Monday, May 28, 2012

Green Snakeskin: Rescue of the Swamp Nails

I wish I could say this manicure was my master plan all along and that I didn't end up with this as a way to try and cover up a massive fail, but that's exactly what this was, a complete rescue mission of a stinker of a manicure.  In the end, I absolutely loved this look.  So much so, that 3 days later when I noticed it starting to chip, I took it off and did the same thing over again!  My stamping on the second round of this mani was actually much straighter and more centered, but I didn't get a chance to take any pictures so these are all from the original manicure.

So, what exactly was the fail that started it all?  I was working on some ideas for the Matte Magic part of the April Showers Bring May Flowers Challenge (which I still have yet to do) and one of the ideas I thought of was to recreate a manicure I've been meaning to do for several months.  One of my absolute favorite bloggers is Amy Grace from The Polished Perfectionist.  Check out her site, but be warned, it will make you jealous!  She was blessed with perfectly shaped nails and has an unbelievable artistic talent for not just nails but also cake making.  Pigs in the Mud...too cute for words!  Anyway, I saw this manicure she did back in October...I know, going way back there Sarah, but this was the post that taught me all things Kleancolor Chunky Holo Black.  I've since gotten the entire Kleancolor Chunky Holo collection thanks to my sister getting the set for me at Christmas.  So even though I had this since December, I had yet to try this particular manicure of Amy Grace's, Chunked Shawn.  It's weird but beautiful weird!  I love all things green and for some reason I especially like the weird shades of green, so this was right up my alley.  Even months later after first seeing it, I can't stop staring.  Unfortunately, my attempt at this simple manicure went south quickly.  In Amy Grace's manicure, the wonderful green base of Zoya Shawn still shows through, but on my nails, I ended up with a brownish-green, swampy mess.  Ewww!

I attribute this to two things basically, one is that even though I only used one coat of Chunky Holo Black, I think I slathered it on way too thick in an attempt to get the glitter just perfect.  The second thing is that I think my bottle could use a few drops of polish thinner.  The base in Chunky Holo Black is this weird brownish-red-olive jelly like color.  So I think the combination of a thick layer of already thick polish is what did me in.

I actually did wear it like this to work last Monday because I just didn't feel like starting all over Sunday night.  But I felt like I wanted to just hide my nails all day long, that's how disappointed I was.  When I got home from work that day, I was trying to figure out what to do and I just kept thinking about how swampy my nails looked.  At some point, my brain made a connection from the swamp to snakes and that was when I remembered the snakeskin pattern in one of my Bundle Monster plate sets.  I decided to stamp using Sally Hansen Color Quick Nail Polish Pen in Green Chrome.  The snakeskin image is from Bundle Monster plate BM-215.  Then I added a layer of Seche Vite top coat to finish.  I love the way the holo glitter flashes in shades of copper and green through the chrome stamping making it look all scaly and reptilian.

So for the past 7 full days, this pattern has been on my nails, including a do-over on Thursday since it was chipping but I couldn't bare to part with it just yet.  I was planning to take it off today, but was feeling lazy and decided to wait until tomorrow.  So this will be a record 8 days for me with the same design.  And some day, with polish thinner by my side, I will attempt Amy Grace's Chunked Shawn again!

Nail Snapshots!

Today I've been catching up on my bloglovin reading list.  For the past 5 days, from Wednesday to Sunday, I've been volunteering at a carnival held every year by my local volunteer fire department, which I am also a member of.  So Wednesday, Thursday and Friday consisted of getting up in the morning to go to my normal job, leaving a little early in the afternoon to have time to change and eat and then working at the carnival until about 11pm or so each night.  Saturday and Sunday I basically slept in as much as possible and then did things like laundry before heading up to the carnival.  That left me with little to no time for anything else really.  So I'm pretty behind as far as my reading up on the blogs I follow, editing pictures and posting to my own blog and last but not least, working on the April Showers Bring May Flowers Challenge.  I hope to get back on track this week though!

One of the things I did run across just now as I was reading posts from the past week is a post by Rebecca Likes Nails on how to add a photo gallery to your blog.  It's super easy to add and the results are pretty cool.  If you click on the link for Snapshot Photo Gallery under my header, you'll be taken to a photo gallery type layout of my blog through blogger that displays all the photos I've ever posted.  Clicking on an image will take you to the original blog post the image is from.  I think this is a great tool and a great way to scan through a blogger's collection of nail art and swatches.

There are several different types of dynamic views available besides snapshot, but snapshot seems to be the one that shows all the images versus just the first image from each post.  You can view the different dynamic views by clicking on the drop down box in the upper left hand corner and choosing one of the different view options.  To get back to the regular blog display, just click on the blog title at the very top left hand corner.

To add this feature, following Rebecca's instructions, all I had to do was go the Pages section of my blogger settings and add a new page, choosing the Web Address option rather than Blank Page.  In the spot for the web address, I entered my blog address plus /view/snapshot at the end (  You can basically do this to any blog set up through blogger.  So if you remember a specific manicure on someone else's blog that you wanted to try but can't find it and don't remember exactly what polishes they may have used in order to use the search box, all you would have to do is type /view/snapshot at the end of their blog address and you'll be able to quickly scroll through all of their pictures to find the post you were looking for.  It's so cool, don't you think!?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spring ASBMF Challenge #7: Glitter Tips!

For part 7 of the ASBMF Challenge, I had a ton of ideas for glitter tips and didn't know what direction to go in.  One of the ideas I had involved using one of the new jelly polishes I had recently received from Birchbox when I bought the Zoya Blogger Collection.  I didn't have a definite plan, I just knew I wanted to try out one of these newbies and thought maybe I could make sort of a glitter tips/glitter sandwich combo out of it.  And that is basically what I ended up with.  It was a lot more subdued than some of the original ideas I had in mind, but I think the end result was a subtle and elegant little manicure.

Out of the three Blogger Collection colors, I decided to use Zoya Belle because it is the most unique jelly out of the three.  It's the most unique jelly I own actually.  The shimmer in it makes it looks not quite as squishy as other jellies, but it's still got a lot of jelly characteristics to it.  Here is three thin coats of Zoya Belle over nothing but Orly Bonder base coat.

You can see there is some visible nail line even with three coats but I think adding a fourth thin coat or having used three thicker coats instead would have taken care of that.  The glitter I decided to use was China Glaze Techno, which is a clear base full of holographic hex glitter and holographic micro glitter.  For application, I just used the bottle's brush to dab the glitter around on the end of each nail.  After it dried, I dabbed the brush around the tips a second time just to get some more hex glitters on there.  Techno right on top of Belle was pretty harsh on the eyeballs, to tell you the truth.  It was "Japanese anime cartoons causing seizures in kids" type harsh.  If I hadn't already considered layering the glitter between the jelly, I probably would have ended up taking it off at that point.  Techno looks great over so many colors, so I'm not really sure what happened when I layered it over Belle that made me dislike it so much, but I think maybe the shimmer in Belle and the holo in Techno just weren't able to play nice with each other.  I wish I had taken a picture of the glitter like that, but it just slipped my mind at the time.  After the second coat of Techno dried, I added two super thin coats of Belle and that just transformed it into something totally different!

Techno was so pretty layered between Belle instead of just layered over it.  You could still see the holo in the glitter come through but without feeling like someone was smacking you in the face with a disco ball.  Here's a reminder of what's yet to come and, as usual, be sure to check out the other ladies who are participating in this challenge!

Hannah from Polished Prisms
Amanda from Mandy's Polish
Heidi from DIY Polish & More
Katee from A Girl and Her Polish
Charlotte from Charlotte's Nails
Tess from Football and Fingernails
Karine from Karinea0a
Victoria from Manicurator
Sharon from What Color is My Coat?
Ashley from One Nail To Another
Dani from Rustic Comfort
Sue from Creative Nail Design by Sue
Amanda from Counting Down to Bliss
Kayono from Neues vom Kellerkind
April from Munia's Nails
Sharra from The Blahg
Jess from Nearly Natural Nails
CR from Color Me Silly
T from Mami Blogs
Alyson from Beads. Nails. Food.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring ASBMF Challenge #6: Ombre

This past Sunday, I worked on my ombre for part 6 of the April Showers Brings May Flowers Challenge.  This also happens to be my first ombre ever.  I wasn't sure how I was going to approach this.  I definitely have enough polishes to have been able to pick 5 different shades of a color to do it that way.  But instead of fumbling through my stash, I opted to try the technique of taking one color and then adding white and black to that color to create different shades.  I ended up picking a color that was rather dark to begin with, Orly Lucky Duck, so I decided to forget about the black polish and just used white to make lighter and lighter shades of green for all my nails.

On my pinkie, I used two coats of Lucky Duck by itself.  To create the lighter shade on my ring finger, I put about 5 or 6 drops of Lucky Duck on a paper plate, then I added a drop or two of Wet n Wild White Creme and mixed it up with an orange stick.  I then took a brush from an empty bottle of Seche Vite and applied the polish to my nail.  For each nail after, I just put less and less Lucky Duck on the plate and more of the White Creme to get each nail lighter than the previous nail.  I did one hand at a time but I actually ended up getting the nails on my right hand to match up almost perfectly to the nails on my left hand.  My pinkies were the only nails that I applied more than one coat of polish, since I was using Lucky Duck straight up.  But I used just one pretty thick coat of polish on the rest of my nails, so that I didn't have to keep mixing more polish for each one.  I put it on so thick though that it actually bubbled quite a bit as it dried.  But amen for Seche Vite, because once I applied  a coat of that, all the bubbles completely vanished!

I have to say I'm pretty shocked how much I love this manicure!  I remember when they first became popular, I would see People Magazine posting photos all the time of celebrities sporting ombre manicures.  For some reason though, I just wasn't into it.  If it wasn't for this challenge, I can't even imagine how long it might have been before I would have finally tried one myself.  But having had this manicure on for about 3 days now, I'm kind of obsessed with it.  I keep looking at my fingers and comparing the shades. It's like walking around with one of those Pantone paint swatch cards strapped to your hand.  It's turned me into a bigger nerd than I already was.  I didn't think that was possible, until I found myself standing at the bathroom counter getting ready for work and started noticing that my middle finger matched the color of the sink, my index finger matched the color my soap dish..."I wonder which nail matches the wall color?"  Wow!  Stop Sarah, just stop.  Put your hands in your pockets and walk slowly out of the bathroom!  The point is that even though an ombre manicure is a pretty basic concept, it's far from boring.  

I'll definitely have to try ombres again.  But next up for the ASBMF Challenge is glitter tips!

Check out the other ladies participating in this challenge!

Hannah from Polished Prisms
Amanda from Mandy's Polish
Heidi from DIY Polish & More
Katee from A Girl and Her Polish
Charlotte from Charlotte's Nails
Tess from Football and Fingernails
Karine from Karinea0a
Victoria from Manicurator
Sharon from What Color is My Coat?
Ashley from One Nail To Another
Dani from Rustic Comfort
Sue from Creative Design by Sue
Amanda from Counting Down to Bliss
Kayono from Neues vom Kellerkind
April from Munia's Nails
Sharra from The Blahg
Jess from Nearly Natural Nails
CR from Color Me Silly
T from Mami Blogs
Alyson from Beads. Nails. Food.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Olé Caliente and Connect the Dots

This is just a quick mani I put together Thursday night.  I was getting bored with the rainbow manicure I did for the ASBMF Challenge but didn't feel like messing about with my ombre yet, since I'd never done one.  So I reached for an untried polish that I had recently bought, Essie Olé Caliente.  It was almost a one coater but I ended up using two just to even everything out.  Then I added a layer of Lynnderella Connect the Dots.

I wasn't going to do a post on this but there were two things about this manicure that made me decide to post and they both revolve around the fact that Olé Caliente is super pigmented!  I had Olé Caliente on my nails for almost two hours before I decided to do some layering with Connect the Dots, so it had been dry for a while.  But when I was adding Connect the Dots, the coloring from Olé Caliente started bleeding onto the white glitter and even transferred a little onto the brush, which I then had to clean.  It was much more noticeable in person than in the pictures, but you can definitely see the color smeared over the big white glitter on my index finger and in a couple spots on my middle and ring fingers also.  After I did my left hand, I decided to put some Seche Vite top coat on the nails on my right hand before adding Connect the Dots.  With a layer of top coat over Olé Caliente, I had no problems whatsoever when applying the glitter on my right hand, compared to my left.  Today, when I took this manicure off, there was some staining on my nails but honestly, not as much as I expected.  But the polish did a number on my skin when I was removing it.  My fingers looked like I had dipped them in Kool-Aid!  I think I spent more time cleaning the stains off my hands than I did getting the polish and glitter off my nails.  This still was a great color and formula wise, it was a breeze to work with when applying.  I'll just have to remember to add top coat to it first if I ever try to layer over it again, and to make sure I have extra time available for clean up when it's time to take it off.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Zoya Blogger Collection

So this post is a little overdue.  I received my Zoya Blogger Collection about 9 days ago, but it took me three attempts at pictures over the past week and a half to get the lighting right for these bottle shots to even come close to showing the beauty of these colors.  The Blogger Collection is a collaboration between Zoya and Birchbox, both of which I've mentioned several times on my blog.  I don't remember exactly how long ago it was, but I did participate in voting on the mood boards, created by bloggers, in order to choose the colors for this collection.  When the winners were chosen and the collection came out, I almost didn't order it.  But I quickly realized the colors were all jellies and two out of the three are like nothing I already have.  So then it didn't take long for me to place my order.  The set is $22, which is actually a couple dollars less than what you would normally pay for 3 bottles of Zoya, and Birchbox is offering free shipping on this collection.  Plus, I had some Birchbox points saved up on my account, so when I applied them to my order, it took 10 dollars off and this little set of lovelies became mine for just 12 bucks!

The blogs whose mood boards won are blogs I'm sorry to say I'm not familiar with.  All three blogs are full-on beauty blogs and I tend to lean more towards nail polish specific blogs.  But if you're an avid beauty blog reader, I would be sure to check out the three blogs behind these polish creations.  Coraline is a "warm juicy tangerine" inspired by the mood board designed by Eleventh Gorgeous.  I don't have any true orange jellies, so I'm happy to own this one.  Kate is a "pinkish grapefruit" based on the mood board designed by The Small Things.  This reminds me of a few of the OPI Texas sorbets but I haven't compared them yet.  Regardless, it's a gorgeous color!  And Belle is a "a coppery pink which features microscopic bits of iridescent glitter" created from the mood board designed by Captiol Hill Style.  That's right, it's a jelly with shimmer!  I'm most excited about this one!  Belle is definitely unique compared to any jellies I currently own.

I can't wait to try these out.  I wanted to try them as soon as I got them, but I was in the middle of working on ideas for my Rainbow After the Rain manicure and these didn't fit in with that.  But after I do my ombre for part 6, I'm thinking I might try to incorporate one of these in the glitter tips part of the ASBMF Challenge.

One of the other great things about this set was that once I ordered, I was able to forward a copy of the confirmation email to Zoya and I received 200 points towards my Zoya Share the Love points total.  The Zoya Blogger Collection is still available for purchase through Birchbox but I'm not sure if the Share the Love points are still available for redemption on this collection.  They had posted on Facebook on April 27th, that you had until midnight that night to set up an account with Zoya, if you didn't already have one, in order to redeem the 200 points.

If you're not familiar with the Share the Love Program, it's basically a system where you can get rewarded by Zoya for referring your friends and family to sign up with Zoya.  Speaking of which, if any of you do not already have an account with Zoya, but have been thinking about it, now is a great time to sign up.  If you click on my personal link and set up an online account (click "create an account" at the very top once you follow my link), a coupon for a FREE Bottle of Zoya Nail Polish will automatically be placed in your new account and can be used immediately on a current order.  TIP: If you use this coupon and add 2 more polishes to your order, you get free shipping too!  The coupon will appear in the "My Coupons/ Promos" section of your "My Account" Page.


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