December 23, 2014

ALL the Christmas Nail Arts!!!

I spent a lot of time this month NOT painting my nails.  But there were TONS of Christmas-themed nail art designs that I wanted to try out, so I decided to do ALL of them on my nails at once! :D

I used ALL the colors for this, and rather than describe them in order of appearance, I'll just list them all at the bottom of this post (which is going to be pretty photo-heavy).

Here's my left hand:

And my left thumb, because I was too proud of it to only show it at the horrible angle above:


I took inspiration from a few different sources for this nail art.  The Christmas tree and Santa coat are from this awesome nail art compliation off of  The Santa corset was inspired by Instagram user arita888.

On my right hand:

Okay, this did not go as I had planned.  The Santa hat (also inspired by the FabArtDIY list) turned out awesome, but my cable knit sweaters... Not so much.  I got the idea from this image, and found this YouTube tutorial on how to do it with gel polish.  What I actually used was 3D fabric paint on top of one coat of normal polish, then one coat of polish on top of that.  I think the technique was good, but the execution was ah... less than good.  It ended up looking far less delicate and much more messy than I'd been hoping.

And then, since I used my glue basecoat, my pointer finger design ended up falling off very quickly.  So I redid it with a different pattern:

This one turned out messy too, because I'm not so great at stamping.  It was perfect in my head: red, green, and silver snowflakes stamped over white and then matte-d for wrapping paper, and then a very sparkly purple ribbon.  The overall design was inspired by Instagram user anas_manis.

By the way - do you recognize the pattern on my left ring finger?  Like, REALLY recognize it?  I did that same design on my nails last Christmas!  Here's the original, complete with my super-short, pre-Biotin nails:

I loved this design so much that I decided to redo it this year.  It's a simple enough design that there isn't too much obvious skill improvement between the years, but it's always nice to have a visual reminder of how much nicer my nails are now. :)

Aaaand I absolutely adore my tiny little Christmas tree, so I decided to show off my nails in front of it. :D


This nail art took me a whomping three and a half hours and 18 nail polishes.  WOW.  But it was tons of fun, and I watched such Christmas classics as The Muppets Christmas Carol and American Horror Story while doing this! ;) 

Sigh.  My right thumb, middle, AND ring finger nail designs all fell off too, so I had to redo them!  I liked the Santa hat so much that I kept that design, but I decided against redoing the sweater designs and instead chose two more Christmasy patterns: a Santa face and a penguin!


 The Santa face turned out pretty nicely, though his eyes smeared a little when I put on my top coat.  And sorry about my messy cuticles - I was too excited to take these last two pictures to bother waiting until my cuticles were clean!

This penguin...  Poor little guy.  His right eye was a little bit lopsided, so I tried to even it out by making it a little bigger.  But instead, my hand slipped and now he's a mutant penguin with two and a half eyes.  I can't stop laughing every time I look at him. :) :(

Which design is your favorite?  Is there another Christmas/winter design that you love doing?  Let me know in the comments!  And Merry Christmas Eve :D 

As promised, here's a list of everything that I used for this:
Zoya Trixie
China Glaze Innocence
China Glaze White on White
Sally Hansen CSM Red My Lips
Sally Hansen White striper
Twisted Colors All Spruced Up
Zoya Nyssa
Zoya Ziv
OPI How Great Is Your Dane
OPI An Affair In Red Square
Essie Bikini So Teeny
Nicole by OPI Heavenly Angel
Heather's Hues Santa Baby
Finger Paints Ch-Art-Coal Black
China Glaze Fairy Dust
Spoiled by Wet n Wild Green to be Heard
Julep Bunny
Zoya Haven
Zoya Posh
Nina Ultra Pro Black
Finger Paints Master Muse
Cheeky Beauty Jumbo Plate 10
Scribbles 3D Fabric Paint in White
ULTA Sweet&Shimmer studs

Tossback Tuesday Nail Art

I'm making Tossback Tuesday a thing because I didn't want to wait for Throwback Thursday for this post!

If you've read my bio, you'll know that I got in to nail art in December of 2013.  It actually all started with a snowman.

As I was browsing reddit one day last December, I stumbled upon the nail polish community, which is called Reddit Laqueristas ("the C was sold to pay for polish").  There, I saw all sorts of adorable winter and Christmas themed manicures: penguins, presents, Santas, Christmas trees... and snowmen.  Lots of snowmen.  I decided to try my hand at one little snowman, though I didn't have any orange nail polish for the carrot nose.  And I was so not going to buy an orange polish just for one tiny detail in one manicure!

I also didn't have any nail art tools, except for some trusty orangewood sticks.  So that's what I used for the snowman's smaller features!  The body itself I painted on by wiping off most of the polish from the brush.

He's wibbly, but I was (and still am) very proud of him!  At this point in time, my nails were breaking like crazy from simple tasks like zipping my pants and carrying groceries inside.  So I had to keep them short.  (Though this was still fairly long for my nails, because I played the viola for 11 years and had to keep my nails SUPER short for that.)

Now, one year later, I decided to recreate the snowman in order to show off my progession!

The polishes that I used are all the same - Essie Bikini So Teeny with a coat of Maybelline Blue Marks The Spot on top - but the differences in white balance make them look very different.  And okay, my snowman is still a little bit wibbly, but I don't care!  Last year's snowmani (:D) took me close to two hours, and this year it was only about 45 minutes from basecoat to topcoat.  Now THAT'S an improvement!  

This year, I had an orange polish - ORLY Ablaze - for a carrot nose (and in the past few months, I have bought plenty of polishes with only one design in mind).  I also nixed one polish - Nicole by OPI Heavenly Angel - because I thought that looked a little bit too busy.  (But don't worry, you'll see those flakes used in a winter mani very soon!)

A little bit closer up on the snowman.

I'm very proud of my improvement - in nail art, in the length of my nails, in shaping my nails, and in the size of my nail polish collection.  In one year, I've jumped from owning 15 to 137 bottles of nail polish.  WOW.

Have you ever recreated your own nail art to see how your skills had increased?  How did it go?  Let me know in the comments!

December 22, 2014

Heather's Hues: Santa Baby

Indie polish maker Heather's Hues ran a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway from December 1-12.  Each day had a bunch of different prizes from a few different sponsors.  And I won the first day!  Yay!!!

I got 4 full-sized polishes and 1 mini polish from a few different indies, as well as some gift card codes.  I'll swatch the rest of the polishes that I got sometime soon, but I really wanted to show you the one from Heather's Hues herself now because it's Christmas themed!

Heather's Hues: Santa Baby

Santa Baby is a super fun red jelly loaded with glitters.  The glitters spread on really smoothly, which is awesome.  There are several different sizes of glitter, and they're the perfect size for my taste!  Glitters bigger than this don't really spread very well, which makes the polish harder to work with.  This one is quite smooth and I really like the distribution of glitter.

(For whatever reason, my camera SUPER oversaturates red polishes.  I actually had to desaturate this one a little to prevent it from looking like my nails were bleeding!)

Two coats yielded full coverage, but I used three for more layers of glitter.  (As always!)

This is a really great polish to add to your Christmas collection, though it could easily be used in any red-themed mani.  (I can see myself using this for a Valentine's Day mani!)

dat macro tho.

Santa Baby is so far my only Heather's Hues polish, but I'm definitely adding this brand to my list of indies to try more from!  Do you have any Heather's Hues?  What are your other favorite indie polishes?  Let me know in the comments!

December 21, 2014

Twisted Colors: Christmas polishes!

When I really like something, I have a hard time talking about it without sounding like a) I've been paid to advertise for it or b) I don't care about anything else.  So before I start this post, I wanted to say that I have not been paid to write this and that I do, in fact, really like other indie brands.

Twisted Colors is the very first indie brand that I tried.  I was immediately in love.  (See my first review of TC polishes here - one of my first posts!)  My first purchase was the Houses and Horcruxes collection, and then I waited (im)patiently for the We'll Take the Lot collection.  And, most recently, I purchased two of TC's Christmas polishes: All Spruced Up and Star of Wonder.

I was originally planning on buying Elf Vomit, as Denise had posted several pictures of it on her Facebook page and I was really digging it.  But I also really liked All Spruced up and Star of Wonder when I went to her shop, so I decided to go with those two instead.  Naturally I'd have loved to buy all three of them, especially with the Black Friday sale, but I'd just gotten some birthday money and wanted to spread it out.  After all, there were bunches of other Black Friday sales that I wanted to check out!

Then, to my surprise, Elf Vomit was in my package when it arrived!  Denise noticed how much I liked it on Facebook and was generous enough to throw it in when she saw that I didn't buy it.  It seriously brought a tear to my eye, I was so surprised and happy!

So without further ado, here are swatches of three of Twisted Colors' Christmas-themed polishes.

Star of Wonder

I was super surprised by Star of Wonder!  The photos on the website really don't to the holographic glitters justice.  This is much, much more reflective than it looks online - which is awesome!

Out of focus to show its true holographic beauty.

As usual with Twisted Colors, this is a glitter bomb.  Matte navy blue glitters, holographic navy blue glitters, and tiny holographic silver glitters all complement each other very nicely in a clear base.  It applies quite smoothly for a glitter bomb.  I had to do a little bit of dabbing, but for the most part this one spread nicely on the nail.

I have three coats over my bare nail, and two coats each on top of silver, navy blue, and white (Sally Hansen CSM Hi Ho Silver, Zoya Ryan, and China Glaze White on White).

All Spruced Up 

Holy crap, my nails are Christmas trees!!

All Spruced Up is super fun.  It's a little bit hard to work with, especially if you want a lot of the red circles and gold stars.  What I ended up doing was placing the bottle upside down for about 10 minutes before using it, then fishing the brush around for the larger glitters.  It was especially helpful to wipe most of the polish off of the brush, then catch a big red circle from inside the bottle neck.


I have three coats on my bare nail, then two coats each over green, silver, and white (Spoiled by Wet n' Wild Green to Be Heard, Hi Ho Silver, White on White).

Just... I just... wow!  Look at how packed with glitter that is, after only two coats!!  Super, super, super fun.

Elf Vomit 

Oh man.

I am just ridiculously happy that Denise threw this in for me.  It's so, so, so festive!  Like Alas, Earwax from We'll Take The Lot, the glitters have a tendency to spread across the nail with the brush - so I had to do a bit of dabbing to get even glitter coverage.

I have three coats over my bare nail, then two coats each over red, silver, and green (Sally Hansen CSM Red My Lips, Hi Ho Silver, Green To Be Heard).  It's worth noting that it looks much better over red in person.  For whatever reason, my camera over-saturates red REALLY badly, which is really frustrating. 

Awesome, isn't it?  The perfect polish to add to your Christmas manicure for some fun, easy, festive bling!

What are your favorite Christmas-themed polishes?  Do you think I should be Twisted Colors' Official Spokesperson? ;) Let me know in the comments!

December 20, 2014

Some Zoya Christmas Art

Zoya Ziv may be from a two year old Christmas collection, but I got it this October because she's such a gorgeous, stunning gold that I don't think she could ever go out of style.  Even if she did, you should know by now that I wouldn't give a darn - I like colors when I like them and I don't care who tells me whether it's In or not!

When Zoya put four collections on sale back in mid-November - Naturel, Naturel 2, Ignite, and Entice were BOGO - my mom picked out three shades and was kind enough to let me pick out a fourth!  I picked Chantal, because all of my nude colors have a rose-y base, and I wanted a more neutral, cream-y nude.

Zoya Ornate: Ziv

Ziv is a beautiful warm, yellow-toned metallic polish.  She's packed full of reflective microglitters, but the glitters are so small that it doesn't feel like a glitter polish.  Yet the microglitter is substantial enough to really stand out from other metallic polishes that I've worn.  It's just... wow.


One of the best parts about Ziv?  She's a mythical One-Coat Wonder!  I used two coats, but it was really only out of habit.  After painting the second coat on two or three nails, I looked at the nails with only one coat on them and realized that there wasn't a difference!  How magical.

Sometimes when I swatch polishes, I take tons of photos because I can't seem to get the focus or the lighting or the alignment of my fingers right.  This time, I took tons of extra pictures because Ziv is just SO stunning.  So feast your eyes on four out of, like, 25 pictures that I took.

I also decided to matte-ify Ziv.  It still looked nice, but I am definitely way happier with keeping her glossy. 

Zoya Naturel: Chantal

Chantal is a very lovely nude creme.  She's actually quite close to my perfect nude!

It photographed a bit... I'm not sure... more peach-y than it is in person?  It just looks oversaturated on the screen.  I couldn't quite figure out how to show it more accurately, but this is quite close.

Chantal has a good formula, but it's not as smooth as is typical of Zoya.  It's a bit streaky, and thinner than usual as well.  The streaks evened out pretty nicely on the second coat, and a topcoat evened them out even more.  Definitely a solid addition to your collection if you're in to nudes!

Let's Make Some Art!

Ziv just happens to match a tank top of mine perfectly - one of those amazing wardrobe-to-nail coordinations that I didn't even plan.  Naturally, upon realizing how perfect the match was, I decided that I just had to do my nails to match the outfit.  That's another reason I picked Chantal - it's not a perfect match for the sweater that I like to wear with the gold tank top, but it's very close.

And, since Ziv is from a Christmas (well, Holiday) collection and since I really only wear the gold tank top during Christmas, I decided to make this a delicate Christmasish manicure by throwing in Prim from this year's holiday collection!

The inspiration for this design comes from this post on Hey Nice Nails.  My uncle shared a picture of it with me on Facebook and I just had to recreate it!

Silly old me forgot about taking a picture of my nails with the sweater/tank top combo that matches.  You'll just have to trust me when I say that it was a great match. ;)

What are your favorite polish/clothes pairings?  Let me know in the comments!

November 24, 2014

Hiatus Announcment!

Hi friends!

As you may be aware, my birthday is on November 26.  As you may also be aware, I am from Michigan but live in Maryland.  This year, I'm visiting home for my birthday/Thanksgiving.  As it's my only holiday visit this year, I'll be staying for nine days.

So from November 25 through December 4, I will be inactive on the blog.  I can't bring too many nail polishes on the plane, and even if I could I'll be so busy visiting family and friends that I wouldn't have time to do much nail art, photo editing, or writing.

I'll likely be semi-active on Twitter and Instagram, but they'll be personal posts.  (Both accounts are a mix of personal and blog.)  I might post a tiny bit over on my blog's Facebook page, but it'll be pretty limited!

Last time I took a short hiatus, it took me a few days to get back in to the swing of things - so don't hold your breath for a full post on December 5th! 

In the meantime, be sure to enter my birthday giveaway!  It's running until a week after I get back, to ensure that I'm on top of things when the winner is chosen.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Birthday Nails!

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday dear Kate,
Happy birthday to me!


I know I'm on hiatus, but I prepared this post early because I wanted to share my birthday nails with you on my birthday!

I spent an embarrassing amount of time deciding what to do for my birthday nails, even testing color schemes out on paper and on fake nails.  But I wanted my birthday nails to be super special awesome as this is my first birthday since starting blogging!

I snuck in a turkey on my right hand because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I won't have time to redo my nails.  But also because Thanksgiving has always fallen on or near my birthday, so it's kind of a part of my birthday.

I used a bunch of different colors for this look.  The blue background is Zoya Robyn, and the gold background is Zoya Ziv.  (You'll see a full swatch and review of Ziv in a few weeks!)  The glitter gradient is Twisted Colors Alas, Earwax on top of China Glaze Fairy Dust, while the glittery "23" is Formula X Free Fall.  (I'll probably also do a swatch of that one fairly soon, too!)  The numbers stand out a lot more in person, but because everything is so sparkly and shiny, on camera it doesn't stand out much from that Fairy Dust.

My birthday cupcake is made up of many colors: Zoya Nyssa, China Glaze Ingrid and Sunset Sail for the wrapper; ALIQUID Lacquer Wolverine Loves Spartan for the frosting/sprinkles; and Sally Hansen CSM Red My Lips for the cherry.

The turkey is OPI How Great Is Your Dane, and his feathers are Nyssa, Red My Lips, China Glaze Happy Go Lucky, and Finger Paints Master Muse.

Okay, back to my hiatus.  I'm spending the day with my sister and nephew, and in the evening we're having dinner at Mongolian Barbeque with the rest of my family!

Also, don't forget to enter my birthday giveaway!  It's continuing for another two weeks!

Zebras for EDS Awareness

Indie nail polish maker Dazzlings is teaming up with several other indie brands to host a pretty neat contest/giveaway on Instagram.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a really shitty disease.  It's an invisible illness, meaning that you can't really "tell" a person is afflicted with it by looking at them (the way you can tell that someone has, for example, a broken leg or the flu).  A chronic pain disorder with no cure and very little treatment sounds like a shit card to be dealt in life.  My Yiayia had severe rheumatoid arthritis, which is another chronic pain disorder, so I can sympathize with EDS sufferers sort of by osmosis.

Anyway, EDS isn't talked about very much, not even in the medical research community.  So Dani of Dazzlings, who suffers from EDS herself, is hosting a giveaway to spread awareness and the entry requirement is a zebra manicure.  (In the medical community, a "zebra" is a rare or little-known disease.)  This giveaway is open until Friday, November 28, so there's still time to get your manis in if you're interested!  I'm not sure what the prize is yet, but I'm guessing it will be a good one as there are so many sponsors.  And it's worth noting that the winner will be chosen randomly, not based on their artistic talent!

I decided to go Classic Kate and paint my nails to match my purse!

To answer the age-old question: it's white with black stripes.  China Glaze White on White with Finger Paints Ch-Art-Coal Black stripes, that is! ;)  The blue is Essie Strut Your Stuff, and the silver dots are Sally Hansen CSM Hi Ho Silver.

Fun story: I ended up doing the zebra mani twice for this!  The first time I did it, I forgot to hold a piece of paper with the required hashtag.  And I painted this on a very busy swatching day, so I removed the mani almost immediately after taking the pictures!  But I wanted to show it to you anyway, because it was my very first-ever zebra mani and I was very proud of it.

I've got to hand it to Julep - their bottle shape may be awkward for a normal swatch picture, but they're great for showing off thumbs!

The darker purple is Julep Elle (which has a surprisingly wonderful formula for Julep!), the lighter stripes and accent nails are Zoya Malia (with a coat of Zoya Sparkle Gloss), and the background on my pointer finer is Sally Hansen CSM Trouble Maker.

Which color scheme do you like best?  Let me know in the comments!

December Giveaway Mega-post!

All righty guys, enough time has passed that now, most of the giveaways I come across end in December.  There aren't too many so far but I'll be adding to the list as the month goes on!

Firstly we have MY GIVEAWAY!  Have you entered it yet?  I'm giving away four full-sized bottles from OPI's Nordic collection.  USA only, and ends December 10.

Kelli of The Nail Polish Challenge is giving away Barielle's Jetsetter collection.  That's six polishes and, while I've never used Barielle before, they look really great based on reviews that I've seen.  USA only, ends December 8.

Amy of Amy Loves New Wave is giving away one HUGE grand prize and a second surprise prize in honor of the holidays!  (This giveaway was already featured in my November post, but I decided to put it here too.)  Ends December 1.

A couple of people are hosting 12 Days of Christmas giveaways, which is super fun and exciting!!  Since I was on vacation through December 4th, I'm a little late to the game on some of these, but each day's giveaway runs for more than a day.

Cirque Colors' 12 days started on December 1.  Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for each post so you can enter!

Heather's Hues is running their 12 Days on Instagram, and this one started on December 4.  (Update: Day One ended on 12/8, and I won!!!  There are a few nail polishes headed my way, as well as some discount codes to indie brands.  I'll be posting about that soon enough!)

Nail It! Magazine is at it again.  This time they've paired up with Sinful Colors and are giving away a huge holiday polishes collection!  To enter, you must follow the instructions on this Facebook post  and fill out this form.  US only, ends December 9 at 11:59 pm PST.

Gloss 48 has teamed up with Lydell NYC for an awesome giveaway.  Neither of these companies are strictly nail polish, but the prize is a $50 gift card to Gloss 48 and $100 to Lydell NYC - and Gloss 48 carries a ton of nail polish brands, including some indies!  I'm honestly not sure if this is international or US only.  Giveaway runs until December 15.

I AM Custom Color is celebrating their one year anniversary in making nail polish and cosmetics.  Congratulations!!  In honor of their anniversary, they're hosting an epic giveaway with two winners and TONS of prizes!  This one is international and it runs until January 5 (but it's in the December post because I feel silly starting my January post already).

Gloss 48, as if they don't have enough giveaways every month, is giving away a $100 gift card to their store!  Runs until December 22.

Polish Galore has a flash giveaway!  Win a set of Morgan Taylor Nail Lacquer polishes just by commenting on the linked Facebook post with your favorite nail polish texture!  International, runs only until December 17.

The Mercurial Magpie has THREE giveaways running currently.  One of them ends TONIGHT, 12/17, at midnight EST - I wish I'd found it sooner!  She's giving away two Literary Lacquers polishes.  This one is US only. 
The second Magpie giveaway is a collaboration with lots of other beauty bloggers for a $350 Visa gift card - not exactly a nail poilsh giveaway, but think of all the polish you could buy with $350!!  I assume this one is international, and it's open for another 38 hours as of now (11 am on 12/17)... so what's that math?  It ends somewhere around 1 am on 12/19, EST, I think.  Another one that I wish I'd seen sooner! 
And finally, we have The Mercurial Magpie's Holiday Hullabaloo: a collaboration with a bunch of indie polish makers for a total of 38 prizes!  Wowza!  This one has some international prizes and some that are US only, and it runs until midnight on 12/29.

November 21, 2014

Half of Zoya Wishes

What is this, a Zoya Promotion Blog?  Nope!  Zoya just happens to be one of my favorite brands and they KEEP ON HAVING SALES.  I mean, sales are a good thing, but I need to stop buying from EVERY SINGLE SALE.

The polishes from this post are actually from two different sales.  I got Prim from a Zoya sale (3 for $15), and Nori and Haven from ULTA.  Through November 29, several brands of nail polish are Buy Two Get One Free, including Zoya and China Glaze! (See page 26 of this ad.)  Online, I wasn't terribly impressed with the Wishes collection, but in person I fell in love with Haven and rather liked Nori, so I got them.  (My third was China Glaze Fairy Dust.  I bought that entirely because of The Mercurial Magpie's Fairy Dust All The Things post.)

So, without further ado, I give you...

Zoya Wishes: Prim

I'm actually a little disappointed in Prim.  EVERYWHERE I've seen it online - Zoya's official pictures and ads, and in various blogs - it looks like an icy, barely-purple blue.  It's actually an icy, barely-blue purple.  Zoya even describes it as a "velvety blue," but frankly I think they're wrong.  It's still quite nice, and it does still feel very wintery, but it's just not what I expected.

Please ignore the bright orange on the bottle.  I need to stop wearing neon clothes when I take nail pictures!
Also, ignore the nasty dents in the polish.  I should have waited longer before typing, apparently.

Other than that, I do like Prim.  It's a bit brush-strokey, but it's not as noticeable in person as it is in the photos.  The formula is very smooth and a great consistency.

Despite my disappointment in the color, I have to give Prim major credit because I got perfect, complete coverage in just one coat!  In fact, I used two coats to clean up the line around my cuticles on a few nails, and I found that I ended up with worse brush strokes on those nails.  Never in all my year of polish hobby-ing have I seen a polish that actually fares BETTER with only one coat than with two!

I tried really, really hard to get a picture without too much glare.  Prim is just so shiny and metallic, and my lamp is really bright but gets too dim if I move it too far away from my nails.  I love that metallic glare in person, but I think it's distracting in photos!

Zoya Wishes: Nori

Nori is another reason that I'm disappointed in Prim.  The purple of Haven matches Thea perfectly, and the black of Willa matches Imogen perfectly.  And then you have icy purple Prim and sapphire blue Nori.  Zoya is usually so much better at pairing colors - just look at Ignite/Entice and Tickled/Bubbly!

Anyway, Nori is the first Ultra Pixie Dust that I've tried.  The concept is similar to Liberty - a matte polish with large, super-sparkly 3D glitters.  Except that Nori doesn't dry as matte as Liberty.  I'm okay with it, as it's still incredibly sparkly and a very pretty polish, but I've seen that a lot of bloggers were really disappointed with the Ultra Pixie Dusts in this collection.  Maybe I'm less disappointed because I haven't used an Ultra Pixie Dust before.

 Out-of-focus to help show the sparkle!

As far as application goes, Nori is great, on par with all of Zoya's polishes.  Some of the larger glitters will spread across the nail, so it does require a little bit of dabbing, but it's quite easy to work with.  Two coats for full coverage.  And I really like the color - sapphire is my second favorite shade of blue!


Since Pixie Dusts are supposed to be matte, here's Nori with a matte top coat.  (This first two pictures had no top coat, which is how Zoya recommends you wear Pixie Dust polishes.)

Here she is with a shiny top coat.  I think I like this better, though I think it really looks best with no top coat.

Zoya Wishes: Haven

Oh man.  Haven is absolutely gorgeous.  It's definitely my favorite of these three.  Wonderfully, perfectly smooth application with no brush strokes.  The color is really accurate to what I'd seen on the internet.

And what a color!  It's such a wonderful, amazing deep purple.  So regal!  I can't wait to pair Haven with Ziv.  Zoya describes it as a "true holiday plum liquid metal with a thin vein of orchid to ensure brilliance," and I totally agree.

I quite like the Wishes collection, and I'm glad that Zoya picked something other than red, green, silver, and gold for their Holiday collection this year!  What are your favorites from this collection?  Got any great holiday mani ideas based on these colors?  Let me know in the comments!

November 18, 2014

Kate's Birthday Giveaway!

My 23rd birthday is coming up in about a week.  This year, instead of getting presents, I'm going to be giving the presents to YOU!  :D

 That's right, in honor of my birthday I'm hosting my very first giveaway!  Woohoo!

For my very first giveaway, I'm giving away four colors from OPI's Nordic collection.  I wish I could afford to give away the whole collection!  I decided that the cheapest way for me to be able to swatch the colors and give away fresh, unused bottles was to buy the Little Northies box for myself, and purchase the full-sized polishes for you.  So, the prizes for this giveaway are: OPI How Great Is Your Dane, My Dogsled Is A Hybrid, My Voice Is A Little Norse, and Do You Have This Color In Stock-holm.  Just to be clear, the minis are not the prize here - the prizes are all full-sized bottles!  Oh boy!  (I did hold the full-sized bottles for the swatch photos, because mini bottles are frustrating to photograph.  Don't worry, my hands were clean, and I promise I painted my nails with my mini bottles!)

How Great Is Your Dane?

Dane is a lovely brown creme.  OPI describes it as a "cinnamon coffee" brown, and I'd say that's pretty accurate.  I originally bought it when the collection first came out with thoughts of painting a dark forest in honor of the Into The Woods film that's coming out soon(ish).  I also used this color in my Autumn-Colored Retro Dots tutorial.

Application is really good, though it's a bit uneven on the first coat.  A second coat evens it out completely, though!  The formula is a tiny bit on the thin side, which explains the unevenness - but it's not frustratingly thin.

Here it is with one coat of the glitter topper, My Voice Is A Little Norse.

My Dogsled Is A Hybrid

Dogsled is a great turquoise creme.  It's a bit muted, so it doesn't look out-of-season in autumn or winter.

Don't mind the band-aid on my finger - my cupboard handle attacked me and I lost.

The formula is wonderfully smooth.  It applied like a dream, even out of a mini bottle.  (Mini bottles have smaller brushes, which tends to make polish more frustrating to apply.)  Two coats for complete coverage, but you might be able to maneuver only one coat if you're very careful!

 Pictured with one coat of My Voice Is A Little Norse.

My Voice Is A Little Norse

Little Norse is a super-awesome glitter topper.  Silver holographic microglitters in a clear base = yes please!  I can see it looking amazing as snow on top of a white polish for a lovely winter manicure.  Or as stars on top of a galaxy mani!

 Out-of-focus to help you see the holographic shine!

It applies VERY smoothly - no glitter clumping or sticking.   I used one coat in all of the pictures.  I tried out two coats over Dogsled on my thumb, but I felt that it greyed out the color a bit too much.

This picture really doesn't do the sparkle justice, but from pinky to pointer finger I have it on top of China Glaze White on White, one coat of China Glaze Innocence (to simulate bare nail but cover up my yellowed nails), Zoya Ryan, and Nina Ultra Pro Black.  On top of the lighter colors it doesn't look special in this photo, but it looks AWESOME in person!

This is pretty textured.  I definitely recommend using a peel-off base coat with this.  I can still feel the texture of the glitter underneath two coats of Out The Door - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  That's just a sign of a glitter that will be VERY frustrating to remove with remover and a cotton ball.

Do You Have This Color In Stock-holm?

Holy crap, this color photographed WAY BLUE.  Dark purples tend to do that on my camera, and I just don't get it - I use manual white balance and all other colors photographed pretty accurately...

Far, FAR more blue than it looks in person.

Anyway, Stock-Holm is a really nice, blue-violet creme.  Applies just as beautifully as the rest of the cremes in this collection - OPI is typically very good about their formula.  Two coats for complete coverage.

I messed with the colors to show the color more accurately.  This is still a bit bluer and darker than it is in person, but it's much closer.

With one coat of Little Norse on top.


Now, for the giveaway.  Rafflecopter is pretty simple, but I'll explain the rules for any of you who may be unsure how this works.

First, I'm sorry to say that this giveaway is open to US residents only.  If you are international and know somebody who lives in the US, you can still enter and have the prize delivered to them if you win - just know that once the prize is delivered to your US friend/relative, it's their responsibility to get it to you.  I also can't ship to a PO Box, so you'll need to use a street address.

There are only two requirements to enter: tell me where you live (city, state), and give me an e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win.  I will not be saving any e-mail addresses, and I won't sell them to anybody.  You'll only get an e-mail from me if you win.  Doing both of these will enter you in the contest and earn you two entries.

If you wish to receive more entries in the giveaway, you can like and follow my various pages and profiles.  None of these are required for you to be entered in the giveaway, but they are highly encouraged as they earn you tons of extra entries!  Please note that anyone who Likes, follows, or subscribes to me for the duration of the contest and then unfollows after it ends will be noted and banned from all future giveaways.  If you don't want to add another page to your feed, just don't follow it and sacrifice the extra entries!  Additionally, I do not accept entries from giveaway accounts.  This term is pretty loosely defined across the internet, but I view a giveaway account as one with over 50% giveaway posts (not including giveaways run by you).

When the winner is announced, they will have 36 hours to respond to me.  If I don't get a response, I'll draw another winner - so check your e-mails!

The giveaway opens on Wednesday, November 19 at 12:15 am and ends on Wednesday, December 10 at 11:59 pm, EST.  I will announce the winner by 11:59 pm on Thursday, December 11.

All right, that's all I have to say.  Happy contest-ing and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway