28 June 2013

Wayback Nails: Saran Wrap in Grey

Hey, so that thing I was gonna do, where I get my Wayback Nails for June done before the month is almost over? Um...yeah. I swear, if there were an Olympic medal for procrastinating, I'd...probably miss the competition. But onward, to the manicure! Last month I revisited an early gradient from last May. For June's installment, the Wayback Machine landed on my very first saran wrap nails, a technique that quickly became--and remained--one of my nail art favourites.

saran wrap manicure

Similar to the lineup from that first time, I started these with a base of China Glaze Elephant Walk. Next, I dabbed on China Glaze White On White, Orly Dazzle (silver), Orly Sea Gurl (olive-charcoal metallic), Zoya Dove (light grey), and some Elephant Walk again; then I did a second pass with each of them to make sure it was all built up and blended.

I've started using fewer polishes for saran wrap manicures since I first did these. I feel like you can actually get a little more with a little less, but I still really like the mad, marble/stone look of all these greys mixed in together.

saran wrap nails

And because I did it last time, I had to hit these with some matte as well. This time I used butter LONDON Matte Finish Shine Free Topcoat. A whole year, and I still can't decide whether I like it better matte or shiny!

matte saran wrap manicure

Trivia: I have officially lost count of the number of times I typed "saran warp" while writing up this post. >_<

26 June 2013

CrowsToes Spring THIS! Pt. I

Lauri recently sent me some polishes from the CrowsToes Spring THIS! Collection, as well as a few of her past hits, and OMG, the enormity of my happy dance, complete with giddy, giggling accompaniment... I am officially fangirling CrowsToes as hard as ever. She may have made her brand's name with incredible glitter concoctions, but Lauri has also proved in recent collections that her talent reaches well into other finishes and formulas. I am so happy to be able to share some of those with you, starting with today's two, Tequila Sunrise and Toxic Buttercup.

CrowsToes Tequila Sunrise swatch

This is CrowsToes Tequila Sunrise, from the recent Spring THIS! Collection (it will layer up on its own in a few coats, but I'm wearing two here over Wet n' Wild How I Met Your Magenta). Can we just talk about this shimmer?! Amazing. And beyond the golden-yellow I could catch with the camera, Tequila Sunrise's juicy pink base is fairly bursting with this colour-shifting shimmer that flashes from lemon yellow to lime green.

CrowsToes Tequila Sunrise swatch

Even if the green was a little camera-shy, you can hopefully see why I was just gobsmacked by this beauty. The light pigmentation of the pink base means it needs several coats to layer by itself, but it's genius too--not only should it blend beautifully over any medium or rich pink you'd care to layer it with, but it lets this fantastic shimmer really catch the light beautifully.

CrowsToes Tequila Sunrise swatch macro


The second polish I have today, also from Spring THIS!, is Toxic Buttercup, a cheerful yellow with the most amazing purple shimmer. It's a tricky one to catch on camera, but it's so, so pretty--in lower light, the dusting of lavender-purple is nice and bold, but in brighter light it likes to blend a bit, adding its shimmer to the buttery effect of this beautiful shade.

CrowsToes Toxic Buttercup swatch

I barely layered Toxic Buttercup. I loved the golden-buttery yellow and didn't want to overpower that by using too stark--or too dark--a yellow underneath, so this is three coats over just one of OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons (a neutral, near-nude beige that's just there to knock out some VNL and give Buttercup something solid to sit on).

CrowsToes Toxic Buttercup swatch

How pretty is that yellow?! And augh, I wish so badly that I could have captured more of the shimmer, but it really is camera-shy. The best I could do was blow it out with some harsher, more angled light that didn't make for the greatest overall swatch but helps make the point in macro...



Thanks so incredibly much to Lauri for letting me share these polishes!  There's more CrowsToes to come over the next week, including more from the Spring THIS! Collection. It and other CrowsToes polishes are available at several places online, including Llarowe and Overall Beauty.

25 June 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: The Beach

Today's TT theme is a manicure inspired by the beach! Dang, weren't we just doing Xmas nails?! Time seriously flies! For this theme I really wanted to try my hand at a fantastic beach design that Sarah did here at Chalkboard Nails last...whoa, last September already? Talk about time flying!

beach nail art

The water is a gradient of Bandi Snow White, Jessica Surfer Boyz 'n Berry, and Essie Where's My Chauffeur?, with those little waving ripples of light painted with an Orly Crisp White nail art striper polish. I'm super jealous of how nicely Sarah's sandy beach texture came out. My attempt didn't lean so much "sand" as it did "skin disease," so instead of Sarah's awesomely blended dotting, I did a sponged mixture of China Glaze Kalahari Kiss, China Glaze Fast Track, and I think I threw a little OPI Skull & Glossbones in there too somewhere, as well as some...not sure, was it OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons? Sorry, it's been a weird week, and precision was not the watchword this afternoon while I was finishing these. >_<

My favourite element of Sarah's design was that cute little starfish, so I had to include him as well. The body is OPI Red Lights Ahead...Where? (Dutch Collection), with little bumpy dots of OPI In My Back Pocket.

beach nail art

Thank you so much, Sarah, for the inspiration for these! This design really makes me want to go find a hammock and some palm trees and invest in a pina colada or four...

Looking forward to my fellow Twinsies' beach-inspired nails this week! And I jumped the gun last time out of the gate--this is Heather's first week with us, so welcome again, Heather!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

22 June 2013

Tweed Nails for Giles

Rupert Giles, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is my biggest TV boyfriend in the history of ever. Recently my friend Mabel and I started watching the show from the beginning because she'd never seen it before--never even heard of it before!--and so my love affair with that shy, bespectacled, surprisingly dangerous librarian has been rekindled. And in the spirit of that reignited flame, I decided to try some tweed nails because nothing says "Giles" like tweed.

tweed nail art

I found a tutorial for these here, at Nails In Nippon, and I wish I'd done this adorable design a bit more justice. Unfortunately what I thought were a nice, rich burgundy and forest green when I mixed my acrylic paints dried a lot brighter than I'd intended, and I need to work on getting narrower, more precise lines with my paintbrush. Still, these were so cute IRL!

tweed nail art

The base for these is OPI San Tan-tonio, and after painting on my acrylics, I topped them off with butter LONDON matte top coat. Wish I had more time to wax lyrical over Giles and tweed, but I'm supposed to be out the door in about 3 minutes. Nutshell, I will be doing these nails again, and those will also be for Giles because Giles.

20 June 2013

Orly Miss Conduct

Orly Miss Conduct, from the Holiday 2012 Naughty or Nice Collection, is a rich, magenta crelly bursting with scattered holographic shimmer. Writing this second sentence is giving me fits because I don't even know what to say without just gushing superlatives. I'm all tongue-tied and fangirl-ing over how gorgeous it is!

Orly Miss Conduct swatch

Honestly, how is that fair to other nail polishes?

This is three coats of Miss Conduct for the camera, but two would have been just great for daily wear. It also gets high marks for the formula, which applied smoothly and was easy to control. And I love that even though it's from Orly's holiday collection it's not colour-specific to any particular holiday, making it a fantastic polish for any occasion that calls for a little extra sparkle and glam. Like New Year's Eve, or date night, or picking up my dry cleaning tomorrow. (Note to self, don't forget the receipt.)

Orly Miss Conduct swatch

The scattered holo isn't shy either! In direct light, it gives off a fabulous flare, and in lower light, even when the holo is less pronounced, the shimmer is still incredible. Orly, please make this in about 88 thousand more colours just as soon as you possibly can!

18 June 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Textured Nails

Textured nail polish has taken me completely by surprise. I didn't expect to like it nearly as much as I have, but I suppose in retrospect it shouldn't have come as such a shock. I haven't tried the China Glaze or other brands' collections that have more of a crème finish, but OPI Liquid Sand and Zoya Pixie Dust...they're matte, and they're glittery. Matte that sparkles. Twinkling, matte nail polish. What possessed me to think I might not adore them?!

I still have some more textured polishes to swatch, but for today's TT theme I wanted to see if I could manage some nail art and decided to go for leopard print.

textured leopard print nail art

The base is OPI Honey Ryder, from the Bond Girls Collection, and I can not wait to wear it again by itself soon because LOVE. On top of that I did some irregular dots of Zoya Stevie and OPI Tiffany Case (also from the Bond Girls) and then used OPI What Wizardry is This? to stipple the brown outlines and spots.

I haven't had a lot of practice with leopard print nail art, but I was quite happy with how these came out! The textured polishes weren't fussy at all to dot with, and I really liked the colours. There were a couple of spots where the texture got a bit raised because I went a little thick, so I'm not sure how these would have worn after a day or so, but I'm totally kicking myself for not top coating, at least as an experiment. My guess, it would have been SHINY. I like it this way, though, because of the way the finish totally works with the animal print to give it some literal texture and depth, just like in nature.

textured leopard print nails

Just like those gold, blue, and purple glitterleopards you find in nature.

Looking forward to seeing how my fellow Twinsies felt about their textured nails this week, and I'm super excited to welcome a fabulous new Twinsie, Heather from Peace, Love and Polish!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

17 June 2013

OPI Cajun Shrimp

Last summer I asked my cousin what colour her fabulous pedi was. She told me it was OPI Cajun Shrimp, and I was thrilled to spot it in an airport XpresSpa on my way home! I couldn't wait to wear it...only when I got here, it went into the Big Box o' Untrieds, where it spent the past year just waiting its turn. Well, shame on me for taking so long to wear this polish because it is every bit as fabulous as I remembered.

OPI Cajun Shrimp swatch

This is three coats of OPI Cajun Shrimp, and the formula was typical OPI aces. I think part of the reason I dallied was that I wasn't certain about this shade with my skin tone... While my cousin has this gorgeously olive, tan complexion, I'm flat-out pastypale with alluring undertones of "hey, are those your veins?" Light, bright reds overpower me with ease. So, I wasn't sure that Cajun Shrimp and I would be the best match, and I was all set to tell it, "It's not you; it's me." Sometimes it's awesome being wrong!

On the first coat, I was all, "eh..." and not really that into it. Second coat was a lot better, and I thought we just might have something together. Third coat covered the last of the VNL, and I was smitten. I wanted to take it out for drinks, go antiquing together, and meet its parents.

OPI Cajun Shrimp swatch

OPI Cajun Shrimp was a hard one to catch on camera accurately (that flirty minx!), but I think I came close enough to be satisfied. It's a bright, bold, orange-y red that's just perfect for summer, but there's also a dash of coral to it, some pink or blue lurking under the surface somewhere that pulls it back from the edge of being just a bit little too much for me and turns it into utter gorgeousness.

16 June 2013

Cherry Blossom Nail Art Tutorial

As I've mentioned before, cherry blossom nails are some of my favourites to do, and I've wanted to do a tutorial on them here for ages now. This past Chinese New Year I did one for Sassy Hong Kong that used more traditional CNY colours. I always planned to recreate it here for spring, so when I did this manicure a couple of weeks ago I stopped and took pictures along the way. Thankfully, with several days to go before spring is actually over, I found a couple of free hours this weekend to crop them and write things up, so I can finally post it here!

Please overlook the truly heroic levels of cuticle dryness in the step-by-step pictures, since I didn't moisturize as I worked...and please enjoy the cherry blossom nail art tutorial!

cherry blossom nail art tutorial

13 June 2013

Bright Flower Nail Art on White

Any time I'm in the mood for nail art but don't have a plan, I just hit up Robin Moses' YouTube Channel, and BAM, spoiled for choice. These nails are based on her Pastel Flower Print on White Nails tutorial...

flower nail art on OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls

I just loved this design. It's so cheerful! The funky, blue flowers really caught my eye, and those grey leaves--what a cute idea! I thought they were such a cool balance for the brightness of the flowers.

These started with three coats of OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls, which I think I've said about twelve dozen times that I LOVE? Seriously, OPI, please re-promote this one, make it core, whatever it takes, but imma need a lifetime supply. The leaves and flowers are once again acrylic paints, and it's all topped with SV as usual.

flower nail art on OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls

This was definitely one of those manicures that I just hated to take off. Thanks so much, Robin, for the inspiration!

11 June 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Marching Orders

This week's TT theme is one of my favourites--once again we're doing marching orders! Each of us has received instructions from a fellow Twinsie, who could assign us pretty much anything she wished. My marching orders came from Rachel, of Top Coat It, who challenged me to pay homage to June 11th, also known in America as National Corn on the Cob Day!

nail art for corn on the cob day

After chuckling for about an hour over this awesome assignment, I spent a few days just knowing I wasn't going to be able to pull this off. But with such a fun theme, the only thing to do was go for it...and I was shocked to find out that I'm not completely terrible at painting corn on the cob after all! Who knew?!

I started with a base of OPI San Tan-tonio, and the rest is a whole bunch of acrylic paint in four different shades of yellow. I thought about adding a matte top coat but went the other way and doubled up on the shiny SV instead, because who likes dry corn on the cob? Make mine buttered!

nail art corn

Once these were done, I dashed to the grocery to get some corn on the cob to pose with (like you do). When I reached out for the corn, my nails got the most awesome double-take from the woman in the produce section, who kept looking from the corn to my nails to the corn to my nails... >_<

Thank you so much for such a fun assignment, Rachel! And a very Happy Corn on the Cob Day!

I also want to say a huge welcome to our two newest Twinsies, Amber of Nails Like Lace, and Róisín from Cuti-CLUE-les. We're so excited to have you guys with us!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

10 June 2013

Nail Glossary

When I started following nail blogs, it took me some time to get up to speed on the jargon, the commonly used terms that are part of our language but might not be as clear--or even mean the same thing--to the non-initiated. And because I occasionally feel like writing something long and complicated that people may or may not read, I figured, hey, why not assemble a glossary? So, rather than spend the last few days on my growing list of real-life stuff to do, I wrote up definitions for some of those terms we use when we blog about nails. I'll add more to the list as I think of them, but I made a pretty good start. If you're interested, you can check out the glossary here or hit the link in the top menu!


Unrelated takoyaki is unrelated.

09 June 2013

Skinfood BL003 with Party of Five Glitters

One year ago today omgnoodles posted this manicure, landing WnW Party of Five Glitters on my WL, igniting my love of matte glitter sandwiches, and sending me on the hunt for Skinfood polishes in one fell swoop. I mean, seriously. Milky, minty creme; sweet, white glitter; rainbow awesomeness; jelly sandwich; matte top coat...all in one manicure?! Clutch the pearls!

matte glitter sandwich with OPI Don't Touch My Tutu!

Where Pauline's was an evolving manicure, I built my copycat mani straight up, substituting a couple of the polishes. The base was Skinfood BL003, and I used a coat of OPI Pirouette My Whistle, then one of Wet n Wild Party of Five Glitters. Over those went OPI Don't Touch My Tutu! (which definitely brought out the minty side of BL003), with Essie Matte About You top coat.

Skinfood BL003 with rainbow glitter

Maybe it's the different white glitter or the lack of coats in-between, but I don't think I quiiiite captured the milky, sugary softness of the original. Still, I love! I haven't been wearing nearly as much glitter these days as I used to, given my recent obsession with nail art. Gotta remember to show my glitters some love too!

07 June 2013

OPI Solitaire

I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how much I'm enjoying the textured polish trend! Today I have a standout from the OPI Bond Girls Liquid Sand collection, Solitaire.

OPI Solitaire Liquid Sand swatch

OPI Solitaire is a pearlescent white polish with tiny flecks of shimmering silver. Like the rest of the Liquid Sands, it's predominantly matte, with a fine, soft grit, and is meant to be worn without top coat, though I've seen it top coated, and it's lovely that way too!

What makes Solitaire unique--besides the beautiful white colour--is its frosty, pearl base. The combination of colour and finish really is stunning; it looks like glittering snow! However, that frost can also make it a bit more challenging than others among the Liquid Sand line. If you apply Solitaire too heavily, the base can overwhelm the texture and look kind of lumpy. Fortunately, I did my non-swatch hand first and found that thin-to-medium coats (thicker than thin, thinner than medium) seemed to be Solitaire's butter zone. You definitely want to let each coat dry before proceeding, but that doesn't take long at all, and the little bit of patience is so worth it for the results. I'm wearing 3 coats here, four on my middle finger (no surprise it'd be the stubborn one), and the tiny hint of VNL in these pictures was invisible to the naked eye.

OPI Solitaire swatch

I wore Solitaire for about a day and a half with no signs of chipping and spent the whole time marveling at how much I loved it. The white is crisp without appearing stark at all, and the combination of the finishes was all kinds of understated gorgeousness.

05 June 2013

More Cherry Blossom Nail Art

If there's one nail art design I especially love it's cherry blossom nail art. It was one of the very first designs I tried once I got my dotting tools and stripers. It's what I was sporting in my first blog post, and if you've followed DMN for a little while you may already know I've posted similar manicures several times since. Well, after I finally settled on Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet as my pick for a spring to summer transitional polish I loved the soft, soothing shade and wanted to wear it a little longer, so surprise, surprise, it got cherry blossomed!

cherry blossom nail art

With the Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet are some of my usual suspects for cherry blossom nails: Orly Jet Black nail art striper branches and pale pink petals of Nfu Oh 150 with Revlon Passionate Pink centers.

cherry blossom nail art

I don't know that there's a whole lot left for me to say about these that I haven't covered before, but I'm going to try--when I posted my Chinese New Year nails I mentioned wanting to recreate the tutorial I did for Sassy Hong Kong here on Did My Nails, so I took some pics along the way this time. Hopefully I'll have that written up in a few days and be ready to post this springtime nail art tutorial while it's still officially spring!

04 June 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Blogger Inspired

Welcome to another Twinsie Tuesday! Today's theme is a manicure inspired by another blogger, and wow, was it hard to narrow down the choices! There are so many amazing bloggers out there who inspire me on a daily basis, and I have the ginormous collection of bookmarked pages to prove it. So, spoiled for choice, I decided to go with someone I followed from the beginning of my obsession, Nail Nerd. Even there, she has so many great manicures to choose among, but on this visit her cute triangle design especially caught my eye.

triangle nail art

Like the original, mine started with China Glaze Elephant Walk and used acrylic paints, but I failed to consider some key factors vis-à-vis my own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to nail art... My favourite part of Nail Nerd's original design is the playful clusters and groups of triangles, but on my nails, 'twas not to be, because of a teeny little problem I forgot about before I started painting--namely, that I can't draw straight lines. That, and I'm terrible at keeping my sizes consistent, which meant my inspired manicure was not coming out even close to the way I wanted it to.

Fortunately or not, when it comes to nail art...and a surprisingly high percentage of the rest of my life...what I lack in control and finesse, I make up for with exuberant overcompensation. So, cute little triangle clusters not working out? Fine. Paint ALL the triangles!

matte nail art

One more area where my painting needs some work is in getting my colours consistent and smooth, so with the rougher outlines and texture, I decided to finish off my triangle nails with butter LONDON Matte Finish Shine Free Topcoat (thank you, Tara!), and I like the way it kind of ended up working with these little flaws instead of against them.

I don't want to sound like I'm all ragging on these because I really do like the way they turned out! And even if they didn't end up quite where they started, I still enjoyed doing them, thanks to inspiration from Nail Nerd's adorable original. Now, to see where my fellow Twinsies found their inspiration this week!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

03 June 2013

Orly Torrid

In my ongoing quest to find another red nail polish to love as much as China Glaze Drastic, I finally discovered Orly Torrid, a shiny, glossy candy apple red that makes me think of Snow White. It doesn't lean too warm or too cool, it's dark enough to be rich and luscious without verging on vampy, and the finish is amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

Orly Torrid swatch

This is three coats of Orly Torrid with SV on top. Even after the first coat, I wasn't sure whether this was love, but when the second coat went on all red and shiny--and just a hint warmer than the bottle seems to be--I knew we were gonna be happy together. In addition to being a fantastic shade, it also has some frosty shimmer to it. Not nearly enough to be actual "frost"--just enough to give it a super-smexy sheen of liquid rubies.

Torrid could be opaque in just 2 coats if you go a little thicker, but I recommend three thinner ones. I had a little bubbling when my second went on a little thick, but the third (and the SV) knocked that right out.

Orly Torrid swatch

Torrid is from the Orly Holiday 2012 Naughty or Nice Collection. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, as it got kind of lost among all the holiday reds, which aren't ever a big thing for me anyway. I'm so glad I gave it another look, though! It's utterly fabsexulous.

01 June 2013

Raspberry Roses on Skinfood PK006

Skinfood PK006 Pink Milk is another member of the Skinfood Milk Creamy Nail line, a line that caught my eye with its adorable 8ml milk bottle packaging but has held my interest with its sweet yet vibrant shades of almost-pastels and its solid creme formula. PK006 is a soft, bubblegum pink with a warm side that flirts with coral, and for a lot of people, this will be a fantastic shade. Unfortunately it didn't do a whole bunch for me. I suspect the warmth of the pink didn't settle in well against the blue-y pink of my super-pale skin, or maybe this one just looked a little "young" on me, but whatever the reason, it's no fault of the polish that we didn't quite hit it off.

rose nail art on Skinfood PK006

To break up the colour a bit I decided to add--ginormous surprise--some rose nail art on top. Acrylic paints once again, and I wished I'd mixed my green a little lighter (and maybe skipped the dots or made them smaller), but not every manicure is going to be your favourite, you know?

rose nail art on Skinfood PK006

I did like how the lighter pink detailing on the roses turned out, so yay for that part! Always nice to find something to walk away feeling good about. And even if PK006 and I weren't a great match, it's still a sweet little polish. ^_^
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