Sunday, September 28, 2014

Today's mani: golden green gradient with A England

Hey there! Hope you had a great weekend! (Have you entered my giveaway yet?)

Today I wanted to do some sort of nail art, since I've gotten out of the habit recently. I realized that 1) I hadn't used my bottle of A England Dragon yet (a travesty!) and 2) I hadn't done a gradient in a long time. So I decided to do a triple gradient with all A England polishes.

The top color is Beauty Never Fails, the middle is Dragon, and the tips are Princess Sabra (which I swatched here). I think these polishes go perfectly together because they all have tones of gold and green, but they're different enough to make a nice gradient!

My only regret with Dragon is that the pretty orange shimmer you see in the bottle didn't really show up strongly on the nail. It is still amazing though!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

ALIQUID Lacquer Angel in Hell collection and GIVEAWAY!

Hello gentle readers! I've just released a brand new ALIQUID Lacquer collection that's perfect for Halloween! Bear with me while I talk about it, because there's a giveaway at the bottom of the post. (Or I guess you can just scroll down there immediately.)

The Phantom of the Opera has been my favorite musical for around 20 years, and the 1911 novel is one of my favorites too (I even wrote about it on this very blog). So it was the natural choice for me to base a Halloween collection on!

Rather than just naming polishes after songs in the musical (somewhat sketchy from a copyright point of view), I decided to make shades that emphasize the gothic/romantic themes in the story, as well as the contrasts between beauty/ugliness and light/dark. Take a look and tell me if I succeeded. :-)

Corpse de Ballet is a terrible pun and was inspired by the ballet girls, of course. In the book they are constantly scaring each other by spreading stories about Opera Ghost sightings. I was particularly thinking of the scene from the musical where Joseph Buquet is hanged directly above the ballerinas in the middle of a performance.

Forever and a Day represents the spiritual hold the Phantom has over Christine. I took the name from this passage in the book, where Christine passes through the mirror:

"And nothing could describe the passion with which the voice sang:

'Fate links thee to me for ever and a day!'

...Christine walked towards her image in the glass and the image came towards her. The two Christines - the real one and the reflection - ended by touching; and Raoul put out his arms to clasp the two in one embrace. But, by a sort of dazzling miracle that sent him staggering, Raoul was suddenly flung back, while an icy blast swept across his face; he saw not two, but four, eight, twenty Christines spinning round him, laughing at him and fleeing so swiftly that he could not touch one of them. At last, everything stood still again; and he saw himself in the glass. But Christine had disappeared.

He rushed up to the glass. He struck at the walls. Nobody! And meanwhile the room still echoed with a distant passionate singing:

'Fate links thee to me for ever and a day!'"

This is Maze of Mirrors. Mirrors are of course a major motif in the story and are linked to the theme of inner vs. outer beauty. In the book, the Phantom builds an elaborate torture chamber using mirrors to make Raoul and the Persian believe they're in the middle of a desert. They didn't include this in the musical, but the movie version does have a nod to it:

I had to make a polish called Red Death because, seriously, check out the Phantom's amazing outfit! I drew this probably 100 times as a kid.

This one is The Skeleton's Ring. In the musical, we don't learn the Phantom's ultimate fate, but in the book we are told explicitly that he died of a broken heart. This passage is from the last page of the book (the narrator is a journalist investigating the Phantom story):

"Yes, I am certain, quite certain that I prayed beside his body, the other day, when they took it from the spot where they were burying the phonographic records. It was Erik's skeleton. I did not recognize it by the ugliness of the head, for all men are ugly when they have been dead as long as that, but by the plain gold ring which he wore and which Christine Daae must have slipped on his finger, when she came to bury him in accordance with her promise.

The skeleton was lying near the little well, in the place where the Angel of Music first held Christine Daae fainting in his trembling arms, on the night when he carried her down to the cellars of the Opera-house."

Finally, here is Unending Night. Night and darkness in Phantom are moral as well as physical; the Phantom chooses to live in darkness because he's been rejected by the "normal" world of daylight.

If you're interested in picking any of these up, they're on sale for the next week at my shop! I also have a new pumpkin cheesecake lip balm scent and nail polish magnets!

OK, now on to the giveaway!!

I'm giving away the entire Angel in Hell collection to one lucky US resident! Here are the rules!
  • Winner must be over 18 and be able to provide a US shipping address.
  • The only mandatory entry is to provide your email address. All other entries are optional but increase your chance of winning!
  • Winning entries will be verified, so no cheating!
  • The giveaway will run until 11:59 PM EST on October 9, 2014.
  • The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: September Ipsy Glam Bag

Good morning all! Today I'm going to show you what I got in this month's Ipsy bag! If you're not familiar with Ipsy, it's a beauty/skincare subscription service that sends you 4-5 samples and full size products per month for $10. You can customize your bags to a certain extent. If you'd like to sign up, please use my referral link here!

I got some nice products this month, although they sent me eyeliner AGAIN!! This is like the third or fourth month in a row...just goes to show you that the bags really aren't fully customizable!

1. Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream

I was excited to get a hand cream, since I am pretty rough on my hands, but I wasn't terribly impressed with this one. It felt thin and not particularly luxurious. On the bright side, it didn't leave much greasiness behind. It has a light floral scent, primarily lavender. The full size is pretty pricey (17 pounds), so definitely not something I'd buy.

2. Cailyn Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in Love Affair

I really like this gloss! It's well-pigmented but not vampy, and it feels nice and smooth. It starts out very shiny, but after a while looks more like a lip stain.

3.  Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser

This is the second Nourish Organic product I've gotten from Ipsy, and I've been happy with both. (I actually bought a full-size bottle of their lightweight moisturizer because it's perfect for summer!) This cleanser makes me feel clean but not over-dry, and that's really all you can ask for. It's on the thin side (I'm not sure I'd call it a cream), doesn't foam up much, and has a faint natural scent.

4. Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush

I'm no makeup brush expert, but I'm a fan of this one! I especially like the crease end, because the bristles are stiff and tightly-packed and allow for pretty precise application. The brushes are made of synthetic fiber.

5.  Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in Gun Metal

Ahh, my old nemesis, eyeliner. I was a good sport and tried this one on. As far as I can tell, it's decent for a pencil liner, although I still had trouble getting it to go on evenly.

On me it looks pretty much like silver. I used the Crown Brush duo on my eyes here; the shadows are from the Coastal Scents Revealed palette.

That's all, folks! Did you like your Ipsy bag this month?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

An ode to brown polish

Hey there! Fall is almost here, and that means pumpkin pie, apple cider and brown nail polish!! I love brown polish of all shades, but I know that's a pretty unpopular opinion. I see a lot of comments like, "that's a nice color, but I never wear brown."

But I think brown gets a bad rap. Think about how many shades of brown there are; you are bound to find one that you like and that goes nicely with your skintone (don't forget that nude/off-white shades are technically brown too!). Brown polish can work as a great neutral/work-safe shade, or a super vampy shade that's a little less harsh than black.

I have over 30 brown polishes in my stash, and I picked out a range of them to show you how versatile brown can be. Join me, won't you??

(I apologize in advance for the yellow stains on my nails in some of these photos. I accidentally got Yellow #5 all over my fingers!)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Swatch: LynB Designs Double Bluff

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Hi all! I didn't realize it's been a week since I last posted--this week has really flown by! I put the finishing touches on my next ALIQUID Lacquer collection, so you'll be seeing that soon!

Today I have one of my newest acquisitions from an indie brand I'd never tried before. This is LynB Designs Double Bluff, which comes from the collection inspired by the British TV show Qi (short for Quite Interesting)! I looooove this show, and if you like interesting factoids and funny people, you will too! (It's on YouTube, shhhh!)

Double Bluff is a metallic grey linear holo with a strong reddish-purple shimmer. Very sexy!

LynB Designs Double Bluff. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

The formula was on the thick side, but I didn't have any problems getting it to level out. It is pretty sheer--I think if my nails were longer I'd probably need three coats. The holo effect isn't ultra strong, but strong enough to still be visible indoors.

I think this is actually a great fall/Halloween polish. The shimmer makes it look slightly eerie, don't you think?

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Swatch: Powder Perfect Deceptively Sweet

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Good morning! I was so pumped to get my first ever bottles of Powder Perfect the other day! If you don't know the brand, Powder Perfect is an Australian indie who also happens to be a stockist for international brands--including ALIQUID Lacquer!! When I sent Jacinta some of my polishes to sell down under, she sent back some of hers for me!

Deceptively Sweet appeared in my Gimme That Polish! for June, so I was especially happy to get my hands on it! It has a warm lavender base (slightly warmer than it appears here) with gold shimmer. What makes this polish especially interesting is that I think the gold shimmer is actually purple with a gold flash, so you end up with a combo of muted purple and sparkly gold flecks. Check it out:

Powder Perfect Deceptively Sweet. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Can you see the little purple flecks? (Click the picture to enlarge it if need be.) They give the polish a very subtle texture that makes it more interesting than just gold shimmer alone would. It's understated but very classy!

I was happy with the formula (on the thinner side), opacity and dry time. The polish dries with a slightly gritty texture that was smoothed out with topcoat. The only thing I wasn't totally in love with was the brush--it's somewhat mop-like, although not to the point of making application difficult.

You can buy Deceptively Sweet at Powder Perfect's shop if you're in Australia; they also have a list of stockists there for international folks! The shop is going on vacation for about month starting Sept. 15, so get your orders in soon!

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Today's mani: Coca-Cola clouds

Good morning everyone! A few weeks ago I won the entire OPI Coca-Cola collection in a giveaway, and I was excited to use some of them in a mani! I think a lot of the colors in this collection go really well together.

I did and quick and dirty cloud mani using OPI Get Cherried Away, My Signature is "DC" and Green on the Runway.

I'm kind of in love with all three of these polishes. Get Cherried Away is a gorgeous warm purple, Green on the Runway has a cool green-to-reddish-brown color shift, and My Signature is "DC" is super blingy. It would probably be good for stamping!

Do you have any polishes from this collection? I'm excited to use the glitter polishes sometime soon too!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August's Museum-Worthy Manis!

Hi everyone! Happy Hump Day! Today I've got my favorite nail art from last month--make sure to go visit the original artists' posts and give them props for their amazing work!

1. Pink and Nude Gradient by The Nail Polish Project

This is just a technically perfect mani--the gradient's beautiful, the stamping is flawless, and I love the contrast of black with the girly background colors! Plus I need that stamping plate now!

2. Inspired by Ann Marie Bone by PiggieLuv

I have to confess that I pin basically every mani that Narmai posts because they are ALWAYS beautiful. You have to look at the full size of this one. She says it took her seven hours to finish, and I'm not surprised! Just unbelievable freehand work.

3. Intricate Floral Nail Art by Wondrously Polished

Lindsey at Wondrously Polished is another of my favorite nail artists, especially for her floral patterns. I'm not usually a huge floral gal, but hers always have a whimsical touch that makes them more interesting (IMO) than a traditional rose mani. These are kind of cartoony, and I love the pastel color scheme!

4. Southwestern Wedding Anniversary Nails by Nail Polish Society

First of all, happy anniversary to Emiline and her hubby! The contrast between the blue and the pale orange just called out to me. Awesome freehanding too!

5. Neutral Nail Art with Zoya Naturel Deux by Work Play Polish

Mmmm, those perfect rows of dots make me feel all Zen inside. Who else loves a good dotticure? Plus I want ALL those neutrals.

Honorable mention goes to: Tie Dye Neon Flip Flops by Manicurity

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Gimme That Polish!

Happy Labor Day! Hope my fellow Americans have a relaxing day planned! I'm going to be mixing nail polish all day. :-D

Today I've got my top five polishes from my Pinterest wishlist board for August. It's a mix of summery and autumnal shades, since fall is indeed creeping up on us! Make sure to go visit the original bloggers' posts for more details!

1. Dance Legend - Moorland

OK, you really have to click on the image so you can see the full glory of this polish! It has these tiny black flecks that give it an amazing smoky look! I always know a polish is well done when I start thinking about how I might be able to reproduce the effect! (Dance Legend store | swatch by Nail Polish Wars)

2. I Love Nail Polish - Black Orchid

I actually had a really hard time picking my favorite polish from the ILNP fall collection, but this deep winey/plummy holo kept calling to me! I'm such a sucker for vampy polishes! (ILNP store | swatch by ChrissyAI)

3. Dollish Polish - So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Not only is this polish a tribute to an amazing book series (and an amazing author...RIP Douglas Adams!), but I absolutely love the glitter mix, especially those little pops of green! (Dollish Polish store | swatch by Accio Lacquer)

4. Lavish Polish - Short Shorts

This one is making me think of candy! I love the purple, of course, and I think those teal glitters really round out this polish in a perfect way. (Lavish Polish store | swatch by Lacquer: The Best Medicine)

5. KBShimmer - A Raisin to Live

OK, first off, I'm usually pretty sick of puns in nail polish names, but this one amused me! Love the deep vampy jelly with the pops of holo glitter! (KBShimmer store | swatch by The Mercurial Magpie)

Honorable mention goes to: OPI DS Titanium