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

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

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

 

 

 

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!

 

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

Angel With Dots and Pastel Application Tips

Hi and happy Friday! Today I have for you the only other color in OPI’s Ford Mustang collection that caught my eye–Angel With a Leadfoot! I needed a basic white creme, so I figured Angel with a Leadfoot would fill that gap in my collection (and let’s be honest, the cool printed cap may have had something to do with the decision as well).

OPI Angel With a Leadfoot bottle and fingers

Since this is a standard white creme, it doesn’t have multiple personalities in different lighting conditions like a duochrome or shimmer polish. Shown with Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat and Essie Good to Go top coat.

OPI Angel With a Leadfoot indirect natural light

OPI Angel With a Leadfoot in indirect natural lighting. As you can see, it looks very clean and canvas-like…

…so I added some dots to match one of my favorite skirts!

OPI Angel With a Leadfoot dots

I’m waiting on an order of dotting tools to come in (my first ones!), so I did these quickly with a toothpick dipped in Essie Flirt (a coral creme polish).

Now, the main issue with pastel and white polishes is the application. They can go on streaky and the formula can be difficult to manage. What you see on my nail is two medium coats of Angel With a Leadfoot, and application was not actually that bad. Here are a couple of tips I have for applying a white or pastel polish.

Pastel Application Tips

  • Use a ridge-filling base coat. Even if you don’t have ridges, a ridge-filling base coat comes in handy for creating a smooth and slightly opaque surface on your nail. It helps polishes with difficult formulas go on more evenly, and it also provides some coverage under sheer polishes if you’re not into the VNL (visible nail line) look. I like OPI’s Ridge Filler.
  • Do not overwork the polish. Once you’ve painted your nail, resist the urge to repeatedly run the brush over your nail to even the polish out. I’m guilty of painting my nails like this, but with pastels, overmanipulating the polish on your nails just makes the streakiness worse.
  • Cover your nail in as few brushstrokes as possible. Let the brush fan out fully over your nail. The wide OPI brush is great for this.

OPI Angel With a Leadfoot Quick Review

Formula: See tips above. Thick and streaky, but with a ridge-filling base coat and super careful application, I managed to pull it off in two coats.

Collection: OPI Ford Mustang, July 2014

Where to Buy: I bought mine on Amazon. You can also find OPI at Ulta, JC Penney salons, Sally’s Beauty Supply, or your local beauty supply store.

Would I wear again? Yes! I also see serious nail art potential in this polish.

Overall: 4/5 stars

If you found these tips helpful, or you have your own to add, please comment! Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica