The Goldeneye of the storm...


For the last few months or so I've been really unimpressed with the new collections.  The holiday collections are very same-y to me and even the things which are upcoming aren't really catching my eye. I skipped OPI's Germany Collection, only snagged one from the China Glaze Safari Collection and wasn't really interested much in the new OPI Skyfall line for the new James Bond film. Still I decided to make a store run and check it out in person, just 'cause, you never know.  I ended up buying four of these.  I got this golden fleck one called Goldeneye, the dark green shimmer you see in the picture called Live and Let Die, and two others: You Only Live Twice and The World is Not Enough.  I'm going to probably be swatching them all here over the next few days but for now, here's a little teaser.  One thing I love about the colors I got is that they make really amazing suedes.  Once I matted this green there was no going back. It's just stunning.  I really love this gold too because it's shimmery, sparkly, and looks really rich on my nails. I used butter LONDON's matte topcoat on this and it did a very nice job.  My go-to matte, Essie, is cheaper so I doubt I'll switch but I do love that the Butter London comes in a bigger bottle and has a longer brush.  Did you get any Bond colors?

Gilty as gold...

Did anyone order the new Zoya Gilty box?   I pre-ordered mine awhile back and it came almost two weeks ago.  I was kind of disappointed in the box...I thought for some reason it would be heavier and less cheap looking BUT let's face it...the box is going in the trash anyway!  I've been interested in the real gold topcoats for some time now and I JUST missed the last round of Rococo's gold leaf lacquer awhile back. :(  I've been lamenting my loss but I guess the polish gods heard me because now everyone is making them!  Sephora for  OPI put one out awhile ago called It's Real! Which I actually used on a mani here before.  The problem I had with it was the flakes were too small.  It was pretty, don't get me wrong but it just didn't pack the punch I wanted it to.  So I debated getting this Zoya or the OPI Man With the Golden Gun.  Both are essentially $30 but I got a sweet discount on this set and ended up paying basically half that for THREE polishes.  Do I need another white and black polish? Well...this is the nail art world so the answer to that is yes. I can always use basic colors!! I will say as well that these are exceptionally nice basic polishes.  A lot of whites are streaky and take hundreds of coats but Purity does not. Raven is a great one or two coater as well.  So onto the mani!!

LOVE.  The flakes in Gilty are a mix but mostly larger sized and there is a fine sheen that runs through the polish.  On my other hand I did an accent of the white but I didn't love it.  I think this is going to be better suited for darker polishes.  Another thing to mention is that since it's real gold and not a glitter, it doesn't really SPARKLE in the sun or bright light. It has a glossy shine off it but it's not super duper flashy.  I think this will be an awesome addition to holiday nail art for the upcoming season!!

Did you pick up a gold flake topcoat? Did you love it?

Ozotic 901


Is there anything better than nail mail?  I would normally disclose this subtly at the end of my post BUT I want to draw your attention to a wonderful website and seller.  The website is called Overall Beauty and they sell all kinds of great polishes, like the Ozotic I'm going to show you today.  I was given this polish to give an honest review on and when I opened the package I expected the one polish and perhaps a business card.  I found an extra polish, a few nail wheels, a business card AND a handwritten personal card. I literally was blown away.  It's such a sweet surprise.  And now onto the gloriousness of this Ozotic.

I flaked on a bottle shot. I suck, I know. I meant to go back and take one but I already have a TON of pics of this bad boy so here is a lovely stock photo.  This is Ozotic 901, Sugar.  These new Ozotics....well really MOST Ozotics in my opinion, are NOT meant to be worn on their own.  They have a really amazing ability to change before your eyes over other colors.  However, just to be thorough I went ahead and put two coats on my nail so you can see the pretty crystals.

As you can see it gives your nails a nice pink, shimmery effect but it's nothing exciting.  If you click the picture to blow it up you'll really be able to see the glass flecks in this and even though it's pretty tame looking right now it's absolutely STUNNING the way these shimmer.  The color feels very princess like when it's on it's own.  Now let me take you over to the dark side...muahahahaha....

Quite the transformation, no?  It's still has a pink effect although I think it leans almost purple over black.  This is ONE coat over Zoya Raven.  Because there are SO many gorgeous angles to this polish I have a few more pics for you to drool over...

and some close-ups...

There is a pretty strong duochrome effect on this polish. It leans mostly gold but you can catch flecks of blue through it as well.  Now for some extra fun because black is definitely not your only color option for these polishes!!

Here we have one coat of Sugar over Barry M Strawberry Ice Cream, Models Own Moody Grey, and Zoya Purity.  It's still giving off the pink/gold duochrome effect on the grey although it's less obvious than on the black.  The pink is nice but it looks more like a pink and purple shimmer which is a bit sickly girly to me!  And then we have the white.  It sort of looks pearly over the white.  It has a shimmery effect but just a hint of pink.  Here are some closer looks at these colors:


You can see in the close-up of the white that there are still colors in the polish.  There's a hint of purple and pink and a VERY slight tinge of the gold.  It's a very pretty effect but it's not super obvious.

Over the pink the blue flecks dissapear.  There is a gold tinge around the edge but mostly you have a pink glass fleck effect. Very pretty but again, pretty tame.

And finally, the grey.  This picture is a little fuzzy which I apologize for. Seems like the grey just didn't want to photograph well!  I actually really love the effect over the grey. The blue is back, the duo chrome is there and it's VERY noticeable.  The main difference between the grey and the black is the shade of the main effect here. On the black the effect is very deep pink. Almost purple or magenta.  Here it's more of a true pink although it still leans a bit purple.  Gorgeous.  

The formula on these is pretty standard for Ozotic. They're not super thick but they're not runny either. One coat is all you need for the effect to show but you can totally layer up if you want to!  They dry relatively quickly and they do dry shiny.  They are smooth to the touch as well but that's to be expected of a glass fleck. To me Ozotics are a GREAT investment for your collection because they are so versatile.  You only need one coat of them and they change your polishes into crazy gorgeous new colors!  Thanks for following along! Do you have any Ozotics?

These are my nails...

These are MY nails on Nail Envy.  Ok so I will start by saying that I have never been a big supporter of nail strengthening products.  There are two main reasons for this.  One: I have never had any real need of them.  My nails have always been strong and grow quickly without peeling unless I'm being really crazy with them (like the week I had three sets of student acrylics and a set of wraps put on and taken off them!!).  I would love to attribute this to my healthy, vegetarian lifestyle but...I probably just need to thank my wonderful parents for the good genes.  Two: they don't really work.  Now, I know some of you are thinking, but they make MY nails stronger.  Well...let me rephrase that for you.  They do work.  In a sense.  Do they add strength to your nails? Yes.  Do they prevent peels? They can.  But are they really STRENGTHENING your nails? No.  Nail strengtheners are a lot like split end "repair" creams in that they DO fix the problem but they don't really FIX the problem.  They work at the surface of your nail which is why if you want to keep seeing results, you need to keep applying them into forever.  I actually have a post planned which will discuss different strengtheners and why to use them or not to and how they work. That's not for today! Today I want to show you why I personally choose to abstain.  I got this bottle of Nail Envy by OPI for free and I have used it here and there when my nails have been wrecked. More so because I find that it feels soothing than anything else. But since I had two nubbin hands I decided, I may as well test out this theory!  I totally flaked on a pic of my nails before I started this routine but both were the same length and they were essentially just below the tips of my fingers.  I did exactly what the Nail Envy bottle said to do and applied two coats the first day and one every other for two weeks.  I didn't use any polish during that time on EITHER hand but left my other one completely free of polish or treatments.  I didn't see much change so I gave myself a mani at the end of the first two weeks and then started over.  This is four weeks of nail growth.  My middle finger broke early on so it's a bit shorter than the others but aside from that I had no serious problems. Now, you might be saying to yourself, those look pretty good, right? Well ladies and gentlemen...let me show you my OTHER hand:

This is pre-manicure so excuse my raging cuticles!  I did have one tragedy on this side as well and you can see it on the pinky. Looks like someone got hungry and took a bite! However, overall the growth is definitely better on this side than the other. Aside from the difference in growth I had another issue with the nail envy side...

Check out the tip there....hello peelies!  Yikes.  I don't think I'll use the Nail Envy again unless it's dire straights. One thing I would like to point out though is that using a nail strengthener on strong nails CAN make them brittle.  That wasn't the issue here but in the interest of full disclosure now you know.  I asked some of you on my Facebook how you felt about Nail Envy and there were mixed reviews.  Some of you mentioned Seche Rebuild, Nail Magic, Nail Tek and Rejuvacote.  I'll definitely be including some of those in my upcoming nail strengthener post!! 

Have any of you had better results with Nail Envy?

The New Black

Awhile back I was perusing the web for some nail inspiration and I came across a nail art design that The New Black had posted to be used with some of their new polish packs.  The premise is two nail colors and a nail art striper and they gave a series of designs for each combo.  This one is meant to be done with a pink/blue/black combo and since I have plenty of those things I decided to give it a go!  I used all Models Own colors for the design and it really didn't take me very long.  One thing I had to trial and error was the blue stripe.  At first I was polishing the whole nail blue and then going over it with the pink but then I decided that I liked it better when I did the pink as the base and just swiped blue across the bottom.  Obviously it's a bit trickier to keep a nice nail line around the cuticle BUT it keeps the whole thing from getting too thick!!  I used Utopia, Bloo Bloo and my trusty Nail Art Pen to create the look! Thanks for following!! Anyone have The New Black set used to create this?

One of these things is not like the other...

This is a combination nail art and comparison post.  It's probably difficult to see the comparison part right now but I feel like when I point it out it will be very obvious.  Anyway sometime back I got a pretty epic Zoya haul.  I'll be honest and say I had never really been very into Zoya  prior to April of this year.  For starters there were no retailers for it around me and I don't prefer to purchase my polishes online since it's really difficult to see what you're getting.  And then I did pick up a few when my Ulta started carrying them but they were kind of meh shades and they seemed to dislike my Seche Vite and chip more than other polishes on me.  Several people suggested I get a different top coat to use over them and recommended that I invest in Zoya's own brand of top coat since it works best with their polish but let's face it.  I'm not a salon.  I'm not interested in branding and with nearly 1,000 polishes I need a top coat that works with anything so I'm not investing in brands for brands.  So what changed my mind?  Discounts.  I ended up with quite a lot of them for pretty cheap and I thought since I wasn't wearing my polish very long it probably wouldn't matter so much if they chipped a day later since I'd be changing up the art anyway.  I also got a lot of wrapping practice working in a salon so I started to do a much better job polishing and wrapping my tips and the Zoya/Seche combination actually ended up working quite fabulously in the end.  So anyway, back to my story....I snagged a BUNCH of these things...

Yep. Yep.  This one was in the bunch. It's Skylar and she is a beauty.  Really reminds me a bit of butterLONDON's Victoriana which remains one of my most favorite polishes of all time for it's wonderful ability to be fabulous both shiny and matte.  Skylar is no exception.  After I had it on for a day I decided to dress it up and since I had just gotten a Klout perk in the mail, what better to use than my brand new Essie Penny Talk?  Then I added Seche but I didn't love the shiny look so I covered that with Essie Matte About You.  And now is where the comparison comes in.  I know you probably didn't really notice it and since we mostly do our nails all at once I may never have.  While I was making that infamous matte/shiny decision I matted one nail, intending to cover it with Seche if I disliked it and Seche'd another nail to cover with the matte.  Well ladies and gentlemen...check out my ring finger in this pic vs my other fingers.  Here's a close up if you need more evidence...

Yep.  If you haven't picked out the difference yet look for the shine on the middle finger.  On the fingers I added Seche to before I added the Essie there is just a hint more shine than on the ones I straight matted.  They're still all nicely matte but the metallic still has some sheen to it on the Seche ones.  Interesting, no?  I've only done that once so I'd love to hear it if any of you have had similar experiences!!! Thanks for following!!

What's in your arsenal?

It's tool day!!  OK, that sounds a little silly, but today I'm going to give you a basic rundown of some tools I use and love.  Nail care is important, not just for those of us doing nail art or running blogs, but for everyone.  It will help you feel better, look better and be healthier.  Just like anything else though, having the right tools is essential to caring for your hands and nails.  What you see above is my 'tool' box.  I have a self lowering box which cleans my tools for me while they're not in use.  Do you need one? Probably not!  If you're just using your tools for yourself you can rinse them in water after use, dry them and store them.  If you're using them on other people you'll want to at the very least invest in some barbicide to properly clean them between clients.  My box has all my basic tools for nail care inside.  You can see from the top: nail clippers, a spoon pusher, two sizes of curette, flat and rounded edge toe nail clipper, and to the far right, my cuticle nippers.  These are your basic tools for care.   So how do you choose your tools and where do you get them?  Well here we go!! If you look back on my Did You Know... post about nail clippers there is PLENTY of info for choosing the right ones so we're going to focus today on cuticle pushers, curettes, and cuticle nippers.

We'll start with cuticle pushers:

Here we have a selection of pushers. These range from cheap (on the left) to expensive (on the right).  One, two, and three are you standard drugstore pusher/nipper combo.  Honestly, while you can snag these for $1 or less sometimes, they are useless.  The cuticle nipper end can work well for beginners who want to fully remove cuticle BUT it dulls quickly and will then simply tear the cuticle. Bad news.  Number four is a pusher I ended up snagging for free at Ulta. I think the regular cost is between $10 and $12.  It's not my favorite but it works well and is the one I generally use. It has a spoon on one end and a squared end which CAN be used for cuticles but shouldn't be. The one I've linked to has a UNC (under the nail cleaner) on the other end which is preferable.  Number five is a fancy OPI titanium pusher. I believe it's called a pusher plus and it costs around $26 at pro stores. I don't love it. The angle is great for some people but for me it's awkward to hold.  So why choose a spoon pusher over a flat, square or angled one?

The first picture here is a basic, flat spoon pusher. Notice the way it curves like your nail bed? The second picture is the OPI angled pusher.  It has more of a curve and therefore should work better (and does presumably!) however, you have to hold it differently.  It's a great investment if you want really great cuticle work but I feel that a standard spoon pusher when used properly will yield the same results so it's up to you if you want to learn to use the flat or the angled. To the far right we have a series of different cheap pushers. Notice that there is no curve to them? They just don't have the angle to give you great results. They are not going to last as long because they're plastic and they're not as easy to clean.  Remember when you're investing in these tools that stainless steel versions CAN last years so it's really a great time to splurge a little!

So what about a curette?

I have two curettes.  You only need one!!  The important thing here is the size of them.  You really want a smaller end on the curette because a larger end is not going to do any good.  I have one with larger ends which I bought before I knew about sizes.  Then I got a smaller one.  You can use the larger end to clean under the nail and also for toes.

See the difference? This is the smallest end on each of my curette's.  It really makes a big difference.  Again these can be costly.  I got both of mine at a professional shop for less than $10.  I recommend this one by Mehaz. Just be sure when searching online that you're looking at nail curette's and not dermatological ones or ear ones!!

So that just leaves us with nippers!! All my nippers pics came out blurry. :(  But I have three pair and the ones I love the most are my Mehaz 1/4 jaw.  They are not cheap. At pro stores they run about $35.  And on top of that nippers are really only good for about six months to a year. BUT it really makes a difference.  You may get longer use out of yours if you're using them less but since mine get used on clients regularly I'm not getting more than 6 months out of them!  You can grab cheaper ones almost anywhere.  Just be sure when you nip they cut cleanly and don't pull the skin. 

Here's a size comparison for you!

Thanks for following!!

Peaches and Cream

I have some pretty simple nails for you today.  I'm still working on using textures on my nails more often but this time of year work gets busy and it just gets in the way.  These nails were inspired by an outfit I had on. I used Barry M Blue Moon for the base and then Orly Prelude to a Kiss for the accent nail and the tips.  Then I took a sticker of lace and pressed it into the accent.  Two coats of Seche and done!! I love that they have a sort of vintage appeal and they're soft and girly without being pink and sparkly! Have you ever done nails inspired by something you had on?

Rehab Your Nails: Spa Manicure

Well ladies and we go.  Today I'm going to show you how to take care of your  cuticles WITHOUT nipping them off.  I've pretty much left my nails to their own devices for a few weeks now.  I haven't done anything to them and they're growing out damage from some repairs I did with acrylic awhile back.  So it's the perfect time to test your knowledge of nail disorders and see what kind of shape your nails are in.  Here's an unaltered (scary times) picture of the nails I'm starting with:

Scary thing isn't it?  When you don't care for your nails and cuticles, this is what ends up happening.  Now, granted I DO have some self inflicted damage from the acrylic patch but it's pretty minimal in the scheme of things.  I also work with my hands and made a point of not moisturizing regularly to fully illustrate my point.  This picture shows SIX common nail problems and all of them will be fixed or bettered with the spa manicure technique I'm going to show you today.  Did you spot them?

I've labeled them for you in this picture so that you can see what you're looking for when you assess your own nails.  Do you have peeling? On my index finger you can see some peeling of the top layers of my nail starting.  Some peeling also involves larger areas of the nail lifting up from the lower layers.  If it's a very deep peel, you'll want to avoid buffing it.  I broke my middle nail which is a very common issue and the only fix for that other than to repair with tips or acrylic (which does cause more damage to the existing nail) is to file and let it grow out.  I'm going to file it down evenly.  My primary cuticle is untamed and as a result you can see the secondary cuticle is growing up my nail plate.  It looks unappealing now but it will later lead to the next problem you see which is a potential hang nail on the side of my ring finger.  I already have one on my thumb but notice the positioning. The one on the thumb is caused by dryness, NOT poor cuticle care.  And finally you can see the thinning at the tips of my middle and ring finger from the buffing and acrylic removal.  So how do we make this better?  Well first you'll need to gather up some tools. Here's what you'll need for a SPA MANI:

A pair of cuticle nippers 
A currette with a small end
A cuticle pusher (preferably spoon shaped)
Cuticle remover (I'm using Blue Cross)
A bowl filled with very hot water and a bit of soap
A hand towel (or a few)
A nail file (I prefer a 600 grit)
A buffer (I'm using the same file I used on my nails)
Cuticle Oil (I'm using Solar Oil by CND)
Lotion (I'm using CND Almond Hydrating Lotion)

Set up your supplies by laying the towel down and folding it towards you.  You can choose to layer it over another towel or two to prevent the surface underneath from getting wet. You'll want your bowl filled with hot water and a splash of soap near the side of your towel. Now you're ready to go.  File your nails gently using the file.  Then place them one by one into the water for about three minutes.  (Do your cuticle work after removing from water and THEN do your other hand. Don't soak one after the other)  Remove your hand from the water, dry it gently using the fold of the towel to pat it dry. Then add your cuticle remover. I like Blue Cross because it's strong and it's a liquid. I keep mine in a pump bottle and I pump one squirt over each nail.  Then you can start pushing with the cuticle pusher.  Be sure to start in the side fold of your  nail and push GENTLY. You will feel the cuticle push back and then you'll feel a bit of release. It will take you awhile to be able to identify the feeling but the more you do it the better you'll get.

It was hard to get a good picture of this because my pusher is so large. But hopefully you can see how far over my pusher is.  Be careful not to go too fast or push to hard or you'll go right through your primary cuticle and cause a hangnail which may bleed or be painful.  Just gently and slowly move back and forth over the nail plate starting from about midway up the nail.  Keep the pusher relatively flat -- the shape is going to do most of the work for you.  You'll see the secondary cuticle coming up.  It looks like this:

Gross, right?  This is why it's important to remove this from the nail plate.  Every time you polish, you're putting the polish right over this layer of skin and that's going to make it not adhere as well.  It's also better for your nails to have the excess removed and will help your nails get healthier.  So now that the secondary cuticle is loosened, you can remove it gently with a currette.  Using the small side, scoop gently from one corner to the other.  If you've done this enough times and it's properly loosened, it will all come off in one little chain of skin.

If it's not loosened properly, go back over with your pusher. If it's coming off in pieces, that's OK too, it just means you pushed a little hard in places and separated the cuticle.  Once you've completed this on all nails, you can use your towel fold to wipe the nails clean making sure to GENTLY push the cuticle towards your hand.  This way you can be sure you've gotten all the secondary cuticle and you'll be able to see lifts or flaps on your primary cuticle.

See all those white areas? Those are loose skin. Remove them carefully with your nippers. Notice NONE of the back curve of that primary cuticle is white. It does not need to be removed. Clear cuticle is healthy.  Only remove that if it's flapping up and will catch on something.  Use the back of the nippers to cut NOT the points. There is an angle to the blade of them and if you work with that angle by tilting them slightly upwards your cuts will be more precise and you'll be less likely to slice yourself.  After you've removed those loose areas, gently buff the nail.

When buffing, avoid touching your skin or your primary cuticle with the buffer.  I use a file for this because the blocks are very hard to control. Also remember that you don't need ANY pressure when filing or buffing. The file will do the work for you. Just touch  it to the nail and gently move it back and forth.  My buffed nail pic came out really fuzzy but it should remove most of the remaining secondary cuticle on the nail plate.  Then add your cuticle oil, rub it in for a few minutes and then add the lotion and thoroughly rub it in. How did they turn out?

I didn't file down that broken one yet!! lol...but otherwise, they look MUCH better. No?  You can still see the thinning which won't be fixed until it grows off the nail but I didn't buff that area so it's no worse.  Even though I didn't nip my primary cuticle, you can see that it's not noticeable.  Pushing and taking care of that secondary cuticle is going to keep the primary one under control. AND the best part is you don't have to worry about cutting yourself, cutting it incorrectly, or it growing back in wonky because you haven't touched it.  Pretty great, huh?  

I hope this was helpful to some of you!! I have a tools post coming up soon and will address getting the best nipper for you and also the differences in currettes!!

Have a great weekend!! :)

Skellie, skellie in my belly -- wait...

It's the final day of the Digit-al Dozen Halloween challenge! I can't believe it's over already! But there will still be plenty of time for more spooky designs!  This one was so easy to do and it was so much fun to look at!! I got a lot of compliments on it!  I used Wet and Wild White On for the base and then used a Models Own Black Nail Art pen to do the stripes.  I used a dotting tool and Wet and Wild Black Out to do the eyes and noses and then stamped on the accent nail.  For a twist, I did the colors opposite on my other hand (so the background was black and the details were white).  I hope you all enjoyed the art work!! Look for my next Rehab Your Nails post this weekend! It will be cuticle related! :)  Perfect for the cooler months.

Don't forget to check out what my fellow challengers came up with for todays post!!

Did You Know...I have HOW many cuticles?!

OK so this is something I've wanted to address for awhile because it seems like when it comes to nail care, cuticles are the thing everyone is getting worked up about.  In a way, I can see why.  A great shaped cuticle compliments your nail art (or polish!) perfectly like a beautiful frame on a masterpeice.  But wonky, dry, mis-shapen cuticles draw attention AWAY from your work and not in a good way. So what exactly IS your cuticle? Well to start you need to know that you actually have TWO cuticles.

Say what? Yeah, TWO.  In a very technical sense, both your primary and your secondary cuticle are the same anatomical thing.  However, they are different and should be treated as such.  So let's take a look at them shall we?

Photo credit to Zadidoll.

 I tried to get a good picture of this but I keep my cuticles in really good shape for the most part and I just finished a series post for you guys so I have nothing really to photograph. The photo above does a great job illustrating this though. The reality is that, in the nail world neither of these things are REALLY a cuticle.  Because they are both cuticle.  The eponychium* shown above is commonly known as both the cuticle OR the primary cuticle.  This cuticle should not be cut unless it is absolutely necessary.  Many people nip them or have them nipped for aesthetic reasons but they're actually doing damage to your nails.  Your primary cuticle protects your nail from damage and also creates a watertight seal. You might notice that if you push too hard with your cuticle pusher, you end up with a 'gap' between the cuticle and your nail plate.  This means you have loosened the secondary cuticle. The secondary cuticle is also reffered to as the pterygium.  This is the cuticle which grows up your nail as the primary cuticle regenerates AND it's the cuticle you'll want to remove.  Think of it this way, removing your primary cuticle is a little like cutting your eyelashes off. You might think it looks really cool, but you're doing a great disservice to your eyes!  Removing your secondary cuticle is more like getting a trim every six weeks.  The ends are dead anyway and if you don't do it, you risk more problems and damage to your hair. See the difference?  So how DO you take care of your cuticles without nipping the primary cuticle?  Well that requires a good set of the right tools and a few great cuticle products.  I have a tools post coming up for you and since I've had some requests I'm also going to add a page which lists the tools and products I love to use at home AND when I work on clients.  So stay tuned for that!! Thanks for following!!

*Please note:  in the professional salon world it is common for the eponychium to be used to refer to live skin which surrounds your nail.  This is also eponychium BUT you should never ever cut it. You will bleed. It will hurt.  It's important to keep in mind that most people use the word cuticle to refer to it! :)

It's Alive!

It's day four of the Digit-al Dozen's Halloween week challenge and today I decided to go all out!  I wanted to use texture and color to create a sort of bleeding monster/zombie effect on my nails.  I thought this over for a few days in my head and I had several ideas of how to go about it but at the end of the day it sort of just came together. I started with a muted green base color, OPI Stranger Tides.  You can't see TOO much of it on the final design but you can see it just a bit.  After that I used China Glaze It's Alive and lightly sponged it randomly for a little bit of color and sparkle.  I topped that with China Glaze Lightning Bolt, a white crackle.  Then I sponged Zoya Dree on top of that to make it look greener in places and THEN finally, I used China Glaze Velvet Bow to add the 'blood' and sponged on some red areas.  No top coat because I wanted the red to stay glossy and the other to be flat and textured.  It sounds like a lot of work but it really wasn't that time consuming.  Don't forget to check out what the other ladies came up with for this challenge!!

Dripping with...

We have arrived at day three of the Digit-al Dozen's Halloween theme week! Today I wanted to recreate a design that I absolutely adore. Last year I did this design with white and red for Halloween (although I think this year I did a MUCH superior job!!) and then again at Christmas time with OPI Holiday Glow and a jelly white. I don't know what it is I love so much about it but it's just fun!  This year I opted for a more flesh colored base and a deep crimson red.  The base color is Zoya Kennedy.  I went back and forth between Kennedy and Avery for awhile before I decided on this one and retrospectively I think  I should have gone with the latter instead. But oh well. You win some you lose some!! I topped it with drips of butterLONDON La Moss. Delicious, no?

Don't forget to check on the other Dozen's mani's for this week!

The bat's out of the cave...

So here we are at day two of the Digit-al Dozen Halloween week challenge!!  I don't know why, maybe it's the new chill in the weather but I was super into the grey/black thing for the first few days of this challenge!! Here again we have a sort of monotone manicure. I really love greys and I hardly use them it seems like so Halloween is a great time to drag them out! But don't worry, I got more lively as it went on!!  So here is an interpretation of bats in a cave.  Obviously I could have used a different color for the inside of the cave but I thought yellow would be  too much and if I had used black for the inside and grey for the out I couldn't  figure how to get the bats on! I still really liked it though and I think the effect  is there!  I did a standard ruffian mani using Zoya Kristen and Wet & Wild Black Out to start this and then I used more of the black to add the bats in with a stamp. Easy peasy.  I love it when mani's look more complex than they are!! Also I free handed the ruffian but if you can't get it just right there are tons of tutorials on how to use various stickers, forms, and even office supplies to get it just  right!  Don't forget to check out how my fellow Halloweeners are doing!!

The Digit-al Dozen does...Halloween

This is the first in a series of Halloween mani's which represent month number two for the Digit-al Dozen! In case you forgot, The Digit-al Dozen is a group of twelve lovely ladies (including myself) who take one week every month to do a theme manicure series.  For our preview week, we did Red and last months theme was Blue.  This week's theme is Halloween which is a bit early but apt for the month!  I didn't do this month like the last two where I had started with one manicure and transformed it into another.  I decided to just do five separate art designs this round since I love Halloween and there are so many things I wanted to try out!!  For today I've done something super simple!! Spiders!! I started  with OPI Skull & Glossbones which remains one of my favorite polishes of ever!  I used it last year for a sort of similar mani with mummies and spiders.  This time I kept it easy with a spider web and a little spider making his way across to my index using my Models Own nail art pen in black.  Then I used Nubar Black Polka Dots for the pinky and middle fingers!  Easy and fun!!  Don't forget to check out what my fellow trick or treaters are up to!!

What's the buzz...

Quick snippets of my day!

I'm in the process today of making a swatch book. I still can't decide how I want the polish swatched. I tried lines down the page, blobs across it...sigh. I'm too picky. But I added some of my art work to the pages for inspiration. I figure I can take it around easier when I do nail art for other people. What are you all up to today? Do you have swatch books? Any tips for me?

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