GOT Polish Challenge: Flowers with Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Wet Cement and L.A. Colors Color Craze Minis

This week’s theme for the Golden Oldie Thursday Challenge is flowers.  I wasn’t too inspired by this theme at first, mostly because the ideas I had seemed like they would take forever to do and I just have practically no free time anymore.  I finally realized that I could do a simple flower mani using a dotting tool as I’ve seen so many other bloggers do.  That made me feel much better about tackling this challenge!  I still had to do the mani over a couple of days, but I did it.

I used Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in the color Wet Cement as the base color for this mani.  This color is a medium, cool-toned grey shade that works well as a neutral base for nail art.  Although I like the color, the application of this one wasn’t great, probably due to its age.  It took forever to dry, and I ended up with sheet marks in it even after letting it dry for a few hours before going to bed.  These seem to have evened out somewhat with the top coat, but it still took too long to dry IMO.  I used two coats of it as the base for this mani.

To add the watercolor flower look, I used two L.A. Colors Color Craze mini polishes that I’ve had for a few years.  I know I bought them in a set of mini polishes, but the shade names aren’t on the bottles so I’m not sure what they’re called.  One is a bright medium blue shade and the other is a vivid pink shade.  These had a thinner consistency that I would normally use with a dotting tool, but I kind of like the somewhat watery, almost painting-like it effect it gave the flowers, so I think it worked out in the end.  I used my normal base and top coats for this mani as well.  The top coat did end up smearing the flowers a little in some places, but that is mostly because I wasn’t patient enough to wait until they had completely dried before I applied it.  The streaks are not really visible to the naked eye, so I’m not sweating them.

GOT Polish Flower Mani

GOT Polish Flower Mani

GOT Polish Flower Mani

GOT Polish Flower Mani

GOT Polish Flower Mani

Have you ever used this simple technique to create a flower mani?  I like how it turned out.

I purchased Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Wet Cement a couple of years ago from a drugstore for somewhere around $1.50.  I purchased the L.A. Colors Color Craze minis a few years ago from Cherry Culture.  I’m really not sure how much I paid for them, but the brand is generally inexpensive.

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GOT Polish Challenge: Coral with Essie Carousel Coral

This week’s Golden Oldie Thursday Challenge theme is coral!  I knew right away which polish I wanted to use for this challenge.  I’ve been using Essie’s Carousel Coral for years and years as a go-to shade for spring and summer.  This is one of the few polish colors that I’ve used entire bottles of and purchased again because the color is one of those “just right” shades.

Carousel Coral is a warm, medium-toned coral shade that has a squishy, almost crelly finish to it.  I used two coats of Carousel Coral for the photos; it is the tiniest bit streaky, but that would likely be evened out with a third coat (I just didn’t have time for it).  I also added accent nails of American Apparel Glitter nail polish in Constellation.  This has a clear base with long silver string glitter that I thought would add some interest to the look.  I used my regular base and top coats for this mani.

Essie Carousel Coral

Essie Carousel Coral

Essie Carousel Coral

Essie Carousel Coral

What do you think of this shade?  Isn’t it just a nice, bright, happy shade for spring?  It’s been a staple color for me for at least a decade.  I just love this one!

I purchased this bottle of Carousel Coral a few years ago at a beauty supply store for $6.00.

I purchased American Apparel Constellation from their online shop for around $6.00.  It looks like they no longer offer this glitter, but they do have several other glitter shades from which to choose.

GOT Polish Challenge: Chevrons with Barielle Baretini and Hits Speciallità Hard Rock

This week’s theme for the Golden Oldie Thursday Challenge (details of the challenge can be found on my original blog post about it) is chevrons.  I was eager to try this theme because I bought some nail vinyls a few weeks ago in chevron patterns, so this was a great excuse to try them out finally.  I decided to try for a delicate look for this mani, so I used two light colors to create the look (one of them is glitter, though, since every mani needs some flash).

I used Barielle Shades in Baretini as the base for this mani.  Baretini is a soft, light pinky peach shade with a touch of pink shimmer.  Baretini is rather sheer, and it could be used as a nude shade on some skin tones.  It takes at least 3 coats to reach opacity with this polish, and I really didn’t have time for that, so I had to settle for two.  Some unevenness to the color is definitely visible, however.

To this base I added chevron accents using Hits Speciallità Hard Rock from their Glitter Forte collection.  Hard Rock is packed full of small silver holographic glitter in a clear base.  The glitter in this one is dense enough that it gives good coverage at one coat, though I prefer to use a second coat when applying this one on its own.  I applied Hard Rock over chevron nail vinyls for the chevron stripes effect, and I also free-hand painted chevron French tips on the other nails.

GOT Polish Challenge Chevrons

GOT Polish Challenge Chevrons

GOT Polish Challenge Chevrons

I think this look has a good combination of femininity and flash.  I do think it would look even better with a third coat of Baretini for the base, but sometimes time can make us compromise with our nail looks, sadly.

I purchased Baretini from the Barielle online shop three years ago for $4.00.  It doesn’t look like this color is available there anymore, but they may have something similar.  I purchased Hits Speciallità Hard Rock through a group buy of Brazilian polishes a few years ago, back when they were impossible to get in the States.  Now the Hits brand can be purchased from a few different online retailers.  I purchased the chevron nail vinyls from the Nail Vinyls online shop for $6.75 for a pack of 300.  It looks like they have doubled in price since I purchased them around 6 weeks ago, which is disappointing.

GOT Polish Challenge: Dots with Avon Mirror Shine Pink Ice

The theme for the Golden Oldie Thursday Challenge (details here) is dots!  I’ve had so much fun going through my polish stash since this challenge started.  In my explorations through my hoard I found an ancient Avon polish that I wanted to take for a spin, so I forced it into this week’s theme.

Avon Mirror Shine in Pink Ice is an extremely light pink chrome finish polish.  The color is about as light as pink can get before it becomes white; I remember being disappointed when I got this one all those ages ago because the color on the label is about 20 times darker than the actual color of the polish.  I’ve kept it all this time, though, because I really don’t have another polish that has this extreme of a chrome finish.

The application of Pink Ice has all the problems that one would expect of a mirror chrome:  it’s streaky and magnifies every nail ridge and flaw.  That being said, it’s the kind of thing that we only notice on our own manicure, and everyone else who sees it thinks it looks amazing.  I was afraid to use a base coat with this one in case it got even streakier (is that a word?), but I did use my standard top coat with it, and it did not dull the finish at all.

I wanted to add dots without spoiling my view of the mirror finish, so I added a simple black dotted accent to each nail using an Art Club striper polish.  It was easy to work with and dried in a hurry, which is all I can ask from a nail art polish.

I used 3 coats of Pink Ice for the photos, and then added dots using the Art Club black striper.  I did not use a base coat for this mani, but I did use top coat.

Avon Pink Ice

pinkice2

Avon Pink Ice

pinkice4

Do you love or hate chrome finish polishes like Pink Ice?  I definitely think this polish is noticeable, and I know its flaws are much more visible to me than to anyone who’s checking out my nails.  All in all I think I like it more now than I used to do.  Still trying to decide if I’ll keep it…

I purchased this polish from Avon many years ago; it is no longer available for purchase at this time.

GOT Polish Challenge: Stripes with Alta Costura Vernis Fine Print and Zoya Christinna

The theme for Week 2 of the Golden Oldie Thursday Challenge is stripes!  I have no natural artistic talent, so elaborate nail art is just never going to be my thing, but even the likes of me can use striping tape, so this simple nail art theme is right up my alley.  I’ve been having a blast looking through my stash for polishes that I once loved for a brief moment (which is increasingly starting to seem like the only way this magpie has ever loved a polish).  It was hard to settle on one for today’s challenge!

It must have been two or two and a half years ago now when all of us became obsessed with matte glitter at the exact same moment, and it was at that time that I purchased Fine Print from Alta Costura Vernis.  Fine Print is a textured polish that features white, black, and red micro glitter in a clear base.  This was one of the first intentionally textured polishes that I ever purchased, and I remember loving the finish as well as the combination of colors in this polish.  I also loved how the little white bits in it looked under the black light on a night out, because yes I am staring at my nails even when I’m at the bar.

I layered Fine Print over Zoya Christinna, which is one of the only white polishes that works with my skin tone.  Christinna is a soft, shimmery white that has the slightest hint of gray; it almost has the look of marshmallow creme or a fluffy white cloud.  I’ve used this shade several times in the 3 or 4 years that I’ve had it, and I always love the color and hate the application.  Christinna is very streaky, and no number of coats seems to be able to completely even it out.  In my experience it also takes longer to dry than most polishes, which wouldn’t be as bothersome if the polish weren’t so sheer.  In spite of these issues, though, I really do like the color and finish of Christinna, so I put up with her flaws.

I used two coats of Christinna as a base for this mani, then I used one coat of Fine Print over striping tape to make some stripes.  I was going for some gradation in the thickness of the stripes on the middle and ring finger, but my recently broken middle finger nail probably wasn’t long enough to show this effect properly.  I used base coat but no top coat for the photos.

Alta Costura Vernis Fine Print

Alta Costura Vernis Fine Print

Alta Costura Vernis Fine Print

Are you officially over these matte glitter textured polishes?  They seem to have definitely passed their peak in popularity.  I know I don’t wear them all that often anymore, but wearing this one again reminded me of how truly different they were from everything else that was out at the time.  I have noticed that all of my polishes that feature matte glitter tend to thicken up pretty quickly.  I had to add thinner to Fine Print before I could use it.

I purchased Fine Print for $8.00 or $9.00 (somewhere around there) from Alta Costura Vernis.  I’m not sure if this brand still exists, honestly.  I don’t see any evidence that they do.  I purchased Christinna from the Zoya online shop during a promotion (I only purchase from Zoya during their promotions).  It cost me $4.00 when it was on sale.  I don’t see this shade on their site, so it may have been discontinued.

Christmas Nail Art NOTD: Scratch Tartanium Nail Wraps

Of course I wanted my nails to look utterly fabulous for Christmas, but spending loads of time on them was not an option this year.  Luckily one of the nail wrap sets from Scratch’s December Monthly Mani Box had a Christmas-y look to it, so I wore them to this year’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gatherings.

The Tartanium nail wraps were designed by textile designer Emily Wagner, and they feature a red-based plaid with metallic gold accents.  The set contains four different wrap designs of different sizes that can be mixed and matched, allowing the user to customize the look of the manicure to some extent.

The Scratch nail wraps are a little thicker than some other nail polish strips that I’ve tried, an advantage of which is that they can be moved around and re-positioned without tearing, which is not always possible with thinner wraps.  I did not use a base coat with these polish strips, but I did apply a top coat (in part because it is recommended by Scratch in the directions for use).

tartanium1

Scratch Tartanium

Scratch Tartanium

Aren’t these nice and seasonally appropriate without being over the top?  (Not that there’s anything wrong with over the top, don’t get me wrong.)  I was told that my nails looked like wrapped Christmas presents today, and I totally agree!  Love these.

I purchased these as part of a set of three nail wraps in the Scratch Monthly Mani Box for $30.00.  They can also be purchased individually for $12.00 from the Scratch online shop.

Swatch and Review: Dance Legend Malta Collection No. 91

I looked through my polishes today and found an Autumn appropriate green that I purchased earlier this year but never tried, so I used it today.  Dance Legend No. 91 from their Malta Collection is a medium, true green shade that is filled with golden shimmer.  The shimmer looks more copper colored in the bottle, but on the nail it definitely looks golden.

There were no application issues with this polish, and the drying time was normal.  It took two coats to reach opacity, and I used a base and top coat for the photos.  The golden shimmer in this polish is very fine and plentiful; it has the effect of making the base shade appear a bit more like a sage-y green color than it appears in the bottle (partly because the shimmer all settles to the bottom in the bottle, which must be shaken profusely before use).  Since it is so fine, the shimmer is not terribly shiny, but it is quite visible, and the overall effect of the polish is pretty.  I also added a copper-colored stud in the shape of a leaf to this mani for an Autumn-themed accent nail.  Since there was no sunlight to speak of today, the photos were taken indoors in artificial light.

Dance Legend No. 91

Dance Legend No. 91

Dance Legend No. 91

What do you think of this polish?  I really like polishes that have colored shimmer, since it adds dimension and interest.

I purchased this polish from the Dance Legend online shop for $9.00.  Since purchases from this shop ship from Russia, they can take a while to arrive.  When I ordered, my first shipment went through customs in Russia, made it to America, and was then sent back to Russia.  That whole process took several weeks.  Dance Legend has the most awesome customer service, though, and their staff was so helpful to me every time I contacted them.  They re-sent my order, and the second time was the charm and it arrived to me in great shape after a few weeks.  They are a company with great polishes and great people, so I encourage you to check them out!  But do be warned about the delivery time.

I purchased the etched leaf stud from the Bundle Monster online shop.  I purchased it as part of a collection that contained several shapes and sizes of copper-colored studs for $10.99.  Every once in a while Bundle Monster offers a 15 percent off discount code for nail art decorations, so I usually wait to order until they have one of these sales.

 

Nail Art NOTD: Scratch Harajuku Kawaii Nail Wraps

My weekend mani features some cute and fun nail wraps from the company Scratch.  I’m a big fan of nail wraps because I don’t have any natural artistic talent, so they allow me to wear nail designs that I would never be able to reproduce on my own.  Earlier this year I discovered the company Scratch which makes unique and just generally awesome nail wrap designs, so I just had to try them out.  I always proceed with caution when trying new nail wraps because there are extreme variations in their quality from company to company.  I’m happy to say that Scratch nail wraps are of excellent quality.  I never wear a mani for more than a couple of days, but I have worn Scratch nail wraps for five days and they were literally showing no wear when I took them off.  So obviously I’m a huge fan and highly recommend these wraps to other nail wrap lovers out there.  🙂

The Harajuku Kawaii nail wraps were designed by nail art legend and designer Britney Tokyo as a limited edition collaboration with Scratch.  These bright and colorful wraps feature orange, blue, yellow, and pink stripes and stars, and the wraps also feature cute images of ice cream, unicorns, and hearts.  I used the ice cream images for my manicure.  I also added some rhinestones and pearls that were included with the wraps in my subscription box order (more on that below).

Scratch Harajuku Kawaii

Scratch Harajuku Kawaii

Scratch Harajuku Kawaii

Do you ever wear bright, flashy designs on your nails on the weekend?  My nails are the one thing I turn up when I’m dressing for a fun day out.

Scratch offers a subscription program called the Monthly Mani Box.  Each month a new featured artist designs three limited edition nail wrap sets, and these are included in the box at a slight discount from the normal price.  They also usually include a few nail art studs or rhinestones to use on the wraps as well.  All in all, I think it’s a great deal and I enjoy being a Monthly Mani Box subscriber.  I purchased the Harajuku Kawaii nail wraps as part of my MMB subscription with two other nail wraps sets for $30.00.  They are also available individually for $12.00.

Nail Art NOTD: LVX Legendaire

I’m a bit of a beauty subscription box addict, and I sign up for new ones too often (and cancel them too rarely).  One of the subscription boxes to which I subscribe is the Blush Mystery Beauty Box.  In September’s box they included a polish from LVX Nail Lacquer in Legendaire, which is a muted, greyed-out lavender shade.  It seems like a great shade for transitioning from summer into autumn, so I just had to try it out as soon as it arrived.  The first picture is two coats of Legendaire over base coat (but no topcoat).

LVX Legendaire

I think this is a great, neutral shade that would work great for workplace nails.  Legendaire applied very easily, and the LVX brush was one of those perfect ones that let me do a three-stroke application with ease.  And it looks great even without top coat, doesn’t it?!

After swatching it I added some accent nails with some small rhinestones. I thought green would be a nice complement to this color, so I added a half-moon mani accented with the rhinestones to two nails. I added this by using a cotton swab dipped in polish remover and removing the polish from the nails. Then I added a layer of top coat, followed with the rhinestones. I then sealed it all with another layer of top coat.

LVX Legendaire

This is such an easy look to create, and it gets a lot of compliments.  It’s an easy way to switch up a mani with minimal effort.  🙂

As I mentioned, I purchased Legendaire as part of the Blush Mystery Beauty Box.  The box is $34.95 when purchased as an individual item, or $24.95 per month when purchased on subscription (both prices include shipping).  I purchased the rhinestones from Born Pretty Store as part of a set of a few different colors for $4.89.

Swatch and Review: Mentality Nail Polish Rascal

It’s a lovely day here, the early September kind that has an edge of fall in the air.  I’m jumping right into autumn’s nail palette today with Mentality Nail Polish’s Rascal.  Rascal is a matte black polish that has a hint of shimmer in the sunlight.  This polish is on the slightly thick side because it is so highly pigmented, but that didn’t affect application or drying time.  I found Rascal easy to apply, and one coat could probably suffice for this polish, though I prefer two.  I used striping tape and a third coat to add some texture and dimension for accent nails.  Like most mattes this one dried very quickly.

Mentality Nail Polish Rascal

I took some pictures of my manicure before adding the accents to show what Rascal looks like at two coats.

Mentality Nail Polish Rascal

Mentality Nail Polish Rascal

Don’t you just love the way the sunlight plays with that hint of shimmer? 🙂

Overall, I’m very impressed with this polish!  I like that Rascal is more forgiving than most mattes and does not show obvious brush strokes.  It also isn’t covered in dings a few minutes after applied like some mattes tend to be.  The color payoff on this one is amazing, too!  It really is such a deep, true black.  This is one of those shades that could be used in so many different nail art ideas.  It could be used as a base for the chalkboard mani that is all the rage right now, for example.

Have you tried Mentality Nail Polish before?  I have several of their polishes and must confess that I’m a big fan of their line.  They have so many unique color options and are very reasonably priced.  You’ll definitely be seeing more of their polishes here in the future.

This polish was provided to me by Mentality Nail Polish and can be purchased at the Mentality Nail Polish store for $7, which includes shipping.  They are currently having a sale, too!  If you use the coupon code MENTALITY at checkout you’ll receive 20% off orders over $30.