Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tiffany Diamonds

Ah...the famous blue box.

This design is quite simple and looks good with a combination of colors, but when I layered the silver over that ubiquitous shade of blue, I had a certain diamond in mind....

image from www.tiffanyoutlet.cc

Diamond ring, that is!

Tiffany & Co. hold a copyright to that famous blue shade, so no nail polish matches exactly, but China Glaze's For Audrey is quite similar (and is meant as a reference to Breakfast At Tiffany's/Audrey Hepburn/etc). There are a few similar shades (almost dupes) to the famous Tiffany's color and For Audrey; Orly's Gumdrop is one of those almost-dupe colors. For this manicure I used Gumdrop and Dazzle, which is also by Orly.

For Step 1, you start with your base color. This is two coats of Gumdrop (though I could have gotten away with one, which is why this is such a great polish to use).

Step 2 is where the blue painter's tape comes in! You'll need four strips of tape for each nail, and the width of the strip doesn't matter, just as long as it can cover your whole nail diagonally.

Begin with two strips. Place one strip diagonally on your nail, where the top of the strip starts at the upper left corner of your nail bed and travels across to the middle-right of your nail. Taking the second strip, place it parallel to the first strip, where it will begin at the middle-left of your nail and hit just past center-right.

Now the objective is to complete the square/diamond, so keep in mind that you want the next two strips of tape to lay on the nail in a similar fashion to the first two. So, you'll start with strip 3 (the first strip in this second set), and place it from top right diagonally across your nail to middle-left. The final strip will complete the square shape, so place it where you need to (around mid-right to just past center-left) in order to have the last two strips be parallel to each other, while being perpendicular with the first two strips of tape. If you need to rearrange the strips, pick up the last two that you applied, and try laying them on the nail at a different angle to see if you get a better diamond/square shape than before.

Step 3 is to simply add a top coat!

And there you go! Now you have a diamond for every finger!

So what do you think? Does this design bring to mind diamond engagement rings from a certain blue-boxed company?

The great thing about this design is that it works with any size nail, you just have to angle the tape strips to fit across your nails. For longer nails, you can even do a row of diamonds down the center of each nail!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SOTD: Lippmann It's Delovely

A juicy summertime color!

You can tell this polish is a bit older since the bottle reads "Lippmann Collection" rather than "Deborah Lippmann" but I bought it new at a Beauty Supply Store recently. If you're looking for out of date Lippmann polishes (Rehab, perhaps?), I would suggest searching Beauty Supply Stores in your surrounding area to see if they have older stock.

This polish only took two coats to full glossy coverage.

These photos make the polish look like it's a tomato red color, but this is definitely a coral red shade (it's just a tad pink-er in real life than it is in these photos). It looks quite similar to the newer Deborah Lippmann shade Girls Just Want to Have Fun, but I think that shade might be a bit more orange/coral and a bit brighter than It's Delovely.

I've never tried a Lippmann polish before this one, and I have to say this wore quite well! I had it on for over five days and it took a beating, being exposed to chlorinated pool water, map reading (which consists of poking at points on a map and shouting "There! That's the turn we missed!"), and other summertime activities since I chose this polish to wear as a manicure for a short vacation trip I took last month.

A great summertime color that can stand up to the elements! What more could you ask for? (Plus the bottle shape is divine, so it looks great standing alone on a dresser, or it can stand out in a packed Helmer!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Manicure with Born Pretty Dotting Tools

Hello! Hope everyone is having a fabulous evening!

For the Fourth of July I wanted to do a sparkly red, silver, and blue manicure with nail art. So out popped the dotting tools, since that's the extent of my "free-handing" techniques. Quite a while ago I was asked if I'd like to review a few products from the Born Pretty Store, which sells beauty supplies online (nail polishing supplies in particular). Now that I've had a chance to try them out, I'd like to share my experience with you while sharing a nail design at the same time.

Below are the colors I chose for this manicure:

From Upper Left to Lower Right: Orly Dazzle, Nicole by OPI Make a Comet-ment, OPI What's with the Cattitude?, OPI Ogre-the-Top Blue, American Apparel Downtown LA, Lippmann Collection It's Delovely.

The above photograph shows the dotting tools from Born Pretty. In this set, there are five dotting tools. Each dotting tool is double sided, where one set of the sides consists of the same size end for each dotting tool, while the opposite set of sides consists of a different sized end for each dotting tool ranging from a fine point to a almost 1/8th an inch wide. For this manicure, I used the set of sides that varied in sizes.

Step 1 begins with base coat and two coats of Orly Dazzle. Because I wanted to use a sparkly silver polish as the base, I already knew I liked NOPI's Make a Comet-ment over Orly's Dazzle, so Steps 1 and 2 are basically the foundation color for the nail art dots.

Step 2 is to add two coats of Nicole by OPI's Make a Comet-ment. These pictures do not showcase this lacquer to its true potential. Make a Comet-ment is highly 'blingy' and sparkles even in indirect sunlight (as seen above), as well as it dazzles in direct sunlight. I added a quick dry topcoat to speed up the drying time.

Step 3 is adding the first column of dots. My conceptual idea for this manicure was to have the dots in rows where each row of dots varies in size and color, with the middle two rows being larger dots and bolder/darker colors than the two rows on the sides.

This step is the hardest out of the four that consist of adding dots, because in this step, you have to decide where to place the first column of dots, keeping in mind that there will be three other columns of dots that must fit and be relatively uniform in pattern. Try placing the dots to the right or left of 'center' so that the next column can go on the opposite side of the (imaginary) center line.

And now for the second column of dots! Using Downtown LA and a smaller dotting tool than the one used in Step 3, line up a column of dots on the opposite side of the center line of your nail than the first column of dots was placed on. To make this second column of dots appear visually smaller, not only should you use a smaller dotting tool than used in Step 3, but you should also try to fit in more dots in the same amount of space the first column of dots took up. The visual quality of seeing more dots grouped together in the same length as the first column of dots will strengthen the effect of the second column of dots being smaller than the first.

Now begins the first column of side dots. Using a lighter shade of blue than the first (here I used OPI's What's with the Cattitude?), choose a dotting tool that is smaller than the one used for the second row of dots in Step 4, because the goal is to get each column of dots to look smaller (or larger) than the others.

Depending on the width of your nail bed, you may have more room to space your column of dots farther apart than if your nail beds are more narrow. Also, try to keep the dots on the background color, rather than trying to fit more dots within the column by letting them bleed onto the natural nail.

Step 6 is the final column of dots to be added. Using the lighter red shade (It's Delovely by Deborah Lippmann/Lippmann Collection), add a column of dots next to the original red shade remembering to use a smaller dotting tool than was used for the last 3 columns of dots.

And now you're done!

The above photograph was taken in direct (fading) sunlight. You can barely see the glossy shine from the final top coat, and a hint of the silver sparkle is visible underneath the dots as well.

So there is my final manicure for the Fourth of July! Did you do any nail art for the fourth (or your national holiday, whatever it may be) this year? I did see some other dot art for the Fourth on other blogs, and I can see why! This is a fun, easy tool that lets you create an eye-popping design without the frustration or hassle of real free-handed art.

If you're interested in purchasing some dotting tools, I highly recommend this set from Born Pretty. The range of sizes for the circumference of the dots each tool gives you is varied enough that you won't have to worry about trying to find a pin or a ball point pen to make into an additional dotting tool. Also, the prices are quite reasonable, especially compared to the cost of dotting tools at brick-and-mortar beauty supply stores.

A final tip on the dotting tools, if you've never used them before, my method for "painting" with them consists of having an index card (or other thick card stock) nearby. I drop a few drops of polish in a little pile onto the card, and then I lightly touch the end of the dotting tool into the nail polish on the card. I practice stamping once or twice on the card, and then when I am using the dotting tools on my nails, I use one dip in the polish for one dot on the nail, and repeat as needed. There is no hassle for clean up on the dotting tools. Just a little acetone on a cotton pad will rub away the nail polish left over from your nail art!

*Supplies in this post were provided by the company or PR firm in exchange for an honest review. For more information about this blog's policy on reviews and supplies, please refer to the Disclosure Policy at the bottom of the page.*

Friday, July 1, 2011

Upcoming Fall/Winter 2011 Collections

It always seems a bit difficult to think of fall/winter trends in the middle of summer when it's really heating up outside, but as the nail polish collections for the next season become available, it's always nice to have a head's-up.

So, here is what's next for some of the higher-end nail polish lines:

Butter London (aka butter LONDON) has a new line of shades coming up for fall/winter 2011/2012 that includes this beauty (pictured above). "Wallis" is a beautiful dark gold shade. When I first saw it, I couldn't help but think that butter LONDON had given us the best parts of the two favorite shades from the Fall Chanel line.

Peridot (left) and Graphite (right) are both beautiful colors in their own right, but at $25US a bottle, they are a bit harder to come by for some that would like to have that look.

Instead of choosing one over the other, why not have both shades in one?! And at $14 a bottle (this is typical pricing if you buy butter LONDON at suppliers like Nordstrom or Ulta, and on Nordstrom's website, Wallis is labeled as a Nordstrom Exclusive), you'll have enough money left over to buy another shade from the butter LONDON Fall Collection!

Seen in the photo below is the full lineup for Fall/Winter 2011. (From left to right: No More Waity, Katie; Bluey; Toff; Wallis; and Knees Up). To seem some amazing swatches of this collection, I recommend visiting Lipglossiping's blog HERE. Her swatches of the shades are divine, and you can get a better sense of how the colors look in real life.

Now onto the next collection! By now you've probably seen these promo shots for Deborah Lippmann's Fall/Winter collections, but I've broken them down by the release dates that are currently circulating online for each collection.

Pictured above, top row (left to right) is Single Ladies and Stormy Weather. Bottom row (left to right) is Billionaire and Brick House. These polishes (along with the Get This Party Started set) are supposed to start being available at the beginning of August.

In the photo above, from left to right: Good Girl Gone Bad and Glamarous Life (online the spelling is with that extra second "a" rather than an "o"). These are set to release at the beginning of September.

Deborah Lippmann Glitters! What could be better? Top row (left to right): Stairway to Heaven and I Love the Nightlife. Bottom row (left to right): Do Ya Think I'm Sexy and Shake Your Groove Thing. These are set to release at the beginning of October.

Now do you remember the fabulous red nail color from Rodarte's collection that everyone was hyped-up about? The working name for that polish was Jessica Rabbit, but it appears that the name has been changed to Do Ya Think I'm Sexy.

The above photographed nail polishes were used for Rodarte's Collection. The top bottle is No More Drama, and the bottom is Jessica Rabbit (which appears to be the same nail color as the promo pic for Do Ya Think I'm Sexy).

Finally, if you're a reader of Mary's great blog Body and Soul, she posted the other day about an article in Allure magazine online that discussed the future trend of "slutty polish names." Illamasqua is coming out with four new shades for the fall that made it into the Allure article. Kink (shown in the photo above), Taint (brown), Vice (pinkish-red), and Faux Pas (blue/purple) make up the nail polishes for their Fall Collection.

*Images in this post are from butter LONDON's facebook page, Nordstrom.com, popbee.com, Refinery29.com, Eva Chen (Teen Vogue Editor)'s Tumblr, Lippmanncollection.blogspot.com, and Makeupalley.*

Nars Midnight Express

Hello fellow nail polish lovers! Long time, no see! It's been quite a while since I last posted, so I have a lot of catching up to do! My hiatus from blogging was unintended, but I'm back on board now, so you'll see quite a few (backlogged) posts this week and the next as I begin to sort through my emails, etc. that I haven't been able to respond to.

Without further ado, here is Nars Midnight Express:

Two coats of blackened-blue goodness. I believe this was without a topcoat. This polish is quite shiny on its own!

To clarify, the bottle of Nars Midnight Express shown here is the re-release that was from the Nars Vintage Collection that came out Fall/Winter of 2010 (just in time for Christmas... or for those darker winter days when pastels and brights just won't do).

As I've mentioned, this is two coats (with a basecoat, because this will stain). You can see in the photographs that this polish would be more opaque with a third coat (as the light shines through the free edge making it look like there are gaping bald spots), but since I tend to be a bit heavy handed with my first and second coats of polish, two coats looked fine in real life.

The above photo shows how this polish usually looks, like a black with just a hint of blue seen around the edges where light hits it. Don't be surprised if people assume you're wearing black nail polish!

And there's my final shot of this lovely polish!

This is certainly one of my favorite lacquers out of my entire collection. There is something quite regal and classic about this shade that I think makes it wearable any time of the year. I'm ecstatic that Nars decided to re-release Midnight Express (along with Zulu, Mash, Full Metal Jacket, and King Kong).

If you didn't pick up this color when it was originally available or when it was re-released, it is still available on ebay... for a marked-up price. Zulu and King Kong can be found on Amazon for the original $16US price tag (plus shipping).

So, that's all for right now. Thank you for all that have continued to follow and visit this blog even with no new posts showing up for the last 6 months! I really appreciate your support! And to the new followers that have found this blog while it's been on hiatus, welcome! I'll be trying to answer my backlogged emails soon, so if you've emailed me, hang on for a bit longer, I haven't forgotten about you! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer (or whatever season/weather it is where you are)!