Sunday, December 30, 2012

Red Flowers

More adventures in stamping, this time stamping over a chunky glitter!

The base is two coats of L.A. Colors - Goddess. This is a very sheer polish, definitely needs undies if you're opposed to VNL. Personally I don't always mind it, in this case it didn't bother me at all. 

I stamped with Wet & Wild Wild Shine - Burgundy Frost and BM03. 

I love the chunky holo goodness in Goddess, and how fabulously Burgundy Frost stamps! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Dry Clean Only": The Myth

I've noticed something interesting, in an it-kind-of-irritates-me way. "Dry clean only" on the care tags of clothing that has no reason to need dry cleaning.

I have a coat that claims to be "dry clean only". It's made of polyester, which is impossible to damage with water or laundry detergent. The weave of the outer shell makes it require some minimal care in washing, rather than throwing it in the machine, but there's absolutely no reason not to wash it by hand, which I have done several times. 

Dry cleaning is expensive, and everything that gets dry cleaned smells like a chemical swamp. Nasty! Why are so many clothes unnecessarily labeled for dry cleaning? I can't say I know, but the best I can come up with is that they're trying to make it seem fancier than it actually is, since dry cleaning is usually for really nice clothes.

I'll cut right to it. There's only one material that always, always should be dry cleaned rather than hand washed, and that's leather. If it's not leather, unless you really want to make 100% certain that it won't fade, don't bother. Even leather can usually be safely spot cleaned with a soft damp cloth, though it's always a good idea to test it in an inconspicuous area to make sure, and never ever stretch dampened leather unless you're trying to shape it!

Common materials to see labeled as "dry clean only" are silk and cashmere. While some of the particularly fine silks can be damaged by water, 99% of silk clothes are just fine being hand washed. If it's not high-end designer, chances are good it'll be just fine. Test it if you're worried by wetting a hidden spot, like an inner seam or facing panel. Cashmere will never be damaged by water, though like wool it will become felted and shrink in hot water, so wash it in cool. Both silk and cashmere are delicate materials and should be treated gently, never put in a washing machine, and always allowed to air dry. Don't wring them out! 

The best way to wash delicate fabrics is to dissolve the detergent in water, swish the garment around for a minute, just enough to get it thoroughly wet, then let it sit for five minutes. Swish it again, drain the soapy water and fill up the sink with fresh water, repeat the swish-sit-swish setup. I like to rinse it twice to make sure of getting all the detergent residue out, as it can be a skin irritant.

If the garment is wool, cotton, or any synthetic material, unless it's particularly delicate or has beading/rhinestones on it, it's fine to machine wash (though I like to hand wash most wool to avoid pilling). Pay attention to the 'cold' or 'warm' directions on the care tags; if it says to wash it cold than it will almost always shrink if washed warm, particularly cottons or wools. Of course, this can work to your advantage when there's a great shirt that you can only find in a size a bit too large!

Cottons and silks are the fabrics most inclined to wrinkle. Unless they're a blend, they'll probably need ironing. Use the cool setting for silks, cottons can handle higher heat. It's a good idea to iron anything inside out, to avoid making it weirdly shiny.

Hopefully this is helpful! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Magnetic Leopard

I haven't seen much nail art done with magnetic polishes beyond changing up the magnet pattern, or using several colors in skittles... so I've decided to push my creativity a little and see what interesting ideas I can come up with using them. 

Here I used the gold magnetic from Claire's, with the magnet it came with, and stamped over the top of it with RA107 and Color Club - Rev'd Up. 

If I were to re-create this, I'd probably pick a more heavily pigmented polish to stamp with. Other than that, I love how it turned out!

These have got to be on my top ten ultimate party nails! What do you think? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snowman nails

My housemate got me some adorable nail stickers for my birthday, all snowmen and Christmas themed!  Here's the first mani I did with them: 

The base is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear - Pacific Blue. What a pretty color this is! And almost a one-coater too, with a careful thick coat. I did two here for full coverage since I tend to paint thin. 

What do you think of the pinky accent nail?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dancing Gold

Another quick manicure, just a glitter topper:

The base is Sinful Colors - Dancing Nails, and the glitter is an unnamed gold glitter from a Bonita set I found at Ross. 

Dancing Nails is one of my favorites from Sinful Colors. It's similar to my much loved Mama-San, which I must've been either a LE or discontinued shortly after I discovered the brand, I haven't seen it since. 

I really like this color combination, a shimmery rose tone with gold glitters! Kinda similar to the layering I did here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First ramble! (possible TMI warning)

Ok, so this feels really awkward to write! I know I have a tendency to get off on tangents (one reason I stuck to nails for so long, it's easy to stay focused!) and ramble in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way... gotta practice to get better though, right?

So for my first non-nail-art-centric post, I'd like to reference another blogger. One who is AMAZING and deserves tons of love and internet cookies! That would be Dan of Single Dad Laughing. I'll admit I'm new to actually following his blog on a regular basis, but I've seen several of his articles linked around Facebook and other places, and always found them fantastic.

In particular, I'd like to reference his post Anything Other Than Straight.

(Before I get to the real ramble, I should mention that there might be a little bit of TMI here in talking about sexual preferences. Fair warning. I promise, no details!)

I've been going through a similar struggle coming to terms with being asexual. It's not even as easy as bisexual, or gay... most people, even if they don't understand being attracted to someone of the same gender, at least can understand it in "the way that women are attracted to men/the way that men are attracted to women".  

And that's not to belittle the struggle of other non-straight people, at all! Of course not. It's just that I felt like it was easier to come out as bisexual (I'm attracted to men and women equally, that is to say, almost never at all -- I'm gray-asexual and in 23 years have only ever felt what I'm pretty sure is what people mean by "sexual attraction" to three people, and in two of those cases it was very fleeting and might have been more like general horniness -- hey, I was a teenager!). 
People understood bisexual. I was lucky enough to have understanding friends, several of whom are bisexual themselves, and family who were either accepting and really couldn't have cared less or simply made it clear that they were uncomfortable talking about *that* subject but didn't turn it into a fight or big drama event, and if they only ever tried to set me up with men, well... I can take a thoughtful gesture for how it was meant, being not gay it never seemed that they were ignoring my preferences entirely. 
I'm still struggling with asexual. It's so incomprehensible to people, how I can be in a sexual relationship and happy in it and be asexual. 
The answer is, I experience sexual drive the same as an average person, it's just usually in the abstract and not connected to thinking about people sexually. It's more like, "I really want to get off right now, where'd I put that vibrator?" There's no fantasy about some hot celebrity or that one guy/girl at work. The idea of actually having sex with any of 99.9% of everyone kinda grosses me out. The rare exceptions to that rule are just that, exceptions. People I'm attracted to on so many other levels that sex with them doesn't gross me out and I actually do enjoy it, even if it's not that person, themselves that "turns me on". Even if it's just biological drives latching onto a convenient and not-unappealing person. Even if I'm not yet entirely sure whether or not I'm actually sexually attracted to that person, or just find them aesthetically and romantically attractive and happen to also enjoy sex with them.  
I know, it's hard to understand. It's hard to understand even for me! When sexual preferences come up, people rarely mention that it's possible to just not have those attractions to anyone, period. I never understood the "boy crazy" girls in middle and high school. I didn't get it, it seemed like I was the only person with any sort of grip on my emotions regarding boys. 
Now I'm realizing it was just because I wasn't having the same experience, because that particular kind of attraction that was making all my friends crazy just wasn't there for me. I hit puberty and my attitude toward males didn't change, except through outside pressures and the desire to seem normal. I started mistaking other attractions for what my friends were experiencing, trying to understand it in the only frame of reference I had. I figured that aesthetic appeal must be what made a person "hot". Maybe a little intellectual appeal, and of course getting along with them as a friend. I even understood romantic and sensual attraction, so I understood wanting to hug or kiss someone, cuddle with them. It just didn't make sense how that could lead to the kind of obsessions and emotional drama my friends dealt with on a regular basis, how that could overwhelm all other considerations for them. 
(this sketch is a great reference on explaining different kinds of attraction, I highly recommend checking it out!)
It's kind of a relief to know why it never made sense. To realize that it's not them being crazy, but them being sexual people with sexual attractions that are different than my experiences. But at the same time it's hard to realize that I'll never be viewed as "normal" by people who know. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Knackered Coral (palate cleanser!)

Once in a while, we all get tired of the work that goes into fancy nails... but of course life doesn't stop, friends have birthdays at less-than-ideal moments... and no polish fetishist wants to show up at a party with naked nails!

So here's a little quick NOTD I threw together to match my party outfit. It's nothing more than one coat of Butter London Knackered over two coats of Orly Gilded Coral, topcoat and done! 

Nothing too fancy, but gorgeous in a subtle way! I was super happy with this mani.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm aliiiveee!

Hello hello, guess who's finally back online! Got my new laptop, got it set up... still working on getting some of my programs back, like my picture editor, and re-stocking my itunes library... but here I am, not dead.

I've been thinking I want to do other things with this blog other than just nail art. Don't get me wrong, I still love doing my nails! It's just that I have other interests as well... and yeah, to be entirely honest I get a little burned out on the nail blogging thing. Sometimes I just don't want to even do a plain one-color manicure, but I feel like I need something for the blog, and then it makes a chore out of something that should be fun.

TBH I never originally intended for this to be a nail-art-only blog. I started out with a few posts like that, since it was easy to write about and fun and not too scary for a baby blogger like me. But it's not what I really wanted to commit to for the long term, and more and more I'm feeling like it's time to branch out and take some of those scary steps into a bigger world.

I have no idea what direction I'll take it, but don't worry, I'll still do nail art! Maybe not as often, and as I get other things rolling it might taper off... but I'll try to at least keep things interesting around here. I anticipate an awkward settling-in phase that might drag on a bit.. hopefully not too bad though!

So what sort of posts would you (few) folks who already follow me like to see? I'd hate to ignore you entirely! I'll understand if the change from what you were expecting bothers you, don't worry. I do love you all!

Foodie awesomeness? Cat pictures? Crafty tutorials? Gardening stuff? Activism? Personal updates? Random rambling about life, the universe, and everything? I'm pretty sure I could deliver a little of all the above, though it's by no means an exhaustive list of everything that might ever cross my mind (or keyboard). Feedback is awesome, as always!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I've been on just a bit of a duo/multichrome kick lately. But of course I have to do at least some minimal  nail art, still!

For this manicure I started with two coats of Sinful Colors Lavender, freehanded a feathery/grassy/whatever it is design with my black Kiss striper, then topped the whole thing with one coat of Sinful Colors Let Me Go.

I really love how this turned out, though I wish I'd been a bit more consistent with the striper. The base is just dark enough to bring out the duochrome shimmer in Let Me Go. I suck at taking pictures of duochromes, so you can't really see it here... but trust me, it's pretty!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Matte/Gloss Attempt (Epic Fail and a WTF!)

I'm not even close to a nail guru, and I'm absolutely, positively not perfect when it comes to nail art! But, I am willing to share my failures as well as my successes. Maybe someone can explain what happened here, anyway!

So, I tried stamping with a clear top coat over a satin matte polish (Revlon Ruby Ribbon). Half the stamps ended up matte-er than the polish, and the other half actually stamped shiny. Plus apparently my cat was playing with my stamper, and got little furs all over it that I didn't notice until they were stuck to my nails and I had to try to carefully pick them off... and I'm not sure why they still had linty looking white bits all over everything. :/

Can anyone explain what went wrong here? Someone more experienced in stamping than I am, perhaps? I'm so confused.

(I used stamps from BM12 and BM20 btw)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stamped Stars and Glowy Glassflecks

More fun with stamping. I picked up this gorgeous glassfleck recently, and it's been in my GOTTA WEAR THIS SOON!!! pile along with it's slightly purpler cousin.

The base is Orly Ingenue, stamped with Color Club Catwalk Queen and BM21. The full-nail designs in this set are a little small for me, they fit my main fingers alright but they don't quite cover my thumbnail unfortunately. This one worked ok since it doesn't have a hard cutoff at the edge of the design!

Oh, glowy glassflecks. How I love you. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Diamond Glitter Skittles

I finally got some polishes with diamond glitters, and I just couldn't wait to try them all out! So I went ahead and did a skittles mani with the four new Pure Ice polishes I picked up last time I was at WalMart.

A rare right-hand shot! I dinged up my left hand before I could get any pictures, unfortunately! So I had to resort to photographing the less pretty side. I photoshopped out a major hangnail so you don't have to look at that, at least!

Yes, I know, there's one nail without diamond glitters! It's the one polish I picked up that didn't have them, so I did it accent-nail style. 

The polishes I used were:
pinky - Three coats of L.A. Colors Live, one coat of Pure Ice Material Girl
Ring - Two coats of L.A. Colors Sea Siren, two coats of Pure Ice French Twist (I stamped over this with the new Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, but it doesn't really show) 
Middle - Three coats of Sinful Colors This Is It, one coat of Pure Ice Treasure Hunt
Index - Two coats of Wet & Wild Caribbean Frost, one coat of Pure Ice Hot-Rocks 

French Twist has a black jelly base, like Revlon Scandalous and Wet & Wild Fergie Make Them Boys Go Loco. I'm just collecting all the colors of this family! :D

The diamond glitters in Hot-Rocks came out easily, but for Treasure Hunt and Material Girl I had to fish and place. All the glitters were reasonably smooth, I only needed two coats of top coat on my pinky because it's so tiny and highly curved... and only for the diamond near the cuticle. There was the tiniest bit of grittiness noticeable in a few spots, which doesn't bother me, but if you like super-glassy finish on your manicures better plan on double top coat.

This Is It is still a tad sheer at three coats, like a lot of Sinful Colors polishes. If you don't have much free edge you could probably get away with it, but to be sure of coverage I'd layer it over a creme.

My favorite of these was my pinky. I really really like the pink glitter over silver! The rest kinda turned out meh IMO. Any standouts to you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stamped Arrows (Unexpectedly Awesome)

You have NO IDEA how much willpower it took to stick to my dotting practice after getting stamping plates, and not just stamp the living daylights out of my nails! But I finally feel like my dotting skills have improved sufficiently now, and that means it's time for Adventures in Stamping!

I did this mani entirely as a plate test, not expecting to like it at all. I picked two colors I'm not super fond of, and an oddball stamp image from BM20, and then... what is this, three mehs make an awesome???

The base color is Finger Paints Art Loft-y Toffee, which I've worn on its own before, and alone it does not play well with my skintone. But maybe it just doesn't play well with my extra-pale early spring skintone? Whatever the case, I liked it better the second time around, particularly after stamping over it with Color Club Trippie Hippie, which is a lovely color but quite frankly jewel-tone blues and my skin have never gotten along very well. Except here. Something about this combination just unexpectedly WORKS for me.

Have you ever had a mani just work, beyond all the bounds of reason?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Haul

I had a record awesome month for tips, last month, and an Ulta opened in town, so I celebrated with some new polishes, including two outside my usual price range (I try to avoid paying more than $8 a bottle, and at $8 I'm pretty fussy) but they're just so gorgeous! And I was celebrating.

Butter London:
- Trustafarian
- Knackered

- Oui
- Spazmatic
- Gilded Coral

- Julieanne
- Sarah (this is going to be my go-to holiday red, I can already tell)
- Dana (much more ordinary in color than I'd usually pay $8 for, but this one I picked up for the name. For... reasons. The same reasons I will one day also own Tallulah and Juliette, and Victoria/Mary Lou if they ever make those. And Amanda. Even though that one's maybe stretching the theme a little (more than Juliette... I can accept a spelling variant). Can anybody guess the theme?

Zoya and Orly were B2G1, can't complain!

- The Muse's Attitude

And then I had to cut my polish budget harshly, due to medical stuff and how expensive that can be... totally worth getting it taken care of, but... dayum, where'd all my monies go?

Nevertheless, I couldn't entirely resist when I found a pile of gorgeous glitter polishes at Walmart. It took a lot of willpower to come home with only the 10 I did. Diamond glitters! Dense multi-size glitters! HOLO BITS!!! *swoon*

Pure Ice:
- Treasure Hunt
- Material Girl
- Hot-Rocks
- French Twist

Maybelline Color Show:
- Rose Bling
- Sapphire Masquerade
- Lavender Sparks
- Cocktail Dress
- Gold's Night Out
- Sea-Quins

As I told the girl at checkout... I have a glitter problem. But I've been resisting two glitterbomb NOPI's, so... I'm not all bad! Could be worse.

I also ordered stamping plates from Red Angel & Bundle Monster! Finally I get to properly join in the stamping fun, I have one plate that came in a super cheap kit from Kiss that I picked up at Walmart ages ago, but it never worked well. Based on what I've seen described as common stamping plate issues, I'm guessing it's not etched deeply enough. But now I have good stamping plates! :D

The Butter London polishes were my big splurge, at $14 a bottle I can't justify to myself buying anything but the most fantastic colors. But a pale green holo and a duochrome-with-holo? I had to wipe away a little drool there!

I'm sneaking up on 500 polishes in my stash... help I have a problem!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Night Sky

I realized at the last minute that if I didn't do another Halloween mani this year, I'd have to wait til next year for a proper chance to try out the rest of the themed stamps on BM13. So I got on it!

The base is Nicole by OPI Denim to Earth, topped with Pure Ice Oh Baby.

For the stamping I used BM13 and Wet & Wild Black Creme for all but the spiderweb on my thumb, which I stamped with L.A. Colors Energy Source.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky spiderwebs

It's time for some Halloween nail art! And also, a perfect opportunity to play with my stamping plates! 

Yikes, I didn't realize how sheer this polish was until I got it in the sunlight to take pictures! Definitely needed a third coat or a black base. Whoops! Now I know! 

The sheer jelly-and-glitters is two coats of Wet & Wild Fergie Make Them Boys Go Loco. I'm pretty sure I've also seen the same polish in the Fantasy Makers Halloween display (considering it's all made by Wet & Wild, no surprise there). This is the red cousin of Revlon Scandalous (Facets of Fuchsia), which I love, so... it had to come home with me when I first saw it. Of course I'm only just now getting around to actually using it!

The webs are stamped with BM13 and L.A. Colors Energy Source. I'm not such a fan of Energy Source as a base white, I prefer Wet & Wild French White Creme, but it works fine for stamping.

Got any fun plans for Halloween? Parties? Trick-or-treating (taking kids or going yourself... I won't judge)?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Easter grass

There's a giveaway over at Gorgeois where you can earn a big chunk of entries by doing a mani with a fun color combination. Here's what I came up with:

I started with Color Club - Sheer Sugar (which, they're not kidding on the sheer part... three coats and I'd have needed another if I hadn't put something else over the tips!) Over that I used the dry-brushing technique with a striper brush and Nina Ultra Pro - Emerald City.

What do you think of this combination? The brushy green kinda ended up looking like grass to me, this  mani totally makes me think of Easter!

I liked it a little better in my head, but it still turned out pretty neat looking IMO!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dotted half moons

More dotting practice, and the first one that I'm really happy with! I think I aced the dots on this one :D

It helps that I love the color combination to pieces of course!

I did the half moon freehand over the base, rather than using hole reinforcers as a guide, which doesn't work well for me due to my nails having a high curve. 

The base is Orly Fowl Play, which OMG LOVE. Purple and color shifting flakies and shimmer! So glad I bought this, might need a backup bottle.

For the moons I used Wet & Wild Mauve Frost, and the dots are the light brown shimmer from that Simple Pleasures set I despise for shitty formula (but hey, they work ok for nail art details). 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Simple dotting

I've struggled so much with the dotting, maybe I'm being too much of a perfectionist but it's never quite as good as I wish it would be! So I decided to try something super simple this time. 

The base for this manicure is Sally Hansen Lustre Shine - Copperhead, which is just beautiful. My new favorite copper polish! It's darker than the other coppers I have, with a subtle duochrome that perfectly suggests an older, slightly oxidized penny.

For the dots I used Color Club Overboard. I really like this combination!

Are my dotting skills finally improving? This one didn't drive me totally crazy with imperfections at least!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dotted Chevrons

Continuing with dotting practice, I threw this one together on the fly. Totally unplanned!

The base is Sinful Colors Outrages, and the dots are Wet & Wild Toxic Apple (dark purple) and Lethal Injection (dark red), both from the Pick Your Poison collection. 

What do you think of vampy shimmers paired with slightly-dusty neon like this? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Diagonal dots

I've spent a good while now being jealous of girls who can wear OPI polishes without them being a chippy mess in hours, all because of My Boyfriend Scales Walls. So I decided to have a go at frankening a dupe for it (or at least something similar, since I don't have it I can't make a side-by-side comparison). And then, of course I had to do another dotting-practice mani with it!

Holy cow this makes me look tan! I'm not sure how my ring finger got messed up at the cuticle, but I apologize to you all for making you look at that!

The recipe for this franken is super simple, I got a new bottle of Wet & Wild French White Creme and added one drop of Wet & Wild Black Creme. Ta-da! Of course I can't be sure quite how close a dupe this is to MBFSW, but it's certainly a nicely wearable almost-white. 

Since I'm fussy about polishes having names, I decided to call this one Porcelain.

I did the dots in Sinful Colors Moss Have and Gone Platinum. Love the color combination, still iffy on my dotting skills. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

(Badly) Dotted Flowers

I'm still working my way through untrieds, despite the whole 31 Day Challenge! I really should scale back my polish purchasing, at least until I catch up!

I'm not super thrilled with this mani. My dots ended up a bit all over the place, it's not very tidy at all. But maybe sharing my fails will help other ladies feel better about their nail art skills or the occasional lack thereof... we're all only human, after all!

For this mani I used three Apple Bottoms polishes (yes, another set from Ross! Great place to find nail polish on the cheap).
The base is Club Queen, the center of the flowers is Gold Mine, and the petals are Rock Star.

Maybe I'll spend a week or two brushing up my dotting skills, now that the challenge is over and I've seen how lacking I am in that department.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Polish Days - Sentimental

Hey look, it's my first ever mani for Polish Days! This month the theme is Sentimental, so I decided to re-create my very first ever piece of nail art. I wore the original of this mani to my grandmother's funeral  three years ago.

I started with a base of Wet & Wild - Black Creme on all but my pinky nail, on which I used a black Kiss striper for the design. Then I layered Jordana - Lilac Frost over everything, and used the same striper to add the thin french tip. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Duochrome/glitter layering

Well, since I caved and bought the two polishes I was missing from the China Glaze Bohemian collection, I guess I'd better go ahead and do some nails with 'em, yes/yes?

This is two coats of China Glaze No Plain Jane topped with one coat of Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night from Wet & Wild's Fergie collection. 

I love me a nice duochrome, and feel the same about black glitter, so this was bound to happen sooner or later!

How do you feel about black glitter? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Subtle stamping

Guess who finally got some real stamping plates! I ordered a set from Bundle Monster and one from Red Angel, and both just came today! So of course I had to bust 'em out over the glitter I was already wearing.

...I picked a stamping color that didn't show up over the base very well,  unfortunately. Still pretty, but in a very subtle way.

The base here is Sally Hansen Gem Crush - Big Money, and I stamped from BM12 with Color Club - In Bloom. 

This plate worked 100x better than the cheap-ass plate that came in my Kiss stamping kit. The Kiss stamper works fine, so I guess it wasn't a total waste of $, and it was less than some stampers alone, so... *shrug* I won't whine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Warm crackle accents

Remember how I mentioned that I did a warm mani for the Chalkboard Nails contest, but decided to enter the cool one? Well, here's the warm version for your viewing pleasure!

It didn't turn out nearly as well as I imagined, sadly. 

The base is Wet & Wild Fastdry Orange, topped with Claire's pink glitter crackle for the accents and placed glitter from the chunky gold glitter in the Bonita glitter set I got at Ross. Orange is a bit sheer, but it only took three coats to get opacity (and since I was putting glitter tips on, I probably could have gotten away with two).

Monday, October 1, 2012

September haul

Again, I was trying to be good about not buying a ton of polishes. But you know how it is with polish addicts! Might have kinda failed this month. :/
I blame the people who keep making duochromes and other gorgeous fall collection colors.

L.A. Girl:
- Dotting kit, which I bought mostly to finally have a proper dotting tool, that came with the tool and three mini creme polishes

- Two Moon Candy duos (flakies with undie pairs), Cosmic and Galactic. I almost bought Universe but restrained myself. Don't feel one bit bad about buying these, since I've been stalking my polish-hunting grounds for a Moon Candy display ever since I first started seeing swatches.

I was being SO good, not buying polishes like a madwoman... and then Walgreens had a $.99 Sinful Colors sale right at the same time I realized I was going to need Rain Storm for one of my 31 Day Challenge ideas... and there was a new collection of metallics... and, well...

Sinful Colors:
- Rain Storm
- Ocean Side
- Happy Ending
- Rich In Heart
- Last Chance (the exact color I wish Revlon had paired with the flakies in Cosmic, would have been perfect)
- Outrages
- HD Nails
- Out Of This World
- Savage
- Hot Spot
- Rise And Shine
- Lavender
- Soul Mate
- Ruby Ruby
- Gone Platinum
- Zincing Of You
- Hot Wired
- Moss Have
- Precious Metal
- Heavy Metal
- Super Nova

...yeah, I went a little overboard. Still, can't beat $.99 polish! But of course, once you start with the polish buying it's hard to stop...

China Glaze:
- Want My Bawdy and No Plain Jane. I gave in and picked up the last two I *didn't* own already from the Bohemian collection.

- Ingenue
- Fowl Play (I've had a lemming for this one for a while, and Sally's had a sale on Orly polishes...)

I also picked up the new China Glaze magnet, though I didn't find any of the new collection of magnetic polishes particularly appealing or different from magnetics I already own.

Sally Hansen:
- Two LustreShine polishes, Copperhead and Lava. The only reason I didn't buy the whole set though, was that I forgot my card and had limited cash... maybe I should shop like that more often!

Nicole by OPI:
- Denim to Earth (TJ Maxx)

Wet & Wild:
- Two from the Fergie collection, Ferguson Crest Syrah (because I can't resist a super-shimmery duochrome like that, even if it might be a dupe for Hard Candy Beetle) and Make Them Boys Go Loco (thinking ahead to Halloween season, and sure enough a week later I found a dupe in the Fantasy Makers halloween display, which is also made by Wet & Wild so dupes are no surprise).
- Deadly Dose, Lethal Injection, and Toxic Apple from the Pick Your Poison collection. I would have gotten Poison Ivy as well if it had been in the display I found, but alas. :(

I also snapped up two glitter eyeliners from the Fantasy Makers display, the purple and the teal. Can't resist the awesome makeup that comes out around Halloween! Maybe one of these days I'll think about doing makeup posts. 

The Moon Candy polishes were the expensive ones this time around, but considering the flakie gorgeousness AND that they're really two polishes in one (even if each bottle is kinda small), I didn't think $7 apiece was a ridiculous price at all.

I also frankened myself what I think is a dupe for OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls, because I love the color but OPI formula hates my nails and won't stay on. I just added a single drop of W&W Black Creme to a full (new) bottle of W&W French White Creme.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 31 - Re-create

For day 31 the challenge says "re-create your favorite challenge", which I interpreted to mean pick one of the day themes to re-do. I decided to have another go at dotting since my mani for polka dot day was kind of failtastic. I also wanted to do another holo base with creme art like I did for delicate print day, so...

These dots turned out *so* much better! I used a toothpick to make smaller dots, and started in the center of my nail then spiraled out from that. The spiral doesn't show, the dots look semi-random or circular, but I really like how it turned out. 

The base is Color Club - Magic Attraction, which is a lot like Beyond The Mistletoe (which I used as a base for delicate print) except pink-brown toned instead of blue-green. Again, super blingy holo overwhelms the other glitters!

For the dots I went with an ombre color scheme using Wet & Wild polishes.
Pinky: Sunny Side Up
Ring: Blazed
Middle: Lavender Creme (which is not particularly lavender, IMO should be called Pink Creme)
Index: Red Red 
Thumb: FuchsiaRama

Saturday, September 29, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 30 - Inspired by a Tutorial

I absolutely loved the acid-wash tutorial at The Laquerologist, so I picked it for my tutorial challenge day! I didn't follow it exactly, but I never would have thought of this on my own for sure! 

Blinding neon scares cameras, and gives me corpse hands in pics but makes me look tan IRL!

Today I pulled out a set of polishes I picked up cheap at Ross, Haute Nails neons. None of the colors have names that I've been able to find, and when I first tried one of these I had trouble with it dragging and balding and streaking, because they dry SO FAST. I ended up being glad I gave them a second chance this summer though, once I figured out that I had to slow them down by painting thick and start at the edge instead of down the center of my nail, they worked alright. Still a tad streaky, but two careful coats evens things out pretty well, and they make nice glitter undies.

The set has five polishes, all of which I used for my acid wash nails. The green is the weird one, with tiny iridescent glitter and a blue shimmer, it just comes out looking like neon frog skin on its own (but again, glitter undies! I have a fairly densely packed blue glitter franken that goes amazingly well with it). The blue is a pretty standard blue-leaning teal shimmer, there are a lot of similar polishes out there, and this one's formula does leave something to be desired. The purple and red are both basic neon cremes, and the pink has a pretty silver shimmer (yep, the pink's my favorite here. It goes with my swimsuit and *really* makes me look tan!). All except the blue dry matte, and fast.

Aside from the super quick dry time, these polishes don't have much to recommend them. But since this technique requires so many layers, you'd definitely want to use really fast drying polishes, and these are the fastest ones I have. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 29 - Inspired by the Supernatural

I thought of all the obvious halloween themes. Ghosts, witches... then I thought of mythical creatures like unicorns or fairies... and then I thought of tarot cards, which led me to this skittles mani, inspired by  the five elements of the old Chinese system (except I screwed it up and used Air as an element, despite it not being in the Chinese system... should be Earth instead, I was dumb and didn't check ahead of time).

Metal, Fire, Water, Air, Wood

On my thumb (Metal) I used Wet & Wild Bad For Credit Cards, with the bullseye from the new China Glaze magnet. 
On my index finger (Fire) I started with two coats of Nina Ultra Pro Molten Gold, added a dabbled layer of the orangey copper glitter from the Bonita glitter set, and finished with a third coat of Molten Gold.
My middle finger (Water) is Claire's blue magnetic polish with the magnet it came with.
My ring finger, representing Air, is Wet & Wild Chrome Stay Outta My Bismuth topped with an iridescent glitter polish from Simple Pleasures that was gloppy and obnoxious to work with (have I mentioned yet how unimpressed I am with that set?)
My pinky represents Wood/Earth and is done with Claire's green magnetic and the magnet it came with.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 28 - Inspired by a Flag

Originally I was going to be boring and do a country flag, I'd even narrowed it down to two and bought a new polish just for the purpose. Then I decided I like the colors of the asexual pride flag better.

So I guess this is sort of a coming-out post? For the blog that is, it's no huge secret.

I started with a base of Sinful Colors Fig, then freehanded the tips (as you can clearly tell by how wonky they turned out :/ ) with L.A. Colors stripers in white, silver and black.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 27 - Inspired by Artwork

I had a very good idea where I wanted to look for inspiration today! My high school art teacher, Clay Custer, does some gorgeous things with acrylics. His style is so unique and I love it! 
(link warning: in the painting gallery there's one, not highly detailed but realistic, female nude. Be advised if you're at work or have delicate sensibilities! The specific pages I've linked to in this post are safe, but if you're gonna go clicking around know it's there :) ) I just hope he wouldn't be disappointed in me for taking all I learned in his classes and just doing silly things like nail polish. :/

Here's the painting I picked to be inspired by (it was so hard to pick a favorite, but in the end I had to choose something I could reasonably approximate in nail polish...)

The polishes used --
Base: Sinful Colors Savage with random striper-brush strokes of Sinful Colors Rise And Shine (I was trying for that awesome scuffy look that the painting has between the blue and green... didn't work very well unfortunately)
Leaves/flowers: Wet & Wild Deadly Dose, Sinful Colors Ruby Ruby, Sinful Colors Happy Ending
Butterfly: Sinful Colors Rich In Heart.

I mattified the whole thing with NYC Matte Me Crazy, then tried to re-shiny the butterfly.. but it just looked weird. :/

Monday, September 24, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 26 - Inspired by a Pattern

I took my inspiration today from fishnet stockings and Sincerely Stephanie's manicure for polka-dot day. Turned into one of my favorite mani's from the whole challenge (after the galaxy nails, nothing will EVER trump those for awesome!)

I started with Revlon Top Speed - Spice It Up as the base, then grabbed my dotting tool and went to town with Sinful Colors polishes -- Heavy Metal for the larger dots, Zincing Of You for the smaller dots, and Precious Metal for the centers of the larger dots.

For as easy as this was to do, it turned out gorgeous! Don't you think it almost looks like polish strips? :D

Friday, September 21, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 25 - Inspired by Fashion

These "inspired by" challenge days just keep being tricky for me! I don't keep up with fashion enough to have had an idea in my head, and google wasn't pulling up anything appealing. Then a friend suggested I go for a retro kind of something, like a poodle skirt. And that was it. 

I really do not draw poodles very well. Or anything that's supposed to be vaguely realistic, for that matter.

I used BB Paris - Cupcake for the base, and drew on the french tip and the poodle with a fine point sharpie that happened to be right next to my nail-painting station in a fit of laziness and not wanting to get up to go get a black striper. The sharpie smeared a bit when I added topcoat, but... honestly, for my lack of actual artistic skills, I think this turned out reasonably well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 24 - Inspired by a Book

This theme gave me LOTS OF HEADACHES. I mostly read educational books anymore, which aren't often all that inspiring as far as nail art goes. And I didn't want to do something that everyone and their cousin has already done an interpretation of (like Katniss' flame nails from Hunger Games). Then I got new polishes and finally, finally inspiration struck! This design is inspired by the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz.

Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable

I used all Sinful Colors polishes this time. The base color is Out Of This World, over which I sponged some random patches of Super Nova to look like cleaned-up rust spots, but it didn't really show. The seams and rivets are done with a striper brush, dotting tool, and Hot Wired, and the heart is Soul Mate and Super Nova, freehanded with a striper brush.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 23 - Inspired by a Movie

This took much longer to pick inspiration for than song day! I'm not super into movies, and I was having a really hard time coming up with ideas for any of the ones I do really like, that haven't already been done (like this, for instance, which is amazing and fabulous but I really didn't want to just copy something I've already seen).

Finally I settled on a blood splatter accent inspired by Repo! The Genetic Opera and/or Sweeney Todd, two fantastic and bloody musicals (and yes, Repo Men totally ripped off the idea behind TGO and I will forever be annoyed with them for it).

I know, I know, Halloween's not til next month... 

My stash of gray polishes is severely limited, I used the only two I have in this mani... Sinful Colors - Secret Admirer for the main color, and Sinful Colors - Slate for the accent nail base. The 'blood' is actually Finger Paints - Signed In Wine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 22 - Inspired by a Song

For my song inspiration I picked She Dreams In Blue by the amazing and talented Josh Woodward, one of my favorite musicians of all time! You can have a listen to She Dreams In Blue here, and while you're at it I strongly recommend checking out his other tunes. They're all free, so don't be afraid to download a few if the desire strikes you (and trust me, there's something for everyone!). 

Ok, now that I'm done plugging one of my favorite people ever, have a look at my pretty fingers! 

This one took many, many attempts before I was finally happy with it. Originally I planned a watercolor mani, but the one pale blue I had for the base didn't want to cooperate. It's from that crummy Simple Pleasures set, and besides being super sheer and requiring lots of babying to avoid major streaks I could *not* get it to dry. So I scrapped that and dug around in my blues a little more hoping for a new inspiration.. which appeared in the form of Essie - Stroke of Brilliance, from the Luxeffects collection. Such pretty periwinkle-blue glitter!

I decided to jelly sandwich it with that sheer Simple Pleasures mess on top, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I could get only one coat of the stuff to dry. For undies I picked BB Paris - Curacao, which is a little darker with a pretty silver shimmer (I probably could have used that as a base for my original watercolor idea, but by the time I found and remembered I had it, I was hooked on the jelly-sandwich-with-Essie thing).

So that's the complicated story of these not-so-complicated nails. 

Unfortunately even with only one coat, the sheer blue wouldn't dry right and I had to take these off when I dinged them up making lunch shortly after taking pics. :(

And that, kids, is why impulse buying super cheap polishes can be a Really Bad Idea. The Simple Pleasures set, with its horrid streaky-sheer formulas, is a near-total waste of money and space in my polish drawer. My hoarder inclinations and the fact that yes, I did spend money on them are the only things keeping me from throwing them away just yet. I'll probably dump the polishes and franken in the bottles at some point.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 21 - Inspired by a Color

I pondered this one long and hard before deciding to go with what I'd seen other ladies do for this challenge day, and take inspiration from a polish name. The featured polish here is Orly - Mermaid Tale from the Glam FX collection.

So of course I had to try a fishtail braid mani. 
I used Finger Paints - Tiffany Imposter, China Glaze - Exotic Encounters, and Color Club - Twiggie for the braid, and topped it off with a coat of Mermaid Tale.

I think this was better before the glitter, TBH. It kinda overwhelmed the braid. Still a fun mani though! And I absolutely love the green holo glitter in Mermaid Tale. You can see it looking orange on my pinky and a bit of blue on my ring finger, that's the holo showing!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Diagonal Duochromes

Taking a break from the 31 Day Challenge for Chalkboard Nails' Cool or Warm nail art contest
The rules are pretty simple, pick cool or warm colors and create a manicure. I picked cool, as it gave me a perfect chance to try out something I've had lurking in the back of my head for nearly a month.

I thought, how cool would a glitter crackle over a duochrome be? After testing it out I decided it wasn't quite as fabulous as I'd envisioned, though still pretty neat looking, so I used it as an accent instead of the full mani.

I started with a base of China Glaze - Unpredictable, then taped off diagonals and added China Glaze - Deviantly Daring. I painted a thinnish coat of Nicole by OPI - Amethyst Texture on my ring and thumb nails, then finished off the look by placing glitter pieces from the purple glitter in the Claire's Precious Metals set along the diagonal with a toothpick. Topcoat and done!

After finishing this, I had an idea for a warm-toned mani also using crackle accents. I might have to go ahead and do it as a bonus for all the lovely people who read my silly little blog! :)

31 Day Challenge Day 20 - Water Marbled

Water marbling, water marbling... I tried it once before, with moderately FAIL results. This one turned out a little better, but I still haven't got the hang of it.

I used Steel The Spotlight from the Wet & Wild Chrome collection as the base (who says all water marbles have to start with a white base, anyway?)
For the marble I used Wet & Wild Megalast I Red A Good Book and two jelly frankens I whipped up after noticing that my collection was seriously lacking in jellies, a black and a teal. The teal didn't really show after marbling except on my thumb and a teeny bit on my index finger, everywhere else it just looks clear. 

It's hard for me to pick a favorite nail here. Index? Middle? Pinky? One of those three, my thumb and middle finger didn't really go so marble-y. Which is your favorite?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 19 - Galaxies

So far this has been the most in-depth challenge day I've done! Water marbling is next though, and that absolutely kicked my butt the first time I tried it, so there will probably be a headache in my not-so-distant future. I've always loved other girls' galaxy nails, so I was excited to try it out myself.

Don't mind me, I'm just spacing out

I started with Essie Dive Bar as my base, then added faraway stars with a green/gold/orange iridescent microglitter Diamond Cosmetics striper, making sure to vary the concentration of glitter randomly all over my nails. The green in that glitter was more prominent over Dive Bar than I expected, so I added a little bit of a pale-gold microglitter from Bonita (yeah, another nameless, cheap set from Ross) in the same patchy way. As it turns out though, you really can't see much of those at all, they're mostly lost in the nebulas.

Then I went rummaging through my stash for the perfect polishes to use for the nebulas, and was hit with inspiration when I came to one from the Claire's Starstruck collection. How appropriate, right? And the glassflecks looked so invitingly glowy, how could I NOT want that all over my nails?

The Starstruck collection is 6 bright and juicy glassfleck polishes, most of which are dupes for the Color Club Take Wing collection: Little Dipper (orange), Flying Saucer (pink), Cosmic (purple), Moon Dust (blue), Drops of Jupiter (teal), and Blast Off (green). I used all of them randomly for these nails.

The white I used for the close-up stars is a Kiss striper, dotted with a toothpick.