30 November 2013

Wayback Nails: Dotted Mosaic

With all of 2 hours left in November, I'm finally posting this month's Wayback Nails, some dotted nails that date back to a guest post I did last year for Kelly over at Tuxarina, on the occasion of her computer's untimely demise.

dotted mosaic nail art

I keep meaning to do these dotted mosaic nails in about eight dozen more colour combinations, but all in all, I still love this minty, autumn combo. The base is Zoya Bevin (which I don't wear nearly enough), and on top of that are dotted circles of OPI Skull & Glossbones, OPI Uh-Oh Roll Down the Window, and OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys.

nail art dotting

I got such a kick out of last year, when I wore this manicure to the art supply store, and the woman there just could not believe I'd done these nails myself...I mean, she works somewhere where people can paint actual things that look like actual things, but she was still totally wowed by this simple, dotted design. Just goes to show, sometimes the simple designs are the most effective!

28 November 2013

Thanksgiving Day Nails

I had several ideas in mind for this year's Thanksgiving Day nail art, but then I saw this fantastic design from Robin Moses and just had to go for it...

Thanksgiving day nails

I don't really feel like I nailed it (ugh, I groan every single time I use that phrase now--sorry!), but I still love the colours, all brown and red and orangey-gold, with the bold, black branches, and the grey (with just a touch of blue added to it) really makes for some nice, cool contrast. And all of it stands out nicely over OPI My Vampire Is Buff, aka one of the greatest nail art bases of all time.

autumn leaves nail art

Unfortunately I'm not really getting to celebrate Thanksgiving this year--or as the Japanese department store downstairs calls it, "Thankful Day"--but I am looking forward to this evening. Husband and I are are joining some friends for a quick dinner at Wah Cheong (which I accidentally called "Wang Chung" once and now have trouble calling by its real name) before we go see Catching Fire. I liked the first movie but didn't wholeheartedly love it, but I've heard some good things about the sequel--plus I can't wait to see Elizabeth Banks as Effie again. She was easily my favourite part of The Hunger Games!

27 November 2013

Autumn Brushstroke Manicure

Yikes, it's almost winter already! I mean, not technically, but as of Friday, even us overseas Americans pretty much go into winter mode, and I had so many autumn manicures I wanted to do this year... At least I have a couple of days left before my brain starts to switch gears, and the first autumn nails I wanted to do were very quick and easy.

Thanksgiving brushstroke manicure

I wanted to express the changing, autumn leaves, and an abstract brushstroke manicure seemed like a fun way to do it. It's a technique I always enjoy, and seeing these rich, autumn colours together made me all nostalgic for Boston and Atlanta and pretty much any other climate where the leaves actually change in the fall... I also think this would be a great look for some Thanksgiving nails too!

autumn brushstroke manicure

Polishes used include Milani Chocolate Sprinkles, OPI All I Want For Christmas Is OPI, Bandi City Green, Max Factor Deep Mauve, China Glaze Riveting, China Glaze Budding Romance, China Glaze Desert Sun, SpaRitual Optical Illusion, and SpaRitual Golden Gleam.

26 November 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: First Polish Swatched

For this week's Twinsie Tuesday the theme is the first polish that we swatched on our blogs. For me that was China Glaze Liquid Leather, and sweet, fancy Moses, mine definitely looked like Baby's First Swatch. Clearly, clean-up was, back then, something that happened to other people. The polish itself is a great one, though, and I've been wearing it for the past couple of days as the star of this monochrome, composite manicure.

composite manicure with China Glaze Liquid Leather

My thumbs are straight up China Glaze Liquid Leather black. The index fingers are Liquid Leather stamped over OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls (using Konad plate m83). Next came Bandi Metallic Silver, and then Liquid Leather again, with dotted flowers in China Glaze White On White and China Glaze Recycle...which I used on the pinky nails under a dense, saran wrap application of--guess what!--Liquid Leather.

monochrome composite manicure

This was actually my first full composite manicure, and I was really happy with the results! Of course, having a nice, basic black polish like China Glaze Liquid Leather as my starting point probably made it much easier to plan what to do with each nail, but this is definitely something I'm going to be doing again!

Fellow Twinsies, I'm looking foward to seeing y'all's first-swatch polishes!


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
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Traci at DrinkCitra

22 November 2013

My Vampire is Floral

I do a lot of flower nail art, and most of the time I go with roses. I've started keeping a folder of inspiration pics, though, to help me branch out and try some different designs, just random things that catch my eye, like this floral fabric swatch...


...which turned into a bright, floral manicure.

floral nail art

I started with OPI My Vampire Is Buff, which is just an awesome base for nail art, and everything else is acrylic paints. I didn't really worry about getting all the different, intricate little flowers copied just so, but I did really like how the grey and purple ones turned out.

flower nail art

Aaaaand yep, that's pretty much the true and gripping tale of my latest flower nails! Come to think of it, I really should peek through that inspiration folder more often!

21 November 2013

Oktoberfest 2013

Once again we hit Oktoberfest at the Marco Polo Hotel, and per annual tradition, we hit it in November. Actually we didn't just hit it this year--we shut that sucker down and had to be shooed out the door by security like a small flock of somewhat tipsy chickens (it was a Bierfest, after all...Let's hear it for Hong Kong's public transportation and taxi swarms, for getting us revelers home safely as always!).

Oh yeah, and I did some nails for the occasion!

Oktoberfest nails

I pared the design down a little from last year's nails, thinking I wouldn't have time to do the separate designs on each finger...but then I forgot to factor in placing the glequins, so I probably ended up taking longer...but whatever, time spent prepping for Oktoberfest is time well spent!

Again, the golden, beer yellow is Bourjois Jaune trendy (no idea why they don't capitalise 'trendy' but there you have it), with Revlon Gold Jewels for the bubbles. I started with a coat of OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls for the foamy tips as well, but then I had a brainstorm. I top coated, then did the tips with OPI Solitaire instead, and the results were awesome--the texture of the Liquid Sand made my foam all foamy!

Oktoberfest nails

For accent nails, my thumbs and ring fingers were sparkly German flags. Over Nfu Oh 132 (black), I did the stripes with individually placed glequins in gold, red, and...well, and clear at the top, since I don't have black glequins, but without macro camera mode and this bright, direct light, the clear was a perfectly cromulent stand-in.

So yes, Oktoberfest nails again, and we're already looking forward to next year--see you then, Marco Polo!

19 November 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: East vs West Coast

Today for TT we're swatching in teams, and I'm going to blame my cold/flu/crud for it, but I've somehow wound up straddling the fence. The East Coast Twinsies are swatching glitters today; the West Coast is doing shimmers. Being in HK, I'm officially way to the East, but my addled brain accidentally locked onto shimmer and decided I'd finally swatch my first SpaRitual polish, SpaRitual Optical Illusion. It's a great, glass flecked, shimmer of a green!

SpaRitual Optical Illusion swatch

But then, maybe I'm not on the wrong coast...because after I realized my mistake (about 16 minutes ago, which, too late to change horses now, so imma just keep on...), I looked at the label, just to verify I had the name of the polish right, and saw that SpaRitual actually lists Optical Illusion as a glitter! So I'm on the right coast again! But it really is more of a shimmer...so I don't know if I got this one right or wrong...

I am sick, and I am confused! >_<

SpaRitual Optical Illusion swatch

SpaRitual Optical Illusion was a bit thin, needing 3 coats to reach opacity (and 4 to be swatch-ready), but I didn't have any trouble with control. Definitely love the mossy, yellow-green colour--it reminds me very much of China Glaze Zombie Zest! I think OI may be a touch darker and greener, but if Zombie Zest is on your wish list, I think you'll love Optical Illusion.

SpaRitual Optical Illusion swatch

So yes, it's a glassfleck, a shimmer, but apparently it's a glitter...ooh, maybe that's the optical illusion? Whatever, it's all kinds of sparkly and especially perfect for this time of year, and I love these mustard-green, mossy shades. Very happy with my first SpaRitual!

More shimmers and glitters below, from Twinsies who actually know which team they're on!


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
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Traci at DrinkCitra

16 November 2013

Cirque Tibetan Nights

Today I have another crazygorgeous polish that I'm swatching on behalf of Dazzled. A rich and alluring jelly blue with a scattering of glitter, this is Cirque Tibetan Nights.

Cirque Tibetan Nights swatch

I'm not even sure how to describe Cirque Tibetan Nights because it's so many things, and all of them are amazing. It looks like a deep and endless night sky. It has silver glitter in it that doesn't look silver because it's floating just under the blue surface. In lower light, those glints of glitter make this gorgeously pigmented polish look almost metallic. In indirect light, the dark blue has a sexy, vampy look. In brighter light, the cyan highlights show off its juicy jelly side.

Also the word "alluring" keeps popping into my head, so there's that too. It's highly alluring!

Cirque Tibetan Nights swatch

This is three coats of Cirque Tibetan Nights. I will say that the formula was a little bit of a challenge, but I honestly believe that the results are so, so worth it. The first coat was thick yet runny and wanted to flood, so I had to be careful with it. Don't be bothered by the somewhat patchy first coat, though, because it builds up gorgeously. It's very richly pigmented--VNL is not a worry with this jelly! Two coats were just fine for daily wear. The third coat was magic.

Cirque Tibetan Nights swatch

Tibetan Nights dries semi-matte, like a "rubber" finish, but then top coat perks it all up like zing!, and it's just breathtaking. It looks like I have candied sapphires on my nails, y'all. For serious.

Dazzled carries Cirque and other handmade/indie brands. It's based in Hong Kong and ships worldwide.

14 November 2013

Shimmer Polish Kim

* press sample* 

I have a gorgeous glitter to show off today! A sparkling riot of purple and blue, this is Shimmer Polish Kim.

Shimmer Polish Kim swatch

Kim's formula was everything I'm coming to expect from Shimmer Polish, which means a great consistency that's easy to control, and the glitter has a rich, even concentration that spreads smoothly without clumping up. Quite a feat from a polish this densely sparkling!

Shimmer Polish Kim swatch

Purple and blue are both notoriously hard to capture accurately, but I think I've come pretty close...though as satisfied as I am with how these pictures came out, I have to say that Kim is even prettier in person! I'm wearing about a coat and a half here over OPI I Saw...U Saw...We Saw...Warsaw (a beautiful blue with a name I dislike so much that I developed a physical tick while attempting to say it out loud).

Shimmer Polish Kim swatch

Kim and other Shimmer Polishes can be found at the Shimmer Polish blog and Etsy store.

12 November 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Marching Orders

We're doing one of my favourite TT themes again today!  Each of us has been given "marching orders," a manicure assignment, by a fellow Twinsie. My orders came from Anna, who instructed me to do my favourite childhood cartoon or anime...and I knew exactly what cartoon needed to happen. Not just my favourite childhood cartoon, it's also one of my favourite things in the history of things--Bugs Bunny in "What's Opera Doc?"

.o. source .o.
 
No way on this gorgeous earth was I going to do justice to such a classic (and if you haven't seen it, I'm so, so sorry...), but since the galloping fluffyhorse is pretty much the highlight-iest part for me, I decided to use it as my inspiration...

what's opera doc nail art

Following the image from left to right I did the mane, the garland, Bugs' iconic costume, and the tail--and only the black and the golden/bronze are acrylic paint this time! Most of it is polish, namely Skinfood PK006 (lt. pink), China Glaze Escaping Reality (hot pink), Bandi Snow White, China Glaze Def Defying (bright lime), and China Glaze Trendsetter (yellow/green shimmer).

looney tunes nail art

I can't say enough about how much I love this cartoon, and I've had so much of it running through my head all day...
Oh, Brunhilde, be-e my wuv!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Anna! And ChiChi, can't wait to see what you did with your assignment!


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
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Traci at DrinkCitra

09 November 2013

Strawberry Rose Nail Art

I recently hit up the arts supply store for some new acrylic paints, which I celebrated by doing some rose nail art in strawberry pink. True story!

rose nail art

My base colour for these flower nails is OPI Don't Talk Bach to Me, a shimmery chartreuse that I'm still just crazy about (I've used it as a flower nail art base before). The flowers are, as I mentioned, acrylic paints. I went a little more nuts than usual with them this time, adding both extra highlights and extra shading...I think that happened because I finally got one of my paintbrushes cut down to a good size that I feel comfortable with for detailing.

rose nail art

I still can't draw a circle or a straight line to save my life, but I do love to swoosh me up some roses!

07 November 2013

OPI All I Want For Christmas...

After Warm Me Up, I picked one other polish from the 2013 OPI Holiday Collection, and I surprised myself by going red. It wasn't long ago I was saying I'm not so crazy about red nail polish because it's just so predictable and expected--especially in a Christmas collection. Now, though... I don't know if I've opened my eyes or the brands have shifted shades or what, but lately, I'm finding a lot more to like about red. Case in point, OPI All I Want For Christmas Is OPI...

OPI All I Want For Christmas Is OPI swatch

Not at all egotistically or redundantly named, OPI All I Want For Christmas Is OPI is a deep, rich, smexy red, exactly the sort of shade I can't seem to resist these days. I seem to like a little bit of a blue lean to my reds, which this one has, but it stops short of flirting with burgundy. It's also nice and deep while still being bright. Basically, Husband nailed it when he said, "Wow. That's, like, blood red."

Is it weird that that totally made me love it even more? (If it helps, I'm also essentially nocturnal, am very pale, and tend to shun the daylight...)

OPI All I Want For Christmas Is OPI swatch

I didn't note how many coats I applied when I wore All I Want For Christmas Is OPI about a week and a half ago, which means it was three--that's my default, unless I find a good one-coater. Then I wear two.

The formula was typical OPI, which means it was well pigmented, a good consistency, and easy to control. Careful clean-up didn't leave any staining around the cuticles.

OPI All I Want For Christmas Is OPI swatch

More than being bold and dramatic (and all sexy and stuff), OPI All I Want For Christmas Is OPI is pretty much exactly the colour I think of when I think of red velvet, and that makes it right at home in this holiday collection. It also makes me wonder what other fabulous reds I've overlooked that need to get on my nails... Looks like I've got some shopping to do!

05 November 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Clouds

For today's TT prompt of "cloud" I was thinking about finally doing another Nailside cloud manicure (I love those so much, and it's been ages!), but an untried sky blue polish convinced me to take a more literal approach and do some quick and easy cloud nail art.

nail art clouds

My base colour for these cloud nails is CQ Creme Blue (510). Bought on my last trip to the US, this is my first polish by CQ, and I really like the colour! A soft but bright, sky blue, it's also just a teeny bit dusty (though to my eye it dries a little bit brighter and a little less dusty than the bottle). I will say I found it a bit runny on the first coat and prone to pulling, but it leveled nicely and looked great in 3 coats.

cloud nail art

The clouds were very easily added with a torn cosmetic sponge. First some light dabs of white (Bandi Snow White), then some even lighter patches of Zoya Dove grey and a few brighter areas of white again, and they were done in about three minutes. Simple and fun!

cloud nail art

I was going to add a little something else, but Husband was so sweet and complimentary of how they looked just like this that he convinced me to stop right here and just leave them alone. I don't exercise restraint very often, but when I do it's usually the right call. I mean, I can always give the other bits a try tomorrow...

In the meantime, please check out my fellow Twinsies for more "cloud" manicures!


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
Traci at DrinkCitra

03 November 2013

CrowsToes One Mad Crazy Summer, Pt. II

* press sample *

I have another trio to share from CrowsToes One Mad Crazy Summer--and about time I got it in gear, because the Autumn polishes are out now too, and they are uh-MAZING! Today it's Storms Never Last, Last Rat Standing, and One Trick Pony...

CrowsToes One Mad Craz Summer

Once again Lauri has outdone herself, and is anyone surprised? Yeah, I didn't think so. There's a good dozen swatch pics coming up, so please hit "Read More" to come see!
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