Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pretty Cuticles- how do you get them? With Sally Hansen products!

I am still sick today, so please be patient. I'll get the tutorial up as soon as I can, but for now you get to read about cuticle cream. It's still good stuff!

Cuticles- something I never thought about (except when they were torn or bleeding) until I started blogging. The best I could say about them is that they were cuticles, and they gave me strong nails. But pretty? Hardly.

Then I started seeing pictures on blogs of people with gorgeous cuticles, and I wondered how I could get mine to look like those. Then I got a package in the mail from Sally Hansen with both gel cuticle remover and cuticle massage cream. After using them for a few weeks, I'm seeing a remarkable change in my cuticles!

I started with the Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover. This stuff is sweet. Goes on easily and removes gobs of ick. I was absolutely stunned at how much nicer my nails looked once I'd used this!  So much of the dry, icky parts were gone, and what was left was so much prettier!

Then it was time to moisturize. I started using the Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream, cautiously. I'm incredibly sensitive to smell, so any creams that go on my hands have the potential to give me a massive migraine headache, complete with temporary blindness in one eye, vomiting, and wishing for death. Even smells I like can do this, so you can see why I 'm careful about smelly things!

Thankfully, this cream is lightly scented and very pleasant, without causing any negative issues for me like asthma or migraines. Instead, I get a lovely hint of light, clean, with a hint of fruitiness? (Yes, I've got the open container just under my nose and I'm sniffing as I write. It's as strange-looking as it sounds, and I'm glad no one is here with a camera to take a picture of it!)

It's odd, because this cream absorbs so completely that it doesn't really seem that moisturizing. My cuticles don't seem dry, exactly, but they don't seem any more moist than usual. And yet they're smoother, healthier than I've seen them in years. I have to assume it's because of the cream I've been applying 3-4 times daily. It feels so wonderful to massage in, too, so it's not like I'm having to do something unpleasant. It's like a tiny 2 minute break that soothes me, and reminds me of nice things. Add in healthy-looking cuticles? I'm SO there!

So there you go, how I healed my cuticles in 2 weeks. They're looking so much nicer now that I can't wait to see what they look like in 2 more weeks! What do you use for your cuticles? What have you found that works for you?
Products were provided by Sally Hansen PR for evaluation.
See my disclosure statement for more information. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

I have the death, so look at these pretty tests...

I am working on a stamped gradient right now. Unfortunately, I seem to have caught a little bug. In other words, I'm sick as a dog, and can barely stay awake to crop pictures and write. I'm planning to have the tutorial up tomorrow, if all goes well. Until then, look  at these lovely marbled tests I did.

Sinful Colors polishes- Dream On (purple), Love Nails (blue), and Happy Ending (green), plus a bit of Art Deco white. These were applied in lines then swirled together.

I was stunned at how well this came out. In person, it looks almost like the inside of a shell, with the nacreous Mother of Pearl lining swirled inside. There is so much shimmer in these that getting a good photo was difficult, as you can see by the photo on the right.

Same colors again, minus the white. Harder to see, and harder to photograph. Still, it's sweet. I like them!

So yea, I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nail Art Samples... I couldn't make up my mind!

Last night was frustrating. I wanted to do my nails, but I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. Even a quick look-through of my inspirations folder did nothing for me. I started three designs and gave up on all of them because my nails just weren't cooperating. Then Magic_Maid inspired me with a comment about trying a sponged gradient. She's nervous about doing it, so I thought this would be a perfect time to try making my first tutorial.

I will be, as well, except that as soon as I finished taking the pictures of the finished tests, I was so sleepy that I crashed hard. At the moment, all I have are sample pics, but I think they have value on their own, so this will be the preliminary to the tutorial. When you want to do something, do a test first!

That first image is the first design I fiddled with. It's got potential, but I'm not terribly thrilled with it. I'll think about it for a while, let it kick around in my mind. Next, I tried doing a gradient without using the sponges. That would be the pic to the left of this paragraph. It's definitely interesting, and I may keep this method in mind if I want to do firey nails anytime soon. But as for this as a gradient? I'm not sure about it...

The colors are still fairly linear- you can see a band of red, a band of orange, and then a band of yellow. This just isn't what I want. I want a smooth transition from bright yellow down to sparkly red. So, I grabbed my makup sponge and did test #2.

See the difference? This one is smoother through the colors, although it's still heavy on the red. But I think I'm getting closer to what I wanted. Tomorrow will be a test of not only sponging this style/gradient but also of cleanup. I don't want to have to spend hours cleaning my cuticles of sponged polish.

So, I'll have someone take pictures for me while I paint my nails in this pattern, and hopefully soon I'll have my first tutorial up. I've been writing tutorials for years for various techniques and procedures, so this should be a lot of fun for me. Hopefully it will be useful for you, as well!

Until next time!
   <3 Laynie

PS: Please fill out my little survey, if you haven't already. If nothing else, it lets me know what people enjoy, and what people could do without. I'm enjoying everything, but I also want to be read. For those who have filled it out, thank you thank you thank you! :D

Some polishes were provided by the companies' PR for evaluation.
See my disclosure statement for more information. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quick Layniefingers Post- Share Your Opinions!

I've been having so much fun writing here, but now I want to see what you're enjoying. Or, you know, not enjoying. So I've put together a few questions that I'd really like you to answer. It will only take a few minutes, and it will not only make me happy, it could make the blog even more fun for you to read!

Thanks in advance!
      <3 Laynie

Simple Storage for Tiny Nail Art Supplies

Let's be honest- if you're into doing nail art at home, you've probably got a bunch of supplies that you're not quite sure how to store. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of conversations all over the web about how people store their nail art items, brushes and polishes, striping tape and rhinestones. Many  people use a carousel or a rhinestone case to store their rhinestones and other tiny decorative items. The problem is that these can be hard to find locally, and expensive to buy online once you pay for shipping.

I ran into this problem with my order from Viva la Nails. They have so many fun things for your nails, but they come packaged in tiny bags. This is great, because it's a low cost way to package the items, and those low prices get passed on to you when you buy. However, trying to use the items from their little baggies is a pain in the butt! What to do, what to do...

Well, I found a cheap solution that works like a dream. I was shopping in Walgreens yesterday when I saw it- a medicine organizer! Most of the time these are fairly expensive, but Walgreens has simple translucent seven-compartment pill organizers for $0.99! I think it's perfect for the job because the compartments close securely, are transparent, and are the perfect size. I don't have to worry about them popping open and spilling tiny bits everywhere, and I was even able to label the back with where they came from!

To label the back, I cut the label away from one of the small bags and used clear tape to affix it to the back of the pill organizer. This way, I don't have to rely on memory to know where the goodies came from! I can easily open one compartment, use a picker to grab a single rhinestone or whatever, without having to worry about things sticking to the adhesive strip on the baggie or spilling it everywhere. I love my little organizer, and it's totally worth the $0.99 I paid for it!

What about you? How do you store your tiny bits for nail art? Leave me a comment, I love learning new ways to do things!

Nail art supplies were provided by Viva la Nails for evaluation.
See my disclosure statement for more information. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nail Art Take Two- A Simple Design Using Sinful Colors Dream On

Yesterday I showed a very simple nail art design using Sinful Colors' Dream On, a warm fluorescent purple polish. Because I paired it with silver, the overall effect was very cool-toned. However, by swapping the silver for gold I can make the same polish look warm and rich. It's fun!

Just like yesterday, I used my base coat and then two coats of Dream On. But instead of silver, I wanted to try a warmer look. I grabbed a gold Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen, thinking it would complement the purple nicely. (That's color theory for you... but that's a completely new topic all together!)

I'd learned something about these pens yesterday. They don't contain traditional nail polish, which makes using them a bit different. The key to using these is to let the base polish dry thoroughly- if they're tacky at all, the pens won't slide over the polish. Instead, they catch and basically put dots and dents into the polish, which is the opposite of what I was going for. However, once the base polish is dry, they slide across the nail leaving a beautiful line of solid color.

I drew a diagonal line across my nails from one corner of my free edge to the opposite "corner" at my cuticle. That alone took a bit of effort, since I was working with my left hand! But patience is key, and I was able to sketch out a basically-straight line eventually. I then slowly filled in each bottom half, leaving a solid gold portion on each nail. The pen did get kind of dry periodically, but I would press the nib into the pen again (like when you first start using it) to get the paint flowing again.

Because of the way the gold goes on it gets a dimensional look, almost like gold leaf. It's absolutely gorgeous. At that point, I thought about several options- stamping on top, maybe drawing flowers on the purple side. But the more I looked at it, the more I liked the simplicity of the purple and the gold together. I finally decided to add three dots of gold in the far purple corner as a simple accent. This way there was something to connect the two visually, but not enough to totally overwhelm the design. A coat of topcoat and this look was done!

As you can see, this is a very simple look that completely changed the overall tone of the Dream On. With the gold, it seems warmer, richer. It was a lot of fun to hold my hands side by side and compare the looks, too! I had to put the two side-by-side so that you could compare them as well... isn't the difference cool?

So, what do you think? Do you prefer the wintery silver accents or the summery gold? Do you think you'll be experimenting with color combinations in the future? If you do, leave me a comment, I'd love to see what you do!

Nail art pens were provided by PR for evaluation.
See my disclosure statement for more information. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Purple Filigree Nail Art- Two Ways To Wear Sinful Colors Dream On

I have to be honest for a minute here... I don't usually think about the different ways polishes can be worn, and how that changes the way they look. The nail art you use on top of a nail polish can actually make the color look totally different! As an example of this, I've got two looks to show you over the next couple of days using Sinful Colors' Dream On.

By itself, Dream On is a fabulous neon purple, warm and rich color that's so intense it gives full coverage with just one coat. (This means it's an absolute dream to stamp with, too!) I did two coats because I'm not the neatest when it comes to application. It dried in no time, as neons do, to a very matte, almost plastic-looking finish. It's an interesting look, but I wasn't ready to stop there.

I'd received a wonderful package of Nail Art Pens to evaluate from the folks at Sally Hansen, and I thought this was absolutely the perfect time to test them out. I used two different metallic pens, one on each hand. I chose silver for my left hand, and thoughtfully doodled gentle swirls and dots to create a filigree effect. The Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens are really good for this if you happen to make a mistake, since they wipe off easily without affecting the base polish. I wiped off several nails' worth of mistakes! Finally I had a filigree pattern I was happy with, but I realized I wasn't finished yet.

I decided to pull out the package of nail art goodies I got from Viva la Nails to see if there was anything that would happen to work with these colors. Sure enough, there was a package of tiny blue faceted rhinestones that I felt would accentuate the swirls perfectly.

I pulled out my topcoat and dabbed a tiny bit onto a spot, then used a manicure stick to pick up a single stone and press it into the sticky spot. I made sure to apply a good bit of pressure to ensure a good bond between the stone and the polish. Then I started the process again, continuing until I had three stones per nail in varying positions. I feel like this created a fun, whimsical effect to the design that really made me smile. This would also work with clear diamond-like stones, or with silver studs. I'd LOVE to do it again with silver studs!

A final coat of topcoat on top finished things off. I really like the look of this, and it cooled off the warm tones of Dream On significantly. I used the gold nail art pen on my right hand in a totally different pattern, and you'll get to see that one tomorrow. It's been fun to see the two contrasting patterns and to see how different they look side by side.

One problem with this look, though, is that my son's school called today to have us come pick him up early. This means I had to go to my son's school wearing my totally different nails, sign him out, and let everyone see my totally different designs on both hands! Honestly, I don't think anyone noticed, but I was definitely self-conscious about it! I get silly about the weirdest things!

So the next time you look at your polishes with an intent to do some nail art, think about the different ways you could combine things to create a whole new look. Keep an open mind, be willing to experiment, and most of all have fun! It's nail polish, after all... it's supposed to be fun!

Nail art pens were provided by PR for evaluation.
See my disclosure statement for more information. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Simple Nail Art Using Stuff In My Purse

Have I ever mentioned that I have a short attention span? Not all the time... sometimes I can sit and focus on one thing for hours at a time. But I like to be doodling at the same time, either sketching on paper or sometimes on my jeans or my shoes. Last night it just happened to be my nails I was doodling on.

I'd gotten some nail art pens to play with, and so right before I was ready to walk out the door, I decided to throw on a coat of silver nail polish using my Sally Hansen Color Quick Chrome in Silver. These pens are sort of strange at first, but I quickly got the hang of it. It's important to get enough polish into the brush. Otherwise, you end up with lots of problems with the polish drying in the brush and smearing the polish on your nails. Not pretty, but easily enough avoided. When you first open your pen, be sure to shake the heck out of it while it's closed, then click the top 5-6 times, until the polish is flowing nicely. When things get dry, click again for more polish.

It's a very sweet system, and in less than 10 minutes my nails were polished and dry! I even added some gold polka dots on top using the Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen in Gold. So, so easy, and kind of cute. I was very impressed, and ready to go in no time flat.

My family and I had gone to play cards, and I quickly felt like doodling. Before long I'd pulled out my Bic Wite-Out correction pen and started adding more dots to my nails. This was high-tech stuff, kids! It was interesting, but not enough... So then I grabbed my black Pilot G2 to add more dots and circles. This was it, and I absolutely loved the end result! I was scared it would smear, so I photo'd it without benefit of a topcoat. But surprise, surprise, it lasted just fine with the topcoat! Who knew?

This look could also be dressed up with some rhinestones or small flat-backed pearls. You could add one or two randomly to each nail or you could add several stones to one nail as an accent nail. You could even put chunky glitter on over this, although that might be a bit much!

So, today's lesson is that anything you find can be fair game for nail art. Don't be afraid to experiment with what you have on hand. You don't have to use fancy, expensive polishes and nail art tools. Sometimes the simplest things work too!

Nail art & polish pens were provided by PR for evaluation.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My First Attempt at Nail Decals, or Hi, I'm In 6th Grade!

Ok, so it's no secret that I like to experiment. Well, unfortunately I've seen all sorts of fabulous manicures that incorporate nail decals, but no real tips and tricks as to how to do them well. I think I need those tips and tricks. Let's look at the damage, shall we?

The good news is that it's not horrible, totally. It's just a bit much. I used decals from the Little Fing'rs Girlie Nails Nail Art Variety Pack, the one with cheerleading decals, various animals, and these cute punkish skulls and hearts. I absolutely love them on the sheet, but I think I went a bit overboard with them.

I was hoping to add a touch of whimsy to my Deborah Lippmann Between the Sheets manicure. What I ended up with was more like a 12 year old girl putting Lisa Frank stickers on everything she owns. It's not bad, exactly, it's just not what I was hoping for.

Now, that being said, I have to admit that I love these decals. The little skulls and crossbones are so, so cute, and I adore the bit of iridescent glitter in the white middle of the bigger hearts. So CUTE!! And even if this was a bit over the top, well sometimes you simply need to go over the top with your manicure!

I learned some important lessons while working on this manicure, as well. First off, it's very, very important to make sure the edges of the stickers are away from the edges of your nails. If you don't, then those edges just might stick WAY THE HECK UP, and refuse to stick once you get your topcoat on. Then they will catch on absolutely everything until you've lost your mind, pulled the sticker off, and totally redone that nail.

Also unfortunate- stickers don't remove with nail polish remover. Instead, the nail polish remover will remove the polish all around the edge, letting the edge of the sticker come down enough to make a seal all around it, so that you then have a small raised sticker on your nail that refuses to come off, no matter how much acetone you throw at it. Those of you with some sense might be able to figure out a way to get that sticker off your nail without causing damage.

I, however, am not that sense-bearing person. I ended up scraping the sticker and the remaining polish off in one solid chip that left very angry, flaky, awful place on my pinkie nail. I then wanted to call a do over so that I could try again without being stupid. But it's life, and it's just nails, right?

When I took the rest of this manicure off, I did it in stages. I took off the clear topcoat just until I could see the sticker raised above the surface of my nail. Then, I used my pinkie nails to scrape the stickers off, and once they were gone I removed the rest of my polish. It took me an hour and twenty minutes to do this, and I am positive there's got to be a better way. I just haven't figured it out yet.

So, those of you who use nail decals... what did I do wrong? Is removing these little bundles of adorableness really that annoying? Is there an easier way to accomplish this? Help me, because right now I'm ready to never use a decal again!!

Polish was provided by PR for evaluation.
See my disclosure statement for more information. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

What Makes You Really Happy?

I saw this meme at KellieGonzo's blog, Also Known As , and realized I wanted to do it too! So, the premise is this- you list 10 things that make you happy, then tag 450 of your closest friends, blah blah... yea, you get the drift.

1. Snuggling with my family. We're big snugglers, and we can often be found watching a movie in a snugglepile. I wouldn't trade my husband and son for anything!
2. My filtered water pitcher. For years, I hated to drink water, and would drink everything else, especially milk. I also had kidney stones partly because of this. Now I drink anywhere from 1-3 liters of water a day, and I love it. When I'm really thirsty, nothing tastes better than cool water.
3. Penguins. I have no idea why, but I have loved penguins since I was little. I think it might have something to do with Mr. Popper's Penguins, but I don't know for sure. Doesn't matter- if I see a penguin unexpectedly, I squee. If I see live penguins, I go nuts. Always have, probably always will.
4. Making things. I've been creative since I was born, and I've been making things since I could hold a paintbrush. I love painting, sketching, doodling. I worked with polymer clay for years (yes, I've made canes just like the ones we use on our nails!), I've crocheted/knitted, I've sculpted (badly). I even went to art school for a couple of years. Basically, if I'm actively working on something, I get frustrated and grumpy!
5. Babies. Have you ever noticed the woman who, while out doing errands, sees a baby and goes nuts over it? She squees and coos, and makes faces at the baby hoping to make it smile. She makes an utter fool of herself just to hear a baby giggle. That's me. Say hi next time. :D
6. Nail Polish. There's something about the colors, the finishes, the versatility of nail polish that absolutely makes me giddy. I could have 1000 bottles, and I'd still find a new one that made me smile. Note- I don't even have to put the polish on to be happy with it, which leads me to...
7. Organizing things. I find organizing things to be meditative. I focus my will, and then things around me become sorted, arranged, and ordered. I don't even need a method, really. Just counting and sorting and putting things away neatly makes me feel calm and happy. So yes, rearranging my nail polishes makes me happy. :D
8. My uber-squishy hypoallergenic memory foam mattress topper. It makes my hurty parts less hurty, which makes me a happy, happy Laynie!
 9. Office Supplies. Is it Back-to-School time again?? YAY! I could spend HOURS looking at pens and pencils and paper and notebooks and notepads and highlighters and staples and... hang on, I need a second to collect myself...

.... sorry. I get a bit over-excited about office supplies. I don't KNOW why. I wish I did! But going school supply shopping every year was absolutely unbearably exciting, and my parents would inevitably end up shouting at me to just hurry up and PICK something already!! And I would try my hardest, but OMG did you see?? PUPPY NOTEBOOKS!!!
10. Writing. I know, you never would have guessed this one. I'm so terse, so succinct. Pulling words out of me is harder than pulling teeth!

Umm, yea.

Also, I'm not tagging anyone specifically. If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged. I do, however, make an open invitation to everyone to do two things: 1- list 10 things that make you happy in your blog, and 2- thank the people who make you happy for being so fun, for making you smile, or for just making the world a brighter place by being in it. The world gets a little bit nicer when we pass on some happy. :D

Sorry this one doesn't have any pretty photos of nail polish. I have lots of those coming up, I've just had a rough day. Hopefully it won't happen too often, and we can get right back into the polish talk tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, how about a sneak peek?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deborah Lippmann - Between the Sheets

I'm a simple girl with simple tastes. I've said for years that nail polish is nail polish is nail polish, and that I had no idea what could make a $16 polish so much better than a $1 polish. I've maintained that my Wet n Wild polishes, as long as I use a good base coat and top coat, are just as good as anything that comes with a fancier name and a fancier price tag.

Then I got polishes from Deborah Lippmann. First of all, they come in a sturdy plastic box, clear so that you can see the delicious color inside. The box is strong, and made me feel like I was getting something with a little bit more value. It's a nice touch, and I appreciate it.

After I opened the box, I was struck by just how solid the bottle feels. It's a square bottle with a little pedestal on the bottom, and to be honest, there's a lot of polish in it (.5 fl oz/15 ml). It feels substantial in my hand. At this point, I started talking to my husband about it, how silly I felt. I know I'm easily swayed by packaging, whether it's cute or elegant. But I didn't want to fall for this polish's packaging and be biased about the polish's performance. I wanted to give this polish a fair evaluation, and be willing to tear it to shreds if that's what it needed.

So I waited a day or two to apply it. I've got patience, I don't have to pounce immediately. But as soon as I got that bottle in my hand, I got excited. It doesn't smell quite as strong as other polishes, so that's a major plus. But as I started to apply it, I was absolutely stunned by how creamy and gorgeous this polish is to use. The color was almost opaque after 1 coat. My nails practically painted themselves!

I tweeted about it halfway through doing my nails. My friends laughed at me because I don't normally rave about a polish like this. But this polish was an absolute dream to apply, and as it dried, it didn't lose that wet glossy shine I love so much. Two coats dried quickly, and dried glossy. I had to call my husband in to see!

So today, we went to play cards, and as I was shuffling the deck, my husband noticed that my nails seemed glossier than usual. Nothing changed but the polish, but if my husband notices my nails something has to be different! He said the color looked rich, deep, and they made him think of a custom paint job on a fancy car. I think the color is juicy and inviting, to the point I can't stop looking at my nails.

After wearing the polish for two days, I've got minimal tipwear. No chips, no problems other than the tips, and that happens no matter what I'm wearing. I feel like the only way this polish could get better is if it cleaned my bathrooms for me!

So, I thought to myself... what else can I test? I decided to see if it would work with Konad stamping. Surely it can't be this fantastic and work with stamping too, right?

Wrong. I got the best stamp I've ever done from this polish. It's not quite opaque, and I don't think I'd try it on black. But on light colors, this stuff is a dream.

At this point, I can't think of any other tests to do with it. I'm wearing it with nail decals, and while my poor topcoat has had a time with them, the polish is still in perfect shape. It's official- the packaging, the product, and the performance of Deborah Lippmann polishes really are worth the extra money. If you feel like spoiling yourself, grab one of the creme colors- if you're anything like me, you'll feel like a million bucks!

Polishes were sent to me by PR for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Simple Nail Art Designs Using Konad Stamps as a Base

Have you ever wanted to do a fun nail art design, but had absolutely no idea how to get started? That's how I felt right before I started this look. I was so excited because I'd gotten a couple of KISS Nail Artist Nail Paints, but I had absolutely no idea what to do with them. I just don't paint all that well. Then I had an idea:  I would look through my Konad/Fauxnad plates to see if anything grabbed me.

Before long, I'd settled on image plate m76. I like the flower design I chose for several reasons. It's fun, it's cute, but most of all it has lots of open spaces. I can paint those open spaces with other colors to make it look much more complex than it really is. Plus, I don't have to worry about drawing the design, or if I'm doing it right. It's like doing a paint-by-numbers kit, only I get to choose what colors go where!

Granted, I only had room for the pink KISS striper, but that's ok. I can use the blue some other time. I know I'll use it because it's a gorgeous shimmery royal blue, and I have a thing for shimmery royal blue!

So, next I had to decide on a background color. I made a somewhat strange choice, but I think it worked out well in the end. I put three coats of Maybelline Express Finish in Golden Plum. This pink is absolutely divine, my lovelies. It's bright, but it's also sheer, so that you can get away with it in lots more places. The glass fleck in this polish is so, so pretty. There's something about the depth that I love! I could have left this as is with just a coat of topcoat, but no...

I wanted more.

That's where the Konad stamping comes in. This part was actually pretty easy, if somewhat nitpicky. First, I stamped my chosen image. (Come on, you're still with me, right? I just showed you that picture. Scroll up if you have to!) I decided to use white for the stamp, so that it would look nice against the pink. It looked cute on its own- my husband actually preferred it without filling in the colors. Oh well.

Then it was just a matter of filling in the various bits with color. I think the animated gif I made explains it a bit better than I could with words. Honestly, isn't that usually the case? I used a variety of polishes for the various colors. The petals were KISS Nail Artist Nail Paint Soft Pink, the flower center was a mixture of Sinful Colors Let's Meet and Love My Nails Hot Tamale, the leaves were a mixture of Wet n Wild Wild Shine Carribean Frost and Sinful Colors Happy Ending, and I put Sinful Colors All About You over the various bubbles and things in the design. Sinful Colors All About You is a gorgeous mix of golden and coppery glitters, so it added an interesting punch of color from the right angles.

As I was painting, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. In fact, up until I put the topcoat on, I was half sure I would hate it. But as I put the topcoat on, I realized that the combination of polishes reminded me of cloisonne, a surface treatment in which compartments are filled with enamels or inlays. Something about the way the flower petals were surrounded by the white of the Konad stamp really reminded me of the way the metal barriers contained the enamels in cloisonne beads. I didn't hate it after all!

I also learned something new with this particular manicure. I'd read about repairing broken nails with a tea bag, but had never actually had to do it. Thankfully I had both nail glue and tea bags on hand, because I was walking through my hallway, tripped over my own feet, and managed to split the nail on my left hand ring finger down the center. I was lucky that it didn't go past the white part and didn't hurt or bleed or anything, but I was so upset. That's my swatching hand!! I've got a lot of stuff to show, what do I do?

Well... I mended my nail using a tea bag, my nail glue, and the sweet KISS manicure kit I've been holding on to. Luckily, it had a sanding/buffing block that let me smooth everything after it had dried, as well as emery boards to smooth the end and file off the extra glue-saturated tea bag. I'll talk more about my manicure kit later, but just know that it saved my butt with this! Can you see the repair in the pictures?

So that's my nail adventures for the week! I learned, I experimented, and at the end of the day I was pretty darn happy! What do you think of this faux-cloisonne look?  Do you think you'd try it?

The KISS Nail Art Paint and manicure kit were provided by KISS's PR company for review.
I used them because I like them, not because I'm being compensated to use them.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Buying Nail Polish On Sale- What Can You Find?

A friend of mine IMd me yesterday to tell me she'd finally found the hidden nail polish at her local Walgreens. Turns out she'd been wandering through the cosmetics department without ever thinking about finding the clearance items. That's a great way to miss out on very economical items!

For example, several months ago I was digging through the clearance section and found a little gift package of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure minis. It was very cute, but most of all it was very inexpensive. I think it was selling for $2? Something in that range, while the retail price of the package was $10. However, some of the polish minis had been swapped out. What does that mean?

It's a little easier to explain with photos, I think. Basically, someone had swapped out two bottles of polish they didn't want for two they did, leaving me with a pack of polishes I really like!

So overall, I think it worked out splendidly! I love vampy colors, and I was really wanting some gold and silver polishes. I'd like to get some more metallic colors, but hey, this was a great start, especially for only $2! I've also found Incoco dry nail polish appliques for $1, as well as several other polishes ranging from 25 cents to two-three dollars.

So remember, next time you're at Walgreens, be sure to walk around the aisle or two near cosmetics. There might be an endcap filled with clearance goodies, and there might be a color or three that you want to grab for awesome sale prices!

Tell me, lovelies, what sorts of clearance polishes have you found, and where?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Little Fing'rs "Girlie Nails" Nail Art Variety Pack

I think I'm in love. For years I've had a massive obsession with penguins. Big ones, small ones, real ones, stuffed ones... I don't care, I love them all. So when I saw on Scrangie's blog that Little Fing'rs has penguin nail decals I went nuts! Every time I went to a store that might carry Fing'rs products, I'd check out their cosmetics department, digging through the decals, hoping to find the penguins.

I kept failing.

I found awesome punk rock decals, I found lots of the typical floral decals. But I had checked 5 or 6 stores and still no penguin decals. That is, until I found them. It turns out I'd actually passed them by on more than one occasion, simply because they had cheerleading decals on top. Unfortunately, I'm not sports-inclined, and the idea of doing my nails up to support some sports team just didn't interest me. I never thought to look at the stickers under the top sheet!

But I finally found them, and my husband didn't even complain when I stuck them in our shopping cart! He knows how I am with my penguins...

I love this set even more because of the monkeys. My husband loves monkeys almost as much as I love penguins, so the idea of monkeys and penguins living happily together on the sticker sheet and later on my nails feels like an omen, a sign that we truly are destined to spend our lives together blissfully happy. (Because clearly 17 years of happy marriage isn't enough to show me that!)

The surprising thing is that I really like the other sheets, even the cheer sheets! There are lots of decals I can see myself using, which makes me really happy. (Now to see if I can convince myself to actually USE the decals!) Check them out!

I can't wait to use them and see how they work on. I'm curious- what do you think of them?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Revlon Iced Mocha- like chocolate milk for my nails!

Do you ever find that doing your nails helps you deal with anxiety? I admit it, I have issues with anxiety, and I find that doing things with my hands helps me to channel that nervous energy into something positive, something more beneficial. Take this manicure, for instance.

I was feeling extremely worried about something I had absolutely no control over. Instead of stressing and driving myself crazy, I pulled out my nail polish box and looked for something soothing. I knew I'd found just the right thing when I pulled out Revlon's Iced Mocha. The soft creamy tan is almost the color of chocolate milk, a warm soothing shade that seemed just the ticket.

I was surprised when I started to apply it, because it went on so easily. I only needed one coat, and it covered like a dream. Instead of having to do three or four coats, waiting between them, and worrying about too much polish on my nails I was able to finish my manicure in no time!

The soft shimmer in this polish is really pretty. It feels weird to have such a neutral shade on my nails, though. I've been wearing brights and darks for so long that I feel like I've got the dreaded mannequin hands. I know that I don't, but it's still somewhat unnerving to look at my hands and see this subtle shimmer.

Still, I really, really like it. It's perfect for any situation where I'd need to be more conservative with my nails. I'm tempted to stamp on top of it, but I think I'll betaking the polish off instead. I'm a bit bored with it already!

So what do you think of it? Is this a beautiful shade, perfect for some particular situation? Is it just too darn plain? Is it perfect for stamping, and what would you pair it with? Talk to me, I'd love to hear your thoughts!