Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A First Attempt at Nail Foils - Foiled Dots

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Hello Loves!  I posted an open invitation for my fans to share their manicures on my facebook page last week.  I was surprised to see several foil creations were shared, and it inspired me to get my foils out and give them a try.  I've had these in my nail art collection for a while but after reading how difficult they can be to work with, I never had the urge to play with them.  But seeing so many beautiful creations changed my mind.
Manicure with nail foil and Couture gel polish

For this look, I did a complete gel manicure with Couture Gel Polish London's Fog.  London's Fog is a beautiful, shimmery grey gel.  It is opaque in two coats.  Please excuse the difference in skin tone and nail length in the swatch photo.  This is one I took this winter when my nails were shorter and my skin was quite pale (not that it isn't pale now, but it is less transparent in the summer).
Couture Gel Nail Polish London's Fog Swatch

After I removed the tacky layer from the top coat, I applied nail foil glue to the entire nail on the ring finger and added dots of foil glue to the other nails.  Once the glue dried, I pressed the transfer foil sheets onto the glue, then peeled them back off leaving the foil behind.  I then added a layer of Couture Gel Top Coat to seal the foil.  I have had this foil in my collection for so long now that I honestly don't remember where I got it.  It was a small square that is enough foil to cover maybe 5 nails if I covered them completely.  I tried to find them online but didn't see anything that looks like them.
Manicure with nail foil and Couture gel polish

I would love to be able to tell you that foil is the easiest thing ever to use, but it completely wasn't for me.  My nails have such deep c-curves that the foil creased on the nail.  I had to go over the ring finger twice to get full coverage.  And the dots...those were interesting too.  On the middle nail, the foil actually pulled the glue dots off of the nail in several places.  So I had to dot those a few times to finally get the design to transfer.  My final thought:  Foil is difficult and something I really need to practice to master!

Have you played around with nail foils?  Any tips or tricks to share?

~Michelle

*This post uses Amazon Affiliate Links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.  The polish featured in this post was supplied by Couture Gel Nail Polish for my honest review.  All other products used were purchased by me.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Pueen Encore Collection - Swatches and Review (pic heavy)

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Pueen Encore Collection Review

Hello Loves!  As you know, I'm a huge fan of Pueen stamping plates.  I have all of their collections, so it was just natural for me to get the new Encore Collection as well.  I left several of the photos in this post as very large files so that you can click on them and expand them to see the detail.  I apologize if the large photos slow down the load time of the post.

Let's start with a mani, shall we?  I started with a base of FingerPaints Gel Polish in Petite Bouquet.  Petite Bouquet is from the Spring collection and is limited edition, but I'm pretty sure my Sally Beauty Supply had them on clearance so if this is a color you like you might still be able to find it.  I then stamped with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Grape Going and a portion of the image from SE01B.
Subtle Stamping Manicure with Pueen Encore Collection

Now onto the review.  The Encore Collection plates are different than any of the plates we have seen so far in that they are etched on both sides.  I really like this feature because it minimizes the space required to store them.  Not to mention the 8 designs compressed to 4 plates weighs half of what it would if they were only etched on one side.

The plates come in this cute accordion style holder.  Nevermind that the bow on mine is upside down, it's not a bad way to store them, I think.  The only down side I can see is that the pockets inside are a much thinner plastic than the vinyl sleeves Pueen has used in the past.
Pueen Encore Collection Case and Packaging

The actual plates come in vinyl sleeves.  This is where I have to question what the designers at Pueen were thinking.  As you can see, the sleeves have knockout style windows to expose the etched portion of the plate.  This is great in theory - it allows the sleeve to remain on the plate to protect your hands from the sharp edges. 
Pueen Encore Collection Packaging

Sadly, theory doesn't always translate to reality.  When I tried to remove the knockout window, I found that it wasn't cut very well and the vinyl started to stretch and rip.
Pueen Encore Collection Packaging

I was able to remove it carefully with scissors with only a little stretching, but then I encountered the next problem.  The plates are protected inside the vinyl cover by a blue film.
Pueen Encore Collection Packaging

I'm not sure how Pueen expected us to remove the film without destroying the vinyl sleeve.  As you can see, even after carefully removing the film, the sleeve is badly stretched.
Pueen Encore Collection Packaging

So, yeah, I'm calling the packaging on this one a fail.  As you may have noticed in the post preview picture, I ended up cutting the sleeves off of all of my plates.  They just aren't practical.  Even if they didn't stretch out of shape, I can see them collecting polish and limiting the direction you can scrape.

The great news is that the plates themselves are fabulous!  The designs are quite nice, though some elements are similar to those in the Buffet collection.  The back sides of the plates are less polished than the front, but it doesn't impact the images at all.  I only found one spot on one plate that gave me touch of trouble, but a second attempt with a different scrape direction cleared it right up.  Want to see closeups of the plates and my test stamps?  These are the photos I left a little large so you can click them to blow them up and see the details better.  The photos speak for themselves, so I'll shut up and let them.  ;)

Pueen SE01 A and B

Pueen SE01 A and B Test Stamps

Pueen SE02 A and B

Pueen SE02 A and B Test Stamps

Pueen SE03 A and B

Pueen SE03 A and B Test Stamps

Pueen SE04 A and B

Pueen SE04 A and B Test Stamps

I just realized that some of the test stamps are upside down.  Sorry about that!  But I think they still show how the images transfer so I'm going to leave them.

What do you think of the Pueen Encore Collection?  Do you need it in your stamping arsenal?

~Michelle

*This post uses Amazon Affiliate links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.
All items featured in this post were purchased by me.
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Bundle Monster Gel Polish Beneath It All Collection

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Hello Loves!  I was poking around on Bundle Monster's website a few weeks back and something caught my eye - they have a line of gel polishes.  I thought about them but passed them up initially.  Then someone mentioned the Bundle Monster gels in one of the polish groups on Facebook and I decided to check them out on Amazon.  Well, I discovered the Bundle Monster Beneath It All Colletion - A Trio of Thermal Gels!  Since I broke down and bought them, you know I just have to show them to you!

Bundle Monster Gel Polish Beneath It All Collection Review

Before we get to the swatches, I how about a quick review?  These gels are a little different than the other brands I am used to.  They are quite thick in consistency, which makes them both easy and difficult to apply.  Easy because they don't shrink or pool, but difficult because you do have to work the gel on the nail a bit to get thin coats and even glitter dispersion.  That's not a negative to me but something worth noting.

One bonus is that they are also LED compatible, which is nice with such a low price point!  Most budget gels are UV only as best I can tell from their descriptions online.

Another point worth noting is the scent.  They have a strong odor to them that I noticed right away.  Most all gel polish has a scent, but I'm so used to it that I don't notice anymore.  These, however, I noticed right off the bat.  So if you are sensitive to strong odors they might not be a good fit.

Ready for some swatches?  I thought so!  Let's start with my least favorite of the trio and work our way up to my favorite.  But first, a disclaimer: my light box gets a bit warm, so I had to use water to force the change between warm and cold.  These gels change on their own incredibly well.  I wore Lady Incognito this week and it was constantly changing indoors.  Interestingly, I also was reminded that my hands are rarely the same temperature so my manicure didn't match from one hand to the other the majority of the time.  lol  Also, due to using water to force the change, my hands are a bit waterlogged in the photos.  So excuse the excess water.  ;)

Ok, ok, the swatches.  Revived Reality is a pink when warm and a dark, chocolate brown when cold.  During natural transition, the pink turns a bit muddy.  Like all of the gels in the Beneath It All Collection, Revived Reality is a crelly finish that is loaded with varying sizes of silver glitter.
Bundle Monster Thermal Gel Polish Revived Reality Swatch

Since I'm home with a sick little boy who is mostly sleeping, I put together some fun collages.  Want to see them?  Here's Revived Reality in all of it's phases.  :)
Bundle Monster Thermal Gel Polish Revived Reality Swatch

Ready for another?  Galaxy Traveler is a gorgeous medium blue when warm and a deep, royal purple when cold.  This one is also a crelly finish that is packed with the same silver glitters.  It reminds me a lot of Gel II Shark Bite, but the glitter really makes it spectacular.
Bundle Monster Thermal Gel Polish Galaxy Traveler

Ready for the cutesy collage for Galaxy Traveler?
Bundle Monster Thermal Gel Polish Galaxy Traveler Swatch

Finally, my favorite of the trio and the gel I'm still wearing is Lady Incognito.  This is a beautiful, white crelly base when warm that shifts to a dark pink when cold.  The silver glitters are just awesome in both phases, but I seriously need a gel that looks like the warm phase all the time!  I don't usually like polishes that show a visible nail line, but this one just speaks to me.  The natural color shift is much softer than the harsh lines caused by the forced water shift in the photo below.  I've been trying to capture it, but the warmth from my light box just kills it every time.
Bundle Monster Thermal Gel Polish Lady Incognito Swatch

Here's the collage for Lady Incognito that shows the different phases.  I did manage to capture the gradient effect of the color shift in the transition photo in the collage.  How could I not love this one?
Bundle Monster Thermal Gel Polish Lady Incognito Swatch

So there they are - the Bundle Monster Beneath It All Collection of Thermal Gels.  Now that I've shown you the photos, here's the rest of the review.  I wore Lady Incognito over Couture Base Coat and used Couture Top Coat.  It wore nicely with this combo with minimal tip wear.  

Couture is known for easy removals and it is my go-to base and top combo.  My usual soak off with Couture base, color and top is around 10 minutes.  Lady Incognito took a bit longer to remove - clocking in at 20 minutes.  I don't know if this is due to the thicker layers caused by the thick consistency of the gel or if it was the formula of the gel itself.  It did soak off clean for me, though.  So I'm not complaining and will wear these again.  Plus the colors are really fun!

What do you think?  Are these budget gels something you would try?  I typically shy away from the budget gels since I can't verify the quality and ingredients, but these thermals were just screaming at me.  I have been pleased with the quality of other Bundle Monster products I have purchased in the past, so I gave these a shot.  Aside from the strong odor of the uncured gel, I'm happy with them overall.  With that said, if you have experienced an allergic reaction to gel polish in the past, I would use caution with this brand since the ingredients are not listed anywhere that I could find.  I'm assuming they are not 3 free.  :)

~Michelle

*This post uses Amazon Affiliate Links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Simply Studded (A BPS Review)

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Born Pretty Store Crackle Stud Review

Hello Loves.  Today's mani is a simple one, but I absolutely love it.  I'm such a sucker for green and the green studs from the 3mm Crackle Leopard Mini Stud Wheel that Born Pretty Store sent me for review were the perfect accents.

I seriously adore these studs, which is crazy for me.  I'm not a huge fan of animal prints in general, but these don't really look like animal prints to me at all.  They remind me more of a marbled finish.  The black and gold and the black and white are the only two that could be animal print in my mind.  The wheel comes with 4 different colors in two different styles each - round and square.  I took a closeup of the 8 different studs.  They are 3mm studs, so they don't lay completely flat on my nails, but that's the curse of deep c-curves, I suppose.
http://www.manictalons.com/2014/07/simply-studded-bsg-review.html

The only down side to these studs is that they aren't reusable.  The finish is not acetone friendly, so they go from cute little speckled studs to plain silver studs during soak off.  Honestly, though, they're so affordable that it isn't a deterrent for me like it would be with some of my more expensive nail art pieces.

Back to the mani.  The base I chose for this mani is a new one-step gel called PurJoi that hasn't been released on the market yet, but is coming very soon.  The color is called Life.  Stay tuned for a full review of this line as soon as they officially launch.  The black for the accent nail is Couture Gel Polish in Little Black Dress.
Born Pretty Store Crackle Leopard Studs

Born Pretty Store has a large selection of stud wheels to choose from.  If these aren't quite your style, I'm sure at least one of their other wheels will tickle your fancy.  (Wow...I heard my grandmother in my head when I said that! lol)  Be sure to check out some of Born Pretty Store's other nail art items too!  Use code MANYX31 for 10% off and free shipping. 

~Michelle

*The studs featured in this post were provided by Born Pretty Store for my honest review.  This post uses Born Pretty Store and Amazon Affiliate links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.
 
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Monday, July 14, 2014

I'm Guest Posting at Chickettes Again!

Hello Loves!  Andrea from Chickettes is at Cosmoprof NA in Las Vegas getting the scoop on what's headed our way in the nail community from our favorite brands, so I'm throwing some glitter around on her blog again today!  Head on over to Chickettes to see this floral glitter manipulation mani in full color and learn which products I used.  :)

Gel Polish and Glitter Flowers Preview

While you're there, be sure to follow Chickettes on Facebook and Instagram to see Andrea's reports live from Cosmoprof.  I've been texting with her since she arrived in Vegas, and I promise you're not going to want to miss her updates!

~Michelle

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Friday, July 11, 2014

I'm Dreaming of Sun, Sand and Something Tropical!

Hello Loves!  I have a super fun summer mani to show you today.  This one started out at midnight on a Saturday night and had me cursing by 1:00 am, but the end result is fabulous if I do say so myself!  I had originally planned to do an Independence Day manicure when I started, but it took on a life of it's own and I just went with it.
Tropical Flowers Manicure, Revel Nail Gel Polish Kodie, Couture Gel Polish

I started with a base of two coats of Revel Nail Gel Polish in Kodie (swatched here).  I adore this frosty blue!  I then free-handed the white petals with Couture Ooh La La French (swatched here).  Once those were cured, I went back with a super fine detail brush and added the red accents to the flowers with Couture Fierce (swatched here).  This is the part that had me cursing.  Adding fine details with a brush the width of an eyelash to the nails on my dominant hand was quite the challenge!  I finished the first hand in 30 minutes.  The second hand took me an hour and a half (including breaks to make a pot of coffee and find a few toothpicks to hold my eyelids open).  Was it worth it?  I think so.  I wore this one for a week and received dozens of compliments on it.
Tropical Flowers Manicure, Revel Nail Gel Polish Kodie, Couture Gel Polish

Want to see a closeup of the flowers?  Yes?  No?  I'm super proud of them, so I'm going to show you either way.  lol 
Tropical Flowers Nail art, Gel Polish

I honestly think the only way I could love this mani more is if I had a beach to wear it to that week.  This girl needs a vacation with sun and sand!

~Michelle

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ASP Gel Polish Sizzlin' Summer Collection

Hello Loves!  I was poking around in Sally Beauty Supply the other day and the new ASP Gel Polish Sizzlin' Summer Collection caught my eye.  I couldn't resist picking it up to show you!
ASP Gel Polish Sizzlin Summer Collection Swatches

ASP Gel Polish is a brand that I haven't featured very much.  I have worn it in the past and like the brand, but the colors in their basic line just haven't wowed me.  This collection, on the other hand, is more my style.  The Sizzlin' Summer Collection consists of four summer shades: a blue, a purple, a coral, and a pink.

First up is Coral Cove.  The name is a bit misleading on this one.  I would consider it more of a muddy pink than a coral.  While it's not quite visible in the photo below, Coral Cove has a very subtle shimmer.  It shows most on the pinkie nail.  It applied nicely and is opaque in 2-3 coats.  I wanted this one to be a little brighter to go with the others in the collection, but it is a nice shade.
ASP Gel Polish Coral Cove Swatch

Alluring Azure is an incredible blue that instantly made me think of a swimming pool.  It has amazing depth for a pure cream.  Application was flawlessly smooth on this one.  It is opaque in two coats - two of my thin coats, which means it may be opaque in one for others.  Of course, I swatched three anyway.  This photo doesn't begin to do this color justice!  I seriously didn't want to take it off to swatch the others.
ASP Gel Polish Alluring Azure Swatch

Tangerine Burst is a very close second to Alluring Azure for being my favorite in this collection.  This is the perfect reddish orange cream.  Like Alluring Azure, it is opaque in two thin coats for me, which means it may be a one coater for others.  I swatched three here for consistency as usual.
ASP Gel Polish Tangerine Burst Swatch

The final shade in the Sizzlin' Summer collection is Berry Delicious.  Berry Delicious is a bright, red toned purple with an almost jelly finish.  Sadly, this one fell short of the others in the collection.  Application was difficult and streaky.  Even after 3 coats, there is still significant VNL.  I really, really, really wanted this one to be a creamy gel like the other three.  The color is such a lovely shade.
ASP Gel Polish Berry Delicious Swatch

What do you think of this ASP collection?  I was very happy to see that ASP finally released colors outside of their basic line.  While Berry Delicious let me down, the other three make me a very happy girl!  I hope they continue to release new collections like this one in the future.  This line is quite affordable at $8.99 each for Sally Beauty Club members, and I love having it as another option for gel that I can purchase locally.

~Michelle

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Sultry, Studded Mani with IBD Just Gel Scarlett Obsession

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Hello Loves. A few months ago, I received a package from a friend with this little beauty inside: IBD Just Gel Scarlett Obsession. This one has been on my wish list for a while, so it was a pleasant surprise! Thanks Sarah Jane!  I couldn't resist pairing it with a little bit of stamping and a few studs and crystals.
IBD Scarlett Obsession, Messy Mansion, Crystal Manicure

This mani was inspired by Kim's masterpieces at Ten Little Canvases, though it's no where near as creative as her designs!  She has inspired me so much with her stud and crystal placement manicures.

Scarlett Obsession is a gorgeous, dark, seductive red shimmer that positively glows from within. Application was quite nice. The polish is densely pigmented and is opaque in two-three coats.
IBD Just Gel Polish Scarlett Obession Swatch

I then stamped the ring finger with this incredible script image from the Messy Mansion Scriptorium Plate (MM 24) in Mundo de Unas Black.  For the center accent nail, I created the design with the small golf leaf studs and tiny round studs from In The Nail Room and an SS6 crystal from Ebay.  I added gold leaf studs to the other nails as well to tie it all together.  I'm having so much fun with these super small studs from In The Nail Room.  They're just so versatile!
IBD Scarlett Obsession, Messy Mansion, Crystal Manicure

Want to see a close up of the stud and crystal accent nail?  I'm really pleased with how this one turned out.  :)  Sadly, it is so shiny and blingy that it freaked out my camera.  I couldn't get a crisp shot because the camera kept trying to focus on the light reflections.
IBD Scarlett Obsession, Studded Nail Art

What do you think of Scarlett Obsession?  Is it your kind of color?

~Michelle

*This post uses Amazon, Ebay and In The Nail Room affiliate links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

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Hello Loves!  Happy Independence Day to all of my US readers!
Red white and blue manicure

I have worn a few designs over the past few weeks, and I couldn't choose which one to show you!  So I'm going to show them all.  :) 

The first mani is a simple vertical gradient with Couture Gel Polish Fierce, Ooh La La French, and After Midnight.  I then topped it with KBShimmer Red, White and Blue-tiful.  Very simple, but pretty, I think.
Red White and Blue Gradient Manicure, Couture Gel Polish, KBShimmer

The second design for this Independence Day is a fun, grunge look.  I started with an alternating base of Couture Royalty and Fierce.  I then used a small detail brush to add random strokes with Ooh La La French.  I finished it off with these star shaped studs that I have had in my stash for so long that I have forgotten where I got them.
Indpenedence Day Nails 2014, Gel Polish, Couture Gel Polish

The final design for this year is a crystal creation.  I started with a base of Couture Fierce and Ooh La La French.  I then used my ss4 crystals from Ebay to spell out USA and for a few accents on the other nails.  This one may be my favorite of the three!  I always think of bling and sparkle around the 4th of July!
Red White and Blue Crystal Manicure, Couture Gel Polish

Which design is your favorite? 

I hope everyone has a great and safe day full of family, friends and fun!  We're looking forward to taking the boys to the parade this morning and hope to catch some fireworks tonight.

~Michelle

*This post uses Ebay Affiliate Links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.
 

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Little Bit of Glitz and Sparkle

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Hello Loves.  Sometimes a girl just needs to sparkle!  I was in the mood for a little (or a lot) of bling, so I paired a few different products for this glitzy and girly manicure.
Crystal Manicure

I started with a base of Revel Nail Gel Polish in Fierce. Check out my full Revel Nail review here to see a full swatch of this color.  I then topped the thumb, index and pinkie nails with FingerPaints Gel Polish in Chica Chica Boom from the Taste of the Tropics collection. 

For the accent nails, I combined SS4 and SS5 crystals from Born Pretty Store with these awesomely tiny studs from In The Nail Room.  I've been searching for teeny tiny studs like these for a while now, so I was super thrilled to finally find them.  Be sure to check out the selections at In The Nail Room.  They have some incredible Japanese nail art pieces, including these 1mm studs and teeny silver leaf studs.  Here's another shot that shows the pieces a bit better.  They are a little pricey ($2.50 for 25 or $7.50 for 90), but these little babies are 100% reusable!  I usually soak off half way, then remove the pieces from the gel and re-wrap.  Any gel left on the studs can be removed by soaking them in acetone.
Gel Polish and Crystal Manicure

One more photo - just for fun.  I'm always amazed at how Tammy from OhMyGoshPolish manages to juggle so many polish bottles in her pictures.  So I tried it with the two colors I used in this mani.  Needless to say, I failed.  lol  This is not a graceful pose at all, but it was fun to try so I'm sharing it anyway.
Gel Polish and Crystal Manicure

~Michelle

*This post uses Born Pretty Store and In The Nail Room affiliate links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.

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