Saturday, March 29, 2014

Distressed Water Marble

Hey everyone! For today's mani I had this BRILLIANT idea of combining water marbling with one of my favorite nail art techniques, water spotting! Let me introduce you to.. distressed water marbling! Maybe someone had already already done this? If so, I've never come across it. Don't ruin it for me, let me think I invented this okay?

To start, I applied my base color, two coats of OPI My Vampire is Buff. Then I picked a ton of colors I thought would look together. I tested them all in the water to see which ones would spread out well.

I eventually narrowed it down to five polishes and started my water marble. I made as many rings of polish in my plastic cup as would spread out, then with my toothpick I dragged through the rings making little swirly designs.

Next I used some perfume (to make use of the high alcohol content and pump spray nozzle) and sprayed directly on the polish. This created the spotted/distressed look. I dipped my finger in a part of the design that I liked, and then before pulling it out, cleaned up the excess polish off the surface of the water with a toothpick. There weren't very many usable areas, so I ended up going through the whole process for each nail. Yeah, I know. It took forever. Totally worth it though.

It might be useful to mention that I had prepped around the nail with Scotch tape to make cleanup easier. I finished it all off with a coat of Out The Door Northern Lights top coat!

My thumb came out so awesome! It looks just like what I had in mind.

It's been quite awhile since I last used Out The Door Northern Lights, and I don't know why it has been so long! It is so beautiful with the tiny holographic sparkles. 

What I used:
OPI My Vampire is Buff
OPI Every Month is Octoberfest
Essie Lilacism
OPI Dutch You Just Love OPI?
China Glaze In a Lily Bit
Sephora by OPI Iris I Was Thinner
Out The Door Northern Lights top coat

So what do you think? I am pretty happy with the results! Is this something you would try? If you do, I'd love to see it!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

China Glaze Spring 2014 City Flourish (a few) Swatches and Review

I was so ready start wearing brighter, softer colors now that Spring is here. Aren't you? So when I walked into Sally Beauty (as I often do) and saw China Glaze on sale with buy one get one free, I picked up four of the polishes from their Spring 2014 City Flourish collection. Knowing I shouldn't buy ALL of them, I grabbed four shades that would help me fill in some gaps in my collection.

If you've read any reviews about this collection you'll probably have heard about the issues many have had with the formula. I have to say I am one of the people that struggled with the application. I typically expect to have more difficulty if the polish is really light or pastel. For me, all the effort is worth it if it's a shade you really like and don't already have one like it. On the other hand, if you have a polish that is close enough and has a good formula, I would say you could pass on most of these.

At Vase Value is a bright pastel mint blue creme. I used three coats, plus top coat. My camera didn't like this color, so unfortunately it doesn't show it very accurately. :( It blew out all the color and made it look really white, but it has more depth than this. I do really like the color but the formula is chalky, dries matte, and takes some finesse. 

In a Lily Bit is a pastel lilac creme. I used three coats, plus top coat. The formula was basically the same as above. Still a lovely color that I'm glad I have.

Metro Pollen-tin is a orangey yellow creme. I used three coats, plus top coat. This was the most difficult formula out of the four to work with. I had to be so careful in my application and even then found flaws that were a little bothersome.

Don't Honk Your Thorn is a nude with a subtle silver microshimmer. I used two coats, plus top coat. This formula is different from the other three because of the shimmer, and much easier to work with. I am a fan of nude polishes and feel this is a good addition for me.

Something I found that helped with the application was not to mess with it too much. I tried to apply each coat with as few brush strokes as possible and that seems to make a difference.

Again, the pretty shades paired with the discount price made my purchases worth it. Maybe if I had paid full price I'd feel a little differently. What do you think of the collection? Did you get any or all of them?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Glitter Tropical Fruit Smoothie

Happy Monday everyone! How is the start of your week going? The sun is shining bright here, and that always puts me in a good mood!
This weekend I did a gradient with the two colors that I swatched in my Clinique Bonus post. I knew I wanted to do something else with it but couldn't make up my mind. I enlisted some help from ya'll on facebook where it was suggested to do glitter tips. So thank you Shawna! You can't really go wrong with glitter, can you? And thank you Melanie for the idea for the title. You guys are the best! :)

When I do a manicure, I always do my right hand first. I practice my technique and design ideas on that hand so I can fine tune everything before I do my left hand (the one I photograph). My left hand usually looks much better as a result. For some reason though, my right hand ended up looking much better. My gradient looked much more "gradient" like, with the colors blending together more smoothly. How annoying.
In those cases I still photograph my left hand for a few reasons. First, it's just awkward trying to handle my camera in my non-dominant hand. Second, I don't take as good of care of my right hand so my cuticles and nail shape are always a little wonky. What can I say? I'm lazy. Lastly, even though the gradient looked better, I still wanted to use that as my test hand for how I wanted the glitter to look.

What I used:
Clinique Hi Sweetie- hot pink
Clinique Really Rio- coral
Nicole by OPI Stars at Night- bar holo glitter
piCture pOlish Glitter Ball- round holo glitter

Thanks for stopping by! If you don't follow my blog yet, there are a plethora of ways you can! Find me on facebook, twitter, pinterest, bloglovin', google+ (follow by email and Google Friend Connect on the sidesbars). I love to get feedback and ideas from everyone. It really makes my day :). Ya'll come back now!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Is Sprung

Hello lovelies! How are you enjoying your Spring so far? Today is a perfectly sunny day and I'm enjoying it while I can, because who know what next week will bring. Already down the street our neighbor's cherry tree is blooming. Each year it's the first to serve as evidence of the changing season. Now I am looking forward to more flowers blossoming, warmer weather, and longer days.

I am celebrating the start of Spring with some colorful floral nails. For the mani I used four China Glaze polishes from their new Spring 2014 City Flourish collection. I plan to swatch these shades and have them posted next week. For now, let's look at the photos!

I love how simple and easy florals are. You can be as abstract as you want and it still comes out pretty. I had planned to do more of a watercolor look for the flowers, but didn't realize how much it would blend in with the tan base color. I found this out by testing it on my right hand first, then decided to switch it up for my left hand. I am going to try a watercolor mani again soon and hope it comes out how I envision it.

What I used:
At Vase Value- bright pastel mint blue
Don't Honk Your Thorn- nude with silver microshimmer
In a Lily Bit- lilac
Metro Pollen-tin- orangey yellow
Seche Vite top coat

I hope you're having a great beginning to your Spring (or Fall for all you Southies)! Will you be sporting any floral nails?
Don't forget to come back and check out my full swatches of these four shades.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Clinique Spring 2014 BONUS at Dillard's Nail Polish Swatches

Really Rio and Hi Sweetie

*Disclaimer: I am employed by Clinique, but these are my own opinions. All product was purchased by me.*

It's Clinique Bonus time at Dillard's (for another week, or until supplies last) and because it includes nail polish, two choices even, I had to get both options! Of course, since the polish is a mini size, it's only worth qualifying for the gift if you actually are going to use the products you're buying. Since my skincare is almost exclusively Clinique, it's usually worth it for me.

Clinique A Different Nail Enamel For Sensitive Skins polishes were released June 2013. I am so glad Clinique finally came out with a quality polish! The formula they had a few years ago was in my opinion, low quality. The new formula has many benefits. They have been specially formulated and allergy tested to be gentle and non-irritating to the skin and eyes. Most important to me is how opaque most of them are even in one coat. All the ones I've tried have a lot of shine to them too. So now for the swatches! 

Hi Sweetie is a hot pink creme. This is two coats, plus top coat.

Really Rio is a muted coral creme. This is two coats, plus top coat.

Bonus also includes-

  • cosmetics bag
  • Take The Day Off eye makeup remover- really good for waterproof eye and lip makeup. For all skin types.
  • Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + - the famous yellow lotion got an upgrade last year, now with 50% more hydration (hence the "+"). For dry to dry/combination skins
  • Lash Doubling mascara- black, thickening mascara, that has a tapered brush
  • A Different Lipstick in Raspberry Glace (shown below) or Sugared Grapefruit- a lipstick that's more sheer than creamy. Both shades have a gold shimmer in them. Full size.
  • Even Better Makeup SPF 15 foundation- For all skin types, though not recommended for very oily skin. Provides moderate coverage with a natural finish. There are four shade options for the gift, Ivory, Neutral, Beige, and Amber. (I am very fair, so there wasn't a matching shade available for the gift. This is actually the foundation formula I use, but I wear the lightest shade, Linen.)
  • A Different Nail Enamel For Sensitive Skin and Eyes in Hi Sweetie or Really Rio- Both are permanent shades. .14 oz/4 ml

Raspberry Glace and Sugared Grapefruit

If this Bonus is a must have for you, make sure to get it while it's still available. Let me know if you have any questions about this post. Tell me if you want to see more like it in the future. I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Luck O' The Irish Water Marble

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! This isn't a big holiday for me. Growing up we never did anything to celebrate except to wear something green to school. Even that was done without enthusiasm, I just wanted to make sure I didn't get pinched. Green is my least favorite color. Also, if I have Irish in me, it's marginal. I don't drink, and corn beef and cabbage has never sounded appealing enough to try to make. So there are my reasons for not doing anything special to celebrate. All the same, that doesn't exclude me from trying out some nail art for the occasion!

This mani is a little crazier than my recent St. Patrick's Day nails. In this mani I wanted to include some Leprechauns' gold too. I love how it sparkles! Don't you feel lucky just by looking at it?

I have yet to do a water marble with a consistent design. I basically can never get the polish to do what I want. So I just try to find a part that looks cool and go with it. My water marbling skills haven't changed since my first try, but I still have fun with it. I kind of like to be surprised by how each nail turns out.

What I used:

China Glaze Lighthouse- yellow gold glass fleck
Wet n Wild Fergie Glowstick- day-glo green
Sephora by OPI I Come in Peas- deep green
Seche Vite top coat

What do you think of the design? What do you do to celebrate St. Patrick's day? I love to hear your comments!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Half Moons With Zoya Hunter and Opal

I have a quick St. Patrick's Day mani for you today. The star of the show here is Zoya Opal, a polish I bought months ago and can't believe I'm just now showing off! What better time to do it than for the upcoming holiday? I have another St. Patty's theme mani I hope to have for you on Monday, so don't forget to tune in!

Artificial lighting:

To create this manicure I applied two coats Zoya Hunter, then applied fast dry top coat. After they were nice and dry I placed reinforcement labels over my cuticles. Then I painted on one coat of Zoya Opal, then a matte top coat before removing the labels.

Outdoor lighting:

What I used:
Zoya Hunter
Zoya Opal
China Glaze Matte Magic
Sally Hansen Dries Instantly
Reinforcement labels

Hope you enjoyed! Let me know what you think in the comments. :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Strawberry Ice Cream With Chocolate Sauce and Sprinkles Nails

I discovered this darling manicure on Cutepolish's Youtube channel. I instantly had to do it! I had never tried a drip manicure before and though this would be a fun design for my first attempt.

In the tutorial she uses a matte top coat on the "ice cream" part. I was planning on it too, but completely forgot until I had already applied the "chocolate sauce". Oh well, it still works. I loved how easy this was. It's nice when you find designs that look cool but don't take all night to do.

What I used:
Jenna Hipp Damage Control- pink
Zoya Louise-brown
It's So Easy Stripe Rite in various shades
Sally Hansen Dries Instantly top coat

I lost my bottle of Seche Vite a few days ago. I had been doing my little girl's nails earlier in the day, and then that evening it was gone. *Ummmm.... What the heck?! Literally, AS I WAS WRITING that last sentence, I found it! I had looked for it a billion times!! It's a blooming miracle! "Write it.. and they will come." Haha. :) I really thought it was gone forever. Anyway, I started using my bottle of Dries Instantly that I hadn't tried out yet. I don't think it dries quite as fast as Seche Vite, but it's a good alternative.

What do you think of the manicure? Cute? Too dangerous if you're on a diet?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Love, Charlotte XO by Color Club From Charlotte Russe Swatches and Review

Today I have swatches of four polishes that I found the other day at Charlotte Russe. I don't usually shop at that store but I decided to stop in, curious if they sold any nail polish. I was excited to find that they had a good selection (maybe 20 different shades?), and a few that I really wanted to try. They were being sold 2 for $6.00, or $3.50 each, so I ended up with four. 

I was really pleased with the formulas. The application was easier than I expected, and each had good pigmentation. It only required two coats for each creme shade, with decent opacity in just one coat. 

Unfortunately none of the polishes had names! Hello! Isn't that the second best thing about a nail polish, beside a great color?

This shade I am calling a lime-mint. It's bright, like double-mint gum. See, that could be its name right there. My camera hates most greens, especially if they have any amount of blue, so these first two swatches didn't photograph well. I had to darken the photos because the green is so bright (but not neon) that the color got washed out. The polish almost looks matte here, but it's not.

This is two coats, good formula and easy application. Plus top coat.

This next polish I will call a turquoise-mint. Isn't it a beautiful Easter-y shade? Again, this shade made my camera angry so I had to make it a little darker. No, I'm not wearing self-tanner here. :)

Two coats, good formula and application. Plus top coat.

This polish is a dark purple-grey, which I love. It's such a pretty shade, I could wear it year-round.

I may have been able to pull off one coat with this if I was generous enough with the polish, but I did two regular coats here to get perfect coverage. Good formula, easy application. Plus top coat.

Lastly, I have a neon-pink hex and white bar glitter. This fun and funky glitter is a good addition to my small glitter collection. The biggest sized glitter is so big that it didn't lay completely flat, but at least it wasn't curling. One thing that can be difficult with glitters is that they can be too "wet". I felt this one had too much clear polish, which affects both application and drying time.

This is "one" coat, meaning I dabbed it all on trying to get good glitter placement. Average formula, and had to put more effort into application. Of course, I used top coat.

I am so happy about my finds! Honestly I didn't have high hopes, but thought it would be worth the experiment. Now that they have exceeded my expectations, I will be going back for a few more that I had my eye on.

What do you think of these? Will you be purchasing any? *As of this posting I'm not finding this line of polish on their website. Hopefully they will put them up eventually, for those of you who are not near a store location.*

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!