Cracked Up!

A nice easy one today to start the week!!  I did some crackle nails awhile back with copper and a mint green polish which I LOVED.  Then I got this green polish in a clearance sale for around $1 and I decided to test it out.  The color is beautiful but it seemed super plain on my nails and even though I tried a hundred times to come up with something snazzy to put over the top, I just couldn't find anything I liked.  So I went with my old staple of,  "If you can't figure out a great art for your nails: Crackle it." And I did.  I used gold crackle this time because it had more contrast than the others. I did later use this and a similar color in lots of Christmas mani's! I guess I just got it too early in the season!  In other news, my nubbins from January are very nearly back to where they should be so when I get some free time (read as: next Sunday) I will try to get the rest of my flakie dupe posts ready to upload.  AND new mani's (which do not have ugly nubbin nails) will be showing up on my blog! :)  (My luck all my nails will now break today in class/work.)

Hope you all had a lovely relaxing weekend! Enjoy the nails and thanks for following!!

Base is: Orly Wild Wisteria 
Crackle is: China Glaze Cracked Medallion

Tan shoes with pink shoelaces and a polka-dot hat...

This week's Purple Crumpet Fairy challenge was polka-dots!  There are so many things you can do with dots which is one of the reasons I'm so in love with my dotting tools.  There is literally no end to the amount of art you can create wtih them and without much effort at all.  This is made entirely of dots!!  It doesn't scream POLKA-DOTS but I think it works!! :)  I apologize for the short post but 70 hours of work/school/clinic is killing me this week!  Next post will be better I promise!

Thanks for following!Hope you all enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!

 Base:Essence Romeo
Flowers and dots: Essence Gabriella, and OPI Fly

Dangerous curves ahead...

These nails were the result of a lot of glitter sandwich experiments!!  The base color on this, P2 Dangerous, is quite sheer and jelly like on the first coat.  You can't really tell in the picture but after three coats it was still a tiny bit sheer.  I layered it with Color Club Sugar Plum Yum because I hate the scent on it and I was hoping a few layers of polish and some top coat would mask the scent.  Then the whole thing got messed up and when I started over I didn't have the patience to redo all the layers to make the sandwich. So I went with an open faced (lol) and just put a coat of glitter over the P2.  The Seche Vite topcoat DID actually mask the scent of the polish  pretty well. :)  Thanks for following! 

Have you tried a glitter sandwich?

Things I've learned: Vol I

Many of you know that I started school to become a nail technician last week.  I'm not really entirely sure where I want to go with it yet, whether I want to work in a salon or a spa or just build some clientele and do my own thing.  But I have a bit of time to figure it out.  On the long term, I'd love to have my own business and my wonderful and always supportive husband has already offered to help get me started in any way he can. :)  I entered the world of nails with a lot of information already.  Information I had learned from blogs, magazines, web sites, trial and error, and even from some of you lovely ladies.  I was honestly surprised at how much of what I had learned on my own was actually correct.  But the first week of school also taught me a lot of new things and I wanted to share some of them with all of you!! So here we go:

Things I learned in my first week of nail school:
  • It's OK to 'saw' your nails when you file. But it's considered bad form.
  • Formaldehyde is OK to use on your nails in amounts of 1% or less.  HOWEVER, if you use it over long periods of time it will poison you.
  • Pledgents are the best thing for removing polish. All the absorption of cotton; none of the fuzz.
  • The best way to get healthy nails is to drink lots of water, take a multi-vitamin and use oil!
  • Cuticle oil three times a day will turn your nails around in no time.  Best kinds: avocado, grape seed, and jojoba.  (CND Solar Oil is great too!)
  • You should never buff your nails more than once every other week.  You'll ruin your nails otherwise.
  • Dehydrators (like OPI Bond Aid) will help you keep polish on longer no matter the base/top coat combo.
  • Polish never stays on children more than a day or so.  It's not because their nails are so small; they regenerate oil and cells too quickly.
  • You can exfoliate your hands once a week by mixing sea salt and oil (I use grape seed).  It makes your hands super soft.

So there you go. Things I learned that are already improving the health and growth of my nails!  Thanks for following!


This mani is one of the first I did after cutting my nails down.  I don't normally mind to have shorter nails, in fact, I normally keep mine relatively short since I use my hands a lot and it's just easier to manage.  For some reason though, I really had zero motivation to paint my nails after cutting them back this time.  But after a quick conversation with some awesome ladies in a polish group I belong to (they are my polish sisters!!) I got inspired to do these.  They're inspired by my favorite television show: LOST.  Those of you who didn't watch the show (you SHOULD), this is the Oceanic Airlines logo. It's generally on a white background but I wanted to do something that was more the color of the actual planes so that it would be similar to what the wing or the tail of the infamous 815 flight would have looked like.  I hope you guys enjoy!! Thanks for following! :)

What's your favorite television show?

Base color is: OPI Skull & Glossbones
Logo is made with: OPI Fly, Essence Gabriella, and OPI Dating A Royal

Put your Dupes Up: Fairy Dust vs. Teenage Dream

It's time for another edition of Dupes Up! This weeks contenders:

Jordana: Fairy Dust
Retail Cost: $1.99 to $2.99
OPI: Teenage Dream from the now discontinued Katy Perry line
Retail Cost: $8.50

First I want to say, please excuse the 'noisy' pictures.  My camera setting got stuck and now the camera is dead so I can't retake them. :(  But the color is accurate and that's 90% of the point so I'm still going to post!  The new Jordana glitters are here (in some places) and when I saw this one I knew I had to swatch it.  I love my OPI Teenage Dream and as you can see in the pic, it's starting to get a little low. :P  I thought if they were similar then I'd have a cheap back-up since the Katy Perry colors are discontinued and are slowly dwindling from retailers.  So let's break it down, shall we?

Jordana Fairy Dust and OPI Teenage Dream

A close up of the bottles pretty much says it all.  They're both micro pink glitter with larger, round holo glitter in a clear jelly base.  I was thinking the Jordana would likely be thicker and have a sub par brush (OPI famously has wide brushes).  But that was not the case.  The Jordana brush is quite thick and I actually found it a bit easier to work with than the OPI brush.  And both formula's were a bit thicker than normal polish but not so much so that they were hard to use. 

Left to right: OPI Teenage Dream, Jordana Fairy Dust, OPI Teenage Dream, Jordana Fairy Dust. Two coats each. Artificial lighting.

There was an ice storm here last night and try as I did to take pictures outside in the natural light, all I got was flash or shadowy pics.  So this is an indoor shot.  There is definitely more pink to these in person, the glitter looks less sparse and it's sort of a foil-y pink effect with larger hex chunks in it.  Either way the fact remains that there is zero difference between these on the nail.  The coverage is the same, the color is the same, the spacing of the glitter is the same.  If I had to guess I'd say the wear time on the OPI is longer, but otherwise...exactly the same.

LtoR: Jordana Fairy Dust, OPI Teenage Dream. Artificial Light.

A macro shot of the glitter confirms it.  For some reason, on this particular nail the holo glitter in the Jordana sort of all ended up in one place near the free edge.  But the application was the same for each.  These are not like Lippmann's which require a certain touch to get the glitter to apply evenly.  It's fairly simple to get an evenly sparkly nail!  

Verdict: Dupes.  These two are the same color and density.  In my personal opinion, there is no difference between the two other than the label and the brush.
Availability:OPI Teenage Dream was part of the now discontinued Katy Perry collection.  It still has limited availability at Ulta stores and all retailers where OPI is sold nationwide. Jordana polishes can be purchased at Kmart stores nationwide and online at

Thanks for following! Do you have either of these polishes?

Purple Crumpet Fairy Challenge: Glitterbomb

This week's Purple Crumpet Fairy Challenge was chosen by Abby and it's a glitterbomb mani! For those of you who are unaware, a glitterbomb is when you put crazy amounts of glitter on your fingers (or toes!). While I have collected TONS of glitter over the past year or so, I really hardly use most of it. It's not even the removal that keeps me from putting it on it just doesn't really suit me I suppose.  However, for those of you who haven't heard yet, I started school this past Wednesday!  I'm going to school for Nail Tech and when I graduate I hope to get a managers license and get a sort of "on the go" mani business going.  Of couse, I'll need to build some clientel and whatnot first.  But anyway,  I could not for the life of me decide what to do for my first day of school mani.  My first thought was to go super over the top with my nail art (it's nail school after all!) but my second thought was to go totally neutral or bare.  I mean, how often do you see famous nail gals with polish on?  So I went with something sparkly.  It's understated but it's also special's Absolutely Alice! An HTF polish that I swapped a good friend for awhile back AND which I've not yet used.  I was surprised how much I liked it.  And while it's not a TON of flashy glitter.  It's just enough for me. :) For a little bit of a fun mix-up I used Tarnished Gold on the ring finger.  Hope you all enjoy and thanks for following!!

I'd rather stay here Van Gogh

Today's nails came from complete and total boredom and a love for a polish I recently bought.  A few weeks ago CVS ran a huge closeout sale on Revlon's.  I went and was underwhelmed.  But I did pick up a cherry scented red and a matte white called Powder Puff.  This is not that white.  I actually kind of hated the Powder Puff.  It was streaky, dried surprisingly slow for a matte polish and it had an odd sort of frosty finish.  Awhile later during the Sally winter closeout I picked up a bunch of Orly's and when I got home I realized that I was one shy of  having the whole Holiday Soiree collection.  What was I missing you ask?  THIS polish.  Au Champagne.  I really didn't want to buy it because I don't need anymore whites and I thought for sure it would be a frosty mess.  But it's actually one of my favorite polishes from this year.  It dries almost matte but it has a wonderful suede-y type of finish.  It looks EXACTLY how I wanted Powder Puff to look.  I kept it on a full day before adding this art to it.  I'm not sure what really inspired the art but I used my Models Own art pen and then after the lines were on I decided to add some dots and....voila! This.  Lol...the dots are done with the suede version of OPI Ink.  Then I Seche Vite'd the top for a shiny finish. :)
Enjoy and thanks for following! Are there any polishes you thought you'd hate that you ended up loving?

Sunday Stamping Mani: Under The Sea

It's time for another Sunday Stamping manicure!  This week's challenge was: Under the Sea.  I don't know about you, but all I can think of when I hear those words are The Little Mermaid.  I loved that movie so much. In fact when I was a child I watched the VHS so many times my mother had to buy a replacement. That said, as much as I love The Little Mermaid, I don't love the idea of her on my nails.  I like to do things that are a bit more abstract.  Things that, while you can see the inspiration in, aren't so straightforward as: This is the ocean on my nails.  So I perused the web a bit and found this picture:

I love the colors of this. The coral against the white and the clean bright blue background.  I was all set to do this mani until I remembered the most important part of the challenge: you have to use a stamp.  So I put my brushes away and set out looking through all my stamps to see what I could use to recreate this.  As luck would have it, I actually DO have a stamp that's similar to this: BM-225.  I used Models Own Feelin' Blue for the bright background and then stamped Konad White polish on.  Last I used a dotting tool to dab on Barry M Coral on the tips.  I liked the final result a lot.  It looks a lot like the picture, but it also just looks like a cool pattern on my nails! 

What do you guys think? 

Enjoy and thanks for following!!

Vintage Pendant

It's time for another Purple Crumpet Fairy Challenge!!! This week's challenge was chosen by Joy, and it's a manicure based on your favorite piece of jewelry.  I went back and forth a hundred times on this one.  I have SO much jewelry and it's a struggle for me to say what's my one favorite piece.  Debbie aptly pointed out that I'm married and therefore my favorite piece of jewelry may be my wedding band.I have to say, while my wedding set does mean a lot to me on a sentimental level (and is easily the most gorgeous piece of jewelry I own!)I don't know that it's my favorite in a more aesthetic sense.I finally decided to go with a pendant I got awhile back.The pendant itself is made from a vintage bead and the necklace is just beautiful.I also feel like it really sums up my style: vintage, ornate but still demure, eye catching, and definitely one of a kind!I hope you love these nails as much as I did!

Here's a picture of them with the pendant:

The base coat is Models Own Jade Stone and the gold is Orly Luxe. :)

Thanks for following! What's your favorite piece of jewelry?

Tetris Anyone?

Today's nail art was based off of a pattern I saw on a rug in a store a few weeks back. The colors are a little bit different (the rug was white, black, and red) but I wanted something sort of muted but still with contrast.  I actually liked how it came out but it kind of reminds me of Tetris pieces! I used a dotting tool for the whole thing and it took less than 5 minutes from start to finish (after initial base coat dry time!) so all in all it was an easy design!! Might try this one again with different colors!
Enjoy and thanks for following!

All colors by Models Own: Concrete Mixer, Moody Grey and Purple Ash

Purple Heart Tart

A super sparkly mani for today because my week is starting out not so super sparkly!  Sparkles make everything better, right?  There are a few things that led to today's color combo.  I wanted to try out my new Barry M Lilac Foil for starters.  It's odd because I have a few 'foil' finish polishes already.  My favorites are the Orly Foil FX line.  Not only are they metallic and shiny but they also have a micro shimmer throughout which makes them just gorgeous on the nail.  The Barry M foils...well...not so much.  They can be streaky, they dry to an odd flat-ish finish, and they're not incredibly shiny OR sparkly on the nail.  They're kind of like the flat, gross side of the roll of aluminum foil!  After three coats and still streaks I decided to cover it up with something more flashy.  Enter Tart with A Heart.  I LOVE this butterLONDON color.  It was part of their holiday collection this year and it's just mesmerizing.  There are all different colors of glitter throughout it, even black, and it looks completely different depending on what color it's used over. I actually quite liked this combination, even if it is lacking in the creativity department!!

Enjoy and thanks for following! :) 

Sunday Stamping: Green

So I joined a new challenge group recently.  I know what you're're already doing A LOT of challenges. And it's true, I am.  But I don't know how often I'll do these challenges it's just something I'm playing with right now.  I have a TON of stamps and yet I hardly use them.  When I first got started with nail art I got them because, when used properly, they create instant and stunning art.  But since I've gotten more into free handing, I almost feel lazy using them.  I want to find a way to, ultimately, combine both free handing and stamping to make crazy amazing mani's!  So the Adventures in Stamping group I hope will inspire me to use my stamps in new ways.  This week's stamping challenge was green.  Myself being the environmentalist I am, I immediately wanted to do something to do with recycling and 'green' living.  But...that idea was scrapped when I found that I have zero stamps with anything to do with anything 'green'.  So instead I used GREEN polish.  It's vegan, three free, and thanks to a special offer...actually was FREE for me.  I'm talking about Zoya of course.  I have a love/hate relationship with Zoya and you'll see why in my picture...

The base for this was Zoya Jewel and the stamp is BM-225 using Zoya Veruschka.  If you look at my ring finger, you'll notice why I hate Zoya polish.  This picture was taken about half an hour after I did this mani and along the top edge of that nail and also along the top side of the middle finger, you can see it cracking as it peels off my nail.  I don't have this problem with any other brand (so far) and before you ask, I've tried a ZILLION top/base coats and nothing seems to help the issue.  It doesn't ALWAYS happen.  But when it does, it sucks.  So as you can imagine these didn't last long.  Shame because I wanted to take a picture in the sun.  Zoya Jewel is SO sparkly! Anyway I hope you enjoy the nails and thanks so much for following!!

Do you have brands of polish that just don't work with your nails?

Purple Crumpet Fairy Challenge: Animal Print Nails

Today's Purple Crumpet Fairy challenge was to do animal print nails.  I was a little non-plussed for this one because animal print is not really my thing and also because I've done A LOT of animal print nails.  My favorite ones so far were the striped leopard nails I did awhile back. Mostly because they were animal print, yes, but not your standard leopard or zebra print nail. They were outside of the box.  So for today's challenge, I wanted to go outside the box again with the print!  The cute little guy you see above is a Brazilian Tapir.  They are pig-like (though not related genetically to the pig) animals which live in South America and are considered endangered.  I actually do a lot of work with endangered species organizations (mostly for the African Elephant and the Clouded Leopard) so it was sort of a fun challenge for me because of that!  Anyway...on to the nails!

I used Essie Sand Tropez for the base color and then used a brush and a stamp to create the lighter and darker areas of the stripes with China Glaze Ingrid.  Then I went back and added a few dots to the darker spots with the Sand Tropez.  I hope you all enjoy the art and thanks for following! :)  What kinds of causes are you involved/interested in?

Put your Dupes Up: Pure Pearlfection vs. Twilight

It's time for another edition of Dupes Up! This weeks contenders:

 Essie: Pure Pearlfection from the LuxeEffects collection
Retail Cost: $8
Orly: Twilight  from the Holiday Top Coats Collection
Retail Cost: $7

I know what you're thinking. She's crazy, right? These look nothing alike.  I would agree with you at first glance...but there's more to these two than meet the eye. 

Left to Right: Orly, Essie, Orly, Essie

I apologize first for the awkward angle of my index finger in this picture.  It was the only way I could get the shimmer to show.  These are both swatched over Hard Candy The End and Ulta Snow White as per ususal.  I'm sure you've already noticed why I'm 'dupe testing' these.  They are both multi-tonal shimmers packed into jelly bases.  Yes, the Orly is packed into a lilac base while the Essie is in a clear one.  But tell me, do YOU see a difference?

Orly Twilight and Essie Pure Pearlfection.  Artificial Lighting.

Naturally I assumed that on a white base it would be blatently obvious which was the Essie and which was the Orly.  Not so.  The lilac base in the Orly didn't even show on white after THREE coats.  After which point I stopped trying.   To my eyes they look exactly alike.   In this picture, the Orly looks a bit murkier but I can assure you that this is mostly due to the lighting and the shadow in the picture.  It also seems that over white, they lose a lot of their multi-tonal effect and show mostly as a white-ish, silvery shimmer rather than a colorful one.

Orly Twilight and Essie Pure Pearlfection. Artificial Light.
 Over black they look exactly the same as well.  The colorful shimmer is easier to see here than it is on the white but again, the murky lilac base of the Orly Twilight makes no appearance here.  From what I can tell, these polishes are essentially the same.

Verdict: Close enough for spades.

I know the price difference on these two isn't much BUT if you weren't lucky enough to snag the Essie LuxeEffects polishes you may have been able to score the Orly at Sally during their winter clearance sale for just $1.67.  Yes, you read that correctly. One dollar and sixty-seven cents.  Orly's do also contain a SMIDGE more product than their polish counterparts.  The Essie is a 15mL while the Orly is 18mL.

Where to buy: Both of these are from 'limited edition' collections this winter.  The Essie was available at Ulta and select drugstores nationwide.  Orly can be purchased at Ulta and Sally Beauty Supply stores.

After I did this comparison I ended up with a free Holiday set from Sally Hansen.  I noticed right away that one of the included colors was a look alike for these two polishes so I threw it in.  And please excuse my little nubbin nails, new year, new nails, remember? ;)


Essie Pure Pearlfection 
Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in Diamond
Retail Cost: 4.99

Essie Pure Pearlfection on the left and Sally Hansen Diamonds on the right.

Looks pretty similar, no? And on the nails?

Left to right: Orly Twilight, Essie Pure Pearlfection, Sally Hansen Diamonds
I went ahead and swatched the Orly as well just to further prove my point!  They are EXACTLY the same.  Exactly.  The pictures don't pick it up, even in sunlight (the above picture is natural light) but they do have a pink, purple, and greenish shimmer to them.  And even in this pic you STILL can't see the lilac tint of the Orly.  This is one coat each over Hard Candy The End.

Verdict: Dupes.

Sally Hansen Diamond line can be purchased a drustores nationwide. So if you missed out on the LE Orly and Essie polishes, you can still get your shimmery fix!!

Thanks for following! Do you have any of these polishes?

Muppets Metallic

Awhile back I picked up a few of the Muppets collection by OPI.  When I first got them the only two colors I was interested in were Warm and Fozzie and Rainbow Connection.  Then I kept seeing swatches for Designer di Better and decided that it was also a MUST HAVE.  And now I have almost all of them. Go figure.  Long story short when I got the Designer di Better I noticed that it's essentially the same as Warm and Fozzie, but it's sort of the opposite.  The Warm and Fozzie is a warm bronze with tiny gold, silver, and various colored flecks while the Designer di Better is a silvery based polish with tiny bronze flecks.  So I thought it might be cool to do a gradient with the Warm and Fozzie at the bottom.  The Designer di Better has the little coppery flecks that sort of draw the whole thing together.  This is what it ended up looking like.  I actually liked it a lot although the bronze on the base didn't stick out as much as I thought it would.  The only issue I had was removal. That Designer di Better is a nightmare to get back off!! But so worth it for this understated yet blingy mani!!
Enjoy and thanks for following!

Warm & Fozzie sponged over Designer di Better

Very Studly

These nails are actually kind of old! I'm trying to work through a backlog of un-posted nails. That might not be such a bad thing since, after a month of changing polish nearly daily and not much time to moisturize, my nails were looking kind of awful and I ended up cutting them all down. New year, new nails, right?  I'm using Orly Nail-trician to try to get them back into shape.  I've never had brittle, weak, or slow growing nails and I still don't but they could use a boost at any rate.  I also switched to Orly Nail Armor base coat from the Seche Clear I was using before. We'll see if any of it makes a difference!  Anyway I did these nails to practice my water marbling skills.  I know the trick to getting them pretty I just don't' always have the patience to do them.  I thought these turned out rather nice and since I didn't have the pressure of doing my whole hand I went more slowly with the marbling.  I'm also trying to incorporate more art 'supplies' into my nail art.  I have SO many beads, stones, stickers, tapes, etc. to use and yet I never do.  So these used some nail studs I got from Dollar Nail Art. :)  Hope you all enjoy! Thanks for following along!

Base is Ulta Snow White
Green: Models Own Jade Stone
Blue: Models Own Feelin' Blue
Silver Studs from Dollar Nail Art

Put your Dupes Up: The Wyndam vs. Flecked

It's time for another edition of Dupes Up! This weeks contenders:

Nails Inc: The Wyndham Top Coat from the Special Effects Sets
Retail Cost: $10 (set of two with Kensington Teal for $20 at
Finger Paints: Flecked  from the Special Effects Collection
Retail Cost: $5

I'll start by saying these were incredibly hard to photograph in the bottle.  I tried in artificial light, natural light, just wasn't working.  This didn't make it any easier:

Everytime I bring polish out Aoife just HAS to come investigate.  She's made off with more than one polish while my back was turned.   At any rate they are both green flakies which flash blue in certain lights.  The basic appearance of them in the bottle is the same but the Nails Inc. is a bit clearer where the Finger Paints is in an almost yellowish base. (It reminds me of the glow in the dark polishes.)

Photo taken outdoors. Natural light.

This is the result of them on the nails. Can you tell the difference?  

Photo taken outdoors, Natural Light. Wyndham on left and FP Flecked on the right.
Much like the Essie and Deborah Lippmann gold glitters, the only real difference here is that the Nails Inc. flakie has a little more coverage on the first go than the Finger Paint version.

Photo taken outdoors. Sunlight.
Here they are in full sun. These are both swatched over Hard Candy The End. You can see in these pics that the flash is exactly the same.  Same size flakies and everything.
Photo taken outdoors. Sunlight. Wyndham on the left. Flecked on the right.

A closer look at them in the sun.  You can see better in this picture that the Nails Inc Wyndham top coat has much better coverage.  I thought it also had a better formula.  The flakies spread easier on the nail and the brush is MUCH superior to the flimsy, thin Finger Paints version.  However, Finger Paints doesn't require you to purchase their flakies in a two pack and they're more widely available and HALF the cost.  So like the Lippmann before it, you could easily use two coats of the Finger Paint to get the same coverage and thus have an actual dupe. There is also a blue/purple leaning flakie in the Finger Paints special effects collection which I'll be swatching next to another Nails Inc top coat. So stay tuned for that!  

Verdict: Close enough for spades. :)  

Where to buy:  Nails Inc. Special Effects two packs can be purchased at for $20 and at for £20 each.  Finger Paints Special Effect polishes are available at Sally's locations nationwide on January 1, 2012.
'Til next time! Enjoy and thanks for following!

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