Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Haul 2011

I believe I may have reached my nail polish saturation point -- or at least my husband thinks so. He about had a fit watching me open up four different packages containing nail polish and another that included stamping plates. Besides, my Snapware containers that I use for my nail polish are about to burst, so I guess I'll push pause on buying any new polishes... unless I can find that elusive China Glaze OMG collection cheap on eBay! ;)

Here are the polishes and plates my sister gave me for Christmas this year. I got three sets from Color Club: "Back to Boho," "Beyond the Mistletoe," and "Foiled," and one set of no-name polishes from a brand called Pretty Woman. I also got a set of 21 new nail stamping plates from Red Angel.

I love those new polishes, but I am most excited about using the new Red Angel nail art stamping plates, which you can buy for around $12 from

What sorts of nail polish goodies did Santa bring you this year?

Holiday Nails: Santa Skittles!

Isn't it interesting how nail art ideas can change from what you envision to what ends up on your fingertips? I knew I wanted to use some nail art stickers I bought from an eBay seller (here's the auction listing with close-up images of the stickers I received), but I wasn't sure what to do. The nail art stickers I ordered included some extremely random Christmas designs, such as Santa in an airplane and Santa doing kung-fu. Seriously.

However, when I sat down to paint my nails Christmas morning, I realized I didn't have a lot of time to spend on a manicure, so instead of painting them green and then using the stickers, I applied a quick basecoat and then chose 10 different Santa designs. I placed a different Santa on each of my nails, then used China Glaze "Mistletoe Kisses" to draw a very narrow French tip. I added some glitter from L.A. Colors Color Craze "Sparkling Diamonds" (BCC 555), and finally another clear coat. BAM! Holiday nails in an instant!

Here are the 10 Santas I used from the package of 24 different nail art sticker sheets from that eBay auction. I copied and pasted the individual designs from the images of the sticker sheets on my auction listing, but you can see all the stickers on eBay

These Santas are about twice as big as the stickers on my nails. None of the nail art sticker sheets had 10 of the same Santa design, so that's why I ended up with Santa Skittles.

Anyway, this was the cheapest auction of Christmas stickers I could find when I placed my order around Thanksgiving; however, the international mail from Hong Kong was slower than normal. I've bought things from ebay sellers from HK before, so I expected it to take about two weeks for my package to arrive, but this auction didn't show up until almost a month later. I barely got these in time for Christmas. Luckily, these sticker sheets include a lot of snowmen and snowflake designs, as well as bows and other doodads, so I'm sure I'll be using these again throughout the winter.

What did you do for your Christmas nail art this year? Did you wear a solid color or draw a fancy nail art design? Or did you cheat like me and go for stickers?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Nails: Christmas Crack!

By now, you've seen hundreds of nail art designs for Christmas. I'm lazy and not patient enough to recreate those designs for you. Instead, I have a couple of images I'm calling "Christmas Crack."

These designs feature Pure Ice Crackle: "Show Stopper" (a red crackle polish) over different greens. In the image above, the greens are: Icing "Lucky Luis" (first two nails), Max Factor Diamond Hard "Momentum Moss" (red and silver diagonal stripes), Sally Hansen Color Quick "Green Chrome" (vertical crack and red glitter striping), China Glaze "Zombie Zest" (red glitter striping curves and cracked swoosh), and China Glaze "Mistletoe Kisses" (random vertical cracks). If my nails were long enough, I would have done them like the swooshy design.

The designs above have the same "Show Stopper" red crackle polish over Max Factor Diamond Hard "Momentum Moss" (diagonals), Sally Hansen Color Quick "Green Chrome," fake mislabeled OPI green color (two nails), and then some green color that I can't identify. Oops.

Basically, this was an experiment to see if the Pure Ice crackle would work better on these greens than it has for me in the past. I have tried using "Show Stopper" over white, but ended up with a smeared pink mess. I let the greens dry a LONG time before using the crack polish, so most of the designs turned out ok.

Do you have any of the Pure Ice Crack polishes? I also have the white one, but I'm not 100% satisfied with it or the red I used for these swatches.

Day 7: Black & White - Holiday Music Stamped Design

What's black and white and red all over? Day 7's manicure! Mwahahahahaa!

Day 7's theme is black and white, but since I did this manicure just days before Christmas, I wanted to do something fun and festive. I also haven't used my nail art stamping stuff in a while, so I looked through my plates and found Konad m73. This plate has an intricate sheet music design that I haven't used before.

I used L.A. Colors Color Craze "Energy Source" as a white base coat, then added a layer of OPI's "She's Golden" to give my nails a bit of shimmer. I then stamped the design using Konad Special Nail Polish in Black and added a few Christmas stickers I got from an eBay seller from Hong Kong to cover up the stamping mistakes. Here's the finished design:

I knew there would be no way for me to keep the staffs straight on all my nails, so I angled the design so my crooked lines would look like I meant them to end up that way. And the crappy top coat I tried for my pinky nail (Wet n Wild Fast Dry) smeared like a bitch, so I switched to Sally Hansen Double Duty for the rest of my nails.

Here are some pictures of the progression of this manicure:

I can always find a wide variety of L.A. Colors nail polishes at my Dollar Tree. They're not the most opaque shades, but for $1, they're all right. What I don't like, though, is how the actual name of the polish is only printed on the packaging and not on the bottle. The bottle shows the number only, so after buying several L.A. Colors polishes on various occasions, I finally thought to tape the name information to the brush handle. Duh.

Aaah! Much better. I'm a sucker for a shimmery polish. "She's Golden" is way too thin to wear on its own, and it really gives "Energy Source" an extra kick.

Konad's bottles are so pretty. This is one of the black polishes from a kit, I think. Or I may have ordered it off eBay. It's been over a year since I first started nail stamping, so I can't remember where this polish came from. I've used regular black polish in the past, but this one has a nice shimmer. (Are you sensing a theme, here?)

Here's a look at the stamping plate itself. I have very short nails, so I never have a problem with the length of the images on Konad or other brand plates. However, I have fat fingers and a wide nail, so that's where I usually have the most trouble. 

Finally, here are two images of the tools I used to stamp this design. The double-ended stamper, scraper, and plate holder are from an "As Seen on TV!" product called Salon Express. I bought this at Sally Beauty on Black Friday this year for $9.99, but I saw the kits for sale at CVS this week for the same price. G. over at Nouveau Cheap has a great review of this product, and I can add to her positive comments. A double-ended stamper, whether it's a real Konad or fauxnad one, will cost you almost as much as the entire Salon Express kit -- which comes with the stamper, scraper, plate holder, and 5 random plates! That is a serious bargain!

I bought the kit primarily for the stamper. Here you can see how the small end compares to the size of a Konad design. The rubber end has a nice feel to it when stamping, and I didn't need to roughen up the end of it to make the design adhere better. And even though the tapered shape of the stamper looks a bit like a small dildo, it is easy to hold while stamping. ;)

I also found the plate holder to come in handy. I used double-stick tape to secure the base of the holder to a piece of cardboard then plopped my Konad plate in the center. Worked like a charm since the tape wouldn't stick to the back of the Konad plate.

Have you tried nail art stamping before? If not, the Salon Express kit is a great way to get started. It's MUCH cheaper than Konad and fauxnad (fake Konad) products you'll find online.

Day 6: Violet - Maybelline Express Finish: Purple Passion

Day 6 celebrates the awesomeness that is purple, so I present to you Maybelline Express Finish's Purple Passion, a very old polish that I've had in my stash a long time.

Yes, it really is that shiny in person! This is three coats with no top coat. Actually, this is the second day of this manicure; day one was just two coats, but since my Purple Passion is old, it's "express" isn't what it's cracked up to be. I had a few dents here and there where I had hit my nails against things. So, on day two, I painted on another coat and took these pictures. ;)

And since it's almost Christmas, I decided to try a few different festive designs. I'm only showing you the two candy cane stripes since of the 10 things I tried, these are the only two that are worth sharing:

The white stripes were made using LA Colors Nail Art striping polish, and the purple stripes were made using Kiss's lavender striping polish. I like the way the purple-on-purple stripes look, but you can see how messed up the nails are, so I just removed all this pretty purple and moved on to the next day's challenge.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Not Nail Polish - An Irreverent Rant About Christmas Music

This post has nothing to do with nail polish and everything to do with Christmas songs. There's also a lot of cursing, so fuck off if that sort of thing offends you.

My friend M-L blogged about "Jingle Hell," and I posted a few comments on her blog, but I wanted to tackle the subject of weird-ass holiday music myself. Some people hate it, other folks think you should wait until Thanksgiving to start playing it, but not me. Personally, I'm all for starting up the Christmas music just as soon as you hand out the last Halloween candy. At any rate, I listen to a lot of holiday music; I've got a 147 mp3s on a CD in my car as a back-up for when Sirius XM's Holiday Traditions channel starts playing the Beach Boys. Fuck them and their harmonies.

Anyway, let's pretend that the Christmas songs that have been playing non-stop for weeks now are classmates, and I'm the lucky person in charge of doling out senior superlatives. Here's how I'd label some of the more popular kids:

Most likely to get you arrested for date rape - "Baby It's Cold Outside"
Extra creepiness awarded to the Brian Setzer/Ann Margaret version because I'm pretty sure she's old enough to be his momma.

Most likely to make me want to eat all the cookie ingredients - "Marshmallow World"
I don't even like marshmallows, but dammit, this song makes me want s'mores and Lucky Charms. And I knew I should have gotten some whipped cream today... Food Lion had it 2 for $2.

Most likely to screw up grammar and pronunciation - "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
Where does the comma go? God rest ye, merry gentlemen? God rest ye merry, gentlemen? And why the fuck won't people just say "comf'rt" like they do in real life instead of over-enunciating it to "com-FORT"? Sidebar: The mash-up of "GRYMG" and "We Three Kings" the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan released is my favorite version.  (Honorable mention in this nerdy category goes to "Jingle Bells." No one gets "up-sot;" it's not a true rhyme. Which leads me to...)

Most confusing performance - "Jingle Bells" by Barbra Streisand
What. The. Hell. Some parts are too fast, some are too slow, and even BARBRA says "upsot." 

Most likely to inspire a holiday cruise - Tie between "Mele Kalikimaka" and "Christmas Island."
Seriously, I want to be on a Carnival ship every time I hear these songs, especially the old versions with Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. I can't help but imagining a tiki idol or one of those Easter Island statues wearing a Santa hat. (Sidebar: Do you think Bing ever banged the Andrews sisters, either singly or in a four-way? Just wondering.)

Most likely to not really be a Christmas song - "My Favorite Things"
What the fuck? How did this song become associated with Christmas? I'm not convinced that the lines about "brown paper packages" and "snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes" are strong enough reasons for this to be a Christmas song. Sorry, Julie Andrews. You know I love you, but this song does not belong here.

Most likely to remind me of childhood Christmas pageants at Sledd Memorial United Methodist Church - "O Holy Night"
We were Methodists when I was a kid, and I remember being in some Christmas pageant where I had to carry a candle as an old guy sang "O Holy Night." Now whenever I hear "O Holy Night," I think of wearing a too-big-for-a-child choir robe. And Gomer Pyle. Jim Nabors' version is just so bad.

Most likely to make me want to watch more claymation stop-motion cartoons - Tie among "We Three Kings," "Carol of the Bells," and "Here We Come A-Wassailing"
Way back in 1987 when the California Raisins were THE SHIT, there was a Christmas special created using claymation -- stop-motion animation using clay figures -- that only aired once on television. Not surprisingly, it was called "A Claymation Christmas Celebration." This TV show is THE SHIT, and you need to stop right now and go download it off the Internet. I'll wait. 

Stop the presses! While I was looking for links to the songs, I found the WHOLE DAMN THING on YouTube!!! Go watch it before some douchebag deletes it because of supposed copyright infringement. "We Three Kings" starts at 2:05; "Carol of the Bells" starts at 5:45; and "Here We Come A-Wassailing" is a running joke throughout the show because no one knows what the heck a "wassail" is.

Most likely to be covered by a slutty singer in an attempt to be cute, usually while wearing a slutty Santa outfit - "Santa Baby"
Eartha Kitt first recorded this song back in 1953. All you other bitches need to give it up. Your version will never be as hawt as Eartha's. Madonna, I'm looking at you; your cover makes my ears bleed.

Most likely to worsen your holiday depression - "Pretty Paper"
Roy Orbison first recorded this, but Willie Nelson's version is just so damn tragic sounding. Oh, Willie, why you so sad?

Most likely to make me think of "scary ghost stories" at Christmas time - "Zat You, Santa Claus?"
I don't know where Louis Armstrong grew up, but apparently, you couldn't even trust Santa Claus not to rob, rape or mutilate you. 

Most likely to make me vomit - "Christmas Shoes"
What the ever-loving fuck made NewSong write this atrocity? I understand that folks get sick and die, and some of them do so at Christmas. Hell, my dad is wasting away from Stage IV renal cell carcinoma RIGHT THE FUCK NOW, but he ain't asking for no goddamn shoes. You know what he wants? Whoppers. He wants those malted milk ball candy things, NOT FUCKING SHOES. I can't think of a single person who lies on their death bed, remembering "tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago," and says to their loved ones, "You know what would make my final Christmas the best Christmas ever? NEW SHOES. Because Jesus is so fashion-forward that I have to have NEW SHOES if I die tonight and end up in heaven. I CAN'T MEET JESUS IN MAH BAREFEETS!!!" 

I hate you, NewSong, and now whenever I get new shoes for Christmas, I just want to puke and puke and puke all over them.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 5: Blue - OPI: Just Groovy

Today's color is blue, and instead of a bright primary blue, I picked out this Smurfy OPI color: Just Groovy. It's a pastel blue that I decided to use as a base for a wintery holiday design. First, here's Just Groovy by itself:

I love OPI nail polish. This color went on opaque in just one coat! Me gusta.

Oh, look! Are those penguins in the background?! Yup! Apparently, every nail blogger and her momma has done a penguin design this holiday season. I had a few penguin nail art stickers, so here's what I came up with:

I added white to the tips for snow banks, then stuck on my penguins. I then layered some glittery top coat, then stuck my hand in the Christmas tree for this photo. The white I used was a no-name piece of junk that ended up being a hot mess to work with. The Seche Vite shrank the edges, which I've never had happen before. No me gusta. I left this design on a couple of days, but the polish started peeling off. Bye-bye, penguins.

Have you tried a penguin design for the holidays yet? How did yours turn out?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 4: Green - Sally Hansen Quick Color: Green Chrome

Thanks to a tip from Nouveau Cheap, I was able to find this awesome green from Sally Hansen at Big Lots. Yup, Big Lots -- one of my top two favorite stores (it's tied with Dollar Tree for numero uno). My dad once said, "How can you get this close to a Big Lots and NOT go in?!?" I totally agree.

I got one of each color they had since they were just $1.50 each. I'd never used the nail pens before Thanksgiving, but they work great. I painted my nails with the red chrome while standing outside in the cold Thanksgiving night waiting for Toys R Us to open for their Black Friday sales. I just shook up the pen, pumped the end a few times, and had shiny red-pink nails in just a few minutes. Granted, doing a manicure before an insane all-night shopping trip might not be on your to-do list, but if you're in a rush, I highly recommend these Sally Hansen pens -- especially if you can find them at Big Lots. I also saw these at my local Dollar Tree recently, and they had the blue chrome there that Big Lots hadn't, so of course I had to buy it. =)

The only problem I had with this green was the brush. Look at this mess. What the hell, Sally?

And since I painted these in a hurry at the library, I decided to try a new crackle polish over top of the green for day two of this manicure. I used Funky Fingers: Teal Scales, which I got for about $3 at a store called Five Below, a discount store similar to Big Lots and Dollar Tree, but nothing costs more than $5.

Too bad the shimmer doesn't show up on the nails as well as it does in the bottle.

So, have I inspired you to go to Big Lots, Dollar Tree, or Five Below? I usually have really good luck finding interesting nail polishes there. How about you?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 3: Yellow - Orly: Hook Up

Here's a bright yellow polish for you, Orly's Hook Up. I painted my nails with this in one of the study rooms at the library at Winston-Salem State University while I was procrastinating working on a paper. See those books?

I got this Orly mini last fall when I was trying to find the perfect yellow for a candy corn manicure. Unfortunately, this isn't it. The polish looks great from afar, but it went on really streaky. And then when I went to remove the polish, it stained my nails so bad I looked like I had some nail disease. Not cool.

Here you can see how the polish bubbled up on my ring finger:

So overall, the yellow does look nice, but it takes about three coats to be opaque, which is a major pain in the ass. I'm still on the hunt for a great yellow; I've only got five bottles of yellow polish, but none of them really do it for me. Frowny face!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 2: Orange - Del Sol: Sun Kissed

Ladies (and gentlemen), if you ever get the brilliant idea to start a nail blog, make sure you don't start it just days before the holiday season kicks in and you have three major papers to turn in for grad school.  Otherwise you'll end up like me with almost a month between your first and second "real" posts.

So, day two is supposed to be orange nails, and I have a few photos of Del Sol's Sun Kissed.  In theory, Del Sol is the coolest nail polish out there. It's UV-activated so it changes color in sunlight! I first heard about Del Sol products on my first cruise in May 2009, but I thought they just had color-changing T-shirts so I didn't even visit their stores.  In 2010, though, my husband and I brought my parents on a Caribbean cruise with us, and they wanted to hear the shop talks, and lo and behold, the shopping director had Del Sol nail polish! He showed off Ruby Slipper (which I'll show you later on), and it just blew me away.  I got a few Del Sol polishes at their shop in Nassau, Bahamas, including this one: Sun Kissed.

Like I said, in theory, this stuff should be the most awesome nail polish in the world -- and some colors are -- but Sun Kissed is a major dud.  It starts off a pale (and I mean super pale) orange color inside (see image above).  I have to use at least three coats, and it's still too translucent for my tastes.

The top of the bottle shows a bright red color as the UV-activated shade, but again, not on my nails, or at least not from my bottle of Sun Kissed:

That's outside in full sun.  The bottle cap shows a red color, but the best the polish and the painted nail wheel will do is a darker orange than when inside. You could call it tangerine, I guess, or coral, but that's as close to red as it gets.  The nails on the nail wheel are three coats, two coats, and one coat.

Anyway, this bottle of orange polish makes me mad every time I use it. Even when I tested it in full Caribbean sun in the late spring, the best color change I got was from pale, boring orange to slightly darker, slightly pink coral. However, my other Del Sol polishes work well (especially that Ruby Slipper one I linked to earlier). I'll show off a few more Del Sols as the colors come up.

Do you have any funky color-changing nail polishes, either by Del Sol or Claire's (which has those "mood changing" polishes)? Do you have better luck with them than I do?


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