31 January 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: 2nd Anniversary

As of today, TT has been around for two whole years now (the time? it FLIES!). To celebrate, we're doing manicures inspired by another Twinsie's first post with the group. I was assigned the fabsexulous Maribeth, who started just a couple of weeks ahead of me with her Best Deal Polish, which was China Glaze Prism, from the thoroughly glam Prismatic Collection. I don't have Prism myself, which is a pretty, purple glitter with a blue duochrome shift. However, I do have Liquid Crystal, the pretty, blue glitter with the duochrome shift of purple!

China Glaze Liquid Crystal swatch

China Glaze Liquid Crystal is a full-coverage glitter. It's a great, light, cornflower blue with scattered pieces in a rainbow of colours. You could most definitely stop right there, and I would be so in. Blue glitter with rainbow bits is be more than enough to satisfy my sparklypolish needs. But like the purple Prism, blue Liquid Crystal also has a duochrome shift! Crazy-hard to catch in the light box, but in dimmer, indirect lighting, the whole bottle even looks lavender--and you can see hints of it here, a subtle slide towards purple near the side (where my nail doesn't so much curve as make a sharp left turn ;p).

China Glaze Liquid Crystal swatch

It's been well over a year since I wore Liquid Crystal, time not doing a whole lot of favours for its formula, but some thinner whipped it back into shape. Two to three coats was totally sufficient for opacity, and once thinned back towards its original consistency, it was easy to spread and to control. Two coats of SV left it nice and smooth.

I kept meaning to swatch this one for ages, but that Big Box o' Untrieds just kept growing, so I'm really glad to have had MB's post prompting me to pull this puppy out again. Definitely going to be on the lookout for any more Prismatics too--China Glaze really does know its glitter!

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Twinsies!
and
Happy Lunar New Year!


Alaina at The Little Canvas
Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Casey at Casey Lane Loves Polish
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Erin at Paint Those Piggies
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision
Traci at DrinkCitra

30 January 2014

Chinese New Year Nail Art

Today's post marks my 350th--whee!-and I'm celebrating the occasion with some Chinese New Year nail art. Everywhere I look, Hong Kong is pretty much a riot of red and gold and cherry blossom decorations. And also tiny orange trees, but I haven't figured out how to do those yet, so, flowers!

Chinese New Year nail art

My base for these is Zoya Livingston, a classic red with a fantastic formula. Then over that, I did a coat of a gold Sasatinnie glitter/foil top to add some sparkle and a little background texture and bling--because if there's anything living in Hong Kong has taught me it's that if you have a chance to add some sparkly gold to your New Year's design, you do it. You do it immediately and without hesitation, because gold.

Chinese New Year nail art

Next came the branches (my Orly Jet Black striper as usual), and then I started dotting the flowers. I made them a little larger than usual this time, starting with a cluster of five "petals" (Pure Ice Superstar! white) at the base of the branches, switching to groups of three, and then adding some singles either at the end of a branch or floating free.

Chinese New Year cherry blossom nails

Once that had a minute to settle and dry, I dotted over the white, towards the middle of the flowers, with OPI Elephantatsic Pink. The actual centers are Zoya Ziv, once again because gold, to invite fortune and prosperity for the new year.

Chinese New Year nail art flowers

All in all, with the deep, red base, the cherry blossom design, and all the bits of shining gold, these actually ended up being some of my favourite nails I've ever done. I loved the way--and Husband even noticed it too--that between the gold in the background and the pink in the middles, the flowers wound up having an almost 3D quality to them. Plus there was juuuust enough glitter and foil to catch the light and really shine without looking overdone. I hated, HATED to take these off. Hopefully I'll have time to try another CNY design in the next couple of days, but if not, San Lin Fai Lok and Happy New Year to everyone!

28 January 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: Nail Care Routine

This week's TT theme is something a little different! This week the theme is our nail care routine, which... is a thing that I don't have. I file my nails down when I think they're getting long. Sometimes I hit 'em with some cuticle remover. Lemony Flutter as needed, the occasional buff, and that's about it. I don't have much to share in the way of nail care habits or tips--to be honest, I don't even know if I'm filing my nails right or not. But I do like my cuticle remover, so some nail art happened, to match it.

flower nail art

Maybe once a week (and probably more often than I technically need to), I coat my cuticles with some Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover (Maximum Strength). After I let that sit (for probably longer than I technically need to), I push my cuticles back with an orange stick. When I'm finished, I scrub around my nails with one of those nail scrubbey brushes and some soap and warm water, and my cuticles are once again tame and demure.

It's a highly unscientific routine that I don't pay much attention to, but the Sally Hansen remover works so well that I don't need to think much about it anyway. It's easy, and I really, REALLY like easy.

OPI Czechbook flower nail art

Because when in doubt, flower nail art, that's what I decided to do. Most of my blues tend to lean either teal or dusty, but an exhaustive search determined that OPI Can't Find My Czechbook was my best match for the Sally Hansen bottle. On top of that I did some little flowers in white and darker blue, basically a brighter, busier version of these nails that I did last May.

cuticle remover and nail art

I really have been meaning to get one of those "nail care routines"...I'm betting, though, that my fellow Twinsies will have some good suggestions this week that I can try out for myself!



Alaina at The Little Canvas
Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Casey at Casey Lane Loves Polish
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Erin at Paint Those Piggies
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision
Traci at DrinkCitra

26 January 2014

Disneyland Balloons

I am really hoping this (and Friday night's) post is up as scheduled because this weekend we're heading out to Hong Kong Disneyland! It's Husband's birthday, which we're celebrating by being little kids for a few days. Since he's the birthday boy I let him decide what I was going to do with my nails, and he challenged me to try "those Mickey balloons" they have at the parks.

Mickey Mouse balloon nails

What a fun idea! These were relatively simple to do, and I'm going to love having these at the park this weekend. I started with CQ Creme Blue and dabbed some clouds of white and grey, just like I did for these cloud nails a little while back. Then, I used a dotting tool and my Orly Jet Black nail art striper for the balloons.

Disney nails

Balloon polishes include China Glaze Live, Love, Laugh (bright pink), Sally Hansen Lightening (yellow...and I can't stop wondering if that's supposed to be "the act of making something lighter" or if they misspelled "lightning"), Jessica Mint Mojito Green, Revlon Fire, and a hand-mixed purple and blue.

Okay, I'm off to act like I'm six years old--y'all have a fantastic weekend! (^_^)

24 January 2014

Zoya Nyx

So I was getting all excited yesterday about the new spring Pixie Dusts and realized I still hadn't worn Zoya Nyx...and then I had to put a stop to that nonsense right away, because prettiness!

Zoya Nyx swatch

I could not be more pleasantly surprised with how much I've enjoyed the Pixie Dusts (and Liquid Sands!), and Zoya Nyx is no exception. A beautiful, slightly greyed, cornflower blue, Nyx is such a gorgeous shade that I could not physically care less that it lobsters my fingers a little. It's subdued yet cheerful, and the sparkle is just fantastic.

Zoya Nyx swatch

True to the other Pixie Dusts I've worn (ex. Vespa & London), Nyx's formula was smooth and easy. Great consistency that spread nicely, and it dried well to a wonderfully soft finish. Two coats was good, three for the win.

Zoya Nyx swatch

I don't even know how to sum up my thoughts on Zoya Nyx, other than to point at the little twinkles in that picture and grin. I love this polish!

23 January 2014

butter LONDON Dosh

I was originally saving this untried for closer to spring, but when the mood hit for something cheerful and unique, it was time for butter LONDON Dosh...

butter london dosh swatch

Mustard-lime with a great, golden shimmer, this is butter LONDON Dosh. The formula was great--smooth, easy application that was nicely opaque in two coats...though I gave it a third because I'm apparently pathologically compelled to do so at all times.

butter london dosh swatch

It may be named "money," but this golden green also reminds me of fresh, zesty citrus, and yeah, I do think this would be a fabulous shade for spring or summer. It's one of those unconventional greens that leans towards mustard, but it doesn't wander over into murky territory--it's firmly fixed on golden lime.

Especially with its pretty shimmer, butter LONDON Dosh was pretty much exactly what I had in mind when I dove into the Big Box o' Untrieds in search of something happy and fun to wear.

21 January 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: Seasonal Gradient

This week the TT theme is seasonal gradients. At first I had several "seasonal" ideas in mind...I thought about being contrary (for good or bad, it's usually my first instinct), choosing summer for my season and doing a fun, neon gradient. Or with Chinese New Year only about a week away I thought of doing red and gold...and then I thought, how about football season, with a glitter gradient of gold on black? Geaux, Saints! Any of these would have been fun, but in the end I decided to stay in January and take its birthstone, the garnet, as inspiration for my gradient, for my mom, whose birthday was earlier this month. (Husband's is in January too, but he already got a panda last week, so nuts to him. ;p)

staged brushstroke gradient

The polishes I used were Revlon Fire, Zoya Livingston, and OPI All I Want For Christmas..., mixing in a tiny touch of black to go darker at the tips. The idea was to do, instead of the usual, smoothly sponged gradient, a rougher, more hand painted look, going darker red in stages. I didn't make quite enough of a leap from shade to shade, though, so while these nails actually look really cool in person, the close-ups show them as kind of stuck between styles. From arm's length, though, they look syrupy-smooth, down to the eye-catchingly vampy tips.

garnet red nails

Definitely going to have to do these again soon--twice, in fact! I'd love to get a red gradient looking as nice close-up as these do at arm's length, and I really want to try this rougher, staged gradient again with shades that are more actually "staged" than I managed here. Tell you one thing, though--for someone who used to think I was "over" red nails, I really have come around. There's a reason red's a classic!




Alaina at The Little Canvas
Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Casey at Casey Lane Loves Polish
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Erin at Paint Those Piggies
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision
Traci at DrinkCitra

17 January 2014

Color Club The Uptown

After a day of navy nails I decided to do a little layering and broke out Color Club The Uptown, from the Girl About Town Collection, Fall 2013...

color club the uptown swatch

Like the dearly departed Nfu Oh 51, The Uptown is a dense flakie polish with an indigo purple/blue, jelly base that can be built to opacity, but the richness of the flakies really shines when it's layered over something dark. So, this is two easy coats of The Uptown over yesterday's Color Club Baldwin Blues.

color club the uptown swatch

How about those fabulous flakies?! The predominant colour is a deep, coppery red, and as the light's angle changes, it also flashes purple, gold, and green. (Not even a little coincidentally, I'm having some difficulty getting the song Karma Chameleon out of my head.)

color club the uptown swatch

Color Club The Uptown is a little bit thicker than most polish, due to it being crammed to the rafters with awesome flakes of awesomeness, but it still spread easily and well without running. Drying time was good too, especially for a flakie polish.

color club the uptown swatch

Even in regular room lighting, The Uptown's flakies totally glow. This is definitely one to grab before it's gone!

16 January 2014

Color Club Baldwin Blues

Today I wore Color Club Baldwin Blues, a dusty navy creme from the Harlem Lights Collection...

color club baldwin blues swatch

All the reviews I've seen for Baldwin Blues have mentioned a great, smooth formula, but my bottle didn't live up to its reputation. My first coats were very patchy and sticky, so much so that I needed to add a few drops of OPI thinner and start over. Second time, the results were better, but they still weren't great. Maybe it needed more thinner, but it was still a bit tacky and not very interested in self-leveling, and the finish was fairly dull as well (before top coating).

Even with the problems, it's certainly a workable polish, but I think I'd mind the formula less if the colour had wowed me just a little bit more...but that part may be on me.

color club baldwin blues swatch

I think I expected a little more of a lean to Baldwin Blues. I thought it looked gorgeously dusty in the bottle (maybe even with a smidge of teal), but on the nail, it wasn't quite enough to pull the shade towards actual "dusty blue." It's just sort of "not as deeply pigmented" navy. I'm sure a lot of blue lovers will adore this colour just as it is, but I just don't think the shade does a whole lot for me.

I definitely need to try adding a few more drops of thinner and seeing if that helps.

PS: When I think of "Baldwin Blues" I think of bright, crystal-clear aqua blue, like the eyes of a Siberian husky...

14 January 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: Family Member

With a theme this week of "inspired by a family member," I did a manicure this afternoon just for Husband. He's been beyond great during this past week-and-change, making sure I keep my fluids up and eat what and when I can, so I decided to take today's prompt as a way to say thank you by--hopefully--punching him in the face with cuteness.

dotted manicure with panda accent nail

Pandas are Husband's kryptonite. He simply can not resist the power of their cute, and I thought he'd like this design by Renierainyday. Her video uses pink, but blue is his favourite colour, so I went with Bandi Jade Blue, a polish he actually brought home for me from a trip to Seoul. The white is Sinful Colors Snow Me White, and the black is China Glaze Liquid Leather.

This past week has not been kind to my cuticles, but the nails achieved their desired effect. When he got home from work and noticed these, his head pretty much asploded. Stopped dead in his tracks and for a brief time, completely lost the power of speech. So, mission accomplished, yay! Now if I can just shake the rest of this flu bug we'll be in business... Hope my fellow Twinsies are enjoying a flu-free Tuesday morning!


Alaina at The Little Canvas
Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Casey at Casey Lane Loves Polish
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Erin at Paint Those Piggies
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision
Traci at DrinkCitra

13 January 2014

Actual Christmas Nail Art

Still on the mend and looking forward to feeling entirely human again, I thought it was about time to share my actual Christmas nail art, the nails I ended up wearing for a good three or four days, which were inspired by the decorations at Cityplaza this year.

Christmas nail art polar bear

It seems light blue has found a place alongside the traditional red and green for Christmas, and I love the way that opens up the whole "winter holiday" motif. Cityplaza apparently agreed this year because they went all in with tons of red, white, and light blue decorations for the holiday...


Ooh, quick background! I've mentioned it a couple of times, but for those who don't know, I live on top of a shopping mall (in Hong Kong). Literally on top of a shopping mall--our building is accessible via escalator from a Japanese department store, putting dangerous things like the Chanel counter and the Sanrio store right downstairs--and every year the mall decorates for the holidays big-time. Enormous trees, a big stage they book with singers and dancers for the entire month, garlands strung everywhere, and huge, festive things for people to take each other's pictures in front of.


This year they decked out in red, white, and light blue, with lots of polar bears and snowflakes, and it was so cute I decided to copy the look for my Christmas nails. (Apologies for the slight tip wear on a couple of the snowflakes, but like I mentioned, I actually wore these for several days--without getting tired of them, even!)

Christmas nail art snowflakes

For this Christmas composite combo, I painted my nails with Pure Ice Superstar! (white, and for some reason, having an exclamation point...a decent polish, but honestly, there's no call to go all jazz hands over a plain, white creme), OPI Big Apple Red, and Essie Bikini So Teeny. Candy Canes were done with an Orly striper, as in my tutorial from last year.

Light blue nails got a coat of OPI Pirouette My Whistle for a look of softly glittering snow. Then I painted a circle on the tip with the Pure Ice white and dotted on ears, eyes, and nose. The snowflakes are acrylic paint, mixed to match the polishes as closely as I could.


The Christmas decorations are all gone now, but Cityplaza is still crazy festive because Chinese New Year is just around the corner--only a couple of weeks away! I haven't really gone down to look at the new decorations, what with still feeling extravagantly yucky, but I'm hoping they'll inspire a little nail art for the new year!

10 January 2014

Wayback Nails: Daisy Nail Art

This month's Wayback Nails are a flashback to this daisy nail art. It was the first time I used acrylic paint in a manicure and I was so nervous--not to mention, a little dubious about all those claims about how much easier it is to work with--but after just one go, I was absolutely hooked!

daisy nail art flowers

This time I used Orly Gumdrop for the base and mixed my orange and yellow just a little bit mellower, but I didn't make a whole lot of changes this time around. Kinda wish I still had them on these last couple of days because I felt so cheerful  wearing these--every time I looked down at my hands I just kinda smiled.

I'm also just so wowed and humbled and stunned and completely blown away because--and huge thanks to Lakeisha and Elizabeth for making sure I heard about it--that original daisy manicure from last year actually became one of Pinterest's Top Hair & Beauty Pins of 2013! I just...I don't know who to thank or what to say...I'm absolutely speechless!

daisy nail art flowers

Fortunately I had these done a few days ago because I'm still not feeling great. My head isn't threatening to implode anymore and the fever's finally gone, but I'm still living on saltines and steamed carrots. My head and my heart are now pining for a big filet mignon, but my tummy is thinking, just maybe, we could do a little rice. >_<

09 January 2014

Twinsie Tuesday... on Thursday

I was all set to do this week's TT manicure on Tuesday morning when the fever and the migraine hit. I spent the next 24 hours doing my valiant best not to barf up my skull and have since been living on saltines and Pocari Sweat and weeping over Hong Kong's lack of Chicken Noodle O's (seriously, is there anything better on this earth when you're sick?). So, my manicure for this week is a bit late--and I have to admit, not as good as I'd hoped--but here's what I made of the theme "favourite colour combination."


I don't really have a favourite colour, so any number of combinations would have done for this theme, but when it comes to polish, I definitely favour teals and bright greens. And I love both against black and white, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try this fantastic neon grunge look by Kayla Shevonne, using China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise, Essie The More The Merrier, Bandi Snow White, and China Glaze Liquid Leather.

I'm not sure I got the distressed/grunge effect quite right, and the combination of large cuticle gap and dehydrated fingertips isn't doing the overall manicure any favours, but I do want to try this look again--and put together another teal/lime combination soon. I couldn't let this post slide, though, because I absolutely had to be sure to welcome our five new Twinsies to the group! Erin, Tiffany, Casey, Alaina, and Stephanie, I can't wait to get to know all of y'all better!




Alaina at The Little Canvas
Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Casey at Casey Lane Loves Polish
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Erin at Paint Those Piggies
Heather at Peace, Love and Polish
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision
Traci at DrinkCitra

06 January 2014

Essie Going Incognito

Shifting gears from soft and neutral, I have pics today of a dark and luscious green, Essie Going Incognito...

Essie Going Incognito swatch

Essie Going Incognito is a rich, hunter green creme with just the barest hint of dusty teal; this is three coats under Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine. Essie's formula and I don't always get along, so your mileage may vary, but I found the first coat to be very streaky and prone to pulling, especially for such a dark shade. Depending on your first coat, two may be just fine for most people, but I felt better with a third for the camera.

Essie Going Incognito swatch

This is a fantastic green for autumn and winter--and ooh, I just realized what it reminds me of! Fir trees! So yeah, definitely a great green for this time of year. It's nice and rich, but it's also bright enough to stay just this side of vampy. I will definitely be wearing this beauty again!

PS: New blog layout, whee! (^_^)

04 January 2014

butter LONDON All Hail the Queen

Hard as I've fallen for a few of the polishes from recent collections, it doesn't feel like I've been buying as much nail polish lately, but considering the state of my Big Box o' Untrieds, that's really not a problem. I really should make more of a conscious effort to shop my untrieds too because this morning I re-discovered a subtle gem that was way overdue for its first day out, butter LONDON All Hail the Queen.

butter london all hail the queen swatch

All Hail the Queen (a gift from Tara--thank you so much, you gorgeous girl!) is a medium taupe with a lovely, scattered holographic shimmer. This is three coats for the camera (no top coat), but with even application, two might be enough for daily wear. The formula covered well and was easy to control, and drying time was just fine.

In addition to the holo shimmer there's also an incredibly subtle rose pink "highlight" shimmer that's easier to see in the bottle than on the nail, but if you look at the picture above, at the arch of the pinky, you might be able to see how that little bit of pink adds another subtle layer to a polish that's both work-appropriate and stunning.

butter london all hail the queen swatch

That holographic shimmer may be subtle, but it's so lovely!

butter london all hail the queen swatch

I adore nail art and lime green and glitter upon glitter, but sometimes it's refreshing to shift gears and go with a nice, soft neutral. With its pretty putty/taupe shade and striking shimmer, butter LONDON All Hail the Queen is going to be a polish I reach for often.

01 January 2014

Sherlock Nail Art

New Sherlock! New Sherlock is coming! The long, insane wait is almost over...at least for the next few weeks...because today is NEW SHERLOCK DAY!! This excites me beyond the capacity for rational thought, but I did manage to string together a semi-logical proposal that went, "Hey, nail art for new Sherlock!"

smiley wallpaper Sherlock nail art

Over a base of Sally Hansen CSM Ion (thank you again, Amanda!), I used acrylic paints and my smallest brush to do a rendition of that fantastic living room wallpaper in 221B, complete with yellow smiley face. Didn't get the pattern exactly right, but I didn't really expect to anyway, given how crazy-intricate it is. I just had to give this idea a try because OMG NEW SHERLOCK I CAN NOT EVEN.

Yeah, sorry about that. I have fangirled, and I can't get up.

Sherlock smiley wallpaper nail art

Ooh, in case you aren't familiar with the show? (And oh my gosh, if you like television and/or things that are in any way good, I highly recommend it...) Here's one of the BBC's S2 promo pics in front of the smiley wall.


It's been two years since The Fall, and I am too excited for words.
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