September 30, 2013

Adventures in Nail Stamping: My First Success!

I bought a Konad double-sided stamper and a brand-unknown stamping plate (it's octagonal and is labeled KD28... I googled it and found nothing, and when I googled "Russian Doll stamping plate" a round version of what I had by a company called Nail Craze came up. So I don't know) with the cutest little triplet of Russian Dolls, this winter sweater pattern and a pretty floral pattern (and a mouse? And a flower "sprig," if you will). I wanted to do a fall-themed mani, so this is what I came up with.

I used Hard Candy - Crush on Lava (which is this really neat sort of burgundy-rust to gold duochrome... sort of like Orly - Space Cadet without the blue base) and stamped with Essie - As Good As Gold, then lightly brushed on some Zoya - Maria-Luisa.

It doesn't shift to quite as green of a hue the pictures are showing you in real life. The macro is really the most accurate in terms of color. As Good As Gold was awesome to stamp with. I haven't done a lot of experimenting with stamping yet, so it was nice to actually have something work out pretty early on.

Well, all right. I'm going to go play some GTA5 while the kids are asleep.

September 26, 2013

Parlez-vous OPI? NOTD

Dear Blog,

This NOTD didn't turn out like I had wanted it to. I intended on using striping tape but when I sat down to do my nails I realized I had left the striping tape in my room which is also the room the (teething) baby was napping in at the moment, so I free-handed it.
Also, It wasn't just s'posed to be a standard triangle-tip manicure but that's what it looks like. I needed to make the second stripe further down on the nail, etc etc blah blah etc.

1. Parlez-vous OPI?
2. Layla: Softouch 11
3. OPI - Wooden Shoe Like to Know? (Tee-hee, cute named polish alert!)

I like the subtle orange sparkle/shimmer in Wooden Shoe.
Layla dries to a semi-matte finish (hence Softouch!).
Parlez-vous is kind of runny, IMO. Ee-moe.

Aaand that's what I have for you.


Your Friend Brandy

PS The last 4 blog posts I, you know, post... they show up +1'd. Like, immediately. And I'm certain that someone isn't just refreshing their browser waiting for my next post to +1 it. And I'm not trying to actively advertise every single post I make. I guess I'm just this about it: ?

September 24, 2013

Layla: CE 52 The Butterfly Effect Swatch & Review

Because one can never have enough flakies in one's life.

I found a college textbook from a couple years ago in my mom's garage and traded it in to Amazon for more money than I thought I'd get sooo of course I got a whole bunch of nail-related things (a Konad stamper and Russian nesting doll plate being two of which...) including this polish! I almost got Nfu-Oh 51 with my first swap but didn't, and not that it's, like, the hardest polish to find ever or anything but I didn't actively seek it out after that. But when I saw that The Butterfly Effect was a dupe for it, AND on Amazon at a reasonable price (um, also gift card), I had to get it because duh.

Here're some swatches, ya'll! This is 4 coats (Doofus McDingbat didn't use a colored base, but it didn't take too long anyway).

The Butterfly Effect is a purple jelly base packed with red-orange to green shifting flakies. For real life, orange and purple are soulmates. They look so dang good together. And how the orange takes on a sort of coral tone to it because of the purple all over it... yes.

I didn't do a very good job capturing the green shift but you can see the spectrum of orange to yellow to green along the left side of the nail in the last two pictures.

Application was fine overall. A couple issues with bald patches here and there (I knoooow because of the whole not letting it dry thing. Okay). I scooted some of the flakies around during the 2nd coat which was completely not needed since by the 4th they were all, you know, all over the place evenly.

I'm quite satisfied with this guy. I now own 3 Layla polishes and I haven't been disappointed yet. 

Side note: isn't my pinkie nail just the saddest thing you've ever seen? I've tried cropping it out but swatches look legit weird with only 3 nails.

Side not dos: I just ate an entire bag of xplosive pizza flavored Goldfish.

September 23, 2013

Fresh Paint: Sugar Crush (Shine of the Times Dupe!)

At Five Below today I noticed a bin full of a polish that looked remarkably like Essie: Shine of the Times. SOTT was my first true lemming, so I thought I'd do my very first comparison post on these two polishes. I know there have been other polishes in the past that were pretty close to SOTT, but I think this one is the closest thing I've seen to an actual dupe.

The photos below show 1 coat of polish over Zoya: Raven, no topcoat.

Exhibit A:

Cloudy Sunlight

Exhibit B:

Artifical Light

Exhibit C:

Artificial Light
The color, green/yellow/orange shift, size and density of the flakies are almost identical. The differences are so subtle that if you're lemming SOTT but are unable to get a hold of it, Sugar Crush could very easily satisfy it! The only real differences I noticed were the shades of orange the polishes flashed: SOTT's orange is just the slightest bit more of a saturated, red-orange. Baaarely. Also the way in which the colors shift are slightly different as you'll notice in the second photo.

I'm looking at my nails right now and if I had the worst memory ever I would absolutely not be able to tell which is which.

Sugar Crush can be purchased for $2 at your local Five Below. Holla!

September 22, 2013

Ulta: My Two Cents Swatch & Review

My cuticles are the WORST and what's with that, like, ledge going up the sides of my nails that polish gets onto and makes my nails look all wide-middled? My nails desperately need some TLC. Will be researching the crap out of that!

In other news:
Per Ulta's $2 polish sale, I picked up a couple bottles, one being My Two Cents. Also, today's the first day of Fall. Also, this is kind of the perfect polish for such an occasion.

My Two Cents consists of small round copper and orange glitter (which is a subtle color difference but a nice touch, unless I'm just seriously losing it and the glitter is all just one color but some of it looks different because of the layering... but I'm like 98% sure it's two different colors) in a sheer brown base. It could very easily be a two-coater, but Patches McMissingspots over here suffers from Application Disaster Syndrome so I applied 3. It dries like, you know, glitters tend to, so I topped it with 2 coats of SV.

Artifical Light
Why does this picture look like some sort of weird 80s glamor shot? Also I put my watermark over the middle nail to try to hide the shredded nightmare that used to be my cuticle. Ha!

 Do you see what I mean about the two different shades of glitter, though? Like, one color is much more saturated. Isn't there some research I could do to actually figure this out? Man. Best Blogger of the Year award coming my way for SURE.

This polish has some nice depth to it thanks to the darker base. It was also pretty easy to work with, despite the amount of glitter all up ins. This was my first Ulta swatch and I look forward to, you know, getting more (when they're back in stock...).

Happy Fall you guys!

September 21, 2013

Autumn NOTD

Since having a baby, what summer is has changed for me. It's no longer drinking beers on a patio somewhere, taking night walks and participating in general, warm-weather shenanigans. Now it's more, um, do the same stuff every day except not hate it as much going outside because I'm not freezing to absolute death. I loved summer. Like, loved loved it. I dreamed about it during every other season. And I still do, really, it's just different.

So, the fact that it's going to start getting colder doesn't affect me as much because, like I said, it's not really going to change how I spent my days. No more hiding from thunderstorms or hordes of spiders, so that's pretty cool. Also Fall is my second fave (maybe first fave-tied) so, you know, whatever. It's all peachy. OH PLUS APPLE PIEEE.

Here's an Autumn inspired NOTD using a bunch of untrieds I have.

Starting from the tip, there's:
China Glaze -Xtreme Thrash
Sally Hansen - Chop Chop Copper
OPI - London Bridge is Falling Brown (also on index finger)
Layla - Softouch Effect 11
OPI - DS Illuminate
and the dark brown underneath it all is Barielle - Coco Bar.

Looking through my polish stash on Pinterest, I have sooo many flipping fall colors I haven't tried yet. Geez Louise, guys! I need to get it together.

September 20, 2013

Essence: Gorgeous Bling Bling Swatch & Review

 Gorgeous Bling Bling. Gorgeous. Bling. Bling.

Oh, what a silly name for a polish. For this polish, specifically. It's gorgeous, but it's not exactly bling blinging. Gorgeous Pumpkbling, maybe. Gorgekin Pumpling. Anyway, I picked this up at Ulta on clearance and I'd do it again! This is three coats, topped with SV.



Gorgeous Bling Bling is the color of pumpkin pie, of crunchy fall leaves, of every pumpkin-scented candle ever made, and also it has very pale gold glass flecks scattered throughout. It looks pretty squishy when applied, so I'm gonna go ahead and call it a crelly because this is MY blog and I do what I want! The shade picture is more accurate in color than the sunlight one though it's not quite as red-tinted in real life.

I, um, have nothing to say about application, really. Or wear. Which I probably should since I'm reviewing nail polish aaaand those are kind of important key details. Sorry. Sorry guys.

In other news: THERE IS A GIGANTIC BEETLE FLYING AROUND MY LIVING ROOM. It sounds like a tiny airplane. Blicky.

September 18, 2013

I'm a Coding Genius!


Okay, I've read some super helpful tutorials and gone through fifty million designs and I think I've finally settled on something I'm happy with for the blog design. What do you think?

Also I'm about to reach 1000 page views, at least a quarter of which are my own, but yay! Leaps and bounds! Every little milestone should be celebrated, as I have learned as a first time mom.

Okay, but I really love teal/orange too. Hmm.

Edit: How do I un- +1 this? Why would I ever want this +1'd? ETERNAL SIGH.

September 16, 2013

ILNP: Mutagen and Birefringence Ultra Chromes NOTD

ONE: My stupid pinky nail broke on my swatch hand. This is why, until it grows out (fourteen decades from now), it will be hiding, awkwardly, off to the side, under the bottle or something.

Total Nails Broken Since I Started Growing Them Out: 5

TWO: THE ULTRA CHROMES RULE. Birefringence is a little bottle of Lisa Frank's tears. It does that thing on the nail where one eye sees the blue and one sees the magenta so it's all brain-playing-with and magical and the fuuutuuuureee.

Anyway, I'm seriously a nail tape junky when it comes to making designs. And by designs I mean lines. Lines in patterns. I need to get the other two Ultra Chromes so I can go crazy with them and nail tape and then I'll never change my polish again and then when I die I will have my hands preserved and they will be doing metal horns.

For all intense and porpoises, this is 3 coats of Birefringence on the non-accent nails with a coat of SV. The accents nails have 3 coats of Mutagen with one coat of SV followed up with 1 thick coat of Birefringence, topped with 2 coats of SV. BAM.

Artificial Light
Direct Sunlight
Indirect Sunlight
Your Hopes and Dreams
For the record, while some bubbles are present, it's not nearly as disasterly as that macro is making it. So, I'ma go stare at my hands for about six hour. Naw, I'ma play Skyrim and stare at my hands during loading screens.


September 9, 2013

OPI: Man of La Mancha Swatches

I can't get enough of this multichrome OPI gloriousness (spell check seriously thinks I'm illiterate for the record). I'm a total OPI fangirl and I'm not ashamed to admit it. So, about this polish: Man of La Mancha is also from the Holiday on Broadway Collection. I looked at a thousand swatches of La Boheme (a lemming for me for a while) but after swatching this and Movin' Out I don't think I even need it anymore is how righteous this polish is.

The swatches are 2 coats of Man of La Mancha over German-icure by OPI (which is freaking awesome also), topped with SV.

Overcast Sunlight
One coat made for a nice, sheer, sparkling red-orange topper to the rich shimmery burgundy of German-icure. And I know chromes over black make for the best, you know, color shifts, but I wanted to mess around with the deep red tones of La Mancha. I'll have to try it over black too, as I don't know if it made a difference or not (but I dig the contrast on the accent nails and I much prefer German-icure to straight black). I also wanted the full impact of La Mancha, so I went for the second coat. Instant nail polish obsession time.

Man of La Mancha shifts between ruby to coral to orange to yellow and even to lime green in very certain lights. Example A:

Facing away from Overcast Sunlight

Example B:

Artificial Light
This one has red/orange scatterd microglitter in it too, cuz it's not already amazing. Application was great, or whatever, and I just realized that I didn't lay down a base coat. Bummer. I'll be chipping the crap out of this in no time!

September 8, 2013

My First Enchanted Polish: A Little Fishy Told Me Swatch

So, I was originally like "wtf?" about Enchanted Polish. The hype seemed ridiculous with the third-party price-jacking and the impossible-to-purchase-ality during EP launches. I thought some of the colors looked pretty awesome, but I also knew of other, more accessible polishes that were just as pretty but wouldn't require me to sell of my limbs to be able to afford on eBay since I would never actually be able to buy them on any other site.

Then I swapped for one, and it was kind of like "oh, that's why," although I'm pretty okay with the idea that this is the only EP I might ever own.

A Little Fishy Told Me, like you don't know, was created for one of the most adorable and vivacious little girl I've ever seen in my life, and all the proceeds from the polish's sale were apparently donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The polish is a desaturated mint shade with subtle holo and even more subtle sky-blue microglitter (which in very certain lights looks pink, I SWEAR). It seemed a bit thick but not annoyingly so and was basically opaque in 2 coats. Shown here is 3 coats, topped with SV.

I wish the blue glitter was more prevalent in pictures. It really does add another layer of gorgeousness to an already beautiful polish. I'm really happy I was able to acquire it, and I'm even happier I didn't have to go through a bunch of nonsense to get it.

September 7, 2013

OPI: Movin' Out Swatches

So a tip from a new friend-in-nails (get it kind of?) (HEY visit her blog: lacquerheaded) lead me to purchasing two of my very first lemmings: OPI - Movin' Out and Man of La Mancha. Today I have for you a few swatches of the most excellent Movin' Out, from the 2003 Holiday on Broadway collection.

Yellow Wall, courtesy of 1994
Movin' Out is one of the rainbowest in-the-bottle polishes I've seen. It looks like liquified dreams. I'm holding it right now and in my living room light, it looks like it's got this ectoplasm-green shimmer. I tried taking a picture of it and failed, so you just get to imagine how awesome that looks.

While the spectrum of colors don't translate onto the nail entirely, there's still a huge and delightful range o' colors. I will show them to you now (I used 3 coats of Movin' Out over 2 coats of Orly - Velvet Rope with 1 coat of SV for all photos below.. kind of labor-intensive but wooooorth itttttt).

That looks like a nice bright mauve shimmery delight, yes? The red/orange blurry dots on the leftmost nail give the best color accuracy of the scattered microglitter in this sweetheart.

The chrome-ality is much more apparent out of direct light (like all multi-chrome polishes, I'm finding out, likely because of ... stuff. Indirect light beams and scattered sun particles and, you know, really scientific things).

Artifical light / Shade
Aaand in indirect artificial light was where I was able to pull the most color shifting from. Plum, mauve, bronze, gold, yellow, green. And that glitter! <3

<3 <3 <3
So, there it is. The scattered glitter is apparent in Man of La Mancha, too. It reminds me of camera flashes in a stadium (OR A THEATER, BROADWAY COLLECTION...). I'm super happy I was able to get a hold of this polish. While it's not suuuuuuper htf, it's still a polish I'm quite pleased with adding to my stash-a-roo.

September 4, 2013

Zoya: Aurora Swatch & Review


Firsties: Because of the move, I'm still not on my regular computer and I haven't downloaded my watermark font onto this one which is why my watermark is lame. Because you noticed that. Because "lbol" is going to prevent people from stealing my pictures. Because my pictures are worth stealing. Because everybody knows what "lbol" stands for.

Secondsies: I bought Aurora from a Pinterest polishes for sale page along with 11 other polishes for $32 including fees and shipping, most of which were Zoyas. I LOVE PINTEREST I LOVE PINTEREST etc.

Thirdsies: Look at this shiz--

3 coats, sunlight
I KNOW, RIGHT? So, Aurora is a fuchsia-violet jelly with holographic glitter, but not just ANY holographic glitter, it's all irregularly-shaped and things. Plus, I swears, it's linear holo to boot, just in a very scattered way.

Application was all right. It didn't apply as smoothly as other brands I've been obsessed with lately (coughSINFULCOLORScough) but it was mostly 'opaque' (as much as a jelly can be, anyway) in 3 heavy coats. I almost typed goats just then. Three heavy goats.

3 goats, shadelight
Aurora is from Zoya's 2012 Ornate (holiday) Collection. I also got Storm from the same collection that I cannot wait to try. I. Love. This. Nail. Polish.

I need some consistency to this blog, right? Polish shot with the bottle, without the bottle, wonky watermark, crappy lighting in like 239482973 of the swatches, and so on. I just need to hit my stride. Or not suck so hard at blogging. Or a happy combo of bolth.

September 1, 2013

FingerPaints: Sarong So Right Swatch & Review

Oh, hey guys.
So, I broke three nails on my right hand during a garage sale I had. My thumb looks weird and gremlinish because of it. I seriously never in my life thought I'd prefer how my hands looks with nails versus without.

I went to Sally Beauty today just for funsies, mostly to check out the clearance, not having any real goal in mind. Besides picking up both Orly FX Matte Flakie topcoats, I also got this lovely gem.

2 coats, natural light

Crappy artificial light

Sarong So Right is the dreamy brainchild of Michelle Mismas of All Lacquered Up as part of her A Pair Affair collection. It's a coral jelly with subtle bright pink shimmer and scattered holo glitter. Basically, it's this: <3

The formula is a bit thick which makes for a much more opaque application than I'm used to in a jelly. Honestly, I wouldn't immediately have called it a jelly (although it is quite squishy looking) because of the slight texture it dries with. It almost looks like it could be a glow-in-the-dark polish by texture alone, but the color is much more saturated than a glow-in-the-dark.

I happen to love coral, jellies AND holo glitter so this polish is right up my alley and it definitely doesn't disappoint. Plus it's a 5-free polish so your fingers won't fall off and/or sprout freaky finger-fingers or anything. Pluuus it was dreamt up by quite possibly one of the nicest nail bloggers on the internets and I'm not even saying that to be a kiss-ass because I'm about 99.97% sure that Michelle will never see this, ha ha.