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

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

 

 

 

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

 

Mannequin Hands with Essie’s Topless and Barefoot

Hello! It’s Wednesday–which means we’re nearly halfway through the week! Woo-hoo! Anyway, today I have for you my perfect nude shade. To give you some idea, I have very fair skin with slightly cool undertones. I’m not sure what that would be in MAC’s makeup system, as I don’t wear MAC foundation, but I can say that I always wear the lightest shade of foundation in any make-up line. 

Anyway, without further ado, here is Essie Topless and Barefoot.

  Essie Topless and Barefoot with bottle    

Shown here is OPI Ridge-Filling Base Coat, 2 coats of Essie Topless and Barefoot, and Essie Good To Go. This is natural lighting. This polish is definitely significantly pinker than what this picture is showing; I need to work on my picture-taking skills.

Essie Topless and Barefoot

Ok, this is a little more accurate to how it looks in real life, but my skin isn’t quite so red as it looks in this picture. Ugh. 

Essie Topless and Barefoot label

Here it is again, looking decidedly not pink-toned when it should be. Argh. Anyway, the important thing is that I have finally found a flattering nude polish for my skin tone. 

The next question I asked myself was: How does this compare to OPI My Very First Knockwurst? See the results below. The Essie is on the left, the OPI is on the right.

Essie T&P vs. OPI MVFK

While both polishes are technically pink-toned nudes, the OPI is significantly pinker and a little dustier than the Essie. The OPI also has a slightly better formula. However, the OPI definitely has a more awkward name. (Yes, I consider stuff like this when comparing polishes.)

Essie Topless and Barefoot Quick Review

Formula: Awful! I used a ridge-filling base coat (my secret weapon for problem polishes) and the polish still streaked and ran. It has a very thin and runny formula. I think it was only with the grace of the polish gods that I did not flood all my cuticles. I pulled it off in two coats, though.

Collection: Essie A French Affair, Spring 2011

Where to buy: I found mine at Ulta. However, since this is an older polish, you may not be able to find it in brick-and-mortar stores. If you absolutely must track it down, I suggest checking Amazon.

Would I wear again: Yes, but I’ll have to be in the mood to deal with the horrible formula.

Overall: 3.5/5 stars

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

 

 

Attempt at a Sponge Gradient

Hi! So yesterday, I sat down with the resolution to do some non-sucky nail art. I decided to do a simple sponge gradient, using makeup wedges. Well, after two failed attempts at that, I was getting pretty frustrated. (The upshot is that scrubbing my nails with remover so many times also removed most of the staining that’s been plaguing my tips.) This is my third attempt, using those spongy eyeshadow applicators instead.     Aqua sponge gradient And voila, the finished product. This isn’t quite as neat as I would have liked. It looks like white-capped ocean waves, which I guess is cool, but I was going for more of a soft gradient effect. Pictured here is OPI Ridge-Filling Base Coat, two coats of China Glaze For Audrey, and then butter LONDON Fiver and OPI Angel with a Leadfoot sponged on the tips. I finished with Glisten N’ Glow HK Girl Top Coat. Oh, and this is my very first time attempting clean-up with a small brush and some pure acetone.

Here are the polishes:

Aqua sponge gradient polishes

Left to right: China Glaze For Audrey, butter LONDON Fiver, OPI Angel with a Leadfoot. 

Eyeshadow applicators--sponge gradient

These are the cheap eyeshadow applicators I used. I found mine at Sally’s Beauty Supply, but you can find these just about anywhere, really.

Aqua sponge gradient

Another shot in natural light. 

Overall, I liked this mani, but I think next time I’ll try it with colors that contrast a bit more.

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

Sinful Colors Blue Crushin: A One-Coat Wonder

Hey there! Today I removed my interview mani (the thumbs were chipping–hmph) and contemplated what to wear next. Despite the fact that I have over a hundred bottles of polish (and that is not even including the “support equipment” of various bases, top coats, etc.), I still have that “oh-my-goodness-I-have-nothing-to wear” moment embarrassingly often. (You can roll your eyes now. I won’t judge.)

Anyway, after a few minutes of indecision I reached for an untried, Sinful Colors Blue Crushin. Man, the formula on this baby!

 Sinful Colors Blue Crushin

What you see here is Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat and one–yes, ONE–coat of Sinful Colors Blue Crushin. No top coat! Yes, the polish is really that shiny and glossy by itself!

Sure, this is more of a fall color than a summer color. But the end of August is upon us, so fall is right around the corner. (Sort of.)

Sinful Colors Blue Crushin

Sinful Colors Blue Crushin in natural lighting.

Sinful Colors Blue Crushin thumb

I can’t comment if this deep teal creme is a dupe for OPI Ski Teal We Drop, as I don’t own that one, but I can tell ya that one is no longer on my wish list! Blue Crushin has ‘crushed’ my teal lemming ;).

Sinful Colors Blue Crushin

The only downside to this wondrous one-coater is that in shady and indirect light (as pictured above) it swerves into almost-black territory. Not a fan of that…but it looks so luscious most of the time that I can forgive it for that.

Sinful Colors Blue Crushin Quick Review

Formula: Hello! It’s a one-coater, people! Need I say more?

Collection: Sinful Colors Chill Out, Summer 2014

Where to buy: I bought mine at Walgreen’s. You can also find Sinful Colors at other drugstores like Rite-Aid and discount superstores like Wal-Mart.

Would I wear again?: Yes! This will be one of my ‘lazy day’ polishes since it only requires one coat to look good.

Overall: 5/5 stars

Do you have a favorite teal polish?

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

Interview-Worthy Polish: OPI Berlin There Done That

Hi! Today I have swatches of a nice neutral polish. I had a job interview, so naturally I had to paint my nails to add to my professional demeanor calm my nerves. I reached for an untried, OPI Berlin There Done That.

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This is two easy coats, between Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat and Essie Good To Go. I am slowly amassing a larger collection of neutrals, but this is my first-ever taupe polish! I can’t say how it compares to the classic OPI You Don’t Know Jacques (which apparently is the taupe to end all taupes). However, Berlin There Done That is quite nice too. 

OPI Berlin There Done That

This is the same combo, natural lighting. This is closest to how it looked most of the time on my nails in real life. I don’t know why my skin keeps looking so lobster-y in these natural light photos.

OPI Berlin There Done That label

This is the obligatory thumb/label picture. Still natural light.

OPI Berlin There Done That

Berlin There Done That looks slightly darker and more brownish in the shade.

OPI Berlin There Done That bottle

OPI Berlin There Done That Quick Review

Formula: Good but a little thin. I was able to use two coats, but I had to be careful not to flood my cuticles.

Collection: OPI Germany, Fall 2012

Where to buy: I bought mine on sale at my local mall’s Regis Salon. You can also find OPI at JC Penney salons, Ulta, Sally’s Beauty Supply, or your local beauty supply store.

Would I wear again: Yes! This will come in handy for work.

Overall: 4/5 stars

Do you have a favorite neutral polish? Have you ever been to Berlin? 

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

OPI Keeping Suzi At Bay: Navy Blue Perfection

Hey there! Today’s post is a simple color that I am actually pretty excited about. Feast your eyes on the perfect navy-blue creaminess that is OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay:

OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay

Shown in natural lighting with Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat, 2 coats of color and no top coat! Yes! Check out that glossy finish!

Admittedly, navy blue is one of my favorite colors anyway. It’s appropriate for all seasons and coordinates well with a lot of other colors. 

OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay

In sunlight, as you can see, OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay looks slightly lighter, but is still shiny and creamy.

OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay

Another natural lighting picture. I absolutely love how OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay never looks black. You can always tell it’s dark blue.

OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay

OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay

OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay Quick Review

Formula: Fantastic! 2 coats of glossy blue goodness.

Collection: OPI San Francisco, Fall 2013

Where to buy: I found mine on sale at my local Regis salon. You can also find OPI at JC Penney salons, Ulta, Sally’s Beauty Supply, or your local beauty supply store.

Would I wear again: Uh, yes! I also can’t for my nail art tools to get here so I can try out some cool nail art on this color!

Overall: 5/5 stars

Do you have a favorite ‘year-round’ polish? 

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica