Ben-Day Dots

Today, I’m all about the spots and dots.

It started with the decision to do a stamping manicure on white. It evolved into nails reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings, which use dots (called Ben-Day Dots, I learned).

I was also thinking that polka dots are a fresh summer look! You can have dots on anything from sunglasses to sweet summer dresses. I put together a few of my favorite dotty pieces.

Dotty!

Looking at what’s out there, I could have done the whole post with black and white polka dot pieces, but I wanted to throw in a variety of colors. What do you think? Dots in classic black and white, or dots in color? Or no dots at all?

(I’m pretty sure the Talbot’s dress above is the same one Amy Sedaris wears in the Downy Unstopables commercial. Only I think the neckline was re-done.)

Little Black Bag Unboxing

Check out what I got in my Little Black Bag! I had a little issue with my video recording, and then I had a little issue with my video, but I got the basics in there.

What I had to cut out was the advice on shopping Little Black Bag. Since I traded, and traded, and traded, I came up with a couple of guidelines:

1. Make decent offers. You waste people’s time when you offer a $14 pair of earrings for a $65 necklace. It’s annoying, and it doesn’t work, because for every $14 item you’re offering, someone is offering double or triple that value.

2. Handbags are impossible to trade for. Let one go, and likely it’s gone forever.

3. Patience is key. Your ideal trade might be right around the corner, but it might take a little longer. You have seven days–this particular bag took me six days to trade.

All in all, I’m partially satisfied with this bag. I’m returning the taupe necklace, and the wall decals, because they actually have the black frame printed on a cream background, which doesn’t match my wall color, so they don’t look good. The nail decals are great, though!

Love, Actually.

I just fell instantly head-over-heels.

As has been well-documented on this blog, since I started writing in my little corner of the internet, I have made the transition from raggedy, unpolished nails to constant nail polish use, nail art, nail stickers–you name it. My nails are COVERED.

Unfortunately, since my late arrival to NiceNailVille, I have some bad polish habits. Such as polishing my nails as I unwind in the evening. I am finding, more often than not, that I end up with gouges, sheet marks, hair marks (yes, it’s true) and chips on my nails from my poor timing. Not enough time to dry means that they’re never quite perfect, and I do a lot of “re-do” painting the next day. Or I don’t. I’m not Wonder Woman.

Enter Seche Vite. I’ve heard a lot about it on other blogs, but I’m coming from a “topcoat is topcoat is topcoat” kind of place–they’re all interchangeable, right? So my Ulta topcoat is just like any other, correct? NOPE. I bought Seche Vite today because my topcoat is running low, and I thought I had a 25% off coupon at CVS. (That’s another story–those coupons expire too fast!) I decided to splurge on the decidedly more expensive at $9.99 Seche Vite. (Yes, next time I’ll order it online for less money.)

I’m so glad I didn’t put it back! Polishing my nails this afternoon was record-fast, as the Seche Vite soaked through and dried my polish completely within ten minutes. I could absolutely have gone and taken a nap and not have a smudge. And it’s super shiny. Yes, it smells terrible; the chemicals are on overdrive, but I DON’T CARE. SHINY.

Rainbow Nails!

Oh, Zoya.

The fantastic thing about Zoya (well, one of them) is the amazing promotions they have. I never can say no. Especially to the really good ones, like a buy 3, get 3 sale. Which happens to be going on now.

As soon as I heard about it, I went to the site and started picking out my polishes. As I checked out, I noticed something interesting about my color choices:

Zoya Rainbow

Is it a spring rainbow, or what? I can’t wait to get my new spring colors!

Go take advantage of the promotion! It lasts until Wednesday night, March 14 at 11:59 p.m. EST, so act fast! Enter the code SPRING3 in the promotion code box to get your discount.

(Oh, and this is my first yellow polish ever! I am both fearful and hopeful. We shall see!)

Butter Nail Decals: An Exercise in Futility

You know that rack, right by the front counter in places like Ulta and Sephora? With all the trial sizes and fun little things? It’s a TRAP. I can’t walk by them without seeing something that I just HAVE to have. And some of those things aren’t even trial sizes–they’re just normal products that happen to fit the display. Therefore, it’s not like they’re cute and cheap.

Butter London’s Nail Skin Stickers sucked me in. I’ve tried nail decals, I’ve tried press-ons, I thought that this product would be similar. I loved the design–black background with various flowers and birds.

There are twelve to a package, so two to spare. The base of the stickers are strangely shaped–the base is oval, and the tips are squared off. They actually fit a little better upside down, but then you lose the design. So I put them on as expected. Most were too narrow for my nails.

The nails are very long, so unless you have crazy long nails, you need to cut them down. The instructions say that you can use a nail clipper, and then file down the excess.

I used my clipper, but it was like clipping through a sticker. I couldn’t get all the way across, and the adhesive gummed up the clipper. When I tried to file it, it shredded the tip of the sticker and showed the white paper underneath. I found it looked better to try to clip it close. I couldn’t cut the shortest one down to size, so it wrinkled at the tip instead.

I did love the look of them, but they annoyed me from the get-go. I sealed them with a topcoat, but that felt silly since it was a topcoat on a shiny sticker finish, but it did have free edges where the sticker didn’t come all the way to the nail edge.

They didn’t even last me four hours, let alone the 48 advertised. The edges were rolling, and the tips were coming apart. I ended up taking them off, and no one even got to see my pretty nail designs. Except for you people In this cautionary tale.

Sorry, Butter London, you let me down.

How-To: Water Marbling Nail Technique

I’ve seen this tutorial here and there, and have wanted to do it. Lots of them have bitched about it being a huge pain in the butt. And I will agree to some extent. It takes a little time and persistence, and if you are extremely picky it will take even longer. I’m fine with some randomness.

Two tricks, both learned the hard way. First, cuticle oil on your fingers–anywhere that’s not nail that you’ll dip in the water. It will help with cleanup. Second, warm water. Cold water makes the polish congeal faster.

First, paint your nails with a light or contrasting color, to lay down a base. I just did one coat. It needs to be dry. Then you need a container of lukewarm water. Plastic is best, as you may ruin it. Then, 2-4 colors of nail polish.

I used all Zoya polishes; I almost would like to try this with OPI or other polishes, to see if you get better results. I used a purple theme: Zoya’s Mira, Arielle, and Marley. Marley was also my base color, as it’s the lightest of the 3.

I loaded up my brush so it was drippy, and dripped a couple of drops into the water.

Then I took the other two polishes and repeated the dripping. Hopefully your polish will float; if it sinks, you have to pick another color.

Now’s the part that it was too difficult for me to get a picture of while I was doing it. I took a toothpick and inserted it into the center of the polish and swirled it around to get the marbleized effect. I had a problem some of the time with the outer polish being congealed. Break through it and pull the polish that’s still flowing around. Then once you have it marbleized, dip your fingers into it, nail side down.

This is where the cuticle oil would have come in handy, but I didn’t do it, so you will notice the polish is ALL over my fingers. Also, some tutorials recommend doing one nail, cleaning up the polish scum, dumping the water, and then do it all over again. Forget that noise. I did as many fingers as I had polish for. You will likely have to skim the scum and dump water and start again a couple of times if you’re doing 2 or 3 nails at a time, which is what makes it a little tedious. I read a tutorial that said it took a TON of polish and had a lot of wastage. I didn’t find that to be true because I did multiple nails. I found it took no more polish than a normal manicure with two or three coats would take.

Once you’re finished, clean up and put a topcoat on. Voila!

In the interest of full disclosure, it didn’t ALL go so smooth.

My pinky is the result of polish that was no longer flowing. It ended up just being a string across my nail. It kind of looks good, but I’ll probably re-do it. I was out of polish and didn’t want to make more. So I went with the trendy “one finger different” thing.

All in all, I found it easy and love the results!

For a good tutorial, Refinery29 has a video here.

What do you think? Would you try this? Is there another design you’ve wanted to try that I can trial run?

Rainbow Shatter

How cute are my nails today?

I don’t think the pictures do it justice, actually. I was inspired by a video post on Refinery 29.

I used OPI’s black shatter polish with three Zoya polishes underneath: Zoya Rica (a sparkly coral), Zoya Brooke (a fuchsia shimmer), and Zoya Lisa (a sparkly red). Easy and fun!

Test Drive: OPI Silver Shatter & China Glaze Crushed Candy

After my failed attempts at picking up a bottle of OPI Silver Shatter right after the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides collection came out, I finally got a bottle! Ulta had a shatter display with all the different colors of OPI shatter. Except they were sold out of turquoise shatter. I got a bottle of the silver, and, on a whim, got a bottle of China Glaze Crackle Glaze, too.

All the colors in the Pirates collection are pastels, so I decided to lay down a pastel base coat and cover it will silver shatter. I used Zoya’s Marley, a pale purple shade. I put the silver shatter over it, and it just read as silver. I couldn’t really see the purple underneath.

I wanted more contrast, so I started over again. I wanted a color that was vivid, but still summery. I decided to try again with Zoya Brooke, a deep pink duochrome shimmer.

I really liked the outcome. The silver was visible, and went well with the pink. The silver shatter was more glittery than I expected, judging on the black shatter, I thought it would be more matte. But I like it even better than the black! It is a fantastic effect.

Even though my polish was holding up, a couple days later I decided I wanted to try the China Glaze. I started with a base coat of MAC Formidable, which was a limited-edition polish in the MAC Venomous Villains collection last year. It is a deep plum with a turquoise glitter in it.

Then I added the China Glaze Crushed Candy topcoat, which is a light turquoise blue. I’m finding that the secret to crackle topcoat is just to go quick and not to worry about how messy it looks. It starts to dry almost right away, so if you take too much time, it reduces the crackle effect. If you want lots of crackle, go for a thin coat. If you want a little crackle, paint on a thick coat.

I went with a thick coat.

Excuse the fact that this is totally not cleaned up.

And, being fickle, I did not like it, removed it, and started over. It’s my way.

Second time I decided to go with Zoya’s Akyra, a metallic teal shimmer, and a thin coat of Crushed Candy.

And…I kind of liked it! Enough to stop breathing nail polish fumes for the day.

In conclusion: I like OPI Silver Shatter better than China Glaze Crushed Candy; the sparkle makes it look a little less lumpy. Also, thin coat over thick coat. I also tried out Orly’s Top 2 Bottom base and topcoat, which seems to work very well.

Tried any other shatters lately? Tell me about your test drives!

Last Time (Although I May Be Lying)

So, apparently nail polish is my new “thing”. It never used to be, I actually wrote about it on this blog. I’ve been filing and shaping and polishing my nails. So I have a new awareness of all things polish-y. And, of course, my recent obsession is Zoya. I mentioned their promo teases on Sunday, so I thought I would follow up with the details. I hope you had your account on Zoya made, otherwise, you’re out of luck!

Turns out the big promo is a BOGO (buy one, get one) promotion from their three new summer collections. Inspired by fashion week and the brights of summer, the three collections are Summertime, Sunshine, and ModMatte. For each bottle you buy, you get one free, up to seven bottles (seven purchased, seven free for a total of fourteen).

The Summertime collection is a vibrant cream collection with some eye-popping colors. I think my favorite is the strong turquoise, Breezi. I’m also liking the bluer of the two purples, Mira.

Zoya also made some short videos to show off their new collections and how they tie in with the summer fashions.

Zoya Sunshine is a metallic collection. Each of the polishes have a bit of gold metallic to them, like rays of sunshine. This is especially striking in Faye, the purple shade. I’m really liking the coral, Rica, since I don’t see a lot of corals that I like. The Reva is also a color with a lot of depth to it.

The collection I’m the most excited about is the ModMatte collection. Yes, it’s totally ’80′s, especially the shocking chartreuse. The colors are straight off a pair of Jams on the Cali coast. (If you know what I’m talking about, you win an awesomeness award.) I’m all about the matte nails right now, but all the mattes available have been winter colors–greys, dark blues, and purples. But these mattes are ready for summer! I think that the matte magenta, Lolly, is definitely going to be the first color in my cart.

So now I’m trying to decide–will it be 2 polishes? Four? Six? I think that I could certainly find some colors I like in these collections.

My title today is “Last Time”–I’m going to try to move on from Zoya for a while, because it has gotten a LOT of attention from me. But we’ll see…I make no promises. :)

What would you pick from the Zoya summer collections?