Saturday, December 21, 2013

Snowy Night Sky

It's a very rare day that my husband has any opinion about what I should put on my nails, but I give all of the credit to this manicure to him!

This is the finished product. He wanted something that would be blue and black, like a night sky, with snow falling. I think I got pretty close to his vision! Getting there was pretty messy though...

I started with a single coat of white. This is Formula X in White Matter, and you can see it's not an opaque one coater. But it was good enough to act as a base for what was to come.

Doing a gradient with black is CRAZY MESSY, everyone. Trust me. Use liquid palisade, or tape, or something. Don't be an idiot like me and let it get all over your fingers.

Because even after using way too much acetone to try and clean it up, it's still not actually tidy.
This gradient was done using Formula X Dark Matter and Omni.

Over the gradient, I added a coat of Formula X Wham! I had a little trouble with the bar glitters (what's new?), and actually pulled one off a little later because it was so annoying, but I love the look of it. I just really don't like bar glitter.

This all-Formula X manicure is actually what I wore to an interview at Sephora that went quite well, so thanks to my husband for such a fantastic idea. :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Illamasqua Viridian

I chose this polish from a need for a Christmassy manicure that wouldn't take any work. No nail art, no glitter removal, just something that felt appropriately holiday. And so it was that Illamasqua Viridian went onto my fingers.

In direct light, you can see how green and shimmery it is.

In indirect light, it's a little more teal and blackened on the edges, but it's still not a flat, boring polish by any stretch of the imagination.

This was just two coats of smooth, easy application. Unfortunately, I topped it with my current go-to quick dry polish, Essie Good to Go, and it does NOT play with with Illamasqua apparently! I had shrinkage like crazy, and it was the same when I used it over Glitterati a few weeks ago. Note to self: don't do that again.

And an out of focus shot so you can see how sparkly and gorgeous it is. :)

This is now one of my go-to Christmas polishes for when I want something really easy. What's your favorite easy Christmas manicure?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Red & Silver Dotticure

My roommate's mom visited us a couple weeks ago, and in the one week she was here she bought three bottles of nail polish. She's a woman after my own heart, apparently! When she went back home, she left them here for me.

I can't remember the last time I wore a Sally Hansen polish, but here I am! I figured they were free and already in my home, so I might as well give one of them a shot. I was actually really pleasantly surprised! This is Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle in Stunning Scarlet. It didn't make me feel like my nails were any stronger, but it was opaque in one coat, with zero application problems. It was actually a really lovely polish that I expect to reach for again in the future.
Over it, I dotted patterns vaguely reminiscent of octopi (octopuses?) in Zoya's Trixie.

Here we have the elusive right hand! I actually preferred this hand. Instead of trying to fit one and a half of the designs per nail, I only did one, and it looked a lot cleaner. If I use this pattern again before my nails grow out again, I'll definitely do both hands like this.

This isn't a manicure that really screams "Christmas!!" but I do think it's definitely holiday appropriate. It's only the beginning of December, but I'm already longing for more red and sparkly nail polishes!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eureka! A meteor!

More Formula X! We're having beautifully clear weather this week, so I thought I'd celebrate with a bright color. So out came the pink!

Formula X Eureka. Decent formula, two coats to opacity. Application was a little tricky; going over an area twice tended toward balding. But a thicker second coat helped even it all out.

Meteoric is their black and white glitter. I'm in love with this. No bar glitter! Hooray! You can see on my index finger that there are larger hex pieces in there, but I prefer the thinner coverage on the other nails. There are also tiny holographic sparkles, but these pictures don't capture that. I'll just say this: if you like black and white glitters, get this one. You won't regret it.

The elusive right hand! Just to show the more even coverage across all the nails. No dabbing necessary.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving mani!

We have a Fakesgiving earlier this week while my roommate's mom was here. My husband has to work today, so we'll probably have a Friendsgiving on Saturday. But my nails are rocking and ready to celebrate!

I'm normally not a skittle-y person, but lately I've been feeling it. One color can be so boring, but a color scheme is so much more interesting!

Index and ring fingers are both China Glaze Riveting with a dotty gradient (OPI San-Tantonio, OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys, and China Glaze Harvest Moon). Middle finger is China Glaze Harvest Moon. Ring finger is OPI San-Tantonio plus a layer of China Glaze Electrify.

Since Catching Fire just came out this weekend, it felt appropriate that I used so many polishes from last year's Capitol Colours collection. And by the way, I saw the movie last weekend and it was phenomenal. See it!

You can't see it in any of these photos, but my thumb matches my ring finger. My right hand matches my left hand, and I think I wish I had mixed them up. Using the same patterns, but in a different order. Next time I'll know!

I'm excited that it's finally the holiday season. I love having excuses to be with my favorite people, even though this year it'll be more friends than family. I'm looking forward to many more holiday manis in the next month. Do you match your nails to the season?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Indelible + Layering

Giving Formula X another chance! I decided to try a nice, easy cream. Creams are hard to mess up, and I wanted Formula X to get a chance to impress me after its previous failure. To that end, I picked out Indelible.

Of course, as purples tend to do, it photographed much more blue than it really is. I tried to correct it in the above photo, but it's still not quite right.

Here's how it photographs. It's a great polish! Easy to apply and control; even and opaque at two coats. Definitely one I'll be reaching for again.

But I was bored, so over it I layered Nars Disco Inferno. It was on sale + VIB discount, so I think I paid $4. What a steal!

It's really pretty! Pinky purple flecks, with a green shift from extreme angles that I could not pick up on camera.

But it's definitely a layering polish, and to be honest there's no way I will ever think a layering polish will be worth $19. So I'm glad I have this, but I'm also glad I got it on mega sale.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hard Out Here

This is inspired by Lily Allen's manicure in her newest video, "Hard Out Here." Watch it here!

In the VIB sale I bought the Twenty-Two so I could try out the new Formula X polishes, so I figured I'd use a couple of them to recreate it!
Unfortunately, as soon as I finished this mani I hated it so much I had to take it off. Let's see why!

I started with Radioactive. It's a great color; it's neon, though it doesn't indicate that anywhere. It took three coats to get rid of VNL and it did not dry well. Since it's neon, it dried sort of matte; not completely matte, but sort of waxy. Next time I use it, I'll try to layer it over a white and hope that helps with some of its issues. I will also double up on my base coat, because even taking it off after just a few minutes it was starting to stain.

Over Radioactive I used Need For Speed. This is where it all went from questionable to horrible. As you can see from the bottle I'm holding, it's SILVER... but on the nail, over a green, it's ...bad. Not silver. Sort of gold-y but not really. Really brush stroke-y. Mostly just horribly ugly. Bad. Ew.

I'll try Need For Speed again sometime on its own, but right now I must say that I am not impressed.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I hit VIB last month, so I got to indulge in the Sephora VIB sale for the first time ever! And of course I had to pick up a lot of nail polish... including my first high end brands! I picked up Illamasqua's Glitterati/Viridian duo. My mom said in the bottle she preferred Viridian, but after I put them both on she preferred Glitterati. So here it is for you!

These aren't my best photos ever; my family was staying at my house when I put this on, so I took poorly-lit phone pictures on day 3 of wearing this. But dang is this a pretty bottle. I need a better topcoat; I've been using Essie Good to Go, and it's been shrinking at the cuticles and it didn't quite smooth the glitter out. But that issue aside, this is definitely going to be a favorite fall polish for me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Embellished Naughty Nautical

Essie's Naughty Nautical has quickly become one of my favorite polishes ever. It's a perfect color with an amazing subtle shimmer that keeps it interesting without being over the top. I've worn it several times in the last few months, so I thought I'd spice it up this time!

I used China Glaze Galactic Gray and Cosmic Dust as well as Zoya's Zuza. Zuza and Naughty Nautical are pretty much exactly the same color but with different finishes.

My husband said he definitely preferred the dots to the strips, and I think I agree with him. More dotty gradients are in my future, I think!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Smooth Sailing Away

I'm usually much too lazy for nail art, but I've had a lot of free time lately so I'm trying to get better at it. So when my Portland bestie came over for Thursday morning mimosas & manis, I decided I'd be a little adventurous (possibly helped by the champagne!) and do a gradient. I've always done it the lazy way of only sponging on the second color, but it doesn't turn out as smoothly that way, so this time I actually dotted both colors and swirled them together to sponge. It turned out pretty fantastically if I do say so.

I started with one coat of Essie Smooth Sailing, then sponged a gradient of Smooth Sailing and Milani Sailing Away.

Over the gradient, I put a thin layer of Hard Candy's Black Tie Optional.

I ended up really loving this look! The gradient was subtle and that kept it feeling classy, but the glitter made it interesting. And it was so easy to do, I don't know why I'd been half-assing it this whole time. Never again!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Essie Sole Mate

Sole Mate is one of the very first polishes I ever bought. It's been with me at least since my junior year in college; I don't remember the act of purchasing it, which is crazy for me now! But it predates my nail polish obsession by a fair amount. There's a picture of me floating around somewhere, taken at my parents house, and my nails are super short and bitten with super chipped nail polish -- sole mate! It looks much better now when I wear it.

Two coats, minimal cleanup.

It's a SUPER dark eggplanty purple; it's pretty close to black in most lights. Around the edges you can see the purple, and in the sunlight it's not quite as black. It's also the quintessential Essie formula: slightly jelly, takes a couple coats, super shiny.

These photos are after TEN DAYS. I can't believe I not only didn't change my polish for 10 days, but that they stayed this perfect for that long! Go Essie go!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Alcatraz... Rocks!

I was convinced for a really long time that I hated the textured polish trend. Then I picked up a Sally Hansen textured polish on a whim at Fred Meyer (the one that looks like Sinful Colors Cinderella, I don't remember what it's called), and sort of accidentally fell in love. 
I still don't like the textured creams, but I am apparently a sucker for glittery textured polishes.

So of course I had to pick up Alcatraz Rocks from the OPI San Fran collection. And it's freakin beautiful.

Two coats, no top coat obviously, super easy application, no balding or dragging anywhere. So sparkly! So pretty!

After 5 days, I have some slight tipwear (to be expected, with how much I type and play piano), but it doesn't seem as sparkly. Or as textured. It's like it smooths out over time; it still feels gritty, but not as gritty. It's still sparkly, but not as blingy.

Out of focus so you can see the sparkle!

In summary: this is a glittery textured polish I can really get behind.