Sunday, February 8, 2015

Song-Inspired Nail Art: Taylor Swift's "I Know Places" + Where Have I Been?

I am not associated with Taylor Swift.  I do not make money from my blog, so this fan art based on her lyrics does not financially benefit me in any way.

Hey folks, been a while since I last posted!  I'll get into the reason for that later on in this post, but first...song-inspired nail art!

I've been obsessed with Taylor Swift's latest album, 1989.  While it's not my number one favorite song on the album, I really enjoy "I Know Places" and thought it would be a relatively easy song to translate into nail art.  This song details Taylor's struggle to maintain a relationship while dealing with the paparazzi and the media.  You can buy the song (or the entire album) HERE

I didn't want to get too ambitious for my first nail art in forever, so the only images were the barrels of a shotgun and a fox's tail.  White lettering probably wasn't the best idea (I had to layer the letters to make them opaque), but I think it turned out okay.

They've got the cages, they've got the boxes
and guns
They are the hunters, we are the foxes
and we run
-Taylor Swift, "I Know Places"


 
In semi-sun

 
In shade

You can find my tips for doing lettering HERE

Products used:
  • background-Elevation Polish The Kek
  • lettering-Cult Nails Tempest
  • shotgun-OPI Push and Shove (silver) and Cult Nails Nevermore (black)
  • fox tail-Cult Nails Tempest (white) and mix of Zoya Arizona/Cult Nails Ay Poppy!/OPI Can't Afjord Not To (orange)

So...where have I been?  Why haven't I posted much over the past year?  The reason why I haven't blogged much is because I haven't painted my nails much, either...and when I did paint my nails, it usually didn't look very good.  About a year ago, something strange started happening to my fingers (yes, something even stranger than the pain and swelling caused by my primary lymphedema praecox issue).  They started bending off to the side and becoming stuck in strange positions.  As a result, it was hard to get my fingers into good positions for painting, and they would often bump into each other and mess up my work.  I found it to be very frustrating and discouraging, so I just didn't do my nails much (so I wouldn't have to face it and admit something was wrong) and hoped it would go away. 

Unfortunately, it didn't go away, so I went to the doctor to try to figure out what was going on.  After struggling to find a known condition that matched my symptoms, my doctor decided that it must be a congenital tendon defect.  Basically, I was born with tendons that were destined to fail.  A hand surgeon would likely be able to correct the problem, but because my lymphedema leaves me vulnerable to developing dangerous infections any time my skin is broken/cut, surgery would have to be a last resort and done only if I absolutely cannot live like this.  As of right now, this is what I'm working with:


This is what happens if I try to open my hand.  That's as far as they'll go.

If I force my hand open on a flat surface, my fingers curve to the left.

This is what happens if I try to make a fist

(In case you're wondering why my skin looks loose/misshapen/wrinkly, it's because I wasn't very swollen when these photo were taken.  My skin is weird and stretched out from swelling and un-swelling all the time.)

What does this mean for the blog?  I'm basically only going to blog when I'm feeling up to it, or if I have to swatch press samples.  I'm also going to continue with the whole 3-finger swatch pose I've been doing because it's impossible to do a 4-finger pose now.  I really want to do more nail art (especially Taylor-inspired song manis!), but I can't make any promises.  To those of you who enjoyed my blog...I'm so sorry I wasn't able to provide consistent content, and I hope you've at least enjoyed the inconsistent content, haha >.<

I am not associated with Taylor Swift.  All songs from "1989" are the property of Taylor Swift.  I do not make money from my blog, so this fan art based on her lyrics does not financially benefit me in any way.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Incoco Nail Polish Appliqués-Selections From the Holiday Cheer Collection (Holiday Glimmer, Alpine Retreat, O Christmas Tree, and Evergreen Forest)

product received for review

Hey folks!  I just cannot get through these Incoco samples fast enough because I never want to take them off!  I haven't painted my nails in over a month because I just keep wearing the appliqués.  I know it's a bit late to be posting the super Christmas-y designs (hopefully you checked out the whole collection after I posted my other review!), but I think they'll help you form an opinion on Incoco nail polish appliqués in general.

For a full review and details on application, wear time, etc, go HERE.

Incoco Holiday Glimmer

Holiday Glimmer features a string of colored lights over a silver glitter base.  Super cute and very sparkly! I did find, however, that the adhesive didn't seem as sticky as it usually is.  Also, since this set is made with real glitter, it is a little harder to remove than sets made using only polish.  

Incoco Alpine Retreat

Alpine Retreat features a black and red sweater design over a shimmery white base.  This design was a bit sheer (you may notice some visible nail line), and it didn't seem as sticky as the others.

Incoco O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree features red and green dots, and trees made of red and green dots, all over a silver shimmer base. The dots did crack slightly during application, but it wasn't really visible in person. The set is printed in such a way that it should allow you to have a tree on your thumb and a tree on either your middle finger or ring finger (it depends on how the tree appliqué fits you).

Incoco Evergreen Forest

Evergreen Forest is a pine green shimmer with a slight blue shift. This mani was a total rush job, and it still turned out pretty nice! My placement and filing weren't the best, but it was better than going out with naked nails!

Appliqué sets from the Holiday Cheer collection sell for $7.99 (color) to $8.99 (design) per set. Be sure to follow Incoco on social media!

Facebook: facebook.com/incoco
Twitter: @incoco
Instagram: @incocoproducts
Pinterest: pinterest.com/incoco
YouTube: youtube.com/incocoproducts

products received for review

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Incoco Nail Polish Appliqués-Selections From the Holiday Cheer Collection (Holiday Cheer, Feeling Festive, and Special Delivery)

products provided for review

Hey folks! I've got something a little different for you today...Incoco nail polish appliqués! I know a lot of you nail polish purists are probably thinking "NOPE.  NOT INTERESTED," but just hear me out! Nail strips can have a place in your polish routine:
  • It's nice to have them on hand for occasions where you don't have time to wait for polish to dry, do clean up, etc.  
  • If you're not great at nail art, or simply don't feel like putting in the effort, you can instantly have a perfect design on your nails.
  • If you have limited mobility in your hands, nail strips may be easier to work with than polish.  
Before you start applying the appliqués, you have to find the right size strip for each nail. There are eight sizes on each of the 2 strips included in a package (the strips are identical), and the ends of each strip differ slightly so you can pick which cuticle shape will fit you best. I found that it was best to line up the side of an appliqué with the side of the nail and sort of roll the appliqué over the nail to see if it would reach the other side. Overall, I found that the strips fit very well, though some of the nails on my right hand are rather wide and irregularly shaped, so the appliqués did not fit as nicely. These will definitely work better on short/average nail lengths.

Incoco nail polish appliqués are made of polish and backed with adhesive. They do not smell like polish, but they do have a bit of a plastic-like smell to them which fades within a day. They're thin and slightly stretchy, and the adhesive can handle quite a bit of repositioning as long as you haven't really pressed down on the appliqué. It's best to warm each strip prior to use by holding it between your hands for a moment (though I usually just stick it under my leg, haha). You peel off the clear plastic layer and then grab the silver tab to peel the appliqué from the backing. Next, you center the appliqué close to the cuticle and smooth it over the nail towards the tip (it's okay to stretch it a little bit, but if you stretch it too much, you may crack the design on the appliqué), and then towards the sides (I use this rubber-tipped cuticle pusher to smooth the appliqué over the nail). You sort of pull/push the appliqué over your free edge and then file downward until the excess bit of appliqué detaches. After that, I squeezed the fingertip and rubbed the appliqué to make sure it was fully adhered.

In my opinion, they are as durable as polish. Incoco claims a manicure can last two weeks, but after one week, I felt my nails had grown out too much (yay for vitamins!), and I had tip wear and chipping (though the chipping was likely due to the fact that I had done a lot of cleaning that week). If you are not hard on your nails, your manicure will likely still look pretty perfect after a week. Removal was easy, though it's a little different from removing polish because the adhesive layer can form gummy balls as it comes up off the nail.  The 
appliqués did not cause any damage or staining.  

Check out their video on proper application:

You can also see Incoco's text instructions and read an FAQ HERE

Looks pretty easy, right?  Let's see how I did!  Please excuse the wrinkles and "fatness" of my fingers. When the swelling caused by my primary lymphedema goes down, my skin becomes wrinkly and squishy, so it kind of flattens and makes me look like I have super fat fingers, haha.  

Incoco Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer features a shimmer, red and gold, gingham design.  I thought it looked very cute and application was super easy!

Incoco Feeling Festive

Feeling Festive features a black ornament print over a shimmery, evergreen base.  I think it looks like wrapping paper! This close-up photo shows that I was a bit overzealous when filing off the excess, but it wasn't really apparent in person.

Incoco Special Delivery

Special Delivery features a red bow design over a shimmery, silver base. I'm only showing three fingers here because I had some swelling and couldn't position all my fingers properly. This photo was taken four days into the manicure, and as you can see, it was still holding up nicely! The bow design did "crack" slightly, but this could not be observed in person. I only noticed it because of my camera's awesome macro mode.

Appliqué sets from the Holiday Cheer collection sell for $7.99 (color) to $8.99 (design) per set. However, I just checked the site and they appear to be on sale for $6.75 to $7.65! It looks like Incoco is also running some Black Friday sales, so you should probably check out Incoco.com now!
You can also follow Incoco on social media!

Facebook: facebook.com/incoco
Twitter: @incoco
Instagram: @incocoproducts
Pinterest: pinterest.com/incoco
YouTube: youtube.com/incocoproducts

products received for review

Thursday, October 2, 2014

ALIQUID Lacquer: Puppy Love (Charity Polish)

Product received for review

Hey, folks!  Today we're going to be talking about two of my favorite things...ALIQUID Lacquer, and charity!

I have to admit, I am not a fan of dogs.  However, I do care about their welfare and find it appalling that there are so many homeless dogs in this country.  3.9 million dogs enter shelters each year, with 1.2 million of them being euthanized (most of the euthanized dogs are pit bulls).  The dog featured on ALIQUID Lacquer's labels is Trudy, the maker's beloved 5-year-old rescued pit bull mix.  Since October is Adopt A Shelter Dog month and her own shelter dog means so much to her, the owner of ALIQUID Lacquer would like you to join her in supporting this important cause!

How can you help?  Donate!  If you want to help AND get polish, pick up a bottle of ALIQUID Lacquer Puppy Love!  $5 from the sale of each $11 (15mL) bottle goes to the ASPCA.  ALIQUID Lacquer is hoping to raise at least $250, so help her out and buy a bottle HERE!

How else can you help?  Be responsible.  Spay and neuter your pets!  Do your research before getting a dog (or any pet, really).  Don't get a dog if your life is unstable, or if you are facing financial difficulties.  Choose adoption over purchasing.  Never, ever buy a "designer" mixed breed, since these are all irresponsibly bred.  If you absolutely must have a purebred dog, look for breed-specific rescues first.  And if you feel you absolutely must purchase a dog, please find a "responsible" breeder***.  Buying a dog should never be cheap and easy.  The breeder should be someone who shows their dogs and seeks to advance a breed, producing only a few puppies from carefully matched parents.  They do not breed for profit and they will not sell a dog to just anybody.  They take responsibility for every life they create, mandating that if you cannot keep your dog, you return it to them, not a shelter.  The vast majority of breeders you will find are irresponsible "backyard breeders" who breed dogs for profit.  They are nothing more than luxurious, small-scale puppy mills at their core.

***One could argue that all breeding is irresponsible, and that the breeding of certain breeds which are particularly prone to difficult births and health problems is an abomination.  To a degree, I do agree with this line of thought.  

Now that I've finished ranting about an issue that bugs the heck out of me, let's check out the polish!

First of all, my camera wanted this polish to be blue when in reality, it is a lovely shade of bright teal. I've tried to edit the photos to better represent the color.  Also, I've recently shortened my nails quite a bit (finally reached a point where I could get rid of some krazy glue repairs) and I'm working on growing out some damage, so bear with me while my nubbins get healthier :-)

ALIQUID Lacquer Puppy Love is a bright teal filled with gold and pink flecks and some holographic shimmer.  It's opaque in about two coats, though I did three just to be safe from the unforgiving eye of my camera.  The formula was lovely and dry time was average.  It's a classy, happy color!

In sun

Blurry to show shimmer

 In shade

With flash

Since I received this polish for free (and therefore, no money went to the ASPCA), I decided to make a donation on my own to make up for it!



Grab your bottle of Puppy Love
Sign up for the ALIQUID Lacquer mailing list
Like ALIQUID Lacquer on Facebook
Follow the ALIQUID Lacquer blog
Follow ALIQUID Lacquer on Instagram

Product received for review

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hobby Polish Bloggers Facebook-Only Giveaway!

Hey folks!  Nice and easy giveaway for ya, all you need to do is Like some Facebook pages! Giveaway runs from September 17-September 30th and is open worldwide to anyone over age 18.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Indigo Bananas Summer Rains Collection Part 3: Rainbow in the Dark, Molten Universe, and Storm Drops

Products provided for review

As far as formula goes, everything in this collection was pretty much the same.  Smooth, no problems, and opaque in 2-3 coats.  The flakies are thin and sit nice and flat against the nail (these aren't those awful, stiff flakies you'll find in many flakie polishes these days).  Dry time is average.

Rainbow in the Dark is a black jelly filled with large red and green multichrome flakies, small blue and gold flakies, and holographic pigment (loosely linear effect).  It's a fun way to wear black, and it kind of reminds me of Christmas lights shining through the darkness!

In sun

Indoors, with flash

Indoors, by a window

Molten Universe is a bright orange (red-leaning) jelly base filled with red/green (appeares red/gold) shifty flakies, red/green (appears green) shifting shimmer, and small purple flakies (very hard to capture on camera).  This color is great for both summer and fall!

In sun

In sun, you can see the flakies nicely here!

In shade

Storm Drops features a light blue (gray-toned) crelly base filled with silver flake and violet/aqua shifting shimmer.  It's sort of a less dreary version of Illamasqua Raindrops!  It also makes me think of Elsa from Disney's Frozen

 
In sun

Indoors, by a window

Indoors, with flash

Indoors, with flash, blurry to show shimmer

Polishes from the Summer Rains collection cost $7.25 for 8mL (mini) or $12 for 15 mL (full sized) and can be purchased from the Indigo Bananas website or from international stockists listed HERE.  Be sure to Like the Indigo Bananas Facebook page to stay up to date on the latest collections!

Products provided for review

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Indigo Bananas Summer Rains Collection Part 2: Hole In the Sky and Reign

Products provided for review

 Hey folks!  I meant to post this sooner, but I got thrown off course by my new nephew arriving a bit earlier than expected!  He arrived a week before his planned c-section, and my sister-in-law's labor progressed so quickly that she never made it into a delivery room and gave birth rather suddenly in a triage room instead.  He's super cute and aside from some jaundice, he's doing very well :-) .

Anyway, back to polish!

As far as formula goes, everything in this collection was pretty much the same.  Smooth, no problems, and opaque in 2-3 coats.  The flakies are thin and sit nice and flat against the nail (these aren't those awful, stiff flakies you'll find in many flakie polishes these days).  Dry time is average.

Hole In the Sky features a violet jelly base filled with holographic pigment and red/green shifting flakes and shimmer.  The holographic effect is loosely linear and the flakes and shimmer mostly show up as a pinky coppery color.  If you're a fan of purple polishes, this is a great one!

In sun

Indoors, with flash

 Indoors, by a window

Blurry to show sparkle

 Reign features a deep, purple-toned red jelly filled with green/gold shifting shimmer (mainly appears green) and red/orange/green shifting flakies.  I just could not get this one to photograph nicely!  It's much more pretty and complex in person.  This is like a sexy red with a playful side, and great to wear when you're aiming for that "classic with a twist" type of look!

In sun

In partial sun

Indoors, by a window

Indoors, with flash

Polishes from the Summer Rains collection cost $7.25 for 8mL (mini) or $12 for 15 mL (full sized) and can be purchased from the Indigo Bananas website or from international stockists listed HERE.  Be sure to Like the Indigo Bananas Facebook page to stay up to date on the latest collections!

Products provided for review