Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Micro-Bead "Caviar" Nail Art

Good morning!  I just have a quick post this morning.  Today's mani was one that I had done with the intention of including in the Strum Your Heart Strings nail art challenge, as the "anti-Valentine" nail art, but once I finished it, it didn't scream anti-Valentine to me.  I LOVE how it turned out, but I didn't think it quite fit the theme.


I started with a base of an unnamed LA Girl black polish on each nail.  On the accent nail, I added one coat of a slow-drying topcoat and poured the nail art beads over the nail.  I filled in where there were a few bald spots and pushed them down into the polish for extra hold.  The nail art kit that included these beads came with a pearly-white polish.  I used that polish to add the dots down the sides of the other nails.




I really REALLY like how this mani turned out.  It's way edgier than the typical nail art I do, but I would so wear this for a special event or to a concert.  When I bought the kit I thought the beads we black/white/red, but once they made it on the nail they are actually white/pink/purple!  Who knew?!  I still really like how this mani came together and now I want to get more caviar/nail art beads!

--
Sarah

Monday, February 24, 2014

FingerFood's Theme Buffet Week 8 - Cute

When I saw the prompt "cute," I knew exactly what I wanted to do!  I have a small stash of fimo cane sticks that I received as a gift from Erica of Erica's Nails and More that I have hardly used!  I'm pretty sure I've only done one other mani with the fimo before today.  I like the look of 3D nail art, but it's definitely not something I would wear everyday!


So for my cute mani, I thought I would create a Spring-themed manicure using dragonflies and butterflies!  Using a razor blade (also provided by Erica!), I sliced the fimo as thinly as I possibly could.  As you can see, some pieces are thicker than others as I still haven't quite mastered slicing in a uniform thickness.  I did fairly well with the butterflies, but the dragonflies were harder to slice to due to their long and thin shape.


For the base of this mani, I started with one coat of Zoya Robyn.  Once dry, I sponged on a gradient of Zoya Robyn and Sally Hansen Limestone - to create a grass and sky look for the background.  I then added a thin layer of Rimmel Base/Top Coat (which I have currently been using as my base coat) and stuck the fimo pieces on at varying angles.  Once the pieces had begun to set in the clear coat, I added a quick swipe of Seche Vite.



The only major drawback in my opinion, is that I think I may have added the Seche too soon (or perhaps should've left it off entirely), because you can see in some spots where the base coat sort of got streched or smushed, which I am attributing to the many layers of topcoat.  I didn't wear this mani for very long, but I have a feeling those fimo pieces wouldn't have gone anywhere!



Overall, I am in love with how this turned out!  It's definitely not something I would wear on a regular basis, but it was fun and is definitely Spring-y!  I also think the pink/green dragonflies and purple butterflies contrast nicely with the basecoat.  I had another butterfly fimo-design, but it was similar in color to the dragonfly, and I wanted something that would provide a little bit more of a pop of color.  I think this is pretty cute!

--
Sarah

Friday, February 21, 2014

Essie Lots of Lux

Hello!  First swatches in what feels like weeks!  I am still semi-burnt out after doing the daily nail art challenge in advance of Valentine's Day.  I never want to use pink or red or see hearts again!  But seriously, I don't plan on using pink anytime soon if I can help it. :)

Lot of Lux is from the Encrusted Treasures collection, which includes six polishes, two of which are textured.  This collection is very diverse with a range of finishes, but Lots of Lux was the only one that really appealed to me.  For swatches of the whole collection, check out The PolishAholic.


I'll start by saying, this polish is a lot rougher than most of the other textured polishes I've tried.  If you like the Pixie Dusts or even the Liquid Sands, this polish is VERY textured and rough compared to those.  It is a beautiful color though!  This polish has gorgeous light blue/teal shimmer throughout that really sparkles in the sun.  And for such a vivid blue, I had no problems with staining! 




The final picture is slightly out of focus to show how sparkly this polish really is!  Also, please forgive some of the cleanup issues and tip wear, I wasn't able to take pictures until after I had worn this polish for a day.  I'm so excited now, with Zoya Dhara, to have another set of textured orange and blue polishes to use in future Gator nail art!  I actually wore this mani when I went to the Florida Gators mens' basketball game against Missouri, which we won!

Happy Friday!

--
Sarah

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FingerFood's Theme Buffet Week 7 - Abstract

Good morning!  This week's theme for Fingerfood's Theme Buffet is abstract!  As soon as I saw the prompt, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this challange - nimbus nail art!  This mani and it's cooresponding tutorial were created by Sammy of the Nailasaurus.  Be sure to check out the tutorial to see exactly how I did this mani.


For this mani I used the following polishes:

Sally Hansen - In a Splash (mint green)
Sally Hansen - Limestone (lime green)
Sinful Colors - Midnight Blue (royal blue)
Zoya - Robyn (bright baby blue)
Hot Topic - unnamed green skull polish (true green)


I started with a base coat of In a Splash.  Once that was dry, I started with the darkest color of polish and worked to the lightest color of polish, sponging them on using the technique described in the tutorial.  Sammy had posted a blue-green nimbus at one point, so I tried to use polishes similar in color to those that she used to emulate that look.  Mine definitely turned out more green than her's did, but I still really like it.  Though my boyfriend did say it kind of looked like I had a disease!


 

I really think my thumb is probably my favorite nail, then probably my ring finger.  You can really see the different colors, especially the blue in the ring finger.  This is definitely a really easy technique that I recommend every one try at least once!  If you can do the saran wrap method, you can do this!  Sammy does recommend using pure acetone and not regular nail polish remover, so just keep that in mind if you do attempt the nimbus technique.

--
Sarah

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Strum My Heart-Strings Challenge - Day 6

Today is the final day of The Lacquered Landlubber's Strum My Heart-Strings challenge!  Yippee, I made it!  I am seriously looking forward to going back to my three-day a week posting and only one challenge!  This challenge made for a busy week, but it was fun!  Today's theme is Anti-Valentine.


I actually really love this mani!  The polish I used for the base of the Hot Topic Blackheart polish "Blood" - doesn't it look just like blood?!  The first coat went on a little streaky, and it really looked like blood then.  A second coat smoothed it out perfectly.  My mother in law picked this up for me for my birthday - I love it because it isn't a color I would've picked up on my own, but I love it!  It's also fitting that I wear this polish today, since it's her birthday!  The below picture shows it being a bit brighter red than it really is, Blood is definitely more of an oxblood, almost maroon color.



I then used a small dotting tool and an unnamed LA Girl black polish to add the hearts on my accent nail.  I think blood and black hearts is pretty "anti-Valentine's day"-y.  Or maybe its just kind of emo?  Either way, this is a fun mani and I enjoyed doing it, especially since it fell a little out side my comfort zone.

Thank you to everyone for sticking with me through this week of Valentine's Day manis, and I'm sure you're as sick of looking at them as I am!  Have a great rest of your weekend!

--
Sarah

Friday, February 14, 2014

Strum My Heart-Strings Challenge - Day 5

Hello!  It is the second-to-last day of the challenge!  I finished up my mani for tomorrow last night, so I should be on track to finish the challenge - yay!!  This will be the first daily challenge I've been successful at completing.  Anywho, onto the mani!


Today's theme is inspired by love.  Although sterotypical, I decided to go with love letters for this mani.  However, letters are very important to my boyfriend and I.  When we first started dating "officially," we lived several hours apart and at the time he didn't have a cell phone or internet at home.  In this technology driven era, this was huge, especially given that we used to spend all our free time together while we attended the same university - and now we rarely got to talk!  So we decided to write letters to each other.  And we each saved the letters the other sent and it is a great memento to look back at.


For this mani, I started with a base of an unnamed white LA Girls polish (I need to get a new white, this one is almost out!).  Then using the water decal/nail transfers from the Fingr's nail art set I picked up at Walmart, I added the words.  I've never used actual "water decals" so I'm not sure how different they are, but these worked exactly like a temporary tattoo.  I also added a coat of Seche Vite before applying the decal.  I then used Revlon China Flower and a small dotting tool to add the hearts on each nail.  And let me add - this technique was MUCH easier than free-handing a heart (see yesterday's mani).


Overall, I think this came out super cute!  I had tried the newspaper technique once before (back in 2012 - and its still one of my most viewed posts!)  It is super easy and I had considered doing it again for this challenge, but when I found the water decal set on clearance, I couldn't pass up trying it out.  It also has a map design and a multicolored chevron design in the set - both of which I am looking forward to using!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

--
Sarah <!-- end InLinkz script →

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Strum My Heart-Strings Challenge - Day 4

Good morning!  Today is my fourth installment in the Strum My Heart-Strings challenge hosted by The Lacquered Landlubber!  Today's theme is "features hearts," which fortunately is a fairly broad topic.  I also learned that I suck at free-handing hearts.


For this mani, I started with a base of JLB Cosmetics Cherry Pop (which I also used in the base of this mani), on all nails except for my ring finger.  I love that these JLB Cosmetics polishes are opaque in one coat!  They are great for quick nail art...or quick polishing on nights when you really don't have time to wait for multiple coats to dry.  On  my ring finger I painted two coats of Sally Hansen Pink Blink.


Using hole reinforcers applied at the cuticle, I layered a quick coat of Pink Blink over top of Cherry Pop.  On some nails I may have touched up Pink Blink to make it fully opaque.  Then, using a thin nail art brush I attempted to draw a heart on my accent nail using Cherry Pop.  This heart is the second I drew...and I still don't really like it.  



While browsing Pinterest (my main source of inspiration!) I saw a lot of manis that had heart accent nails.  I ended up using this mani, as my primary inspiration.  To be honest, I've attempted a few half moon manicures before, primarily for challenges, and have absolutely hated the way it came out.  They may have looked ok, but I did NOT like how it looked on my nails...just out of personal preference.  Well this mani changes it all!  I absolutely love this half moon mani, and it makes me excited to try the technique out a few more times and see if getting the hang of it really inspires me to appreciate the technique more.

Be sure to check out everyone else's heart manicures!

--
Sarah

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Strum My Heart-Strings Challenge - Day 3

And we're onto day 3 of The Lacquered Landlubber's Strum My Heart-Strings challenge!  I'm glad I've been able to keep up this daily posting!  Here's hoping I make it to the end of the week!  Today's theme is symbols of Valentine's Day.  I had originally planned to do a conversation hearts inspired mani, but that turned into a disaster...so I went with roses!


For this mani, I started with a base of Revlon Cherries in the Snow.  I have had this polish for a really long time (I think almost three years!), but I don't think I've ever featured it on the blog.  Cherries in the Snow is a great red, with blue undertones - and it was a one-coater!  Once Cherries in the Snow dried, I got out my favorite stamping polish, Mentality Proper, and stamped a large rose on each nail.  This image was also on one of the stamping plates from the Hollywood Nails set I received for Christmas.




The below macro image shows the gorgeous copper color of Proper.  However, the color of this image isn't quite right, as Blogger changed the color of this image when I uploaded it (I also apologize for the hair - I didn't see it until I was editing the pictures).  Cherries in the Snow is not as bright of a red as this, and is more color-accurate in the other photos in this post.  I just wanted to include it to show the stamping close up. One thing that is interesting about Proper, is that in certain lights it looks more of a rose-gold color since it is stamped over a red base, you can kind of see that in the below photo.


I am in love with this mani!  I wish I had done some of these challenges in advance so that I could wear this for more than one day!  It's so gorgeous and classic.  I would definitely wear this on Valentine's Day if I didn't have to change my nails a few more times this week...

I can't wait to see whatever one else does as their symbols of Valentine's Day!  Happy Hump Day!

--
Sarah


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Strum My Heart-Strings Challenge - Day 2

Good morning!  Today's prompt for The Lacquered Landlubber's Strum My Heart-Strings challenge is french tip technique.  French tips are definitely one style you won't see on my blog very often.  Because my nails are typically short and sort of a squoval shape, I'm not a big fan of how french tips look on my nails.  I prefer how they look on square shaped nails...and I'm always disappointed when mine don't look they way I envision they would...


However, I really like how these turned out!  This challenge was probably the hardest for me to brainstorm, because I was so undecisive as to what I would do.  I actually just finished them last night!  So for once, you're actually seeing a mani on the blog while it's still on my nails...which doesn't happen very often!


For this mani, I started with a base of Milani Digital, from their 3D holographic line that was out a little over a year ago.  I actually won this polish in a giveaway, and it inspired me to go back and pick up several more of the 3D holo polishes...though I'm still missing the green and gold polishes!  Then, using striping tape, I taped off the tips on each nail and painted one coat of Piggy Polish Beach Break.  Beach Break also has tiny holographic glitters in it, but it isn't as dense as Digital.


I still felt this mani needed a little something...so I decided to add silver dots along the edge of the french tip to add interest.  I used the small end of a dotting tool to dot Sally Hansen Pumping Iron.  Overall, this isn't the most festive V-Day mani, but I thought the colors were appropriate in case you didn't want to go the sterotypical heart nail art route.  And as you can see, my thumb nail is finally making its re-appearance!  It's still on the short side, and is especially rounded compared to the other nails, but I wanted to show a macro shot of this mani so that you can see all the holo sparklies!



Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how this mani turned out, especially since I'm not a big fan of french tips.  I definitely love these colors together and I think that contributed to my love of this mani.  I wish the silver dots showed up a little bit better, but since I took these pictures using flash, the holo kind of took over.  In natural light, they are much more visible.

Check out the other french tip manis below!

--
Sarah

Monday, February 10, 2014

Strum My Heart-Strings Challenge - Day 1

Good morning!  This week I'll be bringing you six Valentine's Day themed manicures, courtesy of The Lacquered Landlubber's Strum My Heart-Strings nail art challenge!  Below are the prompts for this week!


Today's prompt is matte finish.  I choose to go with a fun glitter gradient for this theme.  For this mani, I started with a base of elf Smokin Hot, a red creme that was almost a one-coater!  If I had been wearing this on its own, I may have gone with a second coat just to smooth everything out, but one was enough for this mani.


Then, using a moistened makeup wedge, I applied Love Me, a red glitter polish, directly to the sponge and lightly sponged it onto the nail, focusing on the tips and then working my way up the nail.  Some nails, like the pinky finger, ended up with a little too much glitter!

 

Once the glitter was dry, I applied a thick coat of NYC Matte Me Crazy, matte topcoat.  As you can see, cleanup was kind of a pain and so my cuticles are stained red and there are pesky red glitters on my hands that I just couldn't seem to get off. 


Both of these polishes are absolutely gorgeous and make a lovely, flashy Valentine's Day look.  I can't wait to wear Smokin Hot on its own and see what other combinations I can come up with for Love Me.  Both of these polishes came from the 14-piece elf polish set I received for Christmas from my boyfriend.

If you are interested in joining us, please feel free!

--
Sarah

Sunday, February 9, 2014

FingerFood's Theme Buffet Week 6 - Hearts

Today I have my first of many Valentine's Day themed manicures this week!  This is my hearts manicure for FingerFood's Theme Buffet.  For this mani I used three glitter polishes from the Color Club Starry Temptress set.  I've done a few other manis with the polishes in this set, most notably in this post from last February.


For this mani, I started with a base of Space Case, a light pink neon polish.  Then, using the saran wrap method, I sponged on a bit of Ultra Astral (a hot pink) and Wink Wink Twinkle (neon purple).  All three of these polishes have holographic silver glitter.  Due to the opaqueness of the base, you can't really see the holographic quality of these polishes.  However, since I sponged on the two polishes on top, it is easier to see the holographic sparkle.



Then, using a nail stamping plate from the Hollywood Nails set I received for Christmas, I stamped white hearts on each nail using Konad Special White.  I tried to make the placement of the hearts on each nail.  I like how the white hearts pop over top of the neon colors.



I was originally going to just stamp the hearts over top of the original pink base, but after deciding that was too boring, I sponged on the other two neon colors to create some interest.  Overall, I really like how this turned out, and I would definitely wear the base of manicure again!  Perhaps on my toes!

As I mentioned on Friday, I will be participating in The Lacquered Landlubber's (formerly Tes Did It Nails) Strum My Heart Strings Valentine's Day nail art challenge.  Here is a link to all the information you need, so please join us tomorrow!


--
Sarah

Friday, February 7, 2014

Zoya Dhara

Hello everyone, sorry I've been MIA this week and missed Wednesday.  I had the pictures prepared so that I could blog on Wednesday, but then I was home sick from work and just unmotivated to post anything.  So I decided to save the post for today, especially since a mani I did earlier in the week (and planned to blog about today) that didn't last long enough to take pictures!

Today I'm bringing you my first Zoya Pixie Dust!  I have several still on my wishlist, but when I was in Ulta a week or two ago, I saw Dhara and immediately snatched her up!  I didn't even realize until after I checked out that she seemed to be discounted, maybe even on clearance, though they weren't marked.  So, I would check out Ulta and see if the older collections of Zoyas are on sale!  Again, this was two weeks ago...but you never know!


Last weekend my boyfriend took me to Daytona Beach and we stayed in a beach front hotel for my birthday!  I love surprises, so I knew we were going somewhere for the weekend, but I had no idea where.  I wanted to wear a long-lasting polish that wouldn't chip right away, and I had read that the Pixie Dusts have a great wear time, so I chose Dhara!  I wore this polish for four days and only had minimal tip wear by the time I took it off!



I just have to say, I am absolutely in love with the texture of the Pixie Dusts!  This is the fourth brand of textured polish I've tried and it is by far the smoothest and most unique texture.  I love that it is still textured but isn't rough and doesn't catch on clothing or hair (see Essie textured polish that I have yet to review on the blog).  I also adore this color!  I wish I had had it during football season to wear to Gator games, though I did wear it to the Florida Women's Basketball game last week (we won: 75-67!).



I love the vivid orange color of this polish!  You can see in some of the more blurry photos above, the light orange/yellowish sparkles in this polish.  Dhara is beautiful in any light, but when you hit natural sunlight, wow does she light up with those sparkles - absolutely gorgeous!  If you are a fan of orange polish, this is a must have for your collection.

Also, I will be participating in Tes Did It Nails' Strum Your Heart Strings Valentine's Day nail art challenge next week.  Please feel free to join us!  I know Tes was planning on putting together an Inlinkz, but so far I haven't heard anything.  Also, Tes is about to rename her blog!  So I will go ahead and link her blog above, but know that it might have a new name when you redirect!  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to do two posts on Monday, one for each challenge I'm in, or if I will be combining the two themes!  I plan on doing some of these manis in advance this weekend, since I know I would go crazy trying to do all of them during the week next week.


Have a great weekend!

--
Sarah
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