Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ode to S.H.I.E.L.D. with Fandom Cosmetics and A-England

I recently treated myself to some new nail accessories, and thought it was a great time to indulge in my first purchase from Fandom Cosmetics. So, I decided to buy a bunch of nail decals to celebrate some of my favourite fandoms.

They arrived this week, and since I’m in a big Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. buzz at the moment, so I decided to try these out first. Nail polish wise, I’m still on a little A-England buzz following the 5 polishes I bought recently, so I’ve two A-England polishes featured in this mani.

Thumb, index and pinky were painted with one coat of A-England Camelot. Middle finger was started with 2 coats of China Glaze White on White, and the suit details were painted free-hand using Camelot, and a small bit of Bobbing for Baubles by Essie for the lapels of the suit jacket. Ring finger consists of two coats of A-England Excalibur and one coat of Glisten & Glow HK Girl topcoat to quick-dry before applying the decal. Once that was dry, I removed the nail decal from the backing paper with a pair of tweezers and applied it to the middle of the nail. I finally topped everything off with 2 coats of HK Girl topcoat.

I really like these decals; I think they will be really easy to use. I was a little caught off guard with how sticky they are, as I didn't get this one completely centred, but now I know how they are, I think it’ll be better next time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Freehand Flowers with A-England

*Dusts off more cobwebs*

Howdy again! It’s been ages since my last post – real life is really getting in my way at the moment, but I’m gonna keep trying to get a more regular posting schedule going. Real life has not, however, curbed my polish buying habit, so at least I’ll have plenty to post about!

Today, I have some freehand flowers I painted with some new A-England polishes I treated myself to recently – Camelot and Dancing With Nureyev.

Here, I have two coats of Camelot, a lovely black creme. I could have gotten away with one coat if I was a little more careful, but went with 2 to make sure it was perfect. I then used a nail art brush and painted on some flowers and swirly things with Dancing With Nureyev, a gorgeous light blue holo. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this one was opaque over the black of Camelot, and I’m looking forward to trying this out with some stamping plates!

You can see the gorgeous holo in this picture <3

I thought I'd stick this one in just to show the design on my thumb!

Overall, I'm really pleased with these polishes, and I'll be definitely using them loads!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Random Picks – China Glaze Westside Warrior & OPI Embarca-Dare Ya

I’m continuing my mission to use up all of my untried polishes, and today my random picks from my untrieds drawer are China Glaze Westside Warrior and OPI Embarca-Dare Ya. I was unsure about how to bring these two together in a mani as they're both so different. I initially thought of doing a floral type design, but I didn't give myself enough time, so I then decided to the stamping efficiency of the OPI polish.

The base is two coats of Westside Warrior, a dark, camo-green creme. I’m in the habit of painting my coats a bit thick, so I might have gotten away with one coat, but went for two to be safe. I then stamped a tribal hand pattern MoYou London's Explorer 11 plate on random spots on my nails, using Embarca-Dare Ya, a lovely magenta shimmer. I topped it off with one coat of Glisten & Glow HK Girl for a super shiny finish.

I really like both of these colours – in the bottle, Westide Warrior looked like one of those love-them-or-hate-them ugly colours, and I’ve been really attracted to these colours recently! I got Embarca-Dare Ya in a 4 pack set of the OPI San Fransisco collection; I got the pack mostly for Alcatraz…Rocks (a gorgeous blue/purple texture polish, also still untried!), and I probably wouldn't have bought Embarca-Dare Ya on its own, but I'm glad I got it in the set. I want to use this as a full mani soon, to see what it’s like on a full nail. It's definitely a winner for stamping though, I had no issues using this on the plate, and the design came out really well. I’m also in love with MoYou’s stamping plates, I need to pick up some more!

All in all, a pretty successful mani, and another two polishes out of the untrieds drawer!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Freehand Baroque

My local Penney’s store recently restocked their Essence stand with lots of new polishes, and I find it increasingly more difficult to walk past it without buying something, so I've bought a few of their new colours over the last few days. It’s a really good thing that they are so cheap!

Today, I wanted to use a lovely deep, forest green called Deep Sea, Baby. The opacity of this is really good, I’ve painted just one coat as the base here. Could be down to my shorties though! I decided to try my hand at some freehand baroque patterns, I’ve seen some lovely freehand baroque manis and wanted to try it out. The pattern is painted with A-England Saint George. I thought having it in the same colour family, and with a bit of holo goodness would be a bit different. The next time though, I’ll paint the design under direct light, so I’ll be able to see what I'm doing, lol!

The actual design isn't great, I could have benefited from being able to see what I was doing, but I like the flashes of the holo green against the dark base, even if you can't see what it is :p

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Random Picks – W7 Mosaic and Sally Hansen Jaded

I recently sorted through my stash and separated out all of the polishes that I haven't gotten around to using/swatching yet, and I was a little surprised at the amount that I had. I was able to fill a whole drawer of my Helmer with them!

In the few weeks since I've done this, sadly, I still haven't touched the drawer, and I'm still buying more polishes, so I've decided that I’m going to try to stave off my polish buying and use up some of my untrieds. So, I'm going to try and randomly pick two polishes from the drawer every week, and create a mani using those, to get my stash used. This consists of me holding my hands over the drawer with my eyes closed and picking two random bottles. I’m sure I look great doing it. Heh.

This week, my hands randomly picked Mosaic from W7 and Sally Hansen's Jaded. Both of these polishes are quite sheer, and I was initially stumped as to what to do with them. Eventually, I decided I would try jelly sandwiching them, since their formulas were perfect for the technique.

Mosaic is a sheer blue base with a scattering of blue and gold glitter. Jaded is a lovely, jade-green jelly. I painted 2 alternating coats of each, starting with Mosaic and finishing with Jaded. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I also applied a diamond tile-styled stamp from Bundle Monster plate BM-203, and Barry M gold foil. Initially, I wanted to do some type of fishy, underwater style stamp, as the combination reminded me of the green you'd see under the ocean, but I didn't have any, so my eye was drawn to this stamp. I actually think it works really well, it makes it look quite mosaicy to me (if that makes sense…).

Again, I forgot to take a picture before I stamped (d'oh!), so I hope the stamp doesn't cover the paint job up to much, that you can still see the two polishes together. I think they look quite good, and it turned out better than I thought it would.

Happy days!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Lacquer Legion: Adoration – Tatooine Sunset

A few of my favourite bloggers, Chalkboard Nails, The Nailasaurus, Rebecca Likes Nails, and Work Play Polish have created a new monthly nail art challenge called the Lacquer Legion, and this month I decided to join in! This month’s prompt is Adoration, so I decided to try and combine a nail art technique that I love with one of my favourite nerdy fandoms – gradients and Star Wars!

Star Wars was my very first proper nerdy obsession, but I admit, I have been neglecting it for some of my other fandoms of late, so I felt it was time to give it some love again. I have done some Star Wars art before, in the shape of different helmets, but the idea of painting the famous Tatooine Twin Sunset came to me a few weeks ago, and I thought this nail art challenge would be the perfect excuse to try it out.

Solo thumb shot (Please excuse the cut!)

I started with a base of China Glaze Life Is Rosy, and sponged a gradient of Life Is Rosy with China Glaze Fade Into Hue once that was dry. After about 4 to 5 layers of sponging, I put one coat of Glisten & Glow HK Girl for a quick dry and to help blend the gradient together. The sandy tips are a mixture of Rimmel Beige Style, Beige Babe, and OPI My Vampire Is Buff. The suns were done using the end of a striper brush, with OPI MVIB again (middle finger), and Essence Free Hugs (ring finger). The dome of the Beru household was done using the sandy mixture again, and MVIB for the detail.

In hindsight, I should have painted the thumb design sideways on my thumb, as trying to take a photo of all of my nails together was awkward, and resulted in some creepy hand poses!

I enjoyed painting this for the challenge, even though I think my gradient could have been much better. Nice for the practice though! I can’t wait to see all of the other manicures from this challenge, I think there are going to be some great ones!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Belated Valentine Stripes and Gradient

I didn't really get around to doing much nail art for Valentine's Day this year, although I did try out a few ideas to see how they would look. Two I did in particular looked quite good together, I thought, so I decided to use them as a full set. Plus, I painted these on Valentine's Day, so this technically is a Valentine's mani. I'm sticking with that anyway, lol!

For the gradient nails, my base is 2 coats of Barry M Pomegranate, followed by a sponging of A-England Rose Bower on the tips. I think I went a bit high with the gradient, it's not the best! It still looks ok though!

For the stripe nails, I started with a base of 2 coats of OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby from the Gwen Stefani collection. This is a gorgeous gold with a satin like matte finish; I've been wanting this ever since swatches started popping up on nail blogs, and I'm really glad I decided to splash out on it! The stripes were done with Pomegranate and Rose Bower.

I took some pics with my flash on as well, because why not? I think Rose Bower stands out much better in the flash photos.

I was really impressed with the amount of stripes I managed to get on my thumb, but I ended up being a bit more heavy-handed with the other nails as I got a bit more complacent!

One last close up with flash to catch a bit of the A-England holoness! <3

I really like the simplicity of this, mani - I like getting the striping practice in, and it took me less than an hour to do both of my hands, which is unusual for me! It's nice getting a good mani done in record time!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nerdy Nails: Exploding TARDIS

My other passion in life, aside from nail art, is the many fandoms in which I currently partake. I love bringing my two passions together, and celebrating my fandoms in my nail art, so I am very happy to bring my Nerdy Nails back to the blog! I was really in the mood for a good nail art session this week, and after seeing this amazing rendition of the Exploding TARDIS on Adventures in Acetone a few months back, I knew I wanted to try to recreate it myself. Figured now was as good a time as any!

For some background, the Exploding TARDIS came about in series 5 of Doctor Who, as a painting done by Vincent Van Gogh in the episode The Pandorica Opens. One of my favourite episodes, with my favourite Doctor, so I was keen to try and do this as best as I could!

I started off with a base of Bobbing For Baubles from Essie (2 coats). The blue I used in the TARDIS pieces is OPI Keeping Suzi At Bay, and I mixed this blue with some white (NYC Pinstripe White) for some highlighting. The white detail for the windows and note on my index finger is OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls (I really need to get a new bottle of this – I use it a lot for nail art, but it’s half gone now, and gone all Super-Gloop, and getting harder to use!). For the flame sections and spirals on my pinky and all of my right hand, I used Essence Little Miss Sunrise and OPI My Vampire Is Buff on their own, as well as mixing them for a paler yellow to add to the mix. The burnt orangey-red mix is a mixture of a bunch of colours just to add a bit of contrast (Essence Little Miss Sunrise, OPI My Vampire Is Buff, Barry M Mango, Rimmel Jungle Princess, NYC Fine Red Wine, Rimmel Celebrity Bash).

There was no way I was going to be able to paint a TARDIS with my non-dominant hand, so I took a leaf out of Jacki's book and just replicated some of the swirly flame aspects of the painting to bring both hands together. Everything’s topped off with two coats of Glisten & Glow HK Girl Topcoat.

This type of nail art always looks much better in my head than it does when I actually get to paint it on my nails, but I’m quite happy with how this turned out. And, as always, practice makes perfect, so I know all of these hours will pay off in the long run!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Baroque stamp with Picture Polish Ultra Violence

I mentioned my long-time craving for some Picture Polish shades in my last post, so when I was ordering from Rainbow Connection, I could't just get one! I also picked up a second beautiful shade, Ultra Violence.
This one was also created through their Blogger collaboration – this time with Lab Muffin
This is a gorgeous royal purple shimmer with pink flecks, and larger coral hex glitters that are also holographic in the right lighting. This was a little sheer at first, but was completely opaque in 2 coats, and I had no issues with application.

I thought putting a nice baroque style design stamp would go well with this one. This design is from Bundle Monster plate BM 214, and stamped with Barry M Silver Foil. This is topped off with 2 coats of Glisten & Glow HK Girl topcoat.

I absolutely love this polish, I'm so glad I picked it up and I'll definitely be wearing it loads!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Peacock-style stamp with Picture Polish Kryptonite

For as long as I've been reading nail blogs, I've been dying to get my hands on some Picture Polish shades, but, seeing as they are an Australian brand, and I’m half the world away, it's not been the easiest task. But now, to my delight (and my bank balance's dismay) a UK based online polish store, Rainbow Connection, have started to stock Picture Polish! Needless to say, I was super excited when I heard the news, and snapped up two polishes the minute the brand launched on the store.

Today I’m showing the gorgeous Kryptonite. This shade was part of one of the brand's Blogger collaborations, and was made in collaboration with More Nail Polish. It’s a beautiful, squishy green jelly with a scattered holo effect. I’ve been eyeing this one for over a year now, so it was a no brainer that I’d snap this one up given half the chance. Here, I've done a simple accent stamp, using a peacock tail style (it's not really, but that's what it reminds me of!) stamp from Bundle Monster plate BM 212, and Barry M Gold Foil. The round parts of the stamp were filled in using OPI Tomorrow Never Dies and a dotting tool. I topped it off with a coat of Glisten & Glow HK Girl topcoat (which I also picked up on Rainbow Connection, and after my first use, I'm really impressed!).

Here's a mediocre shot in direct light, as I try to catch the holo goodness! :p

I really like the stamp on this, and I'm totally in love with the polish. I’m already trying to think up of more nail art ideas for this one so I can use it again! So, Picture Polish definitely get a thumbs up from me, and I already have my eyes on lots more of their shades!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Texture Stripes with Essence

One of the big polish trends from last year was the textured polishes, and the brands like OPI and Zoya have come out with some great ones (I have yet to get my hands on a PixieDust polish, but hopefully this year I’ll manage to get one!). Unfortunately for me, these ones can be quite expensive over here, so thankfully, some of the more affordable brands are also coming out with their own textured polishes.

Today, I have done a simple striping tape mani, using two Essence polishes. The base here is Essence Boho Chic, a lovely soft coral with gold flakies. I applied two coats of this, topped with one coat of No 7 Stay Perfect topcoat for a quick dry. Then I applied 2-3 strips pf striping tape on my nails, and then painted over with 1 coat of Me & My Lover, one of Essence’s Sparkle Sand Effect polishes and quickly removed the tape. Me & My Lover is a lovely red with red and gold glitter, and dries to a textured finish. I left this with no topcoat, to leave this with its textured finish.

I like the contrast between the texture and the smooth stripes with this mani. Overall, I like the textured trend, and I'll definitely be expanding my textured polish collection!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Grungy Tribal

I love checking out other nail art blogs, and seeing all the new techniques and ideas that the amazing bloggers are coming out with. I can struggle a lot with thinking up with unique ideas myself, so I find reading other blogs great for sparking inspiration and ideas. With today's mani, I decided to try out the Distressed Nail Art technique from one of my favourite blogs, the amazing Chalkboard Nails. I thought that this technique, done with some bright colours, would be a great base for a dark tribal design.

I started out with a white base of NYC Pinstripe White. Then, I followed Sarah's tutorial for her Distressed Nail Art, and painted the almost-dry polish brushes in stripes over the white (the tutorial explains this a lot better!), using Essence colours Wanna Be Your Sunshine (yellow), Upper Green Side (green) and Free Hugs (pink), Barry M's Gelly Nail Paint in Mango (orange), OPI You're Such A Budapest (purple) and NYC Blue.L.ita (blue) (also, what a strange name!). I then topped all of this with a coat of No 7 Stay Perfect Topcoat to quickly dry everything and to smooth it out a bit. I then stamped a great tribal design from MoYou London’s Explorer collection plate 11, using Essence's matte black stamping polish. A final coat of No7 Stay Perfect topped everything off and sealed it in.

In hindsight, I think I used too many colours when doing the distressed technique, I probably could have done with only using two or three colours at most (as Sarah also advises in the tutorial). A couple of my nails looked a bit muddy when I put the orange over the green, but once I put the stamp on and finished it up, I actually really liked the result. I'll definitely try this technique again with some other colours, and I'll remember to take a picture of that part before putting anything else over it the next time!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Maybelline Street Artist Topcoats Swatches

Nail polish-wise, I'm a complete sucker for glitters, and unique ones at that. Most of the fun, unique glitter polishes I see online are from indie brands, and unfortunately they can sometimes be hard for me to pick up (not having the money, and needing them shipped from another country, etc, etc). So, when I see a commercial brand branching away from the usual, and releasing something different, I'm usually all over that and spending more than I really should! 
I couldn’t help myself when I found the Maybelline Street Artist glitter topcoats in my local Boots, I couldn’t choose between the four they had, so I bought them all!

These are all clear based, glitter topcoats, consisting of different sized hexagons, as well as bar shaped glitters. Each had a good glitter payoff. I didn't have any trouble getting any of the larger glitters on my nails, apart from the white bars in White Splatter; the white bars in this one were a little longer than the bars in the other glitters, so I didn't get a lot of them in my swatch. Other than that, I didn’t have any trouble with these, and I’ll definitely wear them again.

 My swatches below are all 1 coat over their respective bases, and all topped off with 2 coats No7 Stay Perfect topcoat.

Alley Attitude – 1 coat over Essence Wanna Be Your Sunshine
Alley Attitude has small, medium, large black hexagons, small & medium blue hexagons, and blue bars in a clear base.

Urban Vibe – 1 coat  over Essence The Boy Next Door
Urban Vibe consists of small, medium, large black hexagons, small & medium orange hexagons, and orange bars in a clear base.

Boom Box Black – 1 coat over Essence Break Through
Boom Box Black has small, medium, large black hexagons, small & medium green hexagons, and green bars in a clear base. (Please excuse the mess on my index finger - I accidentally glooped the glitter polish on that one - oops! :) )

White Splatter – 1 coat over Zoya Kristen

White Splatter contains a slightly different glitter mix than the other three. There are small, medium, large white hexagons & white bars, small & medium purple hexagons, and medium blue/green hexagons.

Overall, I really like these glitters. They add a bit of fun to a plain creme if I don't have the time to be going all out with some nail art. I think my favourite combo here is Alley Attitude over Wanna Be Your Sunshine. I think the bright yellow base really makes the blue glitter stand out! I'll definitely wear these together again.