November 22, 2016

Halloween costume nails

Now that it's two days before Thanksgiving, I'll share what I wore on my nails for Halloween!

Derek and I went as Bob and Linda Belcher for Halloween this year!


It was such an awesome costume!  Although my wig was pretty atrocious.  The picture on the bag was a cute little 50s flip, and I ended up with this tangled mass of not even slightly flipped hair.  But at least it was more accurate to Linda than my chin-length blonde-and-blue hair!

I wasn't quite sure what to do with my nails for Linda, though.  We never really see Linda's nails - in fact, the only instance of anyone's nails being drawn into question I can remember is when Louise Belcher gets those ridiculous talons on the cruise ship.  So, I had to improvise.  What would Linda Belcher wear on her nails to a Halloween party?

Perhaps... some awesome trick-or-treat water decals!

I got these decals from KBShimmer a few weeks ago.  I wasn't sure what to expect from using full-nail decals for the first time; my nails are super curvy, so laying flat things on them doesn't tend to work out very well.  But water decals are incredibly flexible, and they're also so thin that two coats of top coat completely smooths out any wrinkles!  I was very impressed.

The color is also really nicely opaque.  I was nervous for the black background over white polish, but it looks great!  I am definitely a satisfied customer with these water slide decals - and I'm really glad that I bought some hilarious kitty Christmas decals!

I want to take a moment to rave about how much I loved dressing up as Linda.  First of all, it was super cheap: I already owned the jeans, and I got the shirt and apron at a thrift store; the wig and glasses were pretty inexpensive, too!  Secondly, it was really comfortable.  I mean, my jeans are a bit snug on me, which sucked, but I got to wear long sleeves, long pants, and sneakers for Halloween!  The worst part about the costume was the wig cap and wig - they pulled at my scalp a bit and made my head hot and itchy.  But, clothing-wise, this is hands-down the most comfortable costume of my life.  And practical, too!  The apron had big pockets, big enough for all of my essentials so that I didn't need to carry a purse with me!  Big win.

But another reason I was so happy with this costume is a bit more psychological.  Linda Belcher is a Mom, and she has a Mom Bod.  Of course, I know that people of any body type can dress as any character they want.  If I had the seamstress skills, I would dress as Uma Therman's Poison Ivy in a heartbeat, even though I pretty much have the opposite body type as Uma.  But I have never felt so in-character with my jiggly bits!  It was really refreshing to not feel like my body type is an inaccuracy.  It was probably the most comfortable in my own skin I've been underneath my costume!

Bonus costume photo!  Frosting is cake skin right?  Lemme lick it!

What did you do for Halloween?  Let me know or show me in the comments, I really want to see!

November 16, 2016

Fun with Salon Perfect Halloween glitters!

Oh my gosh, you guys, I still have TWO MORE Halloween nail art posts to share with you.  I'm so sorry that I've been lagging behind my regular schedule lately!  I guess working 3 days a week has been harder on me than I thought it would.  I do absolutely love my job, but usually on my two days off I just feel like lazing around instead of doing any blog work!  Anyway, I'll probably post the next 2 Halloween manis in the same week so I can start posting some more seasonally appropriate nail art!

Last year, Salon Perfect and Nail It Magazine teamed up and gave away 100 sets of Salon Perfect nail polishes.  And I was one of the lucky 100!  I got 4 Halloween-themed glitters, a clear top coat, and green, orange, purple, and black polishes.  None of the glitters made it in to last year's Halloween challenges, but I wanted to feature them this year since I wasn't sticking to any specific challenges!

I couldn't settle on one design for these polishes, so I pretty much used all of the designs!

I was super, super happy with that purple-to-green gradient!  I almost wished I'd done it on all of my nails, but I do rather like the solid nails, too.  The larger glitters on my first 3 nails is called Witches' Brew, while the tinier glitter on my pinky is Wicked.

I'm pretty sure the Halloween glitters were limited edition last year, but Loopy Lime and A Royal Affair (the green and purple) are part of Salon Perfect's core collection.

Are you ready for this?  You're about to see my Cinderella hand!

I was too impatient to use the other glitters to wait for another full manicure, so I did a different mani on my right hand. :)  Traffic Cone, Oil Slick, and Sugar Cube (the orange, black, and white) are all core collection polishes, while the glitter, Trick or Treat, is once again limited edition from last year and no longer available.  I tried using the other glitter that I won, Spider Legs, but it had far too many black glitters for it to show up, even over this gradient!

Which of these two looks do you like better?  What did your nails don for Halloween, the most awesomest day of the year?  Let me know (or show me your nails) in the comments!

Winter is coming...

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions and thoughts are my own!

It's getting to be that time of year.  Starbucks has released their for-some-reason-controversial Holiday Cups, early birds are putting up their Christmas trees, and the weather is beginning to go from blissfully crisp to a bit chilly.  Pretty soon it will be downright cold every day!  The cold weather is absolutely brutal on the nails.  The other day, I noticed that I had deep cracks in three of my nails.  One of them, of COURSE on my left pinky which simply cannot stay long these past few months, broke off clean across.  I decided to cut all 10 nails down a bit to be on the safe side, knowing that the weather is getting harsh for my nails.

I know, they're still considered long by most people's standards. 
But I liked how much longer they were before! :(

The #1 most important line of defense for your nails this time of year, in my opinion, is keeping your nails healthy and strong.  That's where Groupon comes in!  Groupon has tons of coupon offers for dozens of companies, including several for the Vitamin Shoppe.  Keeping your body healthy and strong year-round is always important, but right now, your nails can probably use a bit of a boost.  That's why I take Biotin!  I really like the Natrol dissolvables, which are a powerful 10,000 mcg of Biotin and taste like a Smartie candy. :D  With the deals listed on Groupon, you can save a lot on all types of vitamins.  If you're not already taking a Biotin supplement (I take it year-round for maximum nail health), I highly recommend that you start taking it now!

Another great distributor that Groupon offers coupons and sales with is (link is to the Groupon coupons, not Overstock itself).  Did you know that stocks nail polish and nail art tools?!  They stock Essie, Sinful Colors, striping polishes and brushes, nail care tool kits, nail wraps, UV lamps...  and right now is a GREAT time to shop because of pre-Black Friday deals.  I kinda hate the whole concept of Black Friday (can we at least NOT have it the day after we're supposed to be thankful for what we have? and why are there so many pre-sales all month long? doesn't that defeat the purpose of Black FRIDAY, which is only one day?), but I am a huge sucker for a great sale, so, yeah.  If you're looking to buy holiday gifts for the polish lover in your life, or treat yourself during this time of year, definitely check out, and head to the Groupon coupons to see what you can save!

Do you use Groupon coupons when you shop?  What are your favorite types of coupons to shop with?  Let me know in the comments!

October 28, 2016

Save on ALL the things with Groupon!

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions and thoughts are my own!

I like to save money whenever I can.  I think most people do, really, because who wants to pay full price for anything when there's even a chance that there's a good deal out there somewhere?  But, at the same time, who wants to sit around searching for sales and deals?  Saving money is good, but time is money, so you need to save your time, too...

That's where Groupon comes in handy.  There are great deals on tons of different restaurants, activities, concerts/shows, spas, really on anything!  When Derek and I took a staycation this summer, I spent about an hour researching Indoor Activities (because we're both babies about the heat) that we could do at a discount.  And I found some great stuff!  We ended up going to an Escape the Room for half price.  Oh, and any time I need my car washed?  I check Groupon and can usually find a two-for-one deal at a nearby place!

Last year, I decided to ditch the jeans from October-April and experiment with leggings instead.  Boom, discounts on multi-packs of leggings.

One thing I would really love to do is go and get a massage.  My neck has been incredibly stiff lately, ever since I started my job with The Advocacy Project and sitting at a desk working on a laptop for 7-8 hours per day.  (Even though I'm super short AND keep my chair at the lowest position, I still have to look down at my screen.  It's bad for posture!)  There are definitely some kinks that need to be worked out!  I'm sure I'll be looking for a spa in the Health, Beauty, & Wellness Groupons area in the near future.  Not only do I know I'll be able to find a place in my area with a great deal, but I can also read reviews of the places right on Groupon without having to look on Yelp, Google, or the company's website!  It's super convenient.

(One time, Groupon e-mailed me with a deal for "Ladies' Night Out" packages that included Brazilian waxing.  I had to wonder what kind of woman thinks that getting waxed down there sounds like a good idea for a girls' night out, but hey, it's good to know that they offer waxing packages!)

What kinds of deals have you shopped for on Groupon?  Do you happen to know of a good spa in the D.C. area that frequently offers deals? ;) Let me know in the comments!

Oxi Day nail art

Halloween is right around the corner, but today is a very special day, too!  Today is known as Όχι Day, or Oxi Day in English - also spelled Ohi Day, pronounced "OH-hee."  It's Greek for "No."

Because this is a Greek holiday, I thought I would celebrate with some Greek key nail art - and take this opportunity to teach you guys about Oxi Day!

These Greek key stencils were way hard to use, and the design came out a bit sloppy looking on my nails!  Oh well.  I love Greek keys - which, in the spirit of this educational post, are known as "Meandros" in Greek ("Μαίανδρος") and have been a common motif on buildings and pottery since ancient times, most likely symbolizing infinity and unity.  (side note: if I ever gather the guts to get a tattoo, it will absolutely be a Greek key around my ankle.)

On October 28, 1940, Italian ambassador to Greece Emanuele Grazzi met with Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas.  Grazzi demanded that Metaxas allow Axis powers to occupy Greece, or face war.  Metaxas' response was, for reasons unknown to me, in French: "Alors, c'est la guerre!" which means "Then it is war!"  Italian troops that had been stationed in Albania quickly attacked the Greek border, plunging Greece into World War II.  Greek citizens gathered in the streets, shouting "Oxi," unified against the Axis powers.  

October 28 became a national holiday in Greece in 1942.  It is celebrated with parades, military grandstanding, and lots of patriotic flag-waving.

An Oxi Day parade in Canada - it's celebrated in Greek communities
worldwide!  image source

Here in the states, I'm celebrating a bit more subtly with some Greek nail art!

The Greek flag is blue and white, so I used Zoya Tallulah on top of Sally Hansen White On.  I can't remember where I got the vinyl stencils - I bought too many vinyls from too many different companies too close together, so I honestly have no idea where any of them came from!

You can learn more about Oxi Day on Wikipedia and Living in Greece.

I hope I've managed to teach you something new today!  If not, tell me when you first learned about Oxi Day in the comments!  Do any of you celebrate Oxi Day by going to a parade or a festival, or maybe just by eating Greek food every October 28?  Let me know in the comments!

And Happy Almost-Halloween!

Update: a commenter (My Mom :) ) shared this 4 and a half minute video in the comments, and it's a great watch!


October 26, 2016

KBShimmer Be Scareful

KBShimmer's Be Scareful released in Fall 2015.  I got it a few weeks ago from a destash sale - I forget whose it was, but she had a lot of awesome indie polishes up!  I limited myself to one, and of course I chose a Halloween themed polish.

I applied Be Scareful using the sponge method.  First I brushed on one thin coat, to get an even coverage of the white crelly base, and then I sponged on two more layers of the glitter.

Isn't it so fun?  It looks like Halloween threw up on my nails!  I'm definitely glad that I used the sponging method.  The crelly base applies nicely, but the glitters are large enough that it's tough to brush them on.  I highly, highly recommend that you try out the sponge method!  Of course, if you do, you should protect your cuticles with some kind of peel-off barrier, because you'll get glitter all over your skin without it.

As you can see, it's not completely opaque - there's still some noticeable VNL.  I could have tried out one more layer, or layered this over a coat of solid white, but I wasn't all that concerned with getting full opacity.

Look at those tiny little orange glitters floating in there!  They're not super noticeable to the naked eye, but once you get this close up, it's hard to miss anything.

Oh, and when I went to bed after applying this polish, I got a pretty big surprise...

Be Scareful GLOWS IN THE DARK YASS!  I love a surprise glow in the dark nail polish!  I'm always like, "what's that weird light coming from - IT'S MY NAILS?!" and then I shove my hands in Derek's face and he's a bit concerned for my sanity.

Because it's Halloween, and because I still have plenty of the water decals that I used last Halloween, I decided to do some art on top of this!

I just love these decals!  They're so cute.  I mean - scary! :)

My friends at my crochet group were particularly thrilled with the spiderweb decal on my thumb.

Be Scareful isn't available anymore, but KBShimmer has an AMAZING lineup for autumn 2016!

What do you think of this polish?  What are your favorite KBShimmers?  Have your nails been celebrating Halloween all month long like mine have?  Let me know in the comments!

October 22, 2016

In the spirit of Holo-ween and Frankenpolish!

I've definitely been on a Halloween nail art kick all month!  And a holo kick.  Thus, Holo-ween.  I know, I know, it's not original, but it's definitely a good pun.

I sort of did this mani twice.  I originally did a vertical gradient using each of these colors, but I didn't like it much.  Shortly after I finished I realized that I should have done this version - sort of a gradient French tip design.

The purple polish is Heather's Hues Vampirette, which you saw me use last Halloween.  The red is Firecracker Lacquer Stop and Smell the Blossoms (from the Powerpuff Girls box, ahh!), and the green is Daily Hues Nail Lacquer Fiona.


I definitely wanted this entire mani to be holographic, but my only black holo is Gothic Gala Lacquers The Search for Spock - which is beautiful and stunning, but leans a little bit purple, and I wanted a truer black for this design.

And, I don't have a holo yellow or orange!  Well, I do have Gothic Gala Lacquers My Partner in Crime, but it's a more mustard-y yellow, and I wanted bright yellow, more like candy corn.  Yes, I am picky, but that's what being an artist is all about, right?  Knowing what you want and making it happen?

So, I looked at my polish collection and thought, "these would look good mixed together!"  And I had several old, unusable bottles of top coat lying around, so I cleaned them out and mixed up some frankenpolish!  I'm calling them "Kate Concoctions" so that I can have a "brand" to tag if I ever use them again.

The first one I made is the orange, which I dubbed Pumpkin Sparkle.  It's a mixture of mostly OPI It's a Piazza Cake and Deborah Lippmann Don't Stop Believin, with a bit of Sally Hansen Orange Zest and a dash of Salon Perfect Traffic Cone (because I used too much Piazza Cake and the color was looking darker than I wanted it).  Then I added three different holos to the mix: China Glaze Fairy Dust, Deviant Polish Lori, and Sally Hansen Disco Ball.  I think Disco Ball shows up the best.  In the end I decided to add literally like 6 drops of Zoya Jesy, both to brighten up the color and add a touch more sparkle.

Next, I made the black, which I named Night Sky and I think came out the very best.  It's also the simplest: a large amount of  Sinful Colors Black on Black, with a couple drops of The Search for Spock, and the three holos that I added to the orange - Lori, Fairy Dust, and Disco Ball.  I'm sooo happy with how this came out, and quite happy that I made it in a full-sized bottle!

I made the yellow last, and I kind of like everything about it the least.  The name, A-maize-ing, isn't great but I couldn't think of anything better.  The holos barely show up in it, even though I added plenty of all three, which is the most disappointing of all.  The color is mostly China Glaze Happy Go Lucky, with a dash of Finger Paints Master Muse and just 3 drops of Orange Zest.  I suppose every indie maker winds up with slight disappointments like this!

What do you think of my Concoctions? Is there anything you'd like to see me do for Halloween nail art?  There's still time - let me know in the comments!