Friday, December 30, 2011

Drug Store Stamping Mani

I was very excited to see a pack of Konad style nail stamping plates with a double ended stamper and a scraper at my local CVS a few weeks before Christmas (it was actually in the gifts section, rather than beauty). I was even more pleased when I discovered that the designs on the plates were pretty unique in my relatively small stash. However, G of Nouveau Cheap got an entirely different set of plates in her pack. While, the plates in my set were identical to those shown on the package, G's were much more similar to some that I bought on eBay some time ago and have seen elsewhere since. For me, this was definitely worth the $10 price tag, but buy at your own risk.

The base color for this mani is Revlon Royal Cloak. I was drawn to this color because it is really unique. It has a medium blue-purple creme base with light, pearly shimmer and flecks. It was hard to really show what this looks like in a photo, as the flecks are subtle but visible in person.The application on this polish was fine, with nothing either particularly good or bad to report. I believe I used two coats (I wore this a while ago, and I didn't make a note. The shame!).

On top, I stamped a stylized heart design one of the Salon Express plates using Konad Special Stamping Pearl White. This polish seems to work best over a dark color and created a nice crisp image.

So, did anyone else pick up this pack? Were your plates like mine or something else?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pale and Pretty Glitter Sandwich

Despite the fact that  it was a trend way back in the spring, I'm still working on creating one that I really like. My last effort looked nice enough, but didn't really have the suspended glitter look I was going for. This one has flaws of it's own but does indeed create that look.

For this attempt, I chose Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Polar Bare for the jelly. This  polish is a very sheer off-white. I honestly couldn't even guess how many coats you'd need to use to get this opaque, it just isn't made for that. Application was smooth and clean up very easy. I used two coats under my glitter, which is KleanColor Aurora. It has large pearly white sequins, light and medium pink stars, and some smaller silvery glitter particles in a pink tinted clear base. Like most of the KleanColor glitters I've used, Aurora was very thick and a little gooey. I had to sort of pat the polish on to get the larger particles to lay down nicely on the nail. For this combo, I used two coats, then topped it with one more of Polar Bare. I finished with a Revlon quick dry top coat because I'd read that it was less likely to cause shrink in these jelly polishes.

I really like how these two polishes look together, and I enjoyed the final product, which look light and luminous but not bright. The obvious problem was some bubbling, which I'm guessing has to do with the patting method of applying the glitter. I also still got some shrink, leading me to the conclusion that these KleanColor glitters just don't play well with top coat. Finally, it was a little thick due to all the layer. All that aside, it looked great at a normal nail viewing distance, and I really liked wearing it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Mani

Merry Christmas to everyone who's celebrating today; I hope you have a great day. I'll be spending mine with various family members, and enjoying some traditional Christmas chili. I decided I wanted something festive, but not directly Christmas themed for today's manicure.

I started with a base of China Glaze Ring in the Red, which is a red jelly base with either red or silver glitter in a couple of different sizes. The glitter looks red in the polish, but appears to be silver around the edges where I've done clean up. This polish is actually incredibly sparkly and has a lot of depth in person. Unfortunately, it didn't photograph well, as it was really overcast  when I took the pictures. The texture on this polish was very nice, but it's quite sheer. I used three coats for these pictures, and it's not quite opaque. One more might have done it, but I was happy with what I had.

You can see the glitter a little better in this indoor picture. On top, I used some floral decals that I really like. Unfortunately, I don't have the package for these any more, but they are really good. They are very flexible and conform to the nail without any edges that stick up or peel off. I topped the whole thing with Out the Door.

I'll be posting a lot more over the next week (and in an ongoing way), so I'll see you soon! Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nail History - 1919 Edition

Today's nail history article is a little special for two reasons. First, it features some nail advice for the gentlemen, which is pretty rare in my reading of these older articles. Secondly, it involves a nail EMERGENCY. Ok, so the nature of the emergency is not specified, but I tend to assume it involved either a job or a lady. As for the advice itself, I'm curious about the "extreme pointed" nail shape she references. I haven't been able to find any pictures of men's nails from the period, so I'm not sure what may have constituted "extreme" at the time. Personally, I'm not crazy about a very pointed nail shape on either gender, so it may be that I agree with Ms. Jewett's response to this anxious fellow.

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Labradorite Manicure

I haven't seen very many reviews of the main polish in today's mani. I did see a few pictures of it way back around August, but I hadn't seen it anywhere in my town until very recently, when it showed up all of a sudden at Kroger.

This is Maybelline Express Finish Cool Couture, which is a medium grey creme polish with turquoise shimmer. The shimmer is very fine and a little shy in indoor light. So, inside it tends to blend into the grey and give the whole nail a slate blue color, which is pretty on it's own. However, in bright or natural light, the shimmer shows up. Then, this polish reminds me of the stone labradorite, as you can see in this picture. For my accent nail, I added one coat of an unnamed BonBons turquoise bar glitter. The color matches the shimmer in Cool Couture perfectly.

The formula on Cool Couture was a little tricky. It was a little thick and very patchy on the first coat. After the second coat, it evened out pretty well, but I still had a few bare patches here and there. With careful application, you can make it work in two medium coats; it just requires a little extra attention.

Finally, here's a bottle picture. The shimmer is a little more pronounced here than on the nail, but it gives you a good idea of the color. On the whole, I really like this polish. It's an unusual combination of colors, which I think is great for winter.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Black Friday Mani

The title of this post may be a little misleading, since the manicure in question is neither black nor what I wore on Black Friday. My spouse works at a Banana Republic Factory Store, and they needed extra hands for the Black Friday sale, which actually started at 10 p.m. Thursday night. So, I worked from 9:45 p.m. on Thursday until 6:15 a.m. Friday, and then again from 5 p.m. Friday until 1 a.m. on Saturday. I'd say that's enough retail experience to last me a year! After putting in all those hours, I decided to reward myself with a few bottles of Banana Republic brand nail polish.

The base color for this mani is Banana Republic Pacific Taupe, a creme that I would say is a little warmer than what I usually picture as taupe. It's more brown than grey, which is part of what I like about it. It went on smoothly enough, but I had a lot of patchiness around the base of my nails after two coats. If I were wearing it alone, I would definitely have needed a third to even it out.

Instead, I decided to reverse my original plan and do some sponging around the bottom of my nails instead of the top. For this, I used Banana Republic Razzelberry, which weird spelling aside, is a lovely peachy pink small glitter. I think both colors look a little cooler in my pictures than real life because it was cloudy when I went out to take pictures.

While I like both of these polishes, I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have gotten them at full price. They're regularly $7, which is at the very top end of what I'm generally willing to spend. My polish budget is limited, so I usually only get OPI or other polishes in this price range if I'm really excited about the color or they're on sale.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Mani

Okay, so Thanksgiving was over a week ago, but the nails I wore for Thanksgiving would work for any time in the fall. In fact, I've been planning this mani for quite a while, but for some reason I kept not getting around to it.

I started with a base of China Glaze Brownstone, a rich reddish-brown creme from the fall Metro collection. This polish had a great consistency and went on perfectly in two medium coats. Given all the shades of red polish available, this one is surprisingly unique. It's really more brown than red and feels very earthy. 

On top of Brownstone, I stamped a pattern of three leaves from Bundle Monster plate BM04 using Sally Hansen Color Quick Gold Chrome, my usual gold stamping polish. For some reason, I didn't realize how large the leaf pattern was, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was big enough to cover most of my nail everywhere but my thumb.

I realized that I used this same gold polish to stamp on top of Westside Warrior too. They're so rich and warm, they just seem perfect with gold on top. Do you have any fall back color combinations? Things that always seem just perfect together?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Beauty

I'm making a lot of Christmas gifts this year, and one of my gifty projects is handmade beauty products. I've tended to spend a lot at Bath and Body Works, etc. for Christmas, so I decided to make some lotion, body spray, and lip balm so I can customize them. Here's a before picture of all my ingrediants.

So far, this project is going really well, so I should have some nice "after" pictures and some recipes to share in the next few weeks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Polish Mentor Franken

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with some of my good friends at the home of T, one of my crazy nail polish lady mentors. She showed me some of her efforts at mixing her own frankenpolishes. I fell in love with this one, and it just so happened that I'd prepped my nails to manicure them when I got home. So, voila, my friend's franken.

 This polish has a dark navy base with blue and iridescent small, square glitter. She told me what the polishes she used were, but sadly I don't remember, so we'll just have to appreciate the pretty.

 And here's a close up, so you can see the lovely depth of the glitter in the jelly base. You can also see that my hands, particularly my cuticles, are still suffering from the neglect they suffered while I was doing transcription as a second job. However, I've been giving them some TLC, so hopefully they'll be recovered soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Few Changes

In hopes of making it a little easier to interact here on Digit Decor, I've made a few changes. First, I've installed a new comment system that will allow me to reply to each comment individually, rather than just adding a new comment to the post. It does require that you either provide an email address or use one of a number of sign in options, but it also means that you'll be notified when I reply (which I try to do for every comment!).

Next, I've set up a Facebook fan page for Digit Decor. You can like Digit Decor on Facebook using the button I've added in the upper right corner on this page.

Finally, thanks again for reading!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Geek Nails: Green Lantern Edition

We finally got around to watching the Green Lantern movie the other day, and I liked it. It didn't seem to get very good reviews from the comic book fan set (read: my people), so I wasn't sure what to expect. While it was a little light on plot, it did a good job of introducing the character and setting up a good villain for a theoretical sequel. So, while watching, I decided to do some GL themed nail art, and I did it gasp freehand (sort of).

I started with a base of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Emerald City on all my nails. This is a great, rich emerald green shimmer, which is very superheroic. In fact, I originally bought it to wear with my Robin costume. It applied a little patchy, so I used three coats to ensure maximum awesomeness.

For my accent nail, I used a notebook paper hole reinforcer as a template to paint the circle portion of the lantern. I put it in the middle of my nail and filled it in with Sally Hansen Whirlwind White, a great opaque white that I bought for stamping. I used the back end of a piant bruch to put a dot of Emerald City in the center (I really need some dotting tools), then used a KISS white striping polish to add the bars at top and bottom.

It's pretty simple and a little crooked, but considering my usual terror of creating designs freehand, it's not that bad.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Halloween Mani Fail

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers! I'll celebrate this holiday with a post about one that took place a month ago. Due to my previously mentioned second job travails, this is obviously way late, but I'mma post it anyway because the people have a right to know. About the worst. nail stickers. ever.

It looks fine from here.
Now you're starting to see the problem.

DUDE, what is on my nails?!
I picked up these Hedy's Body Shop Gel Nail Art stickers at Rite-Aid on sale a few days before Halloween. They have such a cute design and the moon and stars glow in the dark, so I was really excited. Sadly, there was nothing I could do to get them to lay down flat and stick. These pictures are after several layers of top coat. I ended up picking them off at a Halloween gathering later in the day after taking these pictures.

On the other hand, the base color, Confetti Conga Line, is great. It's a nice bright, balanced orange shimmer, which was very easy to apply. It did take three coats to be fully opaque, but I think that's reasonable in such an inexpensive brand.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nail History - 1916 Edition

Today's nail history source is essentially the same ad that I included in my last post. I'm showing you this one because it advertises nail polish and nail rouge. Taken from the May 5, 1916 edition of the Banner, this is the earliest reference to using products to color the nail that I found in the local papers for the Athens, Georgia area. While this ad doesn't specify exactly what the product is, the common practice at the time was to use an oil colored with any of a number of red or dark pink ingredients to essentially stain the nail. After staining, the nails would be buffed or polished with the same mild abrasives mentioned in my first two history posts. This color only lasted a day or two, so it had to be reapplied often to maintain the look.

Click to enlarge

You can see the full page ad this was taken from here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Garish Green Mani

I was in the mood for something funky when I sat down to do this mani, and I decided to sort of recreate one that I remembered really enjoying in my pre-blogging days. Sadly, there was no sun to be seen when I wanted to take pictures, so these aren't that great. They're still pretty color-accurate, but I've got to start working on a way to take better pictures in the upcoming winter months.

Inside, no flash

For the main color, I chose OPI Fiercely Fiona, a greenish-yellow creme that a friend described as "pleasantly weird." It applied smoothly and easily, but is definitely a three coater.

Inside, with flash
For my accent nails, I used one coat of Fiercly Fiona, covered with two coats of Confetti My Favorite Martian. This polish has a lime green jelly base with bunches of same color...large shimmer? Small glitter? The finish looks sort of like a glass fleck, but the particles don't. It's pretty unique. It's also pretty sheer, which is why I used one coat of the creme underneath.

The final combination was really, really bright, which was a pleasant antidote to the icky, grey weather we were having.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Great Giveaway

Stephanie of Imperfectly Painted has is currently offering a very nice holiday themed giveaway. Stephanie runs a great blog. In addition to good polish reviews and swatches, she has a thought provoking Talk It Out Tuesday feature for bloggers (and others) to share their thoughts about polish and blogging. You should check out her blog and her giveaway.

Ends December 1

Friday, November 18, 2011

Geek Nails: Princess Bride Edition

This is a manicure I've had in mind for a while. The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies of all times. It's one of the first movies I really remember seeing in the theater (as in the whole movie, not just bits and pieces), and I've loved it ever since. As a kid, I loved the pure, simple fairytale. As and adult, I get all the jokes and satirical parts that make it not just a pure, simple fairytale. I also love that, despite the satire and unlike the book it's based on, the movie and it's characters remain sweet and likable. I have a soft spot for all the actors in it, even the bad guys.

Since I'm not great at painting designs freehand, I had to get creative to do a mani in honor of The Princess Bride. The final product is maybe more inspired by than based on the movie.

I started with NYX Girls Pistachio, which is a soft sky blue creme. It has just a tiny hint of green in it, but that only shows up in certain lights. It applied very easily, but is a little sheer for a creme. I'm wearing three coats in these pictures to get full, even opacity.

Next, I used a teeny-tiny piece of make-up sponge cut into a rounded shape to dab clouds around the base and edges of my nail in Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On. I tried to make them thick and billowy at the bottom and thin out as I moved up.

 Finally, I stamped a crown image from Bundle Monster plate BM08 on my ring fingers and thumbs in Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Silver Sweep. This is an absolutely great stamping polish, and I wish there was a similar gold in the Insta-Dri line. I'd like to point out that, while the cover art above shows a gold crown, it's definitely silver in the movie, which is why I stamped it that color.

Finally, if you've been so deprived as to be unfamiliar with this movie, check out this video. This is a fan made trailer, but the original trailer hasn't aged well. Actually, one of the reasons this movie wasn't originally a commercial success was the uneven marketing. If you want to know that that looks like, go find the original trailer. If you want to know what the movie is like, watch this instead.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous!

First, some news. My recent unannounced hiatus was due to my being too overwhelmed with two (or three, depending on how you count) jobs. I've now quit one of them, which should mean I have more time to get back to doing my nails and blogging about it. Yay!

I was short on time and energy when I did my nails this time, so I just did a quick polish change and applied OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous!,which is a great polish with one of those awkward OPI names.

This polish falls somewhere between a foil and a glitter. Like a foil, the finish has a smooth, metallic shine; however, like a micro glitter, you can still see individual particles. The base color is grey and and it has both darker gunmetal particles and lighter silver ones. In certain lights, there are very, very fine pink and blue sparkles in there as well, but they don't show up most of the time. Compared to this year's crop of gunmetals, this has smaller particles and none of the hints of gold or other warm colors.

This polish flowed well onto the nail and was easily to control. It took three coats to eliminate all bare patches, but they were very thin coats. Dry time when finished with a coat of Out the Door was average.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Mani II

Today's mani is the second of (probably) three Halloween manis for this year. I guess great minds think a like because last night, I saw that Sarah Louise of Spellbinding Nails did a black widow mani as well. I really love her sparkly webs! Now onto my take.

For the base, I used OPI Skull and Glossbones. The name is intended to be pirate-y, but it works for Halloween too! This is a light grey creme with just a hint of brown. It applied easily, and was neither too thick nor too thin. I used three thin coats to get rid of all patchiness, but I think you could use two thicker ones and be just fine.

For the stamping, I used KleanColor Black and Bundle Monster plate BM13 for the stamping, and I finished up with red rhinestones. In real life, I am NOT a fan of spiders, or indeed any bugs, but I'm not going to let that stop me from taking the opportunity for some cool, Halloween themed nail art!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Mani I

I love Halloween, which seems to be a pretty common "affliction" among beauty bloggers. Speaking for myself (and I suspect more than a few others), it gives me a chance to dress up in the kind of over the top stuff that get's you funny looks the rest of the year. Plus, as I've already mentioned, fall is my favorite season, so a super fun holiday in the middle of fall?! Love it! I haven't had time to do quite as many Halloween manis as I'd like, but I do have a few that I'll be showing y'all over the rest of this week.

As an opener, I have this simple accent nail mani using a fun Halloween polish. Fantasy Makers Creepy Pumpkin is an orange jelly base packed with fine orange and yellow glitter (mostly orange). It went on easily and had a medium dry time with Out the Door on top. It's pretty sheer, as I used three coats here and you can still see through it a little. I think I'll use a similarly colored base next time. For my accent nail, I used three coats of Creepy Pumpkin over one coat of Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme.

Creepy Pumpkin and Night Glow are the only Fantasy Makers polishes I picked up, as the others seemed to be just plain dark colors or glitter in black. Am I missing anything? Were there others that you loved that I'm over looking?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Depression Awareness Manicure

While October is drawing to a close, I still want to mention that it is Depression Awareness Month. Scrangie did a post to spread the word and featured green nail polish, since green is the awareness color for depression (among other things).

I have been dealing with depression on and off since I was a teenager. I feel it's important to talk about depression to help remove the stigma associated with it. Depression can be very isolating for many reasons, which only increases misunderstanding about what it is and how it impacts people. I hope this blog post will help increase my (few) readers' knowledge and understanding.

So, I'd like to follow Scrangie's example by providing some fact about depression from the National Institute for Mental Health:

What is depression?
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness.

Signs and Symptoms Include:
Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Irritability, restlessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating, or appetite loss
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

For my Depression Awareness Month manicure, I decided to do a green water marble.

Right hand

I started with a single coat of OPI Mermaid's Tears, and I did the marbling in OPI Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow, Wild and Crazy Colors Erie, and Mermaid's Tears. Obviously, I'm still working on this technique. It's oddly appropriate to me that this has some flaws, since one thing I have to deal with when coping with depression is not demanding perfection of myself. This is the best I could do at that moment, and that's enough.

Right hand

In closing, here are some things that the NIMH recommends if you want to help someone with depression:
Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
Talk to him or her, and listen carefully.
Never dismiss feelings, but point out realities and offer hope.
Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your loved one's therapist or doctor.
Invite your loved one out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don't push him or her to take on too much too soon.
Provide assistance in getting to the doctor's appointments.
Remind your loved one that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Goes with Digit Decor?

I've decided it's time for another Polyvore collection showing off my fall style. While my previous Polyvore collection showcased items that I really like, this one is more my actual style. The drapey fabrics, soft lines, fall colors, and slightly hippie style are totally me.

Fall Hippie Style

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fissures Fail Mani

I promise there are some non-stereotypically fall colored manicures coming soon, but not this time!
Left hand
The base color for this mani is China Glaze Papaya Punch, a very bright, but not neon, orange creme. The color is great. It's slightly more toward the yellow side of orange, but still has cool undertones, which makes it a good fit for my skin tone. This polish came out as part of their summer collection, but I got it late on clearance, which might account for the atrocious texture. It was extremely thick, even after I added thinner, and it was very hard to get it to spread evenly. I've read other reviews that say it was great, so maybe it's just my bottle, but ugh.

Right hand

Next, I added KleanColor Brown Crackle. I'm normally quite impressed with the quality of KleanColor polishes, given their bargain price, but this is absolutely the exception. I'd already been told that, unlike most of the recent crackles, this should be applied over wet polish. So, I worked one nail at a time, adding my second coat of Papaya Punch followed immediately by Brown Crackle. As you can see, it still didn't crack very well. As usual, I did my right hand first, and learned that thick coats don't work well at all, so the left's a little better. Furthermore, the crackle started chipping off after only about 24 hours, despite the Out the Door topcoat over it. Boo!

I'm really disappointed, because I can think of lots of lovely uses for a nice brown crackle. I think Papaya Punch may still be salvageable with the addition of much more thinner, but overall, this was a really frustrating manicure. Have you tried Papaya Punch? What was your experience with it?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another Great Giveaway

Sarah Louise of Spellbinding Nails does awesome nail art, combining stamping, freehand details, and lovely color schemes. Her 1,000 follower giveaway includes a plethora of interesting stamping and nail art stuff. Check it out!
Ends October 31

Great Giveaways

I've just finished catching up on reading all the blogs I follow (sorry for so few comments, but I was really behind - I had 188 posts in my Google Reader list). Here's a nice giveaway I found nestled in my list of neglected reading.

Ice Queen's Nail Parlor is giving away the shimmery half of the Color Club Back to Boho collection. These are some beautiful fall polishes.
Ends November 12, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Flakies Mani

Sorry for the extended silence, but getting up to speed at my new second job is kicking me in the posterior.  Typing for several hours isn't really the best precursor to coming home and typing up blog posts. I'm building up my stamina though!

I'm having to fight the urge to title all of my posts Fall Something because that's pretty much all I'm interested in right now. We've had some gorgeous fall weather for the last couple of weeks. Today's all grey and rainy, but I'm hoping we'll get back to blue skies and crispy air soon. This mani was inspired by the drifting fall leaves!

The base color is Maybelline Coloroma Cocoa Motion, which is a purplish-reddish-brown shimmer. It wasn't impressive in the bottle, but on the nail, I almost didn't want to put anything over it. The formula was a little thin and wanted to run away, but it was opaque in two coats and looked great.

Over Cocoa Motion, I'm wearing Maybelline Coloroma Sonic Sunset. This polish has a very sheer orange base with flakes that shift colors from red and orange to yellow and green. The base is sheer enough that it didn't have a lot of impact on this dark base color. I've long had my eye on some of the harder to get and more expensive flakies, and while there are some of those I'd still love to get my hands on, for $0.33 this is a great substitute.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Carmine Combination Manicure

I have officially entered fall colors mode. While I don't believe in arbitrary rules about what colors are "appropriate" for a given time of year, I do find that the weather and other factors make me more inclined to wear certain colors than others. Fall is my favorite time of year in lots of ways, including the fact that I love all the rich colors usually associated with it, so I'm pretty inclined to want to wear them.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've taken on a second job, which is cutting into my nail art time. So, you should probably expect to see more accent nail mani's like this one. I find an accent nail is a quick way to add a little something extra when I don't have time for more elaborate decoration.

The primary color for this is China Glaze Mommy Kissing Santa, which is a rich, deep, red shimmer from last year's holiday collection. I would say its undertones are slightly cool, but but not by much. It applied easily; although it was very patchy and streaky after one coat, the second smoothed right out to a flawless finish. For my accent nail, I used Sinful Colors Rich in Heart. This is a dark brown (or maybe even black) base with tons of red shimmer. In the bottle it looks like the two are pretty separate, but on the nail, the overall effect looks like a very dark red. The shimmer is pretty much the same color as the shimmer in Mommy Kissing Santa, which made them a great pairing. This is one of those colors that I liked in the bottle, but love on the nail.

I know a lot of people like a very high contract accent nail, like an orange among blues, and I can appreciate that look as well, but there's just something satisfying to me about a nice monochromatic combination like this. What do you think? Do you like your accent nail to blend or pop?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nail History - 1915 Edition

This is a small portion of a full page ad for the Davison-Nicholson Co., which billed itself as "Athens Busiest Store." The ad originally appeared in the October 15, 1915 edition of the Banner Sunday Morning. I really like the artwork.

Click to enlarge

The nail polish advertised here is still the powder or paste used to buff the nails and give them a shiny finish. The rice powder immediately following the nail polish may be a powder that was used under the free edge of the nail to make it appear whiter. I know that such a product was in use in this period, but I don't know what it was made of.

You can see the full page ad this is taken from here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nail Night: Moss Roses Manicure

First, some news. I've started a side job doing transcription, so while I've been trying to let my nails get a little longer, I had to cut them really short again. I'll be sporting these super shorties as long as I'm typing several hours a day. The new job may also slow down my posting a bit, since I'm there until a little late. I'm hoping that I can still post a few times a week. Now on with the nails!

It's been a while since my ladies and I got together for nail night; we've all been really busy lately. So, it was great to get together, do some catching up, and do some awesome nails.

I started with a base of China Glaze West Side Warrior, which is the polish I was most excited about from the Metro collection. It's a dark mossy green creme and is really rich and lush. The formula was a little runny, and I had to be careful not to let it flood my cuticles. On the other hand, it's very pigmented and was opaque in two coats. The sun peeked out from the clouds for a second while I was taking pictures, so the one below shows a little of the color in the sun.

On top, I stamped a rose and leaf pattern from a plate labeled B42 that I got on eBay using Sally Hansen Color Quick Gold Chrome. Based on my recent experience with the Turquoise Chrome from the same line, I was a little worried, but this one worked better. I was really happy with the final result. I liked that I used a really unusual base color, but still looked kind of understated and classy.

What about you? Have you picked up anything from the China Glaze Metro collection? Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Water Marble

I will admit to being intimidated by water marbling. I've loved the look since I first started reading nail blogs and became aware of it. It just seemed like it would be too difficult and messy. However, Colette of My Simple Little Pleasures helped me get over my fear with her fantastic series of tutorial videos. I started with her Blues and Purples water marble tutorial, which illustrates the basic technique and dipping several fingers at a time. She has some more advanced designs on her Youtube channel that are beautiful, but I'm not quite ready for those. So, without further ado, my first water marble.

For this pattern, I used one coat of OPI Bling Dynasty, a brownish gold shimmer as a base. Then I used Bling Dynasty, CND Cedar,  a really old reddish brown I have hanging around (hence the old fashioned bottle in the picture), and Revlon Hot for Chocolate, a dark brown creme, for the water marble.

There are some flaws in the pattern that resulted from my inexperience with the technique, but I loved it anyway. In these fall colors, it reminds me a little of the marbled endpapers in the front of old books. I also learned a few valuable lessons:
  1. Use a cup deep enough that your fingers won't easily hit the bottom of the cup and mess up your tips.
  2. Nail polish melts styrofoam. I can't say for sure that it impacted the outcome of this manicure, but I have my suspicions. Paper cups will be used in future.
  3. Now I know why Collette has tape around her fingers in all her tutorials. I mean intellectually, I understood why before, but now I know. Along with paper cups, tape will be used in future.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nail History - 1887 Edition

This is the first article in what I'm thinking about turning into an occasional series on the history of nail polish and nail care. I've done some research, and the thing I've found most interesting are the articles and ads from previous periods. To start off, I bring you the oldest reference I could find to nail care in the archives of my local paper.

This is an excerpt from the March 15, 1887 edition of the Weekly Banner-Examiner article "The Finger Nails: How Ladies May Keep Their Hands in Good Condition."

The polishing they mention seems to have involved just buffing the nails with a soft cloth covered buffer, and occasionally using a mildly abrasive paste or powder to make the nails smooth and slightly shiny (though a high gloss was apparently considered in poor taste). The full article, which you can read here, also discusses how to properly wash your hands and wearing gloves at night. I also found it interesting that they mention getting a manicure to "put your nails in order at first." I assume this means a professional manicure, and I'm curious to know when professional manicures became available and where they were given (hair salons? somewhere else?).

So, what do you think? Is this interesting? Would you like to see more like it?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mystical Peacock Manicure

The theme of today's manicure was inspired by the name of the base polish, Cover Girl Nail Slicks Mystic Peacock.

Mystic Peacock is a dark teal that leans more green than blue with slightly lighter, subtle shimmer. This color is beautiful and not like anything else in my stash. Unfortunately, the application wasn't quite as perfect. It's quite thin and runny, and I had to use very thin coats to prevent it from flooding my cuticles. It's pigmented enough that it seemed opaque after two coats, but there were some bald patches that showed up at certain angles. So, I think I'll use three next time.

I stamped the peacock design from Bundle Monster plate BM15 with Sally Hansen Color Quick Turquoise Chrome on top. This is the second time that I've used this polish for stamping, and it didn't work as well as the first time. It comes in a pen shaped applicator, and the bristles on the brush were stiff despite my having stored it with the cap on. This made it harder to spread the polish on the plate, but the image of the whole peacock still stamped beautifully on my thumb. I decided to add just a little of the tail to each finger as an accent, which was harder than I thought it would be. The stamps aren't very crisp, but that can be attributed to operator error. The final look was still nice at a normal viewing distance.

I found Mystic Peacock at my local Dollar Tree for $1, so you'll probably have to be lucky to get hold of it (but if you do, it'll be cheap)!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scintillating Purple Mani

I'm on my way out the door to Nail Night, but first, a quick post. I've seen a lot of example of layering glitters on blogs, so I decided to try it for myself in this manicure.

The glitter I chose for the first layer is Finger Paints Purple Palette, a light purple, very sheer jelly base packed with small medium purple glitter particles mixed with some small silver glitter. This applied very easily, sliding on smoothly and not running at all. Given the sparkle, it wasn't easy to see through after two coats. I think it would be basically opaque at three coats due to the density of the glitter.

On top of Purple Palette, I added one coat of ELF Golden Goddess, which has a clear base with small gold glitter and larger gold holo hex glitter. The layering made the purple of Purple Palette look a bit lighter and added the extra bling of larger particles and a flash of holo. I finished with two coats of Sally Hansen Quick Dry Top Coat, which is thicker than Out the Door. After two coats, this was totally smooth. As you'd expect all this was pretty hard to remove.

This combo was SUPER blingy and caught tons of light. However, Purple Palette is pretty sparkly on its own. Overall, I think Golden Goddess would be put to better use over a nice creme or subtle shimmer. Used that way, I think it would look great as part of a holiday manicure.