Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pretty & Polished: I'm Wonka for Willy!

Product provided for review

I keep waiting for my neighbors to ask me what in the world I'm doing when I'm outside taking photos of my hand.  So far, they haven't questioned it.  I thought that surely they would have questioned me while I was taking these photos, since I kept dunking my hand into cups of water before taking the pictures, but nope!

Why was I dunking my hand into cups of water?  Because I was swatching one of Pretty and Polished's color-changing lacquers, of course!  These polishes are sensitive to temperature changes, and the best way to see the color change is by sticking your hand under warm water and cold water.  SO FUN!

I'm Wonka For Willy features 2 sizes of yellow hex glitter, purple hex glitter, and purple square glitter in a creamy base.  When the polish is cool, the base is a deep purple.  When the polish is warm, the base is a sort of dusty light green.  If you have longer nails, like I do, you will likely experience both colors at once, with your nail bed area being green and the tips being purple!  The color changes quickly and easily, and it's quite fun to watch!  The formula on this was great.  It was so easy to control that I didn't have to do any clean up!  Dry time was fast.  A thick coat of a fast-drying top coat takes care of most of the bumpiness.

This is what it looks like when it's cool

This is what it looks like when it's warm

Nail bed area is warming up!

Tips are cooling down!

This is what it looked like most of the time!  Warm nail bed area, cool tips.

I love when I get to review a unique and well-made product, and I'm Wonka for Willy definitely fits that description!  I have to say, though, I don't really get Willy Wonka vibes from reminds me more of fun stuff from my childhood, like Goosebumps books, Nickelodeon, and Gak...which is just as good!

I'm Wonka for Willy will be available at Pretty & Polished's online store starting July 2nd.  Color-changing polishes cost $9.00 for 15mL.

While you're waiting for I'm Wonka for Willy to be released, you might want to give some thought to buying some of Pretty & Polished's previous releases!  Many of them, including some color-changing polishes, are on sale!  P&P is moving to a new location and they don't want to have to move tons of bottles of polish in the process, so they're hoping to sell off as much of their old stock as possible!

For the latest Pretty & Polished news, Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Instagram!

Product provided for review

Monday, June 24, 2013

Quick and Dirty "Animal Crossing"-Inspired Nail Art: Fossil Accent Nails

Hey guys!  Super quick post today because I had a very busy weekend!

Recently, my favorite nail thread was derailed by talk of the latest addition to the "Animal Crossing" video game franchise.  I don't play these games, but a lot of my nail friends do, so I thought it would be fun to do a little nail art for them!  Someone mentioned fossils, so I Googled "animal crossing fossils" and discovered that they have a pretty simple design.  Here is what a fossil looks like in the games:

Image found in Google Image Search

And here is what I did for the manicure:

I know it's not quite up to my usual standards as far as neatness goes, but this is just something I did quickly for fun :-)

Colors used:

Background:  China Glaze Blue Year's Eve
Fossil:  China Glaze Snow

How it was done:

Swirl-I just kind of blobbed it on using a medium-sized nail art brush.  It was easier to load the brush up and just pull the polish around, rather than trying to apply pressure and make a defined shape.

Dot-I just loaded up a nail art brush and dotted it on, but you could use a dotting tool.

Star-I used a tiny nail art brush to carefully draw it on the way we all drew stars back in elementary school!  Then I filled in the gaps.  In case you've never drawn a star, here is a messy tutorial!

Easy, right?  I really should try to play these games, they look very cute!

Products purchased by me.  I am not affiliated with Animal Crossing.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hot Mess Lacquers: "All Hail the Queen," "Game Over, Mani," and "Hostess With the Mostest"

Products given to me for review

Hey guys!  I'm super excited to show off these three polishes from Hot Mess Lacquers' Aliens-inspired collection.  They're gorgeous and the quality is incredible!  Be sure to scroll through the whole post because I've saved the best polish for last!

All Hail the Queen features green square glitter, goldenrod hex and square glitters, and green shimmer in a black jelly base.  The formula was great and the glitter distributed evenly across the nail.  Dry time was average.  Full opacity can be achieved in 2-3 coats (I used 2).

In sun

In shade

Game Over, Mani features two sizes of goldenrod hex glitter, bright blue square glitter, little holographic blue glitters, and blue shimmer in a black jelly base.  The formula was excellent and the glitter was easily distributed across the nail.  Dry time was average.  Full opacity can be achieved in 2-3 coats (I used 2).

In sun

In shade

And now...the most beautiful polish in the collection!  Hostess With the Mostest features square and hex glitters of varying sizes and small holographic hex glitter in a black jelly base.  The formula was beautiful and the glitter flowed nicely across the nail.  Dry time was average.  Full opacity can be achieved in 2-3 coats (I used 2).

In sun

In shade

With flash

Up close

I'm very glad Hot Mess Lacquers decided to share these with me because these are some of the best glitter-heavy polishes I've ever tried.  I really love it when I can get through an indie mani without having to add polish thinner!  I also love how "deep" these polishes look with the glitters suspended in the jelly base!

Hot Mess Lacquers polishes cost $9 for 15mL or $3.50 for 5mL.  They can be purchased on Etsy.  To stay up-to-date on the latest shades, Like their Facebook page!

Products provided for review

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Ten Friends: Space Sauce

Hey guys!  Today I have a gorgeous polish that I won in a giveaway!  Last week, Overall Beauty posted a challenge on their Facebook page.  The first person to correctly identify five blue glitter polishes in a photo would win a bottle of My Ten Friends Space Sauce.  Despite not being very familiar with the polishes in the photo, I managed to figure it out and I won!  Thanks, Overall Beauty!

My Ten Friends Space Sauce features a completely insane mix of silver and holographic glitters in a blue shimmer base.  I'm not even going to try to identify all the types of glitter in this polish.  There are just too many!  All this glitter did cause the polish to be a little on the thick side, but it applied beautifully after I added a few drops of polish thinner.  Dry time was average, and full opacity can be achieved in just two coats.  It was not perfectly smooth after a coat of Seche Vite, so those of you who need that glassy smooth finish will probably want to put on a coat of Gelous or Glitter Food before applying your top coat.

In cloudy weather

In sun

Blurry to show sparkle

This was my first experience with My Ten Friends, and it has left me completely obsessed with obtaining more of their polishes!  I really want Lunar Love Song, Dirtball, and Pew Pew Pew!  I'm also eyeing their new pretties from the Sparkly Cycle of Summer Collection, which is being released June 21st:

There's a giveaway for this collection HERE!
(image from the My Ten Friends Facebook page)

My Ten Friends polish costs around $10 for 15mL.  You can buy My Ten Friends polishes from their Etsy shop, Overall Beauty, Femme Fatale, and Shoppe Eclecticco.  You can stay up-to-date on the latest My Ten Friends news by Liking their Facebook page or subscribing to their newsletter.

I won this polish in a giveaway hosted by Overall Beauty

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pretty & Polished's Moving Sale!

I don't know about you, but I find sales to be very exciting, especially when it's a sale on a brand I know and love!

Pretty & Polished is moving to a new location on July 1st.  Since transporting tons of polish is a rather difficult endeavor, they need to sell as much of their current stock as they can now so that the move can go smoothly later.  This means there is a ton of polish on sale at near-wholesale prices!  Yes, even this little beauty is on sale:

Shop Pretty & Polished HERE

Stay up-to-date by Liking P&P on Facebook HERE

Follow P&P on Twitter HERE

Follow P&P on Instagram HERE

Monday, June 17, 2013

Nail Art+Mosaic/Stained Glass Tutorial: Inspired by Taylor Swift's "State of Grace"

Please Note:  If you have a problem with Taylor Swift, I ask that you keep your feelings to yourself and that you just focus on the techniques used in the nail art.  Thanks!

The blog Leesha's Lacquer is holding a nail art competition!  The challenge is to do nail art inspired by anything.  Yes, you read that correctly.  ANYTHING.  Nice, right?  I love contests because they force me to stop procrastinating and get some art done.  I've been meaning to do some music-inspired art, so I figured this would be a great time to give that idea a whirl!

My favorite version of "State of Grace"
(video by YouTube user Katie Fisher)

For this piece, I chose to base it on this group of lyrics from Taylor Swift's "State of Grace":

We are alone, just you and me
up in your room and our slates are clean
Just twin fire signs, four blue eyes

So you were never a saint, and I loved in shades of wrong
We learn to live with the pain, mosaic broken hearts
But this love is brave and wild

I put the song title on my thumb, 2 sagittarius symbols on my pinky ("twin fire signs"), Taylor and Jake's eyes on my middle finger ("four blue eyes"), and mosaic broken hearts on my index and ring fingers!  I know the eyes might look a little creepy, but I just love that line in the song, so I wanted to include them.

Polishes Used:

Background-OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls
Text, images, outlining-Orly Liquid Vinyl
Eye color-mix of Cult Nails Manipulative, China Glaze Shower Together, OPI What's With the Cattitude, and Orly Liquid Vinyl
Mosaic Tiles-JulieG Crushed Candy, JulieG Hot Cinnamon, JulieG Sugar Rush, and OPI The Impossible

This mani took me forever to do (7 hours, with nearly half the time spent working on the eyes), but I think it was worth it.  At the very least, it was good practice on lettering and symmetry!

Mosaic/Stained Glass Tutorial

My favorite part of this mani is definitely the mosaic broken hearts!  Once I had completed them, I realized that they also kind of look like stained glass, since the black "grout" resembles the leading used in stained glass.

You will need:

-Nail polish (obviously)
-Striping tape
-Decorative hole punch (I used a Recollections brand punch purchased on clearance at Michael's)
-Glossy sticker paper (not the papery kind!  I actually used an old Ninja Polish receipt, since the receipts are stickers)

Decorative hole punch

  • Punch out your shape
  • Cut out a rectangle/square containing your shape
  • Remove backing and place the sticker on your nail (make sure your base color is fully dry before you do this!)
    • If you want to have colored "grout" or "leading," paint inside the shape with your desired grout/leading color and remove the sticker stencil while the polish is still wet.  After it is fully dry, make a new stencil and put it exactly where the first stencil once was
  • Plan out your grout/leading lines on scrap paper.  While it's easier to just criss-cross the lines, it looks better if you don't do that.
Gray=sticker stencil, blue=striping tape, white=polished nail
  • Place striping tape on your nail.  Make sure the tape is securely attached to both the stencil sticker and the nail.
  • Using a nail art brush, paint inside the little shapes
  • While the polish is still wet, remove the stencil sticker (the striping tape should come away with it)
  • If any polish was accidentally removed, use a tiny nail art brush to fix it
    • If you are doing colored grout/leading, use a tiny nail art brush to carefully outline your shape
  • Let dry, then add top coat
Gray=sticker stencil, blue=striping tape, white=polished nail

Gray=sticker stencil, blue=striping tape, white=polished nail

It's a bit tedious, but I think it's worth it!

What do you guys think?  Would you ever do a mani inspired by a song?  Do you like the mosaic/stained glass technique?

Products purchased by me.  I am not affiliated with Taylor Swift.  I do not own the video and I do not own the song.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scofflaw Nail Varnish: Sturm Und Drang

Hey everyone!  I've been a little busy with some important life stuff, so please forgive me for being a little quiet.  I should have more posts next week, including some nail art, so hopefully that will make up for it :-) .  Now let's get on with the review!

Scofflaw Nail Varnish Sturm und Drang features a deep gray base filled with silver, aqua, magenta, lilac, gunmetal, and bright green hex glitters in varying sizes, PLUS shimmer and little irregular flakes.  Yeah, there's a LOT going on in this polish!  For some reason, the green hex glitter didn't want to come out on the topmost coat.  I did manage to get two of them on my pinky, though!  The formula was good and dry time was average.  I used 2 coats.

In sun

Pretty unique color, right? I don't think I have anything else like it in my collection!

Scofflaw's polishes cost about $10 for 15mL and are available on Etsy, Llarowe, Shoppe Eclecticco, and Femme Fatale.  Scofflaw is quite popular, so if you don't stalk the restocks, you'll likely miss out on the more popular colors.  To stay up-to-date on the latest Scofflaw Nail Varnish news, Like their Facebook page!

Product purchased by me

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Brand Spotlight: Elevation Polish Samples and Prototypes + Jelly Sandwich

Hi guys!  I had mentioned on Facebook that I'd been working on getting some longer posts ready, and this is one of them!  Today, we'll be focusing on some of Elevation Polish's one-of-a-kind samples and small batch prototypes.  The samples are polishes that just didn't make the cut (too expensive to make, ingredients no longer available, didn't turn out as hoped for, etc).  Small batch prototypes are the polishes that made it past the sample stage and into the batch testing stage, but still fell short of being released.

First, I'd like to start with something that was never meant to exist.  This is the error version of Rapa Nui.  A small batch of Rapa Nui only made it halfway through the production process, which resulted in it never getting blue tint and added shimmer.  A few bottles of this were unintentionally sold, and I ended up with one of them!  The error version of Rapa Nui is a dark gray with very subtle red microshimmer.  I think it looks like wet river rocks!  It's quite pretty and personally, I feel it should be released!  The formula was great and dry time was average.  It was opaque in 2 coats.

Here, you can see how the error version of Rapa Nui (index and middle)  compares to the correct version (ring finger and pinky)!  The correct version of Rapa Nui is blue and has more shimmer in it.

Error on the left, correct on the right

Since there were two problems with an order I placed (one problem was the error Rapa Nui, the other was that I was sent Jungfrau instead of Marmolada), Elevation sent me a new Rapa Nui, the Marmolada I should have gotten, and a sample polish!  This sample was called Golden Glacier.  Golden Glacier is a bright blue filled with gold flakies.  Due to the intensity of the base color, the flakies actually show up kind of green, giving it a kelp-floating-in-the-ocean sort of look.  It dries semi-matte, but top coat makes it nice and glossy.  Formula was great and dry time was average.  I used 2 coats.

Next up is Sample JY#17, a deep, midnight blue filled with silver microglitter.  It's very much along the lines of Essie's Starry Starry Night.  It can look very dark/black in some lighting and was hard to photograph, but once you're in some good lighting, you see that rich blue and the silver sparkle.  Formula was good and dry time was average.  I believe I used 2 coats for this swatch.

Photo was auto-enhanced to make sparkle more visible

Small batch prototype Fuerteventura features a mix of tiny to medium silver hex and square glitters in a sort of pale terracotta crelly base.  It's a very unusual color, and just a super unique polish in general.  It has a very classy vibe to it.  I really wish that this was a permanent shade!  The formula was good, though a good shake is required because the glitter seems to sink a bit.  Dry time was average.  Full opacity can be achieved in 2-3 coats

In shade

In sun, with attempt at color correction.  Pardon the wonky middle nail, it got waterlogged and expanded

Small batch prototype Base Camp is a charcoal black jelly.  This is actually a very nice polish and has way more depth and "squishiness" than seen in my photos.  The formula was good and dry time was average.  It's fully opaque in 2 coats.

I decided to try out my first proper jelly sandwich!  I did one layer of Base camp, then one layer of Elevation Polish Stay Behind Catch A Wave, then another coat of Base Camp.  It probably would have turned out better if Base Camp had been more sheer, but it was still cool in a "dark and mysterious" sort of way.

Unfortunately, there is no way to get any of these polishes anymore.  However, you can shop for samples and small batch prototypes on the 7th of every month at 9pm CST at Elevation Polish's online store.  A small amount of small batch prototypes are also available at 9am CST on the 22nd of every month.  To stay up to date on the latest Elevation Polish news, follow their blog.

What do you think?  Do you own any of Elevation Polish's samples or small batch prototypes?

Products purchased by me

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pretty & Polished: 16 Candles and Wax On Top Coat

Coupon code at the bottom of this post!

Hey again!  I've got a lovely polish and a cool new top coat to show off!  Beautiful things are happening over at Pretty & Polished!

Pretty & Polished 16 Candles is from the brand's limited edition Sweet Sixteen collection.  It's a peachy-coral crelly filled with a mix of  matte purple, pink, yellow, and orange hex glitter.  When I first played with this polish, it was a bit thick and difficult to work with, but a few drops of thinner made it perfect!  Nail polish can be quite sensitive to heat and other climate factors, so exposure to less-than-ideal "storage conditions" may have been responsible for the thickening.  Once the polish was back to normal, it flowed well and the glitter distributed evenly (no clumping).  16 Candles is pretty sheer, so you'll need 3-4 coats to reach full opacity (I used 3).  Dry time was average.  I was satisfied with just a thick coat of Seche Vite, but those of you who prefer a glassy-smooth finish will likely need to do a coat of Gelous/Glitter Food/etc before adding your top coat.

So pretty

The peachy-coral base is pretty bright!

Pretty & Polished Wax On is a "wax finish" top coat!  Basically, if you don't want a glossy finish but matte is just too matte, wax finish might be what you're looking for.  It provides a sort of "softness" without that very dry, chalkboard look that matte top coats will give you. The formula was fine and dry time was about the same as that of regular nail polish. Shown is one coat of Wax On over two coats of China Glaze Shower Together.

I'm sure you're wondering how, exactly, a wax finish compares to a matte finish.  Don't worry, I've got you covered!  Shown below is Shower Together on its own (index finger and pinky), Sephora by OPI Matte Top Coat (middle finger) over Shower Together, and Pretty & Polished Wax On over Shower Together (ring finger).  At first glance, you might think they look the same, but take a second look.  Note how the reflections/glare changes.  The fingers with no top coat have a lot of glare and reflections, the matte top coat has no glare/reflections, and the nail coated in Wax On has sort of a very faint glare/reflection to it.  See the difference?

(l-r) no top coat, matte top coat, Pretty & Polished Wax On, no top coat

Nice stuff, right?  I thought 16 Candles was super cute and cheery, and the Wax On top coat is an interesting addition to my stash of top coats!

16 Candles and Wax On (along with the rest of the Sweet Sixteen collection, more top coats, bath and body products, a few old favorites from the vault, and new additions to the Pretty & Polished lineup) will be available at the Pretty & Polished online store starting June 7th at 8am EDT!  Polish costs $9 for 15mL and top coats cost $6 for 15mL.  You can get 10% off your order by using my coupon code, SPARKLING10 (valid until June 10, 2013).  Yay!  Be sure to keep up-to-date on the latest Pretty & Polished news by Liking their Facebook page!

What do you think?  Have you checked out Pretty & Polished's new additions?  Will you be buying any?

Products purchased by me during blogger pre-sale