Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hippity Hop

Happy Easter!

This years Easter manicure began with a layer of my fave base coat, as always. I followed that with one coat of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Lacey Lilac, which was the perfect base color to match this Hard Candy glitter I have been dying to try. After letting Lacey Lilac dry for  bit, I added one generous coat of Hard Candy Pixie Pink (which is more of a purple, instead of a pink).

To that, I added a layer of Seche Vite top coat. I always add top coat to my polish and let that dry before attempting any nail stamping, as it will allow you to gently wipe off the stamp once or even twice if you aren't happy with it. This saves the polish underneath in case of a stamp disaster :) 

The stamps I chose came from Bundle Monster plate BM-302, and are stamped with Konad Black Special Polish. I added a small purple rhinestone to the center of the flower design at the base of the egg that the thumb-bunny is sitting in, and sealed the nails with another layer of Seche Vite.

 I just love the way these came out! The hippity-hopping bunnies across the nails are just too darn adorable. In hindsight maybe I should have done one up, one down, one up, one down to make them seem more hoppy...oh well!

Products Used:
One coat Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Base Coat
One coat Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Lacey Lilac
One coat Hard Candy Pixie Pink
One coat Seche Vite Top Coat
Bundle Monster stamping plate BM-302
Konad Black Special Stamping Polish
One coat Seche Vite Top Coat

And here's a 'bonus' throwback picture of last years Easter manicure.

A England - Dragon

For fun, I challenged myself to feature the color Green in each of my manicures for the month of March. My last March manicure is a simple, yet truly beautiful one, A England Dragon.

Above is Dragon in direct sunlight, and below is with a little flash. It really is a fabulous color, indoors and out.

Products Used:
One coat Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Base Coat
Two coats A England Dragon
One coat Seche Vite Top Coat

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Jungle Stand Tasting BAR - March 2013

The Jungle Stand Tasting BAR is a monthly food subscription box. 

Every month The Jungle Stand sends out a box that contains 6 'tastes'. Every box has a theme that is kept a secret until you open your box. This months theme is 'The Globe Trotting BAR', The Bakers Trip Around The World.

Front of the card: "Welcome to the Jungle Stand. Exploring foreign countries opens your eyes to how the rest of the world lives. Let's expand your palate with unfamiliar tastes. As your palate improves, you'll fall in love w/ more (and different) flavors. That's when the fun begins. Join us, as we take you on a trip around the world. Your guide will be The baker, who'll introduce you to the tastes of the world." 

Back of the card: "Before you are 6 pastries from 6 different countries. They're some of the most popular delicacies from their respective countries. Although these baked goods may seem 'different'and strange, you'll notice that they aren't so foreign after all. So you may NOT enjoy your first taste, but w/ an open mind, your second one may be better :) And who knows? You may fall in love by your third. ill any of these tastes change your life?"

The tastes are in separately sealed airtight packages, and color coordinated with their description on the card. My box came with a small pair of wooden tongs, for removing each taste from its plastic, a thoughtful and cute extra touch. They also include a pack of saltine crackers, which they recommend having a bite of between tastes to cleanse the palate. The pictures below are of each taste. I should have taken the first two pictures after I cut the pastry in half, but I got the hang of it thereafter :)

The Tastes: 

Green - Hopia from the Philippines: Hopia is a popular Filipino, bean-filled pastry originally introduced by the Chinese. Different varieties of Hopia use fillings like mung beans, purple yam, or even pork. This particular taste is filled with sweet yellow beans.

Yellow - Pineapple Cake from Taiwan: The most popular pastry  from Taiwan. A cake with a buttery crust and pineapple jam filling in the middle. It's sweet without being oily. The combination of the crust and filling provides a wonderful texture.

Pink - Pastelitos de Mango from Cuba: Pastelitos are pastries with fillings. They're similar to an american turnover. Varieties of Pastelitos have diverse fillings ranging from the sweet (guava) to the savory (hamburger meat). This taste is filled with delicious mango jam. (note: you can also enjoy this slightly toasted)

Red - Macaroon (aka Glazed Anise Fingers) from Lebanon: A very indulgent dessert with a high amount of sugar. This Lebanese variation is made from semolina oil and spices. Traditionally torpedo shaped and glazed with honey, the texture and sweetness makes you crave for more. (note: you can also enjoy this slightly toasted)

Blue - Baklava from Greece: Baklava is a wonderful pastry with light flaky layers of crust and a sweet filling. It's made in every corner of every corner of every region of Greece. Drenched in light syrup/honey, it contains a mixture of chopped nuts (walnuts, pistachios) with a touch of cinnamon.

Orange - Rice Cakes from Vietnam: Sweetest taste in the BAR and extremely common in Asia. A chewy sponge cake made from rice flour, water, and sugar. Usually served as a dessert. A versatile pastry that can be garnished with sweet and savory ingredients. This taste offers 2 flavors: Banana (white-ish) and pine leaf (green).

This subscription is $9.92 per month, charges at the beginning of the month, and ships your BAR via Priority USPS in the middle of the month.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hard Candy Jubilee

Today's Green manicure features Hand Candy, Jubilee. 

As always, I began by applying a base coat and letting it dry. For the base color beneath this grassy glitter, I chose two coats of China Glaze Starboard. When Starboard was dry, I applied one very careful coat of Hard Candy Jubilee to each nail.

I'm quite glad I did some research on this glitter before using it, so that I was aware of the curling issues of the orange bar glitter. Apparently they have a tendency to stick straight up. To remedy this, after applying a careful coat to a few nails, I took the end of a tooth pick and gently dabbed the ends of the bar glitter into place. Somewhat tedious, but effective. 

I followed that with a coat of Gelous gel top coat, and then a coat of Seche Vite top coat, waiting  for each coat to dry before adding the next. The result is smooth and glossy, with no curling glitter. 

Products used:
One coat Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Base Coat
Two coats China Glaze Starboard
One coat Hard Candy Jubilee
One coat Gelous Advanced Gel Top Coat
One coat Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day/Happy Birthday Me!

Obviously, I would have liked to get this post up yesterday, but with it being St Patrick's day AND my Birthday, I had a full day of festivities! So, Happy St Patrick's Day everyone, and Happy Birthday to me! Below is the manicure I created to honor this special day.

I drew my inspiration from the colors of the Irish flag. For the orange, I reached for my untried China Glaze in Sun Worshiper. I hated this polish!!!! This is 4 coats of runny, streaky, draggy, no coverage AT ALL Sun Worshiper. I don't know what it's problem was, but it was horrible, and I'll be throwing it away shortly. Anyway, after getting it somewhat presentable after 4 coats, I topped it with some Seche Vite, and that helped to even out the mess and give it a smooth & shiny look. When that was dry, I applied some Orly Mermaid Tail glitter onto a piece of cosmetic wedge sponge, and dabbed that to the tips of my nails. I followed that with one coat of Gelous gel top coat to smooth out the glitter.

The shamrock stamps are from Bundle Monster Plate BM03, and I used Konad special white polish. After letting the stamps dry for a bit, I applied another coat of Seche Vite to seal and protect the manicure.

Products Used:
One coat Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Base Coat
Four coats China Glaze Sun Worshiper (blah)
One coat Seche Vite Top Coat
Orly Mermaid Tail Glitter
One coat Gelous Advanced Gel Top Coat
Bundle Monster Stamping Plate BM03
Konad White Special Stamping Polish
One coat Seche Vite Top Coat

Here's a 'bonus' picture of me, in my birthday hat and Irish nails, celebrating at the local Saint Patrick's Day Festival! 

And here's a couple of throwback pics of last year's birthday manicure, Pots of Gold :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 2013 Birchbox & Ipsy

I realize I have named this blog 'nails', but I have decided to sprinkle in some of my monthly subscription boxes as well. I don't anticipate going into a full review of all the items, but rather show pictures and share descriptions of what I received that month with a box value breakdown. This post in particular contains both Birchbox and Ipsy because I received them on the same day, and not because I plan to compare the two services. They will most likely be posted on different days in the future, unless they come together. 

March Birchbox #1

Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Mousse - Inflate limp locks with this innovative volume-reviving mousse. Made with high-tech ingredients, it amplifies each strand for voluminous hair that looks and feels full of life. Value: $3.65

Whish Shave Crave Shave Cream - The organic shea butter in this foam-free shaving cream makes for an insanely close shave and leaves skin incredibly soft. We love the exclusive blueberry scent. Value: $2.93

MAKE Eyeshadow - This new brand's pigments have serious staying power, and we love that one-third of all sales are donated to charity. My color is 'Great Lakes', medium blue with a grey shimmering undertone. I can't find any information online regarding the amount of product that is in a full size of this eyeshadow. The full size is $18, so I'm going to call this sample (0.03oz) 1/3 of a full size, and give it a value of $6.

MAKE Face Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 - Pump up your makeup's endurance and protect skin with this two-in-one base and SPF.Value: $5.39

Beauty Extra: Madewell for Birchbox Emery Board - We teamed up with Madewell to create this adorable mani saver, patterned after a print from their new spring collection. (Pattern is on reverse side in photographs) Value: $5

Box Cost: $10.00
Box Value: $22.97

March Birchbox #2

Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator - This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystals and papaya enzymes to brighten dull skin. Value: $5.67

Whish Shave Crave Shave Cream - The organic shea butter in this foam-free shaving cream makes for an insanely close shave and leaves skin incredibly soft. We love the exclusive blueberry scent. Value: $2.93

Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow - A Birchbox exclusive, this Canadian brand's multitasker is rich in hydrating aloe juice and works for all skin types. Value: $9.00

LA FRESH Eco-Beauty Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover x2 - Leave the acetone behind. These convenient pads dissolve polish with a natural mix of botanicals and soothing aloe vera. Value: $0.99

Beauty Extra: Madewell for Birchbox Emery Board - We teamed up with Madewell to create this adorable mani saver, patterned after a print from their new spring collection.  Value: $5

Box Cost: $10.00
Box Value: $23.59

March 2013 Ipsy

Ropes and Anchors Makeup Bag - Blue and white stripes with blue and white ropes and anchors. The theme for this bag is 'The Great Escape'.

GlamRX Magnetized Palette - This pocket-sized palette is empty on the inside, and magnetized for storing loose pans of eye shadow, blush, bronzer, or anything else that you might fit in it. These are not sold as-is on the GlamRX website. The palette they sell comes with a secondary tray inside that contains powder, eyeliner, concealer, and lip balm. That palette is sold for $16.50, so I am going to estimate the value of this chopped down version at around $10.

Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist - Tone and hydrate with this refreshing blend of rosehip, ylang ylang, resveratrol grapeseed oil and antioxidant-rich organic juices for a fresh, radiant complexion. Value: $3.26

Yaby Eye Shadow Pans x2 - Sand Dune (beige) and So Vein (teal). These are full sized Yaby shadow pan refills that retail for $3.15 each on the Yaby website. They stick to the inside of the GlamRX palette. Value: $6.30

La Fresh Travel-lite Makeup Remover Wipes x8 - Self explanatory. Value: $1.99

Bag Cost: $10.00
Bag Value: $21.55

Join Birchbox: My Referral link
Join Ipsy: My Referral Link

Pictured above, the items I put into my GlamRX palette. Sample sizes of Mary Lou-Manizer highlighter, Hot Mama blush, the two Yaby shadows from this month's Ipsy, Matt Batali shadow, and the MAKE shadow from this month's Birchbox. They got a little dinged up during the removal process from their previous packaging, but it worked out quite nicely overall!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Princess Bevin's Breath

This manicure starts with Zoya Bevin. I decided to go with a blue/green polish for this look, to compliment the glitter that I applied on top. This is two coats of Bevin applied over a base coat, with one layer of Out The Door top coat. 

After Bevin was dry, I applied two coats of Jindie Nails 'Princess Breath'. I followed with two coats of Gelous Gel top coat to smooth out the glitter.

I will follow this up with a coat of Seche Vite in a few hours, to make everything glassy smooth and protected. I like to give Zoya polishes lots of time to dry before adding Seche Vite, as it does not mix well with Zoya, and causes the polish to shrink back from the nail.

Products used:
One coat of Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Base Coat
Two coats Zoya Bevin
One coat of Out The Door top coat
Two coats Jindie Nails Princess Breath
Two coats Gelous Gel top coat

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Neon Green + Spring-y Stamping

Here, I have added a little spring-y stamping over my existing neon green manicure. No sun at my house today, but you can get a better feel for the bright green from my last post :)

Products used:
Bundle Monster Plate BM-308
Konad Black Stamping Polish
One coat of Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Neon Green Color Club (Limelight?)

For my next Green manicure, I chose this Color Club that I've had for a while and had not yet tried. The color is a bright neon green, but I don't know the name. It came in a set of other bright colors from Ross. It is a vivid, neon lime green, and dries matte. If you have any idea what the name of this polish is, please let me know! :)

*Someone has mentioned that this could be Lime Light, looks pretty close to me!*

Products used:
One coat of Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Base Coat
Two coats of Neon Green Color Club polish
One coat of Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Zoya Gemma + CG Optical Illusion

For the month of March, I have decided to do an 'All Green' challenge. Every manicure I do this month will feature the color green in some form. 

For my first March manicure, I have chosen Zoya Gemma. Gemma has a lovely flash of blue shimmer, so to play off of that, I chose to accent it with a blue/green glitter from the China Glaze Prismatic Collection called Optical Illusion. I painted the glitter free hand, starting at the base of the nail and creating a line just below the halfway point of the nail. You could also use a piece of scotch tape to section off the part of the nail you want to paint with glitter.

Products used:
One coat of Beauty Secrets moisturizing base coat
Two coats of Zoya Gemma
As much glitter as you like, this is about 1.5 coats of Optical Illusion
One coat of Gelous Advanced Gel Top Coat to smooth out the glitter
One coat of Diamond Dry Top Coat Brilliance