Friday, March 6, 2015

Revel Nail Up2You Gel Polish Review

Press Sample Affiliate Links

Revel Nail Up2You Review

Hello Loves.   I have a new product from Revel Nail to show you today called Up2You.  Up2You converts nail polish to gel polish one bottle at a time.  Up2You is a little different than the other system I reviewed a few months ago.  Instead of mixing a little at a time, Up2You is designed to create a full bottle of gel polish out of your favorite nail polish.  It is also a 2 step system in that it does not require a base coat.

So how does it work?  The bottle of Up2You is a full sized 0.5 fl oz bottle but contains only 0.25 fl oz of mixing solution.  It is a higher viscosity gel than we are used to seeing with gel polish, which allows it to mix with the polish without diluting the color as much.
Revel Nail Up2You

The half filled bottle takes the guess work out of mixing.  Simply add 0.25 fl oz of your favorite polish to the bottle and shake!  (0.25 fl oz of polish will fill the bottle just up to where the neck joins with the base)
Revel Nail Up2You

Sounds easy right?  Yep, it pretty much is.  Now, you might be wondering about the shaking part.  The Up2You bottle has shaking balls inside to help mix the polish with the gel.  And there is a secret to the shake.  Trust me, this part is important.  After replacing the Up2You cap, hold the bottle upside down for 30 seconds to start the mixing process.  Next, roll the bottle for about 45 seconds, gradually increasing the speed.  Now shake it in an X pattern.  Listen for the mixing balls.  If you don't hear them, hold it upside down again and roll it again.  Once the polish starts to mix with the gel, the balls should move freely.  Trust me on this one, if you skip these steps it won't mix right.  Even my Robart Shaker didn't mix it well without the first two steps, and I swear by that thing.  ;)

Check out Revel Nail's Step by Step instruction video below.  It shows exactly how to do each mixing step.  :)


One you have mixed your favorite polish with the Up2You, the rest is basic gel polish application.
  • Gently buff the nail to remove the shine
  • Cleanse the nail with isopropyl alcohol or prep
  • Apply one thin coat of your Up2You mix.  Cure for 30 seconds in LED or 2 minutes in UV.
  • Apply a second coat of your Up2You mix.  Cure for 30 seconds in LED or 2 minutes in UV.
  • Apply a thin coat of Soak Off Gel Top Coat.  Cure for 30 seconds in LED 2 minutes in UV.
  • Wipe the nail with isopropyl alcohol or gel cleanser to remove the tacky layer. 
  • Enjoy your new gel polish mani!

Ready to see her in action?  The most difficult part for me was deciding which of my polishes to convert to gel.  As you know, 90% of my regular polishes are indies.  I stood here looking at my rack for a long time trying to choose which ones to convert.  I finally decided on Girly Bits Seriously Sassy and KBShimmer Up and Cunning.  These are two that I remember thinking "Dang I wish I had this as gel polish!" when I swatched them. 

Up first is Seriously Sassy.  Seriously Sassy is a thicker polish and is loaded with chunky shimmer or micro glitter.  It did quite well when mixed with Up2You.
Girly Bits Serious Sassy Converted to Gel Polish with Up2You
Girly Bits Serious Sassy Converted to Gel Polish with Up2You

But how does it compare to the original Girly Bits Seriously Sassy shade?  I removed the gel polish from two nails and applied the regular polish to show you.  The color is slightly diluted, but only very slightly.  My husband couldn't tell the difference between the gel polish and regular polish nails.  :)
Girly Bits Seriously Sassy and Up2You Comparison

The second color I chose to test is KBShimmer Up and Cunning.  Because, well, you know I had to try it on a holo!  I'm still dreaming of the day one of my favorite brands creates a true linear holographic gel polish.  ;)  The results with Up and Cunning are a bit different than my results with Girly Bits Seriously Sassy.  The formula for Up and Cunning is a little thinner, which is typical for holographic polishes.  The thinner base helps the holo pigments pop.
KBShimmer Up and Cunning Converted to Gel Polish with Up2You
KBShimmer Up and Cunning Converted to Gel Polish with Up2You

The Up2You version of Up and Cunning still has a nice rainbow, but it is not as strong as the pure KBShimmer version.  The color is also diluted a bit.  Here's the comparison photo.  One more coat of the Up2You version would improve the shade and depth, I think.  But I wanted to stay consistent and used two coats.
KBShimmer Up and Cunning and Up2You Comparison

So, how does it wear?  Well...eh...yeah...I'm not the best person to ask about that one.  We already know from my original Revel Nail Gel Polish Review that the standard Revel Nail base coat doesn't work for me.  So it's not a surprise that this system doesn't wear well for me either.  It does, however, wear beautifully over the custom base that Revel Nail created for my Teflon nails.  So when it comes to wear, it depends on your nails.  If your nails are typically dry and porous, it will likely wear beautifully for you.  If they are super smooth and flexible, you might want to use your favorite base gel under the color mix.

Here's the part I know you've been waiting for - my honest opinion.  Because you know I'm going to give it to you.  ;)  I love that this system is rather fool proof.  If you can pour polish from one bottle to another, you can create the perfect mix.  There's no guessing and trying to judge the size of drops and puddles.  Having it in the bottle also eliminates the issue I found with mix-as-you-go systems of the mix turning goopy half way through your mani.  The bottle keeps the solvents in the polish from evaporating so the consistency of the mix is stable. The addition of the mixing balls was genius!  I know of several gel polish brands that could learn a few things from Revel Nail on that one.

The only thing I'm not sure that I like is the size of the bottle.  This is the one time I find myself wishing for a mini-bottle option.  While there is definitely a need to create a full bottle of some polishes in a salon setting (hello holos!), I don't know that I would need a full bottle of most polishes.  There are so many gorgeous options in gel polish without having to mix.  Revel has 40 amazing gel polish shades of their own with new releases coming soon (and I do adore their gel polish line).  So I see it more as a special occasion thing that might not need a full bottle.  But then again, mixing a whole bottle isn't too big of a deal for the price.  Unless, of course, you're neurotic like me and it breaks your heart to see your bottles of regular polish that you almost never wear because they aren't gel polish sitting half full on your shelf because you converted them.  Yeah, I know...I'm strange.  But it's endearing, right?  lol

So...I did a little thinking.  The bottle of Up2You is filled half way.  That makes the perfect mix 50/50 gel to polish.  I took my third bottle of Up2You and started mixing single servings of color.  It works beautifully, though it does put the guess work back into the mix.  But hey look...options.  :)  Just be sure to label your bottle if you start mixing one off colors.  You wouldn't want to get it confused with a new bottle and mess up a mix later down the road.  I should also note that when mixing a little at a time, you only want to mix enough for one hand (if you're DIY...you could probably mix for a full mani on a client since there's less down time between hands).  The solvents in the polish will start to evaporate as you are applying it and it will get goopy.  
Revel Nail Up2You Single Serving Mix
Revel Nail Up2You Single Serving Mix

What do you think?  Do you have a few bottles of polish that you want to convert to gel?  If so, Up2You would be a great new addition to your stash.  Revel Nail offers Up2You in several packages, ranging from one bottle for $6.49 to a 3 pack plus top coat for $22.90 to 18 bottles with 2 bottles of top coat for $109.99.  You can't beat those prices with a stick.  ;)

~Michelle

*Up2You was provided by Revel Nail for my honest review.  This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.  Purchases through those links generate commissions that help fund this site.  All other links are courtesy links and do not benefit ManicTalons.com.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Swatches by Color: New Swatch Gallery Format

Hello Loves!  As I mentioned in Monday's post, I have been working on a new Swatch Gallery format.  My regular galleries (by brand) are still alive and well, but they have a new baby sister who I believe you will all love even more!  Many of you expressed an interest in a gallery by color instead of brand, so here she is:  Introducing my "Swatches by Color" gallery!

http://www.manictalons.com/p/swatch-gallery-by-color-thumbnails.html

A few details:  I cropped all of my gel polish swatches to a thumbnail of the color (usually the middle nail from the swatch photo).  I then arranged them as best I could by color regardless of brand (creams first, then shimmers within each color family...because it was just too danged difficult to organize them all together!).  If you are visiting from a PC, the brand and color will pop up when you hover over each thumbnail.  Sadly, this doesn't work on mobile devices.  But no worries for my mobile viewers - the thumbnails are also linked to the original blog posts where I show the full swatches and details of the polish.  :)  Note: this gallery includes every gel polish I have swatched since the creation of Manic Talons, so the photo quality and lighting will vary some.  Oh, and just a fun little fact...I have swatched 385 gel polishes and 79 regular polishes so far for a total of 464 swatches posted in just a year and a half!  (proud moment...lol)

I have added a link to this new gallery format on my Swatch Galleries landing page so that it will be easy to find (the link to that is located in my menu bar above).   At this point, only the gel polish swatches have been converted to the new format.  I'm working on the RNP swatches and will add that page soon.

I'm not going to lie...she was a beast to build.  Many, many hours were spent editing photos and coding HTML to make it happen.  It was a labor of love...for you!  I sincerely hope you find it to be a useful resource.  If you love the new gallery and would like to say "Thank you", I'm still desperately seeking support for my nail school journey.  ;)  Between donations and my destash (round 2 is coming soon, I promise), you have helped me survive for two months.  But I'm not quite there yet.  I'm at only 30% of my total goal with several months left to go.  Every little bit helps!  And let's be honest...once I'm licensed I'll have tons more opportunities to show you even more swatches and nail art.  ;)


Finally, Manic Talons may be my little slice of the internet, but y'all, I do this for you.  I started this blog as a resource for other gel polish lovers after being frustrated by the lack of swatches available.  So please keep the suggestions coming!  If you want to see swatches of specific brands, collections or colors, shoot me an email and I'll try to make it happen.  If there's a type of resource page you would find useful, tell me!  If you have an idea of how I can make this site an even better resource for pros and DIYers alike, email me!  I am always open to suggestions and welcome your questions and comments.  :)

Speaking of swatches, I have some gorgeous gel polish swatches coming your way.  I'm swatching like a mad woman over here to get caught back up after last week's illnesses.  So stay tuned for new beauties and reviews from BMC, Madam Glam, Revel Nail and Akzentz just to name a few!

~Michelle

*A super huge "Thank You" to Angela Z. for helping me think through the order of the colors and flow of the gallery itself.


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Monday, March 2, 2015

The Nail School Chronicle: Week 13


Hello Loves.  It's time again for a nail school update, and I've got nuthin'.  Sheesh, this past week has been horrible.  I guess it's only fitting, being the 13th week and all.  Not that I'm superstitious or anything.

Let me back up a second.  School wasn't horrible.  At least, I don't think it was.  I'm not really sure seeing as I wasn't there.  Sigh.  Where do I even start?  So Bryant was sick last Friday.  Doctor said it wasn't the flu, but similar.  Cough, sniffles, fever, body aches, and stomach issues.  Lovely, right?  Of course when you have young kids you quickly learn that they one thing they are ALWAYS willing to share is their germs.  By Saturday, I had the cough.  By Monday, it had developed into full blown bronchitis.  After my Bronner Brother's Show adventure, I could barely breathe on Tuesday (more on that in a minute).  Tuesday night William came down with the not quite flu with stomach symptoms, which kept me out of class Wed.  Thursday was a snow day in Georgia (in other words, there was a small threat of snow and ice that shut down the schools - turned out to be nothing more than rain).  By Friday William's fever spiked again and I caught the stomach part of the deal.  Sounds like fun, huh?  Needless to say, this is also why I missed Friday's post.  :(

So what DID I get done this week?  Well, despite the bronchitis, I did make it to the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show.  THAT was an adventure!  And this is the only photo I managed to snap while I was there.

See, what happened was...I am the most navigationally challenged person you have ever met (and yes, I sometimes make up words).  I'm not even kidding.  I could get lost on the way to the mailbox at the end of the driveway.  Before GPS, I never ventured far on my own.  Sure, I could get to most places in town, but only if I started on a certain road in the middle of town.  So I often drove ten times farther than I needed just so I would be at the correct starting point.  Anyway, GPS came along and I started venturing out.  Of course, every now and then my GPS fails me too.  But I digress.  I managed to make it from Athens to downtown Atlanta with only a few minor detours.  When I got to downtown Atlanta, all hell broke loose.  I switched from GPS to following the directions on the show website that told me where to park.  Sure, look for the "Red Parking Deck" on such and such road (I forget the name now, but it was probably Peachtree something or another...we are talking about Atlanta, you know).  Turns out such and such road was blocked off and apparently had been for a while.  I spent 45 minutes circling Centennial Olympic Park looking for a stupid Red Parking Deck.  I finally called my husband in tears and he tried to help me navigate from afar.  You can imagine how THAT turned out.  I finally gave up and parked in the "Blue Parking Deck".  Meh, close enough...

Or not.  Navigating by car is bad enough.  I'm even worse on foot!  So I'm back on the phone with my husband, still in tears, and he's trying to guide me on foot from this random blue deck to the World Congress Center.  Holy Smokes!  If you've ever gotten turned around on foot in downtown Atlanta, you know how frustrating it can be.  Everything is right there.  The GA Aquarium, the Coca Cola Museum, the College Football Hall Of Fame, and a ton of other touristy places...but I have no clue how anyone ever gets to any of them.  So an hour later, I FINALLY find the World Congress Center.  I'm not going to lie.  Keith didn't get me there.  My sense of direction didn't get me there.  Nope, I saw two well dressed ladies with fabulous hair headed down the sidewalk with rolling suitcases.  I took a chance and followed them.  They looked like they were headed to a beauty show.  And if they weren't, they were certainly headed somewhere fun!  lol

As for the actual show, I only found three nail booths and they were so packed I could barely get close enough to tell what was up.  So I wandered around for a little while taking in the sights and called it a day.  Wouldn't you know it, I got lost on the way home too.  Grrrr.  Monday was NOT my day, but it certainly set the stage for the rest of the week. 

So, that's my summary of Week 13 of nail school.  Between holding sick babies and being sick myself, I did manage to do something kind of fun - if you consider writing hour after hour of html code fun.  If you follow me on facebook, you might remember me asking a few weeks back if you would be interested in a new swatch gallery by color instead of brand.  Since I had several positive responses, I decided to build it.  It's not quite finished, but close.  Very close.  As in so close I hope to launch it this Wed!  So here's a screenshot collage of my progress.  I hope you're as excited by it as I am.  Goodness knows I way underestimated the amount of work it would take to build!  I didn't realize I have swatched over 500 colors in the year and a half since I started this blog.  All of those thumbnails are crops of my actual swatch photos, organized as best I could by color.  Each one links to the blog post where you can see full swatch photos and details for the colors. 


So that's my recap of last week.  I'm praying this week will be better.  Gosh knows I can't wait to get back to class and away from clingy sick kids.  I can handle being sick myself, but being sick and having sick kids at the same time is a curse I wouldn't wish on anyone!  I have a ton of stuff to show you and now that I'm feeling better, I hope to get my swatch on after class this week.  I have the Revel Up2You review to finish, plus three new Bundle Monster gel polish collections to swatch (two of them are thermal collections!), some of the new XL Bundle Monster plates to show you, and I have some really fun watercolor pencil art in the works.  Now if I could just squeeze a few more hours into each day...

~ Michelle

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Revel Nail Acrylic System Review

Press Sample

Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

Hello Loves!  I have a different type of review for you today.  As you know, I'm currently in Nail School and learning to work with acrylic.  I may have mentioned that we use OPI Absolute at school.  I may not have mentioned that I've been exploring other brands for when I graduate.  Absolute is ok, but there are things about it that frustrate me - mainly the white.  It is chalky, it gunks your brush and it turns your monomer cloudy.  Revel Nail recently released their Acrylic System, so I requested a sample to try.  I was a little surprised when I opened the box to see that Keeli sent me the full line!

The New Revel Nail Acrylic System

Like the soak of gel polish line, when Revel Nail created their acrylic line, they aimed for high quality products at an affordable price.  The line is quite robust with several different packages ranging from trials to full salon sizes.  They have you covered in terms of products too:
  • 4 Sculpting Powder (polymer) options - Clear, French White, French Pink and Revel Blush
  • Sculpting Monomer
  • Antifungal Dehydrator
  • Primer
  • No Lines (to help eliminate fill lines)
  • Acrylic Sealer (air dry)
  • Tack-Free Gel Topcoat
  • Cuticle Oil - Freesia or Tea Tree Oil

Of course, I gave the system a try, and I'm pleased with it so far.  The polymers are quite fine and the white is a breeze to work with.  I sculpted a set of pink and whites and had no issues at all with the white gunking my brush or clouding my monomer.  I found that it sets at a medium speed, which gave me ample time to work with the product without having to chase it around on my nails.  This is HUGE for a student like me.  I tried to get a picture of the French Pink Sculpting Powder for you, but it's so fine my camera didn't want to focus.  I had to use an orangewood stick so the camera could focus on it.  It feels very silky between my fingers - definitely finer than the Absolute I've been working with.  I noticed right off that the finer powder leads to less buffing on the final nail.
Closeup of Revel Nail French Pink Sculpting Powder

Here's a shot of my sculpted pink and whites before I added the 3D rose.  I used French White and Revel Blush.  Revel Blush is the perfect shade for my skin tone!  It provides moderate cover while still looking natural.  I love that!  About that ring finger nail...you see, what happened was...my form slipped.  Yeah, I know...newbie problems.  I had to fight with it to get it back into place, so the smile line is a bit off on that nail.  Oops.  But hey, a cute 3D rose took care of the smile line.  ;)
Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

Ok, so Clear is clear.  French White is bright white.  Revel Blush is a nude pink.  What about French Pink?  French Pink is a transparent pink.  I did a few quick overlays (and I do mean quick - don't judge lol) on a mannequin hand to show you the difference between Revel Blush and French Pink.  I would call Revel Blush more of a French Manicure shade and French Pink more of an American Manicure shade, but both are quite natural.  The first finger shows you the full cover tip I used to prep the hand so you can see the base under the acrylic.  The French Pink appears more pink over a natural nail bed.
Revel Blush and French Pink Sculpting Powder Color Comparison

The overlays on the mannequin hand above are sealed with the Acrylic Sealer.  The Acrylic Sealer provides a nice shine if you aren't lazy like me and actually buff the finished nail smooth.  The sculpted manicure on my hand is sealed with the Tack-Free Gel Topcoat.  The Gel Topcoat is UV only, so no LED cure, but that's pretty standard with UV sealers.  Want to see another shot of my sculpts?
Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

Allow me to share a few thoughts on the Revel Cuticle Oils.  They are very simple oils - the Tea Tree oil has only two ingredients: mineral oil and tea tree oil.  Tea Tree Oil is known for it's healing and anti-microbial characteristics.  The Freesia oil has three ingredients: mineral oil, freesia refracta extract (known as a skin conditioner) and color.  The Freesia oil smells amazing!

Ok, I know what you're thinking.  Mineral Oil?  Yep.  Mineral Oil.  Now, I know mineral oil has a bad reputation.  A quick google search will return some results that will make you wonder how the stuff is legal.  Let's take a minute to address the truth about mineral oil.  Cosmetic grade mineral oil is highly refined and safe to use on your skin.  Does it moisturize?  Nope.  Not exactly.  Mineral oil sits on top of the skin to form a protective barrier against moisture loss.  When combined with moisturizing ingredients like tea tree oil or freesia refracta extract, the result is a longer acting moisturizer.  If you need some heavy duty moisturizing, try layering one of these oils over a moisturizing cuticle treatment. Trust me, you'll be amazed.  Most of the moisturizing treatments out there lack ingredients that provide that barrier to lock the moisture in, so combining the two really amps up the effects.

By the way, have you ever had a paraffin treatment in a salon?  It's usually considered a luxury add-on service and is known for providing deep moisturizing to the hands or feet.  I personally love it.  What you might not know is that paraffin is another name for mineral oil.  Look it up if you don't believe me.  ;)

Yes, I know I got a little off topic there, so lets get back to the Revel Nail Acrylic System.  So far, I'm very impressed.  I'll have to report back on wear and durability.  I soaked this set off after a week.  I had no issues with lifting and it was holding up quite well.  I simply needed to remove it to swatch.  I'll do a clear set soon on my Cinderella hand so I can show you two week results.  Fair warning, though...it won't be pretty.  I'm far from ambidextrous.  I can polish my right hand without issue after years of practice, but my acrylic skills are certainly not to that level yet.  lol

Here's another shot of my sculpted pink and whites.  Other than that ring finger, I think my sculpting skills are improving.  :)
Sculpted Pink and White Acrylic Nails with Revel Nail Acrylic

If you're in the market for a new acrylic system, I strongly encourage you to check out the Revel Nail Acrylics.  They are high quality for a great price, and as any tech or tech in training knows, reducing expenses means more money in your pocket!  I'm seriously hating working with my Absolute now, and that's the honest truth.  I'm also super excited to see the Hard Gel line they have coming out in a few months.  If it's anything like the acrylic, I'm going to fall in love!  :)  Check out the Revel Nail Acrylic line here.

~Michelle

*The Revel Nail Acrylic System featured in this post was provided by Revel Nail for my honest review.  All links in this post are courtesy links and do not benefit ManicTalons.com.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Nail School Chronicle: Week 12


Hello Loves!  Ready for my recap of Week 12 of Nail School at GCI?  There's not a whole lot to say this week.   Monday was a holiday and we had ice at the beginning of the week so I missed Tuesday too.  The rest of the week was pretty busy with clients.  Of course, I didn't remember to get pictures of any of the manicures I finished.  Bummer, right?  Seems like I always forget when we get busy.  Between the weather at the beginning of the week and Bryant getting sick (and getting me sick) at the end of the week, I'm just happy to have survived at all.  So this post is going to be a little on the short side.  I apologize in advance if this post doesn't make sense.  I'm writing it through a NyQuil induced fog.  lol  It's been that kind of weekend.

We're working on the chapter on anatomy in theory right now.  We were given a project to go with the chapter - to build a model of a cell.  So, I sent Keith to the craft store to pick up the stuff to build a model.  Easy enough, right?  I'm thinking something like silicone and some do-dads to represent the various parts.  I sent him armed with this picture from the book.

Well, this is what I ended up with.  I couldn't even get a good picture thanks to the plastic wrap.  See, what happened was...he came back with a flower shaped mold, some pom poms, and some pipe cleaners.  But that's not all...he also came back with some goop stuff that turns to slime when you mix it with water.  It didn't exactly set up firm like I had in mind.  Instead it stayed the consistency of snot.  Ms. Vee (the night instructor) had a blast playing with it.  I think I got a good grade, but it's definitely an interesting representation.  And the moral of this story?  Be more specific or do your own shopping.  lol

Oh yeah, I did a new set of gel nails for my friend Angela on Monday.  Her last set turned into lift city.  I have no clue what happened there, but there was no saving them.  I ended up having to remove them and start over.  Here's what we came up with.  If you caught my review of the Bundle Monster Secret Garden collection plates last week, these nails might look familiar.  ;)  Sadly, these aren't holding up very well either.  She ripped one off on a frozen car door a few days after I put them on and two others have started to lift.  I'm totally stumped.  I'm confident that my prep and application are correct - it's the same method I use on my own nails and I don't have any issues with mine.  I'm going to try switching her to CND Brisa Lite later this week and see if it works better for her. 
Sculpted Gel Nails with Stamping

Moving on...I also changed my schedule this week.  Since we're having to cut back as much as possible, it occurred to me that I can save a good bit of money every week if I don't have to pay for after-school care for my oldest.  School is out at 2:30 and they give us until 3:30 to pick him up before we're charged.  So instead of going to school 4 days a week from 9:00 to 3:30, I'll now be going 5 days a week from 9:00 to 2:00.  Not only does it save money, but if I have to be out a day, I miss less hours this way.  Sucks to give up my day off, but I think this will work out better.  After a few weeks on this new schedule, we're going to set up a makeup schedule so I can get caught up on my hours.  Most likely it will be Monday evenings since that's the best day for Keith to get home early to pick up the boys. 

Speaking of money, I have a "Manic Talons Manicurist Dream Drive" update for you.  After factoring in the sales from Round 1 of my destash, I'm now at almost 30% of my goal!  Thank you so much for your support.  I seriously don't know what I would do without you.  I'm working on Round 2 of the destash and hope to post it soon. 

Of course, I still have 70% to go, so donations are still greatly appreciated.  I'll spare you the widget, but you can find my Go Fund Me account Here.  Oh, and there are still a few gel polishes left from the first round of my destash.  In case you missed it, you can see them in my Storenvy here.

I'm off to bed (it's Sunday evening as I'm writing this).  Tomorrow is a big day.  I'll be wandering around at the Bronner Bros International Beauty Show at the Georgia World Congress Center tomorrow.  :)  The exhibitor list appears to be pretty light on nails, but there are a few booths I'm looking forward to checking out.

Check back later in the week for a few Revel Nail reviews.  I have the Revel Nail Acrylic system to show you as well as the new Up2You system that allows you to convert nail polish to gel polish.  

P.S.  Don't forget to enter my awesome giveaway for a chance to win the Bio Seaweed Gel Vintage Garden Collection!  In case you missed it, you can enter here!

~Michelle
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Bundle Monster Secret Garden Stamping Plates Review

Press Sample Affiliate Links

Bundle Monster Stamping Plate Secret Garden Collection Review

Hello Loves!  I have the new Bundle Monster Secret Garden Collection stamping plates to show you today.  This is the newest collection of 25 plates from Bundle Monster, and it is different than any collection Bundle Monster has released in the past.  Not only is it primarily floral themed, but it's buffet style!  Y'all know how much I love my florals, so you can imagine how excited I am about this set.

Of course, I played around with the plates and have used them in a few manicures.  For the most part, I am really pleased with the collection.  The plates are the same size as the traditional Bundle Monster plates so they fit in my holders.  There are a few plates that don't feel cohesive to me, but they break apart easily if you want to use them in sections.  Pretty much all of the design sections are large enough for full nail coverage if you turn your stamper a bit to line them up.

I took photos of each plate to show you.  Wow is it difficult to take a photo of a shiny metal plate without getting a glare or catching yourself in the reflection!  I also did a test stamp from each plate and blew it up so you could see the detail.  In hind-sight, it probably would have made more sense to keep the test stamps at actual size, but I think this works ok.

I should point out that each of these are my first attempt with each plate.  No retries are pictured.  For the ones that didn't come out quite as crisp as I like on the first try, I was able to get most of them crisp by scraping in a different direction or varying the pressure when I scraped.  Some of the test stamps do a have a glare bouncing off of the polish from my light, but I think you can see the difference between glares and skips.  Shall we take a look?

Plate BM-701 is one of the plates that isn't very cohesive to me, but I love the skeleton keys and the flowers above them have great spacing for glitter or crystal placement.
Bundle Monster BM-701

BM-702 must have been designed with me in mind.  Seriously, a baby deer?  Foliage?  Flowers?  Vines?  Strawberries?  Ok, so you know I love my flowers and vines, but did you know that my son's nursery is decorated in baby deer?  And strawberries remind me of my grandmother - she collected them.  Yes, this plate is perfect for me!
Bundle Monster BM-702

BM-703 is another one that jumps out at me.  I adore the swirls and the vines.  Sadly, as you can see, the door and the birdie didn't transfer well for me on the first try.  I was able to get the bird to transfer but haven't been able to get the door as crisp as I would like yet.  I gave it a few tries and moved on.
Bundle Monster BM-703

BM-704 is more of a scene plate, which is really fun.
Bundle Monster BM-704

BM-705 speaks for itself.  Literally.  ;)
Bundle Monster BM-705

BM-706 is another that I struggled with on the first try.  The lanterns are a bit tricky.  The rest of the plate transfers nicely though (not pictured).  
Bundle Monster BM-706

Check out the detail in that bench from BM-707!  The scroll work is fabulous!  The bench image won't fit on one of my nails, but it can be split between two.
Bundle Monster BM-707

The peacock on BM-708 really makes me miss my long nails!  I might have to put my extensions back on just to do a mani with this image!  This is one of the pictures where my light is creating a glare on the stamping polish. 

Bundle Monster BM-708

BM-709 is loaded with florals.  The details in the top of the plate didn't show up well in the picture of the plate, but there are various different types of flowers and I think maybe grape clusters?
Bundle Monster BM-709

Ok, I'm not going to comment on every plate in the collection, but look...a duck!
Bundle Monster BM-710

Bundle Monster BM-711

Shhhhhh ;)
Bundle Monster BM-712

Bundle Monster BM-713

Bundle Monster BM-714

Bundle Monster BM-715

Bundle Monster BM-716

BM-717 is a gorgeous plate (I used it in a mani below), but the face is a bit large.  I can't break it across two nails without losing the effect and it won't fit on one nail.  I love the floral designs surrounding the face, though. 
Bundle Monster BM-717

BM-718 might be my new favorite butterfly plate.  I adore the scrolls in this one.  I used it in a mani below, but I didn't use the butterflies.  I'm saving those for warmer weather.
Bundle Monster BM-718

BM-719 confuses me a little.  I love the guitar and it makes for a beautiful plate, but I don't know how it could be used so that you are able to tell it is a guitar when on the nails.  With that said, I have a great idea for that head stock.  And I don't have to tell you that I love the scrolls and flowers surrounding the guitar.
Bundle Monster BM-719

BM-720 is another that makes me miss my long nails.  That bird is just adorable!
Bundle Monster BM-720

Bundle Monster BM-721

BM-722...so much going on in one plate!  I see apples up top, berries on the bottom, a furry woodland creature, but what is that in the upper left quadrant?  I can't figure it out to save my life, and I never was very good at ink blot tests. lol
Bundle Monster BM-722

BM-723 has an adorable line of kittens.  I used this one on a friend's daughter this past weekend.  I isolated the kittens by removing parts of the image from the stamper with an orange wood stick. 
Bundle Monster BM-723

BM-724 is a great plate for Easter.  Look, bunnies!  And a chair?  Not sure how those two fit together, but look!  Bunnies!
Bundle Monster BM-724

BM-725 is filled with koi and waterlilies.  It is a beautiful plate, but I had to fight with it to get the koi to transfer.  I've seen it used by others without issue, so its probably just me.
Bundle Monster BM-725

Ok, want to see some manis?  Y'all know I tend to gravitate toward simple stamping creations, usually with similar designs on every nail.  This collection makes that really easy to do without having every nail exactly the same.  I was able to pick and choose from various spots on the plates for similar but different looks on each nail.  Score!

First up is a simple design using the flowers that surround the face on BM-717.
Floral stamped nail art with Bundle Monster BM-717


My second mani uses the scrolls from the Butterfly Plate (BM-718).  And look, it's Cinderella.  Bless her heart, she does all the work and is rarely seen.  Yeah, she still doesn't know how to pose, but I figured she deserved a little attention.  Plus I didn't get a chance to finish this design on my right hand.  lol
Floral stamped nail art with Bundle Monster BM-718

This is the mani I mentioned where I isolated the kittens from BM-723.  The flowers are from the lower portion of BM-713.  Of course, these aren't my nails.  Nope, they belong to my friend's 8 year old daughter.  I love that this plate collection has images that fit on smaller nails too!
Stamped Flowers and Kittens with Bundle Monster BM-713 and BM-723

Finally, I used the scrolls and flowers from the Guitar plate (BM-719) as the finishing touch to my friend's new set of gel nails.  She loved them, and so do I.  :)
Floral Stamped Nail art with Bundle Monster BM-719

What do you think of this new buffet style stamping plate collection from Bundle Monster?  Do you need them in your collection as much as I did?  If so, you can pick them up on Bundle Monster's Website here or on Amazon here!

~Michelle


*The Secret Garden Stamping Plate Collection featured in this post was provided by Bundle Monster for my honest review. This post uses Amazon Affiliate Links.  Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.  All other links are courtesy links and do not benefit ManicTalons.com

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