Saturday, February 26, 2011

They had a lot of weapons, Mister. And they was shootin' bullets.

I'm kind of (okay, a lot) obsessed with Ben Foster lately, and one of the best movies he's done is "3:10 to Yuma."  If you've never seen it, SEE IT.  Fantastic cast, amazing costumes, perfect score...just an unbelievable film. 

I wanted to do a manicure inspired by the poster, and using colors that were reminiscent of the dirty, earthy colors of Western movies.  Here's what I came up with, and I have to say, I'm more proud of this one than I've been of any polish job I've ever done.

After it was done, I realized that what would make it look dirtier and really live up to the inspiration would be to mattify it.  I searched high and low and could not find matte coat ANYWHERE.  I searched every option in my small town - drugstores (of which there are three), Wal-Mart, Sally - and no one had it.  So I did the next best thing:

 I could not have hoped for anything more awesome, even if I HAD found a matte coat.  On second thought, I can think of something more awesome.  This:

Shame they don't carry them at Walgreens, either.

Colors:  Wet N Wild Shield, Rustic, Goldmine; OPI Black Shatter

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Half-Moon Half-Fail

I'd like to think that an artsy manicure is like a relationship.  Though you may fail at one, perhaps you'll learn something from it that will make the next one ever better.  Too philosophical?  Yes, it really is, but I tell myself that to make myself feel better about today's manicure.

 Baby's First Half-Moon Mani! This nifty little arsticure (yep, just coined that) is achieved through the clever use of hole-punch reinforcements and a pair of scissors.  Well, and nail polish, too.  I think you can figure it out from there - apply color, let dry, apply half of a reinforcement (or the whole thing if you're feeling wasteful), apply other color, let dry, peel, topcoat. 

For some reason, I thought this would work better if I applied the color to every single nook and cranny on and around my nail.  It didn't.  It just made cleanup nigh impossible.  Also, I'm impatient, and didn't let the base color dry quite enough, so when I peeled the reinforcement off, it took color with it on some nails.  My other problem with this would be the difficulty in aligning the reinforcements just so.  It irritated me when the apex of the curve was not perfectly aligned with the center of my nail.  (Remember those OCD-like tendencies?)

Left of center!!!  OH, THE HUGE MANATEE!!!

Anyway.  All in all, this was pretty easy (if time consuming) to do, and I definitely learned a couple of "what-not-to-do"s for the next one.

Colors:  OPI You Don't Know Jacques, Maybelline Express Finish Racing Rubies

Monday, February 21, 2011


I picked up this Sinful Colors polish last week, and I've been dying to do a post with this title ever since!

Fun color, no?  Sadly, application was...well, it was TERRIBLE.  God-awful.  Pain in the rear.  TERRIBLE.  I blame the awful cleanup job on how much there WAS to cleanup!  This stuff was too thin, too sheer and it took too long to dry between coats.  Luckily I'd planned all along to add Wet N Wild's Party of Five Glitters to liven it up.  I mean, what good is a "Unicorn" mani without some glitter?  I've seen Party of Five Glitters modeled with multiple coats, but I kind of like the scattered look.  What do you think?

And now, I honor the inspiration for today's posting.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

At last!

Just when I thought the Crackle Train was gonna leave the station before I had the chance to board, I'm on it!  After a failed attempt at finding OPI Shatter at Ulta, I was pleasantly surprised to find it at my hair salon when I went in for a trim this week.  Hooray!  With a mad look in my eyes, I demanded that the receptionist hold it for me while I had my hair cut, and at long last it was MINE!  All mine!  MUAHAHAHAHA!  Ahem.

Now, dear five readers, a piece of advice.  Don't let the vendor of your Shatter polish swindle you into buying a polish you really didn't want by telling you that it will only work over one of the other Katy Perry Collection polishes.  I knew better, and by my telling you, you will know better, too.  It isn't true!  Don't do it!  The "sucker" tattoo on my forehead was shining brightly that day, though, so I bought "Not Like the Movies" to go under my Shatter.

 All by its lonesome, this polish is kinda boring.  I had high hopes, as it is a purple/green duochrome with a faint scattered glitter in it.  Very, very faint.  Truth be told, though, it got old FAST; so I duly topped it with its intended Shatter counterpart.

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!  (Or "caulkin' about," as my nephew would say.)  'Scuse the tipwear and the edge I missed on my ring finger.  This stuff dries superfast, so application can be a bit messy.  It's seriously fun to play with, though.  The crackle finish will dry in different patterns according to how it's applied.  I tried thicker, thinner, vertical, horizontal,'s really cool to watch what happens as it dries.  I'm hoping this crackle trend continues for awhile so I can see how it looks over different colors.  In the coming weeks, I betcha I'll be trying it on before I remove any colors, just to see what happens.  I'll show the more impressive of them.  Should be fun!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Is it summer yet?

Thought I'd go ahead and post a quickie on this Saturday night of a three day weekend.  I wore this earlier in the week, and man, I just wanted to go swimming in it!  This is my first China Glaze color called "Dorothy Who?".

 Ain't she a beaut?  I'm on a real blue kick lately (in spite of how difficult they are to clean up), and this is easily the brightest one I own.  On a sunny day, you nearly need sunglasses to look at it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Manicure Fruity Butt Bears

 I am a sucker for a gimmick.  Always have been, always will be.  I am a product marketing expert's wet dream.  As a kid, I sought only the finest in bizarre snack foods.  Dunkaroos, Fruit Roll-Ups with punch out shapes...I don't remember what all.  I think kids today have a greater selection of these foods (Bagel-Fulls, anyone?), and I have not ceased to invest in them.  Growing up, my brother always made fun of my proclivity for eating weird foods, calling such items "Fruity Butt Bears."

I'm no different when it comes to health and beauty items.  Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips?  Had to have them!!!  These are...well, for lack of a better word, they're like stickers.  But the stickers are made of polish.  Already dry, perfectly painted polish.  Stick em on, smoosh em down, and you're good to go!  The strips come in a variety of designs and colors.  I'm not a big fan of the color options, simply because if I want a solid color on my nails, I'll paint them (thankyousoverymuch).

I chose the Lace pattern:

 Pretty, no?  So unique!  I was shocked by how easy these were to apply.  The $9 kit comes with everything you need to put them on properly:  sixteen strips in a variety of sizes (duh), a teeny tiny orange stick for pushing back your cuticles and tearing away excess polish (easy to do) and a teeny tiny file/buffer for shaping your nails and buffing away excess polish that hangs over the tip (again, easy to do).  I struggled with wrinkling in only a couple of places, but those places are very difficult to notice.

If I had to complain about anything, it might be the color saturation.  The black is just not black enough in some places.  I tried capture it here, but you may need to click to enlarge to see it:

I'm sure I'm the only one who notices it, but it's the sort of thing that drives me crazy.

Please note that the top picture is with a coat of Seche Vite topcoat, and the second is without.  I think the topcoat helps it look a bit more "finished," and even saturates the color just a bit.

At $9 a pop for a one-use system, these are bit on the pricey side; but these promise 10-day wear and from what I'm reading in reviews, that may not be an overstatement.  Not sure I'll have the patience to leave them on that long, but I'll keep you posted.  If they're all they're cracked up to be, I think they'd be great to apply before a vacation when touch ups and redos won't be possible.

*EDIT*:  I wore this for about three days before it began to chip on my weaker nails.  Given the pattern and color of the design, I don't think anyone would have noticed, but I took it off anyway.  I would venture to guess that someone with stronger nails really could pull these off for much longer...the coverage still FELT strong, if that makes any sense at all!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Have a great VD

Yes, I actually read this statement in a couple of places today.  Drove me nuts every time, because I assure you that if I had VD (which I assure you I don't), it would not be in any way great.

Also, every time I read it, it reminded me of this:

Now, I might be single and I might be a cynic; but I have no problem with Valentine's Day.  Any excuse to eat chocolate is a-okay by me.  Also, I figured this was as good a day as any to try out the matte finish Revlon polish I bought at Ulta.  It's called Ruby Ribbon.  Here it is in matte form:

What I am about to say may be considered by many a nail blogger to be blasphemy, but here goes...


Idon'tlikemattes.  There.  I said it.  I.  Don't.  Like.  Mattes.  I think it may be one of those quirky, OCD-like tendencies I am prone to exhibit.  A matte manicure just looks...undone.  Freaks me out.  Like a crooked painting, a blatant typo, a microwave with time left on it.  It makes me angry.  And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.  (Or hungry.)  So rather than go into a Hulk-like rage, I fixed it.  Turned it into a glossy/matte Ruffian.

I really like what the gloss does to this color.  When I was applying the color, I thought, "Am I crazy, or does this have a blue flash?"  Ya know what?  It kinda does!

Look what one of my team members brought me today!  It's a chocolate-dipped, heart-shaped strawberry macaron.  Doesn't it look delicious?  Yeah, it was.

Hope you had a great VD!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let's Go Predators!

My love for Nutella finally paid off when I recently won our company's holiday bake-off with Nutella Gooey Butter Bars.  MAN, were those things good!  As if the sheer joy of eating them wasn't enough, my prize was our company's suite for a Nashville Predators hockey game.  Woohoo!  Me and fifteen of my closest friends and family, acting like ballas in a private suite.  Granted, we had to pay for food and drink, but STILL!

I redeemed my prize last night, and we all had a blast.  Even better, we won!  In honor of the event, I decided to try my hand (haha) at my very first Ruffian-style manicure.

Whaddya think?  As a Ruffian, I didn't think it came out too badly, but I have to confess:  this was a rescue solution.  It was supposed to be silver with a navy ring finger, and the silver was to have navy dots while the navy finger was to have yellow dots.  Yeah, FAIL.  I suck at dots.

FYI:  I'm sensing a trend.  Blues are hard to clean up.

Colors:  OPI DS Coronation, American Apparel Passport Blue

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Experimenting with glitter coats

Here's a quick nail-of-the-day type of post:

Knowing I was going to be doing a Predators manicure today (check back later!), and given that I was unable to sleep last night, I got my butt up outta bed and tested out a couple of different glitter coats over the Ski Teal We Drop that I was still wearing.

 Here's Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in...Diamonds!  Not bad, but a little boring.  The base is sort of a milky clear with very small, dense silver glitter throughout.  Please excuse the cuticle of my thumb.  I'm still cursing the picking I did while I was stuck in the Great (1-inch) Snowstorm of 2011.

Thaaaat's better.  This is Pure Ice in Don't You wish.  The base is much more clear, and the glitter (which consists of vaguely holographic pinks, blues and greens) is much more sparse.  I'm pleased to have this.  Very inexpensive, and it'll be great to have for extending the life of cool-colored manicures.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Curses, snow!

I have fallen off the wagon.  I blame it all on the snow.  Something about a nerve-wracking commute that takes four times as long as it should that'll knock a person right off the track to kicking a nervous habit.  I didn't do too much damage, so I didn't take any pics, but I'm still not proud.  Stupid snow.

Now, remember that trip to Ulta?  Well, this store may have taken Target's place in my book as the land of happiness and dreams.  I could (and did) do serious damage in the place!  Here's what I got:

Essie Sew Psyched and Revlon Suede Matte Ruby Ribbon.  I've had long wear-time with the only other Essie I have, and the Revlon color will be a foray into a finish I've yet to play around with.  I'll be sure and swatch that one, for sure.

 Here are the three OPI colors I picked up (L to R):  Coronation, Ski Teal We Drop and You Don't Know Jacques (it looks pink, but it's really a light milk chocolate color).  I gotta say at this stage in the game that I'm gonna have to go with OPI as my favorite brand, for the range of colors alone.  The formula is great, and the wear-time seems to be decent as well.

Here's Ski Teal We Drop.  It's a creamy teal that leans towards blue.  It came out a bit darker than I expected, which is not really a complaint.  I did have some application problems, to be honest.  The left hand (I'm right-handed) went on just fine, but by the time I got over to my right hand, it was going gloopy.  Because of that, it was a messy manicure, and cleanup was a BEAR.  

Excuse the bizarre choice of background in the last picture above, by the way.  I'm still experimenting with manicure photography, and when your studio is a garage, you get creative!

Friday, February 4, 2011


It's been awhile since I posted.  I've really behaved fairly well lately.  True, I've caught myself picking during meetings and during my commute, but I haven't really done any damage.  I've got to find something to do that keeps me from giving into the urge to pick during those times.  I could probably fiddle with Silly Putty or something under the table at meetings, but what do I do during the drive?  (Besides smoke.  I really need to stop that, too.)

Anyway, I'm going to show you what can happen when I manage to pick deep enough for it to hurt or bleed.  If you're at all squeamish, scroll down quickly.

I promise, I do wash my hands.  I cleaned up the stray polish after my manicure, but I didn't take care of some of the glaring strays, since they tend to wash away on their own.  See how deep the boo-boo is?  It hurts even still, and looks gross!  Why, oh why do I keep up with the picking?

On a more fun note, I've REALLY gotten into the polish collecting.  I've picked up something like six bottles over the last week.  I promise, the purchases will slow down.  But my collection is so small right now (maybe 20 bottles) that there are certain categories and color families that I want to have represented.  Chris, Amy and I are going to the ULTA store in Murfreesboro tomorrow to see what kind of purchasing trouble I can get into.  (After that, Chuy's and "The Mechanic"!  Mmmm...nail polish.  Mmmm....Tex-Mex.  Mmmm...Ben Foster.)

What you see above and below is Zoya Shawn.  I'm a sucker for anything green, and I knew from the bottle that this was a lovely color, but it really brings it on once it's applied!

I've been learning from the nail blogs I've been reading on how to achieve a cleaner looking manicure by swiping a polish remover-soaked brush around the cuticles after the polish is applied.  Great trick!