Friday, August 31, 2012

The 31 Day Challenge 2012

Dearest readers,

You may recall that a year ago, I participated in and successfully completed the 31 Day Challenge. I started it very shortly after I began doing nail art, and it really helped me develop my skills and push myself. Back then, I started it on September 1st, 2011. Now, to celebrate the one year anniversary of the last time I did it... I'm gonna do it again! Starting tomorrow, September 1st, 2012.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the 31 Day Challenge, it is a grueling fun challenge where you do nail art based on different themes for 31 days. Some people choose to spread it out over a longer period of time, but I like to try to do it consecutively.

Yes, posting nail art daily for 31 days is challenging, and it will be made even harder by the fact that I will be attempting to do it while still keeping up with my other blog commitments! Hope you're ready for some double posting! But this is something that I feel strongly about doing, and I'm excited. :)

If anyone would like to join in, there are a lot of us participating this time around. (Rachel from Polished Criminails has even organized Inlinkz collections for each day, for anyone interested.) Day 01, red nails, will be posted tomorrow. At the end of this post are some images with the challenge prompts. Feel free to grab and use one if you'd like! I've also included the original 31DC image for anyone interested in that. The only difference between the two versions is day 31.

Get ready for more Chalkboard Nails than you've ever seen before!



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pretty and Polished - Day Trippin' Color Changing Polish

Good morning! I've got some swatches of one of the new Pretty and Polished color changing polishes today. It's called Day Trippin' and it changes from a pretty pink to rich purple, depending on temperature. All of these photos are the same manicure, just under different temperature conditions. I used four coats for this opacity.

This photo is what it looks like most of the time on me. It is the "warm mode" of this polish and is heated by your body temperature. You can see it's a nice pink and it has a bit of flecky shimmer.

This is the polish's "cold mode." For this photograph, I dunked my nails in ice water (you can see some of it on my fingers, hah). It will also change when you wash your hands in cool water, or if you have cold hands. It becomes a very dark purple color. You can see my thumb is retaining it's warm pink color because I didn't dunk that nail.

If you have warm hands but just washed your hands in cool water, for example, as the water begins to dry up, your hands begin to heat the polish again. It creates this cool gradient effect and you can watch it changing right before your very eyes!

Another thing this polish will do sometimes is just change colors on the tips, where the nail is not attached to your finger and therefore not heated as constantly. I found that the polish didn't do this for me very often though, and would only really consistently do it if my hand was in front of an air conditioning vent (like in my car). However, this could be because I'm in a desert, and the surrounding air isn't colder than my body temperature...

To best demonstrate this polish's effect, I've taken a video! It starts with the polish at normal temperature, and then I dunk it into ice water. As you watch the video, you can see my fingers starting to warm the manicure back up and it changes back. Any place that water is sitting on top of my nails stays purple because the water is keeping those spots cold!

Pretty and Polished is sold on Etsy. At the time of posting, Day Trippin' isn't available in her shop, but two of her other color changers, Dolli-pop and Spring Fling, are! Make sure to check out P&P on Facebook to keep up with restock dates and times, as well as previews of new colors.

The product in this post was provided for review.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vivid Lacquer Stamping Plate - VL001

One of the most interesting things to come out of the indie movement have been custom stamping plates. I've shown Vivid Lacquer polishes on here before, but one of the unique things about VL is that Anni also makes her own stamping plates. This post will be showing off Vivid Lacquer's VL001 plate (to the best of my ability, anyway -- I don't stamp often, haha).

There are four full nail images and five smaller images on this plate. I've used all of the full nail images in manicures here and I've also included a photo of the plate, so you can see the small images.

Please bear in mind that I am not a skilled stamper. Any imperfections with the stamping were totally my fault. These plates are very high quality and I had zero problems picking up the image from the plate.

This first manicure uses the x's and o's full nail image. I used Konad Special White and stamped it on top of OPI My Very First Knockwurst. This is one of my favorite images on the plate and I love the way this white and nude combination looked.

This manicure was made using the plaid image on the plate. I stamped with Konad Special Black over China Glaze No Plain Jane. This image would be great to multi-stamp with. You could create a really awesome plaid pattern with different colors!

These pawprints were stamped using Color Club Revvvolution. The base here is Cult Nails Scandalous. I will probably be using this to do a manicure on myself for my dog's birthday! (I'm totally obsessed with my dog. No judgements!)

This is my other favorite image on the plate. Full nail skull and crossbones?! HECK YEAH! This is stamped with Urban Outfitters Eyes Wide Shut (a black creme) and is done on top of HITS Zeus. Since Zeus is an awesome holo, you guys get a bonus picture of this one... :D

Here's the best photo that I could get of the plate without including distracting reflections. I need to figure out a good plate photographing setup or something! You can see all of the images here including the smaller images.

This is a photo I grabbed from my Instagram showing how large these images are. The full nail images are huge, much bigger than my Bundle Monster, Shany, or Konad images. I had no problems getting them to cover my entire nail. Awesome!

Vivid Lacquer stamping plates are sold via the Vivid Lacquer Etsy shop. I hope to have my VL002 post ready soon to show you, and I believe VL003 and VL004 are in the works currently, so like Vivid Lacquer on Facebook to receive updates on those!

Some of the products in this post were provided to me for review.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Hands - I've Made a Huge Mistake Collection

Good morning party people! Today's post is the latest and greatest Happy Hands Nail Polish collection, titled I've Made a Huge Mistake!. If you didn't catch that the collection is referencing the amazing television show Arrested Development, you may be a bit lost with some of these lacquer names. Never fear, though, the polishes can be enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike!

First up is Banana Stand. This one was a surprising favorite for me! This is three coats alone. The soft yellow base is sprinkled with yellow and brown glitters to represent the banana. And of course, what banana stand is complete without a little bitta green? There's ALWAYS green in the banana stand. ;) This polish applied well and was fun to look at on my nails.

I Just Blue Myself is probably my most favorite in the bunch. I cant help but laugh when I think of the scene this polish is referencing, and the polish is a stunner to boot. This is one coat over black. I used the dabbing method to apply and found it to be very effective. The blue in this polish just glows, and it's a rich and beautiful shade.

For British Eyes Only is a teal jelly with teal and holographic glitters. This is two coats alone, though this would definitely look beautiful layered, too. A sure hit with you teal fanatics!

Illusions, Michael is a tribute to everyone's favorite illusionist, GOB. This polish is seriously packed, PACKED with glitter. In it you will find gorgeous rich red glitters, with orange and gold accent glitters (including stars!). This is two coats of the polish alone. Because it is so filled with glitter, the consistency of the polish is a bit difficult. It's almost... dry, I want to say? Definitely workable though, and could be made easier by doing just one coat of glitter over a red base.

Mayonegg is a white based polish with a silvery shimmer and a few sizes of yellow glitter. This swatch shows three coats. As much as I like the idea of this polish, I just couldn't get it to work with me. The consistency was challenging at best, even after thinning. The white was streaky and thick, and the glitters looked lumpy in the base. I may have gotten a bum bottle though, as the Happy Hands swatch of this color looks nice!

Motherboy is a beautiful mix of pastel glitters. I have shown one coat here over black. It is very dense, and applied very well using the dabbing method. There are pink, green, purple, and blue pastel glitters, and some of them are translucent (make sure you check out the macro at the end)! This is a stunner and I think you probably need it.

Finally, we have Tricks Are Something a Whore Does For Money... Or Candy. This polish is similar in glitter density to Illusions, Michael. I have shown one coat here over Zoya Veruschka. It's very blingy, and also has those neat star glitters. You can see one on my middle finger!

I've taken some bottle macros of these glitters for your closer inspection. Make sure you click them to enlarge. I do want to note that in the photo of Illusions, Michael, the star is not actually blue -- it's just the holographic nature of the glitter piece catching the light.

Kristi and Nathan from the Happy Hands team have done a great job with this collection, and I absolutely love the inspiration. Must haves for me include I Just Blue Myself, Banana Stand, and Motherboy.

Happy Hands Nail Polish can be purchased on Etsy, and you can also keep up with the brand on Facebook for restock dates, times, and previews of new colors.

The products in this post were provided to me for review.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cross Stitch Nails

I wasn't sure what to call these nails, and am still not really sure. I began making them without really knowing how they were going to turn out... the only idea that I had ahead of time was the naked nail part near the cuticle of my pinky, ring finger, and thumb. I don't even know what to call that! It reminds me of a knight's visor -- with the vents cut in around the mouth part.

In the end, I decided to call this a cross stitch manicure, because of the use of the X's, and because of the lack of any other name to call it.

I started out by placing striping tape on my nails in the "knight's visor" pattern. This involved one strip across and three strips perpendicular to that. Then, I painted over the striping tape with OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons, a warm nude. When I removed the striping tape, the nude nail bits remained.

Then, I painted on my accent nails. The green is China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise, and though I can't 100% remember what I used for the pink, I know it was one of the pink China Glaze neons. Using the same colors, I painted on rows of cross stitches (or rows of x's) along the tips of my other nails, and using Pretzel again, I mimicked the "knight's visor" on the tips of my accent nails.

I think this manicure turned out pretty interesting, especially for me not having a plan at all going into it.

What do you guys think I should have called this? For a bit I was calling them quilted nails, but that wasn't quite right, and tribal doesn't quite apply either.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

HARE Polish Swatch Spam

It's time for a HARE Polish swatch spam! HARE is one of those brands that has been around since the beginning. Every polish seems carefully thought out, exploding with bright colors and combinations you may never have thought of.

Asteroid Turf is a gorgeous combination of a bright green base and pink glitter. This swatch shows two coats of it alone. The glitter applied evenly without much fuss, which was great!

Heat Plague is one of the more unique HARE shades. It has a murky green base with pink, purple, and orange glitters. This shows two coats, but I also went in a did a little bit of spot filling here and there. For some reason, the base on this one kept photographing really dark for me, but it is a touch greener than what I was able to show.

Magic Mist is a beautiful purple base that is just PACKED with glitter. PACKED I TELL YOU! This is two coats. This polish is a great example of what I love about HARE: the polishes have these great pigmented bases but they don't cover or distract from the glitter at all. The only difficult thing about application was the fact that there was just so much glitter, but even as far as that goes it wasn't bad at all.

Rad Cloud is probably my favorite HARE right now (it changes a lot -- they are all awesome). The gorgeous candy pink base is accented with teals, purples, oranges... and my favorite thing is the abundance of the square glitters. Just perfection. This photo shows two coats.

Supernova Springs was a surprise favorite, too. The dark jelly base lights up with emerald glitters. Very moody. It looks black in the bottle, but once it's on your nails, you realize it is kind of purpley! I think this is two coats, but for some reason this one isn't in my swatch notes.

Twilight Savings is another beautiful and unique polish. It's a darker blue-periwinkle base with micro magenta glitter and gorgeous silver squares. The combination of the silver with the periwinkle is quite delicate and very well thought out. This swatch shows three coats alone.

Since these polishes are so complex and awesome, I really wanted to show some bottle macros as well. These are in the same order as I showed them in the beginning of the post, but now you can enlaaaaarge!

Which ones are your favorites?

HARE Polish is sold on Etsy and on Llarowe. For more information on the HARE brand, please visit the HARE Facebook page and website.

Some of the products in this post were provided to me for review.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tortoiseshell Nails

Good morning! Today's nail art started as a random desire to do tortiseshell nails. I definitely did not have the proper polish "pieces" to make it happen though, so I started asking around to see if anyone could help me locate a brown jelly. I got a few thoughtful suggestions, but none of them were perfect for what I had in mind.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, when I got a message from the lovely Lulu from Elevation Polish and I Dig Brown Nail Polish (how apropos!). She told me she had been playing around with some pigments and had created a brown jelly if I was still looking for one. I told her I absolutely was and I would love to try it out.

Little did I know that she would send me three amazing brown jellies in different shades, and that all three shades would be perfect in crafting my tortoiseshell manicure! The formula was fantastic on all of them and they applied beautifully.

The jelly element is key in creating this look because it gives you the semi-clear almost-plasticy look that, say, tortoiseshell glasses would have. It also allows you to build different layers of depth that show through in different amounts.

I made these nails by starting with a base layer of the caramel jelly. I then added some splotches of the brick-colored jelly, and put some of the dark brown jelly inside of those splotches. I took a nail art brush and added sections of the caramel color overlapping some of what I had done, and then added more of the brick & dark brown splotches. This layering method helped to create a good amount of depth. The final step was a healthy layer of topcoat, to finish the shiny plastic look.

Because this was made with jellies, it looks awesome and lights up when in direct light/sunlight...

Unfortunately these shades are not being produced as part of the Elevation Polish line, but Lulu has plenty of other pretties to check out! If you want to do this look yourself, you could try making your own jellies by mixing different brown polishes with clear.

Thanks for reading!
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