31 December 2012

Simple New Year's Eve "Champagne Bubbles" Mani

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! Or New Year's Day depending on where you are. I'm going to be having a quiet night in, because that's just how I am, but I wanted to try and do a special mani for tonight.

Before I get into it, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for following and reading my blog. Sometimes I question this hobby of mine - I've been spending too much money on nail polish, this blog takes away time from my dissertation, and I could go on. But it's also helped me get through some rough times recently, in particular a break up with my boyfriend in the fall, and just general lack of satisfaction with my work and PhD. I don't know where this hobby is going, but I've been really happy with the work I've been doing lately and my initial forays into nail art. I hope to do more good work - both swatches and nail art - and I'm looking forward to sharing it on this blog.

"Champagne Bubbles" dot manicure

With that I should say that this mani came out of a failed attempt, or more exactly, a change of plans. For a New Year's Eve design, I wanted to do something simple that evokes celebration, but without being literal. So my idea was to do freehand champagne bubbles. Only my freehand circles were looking like leopard spots (yikes!) so I went for the dotting tools to cover my mistakes and salvage this mani. So here you have my first time using dotting tools!

"Champagne Bubbles" dot manicure

I used Essie Midnight Cami, a deep vibrant midnight blue, for the base, and for the gold I used Stripe Rite polish in gold. I used different sized dotting tools to get the different sizes of dots. The result is very simple, and while I wasn't too sure about it at first, it is starting to grow on me. I love the dark blue/gold colour combination, and I also love the simplicity of this. If I was going out, knowing me I'd be rushing to get ready, so a simple mani like this would be my choice.

"Champagne Bubbles" dot manicure

What do you think? Do you like dot manicures?

29 December 2012

Skittle Manicure with KBShimmer Band Geek

Happy weekend everyone! I've had a lot of ideas for future nail art designs floating through my head lately. But one thing that I keep coming back to is ways to incorporate indie polishes with nail art in an interesting manner. That's what I was trying to do with today's mani. Simply put, I started with the gorgeous KBShimmer Band Geek on my ring finger and used the colours in this polish as the basis for designs on my other nails. A skittle mani is one where all the nails are different but form a cohesive whole. In this case, I used the same colour palette for all nails to unify them.

Skittle manicure with KBShimmer Band Geek

KBShimmer Band Geek is a beautiful black crelly (in between a creme and a jelly) with silver, copper, and yellow gold glitter in various sizes. So for the other nails I also used various combinations of black, gold, copper, and silver (with a bit of white on my pinky).

Skittle manicure with KBShimmer Band Geek

Here's the polishes that I used for this mani:

KBShimmer Band Geek
Orly Liquid Vinyl (black creme)
Orly Luxe (gold foil)
Essie Penny Talk (copper metallic)
Sally Hansen White On (white creme)
Julep Vivien (pale gold glitter)
Stripe Rite in Black, Silver, and Gold

Skittle manicure with KBShimmer Band Geek

Starting with the thumb, I used Liquid Vinyl and freehanded gold zigzags with the Stripe Rite in gold. On my index finger I used a base of Liquid Vinyl and did a glitter gradient with Julep Vivien. On my middle finger, the mosaic design, I started with a base of White On. I originally was going to incorporate white into this nail but ended up covering it, still, the white was a good "blank page" to work on. I used the Stripe Rite in Black to draw the lines, then I filled them in with Penny Talk, Luxe, Liquid Vinyl, and Stripe Rite Silver (the silver appears white in some photos). I finished again with the Stripe Rite in Black, going over the outlines to make it cleaner. On my ring finger is KBShimmer on its own - this is three thin coats, no undies. And finally, on my pinky is a base of Liquid Vinyl and little crosses using White On and Stripe Rite in Silver. My thumb, middle, and pinky fingers were all done freehand.

My lonely thumb: skittle manicure with KBShimmer Band Geek

I'm really in love with this mani. I love the colours and the aesthetic. And I'm really enjoying the skittle mani - it's a fun way to try out different ideas and designs without having to commit to all five nails. :)

So what do you think? Does this work as a skittle mani?

Bourjois Paris Blue Moonlight: Review and Comparison

Early November I was in Montreal for a conference located downtown. I didn't have time to do any shopping, but I did have the chance to pop into a Pharmaprix on my first night there. I was curious to see if they had anything that I couldn't buy where I live. In the high end/specialty cosmetics section I was attracted to a display of products by Bourjois Paris. Colourful, trendy, with a price point higher than drugstore brands, but not as high as luxury brands, I was instantly intrigued. However, I passed on buying some of their nail polish simply because I had decided to purchase something a bit more special (a bottle of Dior Diva - do you blame me!?).

Cue my shopping trip last night. I stopped at a Shoppers Drug Mart that I don't normally go to and was pleasantly surprised to see a display of Bourjois Paris products, the first time I had seen them near where I live. Their selection of nail polish is limited but I settled my eye on the Paris Blue Moonlight collection, a limited edition winter collection. Blue Moonlight is the only nail polish from that collection, but it is exactly the kind of colour that I tend to go for. I also was attracted to the different bottle shape (it reminds me of bottles I've seen by Ludurana), the promise of a gel-like finish, and the claim for a "1 second" manicure.

Bourjois Paris Blue Moonlight

Blue Moonlight is a deep blue-black, a midnight blue, with a lighter blue shimmer. A very close inspection reveals hints of purple, green, and rose in the shimmer, but the blue is definitely predominant. The shimmer is only noticeable in some lights, and most of the time this polish comes across as a midnight blue creme.

Bourjois Paris Blue Moonlight

Formula: The brush is very wide, flat, and slightly rounded. It is similar to the brushes on Essence Colour & Go polishes, but is a bit wider. Because of the wide brush, Bourjois promises a "1 second" manicure. Supposedly you only need one stroke per nail, which apparently they timed to take 1 second. ;) With the exception of the pinky finger, you are much better off sticking to three strokes: one for the middle, and one for each side. As for the gel/silicone-like texture, I found that the polish upon drying looked like any regular nail polish. So no unique feature there. This polish does, however, have a very nice formula - it is heavily pigmented and is a one-coater. Though I used two coats for these swatches, mainly out of habit.

Comparison: When writing this post I realized that I definitely had a thing for midnight blue. I pulled out five other polishes in the deep blue-black family, and decided that three of them were close enough to Blue Moonlight to warrant a comparison. So from left to right is the following:

L-R: Bourjois, Revlon, Essence, and Essie

  • Index: Bourjois Blue Moonlight. Slightly more vibrant than the Revlon or the Essence, it is a bit more of a cool-toned blue and has a hint of purple that is absent in some of the others.
  • Middle: Revlon Midnight Affair. The base on this is more of a smoky muted blue-black. It has a predominantly blue shimmer with slight hints of green.
  • Ring: Essence Colour & Go Date in the Moonlight. This is the most muted of the four, and is closer to a dark blue-grey. It also has the most noticeable shimmer, which is blue with hints of green and purple. 
  • Index: Essie Midnight Cami. This is the most vibrant of the four and the base colour is more of a phthalo blue. The shimmer on this is a very fine blue leaning towards green. 

Final thoughts:
While the formula on Blue Moonlight is great, and I love that it's a one coater, it's not the most unique shade. Out of the three compared, the Revlon and the Essie are both very close to the Bourjois. But I had fun trying a new brand. Out of the four, the Essie is by far my favourite - despite being so dark, the colour is beautiful and vibrant.

I'm curious if anyone else has tried Bourjois Paris nail polish, and if so what you think.

28 December 2012

Happy Hands Nail Polish: Afternoon Thunderstorms and Springs

Hi everyone! I'm back after taking off two days for the holidays. I know I could have taken off more time from blogging, but the truth is that I'm itching to show off a lot of the polishes I've bought in the last month or so. I hope those of you who celebrated Christmas had a great holiday, and for the rest of you, some nice time relaxing.

Much of December was taken up by the Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, and now that it's over, I'm going to try and establish a regular blogging schedule. What I'm aiming to do is post 5-6 days a week. I'm also not going to be able to do nail art as often as I was earlier this month. I know most people following this blog did so after seeing my nail art, so hopefully you won't pack up your bags and leave. But I understand if you do. The truth is that I'm a very detailed, meticulous person, and I'm still relatively new at nail art, so everything takes so much time. Some of my more recent designs (the stained glass nails and the ugly sweater nails) took several hours, not including initial sketches, photographing, or writing the blog post. I just don't have that much time during the week. But I really enjoy nail art and want to improve, so my goal is to do something nail art related once, maybe twice a week. The rest of the time I will show you the polishes in my collection, and gush on about what I like, and don't like, about them. :)

Today I have two polishes by Happy Hands Nail Polish - Afternoon Thunderstorms and Springs. Both are from the Greetings From Florida collection, the first collection that was released. I believe I found out about this indie polish relatively recently, when Harlow & Co. started stocking them. I got two just to try them out, and I really enjoyed them, so you will probably see more Happy Hands polishes on this blog!

Happy Hands Afternoon Thunderstorms

The first polish is Afternoon Thunderstorms. I love this one and it is hands down my favourite of the two. I'm showing you two coats on its own (no "undies"). It's a perfect mid-toned shade of grey with a very noticeable golden shimmer. When I look closely I can see hits of green in the shimmer, which adds to the complexity and interest of this polish. It's also got a nice mixture of black glitter, there's tiny squares and two sizes of hex glitter. The glitter is not very big, and I find that there's a nice balance of glitter, shimmer, and base colour. The grey makes me think of the dreariness of a thunderstorm, but the shimmer evokes the beauty in it, for example the light hitting the puddles or the falling rain.

Formula wise, this was fairly easy to apply. I did need to add some thinner to make it a bit more manageable. It dried fairly fast, but it had a bit of a bumpy texture, so I used one coat of Gelous and a coat of Seche Vite.

Happy Hands Afternoon Thunderstorms

For me, Springs is the bright and cheerful cousin to Afternoon Thunderstorms. This is a bright robin egg / Tiffany blue jelly with small white hexes and larger silver holo and pale green hexes. I'm showing you two coats, also on its own. In terms of the colour and the mixture of glitters, it's fairly simple. Yet like Afternoon Thunderstorms it's also very unique. I like that, and I don't own anything like these two polishes.

Happy Hands Springs

The formula on this was a bit more challenging. I also added a few drops of thinner to this to make it more workable. Even with two coats there's still some visible nail line, but the glitter made the polish a bit chunky, so I did not want to add another coat. I found the thickness took away from the delicacy I was hoping for. So I think next time I would use one coat over another polish. I also used a coat of Gelous and a coat of Seche Vite with this one.

Happy Hands Springs

Overall, I like these two polishes, and definitely will add more Happy Hands to my collection in the future. Happy Hands Nail Polish is available through Etsy (closed for the holidays) and Harlow & Co.

25 December 2012

Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, Day 19: Ugly Sweater

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas! And those of you who don't, I hope you are enjoying the time off to relax and/or be with family. I'm here at the very last minute trying to sneak in another post for the Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, and as usual, I'm late! ;)

Ugly sweater nails

But first I wanted to welcome and thank my new followers. And thanks especially to those of you who shared my blog with others (Pam of Girly Bits, Nailderella, and The Little Canvas, I'm looking at you!). Since I posted my stained glass Nativity nails two days ago, I've received an overwhelming amount of support and recognition, mostly on Instagram but also other sites and platforms as well. I won a challenge on Instagram hosted by WAH Nails, based in London, UK, which ended up generating a lot of traffic to my Instagram and also this blog. I'm really happy and excited by all of this. First and foremost though, I blog for myself because I enjoy it. But it's also nice when people notice what you are doing.

Ugly sweater nails

But onto my nail design! The theme I chose to do was "ugly sweater" and my inspiration for this design is the sweater worn by Jeff Bridges AKA "The Dude" in the Big Lebowski. I love this movie! Did you know that there's been quite a bit of scholarly research done on this movie? Maybe I'm getting my PhD in the wrong area, haha!

If you need a refresher, here's "The Dude" and his sweater. Not the best view, but it will do.

"The Dude", The Big Lebowski (source)

The entire design was done freehand, using teeny tiny brushes and a lot of patience. I started with two coats of Essie Sand Tropez. Then I painted the bars along the top and bottom with Sally Hansen Grey Area. I finished with Stripe Rite in Black for the dots and the intricate design in the middle.

Ugly sweater nails

It's not perfect and I can see the mistakes, but I've come a long way. My first time using nail art brushes was a few weeks ago when I did my ornament nails for this advent challenge. I remind myself of this when I get down on myself because things aren't perfect. Ah, the joys of being a perfectionist!

Thanks for reading!

23 December 2012

Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, Day 16: Inspired by a Christmas Song

Hi everyone! I'm really excited about what I came up with for today's post, but I should also warn you that this post is a bit picture heavy! The theme I chose to do for today is "inspired by a Christmas song," and I'll admit that at first I was really at a loss for what to do. I'm not really into many Christmas songs, but I decided to take the song Silent Night as my inspiration. It is one of the few Christmas songs that I like.

Nativity stained glass nails

Nativity stained glass nails

When I was a child, I remember Christmas Eve being a very special time. Several years we went to midnight mass at church (I'm Roman Catholic), and afterwards my sister and I would get to stay up late and open one Christmas present early. Talk about serious anticipation! Knowing that you had to wait another several hours until morning before you got to open the rest of your presents. Sometimes I miss those moments. The holidays really change when you grow up.

But back to the nails. Taking the theme of Silent Night - the Nativity - I decided to depict it in the style of stained glass. I really love stained glass, and especially stained glass in churches! So from left to right I painted the manger, Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, the Star of Bethlehem, and the Chi Rho symbol.

Nativity stained glass nails

Here's the list of colours that I used:

Sephora by OPI, Living in Cin-namon (for the brown areas)
Essence A Piece of Forever (gold)
Nicole by OPI, Pretty in Plum (for the purple areas)
piCture pOlish Cosmos (blue)
Enchanted Polish Bruised Nutcracker (blue)
piCture pOlish Kryptonite (green)
Zoya Blaze (red)
Essie Sand Tropez (for flesh tones)
Sally Hansen White On (for star and Chi Rho)
Stripe Rite Black (for all outlines)

Nativity stained glass nails

I won't go into details about process because it's pretty simple. Basically I painted in all the colours and then went over everything with the Stripe Rite black. But while it wasn't complex in terms of process, it was very time consuming. I worked slow so that I could get the details right. In total, I think I spent about three hours on this mani.

Nativity stained glass nails (with top coat)

Some of these pictures are taken without a topcoat. I like this because you don't get the reflection in the photos. Others were taken with a top coat - Seche Vite. Overall I love how this mani turned out. Because I used a lot of shimmery colours, it's even more glittery and sparkly in person. It really does look like I have little stained glass nails.

What do you think?

22 December 2012

Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, Day 21: Water Marble

Hi everyone! So it looks like the world didn't end today, lol, but I guess that means I still need to finish my dissertation. Darn! I was kind of hoping for a good ol' fashioned apocalypse to get me out of that one! ;)

I decided to do today's challenge instead of doing one of the ones that I missed. Today is water marble, and so I did mine with three polishes that I just bought from Harlow & Co.: Enchanted Polish Bruised Nutcracker and Ballerina Sprinkles, and piCture pOlish Cosmos. These are gorgeous polishes and I can't wait to show you them on their own.

Enchanted Polish Bruised Nutcracker, piCture pOlish Cosmos,
and Enchanted Polish Ballerina Sprinkles

Let me qualify these pictures by saying that this is my very first water marble manicure. It's true! I say that because I know that this isn't a perfect water marble. There are many mistakes including some bubbling, and I messed up on the pinky, hence the strange blobs.

Water marble manicure

But I'm also very proud of it. It was water marbling that first got me into nail art and nail polish. I remember seeing it on a friend's blog and my initial reaction was something like, "OMG, how did she do that??!!!" I looked up tutorials on YouTube, and remember being so enamoured by the process. After that I started reading nail polish/nail art blogs and collecting polish. And it's all been downhill from there! Just kidding! But despite the fact that I've been interested in water marbling for some time (that was about six-seven months ago), I never attempted to do a water marble mani. That is, until today. So I am proud of myself for finally taking the plunge.

Water marble manicure

I'm not going to go into the process of doing a water marble mani, there are plenty of tutorials by people more experienced than myself. But it was easier than I thought. I suspect that the problems I had would improve with practice. I do think this is not bad for a first attempt. I also love the colours that I used and how well they go together.

Water marble manicure

What do you think? Have you ever done a water marble?

21 December 2012

Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, Day 15: Something Cozy

Hi everyone! I'm back with another advent calendar challenge. I still have a bunch of work that I'm trying to get done before Christmas so that I can take a week off for the holidays, but hopefully I'll be able to get a few more challenges done over the next couple of days.

The theme for day 15 is "something cozy", so I took my idea of the perfect cozy winter's evening, and used the concept of the skittle manicure to create the scene. A skittle manicure refers to either a manicure where the nails are painted different colours, or for nail art, where each nail has a different design, but the nails work together as a cohesive whole.

Cozy winter's evening mani

I'm kind of a homebody, so my cozy winter's evening consists of the following: (1) looking out the window at gently falling snow; (2) cozy striped socks; (3) hot beverage, either tea or hot cocoa; and (4) nice music playing. Isn't it just...cozy?! I thought about doing a book on my pinky, since I'm more likely to read than listen to music, but I figured it wouldn't look that good.

I started with a base of Revlon Midnight Affair on all four nails. Midnight Affair is a dark navy with a lighter blue shimmer. Here's a breakdown of colours and how I did each nail:

1. Gently Falling Snow (index):

I sponged Essie Blue Rhapsody on 3/4 of the nail to create a gradient. Then I sponged Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On, just on the tips to heighten the gradient. When that was dry I finished with a coat of Nubar White Polka Dot for the snow.

Cozy winter's evening mani

2. Cozy Striped Socks (middle):

I did this freehand with a wide flat nail art brush. The colours I used are (from top to bottom): Essence Black is Back, White On, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Grey Area, Essie Chinchilly, then Black is Back again on the tip. I didn't get it right the first time, so I had to wait for the stripes to dry, go over them again, and then even do some touch ups with a detail brush. Thank goodness for the top coat, which helped to make it look better.

3. Hot Beverage (ring):

I painted the mug freehand with a detail brush using White On again. I drew the outline first, sponged on a bit of white for the steam, and then filled in the mug with white. And if you look closely, there's a touch of Grey Area inside the mug for the beverage. :D

4. Music (pinky):

The music notes were very simple, they were done freehand with a detail brush. It's not completely perfect but you have to look at the notes up close to see the imperfections.

Cozy winter's evening mani

So what do you think of my first skittle mani? Overall, I like the idea of doing more of these. Also, I still want to work on getting better when it comes to freehand nail art, and I think slowly I'm starting to feel a bit more comfortable with it.

20 December 2012

Pahlish Your Silver Lining

Hi everyone! My work ran later than I thought tonight, so I'm showing you another polish that I swatched awhile ago. I'm also not in the most talkative mood so I'm going to keep this short (we'll see how that goes).

Your Silver Lining is part of my quickly growing Pahlish collection. I seriously love everything that Shannon Pahlas makes. This polish is discontinued, but I bought it at a blog sale: jyjnp who I follow on Tumblr. She's got a lot of Pahlish, OPI, and now I see even some Lynnderella. I would recommend buying from her, she's really quick to respond and send things out.

Pahlish Your Silver Lining

YSL (not to be confused with the other YSL) is a sheer white with silver holo glitter in a variety of shapes and sizes: tiny round glitter, bar glitter, and small and large hexes and squares. It's perfect for a winter mani. This is two coats over China Glaze Sea Spray, followed by a coat of Gelous, and a coat of Seche Vite.

Pahlish Your Silver Lining

My first impression of YSL was not too good. I applied it over Essie Mezmerised, a vibrant cobalt blue (previously reviewed here). The base colour was too dark, at least for my taste. YSL I find works better layered over a lighter colour, such as white, or a pale blue, pink, lilac, or even grey. It's a pretty versatile polish in that you can layer it over a lot of lighter pale colours for a different look or effect.

Pahlish Your Silver Lining

The formula on this was okay. I found it difficult to get a good glitter payoff hence the two coats I used. The glitter tends to sink to the bottom, so I let it sit upside down for several hours (30 minutes would probably work fine). But what really helped to get the glitter out is rolling it between my palms. It's the larger hexes, bars, and squares that really make this polish pop when it's on the nails, but it's pretty difficult to get them out.

What do you think of Your Silver Lining? Do you own any Pahlish?

18 December 2012

Piper Polish: Blue My Mind and All That Glitters is Gold

Hi everyone! I guess you can probably tell I'm a bit behind on the Advent Calendar Nail Challenge. I'm still going to try and do some of the challenges, but I have to take a bit of a break for the next 2-3 days. As a teaching assistant at two universities, it's a busy time of year for me, and I have a lot of exams to mark and final grades to submit for one of my classes. Believe me, I'd rather be doing nail art!!

So I'm going to show some swatches that I did awhile ago, but haven't had the chance to post. The photos for today's post are a bit odd together, the first ones were taken in natural light with my old camera, while the second set were taken in the lightbox with my new camera. Sorry about that, but I just don't have the time to re-swatch things right now.

Piper Polish is an indie brand that is sort of new to me. I really don't know how I came across these polishes. I think what happened is that I saw a photo of Blue My Mind on a blog somewhere and decided I wanted it, so I ordered the two polishes to make the shipping worthwhile.

Blue My Mind

This is a beautiful pale blue jelly. If you've been following my blog or instagram, you might already know that I have a big thing for pale blue, and I find this one to be fairly unique. It has two sizes of silver hex glitter (tiny and small/medium), very teeny tiny blue and pink square glitter (I love these!), and what looks like blue micro-glitter. I also ended up with one larger piece of gold glitter, and I can't tell if this was an anomaly (maybe intended for another batch of nail polish) or if there are just very few of these in the batch.

Piper Polish Blue My Mind

I love this combination of colours and glitter! It's very delicate without being boring, and I found it to be a really interesting polish to look at. The formula on this one was good and I used two coats, the second coat being a bit thick.

Piper Polish Blue My Mind

All That Glitters is Gold

This polish is made up of black hex glitter in two sizes, small and medium, and gold glitter in two shapes/sizes - small squares and medium hexes. It's also got a very fine gold holo glitter that is gorgeous when it catches the light. Here you see two thin coats over China Glaze For Audrey. I love how the gold really plays with the colour underneath, bringing out the turquoise in For Audrey.

Piper Polish All That Glitters is Gold
(over China Glaze For Audrey)

The formula on this one was not the greatest, and there were several issues. First, all the larger pieces, everything except for the small gold squares and the fine holo glitter, sink to the bottom. So you have to let it sit upside down for at least 30 minutes, and also roll it between the palms. Even then it's still difficult to get the larger pieces out. Second issue, I found it to be rather thick and gloopy. Trying to do the dab method only resulted in too much polish on the nail. It was so bad that it reacted funny with my top coat and I actually had to redo these swatches. That never happens.

Piper Polish All That Glitters is Gold (over China Glaze For Audrey)

Third issue is that it seems the gold glitter, both the squares and hexes, are curling. I'm a bit hesitant to mention this one. From what I understand, if you contact a seller about this issue, they usually will do whatever they can to fix the problem (i.e. give you a new bottle, refund your money, etc.). But I haven't contacted the seller, I just have too much on my plate, and it's one more thing to deal with. And I'm lazy, if you couldn't tell. ;) But the curling isn't really that bad. It's just noticeable and kind of irks me.

Final thoughts: Overall I'm happy with these two polishes, and the service I received from Piper Polish was excellent. My orders were shipped out right away. Also, both polishes are unique in my stash. I was worried that All That Glitters would be a dupe for Pahlish Goldmine Gutted (reviewed here) but they are completely different. All That Glitters lacks the copper glitter in the Pahlish, and they have distinct mixtures of glitter. But despite how much I like these, I don't think I'll be placing another order. Piper Polish has raised its shipping rates dramatically for international customers, including Canada, and I just can't justify spending $15-20 to ship a few indie polishes. I typically will only spend that much for shipping high-end/pricey polishes like Rescue Beauty Lounge and Lynnderella.

What do you think of Piper Polish? Do you own any?

16 December 2012

Nails for Newtown and piCture pOlish White Wedding

Hi everyone! I don't have my "something cozy" nails for the Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, but I hope to get back to the challenge tomorrow. A number of nail polish bloggers have called for white manicures in honour of the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. On several occasions I've done my nails for particular causes, such as green manicures for Depression Awareness month, and blue for World Diabetes Day. But I'm also a skeptical and cynical person by nature, and I have to wonder what good it does to do my nails for a particular cause. I hope in this case it's to show that people care about what happened, and although we may go back to work or go about our day to day business, we don't really ever forget about tragic events like yesterday's shooting.

"Nails for Newtown": piCture pOlish White Wedding and Different Dimension Selene

I only hope that something good will come out of yesterday's events, I feel there have been far too many mass shootings in the States. It would be nice to see people (and politicians) actually try to come to solutions, instead of just shedding tears and lighting candles.

Nails for Newtown

Different Dimension Selene over piCture pOlish White Wedding

For my white mani I wore Different Dimension Selene over piCture pOlish White Wedding. I have reviewed Selene previously, if you're interested you can see that post here. I really love this combination of white on white. It's ethereal, delicate, and sensitive. Both polishes have iridescent/multi-coloured shimmers, so it is nice to see the different layers of white and shimmer interact with one another. It was difficult to fully capture on camera, and it's one of those manicures that must really be appreciated in person.

Different Dimension Selene over piCture pOlish White Wedding

piCture pOlish White Wedding

Since I am also trying to go through all my untrieds and review every polish I own, I also wanted to review White Wedding. This is one of the piCture pOlish collaboration shades, it was designed for Leah Ann of Llarowe. It's a sheer white polish, but not exactly a jelly finish. As mentioned it has a pastel multi-colour shimmer. If you look up close the shimmer is comprised of irregular shaped flakes. Unfortunately though, I was not able to capture much of the colour shimmer with my camera - the disadvantage of using a lightbox. :(

piCture pOlish White Wedding

For these pictures I've worn two coats of White Wedding over two coats of Seche Ridge Filling Base Coat. This base coat is a sheer milky white, and I like to use it under very sheer pale colours. It helps to hide the staining of my nails, it also means I don't need to wear three or four coats of my polish. And with a polish like White Wedding, which comes in a smaller 11ml bottle, I'd like to try and conserve it as much as I can.

piCture pOlish White Wedding

Formula: The formula on White Wedding was excellent. It applied smoothly, it wasn't difficult to work with, and it dried in a reasonable amount of time. I also didn't have any issues with streaking. I read other reviews on this polish, notably by The PolishAholic and Scrangie, and both mentioned that the formula on White Wedding was difficult - a bit thick and "gooey". I'm not disagreeing with them, but I also didn't experience the problems they mentioned. So I wonder if the formula was tweaked since then.

Comparison: The only polish that I could compare it to is Girly Bits January Morning (discussed here). White Wedding is a cool-toned white, whereas January Morning is more warm-toned, leaning towards cream coloured. Both have subtle multi-coloured shimmers, however, the shimmer in January Morning is far more subtle. And January Morning is even more sheer than White Wedding. Of the two I much prefer White Wedding.

What do you think of White Wedding? Did you paint your nails white to remember the victims of the Newtown shooting?

15 December 2012

Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, Day 14: Glitter!!

Hi everyone! As usual, I'm getting this in at the very last minute. I spent the day marking, and like a lot of people (at least in North America), reading the news and getting updates on the school shooting in Connecticut. Today I just kind of went through my work in a daze, it sounds cliche, but everything seems so insignificant when you read about such tragedy. Worries about work and school, money, my own general sadness... I'm feeling very fortunate today for what I have.

Nerd Lacquer Holy Grail

I have a very special polish for you today. This is Nerd Lacquer Holy Grail. I was able, not too long ago, to get my hands on two bottles of Nerd Lacquer. I'm sure most people reading this are familiar with Nerd Lacquer, but if you aren't, Nerd Lacquer was an indie brand by a woman named Amanda. Polish Pixelle has a very detailed post on the saga of Nerd Lacquer. I only recently became interested in nail polish - this past summer in fact - and didn't buy my first indies until about September of this year. So I missed out on buying Nerd Lacquer while they were still available through Etsy, Harlow & Co., and Ninja Polish. Right now the only place to buy Nerd Lacquer is through resale markets like blog sales and eBay, and it isn't cheap.

Nerd Lacquer Holy Grail

What I am trying to say is that this, along with my other bottle of Nerd Lacquer, is probably one of the most expensive bottles of polish that I've ever bought. Luckily it wasn't close to the $100/bottle I've seen Nerd Lacquers go for on Ebay. Although I did my careful research and looked up as many swatches as I could, there was a worry that perhaps the hype was greater than the polish. After all, when Nerd Lacquer was up and running, the indie polish market was just starting to take off and there weren't as many makers. Now there are tons of very talented ladies making polish, and therefore, more competition.

I'm glad to say that this polish completely lived up to my expectations, and more. It is absolutely gorgeous; once I put it on, I knew that it was very special and different from anything else I own or have seen. I'm glad that I got this for my collection. If Nerd Lacquer really does get up and running again, and if this polish becomes available again, I definitely will make sure to get a back up bottle of this. It's so great that I'm almost afraid to wear it, for fear it will run out, or I'll break it. Do you ever feel that way?

Nerd Lacquer Holy Grail

The colour is a muted pale mint green, like a greyed down seafoam green. It's got a very fine silver holo shimmer that's scattered. On top of that it has small silver glitter, and silver holo hex glitter in several sizes. Unfortunately I wasn't able to capture much of the holo effect with my camera, but trust me, it's there! Also this polish apparently glows in the dark, but I wasn't able to see that after a quick test, so it may be the case where you have to "charge" it by setting the bottle in sunlight for awhile.

Nerd Lacquer Holy Grail

The application was fairly easy, however, there were slight issues. The polish is quite sheer, so I used three coats. I found the consistency to be excellent - it applied well and was completely self-leveling. It dries to a bit of a gritty finish, that, along with the glitter, means you'll want to apply a coat of Gelous before your top coat, or use two coats of top coat. The only issue I had with this polish was with the glitter. It tends to settle to the bottom, so I set it upside down for about an hour before I applied my polish. I also rolled it between my hands for a few minutes. However, you will want to also do this before applying your top layer, or else you will end up with no visible glitter as it tends to get buried under a layer of polish. So before your last coat let the bottle sit upside down for five minutes, and roll it between your hands after every nail or two.

Nerd Lacquer Holy Grail

Despite the minor challenge with the application - challenges that are present with many indie polishes - this is probably one of the nicest polishes I own. Not only does it have a beautiful finish, but the colour is also flattering on my complexion.

What do you think of Nerd Lacquer? Do you feel the reputation of these polishes is mostly hype, or are they really worthy of all the praise and almost cult-like status they have attained? Will you be trying to get your hands on some if they become available again?

13 December 2012

Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, Day 13: Snow!

Hi everyone! Sorry for my disappearance yesterday. I tried to do something for yesterday's challenge, which was family, but my idea didn't turn out so well. I feel torn as to whether I should show and blog about my mistakes, or whether I should only show stuff I feel 100% confident about. I may try to redo it, but for now, I'm moving on with the challenge.

Today's challenge deals with something that we have yet to see here in Toronto this winter...snow!! Despite the fact that we're less than two weeks away from Christmas, I have yet to see any snow, except maybe briefly one evening about a week ago. And since this is Canada, we have a bit of a reputation to uphold. ;)

Snowflake nails

I see a lot of snowflake manis that use white on pale blue backgrounds, but I decided to be a bit different and do silver on a darker blue background. I also knew that I wanted to layer several polishes in order to have a more complex snowflake mani.

Snowflake nails

Here's the polishes that I used:

Avon Stunning Cobalt
Girly Bits Long Winter's Nap
Joe Fresh Opal
It's So Easy Stripe Rite in Silver

Snowflake nails: (L-R) Girly Bits Long Winter's Nap, Stripe Rite in Silver (foil),
Joe Fresh Opal, Avon Stunning Cobalt

I started with two coats of Stunning Cobalt, a dark navy with a blue shimmer. I don't think the shimmer is really visible, so any dark navy blue would work. I then layered one coat of Long Winter's Nap. At this point I had a dark blue grey, with a nice mixture of silver and blue glitter. I sponged on a bit of Opal, which gives the nails a nice purple shimmer. It's really only visible when it catches the light, but it adds a nice touch. I finished by drawing on the snowflakes freehand using the Stripe Rite polish, but I used a small watercolour brush (size 5/0). I have a hard time trying to control the striping brush that comes with the polish, so that's why I like to use a small detail brush.

Snowflake nails

I really love how this turned out. There's a lot going on and it holds my interest. I find myself looking at the different pieces of glitter and how they interact with the shimmer and snowflakes. It makes me think of snowflakes in the night sky. What do you think? Have you done a snowflake mani this winter?

Snowflake nails
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