31 August 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Fifteen, Delicate Print: Paisley, Again

Hi everyone! Here in Canada, it's a long weekend on account of Labour Day on Monday. So I'm going to be away visiting family, and I'll also be taking a much needed mini blogging break. I'll be back on Tuesday with another challenge mani and lots of swatches to post.

Today's design is one that I feel only so-so about. I don't hate it, rather there's parts I think are stronger than others. But since I have a bus to catch tomorrow morning, I really didn't have a choice in terms of posting it. I have to tell myself that not every nail art design can be perfect, and maybe I don't always want to be posting perfect designs.

"Autumn Nights" paisley nail art

"Autumn Nights" paisley nail art

I took the opportunity to do another paisley design. I love paisley patterns and it's something that I really want to get better at. I started with a base of OPI My Very First Knockwurst and the black is Orly Liquid Vinyl. The other colours are polishes from the China Glaze Autumn Nights collection - Strike Up A Cosmo, Rendezvous With You, Gossip Over Gimlets, Tongue & Chic, and Don't Make Me Wine.

"Autumn Nights" paisley nail art

My lines aren't as neat as I would like, and while I like the accent nail with the dark background/light lines, I think using another polish for the details/line work would have been better. Also I tend to add too much when I do paisley designs, so it looks too crowded and you can't see what's going on.

"Autumn Nights" paisley nail art

Otherwise I'm really happy with this. I think this is one of my first attempts at integrating colour in a paisley design so I'm glad that aspect looks alright.

What do you think of this? Do you find paisley print a challenge like I do?

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30 August 2013

Girly Bits Remember Aja...Raising Awareness About "The Choking Game"

Hi everyone! Ever since I received this polish from Girly Bits, I've been very reluctant to write this post. My main concern is whether I should just post some swatches and give a bit of background info on the polish, or whether I should discuss my own personal story in the hopes that it will get people to take notice of the issues that inspired the creation of this polish. Since I tend not to get personal on this blog, and since my family reads it (hi mom! hi step-dad!) you can see why I'm feeling hesitant.

About Aja: But first a bit of a back story. Remember Aja was created in memory of Aja Chandler, an 11-year-old girl from Belle River, Ontario, who died in March of this year from playing the choking game. You can read more about her story in the Windsor Star and on rememberaja.org. Pam, the maker of Girly Bits created Remember Aja as a fundraiser to raise money to go to a fund in Aja's memory, money that will go to raising awareness about the choking game and for a youth soccer scholarship.

Girly Bits Remember Aja

The Choking Game: Also called the fainting game, it involves intentionally cutting off one's oxygen supply in order to achieve a temporary high. The person faints for a brief moment then comes to. It's completely dangerous and can lead to moderate to severe brain damage, mental disability and even death. Kids will either tend to do it alone or will do it in groups. More can be learned here.

Girly Bits Remember Aja

My own experience: When Pam released this polish, it made me think of my own experience with the choking game back when I was in high school, an experience that only happened once but it's something I never told my family. See, in high school, I was very motivated to achieve academically. I was on the honor roll, taking AP courses, thinking about college. But I was also a bit reckless, prone to going along with the crowd, you know, typically high school behavior.

I only played the choking game once, on a band trip, when I was about 15 or 16. It was a group of us and we were in our hotel when someone introduced the idea. For some reason (stupidity, hidden sadist tendencies?!) I did the choking job, while other people got a high from my actions. Stupid I know, I'm kinda regretting putting this out there. But sometimes even the smart, responsible kids do dumb things.

Girly Bits Remember Aja

What's my point? My point is that if you have kids, or know people who have kids, you should talk to them about the choking game. Don't wait for "signs" to appear. There might not be any. In my case it was a one time deal, and luckily no one got hurt, but it could have gone horribly wrong. Even though I couldn't have gotten hurt, I could have hurt, or worse, killed someone accidentally, which would undoubtedly have effected me for the rest of my life.

Girly Bits Remember Aja

Sometimes I wonder, can polish make a difference? In this case I think it does. Not only does it raise money for a good cause, it raises awareness about an important issue. I don't need to do a survey to know that there are a lot of moms in the nail polish community. So if you are one of those moms, please make a note either now, or when your kids get older, to talk to them about this.

Girly Bits Remember Aja

About this polish: To raise money and awareness about this important issue, Pam created a warm-toned purple linear holo. It also has a gorgeous pink shimmer that catches the eye at times. To give you some information about the polish, the holo effect is what I would call a medium holo effect - it's not in-your-face holo, but it's very noticeable in the sun. The formula is perfect and it goes on very smooth and is self-leveling. I used three coats here.

Girly Bits Remember Aja

My apologies for rambling on, but sometimes things are important to me and I want to write about them. Don't forget to visit rememberaja.org to educate yourself about the hazards of this "game".

What do you think of this polish? And how do you feel about polishes for a cause?

Girly Bits polishes are available from their website, there you'll also find a list of distributors for other places to buy Girly Bits. Follow Girly Bits Cosmetics on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and new releases.

*Products in this post provided for review, all opinions are my own. See my disclosure policy for more detail.*

28 August 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Fourteen, Flowers: Inspired by Nail Cake and Jan Weiss

Hi everyone! My challenge design was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I had one of those nail art sessions where things just don't work out. I set out to do my flower mani, and I got about 75% of the way though it, then decided I hated it and removed all the polish. Since it was so late, I decided to give up for the evening and start over again today. I guess it kind of defeats the purpose of a challenge, but I was very much looking forward to flower day that I wanted to put my best work forward.

My original plan was to do a more realistic/artistic lily design. I've been enjoying Brittney's recent nail art over at Precious Polish, especially this end-of-summer floral design. I love the watercolour look of it, as well as the light colours. Even though I didn't like my attempt, I'd like to give it another try in the future.



About this design: After my failed attempt, I went online looking for inspiration, and I came across this yellow flower design over at Nail Cake. I've really been enjoying Kirstie's nail art, especially her freehand designs. That led me to look at the work of Jan Weiss, a California artist/designer. So I recreated some of her flower designs, only using my own colour palette. The vase of flowers came from this little image, while examples of her larger flowers can be seen in this online gallery.



How to get this look: The base is OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls and the black is Orly Liquid Vinyl. The colours are OPI Anti-Bleak, My Very First Knockwurst, Can't Find My Czechbook, and You're Such a BudaPest.



First I sketched everything very lightly with My Very First Knockwurst. The vase-with-flowers design was painted with my detail brush. For the larger flowers I painted them in first with Anti-Bleak, using the brush in the bottle. Then I splotched (technical term here) some colours on top using a detail brush. Finally, the black lines were done with a fine liner brush. I thinned the black with a bit of thinner to make it more fluid and easy to use. I finished with a coat of KBShimmer Clearly On Top and Essie Matte About You.



In the end, I love how this turned out and I'm glad I started over again. When I did the final black lines, everything just came together - I thought the lines would be difficult, but since they are meant to be sketchy and imprecise, the black lines were surprisingly easy.

What do you think of this design? Do you like floral designs, and if so what kind?

---


27 August 2013

China Glaze Autumn Nights Collection: Part 1, "Strike Up A Cosmo"

Hi everyone! I've been a bit silent on the blog the past few days, perhaps a slight case of blogger burnout (don't worry though, I'm not going anywhere). However, I'm very excited to be showing you the first half of the new China Glaze Autumn Nights Collection. I was instantly intrigued when I saw the press release and bought the collection the moment I could get my hands on it.

The Autumn Nights collection is meant to evoke the glamour of night life, conversations, and cocktails. The promotional images have a touch of 1920s glamour, which also attracted me to the collection. Tonight I'm going to show you the first half of the collection called "Strike Up a Cosmo," with the second half coming later this week.

China Glaze Autumn Nights Collection, Part 1 "Strike Up A Cosmo"

This post is a bit picture heavy so I'll save my thoughts to the end. In order to capture the gorgeous shimmers and foils in this half of the collection, I've also included photos under direct light for each polish - so the first two swatch photos are taken in my lightbox, and the third under direct light.

Don't Make Me Wine is a (not surprisingly) wine-coloured shimmer. It looks very similar to Red-y & Willing, but it leans more towards a purplish-red. The shimmer is very beautiful and the colour is so vibrant - I think this might be one of my favourites out of the collection. The formula was excellent - the polish had great coverage, and went on very smooth and evenly. 2 coats.

China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine

China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine

China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine

Goldie But Goodie is a gold-copper foil. If you look up close at it you can actually see bits of gold and bits of copper. Golds can be difficult for me to wear, but this was very flattering. The formula was excellent, it goes on very smooth and even. Like all the foils in this collection though, it's fairly difficult to clean up because the glitter gets all over your fingers. 2 coats.

China Glaze Goldie But Goodie

China Glaze Goldie But Goodie

China Glaze Goldie But Goodie

Red-y & Willing is a stunning red shimmer. It provides excellent coverage and is almost a one coater. I'm totally repeating myself, but the formula is excellent, and it goes on very smooth and is completely self-leveling. I compared this to another red shimmer from China Glaze called Long Kiss, and Red-y & Willing has a finer shimmer and is slightly more magenta leaning, while Long Kiss leans more towards burnt orange. 2 coats.

China Glaze Red-y & Willing

China Glaze Red-y & Willing

China Glaze Red-y & Willing

Scandalous Shenanigans is a mid-tone blue, in between a shimmer and metallic. It doesn't have the stunning shimmer seen in the others from this half of the collection. Although I tend to like blues, this was my least favourite out of these. But the formula was great like the others, and I have no issues to report there. 2 coats.

China Glaze Scandalous Shenanigans

China Glaze Scandalous Shenanigans

China Glaze Scandalous Shenanigans

Strike Up A Cosmo is a totally gorgeous rose-gold foil. Like the other foil, the formula is excellent and it goes on very smooth and is completely self-leveling. It also dries very quickly. 2 coats.

China Glaze Strike Up A Cosmo

China Glaze Strike Up A Cosmo

China Glaze Strike Up A Cosmo

Tongue & Chic is a teal shimmer. Like Red-y & Willing and Don't Make Me Wine, the shimmer is very prominent and has that "lit from within" look. The formula is excellent - perfect consistency, very pigmented with excellent coverage, and self-leveling. I found I needed to apply it quickly as it starts to set fast. 2 coats.

China Glaze Tongue & Chic

China Glaze Tongue & Chic

China Glaze Tongue & Chic

Overall, I'm in love with this first half of the collection. The colours are rich, and the three shimmers look absolutely stunning when the light hits them. The foils are fun, and I think they would be great for doing nail art, especially paired with the darker colours from this collection. Some of these colours might not be the most original, but if you don't already have colours like this, I highly recommend all of them. All six of them have an excellent formula and I had no issues with any of them. It's not often I can say that about a collection.

I bought these from Nail Polish Canada as a set, but they are available a ton of other places.

What do you think of these, any catch your eye? Do you plan to get anything from this collection?

24 August 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Thirteen, Animal Print: Girly Leopard Spots

Hi everyone! Cruising right along in this 31 Day Challenge, I can't help but think about the way the challenge is organized in the first place. The first couple of prompts (i.e. "red", "blue", etc.) seem to test what people would come up with if they weren't given something specific to do. While the remainder of the prompts (such as galaxy nails, tribal nails, and so forth) almost appear to be a list of what a nail artist should be able to do. It's interesting when you think of it that way, like the challenge is almost a form of self-study.

Girly leopard print nail art (direct light)

For me it forces me to do things I normally wouldn't do, like, for instance, animal print. I don't have anything against animal print, it's just not something I gravitate towards. But it's something I should be able to do - maybe I might end up doing nail art on other people, or a design might call for it. So what you are looking at here is my first animal print design. :)

Girly leopard print nail art (lightbox)

I could have done something really interesting, for example, a reptile or insect print. But I decided to do something more simple. There are plenty of tutorials for leopard print on the net, and I thought it would be fun.

Girly leopard print nail art (lightbox)

To make it more complex, I decided to do taped off gradient nails. My original plan was to only have the leopard print in the sections that had been exposed by the tape and had been covered in a gradient. But the gradients weren't working out as planned, the polishes I chose didn't have the best coverage, so I scrapped that plan and just covered the entire nail with the spots.

Girly leopard print nail art (direct light)

So I had an idea, the idea didn't work, I improvised, and in the end I got something I was rather happy with. I think it's the colours I used, but I like my first leopard print mani!

The base is OPI My Vampire is Buff, while the gradient was done with Essie Sand Tropez and Full Steam Ahead. In some places the gradient covers the entire nail, other nails, only a part. The spots were done with Nicole By OPI I'll Be At the Pool (a shimmery blue) and OPI Alcatraz...Rocks.

Girly leopard print nail art (lightbox)

So there you have it, animal print! What do you think of this design? Do you like to do animal print nail art?

And don't forget to check out Lindsey's animal print over at Wondrously Polished. She won't have it up until Saturday or Sunday, but I'm looking forward to what she'll come up with.

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22 August 2013

Lush Lacquer Splish Splash and Vegas Nights

Hi everyone! I have two polishes from indie brand Lush Lacquer for you tonight. Lush Lacquer is one of the more established indie brands, having been around over a year, and they are made by a mother/daughter team. How cool is that! They sent me three polishes from their recent neon collection. The first one, Chicks Rule, can be found HERE.

Lush Lacquer Splish Splash and Vegas Nights

If you love neon glitter the two I have for you tonight are equally as fun. Formula-wise they are both very similar. They go on very easy with minimal fussing. I find that they are not very glitter dense so I needed two coats for both of them. In a sense, that can be a good thing because you can control how much glitter you want on your nails. On the other hand, too many coats and your nail polish looks very thick.

Splish Splash is a clear-based glitter topper with neon green and blue glitter, mainly bars and hexes. This is very similar to Chicks Rule only with the addition of bar glitter. I love the fun colours here and it was easy to work with. I layered two coats over Avon Vintage Blue.

Lush Lacquer Splish Splash

Lush Lacquer Splish Splash

Vegas Nights is a multi-coloured neon glitter polish with a sheer black base. I find the base is a bit too sheer to wear this one one its own, so I layered two coats over a black polish. As with the other one, there was minimal fussing here and it went on very well.

Lush Lacquer Vegas Nights

Lush Lacquer Vegas Nights

I recommend for both polishes letting them sit upside down for 15-20 minutes before applying. Also, give it a good shake to get more glitter out. I wish there was a bit more glitter in these, but otherwise they are very nice polishes. Out of the two, Splish Splash is my favourite because you have more options when it comes to layering it.

What do you think of these? Out of the three Lush Lacquer polishes I showed, which one stood out the most?

Lush Lacquer is available from their Etsy shop. Follow Lush Lacquer on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

*Products provided for review, all opinions are my own. See my disclosure policy for more details.*

21 August 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twelve, Stripes: Just For Fun

Hi everyone! Today's challenge was another one that I had been dreading. Have I mentioned before that I hate stripes!? Well, I don't hate all stripe designs, just mine, lol! Whether we realize it or not, when it comes to nail art, everyone has their own aesthetic. Some things just feel right while others don't.



I think part of my problem when it comes to doing stripes is that I haven't really figured out what feels right for me. Do I prefer very precisely painted stripes, maybe even using tape to make them perfect? Or do I prefer something looser, more casually painted, where the imperfections and variations are part of the design?




The idea behind this design was to combine some abstract elements with stripes, using some new colours that I've been wanting to try out. I had done a little sketch in my sketchbook of some triangle flags on a string, then for some reason the idea of circles with stripes painted in them popped into my head. So there's my thought process for you! ;)



The base is OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls, and the black outlines are Orly Liquid Vinyl. For the colours I used American Apparel Pink Ladies (coral), The Valley (pale blue), and L'Esprit (lavender). I really love how those three colours go together. The copper-gold foil is China Glaze Goldie But Goodie.



In the end, I'm happy with how this turned out. The stripes are busy, but my eye can rest on the white areas.

What do you think of this? How do you come up with your ideas for nail art?

---

20 August 2013

New Cremes By Girly Bits: Lover's Coral, Mint To Be, and Private Dancer

Hi everyone! I'm always excited when indie brands come out with polishes that have a creme finish - not too many brands make them, and I feel like it gives customers more options, especially when they want to make an effort to support indie polish companies. So when Girly Bits, one of my favourite indies, released three cremes earlier this month, of course I took notice!

Girly Bits Cremes (l-r): Lover's Coral, Mint To Be, and Private Dancer

About these polishes: Pam, the owner of Girly Bits, writes about these polishes:
We decided to start to create our Girly Bits Cremes in part because of local demand for the right creme colour to use a base under our customers favourite Girly Bits glitters. Two of our new shades, Mint To Be and Lover's Coral, were created and used as favours at Pam's oldest daughter's bridal shower. The third shade, Private Dancer, came to be at a request from a customer looking for the perfect raspberry shade that she had been unable to find. (press release)
Luckily I was sent all three to review, because they are fabulous! The colours are rich and fun, the formula is perfect, and they're perfect on their own, for layering, and for nail art. In keeping with the idea behind the polishes, I decide to pull out three Girly Bits glitter toppers from my collection to pair with these colours.

Lover's Coral is a light peachy coral creme. I don't normally go for corals, but I found this to be very flattering and pretty. The formula is perfect - it goes on very smooth, provides good coverage and is completely self-leveling. These swatches show three coats. 

Girly Bits Lover's Coral

Girly Bits Lover's Coral

I decided to pair Lover's Coral with Spring It On Me! from the Spring it On Me! collection from earlier this year. (review here)

Girly Bits Spring It On Me! (over Lover's Coral)

Mint To Be is the perfect mint creme, it looks nice in the bottle but seems more vibrant and vivid on the nails. The formula on this one was also great - perfect consistency, and self-leveling. I used three coats here.

Girly Bits Mint To Be

Girly Bits Mint To Be

I paired this one with a newer Girly Bits glitter, Jini Goes Indie! This one goes perfectly with Mint To Be - the black, white and multi-coloured glitter topper could be paired with almost any base, but it has a gorgeous pink shimmer that complements the mint base perfectly.

Girly Bits Jini Goes Indie! (over Mint To Be)

Private Dancer is a magenta/raspberry creme. This one also has a great formula like the others. It goes on very smooth, levels perfectly and is very pigmented. I used two coats here. Like the others, I find this to be an attractive and flattering colour.
Note: the colour on this one was hardest to capture, these swatch photos are close, but the bottle shot in the first photo is the most accurate.

Girly Bits Private Dancer

Girly Bits Private Dancer

I paired Private Dancer with Heirloom from the Season of Sparkle collection (review here), and I love how well they go together! Heirloom would also look great over Mint To Be.

Girly Bits Heirloom (over Private Dancer)

Overall, I absolutely love these polishes. The colours are attractive and fun, the formula is great and they go on so smooth and glossy (you'll still need a top coat though). I also love that the colours go so well together, and I can't wait for more cremes from Girly Bits.

What do you think of these? Out of the three, which one is your favourite? And more importantly, what colours would you like to see Girly Bits do for future creme polishes?

Girly Bits polishes are available from their website, there you'll also find a list of distributors for other places to buy Girly Bits. Follow Girly Bits Cosmetics on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and new releases.

*Products in this post provided for review, all opinions are my own. See my disclosure policy for more detail.*
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