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Monday, December 31, 2012

My Top 12 Favorite Nail Art Posts of 2012

I wasn't planning on doing any sort of countdown post this year, but seeing everyone else's really made me want to do one! I've decided to do a countdown of my favorite nail art that I did in 2012. You'll see that all of the selections ended up being freehand nail art, I guess freehanding really has my heart! If you click the link next to each of the countdown numbers, you'll find more photos and more information about each of the manicures.


Read on to see my list and find out which manicure got placed at #1!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez Glitter Gradients

Good evening! A bit of a late post for me today, but I gotta keep you guys on your toes, ya know?

This evening we're going to be taking a look at the Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez Collection glitters. Usually when I get a new collection, I do my best to make nail art out of as many of the polishes as I can. It's my hope that this method allows you to get a new perspective on the shades and see how they work for nail art.

However, this collection has six glitters and a shredded topper (among others), and they aren't very conducive to my normal type of nail art. So I've chosen to use them all in some lovely glitter gradients and share them together. I hope you enjoy!

First up we have Nicole by OPI Confetti Fun over OPI Black Onyx. A rainbow glitter topper, this one is set apart by the inclusion of micro sparkle.



Here is Nicole by OPI Inner Sparkle over OPI Skyfall. I like this combination of the pastel pink and purple glitters.



Next is Nicole by OPI Kissed at Midnight paired with Nicole by OPI Scarlett, another one of the Selena Gomez lacquers. The color of Scarlett is really lovely, I expected it to be a deeper red but it's light, youthful and fun.



Here I've paired Nicole by OPI Mi Fantasia with OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons. This glitter was a surprise favorite for me and worked brilliantly for the gradient. I love the density!



Nicole by OPI Stars at Night has been paired here with OPI Funky Dunkey. This holographic bar glitter topper is quite dense as well, and made for an interesting gradient look. I've never done a glitter gradient with bars before!



My favorite of the six glitters is Nicole by OPI Sweet Dreams, shown paired with OPI Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine!. The mix of purple and teal is great and I love the micro purple glitter.



Finally, we have Nicole by OPI Heavenly Angel paired with OPI Live and Let Die. It's an iridescent shredded glitter topper, and I like the way it looks with the shimmer in Live and Let Die. I did find it to be a bit sparse though, and so I used two coats of Heavenly Angel for the photo below.




What do you guys think? Which are your favorites?

Selena Gomez lacquers will be available January 2013 for $7.99 each at retailers including select Target, Walmart, CVS, K-mart, Rite Aid, ULTA, Sears, Meijer, Fred Meyer, Kroger and H-E-B locations. In Canada, this line will be available for $10.99 each at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart Canada, Jean Coutu, Loblaw, and London Drug.

For more information, visit nicolebyopi.com. Follow Nicole by OPI on Twitter @NicoleByOPI and become a Facebook fan!

Products sent for review.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Serum No. 5 - Day Glow

Today I have another Serum No. 5 lacquer to share with you: Day Glow. Day Glow is the most popular lacquer in the Serum lineup -- and it's not hard to understand why! This glow in the dark polish will knock your socks off!

By day, it is an unassuming pale yellow with hints of green. Application was a bit tricky for me; I thinned my bottle out a bit and still had to go slow when applying. However, I did only need two coats for the photo below! Day Glow dries quickly and matte, almost with a bit of grain to it, and smooths out flawlessly with topcoat.


This next photo was taken just by shutting off the lamp that I use with my lightbox. I didn't hold it up to the lamp directly to charge it like I do with most glow polishes, and there is still ambient room light coming into this shot. It's essentially a dusk or shade type situation, and it's already glowin'! You can see where I'm going with this right...?


Then I walked down the hall a bit further and stuck my hand into my dark office from the doorway. The hallway lights were still on, so you can see my fingers are lit up a bit as well. The glow was insane!


Finally, I did a photo of Day Glow in my usual glow in the dark polish setup -- a pitch black room. The glow was crazy, and it just lasted and lasted... It didn't fade out nearly as quickly as most of the other glow polishes I've tried. It's so strong and bright that it almost seems to have overexposed the shot!


I was so entertained that I even made a video of my floating fingers.


Day Glow is sold in the Serum No. 5 Etsy shop and Mei Mei's Signatures. It's very popular, so it's out of stock now, but there will be a restock on Monday! Be sure to like Serum No. 5 on Facebook and follow on Tumblr to keep up with restock information. 20% of all Serum profits go to charity.

In related news, Serum No. 5 is taking a poll on Facebook to help decide on a new, upcoming glow in the dark shade! Go sound off if you have a chance!

Product provided for review.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Geometric Rays - Nicole by OPI Modern Family Nail Art

Hey friends! I hope you had a great holiday! Thanks for sticking around while I took a few extra days for the family celebrations and stuff.

We're kicking off today with some nail art using the new Nicole by OPI Modern Family Collection! I've seen a good chunk of the Modern Family series, but unfortunately I'm not caught up. Why the heck isn't it on streaming Netflix!? Anyway, every single episode of this show I've seen has been hilarious; I hope to watch all of it eventually.

For this design I did a bit of a geometric look. I was hesitant about mixing the silver in with the cremes but it actually ended up being one of my favorite parts of the manicure. I freehanded these shapes, but if you want to try it out and you feel more comfortable using tape, then by all means use tape! It would be more precise, of that I'm sure.


I began with a base of Nicole by OPI My Jay or the Highway! which is a warm khaki creme. My obsession with neutrals continues -- I think this shade is lovely. I only needed two coats and the formula was excellent.

Then, I freehanded on triangles using Nicole by OPI Alex By the Books, which is the minty green. This shade was creamy as well, and would need just two coats for opacity if worn alone. I followed suit with Nicole by OPI A Like-Haley Story..., a hot pink with subtle shimmer. Again, great formula and would need two coats. Finally, I added the metallic sections using Nicole by OPI A Phil's Paradise, a sparkly gunmetal shade. It's no surprise by now: lovely formula and just two coats needed!


What was surprising, however, was how much I liked A Phil's Paradise. I am not normally a fan of metallic shades, but I found the sparkle and richness of this one to be really appealing. Alex By the Books ranked highly for me as well.


All in all, I enjoyed the way this came out. The design and color mix feels kind of Madeline Poole-esque to me!


Modern Family lacquers will be available beginning January 2013 for $7.99 each at retailers including select Walmart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Kmart, Kroger, ULTA, H-E-B, Meijer and Duane Reade locations. In Canada, this line will be available for $10.99 each at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart Canada, Jean Coutu, Loblaw, and London Drug.

Products sent for review.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stud Armor Accent Nail

The manicure in today's post happened mostly on a whim! I was having trouble deciding which polish I wanted to wear, so I chose three and then took them to Instagram for help deciding. The polish they ended up picking was Contrary Polish Desert Fruit, but then I wanted to embellish it a bit!

Well, "a bit" turned into "a lot"...


I used 1.5mm round golden studs from BornPrettyStore for the accent nail. They are a very cool-toned gold shade and almost look silvery in certain lightings.

When I'm using studs, I work column-by-column. I begin by applying a thin strip of topcoat where I want to apply the studs so they will stick to the nail. Then I use a dotting tool to pick up the studs -- it will pick them up well if it is wet (I've dipped it in water or licked it in the past). You will have to continually wet it as you work. Then, once you're done, you can finish the nail with topcoat to seal the studs in.

I really wanted the nail to be completely covered, so I tried cutting studs in half for the empty spaces that were at the end of my nail. Surprisingly, they cut easily with safety scissors. I think they are mostly made of plastic and then topped with thin bits of metal? Anyway, they cut well and I was able to finish off the edge of the nail evenly.


The base color, Contrary Polish Desert Fruit, was rather difficult to photograph. It came out of my camera looking pure brown, which is strange as it is a reddish purple and my camera is not usually THAT inaccurate. I spent some time working with the color in Photoshop and was able to get it much closer to what this shade looks like in person.


Here is the polish in direct light -- the shimmer in it is much more visible in these conditions.


Isn't it funny how the stud nail looks so much shorter and fatter than the others?

I really enjoyed wearing this look, and even a few of the men at my work were interested in the stud accent. Most people wanted to touch it, and I can't say I blame them -- it felt very cool and I couldn't resist feeling it the whole day I wore it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ornament Half Moons

There's still a bit of time left to squeeze in some holiday nail art! Today's design is intended to look like sparkly, glitter-embellished ornaments hanging on a tree. I chose to use the half moon technique to make the ornaments. You can find an example of how to do them in my extremely old post found here.

The bases of the ornaments are (from pinky to thumb) Illamasqua Baptiste, Nicole by OPI Pretty In Plum, MAC Hyper, LCN Ruby Red, and OPI Deutsche You Want Me Baby. The green of the "tree" is mostly Zoya Logan with little bits of China Glaze Running In Circles brushed on. The gold glitter on the ornaments is China Glaze I Herd That, the gold attacher pieces between the hook and the ornament were done in Zoya Ziv, and the hooks are Color Club Worth the Risque.




This didn't end up quite as I envisioned it, but it has grown on me a bit. I do kind of wish that I had done the ornaments in plain creme shades... with all the glitter, flecks, holo, and metallic finishes going on, they seem to get a bit muddled. Still though, quite festive! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Functional Christmas Light Nails

You guys know me. I love glow in the dark polish. So you know I had to find a way to work it into some holiday nail art!

What better way to do it than by making actual light-up Christmas lights!?


Much like regular Christmas lights, they don't look that fancy in the light of day! But just you wait until it's night time...

I started with a base of Nfu Oh JS15, a sky blue jelly. I chose this color to help reinforce the idea that this was the "daytime mode" of this nail art.

Then, using my It's So Easy Nails Stripe Rite in Black, I added the cord and the little socket areas that the lightbulbs screw into. Using OPI Alpine Snow, I painted white lightbulb shapes. Then I went over the bulbs with my glow polishes: American Apparel Jupiter (the orange), China Glaze Ghoulish Glow, CH Nail #12 (the pink) and CH Nail #02.





Here are the pretties in the dark! These did glow different colors but for some reason the camera just made them look either green or blue... you can see on CH #12 (the pink polish) it sort of glows violet in photos but it did look more pinky-red in person!



I just love glow in the dark polishes so much. It's almost problematic.

(L-R CH Nail #02, AA Jupiter, CG Ghoulish Glow, CH Nail #12)

So, what do you think? Did I accurately represent the majesty of Christmas lights? ARE YOU FEELIN' THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT!?

Monday, December 17, 2012

GlitterDaze Holiday Collection Temperature Sensitive Lacquers

Good morning folks! Today's pose was made using a unique holiday collection from GlitterDaze. The collection is made up of seven polishes that change from a pastel or even sometimes clear shade to a bright jellylike color depending on temperature.

These polishes work best on a light colored base. I chose to use a white jelly and a white creme as my bases for these manicures. The GlitterDaze polishes are most pigmented when your hands are cold, and are either clear or faintly colored when your hands are warm. They also have little darker specks in them, which I assume is due to the ingredient that makes them temperature sensitive.

This first look was done using GlitterDaze Silent Night over OPI Don't Touch My Tutu. I attempted to do a bit of a snowflake pattern! I thought this look was pretty cute but wished that I had been able to achieve a more delicate snowflake. Here they are with cold fingers:



Here is what they looked like after I ran my hands under hot water.




For my second look, I painted some holly with GlitterDaze's Under the Mistletoe (green) and Christmas Kiss (red). The opacity of these two shades over white made me think of faded Christmas wrapping paper, in a nice way! This is my favorite of the two manicures I did.



Here is what they looked like after I ran my hands under hot water. This change was pretty drastic, but rest assured your hands will almost never be as hot as mine were for this photo and will likely allow for a bit more color than this.




I think the fact that these polishes are a winter collection is quite appropriate, because I know in the winter my hands are cold more often than not! They might be less practical in the summer, because the polishes would be warm most of the time and therefore less pigmented.

Overall, I think this is an interesting idea for a collection, and I haven't seen polishes like it this season. I do think that this collection would be more wearable if it changed from one color to another, instead of from clear/pastel to pigmented, but still a novel addition to my collection and fun to impress friends with.

If you'd like to see swatches of the shades from this set that I didn't use, you can check out the album on GlitterDaze's Facebook.

Ordering for this collection is a bit different than usual! Here are the ordering instructions from GlitterDaze:

Pricing: 14 mL: $9.50 7 mL: $5.50
Purchase Info: To purchase, please send the following information to glitterdaze.np@gmail.com with subject “Holiday Polish Order.”
  1. The polishes you would like as well as the size
  2. Your PayPal email address
  3. Your shipping address
You will then be sent a PayPal invoice. Please keep in mind that it may take up to two weeks to get back to you.

You can keep up with GlitterDaze on Facebook and at the GlitterDaze shop. There was a new collection announced today, a giveaway going on, and the last day of the Christmas sale is in the shop, so don't delay!

Items sent for review.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Les petites fleurs - Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez Nail Art

I don't know about you guys, but I love yellow nail polish. I don't think it gets enough credit -- it's a very bold and trendsetting color to wear on your nails! I was so excited when I learned that the Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez Collection included a yellow, and I used it as the base for today's small floral print.

Nicole by OPI Hit the Lights is a warm, bright yellow shade. I found its application to be pretty standard for yellows. It was a little streaky and required three coats to even out, but I am glad to report that it didn't turn out lumpy or thick at all. It's definitely one of my new favorite yellow shades. I think the warmth in it looks particularly nice with my skin tone!

The flowers were freehanded on using my medium length nail art striper brush and Nicole by OPI Pretty In Plum. This reddish purple reminds me of real grapes! It is a gorgeous glowy shade with pretty shimmer.

Finally, I dotted on three little spots of Nicole by OPI Love Song, a lovely lilac. I also used this shade in my Girly Pinwheel Candy manicure! I am a huge fan of lilacs (maybe one of my top three favorite polish colors!) and this one is quite pretty.







Selena Gomez lacquers will be available January 2013 for $7.99 each at retailers including select Target, Walmart, CVS, K-mart, Rite Aid, ULTA, Sears, Meijer, Fred Meyer, Kroger and H-E-B locations. In Canada, this line will be available for $10.99 each at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart Canada, Jean Coutu, Loblaw, and London Drug.

For more information, visit nicolebyopi.com. Follow Nicole by OPI on Twitter @NicoleByOPI and become a Facebook fan!

Products sent for review.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cirque Objet d'Art Glitter Gradients

Hey folks! Hope you're having a nice Saturday! This afternoon's post includes two glitter gradient manicures that I did using some of the polishes from the Cirque Objet d'Art Collection.

First we have a gradient from the cuticle up using Cirque Galinda on a base of Illamasqua Cameo. I am so enamored with this glitter! It's a mix of sizes of pearly white glitters and contains bit of iridescent shimmery particles as well. I see snowfall when I look at it and that makes me happy.




My second glitter gradient goes from the tip of the nail down. I began with a base of three coats of Cirque Cape Liz (also from the Objet d'Art Collection!) and then added a gradient of Cirque Hellebore. This manicure looks like a brushy watercolor painting of a field of grass and a hazy sky to me, or maybe some seaweed underwater. Either way, I was pleased to learn that these colors complemented each other well. Hellebore also has some interesting pink sparks in it that show up when the light hits it just right, but unfortunately it is hard to capture in photos!



I had no problems with formula on any of these polishes. They all applied nicely and the glitters had good density!

The Cirque Objet d'Art Collection is available for purchase now on cirquecolors.com as well as from international stockists Pshiiit Boutique and Mei Mei's Signatures. The Cirque polishes in this post retail for $13. You can also follow Cirque on Facebook for news and other updates!

Products provided for review.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Girly Bits Season of Sparkle for Winter 2012

Good morning folks! Today I'm excited to share my Girly Bits Season of Sparkle swatches with you. Made up of nine polishes, this collection is well balanced between glitter toppers, jellies, shimmers and more. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to start lookin' at some pictures!

Eggnogoholic is sure to be a favorite for many of you -- I know it is for me! A soft white base with delicate gold glitters, this jelly beauty reached the opacity seen below in three coats. It had a lovely formula and I enjoyed the way it looked with my skintone.



Eight Crazy Nights is a glitter topper made up of blues, silvers, diamonds and holographic pieces in a clear base. I couldn't help myself and layered this one over Illamasqua Cameo. I can't even begin to describe to you guys how much I loved these two polishes together. If you look carefully, you can see one of the blue diamonds on my middle finger near the word "NAILS" in my watermark.



Fathomless. Hnnnnggggg. Look how pretty this is. I needed four coats for opacity here, but the layers weren't thick and the translucency of the base really allows the gold and green sparks to shine. I had no troubles with the formula. Don't you just want to go live inside this polish forever?



Heirloom is a clear based glitter topper "with all the vintage shades of a Victorian era Holiday." I love that description from Girly Bits. It does have a rather antiqued look to it, and I chose to layer it over OPI Berlin There Done That to try to complement that aesthetic. This is 1.5 coats.



Hot Toddy is a warm and shimmery red jelly. Sure to warm you from the inside out. :) The shimmer in this is beautiful. I believe I used three coats for the swatch below.



Long Winter's Nap is a cool grey base with blue, grey, and periwinkle glitters. I've shown three coats of it alone here. I am always drawn to greys, and this one is no exception. Long Winter's Nap feels so inherently "wintry" to me, I want to wrap up in a blanket when I look at it!



Ornamental My Dear Watson is a multicolor glitter topper made up of fuchsias, golds, and blues. I seriously enjoy the name of this polish so much. Shown here over American Apparel Dynasty, Ornamental appears to have a bit of reflective curling in areas but does lay flat on the nail.



Visions of Sugarplums is a showstopper! It starts with a warm purple jelly base and then adds loads of glitters. Most notable are the iridescent glitters that make this polish so eye catching. I've applied three coats below.



You're a Mean One... is an adorable take on the red and green glitter topper. It's packed with micro green glitter, chunkier red and green pieces, black hearts (to represent the Grinch's black heart!) and black bars. I've had the Grinch song stuck in my head pretty much constantly since I swatched this one.



I'm dying to know -- which ones are you loving?

The Girly Bits shop is open until 8pm EST tonight, but after that Pam will be closing for the holidays. Don't fret, though! Girly Bits polishes are still available through the stockists at Llarowe, Harlow & Co., Overall Beauty, and Mei Mei's Signatures.

If you'd like to stay up to date with your Girly Bits news, like them on Facebook and sign up for their newsletter. You can also view additional swatches of this collection on the Girly Bits blog.

Products provided for review.

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