February 29, 2012

Stash: Yellows

Hello lovelies! After my haul to end all hauls and reading these two posts on Spaz & Squee about stash control, it's time for me to seriously organize and purge. I thought I'd start with yellow polish because I assumed I didn't have very many of them and it would be an easy starting point; I also typed out some general thoughts about them below all the pics as I went along. 

Creamy bright yellows - sort of run-of-the-mill, standard yellow shades
l-r: Mellow Yellow, Electric, Almost Famous, Lightening, art-striper
I found Orly Spark after I snapped the first picture, so I did some extra comparisons below. For whatever reason, I have acquired a lot of pale-seeming-in-the-bottle yellows that I think are probably all exactly the same on the nail. These shades are the ones I need to go through the most, and some of them have to go!

l-r: Electric, Spark, Mellow Yellow
l-r: Fiercely Fiona, Spark, Mellow Yellow (with flash)
In the bottle, these all seem really similar, but doing skittles made me re-think everything! I made a little list below for my thoughts on them. Surprisingly, Orly Spark has a teensy bit of shimmer which must be why it goes on so well; Revlon Electric is very pretty and also has some shimmer.

Outlying yellows - the more interesting, different colored yellows
l-r: Catwalk Queen, Fiercely Fiona (again), Adventure Island, Trendsetter
These are all really interesting to me and I plan on keeping all of them. Fiercely Fiona needs three coats, but I like the color a lot because it's funky. Trendsetter is like really pretty, sparkly mustard/duck poop - it probably looks gross to other people (I think my boyfriend hates it), but I just generally like the color. The Sinful Colors is very green - avocado-y, in fact, not so yellow after all!

Neons - these two are sort of highlighter, yellow-greenish colored neons
l-r: Totally 80's, Volt of Light (Electro Candy collex)
detail of the pretty shimmer in Volt of Light
The Milani is great on it's own in thin coats, gets very squishy and awesome. Volt of Light is amazeballs, especially over white - it's also sort of greenish, not simply yellow. I can't wait to swatch the rest of the Color Club Electro Candy collection; they are so so fab!!

Swap verdict? Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lightening, Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow

So, do you like stash posts like these? Let me know! I feel so proud and happy to have gone through these polishes; definitely a step in the right direction :D In the near future I plan on making a page or spreadsheet for all my swappables (you know, if you're into that sort of thing)

February 26, 2012

31 Day Challenge = Recap

[make me bigger!]
Woo hoo! I did it! I finished the challenge! And it only took me two months :p

Things I've learned/things that have happened while doing this:
  • changing my polish every single day is a luxury I can't always afford, but wish that I could
  • I've gotten better at painting my nails!
  • a dotting tool is my favorite thing to use to clean up the polish edge around my cuticles
  • my picture taking has improved; my fingers look slightly less awkward by the end
  • I changed my nail shape for 'day 15', from square to rounded, which was revolutionary at the time
  • hosted a giveaway mid-challenge to celebrate having way more followers than I thought I could achieve (and now have more than that!!)
  • I got way better at stamping, then quit and got worse again - practice does make perfect

Even though I was slow, I didn't give up, and I really like most of what I did. My favorite ones would probably be my freehand rainbow tips, my flowers + pastel skittles (on my right hand!), my abstract 'under the sea', my pillow pattern nails, and my zombie nails. The only post that sort of went under the radar (and didn't manage to attract even one comment) was my Nicki Minaj water marble, which I thought was pretty cool, too.

I really like the prompts, but don't love how they're arranged - because it ramps up in difficulty without any breaks. I might re-write my own version or just pull numbers out of a hat and re-do this challenge in the future, simply because I like having themes/prompts.

For now I have a lot of stash control to work on (will most likely have a swap/sale tab on top soon), and the PCFC Spring Challenge has been going on without me! So I have a new challenge to keep me entertained. Feel free to join in on this one, too

February 24, 2012

Inspired by a Tutorial: Hammered Metal

I really liked the 'hammered metal' look that Alizarine Claws  did, so I tried to re-create it with some polished that I had. It's not exactly a tutorial, but she does show the two steps she did to achieve her pretty, textured look. I put down one coat of Color Club Antiquated from the Foiled collection, then one coat of Milani Jewel FX Gold, then another thin coat of the CC Antiquated on top. Maybe it's the color of the foiled polish I used, which is more light gold/champagin vs. silver in the original, or maybe it's just that my second coat was too thin, so you can see the hex glitter bits of the Milani polish too much? I still like the idea of this, so I may try it again, but I didn't 100% love this attempt -  I think it just looks lumpy.

my hammered metal attempt

Well, this pretty much wraps up my (slow and steady) attempt at the 31 day nail art challenge! The last day is to re-create my favorite look, so I'll attempt that and a better re-cap post soon :) Thanks for reading these challenge posts - it was a really fun thing to start off the new year with for me!

And of course, don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

February 23, 2012

Inspired by the Supernatural: Zombiessss

This is probably my most favorite one from the entire challenge! I used Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle in Creamy Olive for the base and Milani Neon in Techno Red for the drips (from this haul). Drippy manis are quick and fun, and cover tipwear really well. This was my first drip manicure, and I ♥ it! 

It makes me think of zombies because the greenish could be zombie flesh, and red for all the brains and junk I'm eating mwhahahaha! I got lots of compliments on this one; the color combo and the contrast of finish (neons are semi-matte) are fun and eye-catching.

Don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

February 22, 2012

Inspired by a Flag: Nautical!

I spelled my name on my nails using nautical flags! From my pointer finger to my pinkie, the nails are E - M - W - A I decided to do W on my ring finger so that I didn't repeat patterns on my middle two fingers. The red is OPI I'm Suzi and I'm a Chocoholic, the blue is Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Thinking of Blue, and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Whirlwind White. The first nail was awesome, the second one I messed up, and then it was sort of all downhill with the last two being less neat than I would prefer. Oh well! It was fun and cute and I was surprised at home many people knew they were nautical symbols.

Don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

February 21, 2012

Inspired by Artwork: Damien Hirst dots

I fear this may be another meh-ni, where the concept is much greater than the end result. My artwork of choice was Damien Hirst's dot paintings, and specifically I liked the contrast between the large white canvases with the dots and the exhibit walls. The background color is Orly Pure Porcelain again, but maybe a more literal, light grey would have been better. I used a random mix of colors that were on my desk for the dots.

Don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

February 19, 2012

The Haul to End All Hauls!

I've been buying up all the pretty things lately. Like all of them. I've bought probably 100 new bottles of polish since this month started. My Mom would be sobbing right now if she knew! Keeping better track of my spending by doing haul posts and adding things to my spreadsheet has been pretty nice because I know where I am in terms of numbers, and now I can safely say I'm going no-buy!!! This is new territory for me, as I've always just gone ahead full steam - but look where that's gotten me! Yikes!

I officially told Boyfriend, as well as PAA and my trusty birthday club, so hopefully they keep me strong. Boyfriend and I agreed that Hunger Games is okay to buy, and I still obviously have to get things for swaps/birthday ladies, but I'm not buying anything else from now through March. (I do have some things I ordered before this "official" no buy that will still be arriving, though)

This is something I've needed to do for awhile and gives me more time to paint my nails and organize my stuff, instead of organizing wishlists and looking at swatches. I feel sort of relieved to be doing this, but also sort of nervous! I will probably be making a swap/sale list soon, too.

So as a thanks for reading all those words up there, here are some pretty pictures of things I bought :D And if anyone wants to support me/join me on my no buy, let me know! I'm here for you!!

two very un-me Electropop colors, gold crackle (yeah, I know)

duochromey layering stuffs
I managed to get 10 polishes for under $20 at Sally Beauty because I stacked some coupons/bought up their mega clearance stuff. I was so proud of myself! I know you're probably concerned that I'm buying gold crackle because aren't we over that? We are! But I ended up with two silver crackles and no gold, and sometimes a girl needs some gold *shrug*

There are a many, many more pictures for your beautiful eyes to look at - Cult Nails, Lynnderellas, OPI,  Zoya, Ohhhhhzotics, and pretty much any indie Etsy glitter-polish-shop you know of below!

February 16, 2012

Inspired by a Pattern: Julia Kostreva pillow

I loved the pattern on this pillow case by Julia Kostreva since I saw it on Pinterest, and I knew it would make awesome nail art! Ta-dah! Inspired by a pattern!!

The base color for this is Orly Pure Porcelain from the Spring 2011 Precious collection. I bought it after a really long debate with myself and lots of Googling for a comparison post between this and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Crinoline. They are rather similar and I do own them both, so I'll probably do a comparison post in the future (especially if anyone is interested?)

Don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

February 15, 2012

Inspired by Fashion: Denim Nails featuring Zoya Marina

I put on two coats of Zoya Marina, from the Fall Mirrors collection, with the intent of it being the base for my Gravity's Rainbow Shape Shifter mani, but then I realized how much it looked like denim to me, so I tried Copy That, Copy Cat's denim tutorial to make this instead!

After a generous coating of Essie Matte About You, I used a random white nail striper and a paper towel to make it look stonewashed. I added the white stitch marks and gold glitter to look like a rivet on my index finger at the last moment, because I wasn't sure if it screamed denim or not. Now I think it sort of screams "sloppy" and "lol I don't understand proportions", but I like the general denim-y-ness of it and will probably try this again sometime! Seems like a great way to make an older blue mani fresh again.

Don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

February 14, 2012

Minty Fresh franken

Have you ever just felt that amazing, sudden flash of inspiration? I got one while brushing my teeth the other day. Yes. I really did make a franken inspired by my own toothpaste - and I adore it!! It was a little tricky to get color-accurate photos of, and I love it like my own child so this post might be a little more pic heavy than usual.

I think this picture is fairly color accurate to what my franken looks like in real life; the ring finger (right) has one layer of the Color Club neon I used to make the polish before I put on two layers of Minty Fresh.

necessary bottle pic
Lookit! I'm so in love with it! There's such a cool variety of glitters in here; it's a mix of baby opal and blue glitter, small round clear glitter, smallish clear hexes, & square blue, silver, and clear glitters in a sheer, neon blue base. All the clear glitter was 'opal' but the duochrome finish melted away, leaving me with some awesome clear glitter bits that mostly add texture, not shine.

all my fingers, with soft flash
Just wanted to share a picture of what my whole hand looks like, even though I did skittles to test it out. I wish my nail tips weren't so stained because it sort of ruins the blue polish - makes it look a lot more teal than it is.

pointer - over Sinful Colors Savage
I think this layering is probably the brightest, easiest, and most realistic in terms of being 'toothpastey'. SC Savage was a one-coater, so it was quick for me to do one coat, SV, one coat Minty Fresh, then another coat of SV. Yum!

3 layers of Minty Fresh
*cries* I wish my nails weren't so stained! But this shows you the awesome depth and delicious glitter in this; it's like a jelly polish sandwich already made up in the bottle. 

one layer over China Glaze Blue Sparrow
Although I love this picture with flash, in person it seems too dark and sort of dull compared to my other fingers. 

one layer Minty Fresh over 2 layers Barry M Black
And because I had black polish on my nails before swatching, I thought I would try layering Minty Fresh to see what it would look like. Look at all the neat glitters! Yay! I am so proud and glad that nothing has horribly melted or exploded or anything.

Indeed, I wore toothpaste polish for Valentine's Day! Not the most festive for the holiday, but I love this polish and my boyfriend thinks it's neat, so it works out.

Hope you're having a great V-Day!
xx Emma

Inspired by a Book: Game of Thrones Konadicure

Either I am really out of practice, or my polish wasn't opaque enough, or I have a ton of other excuses but I pretty much hate this nail art. I had such high hopes! And I feel like the book, Game of Thrones, is so cool! But this is so meh. Game of Thrones is the first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin and I really love it. HBO recently made a tv show based on the book of the same name, which I also absolutely love. I adore fantasy books and this one is right up my alley - sort of a magical realism story set in more medieval times with kings, queens, giants, etc.

Each nail represents a different family or area of focus in the story; essentially the whole series is about several different noble families having a power struggle for one mythical kingdom. l-r: the Lannisters (lion print and a crown on a crimson field), King Robert Baratheon (a black crown and an awkward space where there should be a stag that wouldn't transfer to the stamper), the Night's Watch (snowflakes for how cold the wall is and for their black cloaks), and the Starks (black wolf prints on a light grey background, similar to their sigil)

After all that nerdy description stuff, I'm going to put my thumb nail design under a cut because I don't want to spoil the book/tv show for anyone!

February 13, 2012

Inspired by a Movie: Goldfinger featuring Cult Nails Iconic

This is another one of those rather loosely-inspired manicures, but it's inspired none-the-less. I was watching several James Bond movies with the Boyfriend recently, and was inspired to do a layering manicure based off the title Goldfinger!

I did two coats of Cult Nails Iconic, which is a beautiful maroon-y red with golden shimmer and little flakies that catch the light.

Then I did one coat of Essie As Gold as It Gets and did one coat of Lacquistry's Shredded 24K on my ring finger.

Last photo is a slightly crappy cell phone picture in the sunlight; I was trying to get a more color-accurate photo of the combo, but this seems really orangey. The first photo is probably the most color accurate, but the glare from my sunlight lamp makes me grumpy. I thought the Essie would bring out the gold shimmer of the polish, but it sort of overpowers it. Oh well! Can't win them all.

Don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

February 12, 2012

Inspired by a Song: Gravity's Rainbow feat. Lynnderella

Remember what feels like years ago I promised I would finish the 31 Day Challenge? I wasn't lying, I'm just major slow. Now I'm ready to show you the rest! All in time to overlap with a new Spring PCFC and Valentine's Day nails :-p

Here is my 'inspired by a song' manicure inspired by the Klaxon's song Gravity's Rainbow, but specifically, I like the Steve Aoki remix of it

I thought this was a great way to use one of my untried Lynnderella's - Shape Shifter. So I did two coats of Barry M black, then taped off little bits and did a quick coat of Blackout by Icing, then finally I just tapped on some of Shape Shifter. My bottle has a wonky brush, and I want to say something witty in regards to how the polish is so luxurious and essentially htf, but I'll leave that drama for elsewhere on the internet [!!!!]

This mani is okay. I don't love it, and I was hoping for a lot more 'wow'. It's meant to be all artsy-fartsy, with rainbows falling around (because LOL Galaxy's Rainbow, get it?) Icing's Blackout is such a bore for me, and I will be purging it from my stash as I have way way too many 'black with little sparkly bits in it that is somehow sheer and unimpressive on the nail' polishes. Shape Shifter is really very pretty, though, but I think it would look nicer on a less stark background.

Please enjoy this bottle shot and don't forget that several other ladies are better at time management and completed this challenge already! Bec at Lacquer Dreams, Julia at Julia Loves Nails, Linda at Nail Polish Enthusiast, Alyssa at Fancy Phalanges and Jenna at The Key to Jennasis, Kirsten at Geeky Owl and April at Munia's Nails

yum, right?

Lynnderella is currently distributed by Llarowe; there are also some other indie polish companies that could satisfy your lemming for funky shaped holo glitter combos - check out Lacquistry's And Miles to Go Before I Sleep and Pretty and Polished's GBF

February 11, 2012

My Most Complimented Meh-ni

I recently got a lot of new glitter polishes (see here if you want a good case of the sparkles) and I tested them out on a left-over manicure just for fun. You wouldn't believe how many compliments I got on my fugly meh-nicure!! Turns out glitter is the very best for compliments and catching other peoples' attention, even if you don't want it. I planned to take these off before work yesterday but didn't have time!

My right hand at least makes sense; lots of gold-toned glitters. But that left hand..? There's chips and all sorts of things; makes no sense!

Have you ever had a hilarious mehni or had to wear a manicure mistake out in public?! Let me know!

February 10, 2012

Uh-Oh - Magnetic Dupes!

I'm sure you've all heard that Icing has some decently priced magnetic polish by now. Perhaps you've also heard that Rite-Aid has magnetic polish, too? Well, I'm here to let all you ladies sans Rite-Aids know that you're not missing out on anything, apparently! I picked up some of the Rite-Aid polishes (here and in this week's haul post that I haven't posted yet..) and they looked familiar, so I toted my gold and pink magnetics to the mall to compare. 100% the same!!! I can only assume the blue and silvers are exactly the same, but I didn't buy those two colors at Rite-Aid so I can't compare them for you.

Even with a crappy cell phone picture, you can tell that these are THE SAME EXACT POLISHES!
You might question the pink a little, like "Hey, Emma - the Icing one looks more glittery and prettier some how and I think you're not that great at noticing it...", but let me assure you - the exact same duochromey, pinky glitterness are in both.

There are, of course, pros and cons to getting them at the different stores. And obviously, if you don't have a Rite-Aid near you, this post means absolutely nothing to you :D

If you're only interested in buying one bottle of magnetic polish (and Rite-Aids exist near you), I would suggest the Pretty Woman magnetix (the one in the box on the left in the above pictures). The Pretty Woman magnetix polishes retail for $8, come with two different pattern magnets per box, and there are 8 shades to choose from (not just the four "basic" colors at Icing).

But if you want more than one magnetic polish/want to buy stuff for friends/want to pick up a cheap glitter for half-off/don't live remotely near a Rite-Aid, then you're better off buying at Icing because they're BOGO1/2 off on polish (pretty much always) and you can pick up two polishes for $14.50 (or less if your other one is a glitter) instead of $16 + tax at Rite-Aid.

And don't worry, the two patterns (horizontal stripes and waves) are available at both places. I haven't tried either of the magnets yet, so it's possible that one of them is way easier to use than the other (the Icing one is your typical cap with a place to rest your finger, and the Pretty Woman one looks like this) - and I can update you with that soon!!


February 9, 2012

Glitter Haul!

Didn't I say I was on a break from glitter, a glitter diet of sorts? Ha. I wish that was true! I just can't seem to quit you, glitter. You're just soooo pretty and sparklesome! I recently got a few of the new Jordana glitters, a trio of Spoiled glitters, and an L.A Girl Glitter Addict polish that I wanted to show y'all.

l-r: Gold Glam, Celebration, Celestial, and Bronze Fest

Gold Glam and Celebration - with flash

Celestial and Bronze Fest - with flash
Celebration and Celestial have different sized round/hex glitters in them, but Celestial (turquoise) has three sizes and I think Celebration (purple) only has two different sizes (if there are three different sizes of glitter, the difference in their size is much less pronounced than in the other C-named polish). I like them both and they seem pretty buildable, but also really gritty. Gold Glam and Bronze Fest are actually standing out to me a lot more, which is so weird! My polish taste is definately changing, and I don't know if it's the weather or what. [Thanks, Bee!!]

Pet my Peacock, Ants in my Pants and Jewelry Heist seem to be the three most popular glitters from the new Spoiled displays right now and now I have them, too! [Thanks, Stella!!]

Pet my Peacock - 'sunlight' lamp

Ants in my Pants - flash

Jewelry Heist - 'sunlight' lamp
From some quick and dirty swatches over an existing mani, my favorite is probably Jewelry Heist with Ants in my Pants coming in with a swift second. Pet my Peacock is a really pretty combo of colors, but I like more variety in sizes of glitter.

Celebration - 'sunlight' lamp
This is L.A. Girl Glitter Addict in 'Celebration' and I think that the combo of glitter colors could satisfy some of you with a major Lynnderella Boy-Girl Party lemming for at least the time being. There are no square shaped glitters, just round/hex of various sizes, but the colors do seem really similar!! I can do a comparison when I get my bottle of Boy-Girl Party soon if anyone wants.

Celebration - with flash

The stand-out by far to me in my new bounty of glitters is Gold Glam. I got 9 wonderful diamonds on my thumb with one coat the very first time using it, so I'm pleased as punch!! I love that there's prismatic diamonds in the gold base, not a silver base. I love it so much I might already need a back up (yes, I'm that sort of polish collector). Here's a quick and dirty swatch on my thumb over Essie Marshmallow


I feel like the Internet has seen a lot of these swatches already, but I'm happy to do some if you want them. Let me know what you'd like to see!

PS. I'm sorry about bloggin' because I've been having a crap time with my photos lately, and that makes it more frustrating. I also hate wasting time watermarking photos, so I'll probably only do it for swatches/nail art from now one (i.e. things I really want people to know I did). For my photos, I use a diffused "sunlight" lamp, but it's giving me some seriously unattractive glare lately, and I'm not digging it - but I also work all day so it's challenging to get better photos. Plz fill me in if you have any tips!

February 2, 2012

Lynnderella Cauldron Drippings - wear test

Obviously I haven't done the last third of the 31 Day Challenge, but it's not for lack of inspiration - it's because I didn't feel good about removing my Cauldron Drippings combo before it needed to go! All last week I got so very many compliments on it, and after all the drama surrounding purchasing new Lynns, I just didn't want to throw away such a beautiful manicure (is this sappy? sad? maybe, but true). So, I snapped some pictures to show you how well this wore, then I experimented with my new Milani art brush by doing an 'outline' to mask my wear and keep the mani train rolling!

Keep in mind that my macro camera lens makes everything look 13923x worse, but this really wasn't bad in person! The tip wear was really really minimal, and no large chips/chunks. The growth/chipping near the cuticle was gross, but then I semi-fixed it by doing the 'outline' thing in the bottom picture = co___ol

Sad to say that Custom Kicks stained the crap out of my nails, but happy to say I am back to doing challenge manicures and can't wait to share the things I've been working on with you!!
xx Emma