Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NOTD: Love, Angeline - Carry On

I wasn't planning on blogging about this mani, but as soon as I started taking pictures of it, I realized I would have to just for the opportunity to share more than one! As you may know, many indie makers have begun collaborating to produce monthly boxes that allow polish addicts to sample multiple lines in one order. One such collab is the "Pipe Down This Love is Bliss" box that includes polishes from Pipedream, Love, Angeline, and Bliss. The offerings are ALWAYS tempting, but this month I couldn't resist, largely because of the polish I'm wearing today. Obviously, it had to be the first one once my box came!

Love, Angeline - Carry On is a cool-toned gray crelly polish with gold hued iridescent shimmer and flakies. Photos show two thin coats topped with HK Girl Topcoat. This polish immediately caught my eye when I first saw swatches, and I'm happy to report it's just as stunning in person. The gold shimmer is so pretty and subtle, I know these photos don't even really come close to capturing it adequately. But I tried!

Part of why I was so excited to order this box was because I have never tried polishes from any of the indie makers, including Polish My Life, who had a guest spot in this box. I'm really excited to try the others and share them with you all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NOTD: Pinwheel Polish - Fiesta Night Parade

Hi everyone! Since I got settled into my new place, I've gone on a serious nail polish ordering spree, making it really easy to be inspired (and to want to do my nails all the time!) Today's mani features a new polish that I just received yesterday, but I had to rip into it immediately.

Pinwheel Polish - Fiesta Night Parade is a clear based glitter topper with a beautiful variety of teal, pink, green, and holo glitters. These photos show two dabbed coats sandwiched between layers of L'oreal - Lilac Coolers. Glitter application was very even. As usual, I sat the bottle upside down before polishing, and gave it a good shake between coats. The bigger glitters were super easy to grab.

I've been really wanting to expand my collection of non-glitter jellies lately, and after doing some reading on the OPI Sheer Tints and the Sally Hansen Triple Shine jelly collection, I determined that neither really fit the bill for what I was looking for. My research led me to the limited edition collection of L'oreal jellies--I immediately threw six of them into my Amazon cart. This is the first one I've used, and the formula was fantastic! I applied two thin coats to each nail, then alternated layers of glitter and the jelly to get this look. My ring finger has three layers of the jelly polish topped with Zoya - Liberty in a taped design.

This is a really gorgeous and dynamic glitter topper, and I could imagine it looking fabulous with a lot of different base colors. I was forced into buying immediately when I saw a swatch of it over black--that might have to be the next combination I try!

Just look at the squish! Nom nom nom

Obviously, I had to try this one out with matte top coat. I was not disappointed! I love how the jelly polish takes on a frosty look when mattefied. 

Janna of Pinwheel Polish was also kind enough to offer a mini cuticle oil with purchase on the day I ordered. I opted for the "candy" scent--it smells just like rock candy! It seems to be a "dry oil," meaning that the aftermath of application isn't sticky or overly greasy. I'm a total cuticle care junkie, so I'm happy to add this little beauty to my collection.

The full Fiesta San Antonio collection is available from Pinwheel Polish right now. I love that this is one of the more affordable indie lines, so if you're on a budget, definitely take a look at what Pinwheel has to offer! Also, if you're a jelly fiend like me, be sure to scope out the L'oreal Miss Candy collection on Amazon; I was able to find all of them for $3 each or less!
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Neon and Studs

Today I wore this super colorful neon mani. Can you tell I'm excited about the warmer weather?! I like how this turned out, but I don't really have much to say about it, besides that it's super bright! 

I applied two coats of The Juicebox Lacquer - All Night Long over one coat of China Glaze - That's Shore Bright on my index and pinky nails. My middle and ring fingers have two coats of China Glaze - Son of a Peach and some neon studs. Then I topped it all with Sally Hansen's Big Matte Topcoat. I've had Son of Peach for almost a year, I can't believe it took me this long to use it. It's insanely neon in person, it's reading much softer in these pictures. 

It turns out my new apartment has a GREAT spot for taking nail photos in natural light. I take back all of my prior complaints about shooting in natural light, I love how these turned out! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cherry Blossoms + Born Pretty Fleur-de-lis

Nail babes, it's official: spring has sprung! One of the most iconic signs of spring here in DC is the annual cherry blossom festival. People travel from all over the world (seriously!) to marvel at the beautiful pink trees all over Washington. Fortunately for my allergies, but unfortunately for the tourists, the blossoms have been reluctant to bloom after this year's brutal winter. They're beginning to peek out, so I figured I'd encourage them and add a little DC pride to my nails!

Fleur-de-lis nail decoration provided for review. All other polishes and tools were purchased by me.

I started out with my base colors: Sinful Colors - Snow Me White on my middle and ring fingers, a no name mint Color club on my index and pinky, and OPI - Hey Baby on my thumb. Using a small dotting tool from my Bundlemonster set, I added a polka dot pattern to the white nails. I painted the branches using OPI - My Private Jet and used a variety of dotting tools dipped in white and several shades of pink (Delush Polish - Make Me Blush & OPI - Shorts Story) to create the blooms. Then I topped it all with a thin coat from a fresh bottle (sighhh so refreshing!) of HK Girl Topcoat.

I affixed this cute fleur-de-lis charm (Item 9399 #10 from the Born Pretty Store) to my ring finger by applying an additional, thicker layer of HK Girl, and placing it using a pair of tweezers. I love how it adds some dimension and maturity to this whimsical manicure, and love the detail in the metal! You can find this and tons of other affordable nail art decorations and supplies at the Born Pretty Store--free worldwide shipping, and 10% off your order using the code JNJ61! I'll be reviewing a few other items from them this week, so stay tuned.

Overall, I'm pleased with how this mani turned out, especially after not doing much nail art in the past few weeks. I attempted cherry blossoms nearly a year ago, and I see a ton of improvement. Not only do my blossoms look a lot more complex, I like how the look is more detailed, precise, and polished. Not to mention vast improvements in my nail care routine, posing abilities, and photo quality. Just goes to show you how far practice can take you!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

GG Couture Swatches & Indie Maker Spotlight

Hey, nail babes! I'M BACK! After a hellish couple of weeks at school and work, AND a move to a new apartment, my nail game is finally getting back to normal. We still don't have internet in the new place, (I gave boyfriend one job...ONE) but I'm long overdue to share these beautiful polishes from GG Couture, along with my first indie maker spotlight in way too long! Read on to see some pretties AND to learn more about the fabulous Gabrielle of GG Couture :)

Polishes provided for review.

How did you decide to start making polishes?
One night, while painting the tiny nails of my 4 younger sisters (now 5!), I started wondering about the ingredients in nail polish. As I started doing more research, I realized something--most nail polishes have 5 positively terrible chemicals present in them. These chemicals are: Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Camphor and DBP. After understanding the chemicals and their effects, I looked into nail lacquers that are free of these  pesky chemicals, and safe to put on even the tiniest fingers. Much to my suprise, I didn't find many options. The colors were either bland, or the formula was not satisfactory. I then looked into making my own. I have been making my own polish since, and have had an absolute blast doing it.

The Deep Blue is a deep navy jelly polish with metallic circle and diamond glitters in a variety of shades of blue. These photos show three thin coats topped with HK Girl Topcoat. Application was smooth and even, and I didn't have to dig to get a nice distribution of glitters on each nail. 

What polish brands (mainstream or indie) are your favorites?
My largest 'collection' would have to be Sephora By OPI. I started collecting these long before I started create my own line, and even before I knew of the wonderful world of indie polishes. While I naturally prefer and use my line primarily, Sephora By OPI is one that really started the addiction! 

Side note: This was the first of the polishes I swatched, and there were a few weeks between this and the others. You'll notice a drastic change in my nail shape if you continue reading. I miss my lovely, long squares!

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was planning on training and showing horses, as well as having a horse rescue. This is still a love of mine, and I still have 2 beautiful horses: King and Pumpkin. Horses are my therapy!

Here, I topped The Deep Blue with Sally Hansen Big Matte Topcoat. MATTEFY ALL THE JELLIES!

Where do you find inspiration for your colors?
Each quarter, when I release a new collection, the biggest goal is to create a balance. I want to create a line that polish lovers of all ages can love. While many of us love loud glittery neon polishes, others may desire something a little different. Whether you are more reserved with your polish likes, or want to wear a glitter party, I want to have something that you will love. 

What is your favorite color you've made?
I really cannot pick a favorite! My favorite really depends on my mood that day. 

This macro shot really highlights the depth in the layers!

Blushing Violet is a thermal holo jelly that is a dusty purple shade when cool, and a light silver when warm. Photos show three thin coats topped with Seche Vite. Application was easy for this one as well, and the sheer polish built up to opacity very nicely. PS...notice the change in nail shape here. Moving has not been kind to my talons!

What's your favorite thing about making polishes? What is the hardest thing?
My favorite thing about making polish is the ability to come up with an idea and see it come to life. The hardest thing is waiting for the post man to come when you know you have glitter mail coming!

This photo shows Blushing Violet (mostly) in its warm state. The polish was somewhat reluctant to transition, but when I dipped my fingers in warm water, the change was pretty dramatic (and so pretty! Thermals are so much fun!)

This photo is a relatively subtle shot of the transition. Without running water over my fingers to make it change, the polish usually looked something like this.

Would you rather be stuck with super nubs forever but be able to paint them any color you want, or have long nails that can only be one color? (and what color would you pick!) 
I would have to say long nails. I used to bite my nails, and my longer nails are kind of a trophy for me. I really wouldn't like not being able to paint them every day, though! I would probably do black or red with a holo topcoat.

Holo-llujah that's gorgeous! I opted to have this polish Chai Tea scented, and it smelled absolutely delicious--the perfect mix of sweet and spice, and definitely not overwhelming (even when wet!) I honestly was craving a chai latte the entire day I wore it!

The last polish I reviewed is Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, a stunning glitter topper that is packed with holo dust, small holo dots, and larger holo hearts. These photos show two coats over Zoya - Odette. I can see this one becoming a staple in my future manis--so much glitter! So much holo! Application was best after giving the bottle a good shake to distribute the holo dust and the hearts. 

If you could add one extra hour to each day, how would you spend it? 
With my family!
What big nail trends do you see for spring 2014, and how is GG Couture fitting in with them?
I think the biggest spring nail trend will be brighter versions of spring colors (pink, green, yellow) + color shifting polishes. I have a new collection coming the first week of April, that encompasses what I think will be the top Spring nail trends!

I opted to have this polish Dragon's Blood scented, because I was SO curious as to what that would smell like! Honestly, I can't really describe's spicy, but almost minty, and maybe a little floral? I like the smell, but I can't put my finger on what it reminds me of. Definitely worth trying if you're interested--Gabrielle offers scent options for ALL of her polishes!

Check out the GG Couture website to order these and other polishes from Gabrielle's line, and be sure to follow her on Instagram to keep updated on promotions and new releases!