Friday, April 24, 2015

Abstract with Madam Glam Plus Bonus Swatches

Press Sample

Madam Glam Gel Polish Swatches and Nail Art


Hello Loves! Where has this week gone? I swear, I woke up Tuesday morning, blinked, and it's Friday! Sheesh, I even missed a post this week. You know, because falling farther behind is just great, right? Oh well. It happens. We've been working on prepping for State Board at school this week, so I guess I just got sucked in and lost track of time. But I digress.

I have a little bit of abstract nail art and some more Madam Glam Gel Polish swatches for you today. Let's start with the art and work our way to the swatches. I'm not really sure what I was thinking with this one. I was going for wavy or curvy but I think I ended up with seaweed.  lol  I still really like how it turned out.  I just wish I could have captured the vibrancy of the colors a little better.  They're so freaking pretty!  Oh, and in case you couldn't guess from the title, I used all Madam Glam Gel Polishes in this mani.  ;)
Curvy Abstract Nail Art with Madam Glam

The base is a beautiful, bright blue called Aqua Blue (#169).  This perfect cream is opaque in two easy coats.  I adore this color.  It makes my heart smile.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Aqua Blue Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Aqua Blue Swatch

I then added random curvy lines with one of my absolute favorite shades.  Yep, that shade I hate to love...a teal green.
Curvy Abstract Nail Art with Madam Glam

This particular teal green is Madam Glam Sky is the Limit (#010).  Y'all know by now that my camera absolutely hates this shade of green.  I can't capture the vibrancy to save my life.  So you'll have to use your imagination a bit.  I promise, she's stunning.  Oh, and yes, she's two coats of perfection.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Sky is the Limit Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Sky is the Limit Swatch

Of course, it needed a little bit of something extra.  So I added a few thin, freehand lines with Madam Glam Perfect Black (#002).  They aren't my best lines, but this black is amazing!
Curvy Abstract Nail Art with Madam Glam

When Madam Glam named this black "Perfect Black", they nailed it.  Seriously, this is an amazing one coat black.  Yes, you read that right.  One coat!  Perfectly opaque in just one coat (two if you have a heavy hand toward the cuticle like I do most of the time, but it was easy enough to correct for me and still keep it at one coat).  This is my new favorite black base for nail art!  I should probably note that I'm working over acrylic in these photos, thus the thicker look. 
Madam Glam Gel Polish Perfect Black Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Perfect Black Swatch

So, what do you think?  Abstract art?  Or seaweed?  lol
Curvy Abstract Nail Art with Madam Glam

I have a few more Madam Glam swatches to show you that didn't make it into the nail art piece but are just as amazing as those I've shown you above.  Let's take a look at Perfect White (#001).  This is, quite possibly, the most perfect white of all the whites in my collection.  It wasn't a one coater for me like perfect black, but two coats for a white is perfectly ok with me!  The coverage and opacity is amazing, and the white is very crisp and clean.  The photos are a little darker to keep from blowing out the white polish.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Perfect White Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Perfect White Swatch

The next shade I want to show you is Cashmere Grey (#106) is a soft, slightly blue toned grey cream.  Yep, you guessed it...another perfect two coater.  Madma Glam is killing it with these creams!
Madam Glam Gel Polish Cashmere Grey Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Cashmere Grey Swatch

How about a nude?  Love Me Nude (#094) is a classic nude cream.  I have a really hard time describing nudes, but I would say this one leans a little tan with beige.  Or maybe peach.  I don't know...I should probably just let the picture do the talking.  lol  It's a gorgeous shade and is opaque in two coats.
Madam Glam Gel Polish Love Me Nude Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish Love Me Nude Swatch

The final color I have to show you is one that made me squeal when I saw it.  I'm not kidding, people, Madam Glam is clearly a fly on the wall in my mani dreams.  I've been looking for this polish for years!  It is not currently listed on the Madam Glam site, so I've emailed my contact to ask if it is still available.  I really hope it is!  I don't even know the name...only the number.  So, without further ado, this stunning, two coat, fully opaque, shimmery white is #243.  It looks a tad silver in the photos, but it is a pure white.  It only looks silver because I had to shoot darker to keep my camera from blowing it out and losing the definition in the shimmer.

UPDATE:  It is still avaliable!
Madam Glam Gel Polish #243 Swatch
Madam Glam Gel Polish #243 Swatch

There you have it - my seaweed mani and more Madam Glam swatches!  What do you think?  Do any of these colors scream your name?  If you're looking for great black and white gel polishes, you need these!  And that shimmery white...be still my heart!  I'll update as soon as I know if it is still available.  Until then, drool with me.  ;)  These shades and many others are available from www.MadamGlam.com

~Michelle

*The gel polishes featured in this post were provided by Madam Glam for my honest review.  All links are courtesy links and do not benefit ManicTalons.com.  

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Adult Bullies...Standing Strong

Hello Loves.  Today's post would usually be a Nail School Update, but honestly, there's nothing to update.  Last week was simply more of the same.  Repetitions, repetitions, repetitions.  Besides, I have something much more important on my mind today.


When you think of a "bully", what do you see?  A school aged kid picking on another kid?  Name calling and pranks and pushing someone down on the playground?  The old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."?  First off, that saying is bullsh*t.  Words DO hurt.  Second, bullies come in all ages.  I admit, I never gave much thought to bullies in the adult world.  We have other names for them.  Softer names.  Names that dismiss their actions.  Online, we call them trolls.  In real life, we call them jerks.  Often, these alternate names disguise what they really are - Bullies.  The sad reality is childhood bullies grow up and often remain bullies.  Due to their "go getter" personalities, they often end up in positions of power.  Supervisors, teachers, law enforcement...just to name a few.

Ok, Michelle, where are you going with this?  Hold on...I'm getting there.

Sometimes you meet someone and you just clash.  Everything you say is taken the wrong way.  Everything you do is picked apart.  You notice that this person treats you differently than he/she treats everyone else.  You are met with iciness when they are met with warmth.  This person seems to go out of his/her way to put you "in your place" and make you feel small.  This person will attempt to isolate you from others.  At first, you might chalk it up to a personality conflict.  But it continues to escalate.  Eventually, the stress takes a toll - both mentally and physically.  You become depressed.  You start getting sick.  You dread being around this person, even when you know it is necessary.  If this sounds like the voice of experience, that's because it is.  I have found myself the victim of an adult bully.

I admit, I can be very naive.  I tend to think of people as inherently good.  Good people who occasionally do bad things.  I see people as good until they prove otherwise.  And even then I tend to dismiss their actions as anomalies.  I take people at their word and trust until given reason not to trust.  When people do things to hurt me, I rationalize their behavior.  I dismiss it as a misunderstanding.  I can't seem to accept that people hurt other people intentionally.  I also wear my heart on my sleeve and tend to reveal things about myself that bad people can use to hurt me.  Believe me, it is a dangerous way to live life.  I get burned.  A lot.  This also makes me a prime target for bullies.

Image source:  www.loveoflifequotes.com

Until last week, I didn't realize that I was dealing with a bully.  No, I thought it was me.  I spent months trying to figure out what I was doing wrong - why I can't seem to communicate with this person without being misunderstood.  I don't have problems communicating with other people.  I'm generally seen as a kind and helpful person.  So why can't I ever seem to connect with this one person?  The stress from this situation has made me physically ill.  My migraines are out of control and my IBS is flaring worse than it ever has before.  These physical symptoms are standing between me and my goals.  I have become generally negative.  I smile less.  My depression is returning.  I'm even starting to lose interest in the things I love - my hobbies that usually bring me immense joy.  You may have even noticed it through my writing here.  Being torn down by someone in a position that is supposed to encourage you is devastating.

It wasn't until I was talking to another person about the situation that it began to make sense.  She told me that others have had the same issue with the person I am dealing with.  She called this person's behavior "bullying".  I admit, I was shocked by that.  I always thought of bullies as a grade school problem.  She insisted that the behavior I was describing is adult bullying and challenged me to look it up. I did just that, and I was shocked at what I found.  Page after page described my situation to the letter.  The page on Adult Bullying on NoBullying.com really drove it home. My entire outlook has changed.  I will NOT be bullied anymore.  I am a strong, kind person and I have a voice.  I will not be silenced by a bully!


Sadly, it took months for someone to give this problem a name.  I have discussed the situation with several friends and family.  And you would be surprised at the number of people who advised me to ignore it.  Press on.  Do what you have to do and get it done.  Laugh it off.  It's only temporary.  Keep your eye on the goal.  While these friends and family were trying to help, their advice is not sound.  Ignoring a bully doesn't stop the torment.  Allowing someone to tear you down for any length of time, no matter how temporary, is NOT the answer.  Running from a bully won't solve the problem.  Especially if running prevents you from reaching your goals.  I even attempted to discuss the situation with the bully on several occasions, assuming it was a misunderstanding.  Things got better for a day or two, but the bullying behavior always returned.  Bullies thrive off of tormenting their victims.  They tear you down in order to make themselves feel stronger, more powerful or more important.  If you ignore them, the bullying attempts get stronger.  More vicious.  More direct.  The only way to stop a bully is to stand up and say "Stop"!

My mani for this week is a simple one with a "Strong" reminder.  I will face this bully.  I will beat this bully.  I will NOT let this bully stand in my way any longer.
Stay Strong Manicure with KBShimmer
Base color is KBShimmer What Are you Wading For? from the upcoming spring launch.  Ring Finger has one coat of KBShimmer Alloy Matey!, also from the upcoming spring launch.  Swatches of these and other KBShimmer Spring polishes coming soon.

Today is my first outward step in fighting this.  I am putting this out there, because I know I'm not alone.  If you are living a similar situation, I encourage you to stand up, be strong, and take charge.  Report the bully if it is a workplace situation.  Stand up to him/her and say "I will not be bullied by you any longer."  Never let anyone make you feel the way I have felt for the past few months.  No one, I repeat NO ONE, deserves that much control over you.  I am a STRONG woman.  I'm putting my foot down.  If I can do it, so can you.

To anyone dealing with a similar situation, I'm here.  If you need an ear, a shoulder, or even advice, PLEASE email me.  Do not face this alone.  I am thankful for a handful of friends and loved ones who are standing with me.  I am here for you if you need me.  My email is manictalons@yahoo.com.

~Michelle

*The KBShimmer polishes shown in this post were provided by KBShimmer Bath and Body for my honest review.  That review will be published within the next few weeks.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

GelMoment One Step Gel Polish Review

Press Sample

GelMoment Gel Polish Swatches and Review

Hello Loves!  There is a new kid on the gel polish block called GelMoment, and I have a full review for you today.  You may have caught my post about this company a few weeks ago.  If you missed it, you can check it out here.  For today, I'll give you a quick recap and then we'll jump right into the review.  Sound good?

Ok, so how many of you have sat through a Tupperware, Mary Kay, Thirty-One, Avon, Jamberry, etc party and thought to yourself 'Gee, I wonder why no one has come up with a gel polish party yet'?  I know I've thought it and I can't be alone in that.  Well, now there IS a direct sales company for gel polish in Canada and the US.  GelMoment is a new, one step gel polish line with a direct sales platform.  They are also in the process of launching in Australia, so sales opportunities and products will be available there very soon.  If you would like to know more about that side of the company, I'll post some more info at the end of this post.  For now, let's take talk about the products.

GelMoment is a one step line - no base or top required - with easy application and a high shine finish.  There are currently 16 colors available and I suspect more colors will be added soon.  GelMoment offers everything you need for a gel polish manicure - a file/buffer, cuticle pusher that doubles as a remover tool, cleansing wipes (for prep), one step gel polish colors, an LED lamp, and the coolest remover packets I've ever seen.  Founding Gel Manager, Karma Kristufek, was kind enough to send me some samples of each of the products.  I'm going to focus on the gel polish and touch on the lamp and remover packets today.  I have the rest of the products that are offered as well, and there's nothing wrong with them.  They are simply your basic supplies that don't cause me much excitement.  lol

Sheesh...I can feel y'all thinking 'dang, is she going to shut up and show us the pictures or what?' so let's jump right into some swatches.  First up is a gorgeous, pinky peach coral shimmer called Flamingo Blossom.  Application was quite nice.  This is two coats.  The brushes are narrow and allow for great control of the product.  I was able to use a basic three stroke application on all of my nails except for my thumbs.
GelMoment Flamingo Blossom Swatch
GelMoment Flamingo Blossom Swatch

Edit:  By request, I'm adding a shot of the brush.  Note:  This photo is not color accurate.


The next color I have to show you is a deep, wine toned plum cream called Satin Princess.  Application is similar to Flamingo Blossom.  Actually, they all apply the same so I'll stop mentioning application with each color.  ;)
GelMoment Satin Princess Swatch
GelMoment Satin Princess Swatch

Midnight Walk is a super dark, almost black Navy Blue.  I have a few blues similar to this in my collection, but the depth on this one is unmatched so far.
GelMoment Midnight Walk Swatch
GelMoment Midnight Walk Swatch

Finally, Stroll in Paris is medium grey cream.  This is my least favorite of the four simply because I don't like it on my skin tone, but it is a beautiful color right out of the bottle.
GelMoment Stroll in Paris Swatch
GelMoment Stroll in Paris Swatch

Now that you've seen the swatches, scroll back up and take a close look at the light reflections.  That is the one step finish!  None of these swatches use a separate top coat.  They are simply two coats of color and done.  No cleansing needed either.

I want to show you one more swatchy style photo before we move on to wear test and removal.  Why?  Well, because these polishes are quite opaque and I can prove it.  In the photo below (you may remember it from my previous post), I applied two coats of Midnight Walk on my ring finger.  I then used a nail art brush and freehanded the chevrons and dots with Satin Princess.  Yep, you read that right.  The BASE is that super dark navy blue and the design is one coat of Satin Princess.  That's impressive, y'all. 
GelMoment Nail Art

GelMoment Nail Art

Ok, moving on...so how does it hold up?  I have no complaints.  I wore Satin Princess on my dominant hand (aka the hand I neglect and abuse the most) for two weeks.  During those two weeks, I was a student, a mother, and a blogger.  What exactly does that mean?  Simply stated, I put this polish through more than any other wear test I have ever done.  It was doused with acetone (polish removals at school), scuffed by files (and other random, abrasive objects in my kit), subjected to frequent hand washing, slathered in oils and lotions, the works.  Want to see how it held up?
GelMoment 2 Week Wear Test

Sure, there are scuff marks and the shine is dulled a little.  That's to be expected with my routine.  No polish ever stands up to 180 and 240 grit files.  You can see that I had a good bit of tip wear, but again, no polish ever stands up to 180 and 240 grit files.  Not to mention this is a one step polish that is lacking that extra protective barrier of a top coat.  So, keeping the abuse in mind, I'm giving it two thumbs up for wear.  On the average user, I suspect it would be flawless after 2 weeks.

Let's talk removal.  I started by buffing to remove the shine...sort of.  I admit, I didn't do a very good job with the buffing.  Then I slipped my fingers into the GelMoment Remover packs.  These little things are awesome.  Simply genius, really.  They are individual, foil lined packets with pre-moistened pads inside.  They look a little like individually wrapped alcohol wipes, except they have a little tab on the outside that you remove to reveal a sticky strip.
GelMoment Remover

So removal is as easy as buff the polish, rip the top off of the remover packet, slip your finger inside with the nail against the pad, remove the tab to expose the strip, fold the sides so they stick to the strip, fold the top down, and wait.  Are these not the coolest?
GelMoment Remover

Now that I've geeked out over the remover packets, how does the polish soak off?  Well, it IS a one step gel polish, so soak off heavily depends on application.  That first coat needs to be thicker than you would apply with a traditional three step gel.  Even so, one steps soak off weird.  After 10 minutes, I removed the wrap and found the gel was soft but still intact.  Pretty standard for a one step.  I then used the thumb nail on my other hand to push the gel off of the nail.  Not scrape, push.  It kind of disintegrates and flakes off like chalk.  If you've ever worn a one step gel, you know what I mean.  I should probably add a slight disclaimer - I have some damage going on from being my own guinea pig at school, so there are spots where the gel bonded a little too strongly to my nails (the damaged spots).  After lightly buffing those, the removal was clean.
GelMoment Removal Results

In case you're wondering what I mean by disintegrates and flakes off like chalk, I took an in progress shot while pushing the gel off of my thumb.

Finally, let's talk about the GelMoment two finger LED lamp.  I'm actually pretty impressed with this little lamp.  It's powered by USB, which makes it very portable.  It also has an open design so it can easily be used for pedicures too.  It has a one minute timer (the amount of time needed to cure GelMoment Gel Polish) and shuts off automatically when it is finished.  I tested it with a few other brands and it appears to cure them without issue - as long as you adjust your times accordingly.  The only drawback that I found is the placement of the LEDs.  They are side by side for a two finger cure, which works great for some of my fingers but not so great for others.  My instinct was to cure my index and middle nails together, then my ring and pinky nails together.  Yeah, that didn't work so well.  My pinkies stop a full fingertip below my ring fingers, which puts them at an odd placement inside the lamp.  No worries, though.  I found that all I needed was a little creativity.  I ended up curing my middle and ring fingers together, my two index fingers together, and then my pinkies with the opposite thumbs.  Worked out great.  :)  Of course, I figured that out AFTER I took the photo below.  lol  It is my opinion that this would be a great little travel lamp or even just one to have on hand for simple repairs.
GelMoment LED Gel Lamp

So, there you have it.  I am in love with the remover packets, the lamp passes my inspection for a travel lamp, and the gel polish held up really well even under my abuse.  The only drawback is the bottle size (8 ml), but that may not be a drawback to those who are more rational than I am.  I mean, really, do I NEED a full size bottle for personal use to add to my 400+ full sized bottles that have only been worn once or twice each?  lol

If you would like more information on GelMoment products or the direct sales opportunities, check out Karma's GelMoment facebook page here.  You can also visit Karma's GelMoment website or shoot her an email at gelnailgirl@gmail.com and she'll be happy to help you!  Be sure to sign up for Karma's GelMoment email updates as well for special offers and announcements.

~Michelle

*The GelMoment products featured in this post were provided by Karma Kristufek, Founding Gel Manager for GelMoment, for my honest, unbiased review.  All links within this post are courtesy links and do not benefit ManicTalons.com. 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cuccio Colour Veneer Sweet as Sugar Collection

Press Sample

Cuccio Colour Veneer Sweet as Sugar Collection

Hello Loves!  I have the Cuccio Colour Veneer Sweet as Sugar Collection to show you today!  This collection is new to the Cuccio line for Spring 2015 and consists of 8 candy inspired shades.  With three shimmers and five squishy jellies/creams, this collection has a bright for every occasion.  Ready to see them?  Of course you are!

First up is Grape to See You.  Grape to See You is a slightly red leaning purple base with a blue shimmer that gives the final polish a blue leaning purple tone.  I found it to be a little on the sheer side so I needed three coats for opacity.  You can see the red leaning purple base around the shadows where the shimmer isn't catching the light.
Cuccio Grape to See You Swatch
Cuccio Grape to See You Swatch

Double Bubble Trouble is a medium toned neon pink.  This one is has a milky jelly finish that remains a bit sheer even after three coats.  I'm not usually a fan of sheers, but I see great potential with this beauty for layering and sandwiching!
Cuccio Double Bubble Trouble Swatch
Cuccio Double Bubble Trouble Swatch

Goody, Goody, Gum Drops is a slightly softer, yet still bright coral orange shimmer.  Goody, Goody is opaque in two coats for me, and I absolutely LOVE this color with my skin tone.  It's bright and fun, but not so bright that it makes me look washed out.  :)
Cuccio Goody, Goody, Gum Drops Swatch
Cuccio Goody, Goody, Gum Drops Swatch

Sugar Daddy is a bright, frosty blue with an almost metallic effect that makes it positively glow.  You know me and my blues, so of course I adore Sugar Daddy!  I did find that it needs 3 coats to completely hide my stubborn VNL, but it builds beautifully.
Cuccio Sugar Daddy Swatch
Cuccio Sugar Daddy Swatch

Sweet Treat is a super bright bubblegum pink.  This one is similar to Double Bubble Trouble in that it has a milky jelly finish, but it builds to complete opacity in three coats.  Definitely a great polish for layering or wearing alone.  Look how squishy she is!  The depth is incredible.
Cuccio Sweet Treat Swatch
Cuccio Sweet Treat Swatch

Lemon Drop Me a Line (isn't that name adorable?!?!) is a bright, lemon yellow.  This too is a squishy, milky jelly that has endless layering possibilities but builds to opacity in three coats.
Cuccio Lemon Drop Me a Line Swatch
Cuccio Lemon Drop Me a Line Swatch

Very Sherbert is a creamy bright orange.  This one also has that squishy depth to it but is more opaque than the other semi-jelly finishes in this collection.  Layering options are still there, though not as strong.  Little random fact about me...before I became obsessed with gel polish, I only wore bright orange or coral polishes.  They were mostly reserved for my toes, but this is the kind of shade I picked every time.  Trust me, it looks incredible on tanned toes...not that my toes are tanned these days.  lol
Cuccio Very Sherbert Swatch
Cuccio Very Sherbert Swatch

Finally, Tutti Frutti is a bright, red toned orange.  My photos didn't quite capture the vivid quality of this polish, so you'll have to use your imagination a little.  Tutti Frutti is also a milky jelly finish for amazing depth and builds to opacity in three coats.
Cuccio Tutti Frutti Swatch
Cuccio Tutti Frutti Swatch

I can't wait to play with these a bit more and try some layering and sandwiching.  My Cuccio enabler, Angela, shared a photo of some combos she threw together, and they are fabulous!  I just had to swatch swipe it to share with you (with her permission, of course).  The depth...gah!
Cuccio Sweet as Sugar Collection Sandwich Samples

What do you think?  Are you sweet on the Sweets?  You should be able to find these at your local distributor soon if they don't have them yet!  Of course, you can always go direct to the source and order through the Cuccio website (license required).  :)

~Michelle

*The products featured in this post were provided by Cuccio Naturale for my honest review.  All links within this post are courtesy links and do not benefit ManicTalons.com.

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