Monday, April 30, 2012

Sinful Colors - Cream Pink

Cream Pink...... Nope.  I don't think so.  Cream Pink, 152 is not your basic cream pink, this is a hot pink, gold shimmer polish and goes on eaiser than a cream.  Very smooth and even this was super easy to apply.  Fantastic formula, dries kind of on the matte side, but a top coat will take care of that.  Here it is, two coats with INM Out the Door top coat.

Indirect sunlight.

Direct sunlight, see the gold?
I found cream pink in a display that stated "Make some noise", but it looks like this has be released before, as other bloggers have swatched this last year.  Walgreens was having a 99 cent sale on all Sinful Colors last week and I saw a few bottles of this thrown in a large mixed bin.  So, this shouldn't be a hard to find color; its one of those gems that was right under my nose.  LOVE!

Share your thoughts!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Filing and Shaping Nails

Filing and shaping your nails is an important part of nail care, hygiene and aesthetics.  It is amazing that I say that statement, because I am a reformed nail biter. I also used to cut my nails.  I don't do that anymore, because my nails break or crack if I cut them down with a clipper.  If I want to shorten my nails I file them down. I basically use three items, either a file and buffing block or just a glass file.  First I will go over the equipment and then the basic method on how to file.

Clockwise from top: buffing block, glass file, angled file.

The glass file tends to be the holy grail of files according to a lot of bloggers and I can see why.  However, its a little tedious when you want to file down a bit of length. 

Why I like the glass file: 

It is a gentle one step process.  I can file down some length, (if I have patience), shape and seal the nail all in one step. 

Its washable and durable.  I keep it in plastic case to prevent it from breaking.  Glass files are suppose to be long lasting.  I have had mine for about nine months and it works like new. 

Why I don't like it:

It takes a while to file down your nails. 

Its a little expensive, $6-7 at Sally's.  I personally don't think that is a bad price for something that will last a while but other people might think that's outrageous.  Another customer started talking to me in the store one day, and asked me what is the BEST file for natural nails.  I showed her the swissco glass file.  When she asked me how much they were, I told her.  She thought I was totally nuts to spend that kind of money on a file.  So, with respect, I directed her to the regular nail files....  Sheesh, sometimes its about priorities and perspective.  Thank goodness for the 99 cent files that are pretty darn good, so those of us that are on a tight budget can have nice nails too!

Angled foam board nail file.
The angled foam board nail file, is a nice upgrade from an ordinary emery board.  These are washable and ridged for good control and durability.  These last me about three to four months.  The one pictured is 180 grit and probably the roughest grit my natural nails will take.  I use to use the 150 grit board but it was a bit too rough, and would sometimes tear the edges.  I would say I have medium strength nails, they are not too hard, but they are not soft and weak either.  The 180 grit is recommended for natural nail.  The 150 grit is recommended for both natural and artificial nails.  If you have really hard nails the 150 grit might be okay.  The lower the grit number the rougher the file, obviously.

I love the foam board file because when I want file down some length it does the job in no time.  Just like a glass file you can use these to shape the nail too.  Plus, they are nice and cheap, about 99 cents.  I have a couple of these scattered around the house.

The buffing block.

The buffing block is for finishing the rough edges after filing.  This is a 320 grit block, it leaves a nice smooth finish and seals the edges of the nails.  I also will buff the tops of my nails gently before I paint them, not all the time, just sometimes.  The sometimes is usually after removing glitter and there's still some around, or lint left over from a cotton ball.  By the way, this block does not buff to a shine.  These are about 69 cents at Sally's. 

I file my nails with dark nail polish on.  Here I'm wearing China Glaze's Foie Gras and its about three days old.  After a couple days of wear, I usually have pretty bad tip wear.  So, I'll take the opportunity then, to file my nails, if needed.  I start a the edge and work my way to the center.  Then, I stop at the center and go to the other side and work my way to the center again.  I'll do a couple of big swipes over the top to square it off.  Of course, you should always file in one direction.  The reason why I file my nails with dark polish on, is so I can see what the overall shape of my nails are, as I'm filing.  If I file my nails without polish, I tend to follow the nail line, and end up with crooked or lopsided edges. 

I usually file my nails in the squoval shape.  I love square nails but my corners tend to chip when I square them off. 

I file and shape my nails throughout the week as needed, usually when I'm hanging out in bed. 

Thoughts, questions?

Technical Difficulties

I have not disappeared... When it rains it pours, so they saying goes. First, I'm in the middle of re-organizing my home office, so I dismantled my photo area and I haven't been able to take some good pictures. Second, I have some needy co-workers at the moment and thus have not been home to hang out on the computer. Lastly, most devastatingly, I was going to post a swatch of Funky Fingers yesterday when....I get a warning/alert my hard drive is corrupted, blah blah blah... "Enter your credit card to purchase license". I think not! So I turn off my computer and reboot twice.  The warning will not go away and I am locked on this screen that wants my financial information. I was able to do a hard drive restore back to April 20th, but in the process managed to lose all of my photos. ALL OF MY PHOTOS, people! -And a few documents, and some spreadsheets, and PHOTOS. I had about five postings lined up and now they are gone. GONE like dust in the wind! Sigh... Well it serves me right; I've been too lazy to back up and hence my demise.

So, I kindly ask for some patience from my readers, while I pick up the pieces. On Friday and Saturday, I plan on painting my office. I chose a nice, neutral, cream color, called Ballet White, by Benjamin Moore paints.  That will eliminate the blue cast that some of my photos have. I also bought a several bookcases and matching CD/DVD shelves from IKEA and will be putting them together. I plan on storing and organizing all my polishes in the two tall CD shelves. I have outgrown my little wheel cart which was holding about 120 bottles, I might be at 150 now.

Here's a photo to a new beginning, kind of. I bought some ranunculus from the grocery store (they don't have them very often), and they are one of my favorite flowers. The stems look like ostrich necks, and the petals look like intricately layered tissue paper.

More to come!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nina Ultra Pro - Burnished Bronze

Earlier I did a post on a half moon mani using Nina Ulta Pro's Burnished Bronze, and today I'll show you a swatch of just this polish by itself because it is a beautiful metallic burnt orange.  If your a fan of orange, this should be in your collection.  AND if you are NOT a fan of orange, this should be in your collection.  I don't own very many oranges, maybe only three. However, I LOVE Burnished Bronze, and I really could care less about the other two.  Deep and rich in color, its probably best for late summer and fall, but oh well, here it is, two coats.

Burnished Bronze could be a thick one coater but the color deepens with the second coat.  The formula is fantastic, even, streak free, and the consistency is just right.  Application was a breeze. 

Nina Ultra Pro is at Sally's for $4.29. If you can catch these on sale they can be a real bargain.  This month they are buy 2 get one free. So three for roughly $8, not too bad. 

Click here to see the half moon mani with China Glaze's Hook and Line, in case you missed it.

Do you have any oranges that you absolutely love?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sourcing for Nail Polish and Other Manicure Supplies

This certainly isn't a new idea, but have you ever tried going to a nail salon supplier to find nail polish?  There are two suppliers in my area that I'm willing to drive to that will sell to individuals without a nail tech license.  The benefit of going to these places are wholesale pricing and a large inventory of "salon, professional" quality supplies.  I'll review one store, that I try to get to, on a monthly basis. 

Skyline nail supply is located in Falls Church, VA in a dumpy, run-down, ethnic strip mall.  This place is always busy, at least when I go there.  There are trucks dropping off and picking up merchandise by the pallet continously.  The front of the store is littered with cardboard boxes and inside is somewhat a disorganized mess.  The shelves are rougly organized by nail polish brand and the individual colors are all mixed up on messy shelves.  Essie and Station nails dominate the store.  There are rows upon rows of dust covered old Station nail polish its gross!  China Glaze and OPI share a section, Zoya and Orly share another.  Color Club is shoved in the back and for the longest time they only had neon Color Club to choose from.  CND is there too but covered in so much dust I don't want to touch it.  Other than nail polish, you can by nail files by the case, tubs of lotions, cleansers, scrubs, and giant message chairs.  Cuticle remover and cuticle oil too come in massive amounts!  Oh they also have an endless array of fake nails and acrylic and gel nail supplies. 

I'm sorry I don't have pictures of the inside but the owners are Vietnamese, which I am not, and I didn't want to start snapping pictures and get kicked out!  Can you imagine getting cursed at in Vietnamese over nail polish?  OMG! OMG!

Here's a recent haul from early April.

Left to right: CG: Foie Gras, Dance Baby, Electric Beat, Seduce Me, Hook and Line, Orly Rose Colored Glasses, CC Gingerbread, Candycane, Zoya America, Dita. 

All China Glazes are $3 each.
Orly $4
Color club $2
Zoyas $4  (They have a bad selection of Zoyas all mainly reds and pinks.)

OPI are $3 each, but If you haven't noticed I don't buy OPI because they are owned by Coty a parent company that tests on animals and same with Essie, owned by Loreal.  This may change in 2013, as I wonder if these companies will have to comply with European regulations to stay competitive. 

I have bought some old nail polishes from here that were no longer good and I got burned (both Zoyas).  There are no refunds or exchanges allowed.  So I only try to buy new collections here because I know that they are fresh.  When the Hunger Games collection came out March 23, Sally's was ransacked and there was nothing left.  At Skyline they had the whole collection in cases, so there was plenty to go around and they were $3 each, not $5.99 at Sally's or a whopping $7.99 like they are at Ulta.  They also still have a bunch of China Glaze and Orly Christmas sets still left over.  There kits are cheap too, for example if you wanted the whole China Glaze electropop collection, there are two sets of six, so each set is $18, still $3 per bottle.   And they come in the plastic box that you see on Amazon or Transdesign.  They also let you take apart the sets too.  The guy in the store said to me if I only wanted to buy two I could take apart the set and leave the other four behind.  I said "Really?  Won't that ruin your set?"  He said, "No worry, I will sell the four later."   COOL!  I thought.

So put up with the dust and be super nice, (because the prices are not marked) and have fun shopping for hard to find salon polishes on the cheap. 

Do you ever go to wholesale nail suppliers?

If you missed this morning's half moon mani post click HERE.  It is awesome, so don't pass it up!

Half Moon Mani with China Glaze Hook and Line

Hi Guys!
Today I'm excited to show you my first half moon mani!  I used Nina Ultra Pro's Burnished Bronze and China Glaze's Hook and Line from the Hunger Games collection. 

I know this picture is blurry but don't you just love how blurry pictures can convey an impression? 
Like what this mani might look like from afar?

How did I do this?  It was pretty easy.

Two coats of Burnished bronze.  Make sure this is completely dry and cured. 
About three hours for me.
Then apply stickers, and make sure they are flat so that paint does not seep under them.

I used a cuticle pusher to flatten the stickers.

Paint two coats of Hook and Line.  With one coat the orange was still coming through.

What I used. L to R, reinforcements, CG top coat, CG Hook and Line, NUP Burnished Bronze.

I peeled the stickers off right away, after painting with Hook and Line, and then cleaned up the edges with a brush and pure acetone.  Gooped on some CG fastforward topcoat and that was it!

My nails were really thick.  There are a total of seven coats of polish that I'm wearing.  I used Orly's bonder as a base (nice and thin), two coats of Burnished Bronze, one coat of CG FF top coat, two coats of Hook and Line and one thick coat of CG FF top coat.  I also have to add, after I peeled off the stickers, Hook and Line started to dry, and left kind of a wall of pooled paint that was laying against the edge of the stickers.  CG's top coat did a nice job of smoothing out the line/wall while still maintaining a clean crisp demarcation.  I think this is why CG FF top coat is my go to top coat for glitters.  It is such a great leveler, smudge fixer and delivers a high gloss finish. 

Well what d'ya think?

I think you are going to see more of these half moon manis from me because they are so easy to do and fun.

If you missed yesterday's post on CG's Liquid Crystal click here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

China Glaze Prismatic Liquid Crystal

I have to say if you really love blue and glitter nail polishes, either or both, like I do, you need to get China Glaze's Liquid Crystal from their Prismatic line.  I layered one coat over China Glaze's Sea Spray and here it is, in all it glori-ous-ness. 

A little closer and at a different angle.
Liquid Crystal is jam packed with small silver dusty glitter, and larger multicolor hexagon glitters.  The glitter are suspended in a transparent, blue, and purple duo chrome polish.  From afar it looks as if I'm wearing a light blue metallic polish, but up close it sparkles like mad!

Macro shot.
Incandescent lighting.  Super sparkle-ly, some fingers are blurred to try to capture the sparkle.

Liquid Crystal on the left vs. Full Spectrum on the Right.  Both over Sea Spray.
Glitters are such a great way to recycle an old mani.  I touched up tip wear with Sea Spray and applied one coat of Liquid Crystal.  Since both Liquid Crystal and Full Spectrum are so dense it only took one coat for full effect.  Then I gooped on a final coat of China Glaze's fastforward top coat.  Done!
New mani in 5 minutes!

I was able to find this on a recent trip to Sally's, (they finally restocked), for $5.99!  This month their having a buy 2 get one free sale. 

I review China Glaze's Sea Spray a few days ago, and Full Spectrum a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks for stopping by!   

Friday, April 13, 2012

China Glaze - Sea Spray

Quick post today, on China Glaze's Sea Spray, from the Anchor's Away collection.  Sea Spray is a light blue grey with subtle silver shimmer, such a soft and calming calming color.  The formula is excellent, two easy coats and goes on like a creme rather than a pastel. 

The shimmer is very subtle, its there, but hard to see. 
You might be able to tell there is kind of a finish to it, it's not real crisp like a true creme is.
Even though Sea Spray is from last year's collection it is in Sally's regular stock China Glaze so this is really easily accessible.  YES! 

Do you have any other colors from the Anchor's Away collection?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sinful Colors - Timbleberry or Thimbleberry 108

I don't know what a timbleberry is but that is the name of this polish, I swear.  This polish frequently shows up under the search term "thimbleberry" as well.  Thimbleberries actually exists as a type of raspberry and is very close to the color of this polish.  Why the powers at be, at Mirage Cosmetics, Inc. went with "timbleberry" and not "thimbleberry" is beyond me.

I would describe Timbleberry as a bright watermelon color, somewhere between a lighter/bright red and a dark pink.  The first coat kind of goes on like a jelly, nice and even, and a little translucent.  The second coat kind of a applies like a creme, with noticeable cuticle drag.  I applied three coats to even out the second coat. 

My home office is flooded with natural light and is great for taking pictures, however it has ugly blue walls and one day I will paint it.  So until do, my photos have a blue cast reflecting back, just like in the photos above.  I don't know why this happens on only some occasions and not all the time.  My photo lamp is turned on as well which lessened the blue cast.  Also the my camera is depicting timbleberry as more red than it really is, in real life.  In real life it is more pink.  Watermelon is the best way for me to describe this polish accurately. 

Overall its an appropriate color for spring and summer.  Its noticeable as well, a few people at work pointed out my nail polish to me.  "Oh my gosh, you did your nails." "What color is that?" "Its really bright."  Those are the statements I got. 

Personally, its a color I'm okay with; I could take it or leave it.


UPDATE: 5/3/2012  Sinful Colors UK names this polish "thimbleberry, 108" same number.  Looks like the same shade.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!

I won't be posting tomorrow, so Happy Easter!

I dyed some eggs with a Paas kit.  It came with some cheesy stickers. I put some on, then stopped because I didn't find them creative or artistic.

I did an Easter mani a few days ago, click here.

This morning I did a post on Nina Ultra Pro's Blue La La, click here.


Nina Ultra Pro - Blue La La

Hi guys! Today I have a beautiful cerulean creme to show you - Nina Ultra Pro's Blue La La.  This was two easy coats and will lift your day.  Well at least it cheered me up. 

Nina Ultra Pro is at Sally's, $4.29 a bottle. 

I thought I would do a comparison of all my blue polishes since I have few blue-greys, not that Blue La La is a blue grey, but I tend to re-buy things I like, and forget that I already have a certain color.

In the same order as on the nail wheel.

I have swatched all but five of these.  If you want to see them, click "blue", under "labels" you should be able to see all the posts. 

I can't seem to single out a favorite. Each blue is beautiful in its own right, and I do love love all of them!  Do you have some favorite blue polishes?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sinful Colors - Hazard

Well, like green I don't have very many orange nail polishes in my collection.  Here is one I recently picked up at Walgreens: Sinful Colors, Hazard, from the Petal Pushers line.  Orange is another difficult color for me to pull off because my skin is cool toned.  I really did not like how this turned out, Hazard borders on being a neon, but I would describe it as a medium orange coral.

Hazard applies like a pastel, thick and tacky.  Above is two coats, and I did not have any issues except I'm just not that excited about the color.  Maybe I will be in August when its hazy, hot and humid here on the east coast.  Late summer the sun is so bright, everything is washed out and I can't see anything else except these bright beachy colors.  UGH.  Maybe I need to add some nail art or glitter?   At least it was only $1.99.