tweezers, tape, and the polishes.

The huuuuuuuuge mess I made.

The huuuuuuuuge mess I made.

I taped around my nails for easier clean up (ha!), then unscrewed all the caps because time is essential in water marbling and started dropping colors in – I think at first I did lightest to darkest, but each and every single freakin’ time, after the third or fourth drop, the color refused to spread out. I jiggled the cup and sometimes the drop would spread a bit, but not over the whole water area like it’s supposed to.

Before I cleaned everything up. Check out how absolutely terrible my right hand is - at least you can see swirlies on my left hand.

Before I cleaned everything up. Check out how absolutely terrible my right hand is – at least you can see swirlies on my left hand.

 

I do think my thumbs looked really cool, though!

I do think my thumbs looked really cool, though!

I experimented to see if it was a specific polish or combo, but it didn’t seem to matter. Eventually I just started putting a bunch of drops in close contact with each other, dropping other colors on top of those, and attempting to spread those out with my dotting tool. Sometimes it would work, sometimes the second I put my dotting tool in the water all the polish would wrap around the dotter and be un-useable, meaning I had to clean it out and start again. Plus, for some reason these dried with little bumps/bubbles, which has never happened to me before. Grrrrrrrr.

01-14-14 curled

Water marbling is super hard because it takes so much work and makes a huge mess, but I keep attempting it because a few times it works and looks amazeballs. I’ve even looked at tutorials for “dry water marbling” but they seem to be just as much work. Sigh. It bothers me because this is something that should for all intents and purposes be easy, but I just can’t quite master it. At least it’s somewhat comforting to know that a lot of other people have issues with it, as well.

My own little chunk of malachite isn't as vibrant or swirly, but it's still pretty.

My own little chunk of malachite isn’t as vibrant or swirly, but it’s still pretty.

Bleh I’m so over this. I’ll probably keep my thumbs since I actually think those both turned out cool – of not exactly the effect I was going for – and paint the rest plain green. Ah well, better luck next time! Thank you 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:

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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.

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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.

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

Thanks for reading! See you next time! A x