7.31.2012

Rustic ZigZags

Hi everyone!  Today's post is some freehand nail art.  I want to start attempting this kind of thing more often, so when I started this, I did not expect it to be perfect.  I sort of wanted my zigzags to be a little wobbly and "rustic."  I did a base of two coats of China Glaze Man Hunt and the zigzags with a striping brush in Essie Blue Rhapsody.  My accent nail is OPI Crown Me Already! over Man Hunt. Finished off with NYC top coat.



I liked how these worked out...Man Hunt is a very deep blue that I will be super excited to rock this fall! =)  Thanks for stopping by today! <3

7.30.2012

Summer Neons Splatter [TUTORIAL]

Hello lacquered lovelies!  Today I have a super fun splatter mani to share with you!  For this look I used all China Glaze Summer Neons, which you all know I am obsessed with!  Love it!  I started with two coats of OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls for my base.  Then I used the following China Glaze polishes randomly for my splatter:  Beach Cruise-R, Love's A Beach, I'm With the Lifeguard, Sun-Kissed, Splish Splash, Flirty Tankini, and Surfin' for Boys.  I finished it off with two coats of NYC top coat to smooth everything out!  To see my swatches of the China Glaze Neons, click [here], [here] and [here]!




When I posted about doing this manicure on Facebook, a few people requested a tutorial!  I believe the first person to make this manicure technique big was Jen from The Polishaholic!  To see her tutorial from June 2011, click [HERE]!

The Lacquerologist's Splatter Mani Tutorial!

Aftermath of the Neon Splatter Mani above =)
The splatter manicure really is a simple nail art technique that anyone can pull off.  While it is sort of messy, you really can't mess it up! =)  To get started, let's gather up our supplies!  You will need the following:

  • Straws or coffee stirrers
  • Scissors
  • Paper plate or paint palette
  • Paper towel or newspaper to protect your surface
  • Base coat, base polish color, top coat, and polishes to splatter with
  • Tape
  • Acetone and clean-up brush or q-tip


First things first: straws!  This is the super high-tech tool used to create this manicure! ;-)  I use just regular drinking straws, but I have found that coffee stirrers work well too.  Regardless of what I'm using, I cut them in half.  This conserves straws and makes it a bit easier to blow the polish off the straw.  I've got asthma...gotta make it as easy as possible!  Ha!


Choose your polishes and protect your work area.  I always use a paper plate to "blob" out my polishes and paper towels to protect my area.


Prep your nails.  Paint on your base color (here I've used OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls).  It does not need to be 100% dry to move on to the next step, but I would suggest letting it dry for at least five minutes.  If you want to make your clean up effort easier, you can use some tape to tape off around your cuticle so that polish does not get on your skin.  Personally, I skip that step, because acetone can work wonders, but it's up to you!


When you're ready to start splattering, "blob" out some of your polish on to your plate (I just use the polish brush to make a little puddle) and then dip your straw in!  You may need to do several up and down dips to get enough polish on your straw.  Then, aim your straw at your prepped nail, and BLOW!  *insert funny joke here*  Sometimes nothing happens...just dip again and try again!  I find that usually you just need more polish on your straw or the consistency of the polish is too thick.  You'll get your own technique down pretty quickly and find what works for you.


As you can see from the example above, even when you aim, the splatter doesn't always go exactly where you plan.  You can't really control it.  Splatter on as many colors as you'd like until you've achieved the desired effect!  If you taped your fingers off, carefully remove it and then use your clean-up brush and some acetone to clean up right around your nails.  If you're like me and don't tape, get to work with that acetone and clean yourself up!  Once the splatters have dried (to prevent smearing), apply top coat.

So that's it!  I hope you all found this helpful!  The color combinations and finishes that you could use for this manicure are endless.  What looks are you excited to create?! =)

7.29.2012

Super Feminine: Essie A Cut Above

Good morning, all!  Today, I have a super feminine manicure to show you!  This is two coats of Essie Case Study as the base color with Essie A Cut Above on top.  I used about 1.5 coats (one full coat and then filled in with a few "blobs" of glitter) to achieve this look.  One coat of NYC smoothed the glitter out beautifully.  The Essie Luxeffects polishes are quite impressive...they are easy to use and do have a great payoff!




This was a pretty look that was super simple to pull off, and got a lot of complements! =) Do you have any of the Luxeffects polishes?  What's your favorite? =)

7.28.2012

HELMER RE-ORG!

Hi everyone!  Today's post is super exciting...I am showing you how I reogranized my nail polish collection with the addition of my second Helmer from Ikea.  This was quite a process to get everything just the way I like it, but I'm super happy how it all fits in nice and organized (and my husband is VERY HAPPY that there isn't polish everywhere now!)!


Helmer #1
Drawer #1
OPI


Drawer #2
Zoya and Essie


Drawer #3
China Glaze


Drawer #4
Julep, butter LONDON, Cult Nails, other high end


Drawer #5
Deborah Lippmann and indies


Drawer #6
top/base coats, nail care supplies


Helmer #2
Drawer #1
"In progress" drawer for polishes currently in use or in-line for swatching!  Basically my "toss it in here when I need to clean up quickly" drawer!


Drawer #2
Wet N Wild, Revlon, Milani, Sinful Colors


Drawer #3
Miscelaneous brands


Drawer #4
Nail art supplies


Drawer #5
Random supplies


Drawer #6
empty...ready to be filled!

My next task is to organize each brand by collection and color...yikes!  Sounds like quite a task!  How do you organize your stash?!

7.27.2012

Olympics Mani and Swatches with butter LONDON Heavy Medals

I  LOVE THE OLYMPICS!  I am so excited for the Opening Ceremonies and for London 2012 to get underway!  To celebrate, I have a special London Olympics manicure to share with you, featuring three gorgeous metallic foils from butter LONDON's Commemorative Olympic Heavy Medal Collection. This box set includes three podium worthy shades:  butter LONDON The Old Bill (bronze), butter LONDON Diamond Geezer (silver), and butter LONDON The Full Monty (gold).



I sort of ran with the London love and these gorgeous shades for my Olympic-inspired nail art!  I used The Full Monty on my pinky, Diamond Geezer on my middle finger, and The Old Bill on my pointer finger and did some London 2012 inspired nail art on my ring finger and thumb =)





For my British flag, I used another butter LONDON color, butter LONDON Blagger, which is one of my favorite polishes ever.  I used nail art brushes and Wet N Wild Wild Shine French White and Red Red to draw on the detail.  For the London 2012 nail, I used French White as my base and the following colors for my numbers:  Zoya Robyn, OPI Need Sunglasses?, Essie Mojito Madness, and Wet N Wild Wild Shine Red Red.  Everything was finished off with NYC top coat.

As far as formulation on the butter LONDON polishes in the Heavy Medal Collection goes, they were super easy to work with.  They are gorgeous foils with limited visible brush-strokes and full opacity in two coats.  Sometimes metallic foil finishes like this can be very thick to work with, but these were actually a wonderful consistency!  Below, I have full swatches for you of each shade!  Each swatch is two coats of polish with no top coat...they are honestly so shiny and smooth on their own!



butter LONDON The Old Bill is a bronze foil.  I don't have anything else like this in my collection.  With this on I feel like a sunkissed bronze goddess!  The brush strokes in this one are a bit more noticeable, but with a careful hand they level out quite nicely.  Love this.




butter LONDON Diamond Geezer is the silver in this collection.  Everyone has silver foils in their collections, but I feel like this one stands out for me.  When compared to my go-to silver, Zoya Trixie, Diamond Geezer is much more metallic, while Trixie is more of a glass fleck polish in a metallic base.  It's smooth and soft, and very wearable, unlike some more vibrant silver shades.




butter LONDON The Full Monty is the gold polish in this set.  It is such a soft, mature and feminine shade of gold!  This is totally a wearable shade...I think i will be pulling it out again come the fall for sure!

Overall, I love this set.  It's super special because of the London Olympics, and the shades go on like "butter" (hardy har har!).  With butter LONDON, you get what you pay for...superb quality.  The butter LONDON Olympic Heavy Medal Collection is available at Nordstrom and online at butterlondon.com for $36.

The butter LONDON Olympic Heavy Medal Collection was provided by the company/PR for honest review.  For more information, see my Disclosure page.

7.26.2012

Zoya NYFW 2012 Comparisons!

Hi everyone!  Today I have a few comparisons for you involving the new Zoya NYFW 2012 polishes!  I'll be comparing polishes in my collection against Daul, FeiFei, Natty and Evvie.  The polishes from the NYFW Zoya Fall collections will be in bold.  Let's get started!

3 coats of each, with NYC:
pointer:  Zoya Faye
middle:  Zoya Daul
ring:  Orly Oui


When I first saw photos of Daul I was disappointed because I thought it was super similar to Faye.  But now that I see them side by side, Faye is much pinker than Daul, but Oui and Daul are quite similar.  If you look quite closely, it appears Daul is a bit more sheer and leans more blue-violet, while Oui is more of a red-voilet.  The difference is very minor.  I'm glad I have both of the Zoya's, but both Daul and Oiu are probably not needed.


3 coats each, with NYC:
pointer/ring:  Zoya Crystal
middle/pinky:  Zoya FeiFei


These two are definitely not dupes of each other, but they are similar.  The base on Crystal is much more blue than FeiFei, which is more of a steel gray-blue.  Also, the super slight duochrome in FeiFei's base makes it stand apart.  FeiFei's multicolored glass flecks show up mostly as gold when on the nail, but honestly, next to Crystal, you can tell that FeiFei has a lot more going on than Crystal.


2 coats, NYC:
pointer/ring:  Zoya Natty
middle/pinky:  Sinful Colors Rainstorm


Natty is a bit deeper and darky than Rainstorm, but they are definitely very similar.  I prefer the formula on the Zoya better (Rainstorm was a bit thick), but at about $6 cheaper, Rainstorm may be a winner for some.  I found Rainstorm in a large new display at Walgreens (see Nouveau Cheap for more info!).  If you're a blue fanatic like me, you may be able to convince yourself that you need both. =)


2 coats, NYC:
pointer/ring:  Zoya Evvie
middle/pinky:  Sinful Colors Leap Flog


Again, the Zoya is a bit deeper and darker than the Sinful Colors polish, but I love how dusty Leap Flog is.  Formula was very similar on both.

Are there any other polishes you would like to see compared to the Zoya Fall 2012 shades?  Let me know and I will do my best to accommodate if I own the polish you're interested in seeing!!  Which ones compared today do you prefer?

Some of the polishes in this post were provided to me by the company for honest review.  Please see my Disclosure page for more information.


PS: I purchased these Sinful Colors polishes and had done this post before the drama started with Sinful Colors using bloggers' photos without consent on their displays.  =/  Until Sinful Colors and Revlon (their parent company) resolves this issue, I will probably not purchase more SC polishes, and I hope no one is offended that I used them in this post!

7.25.2012

Deborah Lippmann LET'S GO CRAZY...and why I think everyone should own at least one DL polish!

ahhhhh Deborah Lippmann...now that I've convinced myself it's okay to treat myself to $15+ nail lacquer every now and then, I just must have your polishes.  So luxurious.  Honestly, I think everyone should have at least one Deborah Lippmann lacquer, whether they are a lacquer-head or not.  And let me tell you why...!  =)  I'm not exactly rolling in the dough.  Now that I've graduated from nail school and am looking for a job, I suppose I am unemployed (cue scary music).  My husband has a great job, but bills need to be paid and things can be tight.  But we live such a rich, fantastic, full life, because life is too short and all we desire is to be happy!  Deborah Lippmann is sort of like that.  I can't afford the luxury Caribbean vacations or fancy designer purses, or even a day at the spa.  But I can scrape together $18!  While spending that much on a single bottle of nail polish may be 100% RIDICULOUS to some, to me, it is a way to treat myself to something simply luxurious!  =)  It makes me happy.  And for me, life isn't about money...it's about people and fun and love...this polish reminds me that life is too short not to have fun...buy that $18 glitter nail polish and love the crap out of it!!! <3

Ok, on to why you are really here: DEBORAH LIPPMANN LET'S GO CRAZY!  This polish is Nordstrom exclusive, but it is currently sold out on their website =(  I found mine in store...though it was not out on a special display or anything; I actually had to dig around to find it!  According to DL's tumblr, this polish is "new for fall...only at Nordstrom" so maybe it will be back in stock eventually?  Not sure, but if you live near a Nordstrom, I'd suggest you go search for it ASAP!



Let's Go Crazy is a dark purple jelly base jam packed with Deborah's signature rainbow glitter!  The jelly base is actually quite dark...the perfect fall glitter!  The formula was a bit thick, but it is very glitter dense.  I'd suggest doing a thin coat first, even if it's streaky, and then do the second coat a bit thicker to even it all out!  Swatches are two coats plus two coats of NYC top coat.





Ahhh I love it.  I don't want to take it off.  Just happiness in a bottle!  =)  As I said before, Let's Go Crazy is a Nordstrom exclusive and retails for $18.  Does this shade make you as happy as it makes me?!  <3

7.24.2012

Now We're Talking!: Zoya FeiFei Revisited

Good morning ladies (and gents!)...today I am showing you how I wore Zoya FeiFei.  FeiFei is GORGEOUS, and this was definitely the polish I was most excited for in all of the new Zoya Fall Collections.   However, I was a bit disappointed when the awesomeness in the bottle didn't translate entirely onto the nail.  I mean, look at this bottle shot!


Even though, as I said, FeiFei is super special on its own, I decided to try layering it over black to see if I could pull some of the duochrome and sparkle out of it!  Here is one thin coat of Zoya FeiFei over two coats of Wet N Wild Wild Shine Black Creme with NYC top coat.


Yesssssssssssssssssssssss!  It looks like an instant Galaxy nail!  At some angles, the pink glass flecks shine out more, and in others it's the blue base you see.  Over black the gold flecks aren't as prominent. It really shows off everything that this polish has to offer!

...pink...


...steel blue...

Shimmering glass flecks!
So, I'm really happy that FeiFei can be worn layered!  It's hard to believe it's even the same polish as when it's worn on its own!  How do you prefer FeiFei?  Layered over black or on her own? =)

Let's zoom in....



FeiFei was provided by the company for honest review.  For more information, see my Disclosure page.



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