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Thursday, April 9, 2015

NOTD: Zoya Sansa & Butter London Barkers & Stamping with PUEEN SE01B

This isn't a "Spring mani" (but honestly I like to wear dark colors any time of the year), and I did this mani in October about a month before we moved. The colors almost look the same in this picture, and although they are both shimmery purple-ish polishes with metallic sparkle, they are quite different.

I used Zoya Sansa (a deep royal purple with yellow-orange sparkle) on the ring and thumb under the stamping, and I used Butter London Barkers (a lavender-gray-green duochrome sparkly concoction) on the rest of the fingers. I don't really remember how these wore or for how long, but I'm sure there are other people who have posted on that. I typically keep a mani for 3 days anyway.

Nail Spam:

I used the PUEEN SE01B plate (pictured on the top) and I took a picture of the section of the plate that I used, which is the section where the bird and flowers are underneath. I am relatively certain that for the silver I used Pure Ice Silver Mercedes. Either that or SH Insta-Dri Silver Sweep, but I think it is probably Pure Ice because it doesn't look as shimmery.

I am loving all of the "buffet" plates and am always amazed at the artistry that goes into them. I can't wait to do some more stamping!

Oh Baby...

I'll start today off with a "Where I've Been" post, even though I do quite a bit of off-and-on blogging, there's been a pretty big reason this time around. In the middle of November we moved into our new home . We rented for a year, and finally found the place that we wanted to be. So that in itself took up a lot of my time just with packing the old place up and setting up our new home. Then came Thanksgiving, which with our family is a relatively big day. We usually have 20-30 people at my parents house and my mom, sister, and I do a lot of cooking and the turkey and just getting the house together in general. A week after that my husband and I came down with a terrible cold that lasted for a good 2 weeks. I started to feel better and then was just exhausted all of the time and taking naps almost every day. I do like the occasional nap, but this was a lot. Anyway, on Christmas day we found out I was a couple of weeks pregnant, and all of the naps made sense. We waited until New Years Day to tell our parents and siblings and told everyone else once I was 13 weeks. The really cool thing is that my sister is also pregnant and we are 4 days apart (at least by measurements), but my mom is really hoping that we don't go at the same time! We live about 4-5 hours away from her, so I am hoping for my mom's sake that we can at least be a day or two apart!

We have had a pretty busy Winter/Spring with some weddings, several other friends pregnancies, and the passing of my paternal grandmother. She was an amazing lady. She had Alzheimer's for the last 9-10 years of her life, and my grandfather's love definitely showed with the care he gave to her. We will be doing a memorial service for her in a couple of weeks. She was an aerobic instructor for a very long time and taught my dad, uncles, and their friends (not to mention my sister and myself) how to play ball (football, basketball, baseball, you name it, she probably did it.) She impacted so many people, and we have been very touched to hear of some of the things she did for people and how much she cared. 

As far as the blog goes, I have really only painted my nails a couple of times since being pregnant, and I haven't taken any pictures, but I do have a few backlogged posts that I can put up. I actually am not 100% certain of where my camera and charger are at the moment anyway... I will try to start getting some pictures of whatever I am doing since I have more energy than I did in the first trimester. I am actually almost half way through at this point which is so weird knowing that in about 22 weeks, I will be meeting our child. Anyway, I will try not to post too much about the pregnancy experience on this blog, but I did want to let you all know where I've been.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

(Inspired by @samschuerman) October: Breast Cancer Awareness Mani with BM-321, BM-405, & BM-406

I didn't do any manicures last year for BCA month, and though October is almost over, I wanted to add one in. I was inspired by Sam Schuerman to do this manicure for BCA. I really appreciate her honesty about how she and her family dealt with her mom's battle with cancer and how it still impacts her. I think Sam was one of the first beauty vlogs that I came across several years ago, and she is definitely one of my favorites. She has such an upbeat, fun personality. I love watching all of her channels, so if you haven't watched her before, go check her out! She has a beauty channel, a mommy channel, and a daily vlog channel. I have really enjoyed getting to peak into the Schuerman's lives each day. Sam and Jay are such a sweet couple, and Phoenix and Lily are adorable.

On with the mani! I'm not usually a pink fan, but I can wear certain colors, and it is for a good cause. A few years ago I had a mentor and sweet friend pass away from breast cancer. She impacted so many lives. After her first bout with breast cancer, she was very involved in our community raising awareness, doing marathons, but I think most importantly pouring her life into loving and helping people. She was a teacher at one of our local elementary schools, and so many people were impacted by her. When I was looking through my stamps, I saw the one that said Live-Laugh-Love, and it definitely describes her. She was always busy doing something either with her family, mentoring younger girls in our youth group, or just helping people. She made so many people smile and had a contagious laugh, and all of this was wrapped in love. A genuine love.

After knowing a few people who have battled cancer (or really any other chronic problem), I also have to not only commend the person going through cancer for their bravery, but also their families. These families who have stuck together when there are really rough days of treatment, days that the family member doesn't feel well and the family gets the brunt of the moods that a lot of people don't see, and just plain not knowing what to expect for the future on both of their accounts.

What I used:
Pink Base:  Zoya Kimber
Pink Glitter:  Zoya Kissy
Black Base:  China Glaze Liquid Leather
Black Glitter:  Zoya Storm

I stamped with:
Black:  Konad
Silver:  Sally Hansen Instra-Dri Silver Sweep
Pink Frost:  Pure Ice Outrageous

All of the plates I used were from Bundle Monster:  BM-321, BM-405, & BM-406

I had something totally different in mind when I first started this manicure. I was going to do a gradient with pink, black and silver, but when I tried it, I didn't like it... I think because my nails are shorter right now, but I really do like how this ended up coming out (except for the smudged live-laugh-love stamp on my left hand, but... it happens sometimes). I had this on for two days, and it is wearing very well, but I'm going to go take it off so I can put my Halloween mani on... We don't do anything for Halloween, but I have some stamps and polishes that I want to use for the occasion, so I am going to go do some packing (we're moving soon!) and then I will do a new mani.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NOTD: Zoya Remy, Ryan, & Austine -- Blue & Copper Ombre/Flames

Picture heavy post... I got carried away with the camera and couldn't decide what I liked the best, so I kept 15 of the pictures.... but I like pictures on other peoples blogs, so I won't apologize. ;-D

I had this manicure on for only one day, but not because I didn't like it or because it was chipping. I got the Winter/Holiday collection from Zoya the afternoon after I did this mani, but at least it is easy to create!

I have done black and blue ombre nails before, so I wanted to try something a little different, so I grabbed a copper polish and a medium length striping brush, and thought it was pretty perfect for fall. These ombre nails were more along the line of a flame ombre rather than a gradient ombre, but I really like the effect. The last two times I did this, I used a dotting tool and did get some flame looks but also got some swirly smoky looks and what I like to consider dripping paint looks. My favorite look is probably the smoky look, but I haven't mastered the ombre yet to know exactly what I'm doing. I knew using the brush would give me flame looks, so I just went with that. I haven't tried a waterfall manicure yet, but they intrigue me, so I may try one of those for my next mani. I have to chop my nails off today because I am playing guitar tomorrow, so they need to be a bit shorter. I can still play with them relatively long, but it's just easier if they are short, plus my nails are growing pretty fast right now.

What I used:
Zoya Remy (for non-accent nails)
Zoya Ryan (for accent nail base-- dark blue)
Zoya Austine (copper ombre, flame)
Medium length striping brush

I painted all of the accent nails with one coat of Ryan and let them dry, then went back and did each accent nail as I came to it, so I painted another coat of Ryan and dropped a couple of drops of Austine on the tip of the nail and used the striping brush to create the ombre effect.

I like the way this came out, but I'm not sure if I would use the combo again. I might go with silver instead of the copper with these two colors, but I was in a fall mood and wanted a warm tone. I need to work on the smoky effect next, I may try that with some of the Wishes collection. What's your favorite ombre effect?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Butter London Steampunk Ball-Limited Edition

I'm an online shopper that usually puts things in my cart and leaves them for a few days to decide if I really want it. I have one other butter London polish, and I like it, but it isn't my absolute favorite (but I am a nail tech, so I have a wide variety of options). I have been wanting to try more Butter London polishes for a while, so I decided to purchase this a day after I put it in my basket, and boy am I glad I did. There weren't really any swatches online, so I just had to decide if I really wanted to invest or not. The polishes are the "fashion size" and not the full size, but that didn't bother me for the price. Plus I don't think I will ever run out of a polish unless I spill it. I just don't wear a lot of polishes over and over because I want to wear them all and I haven't even tried some yet!

I loved the packaging on this with all of the gears and everything. It's just really cute. I took some group pictures of the polishes, and got a couple of good ones. I didn't really get a great one of Bric-a-Brac (a beautiful shimmery red with gold glitters in it) or Full Steam Ahead (the gray cream), but you can kind of see them in the pics below. I think my favorites are Brass Goggles (black and gold glitter) and Barkers which I just thought was a shimmery gray with some purple glitter in it, but once you put it on and go outside, there's like an emerald or aqua duochrome effect that is just really hard to capture in pictures. I already did a mani with this one, and it should be coming very soon. Baroness is a lovely shimmery smoky rose-maroon color that appears to have silvery-blue and pink microshimmer in it... I'm going to love this for Fall! The other color included is Pinkies Up which is a light pink that I think looks like the color of pink satin Pointe shoes. IT has some white, light pink, or silver microshimmer in it...Its hard to tell, but it's pretty. Not my all time favorite color, but I have been wanting to do a fishnet French tip design over a light pink for a couple of years now, and I think this will probably be the one I use.

 To me, this is a very good collection where though not all of the polishes would look good worn together, they all have a good pairing somewhere in the group, and I think you could get some really cool nail art looks (and obviously stand-alone) with just this set.

Are you interested in any of the Butter London Collections this season?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zoya Raven vs. Willa (and China Glaze Liquid Leather)

I gushed on and on about Zoya Willa in my last post, but I thought it might be a little helpful to have comparison of a couple of other black polishes, especially Zoya Raven. I will ask that you forgive the shape of my cuticles and surrounding nail area as I had just finished washing a ton of dishes before swatching these.

Willa and Raven are on two different boats. Willa is a cream black, and as I stated in my other post, in the bottle it looks more like a charcoal color, but it comes out more of an inky black. Raven is considered metallic by the Zoya website. It's kind of a satin with microshimmer to me and it definitely comes off with a more charcoal or "dusty" look, but is still a beautiful color.

Just for comparison's sake, I added in China Glaze Liquid Leather, I actually think it is just a bit darker than Willa, but I also swatched everything with no base coat, 2 coats of color, and no top coat, and top coat can be a game changer, so I tried it after taking pictures just to see, and I kind of feel like they are the same color with top coat, but I could just be grasping at straws. The point is, they are very very close. With the first coat of Liquid Leather, it definitely covers completely; I have to use two coats of Willa for full and even coverage.
(Colors from Left to Right:  Willa, Raven, Liquid Leather)

I use black cream polishes so often... as a base for my fleck polishes most of the time, nail art, as the base for sheer shimmer polishes, and just wearing black polish by itself. Though Willa is not a must have, I am really glad that I have it.

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