Friday, November 29, 2013

Shimmer packed Jellies by Ink

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Hello lovely readers.  Are you a fan of jellies?  Today I have some gorgeous Glam and Glitz Ink swatches to show you.  All four of these gel polishes have jelly bases that are packed full of shimmer.  The jelly base gives them tons of dimension and major wow factor.  As jellies, they are a bit on the sheer side.  So if you're not a fan of vnl (visible nail line), you'll want to layer them over an opaque base.

I have to admit, Ink is one of my top five favorite brands.  While it's not a highly recognized brand like Gelish or LeChat, it is a high quality salon brand that ranks above those other two in my list of favorites.  Not only do they have a huge color selection, but application is a breeze, wear is great, soak off is super fast, and the price is well below some of the other brands in my collection.  I have quite a few Ink polishes and am slowly working my way through swatching them.

The first polish I have to show you is Ink Vamp.  Vamp is a dusty orange jelly base with a golden orange shimmer.
Glam and Glitz Ink Vamp Swatch

The next polish I have to show you is Ink Psychedelic.  Psychedelic is a blue jelly base with shimmer that shifts from green to gold.  My camera refused to capture the shift in the shimmer.
Glam and Glitz Ink Psychedelic Swatch
I took a slightly blurred close up of Psychedelic on a swatch stick and managed to capture it just a little.  I promise, it is much better in person.
Glam and Glitz Ink Psychedelic Swatch

Next up is Ink Pink Lush.  This one wreaks havoc on my swatch ring organization.  Some days I want to call it a coral leaning pink and place it with my pinks.  Other days I think it is a pink leaning coral and want to put it with my corals.  In reality, I think it is a pink jelly base with a shimmer that shifts from pink to coral.
Glam and Glitz Ink Pink Lush Swatch

Finally, my favorite of the four is Ink Captivate.  Captivate is a dark purple jelly base with larger, irregular shimmer pieces.  The result of this combo is a polish with so much dimension I can't even think of how to describe it.
Glam and Glitz Ink Captivate Swatch
I took a close up of the swatch stick for this one too so you can see the irregular shimmer much better.
Glam and Glitz Ink Captivate

So, what do you think?  Are you a fan of jelly finishes?  I'm honestly still on the fence.  While I love the depth, I hate that I have to layer them to hide VNL.  Of course, that doesn't stop me from buying or wearing them, so I guess I'm a fan.  ;)

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gorgeous Glittery Finishes from Red Carpet Manicure

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I have a few of my favorite Red Carpet Manicure colors to show you today.  I'm a sucker for glittery finishes, and these are just perfect if you ask me!

The first polish I have to show you is Perfect High Heels.  This is a beautiful royal blue jelly with blue glitter.  When the light reflects off the glitter at certain angles, it takes on a purple hue. 
RCM Perfect High Heels Swatch

Next in line is my personal favorite red.  Draped in Rubies was originally released as a limited edition, but it was so popular RCM brought it back as a permanent part of their line.  This is one of the few colors that I have worn multiple times with no nail art.  I love it that much!
RCM Drapes in Rubies Swatch

My second favorite is An Evening To Remember.  This black, scattered holo beauty was also a limited edition that RCM brought back as a permanent edition.  I actually resisted this one for a while.  I assumed I could recreate it with a black base and a holo glitter top coat like Gelish Vegas Nights.  I was wrong.  You simply can't recreate this with the same depth.
RCM An Evening to Remember Swatch
The light box killed the shimmer in this one, so I snapped a picture under my ottlite.  The above picture is color accurate for the base.  The following fully captures the holo shimmer.
RCM An Evening to Remember Swatch

Finally, Scandalous is another gorgeous polish with holo shimmer.  The shimmer in this one is not as dense as in Evening to Remember.  It is just a hint that adds a bit of mystery to a deep purple base.  I didn't think to grab a shot of this one under the ottlite, but I think you can get a good idea from this shot.
RCM Scandalous Swatch

After seeing these last two side by side, I decided they really were made to go together.  So  I did a little nail art that is half An Evening to Remember and half Scandalous with a little bit of Orly Shine to tie it all together.

That's it for today.  Which of these glitters would you be most likely to wear?

Also, there's still time to enter the Nails for a Cause giveaway!  The raffle ends tonight at midnight, November 20, 2013.  So get those entries in while you still can!

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Thanksgiving Needle Drag Nail Art

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It's Thanksgiving week in the U.S., and I have to admit this is my favorite holiday.  Good food, good company, and little stress!  Of course, no holiday is complete without a mani!

When I reviewed the IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod collection last week, it struck me that four of the colors are perfect for fall.  So I couldn't resist marbling them together for this week's mani. I used a needle drag technique with Perfectly Paisley, Go-Go Above and Beyond, I Mod You, and Happliy Brighter After (I used a striping brush, not a needle! Needles can damage your nails) .

I love how it turned out, but I felt like it needed a little something more.  So I stamped it with Maybeline Bold Gold and an image from MJ XX.  I then felt that the stamping was a little too bold, so I mixed a drop of Happliy Brighter After with a few drops of top coat to create a sheer jelly and added that over the stamping.  I feel it blended all of the colors perfectly and it gave the leaves a coppery tone.  I am completely in love with the final result!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! :)

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Nimbus Nail Art using Couture Soak Off Gel

Purchased by Me

Hello lovely readers.  If you follow The Nailasaurus, you are likely familiar with her awesome nail art technique called Nimbus Nail Art.  If you don't follow her, now is a great time to start!  Her creativity is amazing.  Her Nimbus style has spread like wildfire throughout the DIY nail art community, and it's easy to see why.  I was asked by a reader if this style can be done with soak off gel.  I honestly didn't have an answer, but I'm always up for a challenge so I came home and tried it out.  Great news!  With a slight, gel-friendly modification, the Nimbus CAN be done with soak off gel! And I'm going to show you how, but first you should follow that link above and review her tutorial as much of it is the same with gel.  It should open in a new window, so you can easily come back to see the modified technique.

Ok, now that you've read The Nailasaurus's tutorial, here's all you need to know to modify it for gel. 

What you'll need (in addition to your usual SOG supplies:
  • White soak off gel or other light colored SOG
  • A paint pallet, piece of foil, or other surface for mixing
  • Cotton swabs
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (or your gel cleanser)
  • A pair of tweezers
  • Your chosen colors
First things first, apply your base color.  I did three coats of Ooh La La French as my base.  Do not top coat yet.
Excuse my dry skin and cuticles.  I didn't moisturize before taking the picture to avoid causing lifting from the oils.

Now, place a generous drop of your first color on your pallet.  I'm using Couture Spa Day.

Add a drop or two of alcohol.  I added two for this size drop of polish, but start with one and see if you need more.  You can always add more alcohol, but you can't take it out. ;)

Choose a cotton swab with tight fibers to reduce the amount of cotton that might transfer to your nails.  Dip the cotton swab in alcohol so it is nice and wet, then mix the drop of gel with the drop of alcohol on your pallet.  It should become watery, almost like watercolors.

Using the cotton swab, dab a few times on the side of your pallet.  As the alcohol evaporates, it should leave a nice halo (or nimbus).  Add more polish or alcohol if needed to reach the right consistency.

Once you've reached the consistency you want, dab the color onto your nails.  Note, you'll want to work fast as the alcohol will evaporate quickly.  Dab all of the nails on one hand (or four fingers if you use a four finger lamp).  Be sure to clean up any excess that gets on your skin, and check for cotton fibers.  If you see any, remove them with your tweezers.  Then cure as usual.

Repeat this process with your other colors.  I chose to do only two colors for this tutorial.  My second color is Couture Off The Shoulder.  Once you have completed and cured the additional colors, finish off with your top coat and you're done. Unless, of course, you're like me and can't resist the urge to stamp almost every mani!  This was the perfect base for this reverse image from MoYou London XL Pro Collection 13.  I stamped with Konad Black. 

If you try this modified version of the Nimbus for soak off gel, please share your results with me by linking to your picture in the comments here, tagging me on instagram or pinterest, or sharing to my facebook page.  I would love to see it!  And a huge thank you to The Nailasaurus for this incredibly fun and easy nail art technique. 

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection Swatches

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I have 6 of the 8 polishes from the IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod collection to show you today.  I was pleasantly surprised by this collection!  While darker for fall, there is still a nice variety of colors and finishes.
IBD Just Gel Swatches

Before I get into the individual swatches, just a quick reminder that there are only 3 days left to enter my Nails for a Cause Giveaway!

Now for the swatches.  First up, Happliy Brighter After.  No, that's not a typo.  At least not on my part.  Happily is actually misspelled on the bottle.  Funny, but it certainly doesn't impact the polish inside.  This is a gorgeous, muddy orange cream.  I really wish I had this one a few weeks ago for Halloween.
IBD Just Mad About Mod Collection

Next in the line up is a golden copper shimmer called Go-Go Above and Beyond.  This one really surprised me.  I was expecting more of an orange tone and really didn't think it would compliment my skin tone based on the pictures I saw of the bottle, but this is a copper I will actually wear!
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection

Perfectly Paisley is a super dark plum cream.  It's so dark it almost looks black, but the purple is definitely there.  I love it!  I actually wore a dress in this exact color to a Christmas party a few years ago.  It looks great on pale skin.  Surprise bonus: this one is a perfect two coater.  Of course, I swatched 3 anyway for consistency, but the third wasn't needed at all.  Without the third coat, the plum tone is a little more obvious.
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection

I Mod You is a deep, oxblood red cream. This one is also a 2 coater. While gorgeous, this one is probably my least favorite of the collection.  Not because I don't love it, I just love it a little less than the others.
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection

Cuter than a Scooter is...well...cuter than a scooter!  This one is my absolute favorite of the 6 and is the one I chose to wear for the rest of the week.  It's dark pink that is loaded with shimmer.
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection
The light box picture doesn't do this one justice.  It accurately captures the base, but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the shimmer.  It's the shimmer that makes this polish and turns it from pinkish red to true pink.  So I abandoned the light box and took this next shot under the ottlite.  See how the shimmer makes it appear to glow from within?  Perfection!
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection

Finally, I have Thistle My Whistle.  This is one of three glitters from this collection, and the only one that really peaked my interest with its combination of blue and black glitter of different shapes and sizes.  Unlike the glitters from the last two collections, this polish is packed with glittery goodness.  I didn't have to store it upside down or dig the glitters out.  A good shake was all I needed to get ample amounts of glitter in every shape and size.  This is three coats over the natural nail.
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection
And here it is as one coat layered over Happliy Brighter After.  You can see how loaded it is based on just one coat.  Again, where was this color during Halloween!?!?
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection
Lets take a closer look.  I spread a blob over a piece of white paper to show the various sizes of glitter.  You can also see in this picture that the blue glitter takes on a purplish tint at some angles.  I'm seeing at least 3 different sizes of blue hexes and at least 4 different sizes of black hexes in addition to black strip glitter.
IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod Collection

Finally, as I mentioned above, I chose Cuter than a Scooter as the base for the mani I'm wearing this week.  Details below.
Base Color: IBD Just Gel Cuter Than a Scooter
Stamping Polish: Konad Black
Stamping Image: MoYou London XL Pro Collection 14

That's all for today.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nails for a Cause Giveaway: Children’s Hope in Action (CHIA)

Hello lovely readers.  I'm extremely excited about this post as I have been planning it for about a month!  I have decided to do a quarterly post and giveaway to raise awareness of causes that I believe in. My first cause was an easy pick. Children's Hope in Action (CHIA) is an awesome organization that is doing incredible work.

They also have the cutest logo I've ever seen, so I couldn't resist attempting it in nail art.
CHIA Childrens Hope In Action

I may have butchered it just a little. Here’s the actual logo.
Children's Hope In Action
CHIA is a grass roots, non-governmental organization based in Hoi An, Central Vietnam. They are working to assist disabled children and those in poor and disadvantaged situations in rural areas by providing health services, disability support, education, sanitary living conditions and housing, and residential care for youth who live too far from schools and otherwise would not have the opportunity to gain an education. This region was hit by a typhoon on October 15, which increased the already high need for assistance with sanitary living conditions.

Like all grass roots organizations, CHIA relies heavily on word of mouth and donations to provide their services. So, even if you aren’t in a position to donate to their cause, you can help get the word out about who they are and what they do by liking/sharing their facebook and twitter pages. Of course, a little incentive to help me spread the word never hurts, right?

I have partnered with my nail supplier to put together an awesome giveaway prize of OPI hand and nail care items. Feel free to check out his ebay store. Onto the giveaway details: 

The Prize:
ONE lucky winner will receive:
  • One 6.6 oz bottle of OPI AvoJuice in Holly Berry
  • One 6 pack (1 oz of each fragrance) OPI AvoJuice sampler
  • One OPI Mini Cuticle Nipper
  • One 0.25 oz OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil
  • One 1 oz Avoplex Exfoliating Cuticle Treatment
  • One 1.7 oz Avoplex High-Intensity Hand & Nail Cream

The Rules:
  • The giveaway will run through November 20, 2013.
  • Entries will be collected via Rafflecopter only.
  • The winner will be selected randomly via Rafflecopter and announced on November 21, 2013.
  • The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim the prize or a new winner will be selected.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. and International readers!
  • All entries will be verified.

Good luck! And thank you in advance for helping me spread the word about this very worthy cause.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


P.S. If you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart and would like for me to consider it for future giveaways, please email me at with more information about the organization.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

More Couture Swatches

Purchased by Me

Hello lovely readers.  I'm slowly but surely working my way through the swatch pics I took this past weekend.  Funny how selecting, cropping and watermarking the best shots takes longer than actually swatching the polish. Today, I have 3 more Couture Gel Nail Polish colors to show you.

First up is one that really surprised me.  Guilded is a medium toned gold shimmer.  I usually don't wear gold as I find it washes me out, but this one is a great match for my skin tone.  It's gold, but with a touch of bronze.
Couture SOG Swatch
I apologize for the slight blur.  I check my photos for color before soaking off, but I didn't blow them up this time to make sure they were sharp.  I swatched 10 colors this past weekend and at least 3 are photo fails.  :(

Next is Royalty.  This is a gorgeous royal blue jelly.  I'm not a huge fan of jelly polishes as I can't stand VNL, but they do add amazing depth when layered over glitters, so I keep a few in my collection.
Couture SOG Swatch

Finally, one of my all time favorite pinks.  This is Oui Madame.  It its a classic light pink with a frosty finish.  And believe me, it is amazing paired with black.  :)

Couture SOG Swatch

I was hoping to have a few more pictures edited and ready to go for this post, but it has been a long day and I hear my pillow calling my name.  So three will have to hold you over until next time.  :)


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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekly Mani: Peace, Love and OPI

Purchased by Me

This week's mani is a dark one.  What can I say?  I'm in mourning.  Ok, fine...that's a bit dramatic.  The truth is, I needed to take the length down a bit as they had gotten so long I could barely unfasten my son's straps to his car seat.  So I started filing.  I should mention that I hate filing my nails.  I always end up taking off too much on one and having to fix the others just to over-file another.  It becomes this horrible cycle that continues until I have lost way more length than I intended.  That is exactly what happened last night, and I ended up losing 5mm of length when I was aiming for 2mm.  Now they feel like nubs, and my fingers look short and fat.  Since I tend to do this every time I try to take down the length, I have started defaulting to dark colors when it happens.

The good news is I have the awesome Peace, Love and OPI that I have swatched but haven't actually worn.  Of course, even though it's an incredible polish on it's own, I couldn't leave it "plain" so I stamped it.  Details below.
I had a hard time capturing the shift this time.  I have no clue how I managed to do it before.  A happy accident, I suppose.  So I'm going to show you two different shots.
Base: 2 coats of OPI Peace Love and OPI over 1 coat of Couture Little Black Dress
Stamping Polish: Mundo de Unas Black
Stamping Image: XL Y from Ali Express

Here's the original swatch picture that captures the shift much better.  You can also see why I layered it over a black base this time.  (Oh how I miss that length!)

That's all for today.  I have a ton of swatches to edit from today, so look for those later in the week.  Oh, and I also have 6 polishes from the IBD Just Gel Mad About Mod collection headed my way, so look for those some time next week.  I plan to swatch them as soon as they arrive.  :)

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Little Off Topic: Bootie Babe Swatches and Review

Purchased by Me

I sincerely believe that there is an immature teenage girl trapped inside us all.  I know I have one.  When I heard of Bootie Babe polishes in their little butt shaped bottles recently, I had to check it out.  I then spent a good 15 minutes reading the names and giggling.  If you haven't checked it out for yourself, go ahead and click the link above now.  Trust me, just do it.  You can come back and read the rest of this post and thank me later.

After doing a little research and learning that some of the colors will double as stamping polish, I had to order a few to test out.  I won't lie, I swatched them for the giggles I am getting just writing this post, despite the fact that I have completely forgotten how to apply RNP after using SOG for so long.

My RNP swatching adventure has taught me two things:  1) bloggers who swatch entire collections of RNP must be the most patient people in the world.  Nothing like waiting on wet nails to dry.  I can swatch 6 SOG colors in the amount of time it took to swatch just 2 of these.  2) I am way too impatient for the task.  I applied one of these colors three times before giving up and photographing them wet to avoid smudging them yet again.  So please excuse the dry skin.  I was afraid to oil!  But, I digress.

I ordered two polishes.  Honky Badonky and Pacific Rim (yes, I snickered when I typed that one).  When the package arrived a few days later, I found they included Whale of a Tail as a free gift.  While it isn't a color I would ever wear because it looks horrible on my skin tone, I swatched it anyway.

Let's start with Whale of a Tale.  This is a yellow with a jelly-ish cream finish.  I swatched three coats, and you can clearly see VNL.  I found the consistency to be extremely thin and watery.  Not a winner in my book.  But hey, it comes in a butt shaped bottle.  In a package clearly marked with the return sender "SuperBooty LLC".  I don't even want to know what my mail lady thought when she delivered it.  lol

The next one is a little better.  This is Pacfic Rim.  It's also extremely thin and watery, though I suspect this one is supposed to be sheer.  Again, this is three coats.  Pacific Rim has a bit of a purple/blue/green color shift, but it is very subtle.  It reminds of me of IBD Just Gel Jasper Casper.

Finally, here's Honky Badonky.  This is one of their "Holo" collection.  It is not holographic, but rather is a duo-chrome with a nice gold to maroon color shift.  It too is thin and watery and is slightly streaky after three coats.  I suspect it will layer beautifully over black, though.

So, all in all, the formula on these doesn't impress me.  However, they do have one redeeming quality (other than the awesome names and butt shaped bottle).  Pacific Rim and Honky Badonky stamp quite nicely over dark colors, which is surprising for such a thin consistency.  Whale of a Tale does technically stamp too, but it is too bright to show up well over white and does not show up at all over black.  Since I bought them for the stamping potential, I'm happy with my purchase and will likely order the rest of the "holo" collection at some point.  I'm a sucker for a duo-chrome stamped over black.

Again, for those bloggers out there who swatch RNP, you have my utmost respect!  I'm going back to my own little sand box now and leaving this one to you.  :)

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Sally Hansen Gel Color Limited Edition Swatches

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It seems that glitter is the current trend in SOG.  When I saw that Sally Hansen Gel Polish has released a glitter line, I was intrigued.  Naturally, I had to pick up a few to try out.  The four I have swatched today jumped out at me based on the boxes.  The colors inside are definitely not what is pictured on the box, but I feel that the glittery goodness inside is somehow better.
Sally Hansen Gel Polish

First up, Funfetti.  The name really says it all with this one.  Think two sizes of multi-colored metallic glitter in a clear base.   The picture on the box shows red and green glitter, but that is certainly not what is inside.  I'll let the pictures do the talking for this one.
Sally Hansen Gel Polish
Ok, so this is definitely a fun, confetti explosion.  Silver, Red, Pink, Blue, Green, Copper...too many colors to list.  Let's take a closer look. 
Sally Hansen Gel Polish Swatch
But wait, you really have to see it over black to fully appreciate the glittery goodness.
Sally Hansen Gel Polish Swatch

Next, I have High Society to show you.  The box depicts a shimmery blue polish.  Nope.  This one is blue glitter with scattered silver glitter in a clear base.  It is mostly opaque in 3 coats but would be better as 2 coats over a matching base. 
How about a closer look?  I love the silver glitter in this.  It gives it that element of surprise and added depth. 
Sally Hansen Gel Polish Swatch

Of course, when I saw this next one, I couldn't resist picking it up.  The box for Glitter Chatter shows a shimmery pink, so I was not prepared for the awesomeness I found inside.  This one is a pink jelly base with fine, scattered holo shimmer and a few larger silver glitters thrown in.  If it wasn't Halloween week, I would still be wearing this one.  It absolutely sparkles without being too strong.
Sally Hansen Gel Polish
Of course, the light box photo didn't pick up that subtle holo shimmer I mentioned.  The slightly blurred close up does a much better job. 
Sally Hansen Gel Polish Swatch

Finally, Glisten Up appears to be a shimmery grey on the box, but it is actually a charcoal grey base that is loaded with glitter.  The majority of the glitter is silver, but there are a few colors thrown in as well.  I don't even know how to describe it, so I'll just show you. 
Sally Hansen Gel Polish
You can see the colored pieces a bit better in the closeup.  Blue, green, pink and copper. 
Sally Hansen Gel Polish Swatch

I'm very tempted to go back and get the rest of the colors in this release just to see what's inside that little misrepresentation of a box.  I will say this: while Sally Hansen completely flubbed the boxes on these, the dots on the display are a much closer match to the actual polish.  If any of these strike your fancy, grab them while you can as they are limited edition colors.  I found them at CVS.  :)


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