Playing catch up...

If you've been following this blog for a long time some of you may remember a few years back when a few bloggers and myself started doing a weekend post which was sort of a "get to know you" kind of thing.  A little catch up on what we do outside of nails and how we spend our free time when we're not polishing! I actually can't even remember what it was called and I did spend some time looking without much luck.  At any rate I'm bringing it back for awhile to see how it goes.  I've seen a lot of bloggers disappear over the past few years and I think it can be hard to balance life with blogging sometimes. I struggle A LOT with my other blog so this will help me tie them together and it also helps us get to know each other. It might also help me keep you in the loop as to why I can't always post as often as I want to.  Of course if this isn't your thing you're welcome to skip these posts!  They'll only go up on Saturdays so it will be easy for you to skip over them. No hard feelings. :P  

Some of you might notice I sort of lost it the last few days of the 31 day challenge.  There was one challenge day I didn't feel particularly inspired by and then I never seemed to get my groove back after that. However, I'm still really happy with myself and when this post goes live I'll have published the same number of posts this month as I did the previous THREE months combined.  So I can't feel bad about that.  Caoimhe helped me out with some of my nail art (and some of the distraction! :P) but even she got tired of it eventually.

I've also just finished my FOURTH week of training for my new job position.  It's been really jarring since the position is very different from my previous one and the training has been a hot mess.  For starters the training manual is over 300 pages. THREE. HUNDRED. PAGES. Of codes and rules and exceptions's a lot.  Then there's the fact that we were meant to move to the corporate office next week but last Friday they decided to move us early.  Always fun to not know where you're going to be. Or when.  Though we have an official training schedule we've not followed it. At. All.  In four weeks we've had as many trainers and each does things totally different and we have a different schedule depending on the day.  It's just...been overwhelming.  The good thing about it is that my new position is a 27.5% raise AND I get all the same benefits from my company (which is an amazing place to work for btw). So I can't complain too much but it's been a bit of a struggle.  Monday our computers were down for awhile so we did some training modules instead. I found the above "grammar cat" in one of the modules for business grammar.  Ridiculous.

I've also mostly solved my sleeping issues. If you follow my other blog you might know that I've been struggling with CFS/ME for sometime now and the insomnia it causes has plagued me for YEARS. I don't think I've had a good nights sleep in over 10 years.  A lot of my yoga buddies swear by essential oils so I've been learning more about them and working on using them for my ailments.  I made a mix for sleeping recently and although the smell of it is a bit odd it WORKS. Like really works.  I generally use it in my bath or diffuse it at night. I fall asleep in minutes and stay asleep all night. Plus no medication hangover the next day. My husband complained about the smell initially but even he couldn't complain after a good nights sleep.  Well at any rate I've got a ton of swatching to get to for you guys! Next week you can look forward to the new Barielle collection and then I'll have the spring Zoya's for you soon as well.  I hope you all enjoy your weekend! How was YOUR week?

Zoya Naturel Satins

Today I have swatches of the new Zoya Satin collection for you.  According to the Zoya website the satin formula is a hybrid between matte and glossy polishes and is not intended to be worn with a top coat. They actually do dry semi matte and I didn't use any top coat for my swatches.  I found them to be very easy to apply, each is shown with two coats, and they dried fairly quickly considering. Obviously with no top coat you'll have to wait a bit longer for dry time (I usually use a fast dry TC) but they didn't seem to take an extraordinary amount of time.  I really loved the finish.  I do love matte finishes but this is a nice low sheen so it's good for people who want to mix things up but don't care for the matte look. It's also a great alternative to a nude manicure if you're looking for a professional look or something more low key.  The colors are really flattering as well.  The finish reminds me of a matte topcoat after a few days when the matte starts to get semi shiny.  I also found them to have just a TOUCH of pearly sheen to them. Without further a do, here they are!

Ana is a light toasted almond cream.

 Brittany can be best described as a rose mauve cream. 

Leah is a lavender tinged taupe cream. I really loved the color of this one. It's a really interesting color and was super flattering on me.

Tove is a misty slate grey cream. This was a favorite for me as well. It's sort of a nice blue grey.

 Rowan can be best described as a suede taupe cream.

Sage is a mossy sage green cream.  This one was my absolute most favorite of the bunch.  I LOVE greens and this one is just so soft and pretty.  Which one is your favorite?
**These polishes were provided to me for my honest review. I have not been paid for my opinion**

There's oil in them thar hills!

So today's post is going up a little bit later than normal but can we all just take a moment to appreciate the reason? My husband gave me an early birthday present; a NEW computer with a TOUCH screen. I'm so excited to be using it and I can't believe how much easier it's making blogging!  At any rate today's 31 day challenge inspiration is a topper that isn't glitter. So I have some nails I actually did awhile back (hence the shorter length) which I've been dying to squeeze in somewhere! They're done by marbling the China Glaze Bohemian collection over a black creme! I LOVE the way it turns out. I hope you enjoy them! :)

Back in the day...

Today's inspiration for the thirty one day challenge is to recreate an old mani you did.  I actually do this fairly frequently for my Flashback Friday segments and it's usually reserved for mani's that I did before I really had the skill to do them and now I that I do (or at least I'm closer!) I want to do them properly. For today's remake I just randomly chose one.  So here you go! This was originally done as part of the Purple Crumpet Fairy challenge which is funny as now I'm doing them again for Crumpets Nail Tarts! At any rate the original prompt was to use the oldest polish you had.  For me it was a now almost 18 year old bottle of Mary Kay.  Since that wasn't the challenge though I decided to go with a different base.  I also switched up the purple because I no longer have the Zoya I used originally.  Though I made a few changes I think it still counts as a remake! The original version is below! :)

Which is your favorite?

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle...

Today the inspiration for the 31 day challenge is a fish tail braid.  I'll be honest, I tried this several times but I could not get the criss cross just right and at some point I gave up.  Yesterday was rough for me  ( hence why I skipped a day) and as you can see it was also rough on my nails as I'm now back to this squoval shape for a bit. It does feel a bit freeing in a way since when my nails get long they do get in the way somewhat but still it had to happen mid-challenge. At any rate I did this fish tail with alternating stripes rather than the overlapping layers.  Then I added some bright blue green nails to cheer myself up! ;P  Hope you enjoy!

Let's talk decals...

Today the challenge for Crumpets Nail Tarts 31 day challenge is decals. *Le sigh* let's talk about that for a minute. You have a few options when it comes to decals for your nails. You have your basic sticker type, water decals which work similarly to temporary tattoos, sticker type which are made with actual polish, Minx heat activated type, and the DIY options which include making them on plastic OR a stamper.  A lot of options right? I hate the stickers so we'll just get that out of the way right now. I've never seen them look like anything other than what they are; a sticker on your nail.

I have a few water decals I like fairly well but they're not full coverage and let's face it, I'd find a way to screw that up! So those are out too.  Then there are the sticker type which are made of polish which CAN actually look pretty decent. Notice I said CAN. Yeah....IF you have the exact perfect shape and size of nail for it and manage to get it stuck on just right and smooth it out before it's too late and then your top coat doesn't eat the top half and blah blah matter what size I choose I always end up with either half my nails naked or not enough large ones left to do my thumb becuase I had to cut them all down. WHO are they making these things for?

SO....having already tried and failed numerous times at decals on plastic I decided to go the stamper route.  It actually worked fairly well though I did have some issues.  For my first time doing it I feel very happy with the results.  I started with my ring finger and the decal was obviously too short so I improvised with the white at the bottom.  You can tell that I let that one dry too long (I used a fast dry topcoat which I know is meant to be a no-no but I've only got so much time!) and it cracked JUST slightly.  For my next several I only let them dry between three and five minutes before applying.  There is a touch of smudging which is blah but overall I'm satisfied.  In the future I think I'd wait a hair longer to apply the colors and the final topcoat layer.  I applied these directly to dry polish too since the decal was still tacky and I think that made things MUCH easier than my first attempt to apply one on wet polish. I hope you enjoy them! :)

Flashback Friday; These things go round...

Today's 31 day challenge inspiration was a white base.  I don't know why because I use white bases ALL the time BUT...I freaked out a little on this one.  I think after having some fairly specific days I got a little uneasy at such a wide parameter.  SO....the other day whilst perusing the web to see if I'd already used a certain title for one of my blogs (does that ever happen to you? lol) I came across a real gem of a mani from 2011.  Though the original mani was done on a light grey base I felt that white would work well too so I ran with it. So today you get a double dose of art!  Above you can see my version today.  Originally I think I had some trouble with the stamping, this being from my early stamping days, and in an effort to help it I decided to fill in the stamp some with a nail art brush.  I used the same stamp and color for stamping and I still didn't love the way it transferred but it certainly didn't go on terribly.  I filled in less of the circles this round and went with a matte topcoat instead of shiny.   I didn't love the end results the first time and I really still don't.  When you stamp the color transfer is much lighter than when you fill in with a brush so there's just a weird difference in the shade that bothers me.  However....I think I did a MUCH more preferable job this go round!  Scroll down for the original...if you dare!!

Don't get me wrong, I do like the design of this and I really like the blue on grey too.  I think for some reason the difference in depth of color is less noticeable on the original design and that may be due to the darker base. I think I like it better filled in more too but I wanted to leave it more clean this round.  But good grief check out that terrible cleanup and ragged mess of cuticles! I think this was from the days before blogging was anything for me other than a way to show my nails off to family and keep them all in one place for me to keep track of my progress!  At any rate, which version is your favorite?

Round and round it goes....

Today's challenge is a blobbicure.  Honestly, I had to google what that even meant although I had an idea.  This is the first time I've really tried this type of mani so I was more looking for specific tutorials.  I found a lot of videos but as I didn't have much time to watch them during the day I had to sort of wing it based on what I read.  That being said I think it came out rather nicely. In a way it reminds me of turtle shells and in another way it's sort of like a lava lamp.  I had set aside two blue shades to use and then I waffled on blobbing with yellow before ultimately deciding on this green shade.  I'm glad this was thrown in there because I will DEFINITELY be revisiting this in the future! I couldn't decide if I liked it better shiny or matte but I decided in the end I loved the shine (no topcoat on these super shiny Zoya shades btw!).  I've included the matte version for you to decide for yourself! :)


I hope you enjoy them!

It ain't easy being green...

Today the 31 day challenge inspiration is three shades of yellow or green.  Seeing as I never wear yellow I felt green was going to be a much easier way to go! Choosing the colors turned out to be much harder than I had anticipated though.  I have LOTS of green but many of them are minty and short of mixing three shades of mint I felt there were no greens that complimented them.  Even amongst the others finding three distinct shades which went well together wasn't the easiest. I started with the idea to marble half my nail so that made it harder since I wanted to use cremes for that.  In the end I didn't have the time to wait on them to dry enough to tape off sections for the marbling. I know, shocker, I didn't have time for a tape mani. lol...sooooo...I grabbed a glitter and then stamped a fun print on instead. I don't LOVE this design but I'm happy with it.  I definitely need to organize my collection again to make it easier to find things though! I hope you enjoy!

Here's a picture in full sun! The sparklies are so pretty but they distracted from the stamped design! :)

Someday I'll wish upon a star...

Today the inspiration for the 31 day challenge is rainbow!  I'm not super into rainbows so I was a little nonplussed for this one.  At first I thought I'd just do a skittle or a sky with a little rainbow, but I wanted to do something a little less obvious.  I've definitely done the rainbow and the sky thing before!  Actually this one came at a nice time because it's been fairly warm and sunny out lately so I wasn't in such a dreary mood! At any rate I hope you like my little hearts!

And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire...

Today's 31 Day Challenge inspiration is fire!  These are actually a recreation of some nail art I did in November of 2012 and while I do prefer this version I still think they need some work! They're also much sparklier in person but it's difficult to capture that on camera. I tried to use more vibrant colors this time and it was DEFINITELY brighter than the previous go.  I think it came out more like fire than before though so I'm quite happy with it! Here is the original look:

How's that for a then and now shock? Lol...I hope you enjoy! 

We never go out of style...

Today the 31 Day Challenge inspiration is art.  I LOVE art and I see a lot of artwork that I would die to have on my nails.  Let's face it though, I'm not the best artist!  So rather than butcher a beautiful thing I chose to base my design today on something a little more abstract.  I chose this design for my inspiration:

It's funny because mine looks a little less feminine and a little more street art like but I think it came out pretty well.  The background of the original is floral and I sort of just left it to be somewhat abstract because I knew my herringbone pattern was going to be much thicker than what's on the original piece.  I also left off the solid cream stripes. Again because my pattern was much thicker. Over all I liked my final design even if it wasn't exactly what I started out with! :)

Nail(asaurus)ed It!

Today the 31 day challenge is to recreate a design by your favorite blogger.  I have a few favorites but today I decided to go with one from Sam at The Nailasaurus.  I actually think in retrospect it wasn't the best choice because Sam and I have quite different nail shapes and sizes.  It's kind of like when you take a picture of a celebrity in for a haircut but it comes out looking totally different because your hair type is nothing like said celebrities.  Not that I hate this design.  I thin it's quite sweet but my nail wasn't wide enough to accommodate the design the way Sam's did and because her nails are square and mine are almond I had some issues filling the space.  It's also taught me that I sorely need some new nail art brushes.  Despite the MILLIONS I have none are really small enough for intricate lines so everything looks kind of blobby.  At any rate here they are! You can see her original version here! :)

Teenagers. They think they know everything. You give them an inch, they swim all over you.

Well we've reached the end of fairy tale week with The Digital Dozen. I'm always sad to see these weeks go but this week I'm extra sad because it's been so fun reading everyone's fairy tales! I envisioned myself doing a lot of intricate and amazing designs for this week but being in training for a new job has really drained me! Still I love what I've come up with thus far!  As a child one of my FAVORITE films was The Little Mermaid.  I never knew that the Disney version was so rose colored until one summer when I was visiting my grandparents.  I remember it VERY clearly because they did not have many channels and they had even less videos and so when The Little Mermaid came on I was so excited to watch it. Even in it's Japanese anime-esque glory.  I mean, I loved My Neighbor Totoro and The Secret World of Arietty so how bad could it be? It's bad ya'll. Real bad.  OK so it's not actually bad and according to the original story it's quite accurate. However, no little girl wants to watch her favorite mermaid die. No matter the reason. I was traumatized. So today I've chosen to do a little abstract version of the HAPPY little mermaid!  Today's 31 day challenge was tranquility so I feel the ocean and water kind of tie it in! I hope you enjoyed fairy tale week with us! What's your favorite fairy tale?

It serves me right for wishing on stars...

Fairy tale week continues today with The Digital Dozen and 31 Day Challenge inspiration is a green base. This one kind of threw a wrench into my original plans but I think I've made it work here, even though there isn't a TON of green! Today my inspiration was The Princess and the Frog, based on the original fairy tale, The Frog Prince.  The Princess and the Frog is actually a quite loose story considering in the original Brothers Grimm version of the fairy tale, the princess doesn't even kiss the frog! Changes your whole prospective on that kissing frogs to find a prince thing, no? You can read some different versions of the story here if you're curious! Some of them are rather interesting. This is one of the more challenging designs I did this week but I'm pleased with the final result! There's only one more day of fairy tale week left? Any guesses as to what's in store for tomorrow? ;)


A Holo New World...

So today the Digital Dozen challenge of Fairy Tales continues and the 31 Day Challenge was hologrpahic. I don't own a ton of holographic polishes so I was a little worried about squeezing it in there but I think I managed to make it work! I can't reiterate enough how much I love Disney films so Aladdin was an easy choice for me.  While ALL Disney movies aren't necesserily fairy tales, this one definitely is! It's based on the Arab folktale, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp which is part of the book One Thousand and One Nights.  The book is sort of like Aesops Fables in a way.  It contains ten volumes (and six supplemental volumes) of Asian folklore. So I think I can safely include these nails in my fairy tale week! ;P I hope you all enjoy them!

I want so much more than they’ve got planned…

So it's day two of fairy tales week with The Digital Dozen AND today's 31 day challenge theme is inspired by Pinterest. I'm not going to lie here; I don't DO Pinterest. I get really into it for like, a few hours and then I don't go back for months. So for today's challenge I more or less chose a general theme I wanted to go with (Beauty and the Beast) and I found something on Pinterest to get inspired by. This isn't the direction I intended to go with these but I LOVED how they turned out.  I started with the accent nail and then I was going to do something different for the others but words just seemed so appropriate.  Growing up I wasn't allowed to watch many films or any TV. We had specific things we could watch and even those we couldn't watch all the time. Most of those movies were Disney. I loved Belle because she loved to read and I also have always loved to read.  It's definitely worth marrying a beast for a library like she got!  But at any rate I knew I was going to do something Beauty and the Beast themed since I loved that film so much.  So this is what I ended up with!  I hope you enjoy them!

The Digital Dozen does...Fairy Tales!

Today is the first day of Digital Dozen week! This week is fairy tales week which is going to be a bit of a challenge for me.  It's starting off on an incredibly bad foot as the photos I took for this first mani were somehow lost. :( I literally spent hours pouring over my memory cards and computers for them.  To no avail.  I suppose the one bit of luck is that I had a few snaps on my phone but lets face it, this picture is complete crap.  I'm so sad because I so loved these nails and I worked so hard on them but the detail is completely lost in this terrible photo.  Oh well. In accordance with the 31 day challenge theme this is also a film themed manicure being based on the Disney film, Brave. I hope you all enjoy it despite the terrible quality.

Don't forget to show the girls below some love!!

Sdrawkcab drapoel...

Today the inspiration for the 31 day challenge with Crumpets Nail Tarts was reversed polarity.  Now...when I think of reversed polarity I think of electricity.  When electrical outlets are set up, they are set up with a cold and a hot side. Properly done the hot side shuts off or comes on when a plug is inserted. When the polarity is reversed, the hot side remains on which is a pretty dangerous situation.  You can also reverse polarity with batteries but let's face it, we do that all the time (at least I do!) and nothing exciting really happens.  So you can imagine how stumped I was that I was going to have to try to make nail art based on this.  Then I decided to google it and...well I didn't come up with anything that stood out. Apparently a lot of people tag regular nail art with "reversed polarity". :/  So...since you could also take reversed polarity to mean sort of opposite I thought maybe I'd repeat this mani:

.....buuuuutttt......ya'll....TAPE MANI. Urgghhhhh. It turns out I'm not the only one who felt confused and luckily, before I had to break out the tape, someone else asked.  It turns out what the challenge is referring to is "color swapping" or what I'd refer to as inversion of colors or reversed colors.  It's sort of like what happens when you look at a negative.  Blue sun on a yellow beach, green sky over blue grass kind of thing. know I'm sneaking leopard into EVERY challenge and today seemed like a great day for it!  I used inverted colors for the standard leopard print colors. :)  I hope you enjoy it! Here's an inverted leopard print photo for your viewing pleasure! :P

All that glitters is FAIL...

Oh wow you guys. Today's design is a hard core fail!  I wanted it to be like a feathery wing but instead it just looks like a mess.  The first problem was not enough top coat between layers which resulted in the black lines being sort of wonky.  The second problem is the lighting. Winter is KILLING me on lighting. It's just way too dark when I get home anymore. :( But hey, I tried!! Sometimes you win and fail! :P Enjoy anyway!

Don' t judge a bug by her spots...

Day eight of the Crumpets Nail Tarts 31 day challenge is to use a red base. I struggled with this one! I don't really own many reds and they're not really a color I like to use.  It seems weird I guess because it's sort of the standard for polish but it's just not my thing.   I had a stamp for lady bugs so it seemed like a nice, easy out...joke's on me though because my stamp actually stamps the RED parts of the lady bug -- not the black ones.  Since I had already started with the idea though I just went ahead and freehanded it.  Also for some reason my top coat was SUPER DUPER shiny when I took this picture cause there is mad glare. So apologies for both the sad bugs and the sad photography! I hope you enjoy them anyway! :)

When the owl sings, the night is silent...

Today's theme for the Crumpets Nail Tarts 31 Day Challenge is monotone.  I think this is theme I was most excited for.  Even though monotone does not have to refer to black and white I LOVE grey tones so I knew that I'd be going with a black/white theme. I started out with a few ideas but somehow this is what I landed on.  It's one of my favorite designs I've done although it's pretty simple!  It's been incredibly cold here lately so it was a perfect winter mani too!  In the end it reminded me of owl feathers. I'm pretty impressed with myself that I've managed to stay on track with this 31 day challenge so far!  I've been pretty busy at work and all the new stuff I'm learning is making me incredibly mentally exhausted when I leave so I was afraid my creativity would suffer but I think some of my best work has come out of it! I can't wait to see what happens coming up! Thanks for following along! Enjoy! :)

I pink I see Aquaman!

Today the inspiration for the 31 day challenge with Crumpets Nail Tarts is pink and aqua.  At first I had loads of ideas for this one.  I usually really love open themes because you can do so much with them.  When the time came around to actually do it though, my mind went totally blank!   I think all the classes I'm in right now for my new job position are frying my brain! At any rate I decided to do something sort of simple so I went with this look. The metallic aqua wasn't as bold as I originally intended it to be but overall I like the design. It feels a little 80's to me which is what I thought of when I started out with the color combo! :) I hope you enjoy!

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