Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Birthday Haul!

For my birthday this year, I wanted something simple. I wanted something useful. And I wanted it to come through the mail because it is HOT outside.

So, I ordered nail polish from Walgreens. As far as I know, they're the only place online to order Sinful Colors, and while a lot of the more expensive brands have released some cool colors, I was feeling extraordinarily cheap. But I do like Sinful, I think they might be the very best drugstore brand, and they certainly have the most colors.

From L-R, on my scarred up old desk, Sinful Colors "Love Nails", "24/7", "Midnight Blue", "Purple Diamond", Wet N' Wild "FuchsiaRama", Sinful Colors "Boogie Nights"

I'm a bit disappointed with "Love Nails" because it looks so similar to the other shimmery blue polishes I have from them. Shimmery blue is to Sinful Colors as orangey reds are to Essie. But I'll give it a try.

I plan on swatching these throughout the week (I'm on vacation, y'all!), and tomorrow REIT will be showing how awesome her nails look today.

Feels good to blog about nail polish again!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How I'm Faking "Glitter In The Air"

I've been crazy busy with work, but I had to share this. Everyone has been going crazy over Deborah Lippman's "Glitter In The Air" from her summer collection. I'm sorry, but I cannot stand the thought of spending twenty-dollars on yet another chunky glitter polish, especially when so many of the reviews seemed to be, "Yes, it's very sheer and a bit disappointing, but DEBORAH LIPPMAN!"Another common component also seems to be "It doesn't look the way it looks in the bottle." So, here's how I'm faking "Glitter In The Air":

It doesn't look like the swatches I've seen, but it does look the way it looks in the bottle, or darn close!

Here's what I used:

I achieved this look by putting down one coat of "Poseidon" from Nox's Twilight collection (R). I got that one for $1.74 on clearance. Nice. Then, I used a coat of NYC "Starry Silver Glitter" (L), a clear base with fine silver holo glitter and chunky blue and pink glitter. I then repeated those steps, and finished it off with a very thin coat of Mary Kay "Natural Pink" (C), a very sheer neutral creme. It doesn't look pink at all, as you can see in the photo.

Well, it's back to the grind for me. I'm going to spend the rest of my work day admiring my very cheap alternative to that expensive polish!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Glitter Crazed Accident

Today, I took a journey into the heart of what it means to take a manicure a step too far. Or several steps too far.

I started off wearing Rescue Beauty Lounge "Catherine". I love, love, love the Real Housewives of The Tudor Dynasty collection, but I don't wear the colors often because, well, I just don't like the formula. They dry slowly and never really harden up enough to avoid marks. So, I woke up this morning with lots of little cuts in the surface and tip wear. I wanted to get at least a full day of wear out of it. So I decided I should put a layer of something over it.

I decided that E.L.F. "Golden Goddess" would work well over it. I'm sure I broke some kind of nail polish etiquette, layering a .99 grocery store polish over RBL, but I didn't intend to blog about it at the time. I let it dry, then decided that I needed tips. And I hadn't worn Orly "Galaxy Girl" for a long time. I taped off my nails and added tips. Then, I really loved the way the tips looked. So I did the whole nail:

For those keeping score at home, this is three thin coats of RBL "Catherine", and a coat each of "Golden Goddess" and "Galaxy Girl", plus a base coat, and a coat of Out The Door for each polish color. Since things were already thick, I thought, "Surely there must be some way to add more to this abomination." I just could decide what:

Studio M "Fast Play" on the thumb, Sinful Colors "Hottie" on the index, then Sinful Colors "UFO" and Sinful Colors "Pinky Glitter". The pinky is Sinful Colors "Nail Junkie". I think I could have planned the naming scheme better. They actually did all look different in person. I'll definitely be trying "Nail Junkie" over black sometime soon.

After all this, I decided to use Finger Paints "Sparkle Top Coat" over it, and then I decided I was probably forgetting to take my anti-depressant and took it all off.

And that, my friends, is a story that had no point, a manicure that went nowhere.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tigers in 2011! Whooo hooo!

I live in Michigan, and in Michigan, you have two choices. Either be a fan of the Detroit Tigers, or a fan of the Yankees, because Derek Jeter lived here. I would rather let a hamster bite out my own eyes than be a Yankees fan. No offense, New Yorkers. But I'm a Detroit fan.

Last night, I asked my twitter peeps what I should do with my nails, and my friend Jill, a raging Tigers supporter, suggested I do a Tigers manicure. So, without further ado:

For the base, I used Studio M "Orange Hot". For the french tips, Orly "Royal Navy". Which is much more sparkly if you store the bottle upside down. I don't remember who blogged that tip, but it has made m appreciate that polish so much more. For the tiger stripes, I used a Kiss art striper polish.

Of course, R.E.I.T. had to get in on the orange act:

...but she couldn't hold her fingers still long enough to get a good picture.

You might have noticed that my raggedy cuticles look a lot better these days. I've ditched the cuticle oil in favor of a different product to treat the dryness, and it works like a charm. I'm almost embarrassed to say what it is, because it seems like such a "duh, of course that would work" solution. I've been rubbing super emollient foot cream with alpha hydroxy into my cuticles once a day. This also works as a cuticle remover. So, things are looking much better around my nails these days. I just hope I remember this next winter.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck of the Bloggish!

I'm sure you're just dying to know what we've been wearing during my unplanned (read: I was lazy) hiatus from the nail blog. We celebrated St. Patrick's day last Friday, since we're in our thirties and have kids that get up early for school and general mayhem.

So, what did I wear to THE green event of the season?

Even though China Glaze "Mistletoe Kisses" is technically a Christmas color, you can't deny that the outrageous green sparkles make it perfect for pulling double duty on St. Paddy's day.
Here it is with some tip wear, because this photo was taken post-party, through what has to be the worst hangover anyone in the known universe has ever suffered.

I will also be wearing this color to Ann Arbor's Hash Bash on April 2nd, unless I decide to get crafty and put some Marijuana-themed nail art on there.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Happiest Manicure Ever

R.E.I.T. and I live in Michigan, and as you probably know, Michigan is the single darkest, coldest, most depressing place on earth during the winter. It's wet and dank and gray all the time, from about November to about May. But then this week, a miracle happened! The sun came out, in February! And the temps were in the upper forties! I went outside without a coat on!

To commemorate this amazing occasion, I crafted the funniest, sunniest, most happiest manicure you've ever seen:
Two coats of Pure Ice "Superstar" (white) as a base for two coats of Studio M "Neon Caution", topped off with a coat of Milani "Gems". Super sunny and bright, perfect for these precious few sunny days.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Valentine's Day Manicure Conundrum

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. One, you get candy, usually. Two, it's the one day of the year that pink and red are totally acceptable when paired together. As such, I planned my Valentine manicure so as to achieve maximum foofiness. Last month, I gave this one a test run:

That was too saccharine, even for me. So, I decided to go with something more like this:
Which was a little more understated. But ultimately, I didn't wear any red or any pink on V-Day. I wore OPI "Simmer and Shimmer". I guess I just wasn't feeling the V-day spirit.

R.E.I.T., however, had her own plans for Valentine's Day. She wanted to wear OPI "Black Shatter" over red. Which would have been an awesome combination, if we actually owned Black Shatter. Mommy had to get resourceful. R.E.I.T. ended up wearing China Glaze "Salsa" with a very, very thin coat of Sinful Colors "Black on Black" over the top. The brush strokes were just enough to convince her that she was wearing "Black Shatter".

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Random Manicure

Inspired by Chloe at Chloe's Nails I decided to do another patchwork manicure a few weeks ago. I wanted to mix up finishes, so I went glossy glitter and matte black. Take a look, and I'll tell you how I did it:

Again, please excuse my cuticles, the winters here are brutal to my skin. Also, I just got that nubby ring finger to grow out to a normal human length, and wouldn't you know, the middle broke!

Anyway, I started with Color Club's "Bewitching" which is a vinyl matte black. I didn't care for the finish as much as I thought I would, so I topped that with a coat of Hard Candy's "Matte-ly In Love" top coat, and waited for it to thoroughly dry. With my nails dry and matte to my liking, I carefully taped off alternating sections (I didn't want every nail to be identical) and applied Finger Paints "Easel-y Entertained", a stunning blurple glitter in blurple jelly. Yes, blurple. I said it.

After my patches of "Easel-y Entertained" were dry, I taped off yet another section and applied Studio M's "Fast Play". "Fast Play" doesn't seem to have a Color Club equivalent, at least, not a current one. It's a translucent purple jelly with irridescent gold glitter. That's what's responsible for the green sparkle in the indoor-lighting picture.

After that, I carefully applied Out The Door to just the glitter polished parts, and voila!

R.E.I.T. approves of this manicure, saying, "Is sfarkally!" That's her new favorite kind of polish. The sfrakally kind."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wet N' Wild Fast Dry "Gray's Anatomy"

As Scrangie pointed out, Wet N' Wild's "Gray's Anatomy is a spot-on dupe of Deborah Lippman's "Wicked Game". For those keeping score at home, that's two new Wet N' Wild polishes that mimic Lippmans. And thank god, because I would feel really guilty layering sixteen dollar polish over seven dollar polish, which is what I did with "Gray's Anatomy".

But first, "Gray's Anatomy" on its own:

The coverage on this one was... strange. There were spots on my nails where it seemed like no matter how many coats I used, the polish wasn't going there. My nails were clean and free from oils, and I used a basecoat, so I'm wondering what went wrong. Next time, I'll try a different basecoat, maybe it just doesn't get along with OPI.

I love this color. I love it because it's gray, but it's still delicate. I love the rosey flash to it, and I love that the green flash doesn't look sickly. I also love that it's a buildable color, so it works for layering. Like here, when I wore it over Essie "Sexy Divide":I wish the picture did this combo justice. "Gray's Anatomy" turned "Sexy Divide" into a chameleon. In some lights, it was a shimmery purple ("Sexy Divide" is a dark purple shimmer to begin with). In others, it was black. In my bedroom, it looked hunter green. This will definitely be a polish I will return to when I want to experiment with layering.

So yeah, Lippman for sixteen bucks, Wet N' Wild for one or two, depending where you buy it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Tale Of Two Top Coats

When R.E.I.T. and I first got into the nail blogging world, we were using just one type of topcoat. Okay, to be honest, R.E.I.T. never uses a top coat. It's enough of a challenge for her to keep her nails from smearing with just the color on them (she's perfected her own technique of holding both hands straight up in the air and whispering "don't touch don't touch don't touch" over and over for a few minutes). So, for her, one or two coats of nail color are all she can stand to sit through, at least where drying time is concerned.

So, we got started, I was using Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails" in clear as my top coat. Why? Because it's two bucks at Dollar General, always in stock, and it really does make your polish super hard, which I do like. Ever since they took the cancer-causing stuff out of nail polish, it always feels gummy and not quite dry to me, and I cherish the old formula stuff I have that does dry to a really hard finish.

However, if you've ever used Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails", you know it's thick, takes a while to dry, and dents in a stiff breeze while it's drying. Nail blogs introduced me to what I was pretty sure was the second coming: Seche Vite.

Seche Vite seems to be the preferred topcoat among nail bloggers and nail blog readers. It really is spectacular stuff. It dries fast, the finish is hard, and it's super shiny. Yes, bubbling and shrinking can be a problem, but I'll get back to that later. You see, I had an altogether different problem with Seche Vite: when the bottle got down to about half-full, it turned into glue. Where at first it was easy to apply, it became a nightmare of stringy things and gloopy, wavy finishes. I bought another bottle, but at $7.99 for a single bottle, I wasn't really all that happy about getting just half of the product. When the second bottle also turned into Gluey McGee, I went back to Sally's to get yet another-- what can I say, I was hooked on having a decent top coat. But I complained as the woman at the register was ringing it up. "Do you think polish thinner would work?"
She blinked at me. "Why don't you just buy the good stuff?"
"The good stuff," which she promptly directed me to, was INM Out The Door. Look at that picture up top again. For $7.99, I got .5 fl oz of Seche Vite. For $10.99 I got 2.5 fl oz of Out The Door. And you know what? Out The Door is the superior product.

First of all, Out The Door doesn't cause the dreaded tip shrinkage that Seche Vite does. No matter how I applied Seche Vite, either immediately after apply the nail color or waiting five minutes to do it, Seche Vite always caused my polish to shrink. Out The Door doesn't dull the way Seche Vite does after a few days of wear, even when I'm using hand cream like I'm trying to win a contest for most hand cream used in a single day. It's far more durable, as well. I can wash dishes, clean the house, lug laundry around without my polish chipping.

Most importantly, I've been using it for months now and it hasn't thickened. At all. So, rather than continually thinning your Seche Vite, maybe give Out The Door a try. You can get it in a smaller quantity, but if you do your nails as much as I do, you might want to spring for the larger bottle.

In other news, I found the perfect place to take nail and nail polish photos: my upstairs hallway. That's where the top coat photo was taken. I'd been bemoaning the lack of good light for picture taking in the house, when it dawned on me that the blank wall behind our stairs makes the perfect backdrop to replace the canvas we used to use... before R.E.I.T. decorated it with crayons.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Studio M "Oh Joy!" = The Perfect Layering Polish

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jill sent me an excited message via Yahoo! messenger. She was at Meijer, buying polish for twenty-nine cents. I didn't really care what it was, I wanted her to grab me some, too. I'm a sucker for a deal.

That twenty-nine cent buy turned out to be the best layering polish I've ever seen. In the bottle, Studio M's "Oh Joy!" looks like a boring white sheer with a pearly finish. Alone, it's a sheer, sparkly polish that's just so-so. But layer it over another color (like Essie's "Playa Del Platinum", one of my faves), it's magic!Winter is wreaking havoc on my cuticles, but I had to share. "Oh Joy!" turned "Playa Del Platinum" from a greige cream to a silvery foil. I can't stop looking at my nails with this on!

Unfortunately, "Oh Joy!" has been clearanced out of Meijer, and I can't seem to find a Color Club dupe (which is strange, because Studio M basically is Color Club in different bottles). I should have run out and bought several bottles, because this one is going to be a fave.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Everbody wants to be Deborah Lippman.

"Inspired by" polishes seem to be out of control lately. We can't have been the only ones to notice this.

Last week, I picked up the much more reasonable alternative to Deborah Lippman's "Happy Birthday", a twenty-dollar polish that I just cannot bring myself to purchase. At just under four dollars, Milani "Gems" was a buy I could live with.

But after I picked that one up, I noticed Wet N' Wild had their own "just like but not quite" version of "Happy Birthday" in "Party of Five Glitters".

These are incredibly difficult to photograph in the bottle because they're so intensely shiny. It's also difficult to tell the difference between them until they're on the nail:

Top to bottom: "Gems" "Party of Five Glitters" "Gems" "Party of Five Glitters" over Sinful Colors "Black on Black"

As you can see, the biggest difference between the two polishes is distribution on the nail. This could be a result of the brush design. The Milani brush is much thinner than the Wet N' Wild brush, requiring more strokes for coverage. This deposits more glitter on the nail.

The only other differences I could tell was that "Gems" includes orange and gold glitter, which are absent from "Party of Five Glitters". The green glitter in "Party of Five Glitters" is smaller than the green glitter in "Gems", and that's about it. They're both incredibly similar, and I wore them for two days before they actually started to look dissimilar.

I don't have Lippman's "Happy Birthday", but at this point, I don't think I need it. I've got two "inspired by"s right here! As R.E.I.T. says, "Is sfarkaly!" ("It's sparkly").

Friday, January 21, 2011

We've moved!

The lack of posting must be explained! We have moved into a new house, and in the course of all of it, sacrifices (like blogging about nails) have been made! Well return to more frequent posting just as soon as we're unpacked!