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

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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

 

 

 

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

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

 

OPI What Wizardry is This? Swatches and Review

Hello! Today I’m showing a polish that, until recently, I didn’t really care for.

OPI What Wizardry is This

1 coat of OPI Glitter-Off Base Coat and 2 coats of OPI What Wizardry is This?. No top coat! Shown in indirect natural lighting.

When this first came out as a part of OPI’s Oz the Great and Powerful Soft Shades collection, I remember just breathing a sigh of relief that this was definitely one polish I did not feel the urge to buy (and therefore, my wallet was safe!). I thought it looked like clumpy dirt. 

However, the day came when I began to hanker after this polish. I think it may have had something to do with my newfound liking for more neutral polishes. I looked at this “clumpy dirt” polish with new eyes, thinking instead that it looked like the pebbled leather of a really expensive handbag. 

OPI What Wizardry is This

So, thanks to a sale at my local Regis salon, I am now the proud owner of this clumpy-dirt polish! Haha. It’s actually quite beautiful and sparkly in the sunlight. I know the color isn’t for everyone, but props to OPI for daring to produce such a unique color!

OPI What Wizardry is This full bottle

OPI What Wizardry is This label and thumb

OPI What Wizardry Is This? Quick Review

Formula: Great! Just two coats were needed for full coverage. Removal was also surprisingly easy–I just pressed down for a few seconds with an acetone polish remover and then wiped. (The Glitter-Off base coat did not work as well as I anticipated…more details in a future post.) No dreaded foil method needed here!

Collection: OPI Oz the Great and Powerful, Spring 2013

Where to buy: I bought mine at my local mall’s Regis salon. 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, but not until fall rolls around. This brownish bronze is more of a fall/winter color for me.

Overall: 4/5 stars

Have you ever completely changed your mind about a polish?

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

OPI The Sky’s My Limit Swatches and Review

Hi all! Today I have for you a release from OPI’s recent (July 2014) Ford Mustang collection. OPI The Sky’s My Limit is a beautiful jewel-toned teal with gold shimmer. It reminds me of water in the Caribbean.

OPI The Sky's My Limit

This photo was taken in indirect sunlight. You can see its jelly-like, translucent texture here.

All swatches are with Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat, two medium coats of OPI The Sky’s My Limit, and Essie Good to Go (quick dry top coat). (Can you tell I hate waiting for my nails to dry?)

OPI The Sky's My Limit

Full bottle shot. I apologize for the blurriness :(. The gold shimmer is quite apparent in the bottle. Check out the awesome printed Mustang logo on the cap. I like how OPI is starting to do fun printed caps for its more special collections.

OPI The Sky's My Limit

Indoor natural light shot. Looks like a deeper teal here.

OPI The Sky's My Limit

Another indoor natural photo. This is most accurate to how TSML looks most of the time in person.

And finally…

OPI The Sky's My Limit

The bottom label (and my thumb).

Formula: Thin but workable. I suggest medium coats since this polish is rather see-through in certain lights.

Collection: OPI Ford Mustang, July 2014.

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

Would I wear this again? Absolutely! I will have this one on heavy rotation in my collection.

Overall: 4.5/5 stars

I did purchase another color from the Ford Mustang collection. Come back tomorrow to see which one!

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessica

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