Monday, April 30, 2012
Good morning (if it is still morning where you are) lovely readers. I'm struggling with things like post titles today. Oh well. I'm also struggling with the dry dry California weather and the dry dry dry ex-fruit packing shed we were doing the opera in... so my cuticles have been getting terribly dry, and since I've been just a smidge nervous lately, it's been hard not to pick at them. I doused them with Burt's Bees lemon cuticle butter last night and again this morning, and they're still looking dry. Argh!
Anyway, ignore the questionable cuticles.
We had a couple of surprise rainy April days last week, so I painted my nails with some rain-appropriate colors. Of course, it's already sunny again (expect holos soon!), but I had to take advantage of it while it lasted... This manicure wore surprisingly well (for me!) and I think these pictures are from day 3 or 4. I can tell where I missed topcoat around the edges of my nails, because that's where the polish chipped off.
I started with three (I think?) coats of Butter London Lady Muck over my usual Sinful Colors Basecoat (not pictured). I stamped with Bundle Monster Image Plate BM212 and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Silver Sweep with the little peacock-eye-esque pattern. For accent nails, I blobbed out a bit of Nicole by OPI Make U Smile (sigh, I know, Justin Bieber nail polish... I am ashamed...) and fished out individual silver sequins with a toothpick and put them in the middle of each "eye" from the stamped pattern. I topped everything off with NYC Grand Central Station for topcoat.
I really love how this turned out. I suppose it would be easier if I bought a little dish of loose glitter to use for applications like this rather than fishing them out of this nail polish. Do any of you use loose glitter for your nail art?
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Hello, lovely readers! A quick post before I run off to yet another opera performance... I'm not in this one, just running the supertitles. I kind of wish I was performing, the costumes are brilliant.
Case in point.
Anyway, last weekend the boyfriend and I went to a big farmer's market and swap meet with a mutual friend. We picked up lots of fresh veggies and made a lovely dinner... but while I was there, I noticed a huge number of vendors selling Kleancolor polish for a dollar. I was looking for Chunky Holo Black, but I didn't find it...
Instead I picked up Chunky Holo Bluebell. I decided to layer it over an orange polish (it matched my outfit), but sadly the duochrome glitters didn't show up so well. I might have to try layering it over a darker color next time.
For this manicure, I used 3 coats of Zoya Gwin followed by one coat of Kleancolor Chunky Holo Bluebell... one environmentally responsible polish and one horrible one. I used a quick-dry topcoat, but the Kleancolor polish didn't want to dry once that was on. I think I should wait before applying topcoat next time.
OK, I'm off to opera land. Hope your weekend is fabulous!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Hello, lovely readers! Technically it is still Wednesday where I live, and since I've gotten very little else done today (Getting home from a dress rehearsal at 1 AM will do that for you!) I figured I should at least upload a new blog post.
Today, I'm sharing my strategy for keeping track of my nail polish collection.
For my swatches, I use these nail art wheels from Sally Beauty. There might be a better option, but these are easy to find, and they stack pretty compactly. I organize my polishes by color. I have wheels for red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black/white/grey, and silver. Duochromes live wherever they seem to fit best.
The initial swatching took a while (although when I purchased these wheels, my collection wasn't too big), and now I just add new colors as I buy them. I like to swatch each polish to full opacity, although that's not really possible with some glitter polishes and special effects topcoats. For colors that I know won't reach full opacity without a minor miracle, I like to leave the swatch at 1 coat, so that I know what the payoff will be.
I like my little swatch wheels because they enable me to look through my colors quickly and accurately. I can also "try on" colors when I'm being indecisive by holding the fake nail over my nail bed. This is particularly useful when a friend comes over and wants to paint her nails with one of the colors from my collection... not an uncommon occurance!
Here's one of my less populated plates laid out with its corresponding polishes. I numbered the individual colors with a fine point Sharpie, but my organizational strategy ended there. If I was more organized, my bottles might have corresponding numbers, or I might have my polish archived in a spreadsheet. Instead, I use the numbers to choose colors when I'm being indecisive-- This method involves me calling to Boyfriend, "Pick a number between 1 and 13!" or something similar and then using whichever polish is assigned to that number.
And there you have it, that's my ever-so unscientific method of keeping track of my nail polish. Do you have a polish organization and swatching strategy?
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Good morning, and happy Saturday! We've made it to the weekend... hooray. Now I have to try to make it through to next weekend... oh boy. I'll do my best to make it through.
Today's nails are inspired by Simply Rins' Daisy nail art tutorial. I used nail polish instead of acrylic paints, mostly because I don't have any acrylic paints. My daisies are a bit more.... um... it's a creative interpretation of the "daisy" concept.
I think they looked OK in person, and I got quite a few compliments. Up close, they're a bit on the spiky side, but from a distance I guess they looked a little more like flowers.
Here's another photo, a bit more zoomed out. They still look kind of funky, huh? Well, you'll just have to take my word for it: even if your daisies look like the got run over by a herd of cows, people will still compliment you on how amazing they look, so really, you should give it a try.
(Fun costume ring was an $8 buy at the local antiques mall. It doesn't match at ALL, but it's what I was wearing...)
I started with my Sinful Colors Basecoat, followed by two coats of Essie Coat Azure, a beautiful medium blue with a touch of shimmer. I drew the flower petals with a thin brush and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On, and I created the centers with a combination of Zoya Pippa and Sinful Colors Pull Over. I topped it all off with NYC Grand Central Station.
If you want to try this design out yourself, I highly recommend you go look at the amazingly talented Rina's tutorial HERE.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Hello there, readers! The other day I realized that I haven't done any stamping in a while (too stressed, too busy) and I decided that it was time to fix that! The warm and sunny spring weather has finally returned here in California, so I decided to pick some bright springy colors to match.
I had a heck of a time getting the color balance right... these photos were NOT cooperating! I think it might be the spot I chose to shoot in. I've used this backdrop before in the earlier days of the blog (here for example) quite successfully, but I think it may just bounce the light too oddly for sunny days. Oh well... that's what I get for being to lazy to traipse outdoors to my usual picture spot.
I used my Sinful Colors Basecoat, followed by two coats of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lickety-Split Lime. I stamped using that odd leaf pattern on BM205 and China Glaze Holly-Day. Holly-Day actually works pretty darn well for stamping over lighter colors. I used NYC Grand Central Station as my topcoat. I still need to do a topcoat review, don't I? Hmm...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Why hello there, readers! I know what you're thinking, two posts in two days, it's a sign of the apocalypse. I would like to assure you that it isn't (I think. I haven't seen any horsemen go by...) and introduce a new weekly (I hope!) feature to my blog. Starting now, I will post a "Works for Me Wednesday" post every Wednesday (whaddaya know?)... an idea borrowed from Bake at 350 and I'm sure many other blogs which may have originated at We are That Family... anyway, it's alliterative and clever sounding and should be fun. Some of these will be nail polish tips, some will be beauty or baking or random things... but it's a way for me to make sure I blog a little more often and share some different things with you.
I hope you like it!
Today I'd like to share with you my nail polish cleanup method. There are dozens of tutorials out there (Lacquerized has a fabulous one HERE, Polish or Perish has one HERE) but I thought I'd add my own, because... well, I have a nail polish blog!
If you have struggled with neatening up your manicure using Q-tips or other blunt objects, this may be just the trick for you.
You will need:
- Nail Polish Remover (I like the plain ol acetone sort)
- a small glass dish (Mine was $1.99 at Sally's, in the acrylic nail section. A small glass candleholder from goodwill would work well, too. You could just dip your brush in the bottle of remover, but mine eventually wants to go swimming, so I don't do that any more.)
- a small brush with moderately stiff bristles (I think mine came in a makeup brush kit, and since I never used it, it became my nail polish brush)
The brush is probably the most important bit of this. Mine has stiff bristles a little less than a centimeter long. You don't want a brush that fans out too much, or else it will smudge into your nail polish.
|Nail art inspired by Simply Rins... It will get a post of its own.|
I like to do my cleanup after I have all my coats of polish on, including topcoat, and once my nails are nearly dry. To remove excess polish, simply dip your brush in the remover, then "paint" along the cuticle where you want your polish removed.
It helps to contort your hands into odd positions. It also helps if your hair gets in your face while you are concentrating.
For highly pigmented colors, you may want to wipe your brush off on scrap paper or a napkin every few strokes to avoid staining.
And that's it! At first, it's easy to take off more polish than you mean to, but with practice it gets easier. You'll probably want to moisturize as soon as you finish, since the acetone can be very drying on your cuticles.
What works for you? How do you clean up your manicures?
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Good morning, lovely readers. It's been almost a week since I posted something! Yikes! And this is actually the polish I had on before Easter, so it's been a while since I managed to take pictures of my nails. I've tried to paint them once or twice in the past week, but I've lost my favorite clean-up brush, and I keep running out of time to do everything I want to.
Anyway. Today's polish is China Glaze Ray-Diant from the newish Prismatic Chroma Glitters. Honestly, I wasn't very taken with the collection, and probably wouldn't have bought this polish. But since I got it as a bonus sorry-your-order-took-so-long polish, I figured I might as well try wearing it.
I don't remember if I used two or three coats for the pictures, but this is a pretty opaque polish. It's also really sandpapery on its own and needs some extra topcoat... I think I used two coats of NYC instead of one.
I like Ray-Diant better in person than I do in swatches because it looks a little greener and a little less multicolored. I couldn't pick up any of the duochrome, though, as much as I tried.
I'll be back with more posts soon, really!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Greetings dear readers! Today I have yet another outfit along with my nails, shocking though that is. I hope that the gorgeousness of the polish makes up for all of these off-topic posts! ;)
Today I have for you China Glaze 2NITE from the OMG collection. It's a sort of medium periwinkle/sky blue with a crazy holographic rainbow effect. I used 3 coats here with no topcoat over the Sinful Colors basecoat, and didn't really have any problems with the application.
I figured that Easter was as good a day as any to wear something so bright and colorful. Besides, it was a good way to take advantage of the warm sunny weather! As I type this, it's raining outside again. Hmmm...
Here's my Easter outfit, as photographed by my lovely boyfriend. We stopped by Starbucks after church for a quick coffee pick-me-up and to enjoy the weather before heading to his aunt's house for dinner. I'm wearing the least expensive dress I own and the first pair of heeled sandals I've found that fit my silly feet. And more rag curls! They do so make me happy.
Dress: Weave thrift (for $3.50!)
Earrings: 57th Street Antiques mall
Lucite & plastic bangles: Goodwills & 57th Street
Necklace: Gift from a friend
Sandals: Nicole's Shoes (last fall on sale)
The polish was almost the same color as my dress (in the shade, anyway) which made me very happy.
Summer calls for more holographic polishes. Are you listening, nail polish companies? I want rainbows!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Good morning, dear readers, and Happy Easter!
I hadn't been planning on blogging today, it being Easter and all, but I made a happy little discovery last night, and I had to share it with someone, so of course on the blog it goes! I promise this blog won't turn into a fashion or vintage blog, but hey, it's my blog and occasionally shiny things which are not nail polish turn up and I am distracted.
As I've been getting more interested in classic silhouettes and vintage clothing, I've seen lots of things about Bakelite jewelry, mostly bangles and the like. I thought the concept was pretty neat, and I loved the idea of being able to look through unassuming plastic jewelry and literally sniff out pieces that were 70-100 years old. Besides, they're bright and colorful and make a very satisfying clunking sound when they tap together, not a tinny plastic-y sound.
Anyway. I decided to bite the bullet and buy a single tiny bangle from 57th Street Antiques Mall so I'd have a piece for reference, so I went in and looked around and bought the cheapest bangle I could find. Yay, my first Bakelite!
So fast forward several weeks, and yesterday I was wearing this amber-colored choker necklace I have. It belonged to a family friend's great aunt, and she (the friend, not the aunt) let me go through a big box of costume jewelry that was left and pick out any pieces I wanted. I don't wear it very much, because I don't wear much orange, but it matches a new pair of sandals I bought so I was finally wearing it.
When I was changing back into comfy clothes yesterday evening, I took off the necklace and was thinking it was rather heavy for how small it was, and the beads made a nice low clicking sound, and after I'd been holding it in my hands for a minute I gave it a cursory whiff and immediately went "Yuck! ....ooooh!" (the typical reaction?) and scurried off to hold it under warm water for better confirmation of the smell.
A quick google search later and I'd found several examples of Bakelite beads in the same style, and even an almost-identical necklace selling for $250.
I don't have any of the other products also used to confirm Bakelite from impostors, but I'm pretty sure this is it anyway. When I looked closer I also could see that each bead was slightly different and that the carved designs have some tiny flaws.
So maybe the bangle wasn't my first Bakelite jewelry after all. Huh.
Since I was looking at my costume jewelry, I poked around into my bead box where I had a pile of green beads waiting to be restrung. They had been on a memory wire coil bracelet (received years ago from the same friend), but the coil was too small for my wrist and the ends dug in painfully whenever I tried to wear it. I picked up a few of the green beads and ran those under hot water too.
Yuck! Smelly! Awful!
...More Bakelite? A quick Google confirmed that memory wire bracelets of this style did indeed exist. I restrung it onto beading filament, which didn't even use up all the beads. (Bonus! Matching earrings!)
I assume the original color of the Bakelite matched the green spacers much better. Now that it has a yellowed patina, they don't look quite right. I thought about restringing the piece with gold-colored spacer beads, but I didn't have enough gold jewelry findings, and I don't wear gold much anyway.
So that is my Bakelite story. It's always exciting to discover that you already have some little treasures in your own collection.
Friday, April 6, 2012
|Outdoors, open shade|
Hello, lovely readers, how are you doing today?
Today's nails and outfit were planned around my most recent shoe acquisition. I went shopping with a friend who needed brown shoes to go with a brown dress for a vocal competition (and let's not talk about how the vocal competition went, I'm still annoyed...) and I spotted this pair of bright pink pumps in my size and they just had to come home with me.
|Full disclaimer: DSW bag contains Boyfriend's purchases|
I decided to wear the shoes and matching nails out shopping with the Boyfriend. The spring weather here has been pleasantly breezy and sunny and generally pleasant. I'm not too eager for the summer to start, although I would like it very much if the trees stopped blooming so aggressively. So this was my very simple outfit. I'm wearing...
Skirt: Handmade by moi
Shoes: Nicole's Shoes
I compared my nail polish swatch wheel with my shoes, and thought that Color Club Warhol from the Poptastic collection looked like the closest match. It turns out that the polish is much more neon than the shoes, so I toned it down with a glass-flecked gradient to darken the color some.
|Indoors, compact fluorescent|
Do you match your nails with your outfit? What do you choose to match?
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Good morning, lovely readers! I don't have a nail design for you today, but I do have some very exciting nail mail...
|2NITE - Ray-diant - LOL|
It only took forever to get here! I ordered these from City Nails Supplies, which seems to be raising its prices when it realizes people want to buy these... They were $9.99 when I bought them, and seem to be $12.99 now. It's still better than eBay scalper prices! I wanted to be selfish and not share the link until I had bought all the colors I wanted (I want FYI and DV8 too!), but I think my budget and I may have to settle for these two. Ray-diant seems to have been thrown in as an extra because my order took so long to get here. I actually emailed City Nails Supplies and asked them where my order was, because it said it was shipped and never got here... and this package appeared on my doorstep two days later! So I suppose it all worked out.
Also, a recipe! I've already shared this with the group of bloggers who are trying to lose weight, but I figured I'd post it on here, too.
This is sort of healthy-ish baked mac and cheese type thing.
You will need:
10 oz cooked miniature pasta (I use Barilla Piccolini white high in fiber pasta)
1/4 medium onion
1 oz turkey kielbasa (for flavor)
2 large mushrooms (or maybe 3 medium-y ones?)
1 stalk broccoli
a splash (1/4 cup-ish) white wine (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk (2% or lower)
2 oz + 1 oz cheese (I used 2 of cheddar, 1/2 of parmesan, and 1/2 of provalone)
Salt, pepper, and spices to taste.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees and putting your pasta in a large bowl. I like doing this with leftover pasta.
Chop up your onion, kielbasa, and mushrooms into small pieces. Put them in a pan with a smidgen of your butter and cook over medium heat until the mushrooms and onions are about done.
Rinse the broccoli and chop it into small florets. Add the broccoli and a splash of wine to the pan to deglaze and slightly pre-cook the broccoli... you might also sprinkle a bit of salt in here. As soon as most of the wine is gone (30 seconds- 1 minute), pour the veggies over the pasta.
Return the pan to the heat, and add the remaining butter and the minced garlic. Once the butter has melted and the garlic is lightly cooked and heavenly smelling, whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour. Whisk to incorporate the flour. Then slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go. The sauce may get a bit curdly at this point, but don't worry. Pour slowly and keep whisking, and it should eventually come together as a smooth sauce. Add 2 ounces of cheese to this, reserving the last ounce for topping. Taste the sauce and adjust for salt and spices. I like to add pepper, paprika, and tumeric--a very small bit of tumeric gives a nice yellow color without altering the flavor much.
Pour the hot cheese sauce over the vegetables and noodles and toss to coat. Pour the whole mixture into an 8x8 square pan or something else big enough to hold it all. Sprinkle the last ounce of grated cheese over the top.
Pop the whole thing into the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese while you set the table and pour yourself a glass of water.
Makes 4 servings, 340 calores each.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Good morning, lovely readers! I must warn you that your hair is on fire and your shoe is untied... you really should check on that.
Today I have some pre-recital nails for you. I decided to try a few of my purple holo polishes together for my manicure to celebrate the few days of sunny weather (a side note, more sunny weather and more holo polishes coming soon!)
A sunny shot at a funny angle (it was late afternoon by the time I took these pictures) to show you the pretty rainbow colors. I was really hoping the dark purple would be more glittery, but unfortunately it isn't as bold on the nail as it is in the bottle.
I used Love & Beauty, Forever21's nail polish, in Purple/Multi (creative names, huh?) and Sally Hansen Nail Prisms Amethyst Diamond. I painted about three coats of Purple/Multi, and one thin coat of Amethyst Diamond over on my accent nails, leaving a little half-moon contrast bare.
I wish the Purple/Multi was as sparkly on the nail as it is in the bottle! Sadly, most of the holographic particles seem to be stuck to the sides of the bottle... :/