Florida vacation – Lacquer Legion ‘On Holiday’ theme

I can’t exactly hashtag a blog post (can I?), but I wanted to post a few more pictures of my mani for this month’s theme for The Lacquer Legion.  Beach nails are probably the first thing that most people think of when they think of ‘on holiday’ and I’m no exception.  I live in Florida, a state surrounded by water on three sides, of course I’m going to think of the beach!  But I didn’t want to be completely obvious.  And so I also considered the other side of Florida vacations: amusement parks.  Because I couldn’t choose between the two ideas, I did both.  Maybe not what some people would think of for an ‘on holiday’ theme, but I think the combo is okay because the holidays of my childhood were always spent at either the beach or at one of the parks in Orlando.  Why would we need to travel anywhere when we live an hour and a half away from the happiest place on Earth?

Anyway, my right hand became the beach hand and my left was Disney World and Universal Studios themed.

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So beach hand has a beach ball, sandcastle,  a palm tree, and a couple of scenes where waves are hitting the sand.  The best of the Sunshine State, right?  Well, I personally hate the beach so I appreciated the Disney/Universal nails more (even though they didn’t turn out quite as good).  For the Disney nails, I’ve got Mickey Mouse ears, the spinning teacups from the Alice in Wonderland ride, and, on the thumb, Dumbo from the ever-so-exhilarating flying elephant ride.  And for the Universal Studios nails I’ve got an attempt at the logo and a nod to the iconic Jaws ride.

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Well, these are a nice little tribute to the holidays of my childhood, so I suppose they’re a success in that way.  And they’re a good lead-in to the real challenge–the 31 Day Challenge–which starts tomorrow for me.  I’m nervous, but really excited to start this thing!  Again, here’s a refresher of the challenges I’m going to do:

Mixed sized dots-SIMPLES week 6

This week, the SIMPLES lesson and assignment was based on mixed sized dots.  This is normally something I would really enjoy doing, but for some reason today was just not my day.

I chose to use Kleancolor Metallic Aqua and Essie Meet Me at Sunset, and I think it was the latter color choice that led to a few of my dots being not quite right (although the Kleancolor ones weren’t perfect either).  My ‘random’ pattern also at second glance doesn’t appear to be as random as I would have liked, and I just plain do not have enough dots.  The only thing I like about this mani is the color combination.  I promised myself in a past post that I’d revisit the orange and teal/blue combo, and I actually followed through.  So ‘yay’ for that!

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This is also one of those rare occasions where I think that my right hand turned out better than my left.  Despite a mishap or two, I feel that there is something about the right hand that I like more.  Just a personal preference, I guess.  And bonus, this hand didn’t really smear like the left did while I was applying my top coat!

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Eh, I guess looking at it again, it’s not so bad.  Not my favorite mani ever, but not my worst.  And I learned how NOT to do a mani with random mixed sized dots, so next time should be better!

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I’d also like to share a bit of exciting (for me) news.  I got a feature on the Nail Art Gallery!  They do features on nail artists (both professional and not) fairly often, and I was really happy that I was asked to submit a few images.  Thank you, I really appreciate it!

Visit to the holodeck, anyone? Dotticure for SIMPLES week 5

Yeah, yeah, absolutely no connection between a holodeck and this week’s mani except the word ‘holo’.  We’re meant to do a simple look with evenly spaced dots (as per The Crumpet’s post and tutorial), and I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these before.  As much as I love dots, I do struggle with them when I have to be orderly.  Which is a shame, because orderly dotticures can be so very pretty!

But despite my trepidation with the stricter guidelines this week, I was excited to give it a try.  My mind immediately jumped to a-England’s Saint George for my base color because I wanted a holo and it was my first.  And besides, I’ve only worn it once and that should be a crime.  I tried a few different colored dots out on a test nail, but my desire for a holo-on-holo mani left me choosing between Dollish Polish Totes Magotes! and Girly Bits D!ck in a Box.  One round of ‘eenie meenie miney moe’ later, and D!ck in a Box came out on top.  Which was definitely not a bad thing, because look at the sparkles!

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And for good measure, one indoor shot:

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I have to say though, as much sparkle as you can see in the photos, it doesn’t quite capture the beauty of these two polishes.  I thought it couldn’t get any better than direct sunlight, but when I went to feed my horse earlier this afternoon, just a little bit of sunlight filtered through the trees and caught on D!ck in a Box especially, and oh my goodness I wish I had had a camera because THAT, my friends, was the perfect lighting for this mani.  All of my annoyance with trying to get evenly spaced, evenly sized dots was completely worth it in the end.

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And one more thing!

This is possibly not the best place to say this, but I didn’t want to do a whole separate post.  I’ve decided that I’m going to try my hand at the 31 Day Challenge (list of the themes below), so when July rolls around I’ll ideally be making daily posts.  I’ve got everything planned out, with a few backup ideas for most days, so here’s hoping everything goes well!

 

 

 

 

 

Make-up assignments-SIMPLES weeks 1 and 2

Well, I’ve been avoiding painting my nails for a few days because my cuticles were torn all to hell, but they’re somewhat better now and I decided to try out a Zoya that I got in a blog sale a while back.  It’s called Zuza and I am definitely glad I bought it.  Is that any surprise, considering it’s a shimmery teal?

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This is where things started going all over the place.  Once I got this frankly beautiful polish on my nails, I remembered that I had intended to use the one-week break we’ve got from SIMPLES to play catch-up.  In an attempt to not mess too much with Zuza, I decided that to fulfill the accent nail assignment I’d just do a stamp on my ring finger.  I tried to make it subtle by using another teal for the stamping polish, and I really liked the result.  It’s pretty hard to see unless you’re looking for it, but it’s really visible in the sun (even if it didn’t show so well in the photos).

 

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At this point, I wanted to continue playing catch-up, but didn’t know what the last mani I needed to do was.  So I went to look it up and–oh God–week 2 was supposed to be a skittle mani.  I was going to have to compromise my Zuza nails to do this one, but if I bent the rules a little I could make it work.  Since I had already done that for the accent nail (it was supposed to be a plain accent), I figured it couldn’t hurt to do a nail art skittle of my choosing instead of a plain one.  And thus was born a Little Mermaid/under the sea mani!

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I was really worried that the patterns and everything would outshine Zuza, but I am incredibly pleased with this mani.  Increasingly, it seems to be the simple looks that I’m happiest with, and although this certainly isn’t the simplest I’ve ever done, it was extraordinarily easy to do.  The pinky was Sinful Colors Green Ocean over the Zoya Zuza, which surprisingly seems to shine better in semi-darkness than in direct light (weird, right?).  The ring finger is the same accent nail from before, but I took a striping brush and did another layer of that teal just to make it less subtle.  The middle finger is the only successful overt Little Mermaid reference, in the form of Ursula’s tentacles, and the index finger is meant to look sort of like scales .  The thumb is a simple little underwater scene, and even if it was too small to work, I did try to make the nautilus shell that Ursula uses to capture Ariel’s voice.  And I even incorporated the SIMPLES lesson from week 4 by using Saran Wrap to add a little blue over Zuza to make it seem watery!  I also used the Saran to add a little texture to the rock, but you can’t even see it in this picture. :/

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This mani really turned out so much better than I expected, considering it sort of evolved in stages instead of being planned out from the beginning.  I appreciate the use of the Saran Wrap in this look much more than in last week’s SIMPLES look, but my favorite part of this is the dotted ‘scales.’  And I finally got the try out not only Zoya Zuza, but also Sinful Colors Green Ocean, so all-in-all I call this a win!

Saran Wrap mani-SIMPLES week 4

SIMPLES claims another of my firsts, because I have never before tried a mani with plastic wrap.  I don’t know why, because it is an extremely simple process, especially when following The Crumpet’s tutorial.  This seems like something I’ll probably do again, but possibly with a better color choice.  I already had all of my new SquareHue polishes sitting in front of me, with Ipanema on one hand, so I thought I’d use that to my advantage.  So this look was achieved with SquareHue Ipanema and Leblon.

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I do like the effect of the plastic wrap, but again, next time I’ll probably choose different colors.  Maybe ones that clash a bit more than these do.  And maybe cremes instead of a shimmer and a microglitter.  These colors are pretty though.  For some reason the bright colors just make me think of a comic book.  I don’t even really know why.  Maybe they remind me of Rogue’s uniform?

Anyway, that’s it for me for week 4.  Next week starts off dotting, so I’m raring to go for that!

SquareHue Passport Collection: Rio

I won my first giveaway ever not too long ago over at Coffee for Mom, and it happened to be May’s SquareHue box!  I’ve always avoided subscription boxes (too many to choose from!), so I was really excited to have won something that I normally wouldn’t get.  And the box is comprised of three great colors!  I couldn’t believe that I actually liked all of them!

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The first one I tried was Leblon, a pretty green shimmer.  Leblon was my least favorite of the three, but only because of the two polishes it was up against.  It’s still the best looking green I own though.  It only took two coats to reach complete opaqueness.

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Then I tried Copacabana.  I expected this one to stand out, but dang did it surpass expectations.  It’s a glitter polish, with small blue glitters and silver holos set in a blue tinted base.  It took a bit of buildup for it to reach a good coverage of glitter (2 regular coats, 1 heavy dab coat, another regular coat), but that came as no surprise since it’s such a thin polish.  These pictures absolutely do not do this polish justice, by the way.  My camera refused to capture the shine of the holos, which is a real shame because they sparkled like crazy in the sunlight.  This one was definitely my favorite and I made sure to put it back on my nails after I was done testing out the last polish and working on my SIMPLES mani for this week.

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Ipanema is the final polish, and it’s a yellow microglitter that took three coats to be mostly opaque (I could still see VNL but that’s only because I was looking for it).  Looking at it in the bottle, I expected it to be my favorite.  Copacabana unfortunately knocked it down a peg, but it is still a beautiful polish.  Again, it beats out the other polishes that I own in this color range.  I like that it’s more of a mustardy yellow, rather than a neon or lemony yellow.

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After trying out these three polishes, I’m wondering if it might be worth it to actually take out a subscription with SquareHue.  I really did like these polishes, and had no trouble at all with application.  And it’s great that SquareHue donates a portion of the subscription proceeds to various organizations around the world.  If you’re going to spend money on a polish subscription box, why not make it one that gives a little back?

NerdLacquers! Nebula and Argentum

Ok, I am so freaking excited about these two polishes!  NerdLacquer was probably the first indie brand that I discovered where I sort of said to myself ‘I NEED that’ about every single polish listed.  But–and this is a HUGE ‘but’–by the time I had discovered the brand, Amanda had pretty much disappeared and her polishes were all sold out.  There are so many people wishing for the return of NerdLacquer, but in the meantime the only way to really get them is getting lucky with destashing sales or paying $30+ for the ones that appear on eBay.  Well, as much as I wanted to try a NerdLacquer, I sure as heck was NOT going to pay $30…for a single polish, anyway.  But for two?  Eh, I could swing that.

So when three NerdLacquers appeared at auction on eBay starting at $0.99 each, I watched them like a hawk for days and got into bidding wars in the last few minutes of the auctions.  When the dust settled, I was the proud owner of two slightly used NerdLacquer polishes.  I missed out on Event Horizon, but I am thrilled to now have Nebula and Argentum in my polish collection.  And even if people think I’m crazy, I think they were worth it.

Nebula was the first one I tried, and to be completely honest, I was a bit iffy when I was deciding whether or not to bid on this one.  But I am so glad that I did because it is fantastic!  It’s a burgundy jelly base with way too many glitters for a sound off (special nod to the dominating holo glitters though), plus the rare hex.  Despite the jelly base, it really only needed two coats, although I used three anyway because I’m not a fan of visible nail lines.

Anyway, I’m not so good at describing things, so I’ll let the polish do the talking:

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I mean seriously, look at this.  It still shines in my poorly lit nail room!

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Still, as much as I ended up loving Nebula, Argentum was the polish that I went into those auctions determined to win.  It is gorgeous!  It has a silver foil base, and is chock full of silver glitters and small hexes, with the occasional large silver hex.  This one was opaque at three coats for me, but I went and did a fourth one anyway.

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Again in the poor lighting!  Still so shiny!

NerdLacquer-Argentum-4 And guys, I have never had a nail polish hold up so well for me.  I don’t know if that can purely be attributed to Argentum, or if it’s my cheap Revlon base coat or Seche Vite top coat (the latter being very unlikely), but this polish had serious staying power.  As in, I had forgotten that I had told my grandmother I’d help her some gardening and the day after I put this polish on, I did some serious digging in the dirt without gloves (I hate gloves).  Four hours of spreading out mulch and reaching deep into the ground to get those annoying weed roots, and the only chip in my Argentum armor was on my right thumb nail.  God, I have had polishes chip after washing my hands once, so I am beyond impressed by this.  And still it continues to shine!

20140604_124231So do I regret spending $30 on two used bottles of nail polish?  Absolutely not.  I LOVE these polishes and truly wish that I could get my hands on some more NerdLacquers without breaking the bank.  Heck, for the right color I may be willing to not only break the bank, but rob a few too!