29 May 2014

Wayback Nails: New Bohemian Cherry Blossoms

I was so proud of myself for having last month's Wayback Nails all scheduled in advance, but sliding in just under the wire is really more my speed...so Happy 29th of May! Looking over last May's posts I noticed the following at the bottom of my write-up of Color Club New Bohemian: "Note to self: wear this again, and paint flowers all over its face."

Well, all rightey then!

neutral cherry blossoms

I love doing cherry blossom nail art over a minty teal polish like this one. I wanted these to be a little different from my usual, though, and took the inspiration from this Robin Moses tutorial to paint them in warm neutrals, instead of my usual pink and white. I really like the gold and cream against this beautiful base!

cherry blossom nail art in cream and gold

I also noticed that in last year's write-up I said Color Club New Bohemian (which I am physically incapable of using--or typing--without getting "What I Am" lodged deep within my brain) was a little patchy on the first coat, and it was patchy this time as well. It also pulled on my 2nd coat and was a bit thick overall, not spreading or settling especially well. So while I still love the colour, I can't rave about the formula. But I do still love the colour! I did add a few drops of OPI thinner about halfway through, though, and that helped bunches.

By the way, I tried out a new matte top coat with these, and I have to give a huge thumbs-up to Wet n Wild Wild Shine Matte Top Coat...even if the name made me do a double-take. I know Wild Shine is a specific product line, like their Megalast or Revlon Colorstay, but a matte called "Wild Shine" amuses me ay more than it probably should.

27 May 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: Follower Request

This week's TT theme is a follower-requested manicure, and for my assignment, I went straight to my favourite follower, my grandmother (who is, coincidentally, the only person officially designated The Boss of Me). The instructions I got were to play around with her favourite colour, which is purple.

ombre purple flower nails

In a move that should come as a shock to approximately nobody familiar with my habits, playing around led straight to flower nail art, which per my instructions hit a sort of ombre purple theme. I stuck with polishes this time instead of acrylic paint, which limited the shades I could use a little bit, but I was surprised how many purple polishes I actually own! I mean, it's hardly any, compared to many of y'all, but it feels like just yesterday that Amanda challenged me to a Purple Week that I had to go shopping in order to finish out...and which really brought me around on purple nails!

But back to these nails! From index to pinky the bases are OPI Planks a Lot, Maybelline Color Show Iced Queen, OPI Dutch 'Ya Just Love OPI? (I still shudder at that haphazard apostrophe >_<), and Wet n Wild Disturbia/Audace.

purple floral nail art

The flowers were all done with a mixture of dotting and brushes and included a couple more purples, such as OPI I Brake For Manicures and Rimmel I Lilac You. The leaves are a combination of Essie greens--Going Incognito, Pretty Edgy, Mojito Madness, and Navigate Her. (And I just realized that almost all of my straight-up greens are Essie. huh.)

ombre nail art manicure

So this is me playing with purple polishes--I really hope you like them, Gam! For more follower requested manicures, please check out some of the other TT blogs...


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
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision

23 May 2014

Pure Ice It's Complicated

Another impulse pick from the drugstore, Pure Ice It's Complicated is rainbow fabulousness in a bottle...

Pure Ice It's Complicated swatch

Pure Ice It's Complicated is a rainbow glitter topper in the same vein as Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday (and Milani Gems, OPI Rainbow Connection, OPI Chasing Rainbows, NOPI Rainbow in the S-Kylie, WnW Party of Five Glitters, Confetti Tasmanian Devil...). This particular mix features hot pink, orange, yellow, green, and silver hexes, with mini-hexes of silver, green, and blue.

I'm wearing about a coat and a half here, brushed normally and then dabbed to fill in a few spots. The black base is probably...I wanna say, Sinful Colours? Yeah, let's go with that.

Pure Ice It's Complicated swatch

I am so happy that I didn't let prudent, rational thinking get in the way of buying yet another rainbow glitter because I absolutely love this one! The colours are especially bright and super pretty, especially against the black.

Seriously, what is Pure Ice--like, $2 US? Between this Private Show a few days ago, that's four bucks really well spent.

21 May 2014

Cocktails, Coconuts, and White Roses

After spending a day with Essie Cocktails & Coconuts this past week I was liking the neutral but feeling a serious need for embellishment, so I grabbed my acrylic paints and--no surprise--headed straight for some flower nail art...

nail art roses

I've had a thing for greyscale lately, and I loved the way these roses turned out, all white and grey and black against the neutral base. I also used a slightly different technique this time, adding a lot more detail to the petals, and I really think it suited the high-contrast palette.

When I paint lines this eye-squintingly thin (that pinky nail is still just under 1cm long!) it helps immensely to have a couple of cut-down paintbrushes to work with. It's simple enough to cut them yourself, but if you aren't familiar, Robin Moses runs through the how-to at the start of this video.

white rose nail art

I'm not really sure what else to say about these because I'm kinda tongue-tied and smitten. Definitely going to use this technique again, as well as the colour scheme. Soothing and neutral, yet dynamic and fun. I hated to take these off!

20 May 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: Composite Mani

This week's TT theme is an open one, a week for us to revisit a past theme we especially enjoyed or maybe catch up on one we might have missed. Fortunately I haven't had to miss very many weeks, but I decided to take this opportunity to "officially" make up the combination manicure I missed last August when I was on the road. Here goes!

composite manicure with opi liquid sand

For my composite manicure (aka combo, mish-mash, skittle, etc.) I picked Bandi Jade Blue for my highlight colour. It's a bright shade that flirts with minty territory, and I thought it'd be a good contrast for the greyscale elements I chose to go with it. Dotted flowers and OPI It's Frosty Outside, a Liquid Sand from the OPI Mariah Carey 2013 Holiday Collection, and then teeny, white studs over Sinful Colors Black on Black.

composite manicure with flowers

Didn't quite get the flowers looking the way I wanted them to, but at arm's length I reallyreally like this manicure. And now, to see what my fellow Twinsies decided to do for this week's open theme!


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
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision
Traci at DrinkCitra

18 May 2014

Essie Cocktails & Coconuts

After a rich, dark glitter polish I wanted to go light and springtime, and gee, there was Essie Cocktails & Coconuts, looking at me all eager and ready to go.

Essie Cocktails & Coconuts swatch

From the Essie Resort 2014 spring collection, this is three coats of Cocktails & Coconuts, and what this polish looks like on you will likely depend on your skin tone. It's not a true, light nude with any pink to it, but I would expect your skin's undertones to influence whether this neutral shade leans more towards its buttery beige or putty/taupe side. I also think it helps skew more neutral than nude if your skin is either darker or lighter than mine because--and I think my currently short nails underscore the effect--it's more than a little mannequin on me.

My application was a bit messy, but that was much less to do with the formula than with how close it is to my own skin colour (but for the hint of taupe, it pretty much blends in, which made it kinda hard to see what I was doing >_<). The formula gave me a little pulling on the first coat, but for people who aren't me and thus don't have this weird "thing" with Essies that I seem to, 2-3 coats should be a very safe bet for creamysmooth opacity.

Essie Cocktails & Coconuts swatch

There's a pale, silver shimmer in the bottle, but I have learned not to rely the promise of Essie's "hidden shimmers." I've seen a few swatches of this polish where it made a gorgeous, if shy, appearance--and if you look closely you can see a hint of it here as well--but it wasn't really visible to my naked eye. Truthfully I'd have to consider Cocktails and Coconuts' shimmer a bonus, rather than an outright feature.

All in all, Essie Cocktails & Coconuts is a beautiful beige, but given my skin tone, it's one I don't expect to wear by itself very much. I do, however, expect to wear it pretty much constantly while committing nail art! Matter of fact, soon as I'm done writing, imma go hit these nails with some flowers. Wish me luck!

16 May 2014

Pure Ice Private Show

I have all these pretty, new springtime colours I'd meant to be wearing right now, but with my nails this short I was in the mood to dip into some of my darker untrieds, such as Pure Ice Private Show. I picked this one up on a whim a few weeks ago when I spotted the display in a local drugstore (so surprised to see Pure Ice here in Hongkers!), not grasping its true fabulousness until I got it home...

Pure Ice Private Show swatch

Before it was Private Show, this dupe for butter LONDON The Black Knight had an LE release as Pure Ice Five-Some. Just like The Black Knight, it's made up of several colours of finely milled glitter in a black, jelly base. There's red, blue, pink, and gold, and even super-finely milled silver for highlights. The overall effect is spectacular, dramatic yet refined, and the sparkle is all kinds of brilliant. *smitten*

Pure Ice Private Show swatch

I applied two coats of Private Show here, over OPI Glitter Off Base Coat (more on that soon!), and was delighted at how opaque it was, even near the edges; the fact that the polish clung a little thickly to the brush was easily bearable in exchange for such good coverage. And even if I need to bump it up to three coats when my nails are grown out again, that's no hardship at all. For a $2 dupe of a $15 polish, I'm very pleased!

(Of course in retrospect I should have tried the original first, but the Big Box o' Untrieds works in mysterious ways, offering up her bounty as she will.)

14 May 2014

Snow Leopard Nail Art

Another manicure from before The Big Break, when I got the urge to do some leopard print nail art. It's been almost a year since I did this pattern last, but it's always so much fun--and leopard print always makes me think of my friend Betty in Mississippi, so Betty, these are for you!

snow leopard print nail art

I wanted to stay monochrome, go greyscale with these, which made my leopard nails into snow leopards, and they actually ended up being some of my favourite nails I've done in a while! The base is two coats of Orly Au Champagne over white, which gave it a great bit of shimmer. The spots are Zoya Dove, just sort of randomly splooged with a dotting tool, and then I used a fine nail art brush to do the Revlon Colorstay Stiletto edges.

snow leopard print nail art

The black did a teeny bit of streaking when I top coated (SV), but it was so minor I didn't even notice it until the close-up pics--and I spent a fair amount of time looking at these nails! These are far from the most fabulous leopard nails I've seen, but I was just so happy with how they came out, a big part of which I think was doing a better job with the little, intermittent dots of black. They really broke up the white spaces and made the pattern look more natural. And also, with the monochrome, less "cow."

See, now I can't wait for my nails to grow out a little more, so I can try another leopard print pattern!

13 May 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: Bubbles

When I saw this week's theme on the list I immediately heard that electric swooshing noise, followed by, "Sugar! Spice! And everything nice!" and knew that my "Bubbles" nails were going to be a flashback to The Powerpuff Girls.


OPI Can't Find My Czechbook was my pick for Bubbles' signature blue. Over that I added two coats of Sation Most Hue-Nique, a gift from Maribeth, which I thought would be a good match for Czechbook's colour...and yeah, it definitely that, because the blue glitters practically blend right in! It also has some purple glitter and gold micro-glitter in a lightly blue-tinted base, and in all honesty, I love it. There's bars and different sizes and contrast, and it makes me think of teeny-tiny confetti, but it also has a subdued and understated side. Thank you so much, MB! ^_^


My Bubbles nail started with OPI My Very First Knockwurst, and her features are acrylic paint (except for the pupils, which I dotted with polish because I'd pressed my "drawing an actual circle" luck quite hard enough at that point). I thought about adding the rest of her pigtails to my index and ring finger nails, but Husband wisely counseled restraint. Still kinda wish I'd done them, but after living with my nail and nail art obsession for almost...OMIGOSH, it's been over 2 years now!...he can be relied upon to provide some incredibly accurate risk vs. reward assessments. So, Bubbles, blue, and some sparkling, effervencent--even bubbly!--glitter to go with, and then I finished off with butter LONDON matte top coat.

Wow, what with travel and all, I missed my site's 2nd anniversary...and I'm kinda bummed that I missed it...but then I'm also psyched because dag, does time fly, and I'm so excited that I'm still enjoying this "little hobby" so much after over two years! Oh, and on the subject of anniversaries? I did today's nails yesterday because Husband and I are stepping out tonight for our anniversary!

I predict champagne. Which has those delightful bubbles, and we're back on topic... Please visit some of my fellow Twinsies to see what sort of Bubbles they chose for this week's theme!


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
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Stephanie at A Little Polish
Tiffany at Polished to Precision
Traci at DrinkCitra

12 May 2014

Yellow Nails and Denture Cleaner

There have been times--and a lot of lacquer addicts know these feels--when I've kept my nails painted just to cover that awful yellow. I would double up on base coat to no effect, try to avoid polishes I thought might stain more than others, but that yellow refused to go away. I'd give this remedy a go and get...eh, some not really great results; another product would make a little difference but not seem worth it for the money. Then I finally realized what was missing from my whitening approach... Patience is a virtue I'm not exactly rolling in, but nails don't get as yellow as mine were overnight. It was going to take more than a dunk or two in something to get rid of those stains, but I determined to give it a shot with one more product, some simple denture cleaner.

Caution: super-yellow nails, water-pruned fingers, and un-moisturized cuticles ahead! (>_<)

yellow nails and denture cleaner

I started this experiment by picking up a box of Polident and checking out the basic instructions, but before I dunked my nails, I made sure to get a "Before" shot of them in all their yellow-stained glory.

yellow nails before

Totally gorgeous, right? I am so proud. Time to dive in and get rid of some of this ick!

First I let the tap run until the water was nice and warm--pretty hot, really, about as warm as I could comfortably rest my hand in. Then I filled a bowl about halfway, plopped in a couple of denture cleaner tablets, and soaked my fingers in the fizz for about 25 minutes. It made a bit of a difference, and I decided a few hours later to hit 'em again, same way as before.






Not even close to "white" again, but these were some results I could definitely build on! After a few manicures I would give my nails another soak, wash, photograph, and enjoy the signs of improvement.



After the 6th treatment I decided to buff them too, which I hadn't done since I started this experiment, and not surprisingly, it also made a difference. You don't want to rely too heavily on buffing to get rid of the yellow, though, because over-buffing will weaken your nails. But every now and then, a good buff is a good idea...


So. A little time and a (very!) little effort, and while they were still on the road to recovery, it was obvious at this point that periodic soaking in denture cleaner makes a huge difference in getting rid of those dark, yellow stains. I highly recommend it.

One more thing I recommend? Scrubbing those nails. Not just after a denture bath but after taking off your nail polish too. I am convinced now that my horrible "before" stains were mostly due to the amount of acetone polish remover I use on my nails, so I've been washing them well with soap and a nail brush after each manicure comes off...and then every so often, I give them a little denture cleaner bath.

It's amazing what a difference these simple steps have made in helping my nails stay whiter!

10 May 2014

Wild Flowers on Silver

Back in those rosy days before all my nails broke off, I did some very bright flowers over my new, favourite silver...

flower nail art

That silver is Zoya Trixie, and the flowers are acrylic paint. There's a bit of an Hawaiian shirt feel going on, but then I haven't seen a lot of silver lamé Hawaiian shirts (and thank goodness for that, really).

nail art flowers

I really like the purple and the yellow flowers, but I'm not sure about the rest of the look. The flowers and the silver definitely seem to be competing with each other, so once my teeny niblet nails are up to it I'm going to do a) bright flowers over a different base, and b) silver nails with some different flowers.

I have to admit, though, these were definitely cheerful and fun!

09 May 2014

Nubar Mystique

Zooming backwards in time to before all my (expletive deleted) nails went and broke, this was me taking Nubar Mystique out for a spin...

Nubar Mystique swatch

Nubar Mystique is a gorgeous, green-leaning teal. Maybe just a touch greener, in fact, than it appears here, but I didn't want to go too Photoshop-crazy. The first coat went on smooth as buttah, which many of the Nubars I've tried seem to do. Mystique was beautifully opaque on the second coat, thanks to its great pigmentation, and it also self-leveled very well. Compulsion made me hit it with a third coat, but it really was aces in just two.

Nubar Mystique swatch

Nubar is one of those brands I keep telling myself I need to try more of. I've been consistently pleased with their formulas, and they really do have some fantastic shades! Note to self: check out what they're been up to this spring...

PS: Nubar Mystique also made a beautiful base for Shimmer Polish Linna.

06 May 2014

Twinsie Tuesday: Nail Appliques

Hi!! I'm back home again after over a month away, and my nails are all busted up because of course they broke. It happens every single time I'm on the road for more than just a weekend away. Every. Single. Time. I actually thought for a minute I'd get away with it this once (foolish mortal!) because while the other nails were going to hell in a handbasket my photo fingers were hanging in there...until 2 days before it was time to come home, at which point middle and ring both broke right down to the quick. I do not have the words for the kinds of words I'd have been shouting if I hadn't been sitting right next to my grandmother when it happened (Hi, Gam! ^_^), but at this point it's a tradition I'm powerless to avoid. It's just part of the price of getting out of town--and since the trip was about spending some overdue time with my grandparents and being there to celebrate their 70th anniversary? Totally, totally worth it. But I'm still gonna whinge and moan because that's what I do.

Anyway! I bought the cutest nail appliques in the States for just this theme, but my nails are waaay too short for them now--I'd only have gotten, like, half a flower on each finger, and I have literally no free edge over which to pull/file them either. It just seemed like such a waste to use them up, knowing they'd look terrible. So I'm cheating just a little bit, but I'm hoping my fellow Twinsies will grant me a little leeway and some partial credit... Instead of appliques I went with temporary tattoos!

temporary tattoo nail art

The base for these is a Lala Rus Noblesse, which is the same thing as Dear Rus Noblesse, but maybe not. It's basically the same brand, and I have no idea at all what the difference is. I just know they're very closely related Korean polishes produced by Sur, Inc., and that's as far as my Google-fu got me. This bottle has elbe.com printed on the label, but that URL forwards to a website about local tourism in Germany. So...yeah. No help there.

I can only guess that the name/number of this grey is 309. It's soft and pretty, and it's nicely opaque in three coats without any pulling, which is always nice to be able to say about a pastel-type polish. It was just a touch thin and ran a little down the brush like it wanted to pool, but it was easy enough to get under control. In the bottle it looks a LOT like Zoya Dove, but it dries just a little lighter. All in all, it's a nice grey. Nothing earth-shattering, but add in the fact that it only cost me about US$2.45 here in Hong Kong, and I'm officially in the market for a whole lot more Lala Rus/Dear Rus Noblesse.

Zoya Dove vs Lala Rus Noblesse 309

Anyway, the nail art! Right! I used a cheap temporary tattoo sheet that I picked up for under a dollar at a neighbourhood Bonjour (coincidentally, the same chain that carries the Noblesse polishes), cutting the design into nibblet-nail-sized pieces, reading the welcome English instructions on the back, and then finding this great tutorial to get me past that last little "Eek, it's a new thing and I'm scared!" hump...which I needn't have stressed because it's awesomely easy, and I can't wait to use this technique again sometime!

temporary tattoo nail art

I was so nervously hoping I would like these, but omigosh, I love them. I'd originally intended to add a few wisps of acrylic paint to the flowers to add just a little more springtime prettiness, but the whole monochrome of the sketchy, black lines on grey is really working for me, especially in matte. I'm still gnashing and wailing over the broken nails, but I plan to spend the next couple of days thoroughly digging this look.

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by while I was away, and for some actual applique manicures, please visit some of my fellow Twinsies!



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
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

05 May 2014

Shimmer Polish Eva

I have been taking such an inexcusably long time reviewing the gorgeous polishes I was sent by Shimmer Polish, but I've enjoyed each one so much that I've kinda been savouring them instead of just lining them up and knocking them down, you know? Today's is no different--except that among the Shimmers I've tried so far, it's pretty different! Richly red, this is Shimmer Polish Eva.

Shimmer Polish Eva swatch

Shimmer Polish Eva is a burgundy-berry, red jelly polish with red glitter and sparkling silver mini-glitter. It makes me think of a sexy, raspberry jam (that's a thing, right? sexy jam?). The formula builds to opacity on its own (I'm wearing 3 coats here), but I've also seen it look smash over a deep, red polish.

Shimmer Polish Eva swatch

My camera chose to focus more on the smooth jelly than the bright, glitter sparkles, but that's sort of the fun of Eva, really--these two textures come together to make a more subtly glamorous glitter polish, one that still gives you a ton of glimmer and gleam while sitting all mature and refined-like in its rich, red base. It's a beauty!

Shimmer Polish can be purchased via its own website, Etsy, Dazzled, and other online retailers.

01 May 2014

Secret Stefani Sandwich

Today I sing the song of a manicure with more fabulousness than my camera could capture, a jelly sandwich of OPI In Stefani Fashion and Essie Secret Story...

OPI In Stefani Fashion jelly sandwich

I wish so badly that I could really show off how glam-tastic this combination was! As you may see from the bottle shot, the glitter in OPI In Stefani Fashion is just crazy levels of sparkle, and it was like all that wonderful, awesome fire and holographic reflectivity combined with the bright pink jelly to mutate into some kind of electric flakie particles that freaking danced, even in plain old room lighting. My camera, however, latched onto Secret Story's blue highlights and refused to budge. Seriously, though. It was WOW.

Essie Secret Story jelly sandwich

Essie Secret Story came out of the Big Box o' Untrieds to do an awesome job in the sandwich. It's such a fabulous pink! As for OPI In Stefani Fashion...did I really need another silver glitter topper? No. No, I did not. But this one has squares! Rationalization accepted.

Super glad I talked myself into it because the sparkle is just ridiculous. Absolutely dazzling. If you are on the fence about it, please to let me give you a push. OPI's glitter formulas can be a little hit or miss from time to time, but they nailed this one. I mean, that's just one coat, applied normally, and the density and spread are totally spot-on. I can't wait to wear this one again!
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