July Nail Art Challenge #1: Place You’d Love To Visit

Yup, I’m doing another nail art challenge month! I really enjoyed doing it for May and June, so I figure why stop now? It’s also a good way to get me posting regularly; left to my own devices, I’m lucky if I do once a week. I kinda can’t believe it’s already July, though. 2016 is flying by!

7.2.16 Fancy Finger Guns challenge

The first challenge is somewhere you’d love to visit, and I immediately knew I wanted to do Turkey – along with Greece and Morocco, it’s top of my list of places to visit! I decided that instead of doing a flag or something that I’d do a cultural object that’s been popping up in American fashion and design in the past few years – the evil eye.

7.2.16 Fancy Finger Guns curled

The evil eye amulet in Turkey, or Nazar Boncugu, is a blue “eye” bead that is said to ward off evil and bring luck to the wearer. Similar evil eye beads are common in Mediterranean, Southeast European, and North African countries – especially Greece, where almost everyone has some version in their home – and in the past few years the symbol has also become popular in Western Europe and the United States.

The blue dot on my ring finger makes me laugh - it's wonky and the black dot is off-center, so it looks like it's rolling its eye.

The blue dot on my ring finger makes me laugh – it’s wonky and the black dot is off-center, so it looks like it’s rolling its eye.

I wasn’t sure how this would turn out, but I really love it! I’m not usually a fan of a mostly neutral manicure, although it’s a look that’s becoming very popular in salons lately (whites, neutrals, or pale pinks with minimalist designs like one dot or stripe), but I think this looks really lovely and fresh in the sweltering summer heat. I did two coats of my favorite neutral, the creamy French vanilla My Vampire Is Buff, and after top coat was dry, I added a French manicure nail decal and painted on a white half moon using butter LONDON’s Cotton Buds. From there, I just did a blue dot in the center with a smaller black dot inside that for the eye. (I feel like I use turquoise too frequently on this blog, so I decided to just do the mid-tone blue instead of the cobalt/white/turquoise combo of the real evil eye beads.)

7.2.16 Fancy Finger Guns upside down

I’m pretty proud of myself for coming up with a more unique idea for this prompt, ha. It’s always nice to dream about traveling in the summer months; I think the heat makes us all a bit restless. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon for the next prompt! – A x

Neon Gradient and a Witch Baby Soap Review!

Hi everyone! How was your weekend? Ughhhh it’s soooo hottttt here – it was 102 this weekend (unfortunately for all the actors at the Emmys red carpet who were sweating in their suits and gowns) and it’s still in the 90s so I’m going crazy. I’m ready for fall weather, dammit! It won’t stop me from putting up Halloween decorations in my apartment or lighting my “Leaves” Bath & Body Works candle, but it does feel wrong to wear anything other than bright-ass polish when it’s still so hot out. So I did a little something simple with some of my favorite pastel neons.

9.22.15 bottles

I’m actually surprised I haven’t shown Highlight Of My Summer more on this blog – a quick search showed that I’ve only posted it one other time, which is weird because I love and wear this color so much, even though like the rest of the 2013 Sunsationals Collection, the formula is crap (also, my bottle has gotten thick and goopy, bleh). It’s always difficult to tell in photos, but HOMS is a great bright mint – I can hardly wear any others, they all look so sad and pale compared to it. Anyway, for this look I did three painstaking coats of HOMS, and when that was done I did a gradient with Too Yacht To Handle (which I actually do post a lot on this blog). I also threw on a layer of Fairy Dust because SPARKLE.

9.22.15 Fancy Finger Guns curled

I couldn’t find my butter London white so I used an old NYC one I had rolling around and unfortunately it’s super sheer and goopy so my next design didn’t turn out so great, sigh. I applied some “tribal” decals I’ve had around for a while, painted over them with the white, and peeled the decals off – only it got a little messed up on my pointer, oops. I also don’t totally love the weird harlequin diamond look I accidentally made on my pointer with the little triangle shapes, but I do love how my ring turned out! I’d definitely try this again using just the decal from my ring and a better white polish.

9.22.15 Fancy Finger Guns straight

Since this is a shorter polish post, I wanted to add a review for one of my favorite new indie companies – Witch Baby Soap! WBS is an indie shop that started on Etsy and eventually became its own shop. They’re based out of New Jersey and have found a big following on Instagram, which is how I found them. First of all, I love the name – anything that’s witchy, I am IN. The packaging/branding is lovely and they’re also vegan, don’t use chemicals, and are cruelty-free. For my very first purchase a few months ago, I ordered just one soap to try them out – they were sold out of almost everything, but I wanted to try at least something so I got the Hex-Breaker soap (and allllllmost got the Gossip-Stopper soap just because it’s gorgeous and looks like a sparkly galaxy, but I hate star anise.) Hex-Breaker was a pretty mild scent – it’s got lemon, lavender, angelica, and clary sage, but I mostly smelled a light lemon scent that didn’t linger too much on my skin. Since I usually use shower gels, this soap really surprised me – it left my skin feeling clean but not dried out, and my skin was actually softer after use.

After that first soap order, I wanted to try as many scents as I could, so I placed two or three small orders in the next few months whenever items came back in stock:

Séance soap: This soap is sandalwood and rose scented, and also has dandelion root, which is an herb used to “bring about spirits,” according to the description. Like Hex-Breaker, the scent of Séance isn’t super powerful, which I like, but definitely smells fresh and lovely. The bar is a gunmetal silver with a very fine, barely-there shimmer. Also, a few days after using this, I saw my living room curtains move when the AC wasn’t on, so maybe it did bring out some spirits! :)

Mermaid soap: Loooved this one! It’s a gorgeous, super summery scent with sea salt, summer sweet citrus, agave, and ocean spray. The bar is made up of swirled with yellow and aqua, and it has a fabulous, strong shimmer made up of delicate particles, but it doesn’t stay on your skin. This scent is only available in the summer.

Love soap: The Love soap smell is amazing if you like apple scents (which I do!). It’s got rose, as well, but I mostly smelled apple, and it’s a stronger scent than the other soaps I tried. It also has poppy seeds for gentle exfoliation, and like Hex-Breaker, my skin definitely felt softer after use. Like all the others, the Love soap also just looks gorgeous – it’s a rosy pink dotted with poppy seeds and has an unexpected strong blue shimmer sheen, making it duo chrome.

Rune bath bomb: I’m not a bath person, usually, but I really wanted to try this one out because these bombs have a rune inside! The smell was nice – not my personal fav because it’s a bit earthy (scents include patchouli, vetiver, tonka beans, lily, rose, and geranium, but I mostly smelled the first few), but I loved how it turned the water a sparkly, witchy green and it did make my skin lovely and soft after. This bomb comes with a little chart that describes each rune – I got the success one, holla!

Love bath bomb: I wanted to see if I liked the Love scent enough to buy a scrub or body butter (since it’s a lot of product and $13-$15 each), so I grabbed one of these bad boys during a more recent restock, and the scent is even lovelier in bath bomb form! I will definitely be buying a body butter when my Blue Moon runs out. This bomb is topped with dried rose petals and turns your water a deep pink – it’s awesome, even to someone like me who isn’t a bath person, and it’s clear why this is one of WBS’s biggest sellers!

Blue Moon body butter: I was wary about this because I didn’t know if I’d like the scent (jasmine and crocus, and I had no idea what crocus is), but this was such a hot-ticket item – usually it’s just called “Moon Butter” but this version was “charged under the blue moon” as well as coming topped with a crystal – that I couldn’t resist grabbing one. I wasn’t a huuuuuge fan of the scent when I first got it – I think because I’m not super into super strong florals – but it’s definitely grown on me, which is good because the scent lingers on your skin. The texture is like a thick icing, if that makes sense? It’s not light and whipped like most body butters – it’s thick but not heavy or greasy, and it does take a few minutes to completely absorb into your skin, but it feels so lovely and moisturizing. I wasn’t paying attention and totally didn’t see that this was a shimmer butter, which is a fun little extra but happily doesn’t show up that much on your skin (it’s not the ’90s, body glitter is not acceptable outside of a stripper pole anymore). I also looooove the pale aqua color of the butter, and nestled in the center like a beautiful witchy surprise was a clear crystal! How cool is that?

I just placed an order of a bunch of Halloween products when they went on sale last week, and I can’t wait to get them! The only issue with ordering from Witch Baby Soap is that they sell out incredibly quickly – you can sign up for emails on their site that will tell you when items come back in stock, but I’ve found it’s way more effective to follow their Instagram (@witchbabysoap), which alerts you a few days or sometimes weeks in advance and lets you know exactly what date/time restocks happen at. The owner of the shop did say they’re going to try to be more regular with restocks in October – listing whatever items they have ready every few days instead of waiting until they have a huge amount, which is why most products are out of stock for weeks at a time – but keep an eye out on their IG for official info. I highly recommend this brand, though – I love the professional touches they give their products (butters/scrubs come in real glass jars, every order gets a free sample) and the products themselves are just so, so great. I hope this review helps someone – I couldn’t find any really detailed reviews out there, and it’s hard to just blindly purchase a bunch of things without knowing if you’ll like the scents (even though that’s what I did!) so hopefully you’ll find this helpful. I’m sure I’ll do another review when my Halloween scents get here, but for now thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time! – A x

Labor Day Nails

Hi everyone! Americans, did you have a fun Labor Day weekend? Mine was pretty great – I got to hang out with friends I haven’t seen in a long time and even got to hit up a barbecue and the beach. Not too shabs! Of course, I wanted to deck out my nails for the holiday, and I decided to do something neon for Labor Day since it’s regarded as the end of summer, so I busted out my new KBShimmer matte neon glitter and got to work.

9.9.15 FancyFingerGuns bottles

I started off with a base of butter LONDON’s Cotton Buds on all my nails. (Side note: Cotton Buds unfortunately chips like a bastard on me – I already had SIX chips by the end of the first day I wore this mani – but I’m trying to use the bottle up before buying a new white. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!) After making sure my nails were thoroughly dry, I carefully eased on a coat of Scribble Me This, sort of spreading and dabbing so I got the glitter distribution I liked.

My iPhone camera can never catch the true color of Flashy - it's almost exactly the color of the neon green glitter in Scribble Me This.

My iPhone camera can never catch the true color of Flashy – it’s almost exactly the color of the neon green glitter in Scribble Me This.

Chunky glitters like this will always have some texture, even with a thick top coat, so it didn’t bother me, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re going to use this kind of glitter. The formula was good for what it was, though – lots of glitter in each stroke and it was easy to move pieces around on the nail. I only own a few matte glitters, but this might be my favorite – I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and finally bit the bullet when KBShimmer had a 20% off sale a few weeks ago (follow their Instagram account for sale alerts!). The color combo is great and I love the triangle and stars shapes mixed in with the regular glitter pieces. Weirdly, everyone who saw it at the Labor Day barbecue thought it was a nail wrap or freehand nail art – I think matte glitter is still mostly a lacquerhead thing!

9.9.15 FancyFingerGuns curled

For the gradient of Cotton Buds and Flashy on my pointer and pinkie, I first applied some liquid tape I just picked up at my favorite nail supply store around my cuticles. There are a lot of brands that sell something like this now, and let me tell you – it’s freaking genius! I can’t believe I waited to so long to try it, it makes clean-up a snap for messy techniques like gradients and it’s super easy to use – you just paint a layer around your cuticle, wait a few seconds for it to dry, then do your nails as you normally would and use tweezers to gently pull the liquid tape up.

Next time I'll apply it to the bottom of my finger, too.

Next time I’ll apply it to the bottom of my finger, too.

I wish this hadn’t chipped so quickly, I would’ve worn it all week, I love this combo! Do any of y’all have any KBShimmer glitters? I’m kind of obsessed now – I hope they don’t put out any Halloween glitters this year, I will totally snatch some up! Thanks for reading, see you next time – A x

Neon Watermelon

I think once Memorial Day hits it’s officially summer, right?

It’s been gloriously overcast here lately – “June gloom” has come early this year, I guess – but I was definitely feeling bright summer vibes, so I did a fun neon look this past weekend.

Clockwise from the top: China Glaze You Drive Me Coconuts, Zoya Gilda, China Glaze I'm With The Lifeguard, butter London Cotton Buds

Clockwise from the top: China Glaze You Drive Me Coconuts, Zoya Gilda, China Glaze I’m With The Lifeguard, butter London Cotton Buds

Last summer I did strawberry nails, which I looooved, so I decided to try out some watermelon nail art, but I wanted to make the colors a little more punchy rather than realistic – hence the neon. This look was surprisingly easy to achieve. First, I used one thick coat of You Drive Me Coconuts (YDMC). I almost just used YDMC by itself but at the last minute I put a coat of Gilda on top to add a little shimmah shimmah.

5.28.15 curled under

After those dried, I swiped a layer of Cotton Buds on in a thick line at the tip of my nail, kinda like a French manicure. Once that dried, I painted on I’m With The Lifeguard (IWTL) a little higher up on top of Cotton Buds, so there was a thin line of white left. I was gonna make little stripes of darker green vertically on top of IWTL to mimic the shading of a watermelon’s rind, but I ended up liking it as is.

5.28.15 angled brush

The finishing touch was to use my tiniest dotting tool and plain black polish to create a line of pointed seeds right under the white. It was kinda hard for me to get them juuuuuuust right, and a few are a little messed up, but you can only see it up close – in general, I think they turned out pretty well! I’m really quite pleased with this whole look – I think this is adorable and I kind of want to recreate it with some of my pastel neons in the future.

5.28.15 bottles in background

Last year I did a whole month of summery nail art, but to be honest, this year I’m feeling kind of lazy, ha. I do have a rough idea for a Mad Max: Fury Road-inspired look, buuuuut we’ll have to see if I’m feeling up to it or not. Lately I’ve been really enjoying just wearing plain manicures (well, okay – more like a few colors on each hand but still, nothing fancy), but I don’t know if anyone would care to see those so I might be posting a little less in the coming weeks. Let me know if you’d still like to see my less exciting manis – or maybe if there’s any kind of simple summery look you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments! As always, thank you so much for reading! See you next time – A x

Under The Sea (And On The Beach!)

I had big plans for this month to post at least 10 fun summer-themed nail art designs but unfortunately my life has been hectic lately and I just haven’t had time to do as many looks as I wanted. I still really like all the ones I managed to do, though, and although I had a few ideas left I thought I’d end the month with a beach-y/ocean-y design.

I keep forgetting to take the sale tag off Go Deeper, whoops. Also, my poor bottle of Frisky - it's so freaking  messy from collateral damage during a previous splatter mani.

I keep forgetting to take the sale tag off Go Deeper, whoops. Also, my poor bottle of Frisky – it’s so freaking messy from collateral damage during a previous splatter mani.

Godiva looks just like sparkly sand in the bottle, so it was a no brainer that I’d include it in this mani. It’s pretty sheer, so it took three coats to be completely opaque. I could’ve sworn I had a little golden shell charm but alas I was wrong, so I just added a little circle stud – just pretend it’s a shell and the manicure is so much cuter!

06-29-14 curled around bottle1

On my middle fingers I wanted to mimic the pretty shallow waters of the sea, so I did the Saran Wrap technique with Jade Hypnose over Orly’s Frisky. I kinda wish I had used China Glaze’s Aquadelic because I think the slightly more green aqua would’ve looked more like the ocean whereas Frisky looks more like pool water, but I still really like it – I think the holo particles of Hypnose really make the design look like sparkling water.

See? They basically exactly match the water of my pool!

See? They basically exactly match the water of my pool!

On my pinkie I wanted to evoke the deeper ocean waters that are a bit darker but still have enough sun for a range of sparkly greens and blues. (P.S. Never Google “deep sea” – it will just bring up hundreds of terrifying monsters from the bottom of the ocean and you won’t be able to sleep tonight.) I did one coat of Shower Together and a crappy glitter gradient of Go Deeper, the inappropriately named Orly that is gorgeous with its teal holo sequins and tiny blue glitter. I had a hard time capturing GD’s sparkle but you can see how it looks in the bottle in the first photo – so fabulous!

06-29-14 curled under

Even though I didn’t get to do everything I wanted this month, I’m pleased with the designs I did get to do. I got to try out a bunch of new techniques and designs and ended up with some really fun looks that I loved, and I hope you guys enjoyed them, too! Thank you for reading, and see you next time for my Fourth of July look! – A x