Intelligence, Integrity, Courage and Stamping

Hello! Today I have a full-nail stamping attempt to show. I was wearing the only other polish I bought from China Glaze’s The Giver collection–Intelligence, Integrity & Courage–and I decided to dress up this beautiful blue-toned gray with some silver stamping. I used plate BM-502, which is a plate from Bundle Monster’s Sun-Kissed collection. No photos of the plate, unfortunately, because I can’t yet figure out how to photograph stamping plates without getting a reflection of the camera.

China Glaze stamping

Shown in indirect lighting: Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat, 2 coats of China Glaze Intelligence, Integrity & Courage, Essie Good to Go, and stamping in Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Silver Sweep. No top coat over the stamping, since I did this after I had worn the China Glaze for a while.

China Glaze stamping

The pattern is a bit crooked, and I smeared it by pressing the stamper too hard against my nail. Lesson learned! But I really like the overall effect–like shiny fish scales. The Sally Hansen Insta-Dri line is good for stamping, but be prepared to work fast since–true to the name–these polishes dry in no time at all!

China Glaze stamping

Another indirect light picture. I don’t have photos of the China Glaze on its own–I stamped over it before that occurred to me. Whoops!

China Glaze stamping

Full sunlight. The design isn’t as clear here, but you can really see the shine of the Sally Hansen polish used for the stamping.

China Glaze stamping

Finally, a thumb/label picture. The design wasn’t quite large enough to reach the tip of my thumb, but since nobody looks at my nails that carefully except for me, it doesn’t bother me that much.

I can’t wait to do even more stamping! Hopefully the more I do it, the better I’ll get :).

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

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Leopard Spots

This is a manicure I am really excited to show you. Leopard spots! They’re surprisingly simple and quick to do, especially if you’ve got a dotting tool. I followed this tutorial published by Mary on Swatch and Learn, and it was very clear and easy to follow.

Without further ado, here is the nail art. *Drumroll*

Leopard Spots (with bottle)

Ta-da! As you can see, I opted for a “classic” leopard design. I used Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat and 2 coats of OPI Don’t Pretzel My Buttons for the beige background. I did the spots in Sinful Colors Nirvana (previously reviewed here) and Sinful Colors Black on Black. After waiting a bit for the spots to dry, I slicked on Essie Good to Go to seal everything in.

Leopard Spots

I was sad when it came time for removal. Looking down at my nails and seeing a fierce (haha) leopard print made me so happy.

Leopard Spots

All in all, I would say this has been a pretty successful manicure.

Leopard Spots on thumbnail

If you’re looking to venture into the world of nail art, I highly recommend trying leopard spots! Grab yourself a good dotting tool and a few polishes and read through Mary’s tutorial. Even if you think you don’t have any nail art skills, you may surprise yourself!

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

A Simple & Classic French Manicure

Today I have for you my first French manicure. French manicures are often dismissed as “boring” or “trashy” but I think it’s a great classic look. It was surprisingly easy to do with tip guides.

 French manicure with OPI

To achieve this look, I skipped the base coat (because I wanted to be able to touch up the tips if needed) and applied the tip guides right to my dry bare nails. I painted the tips with two coats of OPI Angel with a Leadfoot (which I have previously reviewed here). I carefully touched up some of the tips with a small brush dipped in pure acetone, and then after waiting for them to dry, I added two coats of OPI You Callin’ Me a Lyre?. I topped everything off with Essie Good to Go.

French mani with OPI

Here is another look, sans bottle. OPI You Callin’ Me a Lyre? is an absolutely perfect French manicure polish, because it is streak-free.

Orly French Tip Guides

I used these French tip guides by Orly, which I found at Sally’s Beauty Supply. These tip guides are very good, but definitely shaped for oval/squoval nails (so if you have square nails, you will have to look elsewhere). The guides are very sticky, which is good for preventing leakage.

French manicure with OPI

One last look at the tips. If you don’t like the stark white tips of a French manicure, you can use a sheer white instead (such as OPI Funny Bunny or Essie Waltz). This is called an American manicure, and results in a softer, more natural look.

I loved this manicure more than I thought I would, and I can easily see myself doing this again for work. I’m also looking forward to doing this with fun twists (like colored tips) in the future, since it’s so easy to do.

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

China Glaze Boundary of Memory Swatches & Review

Hello! Today I have for you a recent release from China Glaze. Say hello to the brown/silver/black glittery goodness that is Boundary of Memory!

China Glaze Boundary of Memory

 

Shown in partial sunlight: OPI Glitter-Off Base Coat, 2 thick coat of Boundary of Memory, and Essie Good to Go.

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Check out that sparkle!

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Here is Boundary of Memory in indirect sunlight. Because of the combination of brown, gold, and black glitter in the base, this polish reminds me of speckled granite countertops in indirect lighting.

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This picture in partial sunlight is most true to how Boundary of Memory looks in real life.

China Glaze Boundary of Memory Quick Review

Formula: Here is the downside to this lovely glitter…the formula was truly terrible! It was so thick and goopy I found it nearly impossible to manipulate. The polish stayed where I put it, like concrete. On the bright side, it did dry very quickly (and I can always add thinner to it before I use it again).

Collection: China Glaze The Giver, Fall 2014

Where to buy: I purchased my bottle at Sally’s Beauty Supply. You can also find China Glaze polishes at Ulta and online through sites like Amazon.

Would I wear again: Yes…but I’m going to need lots of thinner to make the formula bearable!

Overall: 3/5 stars

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

First Stamping Attempt ft. OPI My Dogsled is a Hybrid

So the other day, my first nail stamping plates that I purchased from Bundle Monster finally arrived! I immediately sat down and played with them for a while. First I practiced on a manicure I was about to remove anyway, and then I practiced on my bare nails. After I became used to the whole ‘paint-scrape-stamp-nail’ routine, I applied a fresh manicure with OPI My Dogsled is a Hybrid and decorated it with some little black flowers from plate BM-311. 

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Shown in full sunlight: Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat, 2 coats of OPI My Dogsled is a Hybrid, Sinful Colors Black on Black for the stamping, and Essie Good to Go.

As you can see, I still need some practice. I mangled the design on my ring finger, and I didn’t wait long enough to apply my top coat so the flowers are a little smeared. 

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Here is a picture in indirect sunlight. Despite my mistakes, I enjoyed this manicure and I’m really looking forward to doing even more stamping. 

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A label shot with my thumb in indirect sunlight. The OPI polish itself is great; a quick review follows.

OPI My Dogsled is a Hybrid Quick Review

Formula: A bit thin and streaky on the first coat, but evened out by the second coat.

Collection: OPI Nordic Collection, Fall 2014

Where to buy: I bought mine off of Amazon. You can also find OPI polishes at Ulta, Sally’s Beauty Supply, and JC Penney salons.

Would I wear again: Yes, I love this one!

Overall: 4/5 stars

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

 

 

 

Icy Diamonds + Battle of the Rhinestones

Hey there! So, you know what went into today’s manicure? Pain, suffering, and lots of topcoat. Ok, I’m being a bit dramatic, but this was my first time using rhinestones. Even with using the special pointed tweezers to pick them up, it was a minor disaster. They’re tiny, they jump out of the tweezers if gripped the wrong way, and I had one heck of a time getting them onto my nails. 

Here’s the manicure I’m bellyaching about:

BL & SC mani     

Shown in natural lighting. What you see is: one coat of OPI Glitter-Off, 3 coats of Sinful Colors Ice Dream (a blue and silver glitter) over one coat of butter LONDON Diamond Geezer (a dense silver foil). On the nails with the rhinestones, there are two coats of BL Diamond Geezer. Finished with Essie Good to Go (of which I kept having to apply more coats to get the rhinestones to stick). Rhinestones are from the Born Pretty Store.

BL & SC mani

All the fuss about rhinestones aside, I think this manicure actually turned out pretty well. Sure, it looks rather tacky now, but I think this would be hot (or rather, cool?) around the holidays. This feels like what Elsa from Frozen might have on her nails.

BL & SC mani

 

I layered Sinful Colors Ice Dream over the butter LONDON because Ice Dream is a little sparse on its own. I swatched two thick coats of Ice Dream on a nail wheel below to show this:

Sinful Colors Ice Dream

Sinful Colors Ice Dream does resemble China Glaze Lorelai’s Tiara, which is why I bought it. I don’t have the China Glaze to compare, but I’m happy I own Ice Dream (even if it is on the sparse side).

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

 

Illamasqua Glitterati Swatches + Nail Art Haul

Hi! Today I have another glitter polish for ya. All aboard the glitter train! Haha. This one, unfortunately, is limited edition. It was released as part of a duo pack put out by British cosmetics brand Illamasqua during the 2012 holiday season. The duo consisted of Viridian (a dark green shimmer) and the polish I’m showing, Glitterati (holographic hex glitters in a dark raspberry jelly base). Viridian is a part of Illamasqua’s permanent line, I believe, but Glitterati hasn’t been released on its own.

So why am I torturing you with photos of this limited edition polish, you ask? It’s, quite simply, a stunner. If you have this one gathering dust in the back of your drawer, I encourage you to bust this baby back out and let it see the light of day!

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Shown here is one coat of OPI Glitter-Off Base Coat, two coats of Illamasqua Glitterati, and a coat of Essie Good to Go.

Isn’t this such a festive polish? (Never mind that it’s the beginning of September and we’re barely into fall.) I can easily see myself busting this one out when I’m tired of red/green/gold nails for the holiday season. 

Illamasqua is a really awesome brand, by the way. Think Urban Decay, but edgier and more avant-garde. Too bad Sephora stopped stocking their products :(. 

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Another photo in natural light, this one sans bottle. The tips don’t look dark like that in real life.

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This picture is the most true to how the base color looks in real life–a dark raspberry.

And finally…

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My nail art supplies finally came in! Hurrah! Dotting tools, rhinestones, tweezers to pick up the rhinestones, and striping tape (bronze, silver, and white). I can’t wait to start playing with all of this.

Illamasqua Glitterati Quick Review

Formula: Thin and jelly-like, but manageable in two coats.

Collection: As I mentioned, Glitterati was part of a limited-edition holiday duo released by Illamasqua during the 2012 holiday season.

Where to buy: As this duo was limited edition, you will not be able to find it in stores. I suggest checking eBay or Amazon. Illamasqua polishes can also be bought on their website, but be aware that the currency is British pounds–so you’re at the mercy of whatever the exchange rate is.

Would I wear again: Yes!

Overall: 4.5/5 stars

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

Vintage Red Half-Moons

Hi! Today I have for you a mani that turned out really well. I’ve wanted to do a successful half-moon mani for a while now, and I think I’ve finally nailed it. (Ha ha.) This would be a fun design to do in many different color combos, but I decided to go classic and sophisticated using Revlon Forbidden (a deep red polish) and OPI You Callin’ Me a Lyre? (a sheer pink). 

 Red half-moon mani   

Here is the finished product, in natural lighting. I used OPI’s Ridge-Filler and two coats of OPI You Callin’ Me a Lyre? for the pink moons. I waited for that to dry completely before applying the hole reinforcers. It’s important to let the base color dry completely, not just to the touch, because then when you apply and remove the hole reinforcers they will rip off the base polish. Not that that happened to me or anything. Anyway, after waiting a couple of hours for the OPI to dry, I stuck on the hole reinforcers and carefully applied two coats of Revlon Forbidden. After waiting a few more minutes for the whole manicure to set, I finished with a thick coat of Essie Good To Go.

Revlon & OPI half-moon polishes

Here are the basic supplies I used. Revlon Forbidden is the gorgeous red jelly on the left; OPI You Callin’ Me a Lyre? is the sheer pink on the right that I used for my base. The hole reinforcers you can find at any office supply store. 

Red Half-Moon Mani

 

Another picture in shaded natural lighting. The half-moon manicure started around the 1930s/1940s, when women didn’t (or couldn’t) get their nails done as often as women do today. The half-moon part was left bare to disguise growth at the cuticle, thus making your manicure look fresher for longer. This look has since been revived by people like Dita Von Teese, who made this manicure synonymous with old Hollywood glamour and classic styles.

Red half-moon mani

 

One last picture in shaded natural lighting. This is closest to how Revlon Forbidden looks in real life–not a candy apple red, but rather a deeper red. I considered leaving the moon part bare for a true ‘vintage’ look, but I’m glad I went with the sheer pink. It pops more against the red than just a bare nail. 

I am really glad that this turned out! I know it doesn’t look perfect in these macro shots, but in real life and at a normal distance this manicure looks utterly glamorous. I feel so classy and ladylike with this on my nails–I’ll be sad to remove it. I’m looking forward to attempting the half-moon look with other color combos in the future!

 

Sparkle in the City: China Glaze Skyscraper

Hi and happy Labor Day! I hope you all are having a great one, whether you’ve chosen to brave the crowds to fry yourself on the beach or to just stay at home and enjoy some down time. I’m in the latter category; I love the beach but I didn’t feel like dealing with the traffic or the crowds this year. 

I feel like I should be sporting ‘last blast of summer’ shades like bright corals or punchy yellows, but instead I have been craving glitter. Today I have for you a nice one–China Glaze Skyscraper. It has silver sparkles packed into a semi-sheer navy blue base.

China Glaze Skyscraper

 

Shown here, in natural lighting, is one thin coat of OPI Glitter-Off Base Coat, 2 thick coats of China Glaze Skyscraper, and Essie Good to Go. Just look at that navy blue sparkly goodness! It reminds me of a beautiful starry night sky. On that topic, I can’t confirm if this is a dupe for the incredibly hard-to-find Essie Starry Starry Night (which I dreamed of owning back when I first became a lacquer addict). However, from what I’ve seen online of the Essie, the China Glaze is a close enough match to make me happy.

China Glaze Skyscraper

 

Another natural lighting photo. I wore this to meet a favorite author of mine who was in town recently–so now it has that memory associated with it, which is cool. 

China Glaze Skyscraper

 

My nails look all uneven in this picture–I don’t know why.

China Glaze Skyscraper

 

Here is a thumb and label picture. No, this polish does not have orange streaks in it! I wore a bright orange t-shirt the day I photographed this and my nail is reflecting it, haha.

China Glaze Skyscraper

 

Finally, an awkward side-profile picture. 

China Glaze Skyscraper Quick Review

Formula: Not the best–thick and gloopy. However, my bottle is old (I bought it a few years ago) and glitter polishes get thick and gloopy over time. I probably should have added some thinner before application. I used two thick coats to get it opaque.

Collection: China Glaze Metro Collection, Fall 2011

Where to buy: I found mine on sale at Ulta. However, since this isn’t a current release, you may have trouble finding it in stores. You may stumble upon it at a retailer that sells China Glaze (Ulta, Sally Beauty Supply, etc.), but if you’re determined to get your hands on it, I suggest searching Amazon or eBay.

Would I wear again: Yes–but I would add thinner to the bottle before applying!

Overall: 4/5 stars

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

Like a Cup of Hot Cocoa: Sinful Colors Nirvana

Hi! Today I have a simple brown polish to show. One of my nail polish goals has been to find a brown that flatters my skin tone. Like a red polish or a nude polish, there’s a brown polish for every skin tone out there–you just need to find the one that has the most flattering undertones. I am happy to report that Sinful Colors Nirvana is one such polish, at least for me.

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Shown here in indirect natural lighting: OPI Ridge Filler, 2 coats of Sinful Colors Nirvana, and Essie Good to Go. In real life, it doesn’t look this yellow-toned. It’s softer and has taupe undertones.

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I decided to slap on one of my favorite glitters as an accent–Elevation Polish Kilimanjaro. This polish really deserves its own review. It’s a mixture of silver, gold, and copper circle glitters of various sizes, and it looks fantastic over many different colors. I love having polishes I can mix-and-match!

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Another natural light photo of this combo. 

Sinful Colors Nirvana Quick Review

Formula: A little thin and patchy, but workable. I pulled it off in two coats.

Collection: I think this is a part of Sinful Colors’s permanent line.

Where to buy: I found mine at my local Walgreen’s. You can also find Sinful Colors at other drugstores (Rite-Aid, etc.) and at big-box superstores like Wal-Mart.

Would I wear again: Yes, probably for work. This is a sophisticated neutral.

Overall: 4/5 stars

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica