Sunday, December 20, 2009

Red as rubies, white as pearls

Hello ladies,

Today I am wearing Holly from the Wet n' Wild Flirt Holiday Collection. I couldn't help but be inspired by the weekend's snowfall. I was thinking about the red and white lights I have seen strung on evergreens. I also considered the familiar poetic descriptions of skin like pearls and lips like rubies. 

With white pearl special polish, I stamped the climbing flower design  from Konad plate M2o. I affixed red rhinestones to the center of the largest flowers and used white pearls to decorate the smaller blooms. There is something both festive and romantic about the finished manicure. The floral pattern with the gems reminds me of old world embroidery. I could see this as an embellishment on an empire waist gown worn centuries ago. 

I was standing on a snowdrift in front of a holly tree while taking these pictures. While a little unwieldy, I did commune with a bit of sun. In lower lights, Holly is a darker berry shade. It becomes more crimson with the sun's influence. The bottle color gives a hint of Holly in the shade. In some lights, the color is juicy. In others, it embodies the vamp. 

Wet n' Wild Holly is a deep red jelly polish. Red and gold glitter pieces are suspended in the glassy base color. I am wearing three coats. Holly looked streaky at two. The formula built up color easily. While not perfect, I won't complain at the $1.99 price. At .29 fluid ounces, 8.5ml, the contents of the bottle are not quite a mini but also too petite to be considered full size. 

I have been having fun doing low key holiday manicures. I hope you are enjoying them! 

Happy painting ladies!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Festive flowers

Hello ladies,

I am wearing Party Hearty from Diamond Cosmetics. This color is a beautiful take on a neutral palette. I could see this shade leaving the realm of work appropriate and going out to dinner. I dressed up Party Hearty with a leafy design from Konad plate M51 stamped in green special polish. Red flower rhinestones were placed at the curve of the stem. 

Party Hearty has a lustrous foil finish. It reminds me of champagne in a fluted glass. It shines with a pinkish hue in some lights. In others, it's a pale and sparkling taupe. 

Here I am with my penguin friend out gathering holly for wreath necklaces. 

Party Hearty was opaque in two coats. There were minimal brush strokes when working with the formula. Diamond Cosmetics makes superb foil polishes. I excited to try my bottle of Decadence, a chocolate foil, soon.  

Party Hearty was sent to me for review. The color is available at for $2.00. At the time of this post, Diamond Cosmetics is also offering a stocking stuffer mini size of Party Hearty for 99 cents.

We still have a couple more days before the Ladies Choice of Diamonds contest draws to a close. Please stop by the contest post and enter if you haven't had the chance. Best of luck!

Happy painting, ladies!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snow White, Rose Red

Hello ladies,

Lollipop is another beauty from the Essie Sweet Time of Year collection. Typically I can enjoy shades of red for their innate sex appeal or retro glamour, but Lollipop interests me beyond those qualities. The jelly formula is so bright and glossy. Leaning towards pink, Lollipop is a playful red. If asked if I think Lollipop is naughty or nice, I would say it is the best of both.

I chose fauxnad plate C02 from Hong Kong to take us on a storybook journey. I used Konad white special polish to stamp the blooms. I purposely repositioned the stamper to let the roses look more natural rather than as a repetition of design. I added pearl accents to denote the beauty and innocence of Snow White and Rose Red. Now I just need to befriend a giant bear.  

I love jelly polishes, but with long nails, I prefer to ensure opacity. I started with CND Stickey base coat and added two coats of Brucci 2 in 1 Nail Perfection. I followed with three coats of Essie Lollipop. Application was perfect. The color smoothed over the nail, built up prettily and dried to a stained glass finish. I think Lollipop could be worn without a ridge filling base coat by ladies with more active length nails. 

Lollipop would make a gorgeous base for a black funky french.  I may need to bring this back for a Valentine look. The thing that I love about this color is it doesn't feel limited to winter holidays. I think Lollipop would work just as well in June. Essie Lollipop was sent to me for review. 

Happy painting, ladies!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Neapolitan metals

Hello ladies,

I have the Art Club Pretty Shiny Things kit for a full review today. The contents of this set have been in my consciousness since opening the package. I decided to create a tricolor funky french with the three stripers. I added the fan and ironwork decals along with an assortment of metallic gems to showcase the set. Color Club Master of Disguise polish forms the glossy black base for the design.

Let's peruse the kit. The packaging for Pretty Shiny Things is vibrant and inviting. The graphics lend themselves to the feel of artistic expression. It's an auspicious way to begin any creative undertaking. 

Next are the metal decorations. There are gold and silver buttons with swirls in the two smaller screw top jars. The nail wheel includes copper, gold and silver pieces shaped like gemstones, silver stars and gold and silver petals. You can click on this picture to view full size. 

The three stripers: You're Golden (fine silver and gold glitter), Steele This Look (metallic silver), Penny Pincher (metallic copper). 

Two decal sheets in silver and gold. The decals have complementing sparkle highlights.

A design booklet with beautifully rendered professional examples. I only wish it were longer. 

When I was creating the look this morning, I was thinking about resort wear collections. I began reading fashion magazines as a pre-teen and I wondered about lines of warm weather clothing designed for extravagant winter getaways. There always seem to be metallic accents in resort collections. Black or navy come into play linked to a nautical theme. Perhaps some part of me, the part that hadn't finished her coffee, was on the deck of a yacht in impossible gold heels. 

The Pretty Shiny Things kit is filled with wonderful accents I will return to for nail art. You will recognize the striper in You're Golden from the whimsical Slush Queen manicure. Various gems were used for Fireside. I discovered the metallic gems and buttons are reusable at least one additional time. They withstood removal with an acetone based solvent and maintained their shape and color. 

Art Club decals are my favorites. They are thin enough to remain flat on the nail once positioned. I was even able to move a decal with tweezers without any damage to the polish beneath or the decal itself. What was the most surprising was the edge of the decals became invisible after adding one layer of topcoat. Were all decals on the market of this quality, I would certainly use them often.  

The Art Club Pretty Shiny Things kit was sent to me for review. For more looks from this kit, check out reviews from Beauty Judy and Body and Soul. Sets are available for purchase at The Pretty Shiny Things Jewels and Gems nail wheel is also sold as an individual item.  

Happy painting, ladies!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Hello ladies,

I have another beauty from Diamond Cosmetics: Hue Are You?. This shade is burgundy with unimaginable gold shimmer. Hue Are You? reminds me of sitting fireside on Christmas Eve. The color is warm and spirited. I could imagine wearing a velvet dress with Hue Are You? decorating my tips. The shade seems less like a polish and more like an accessory. I added copper, gold and silver pieces to create the look of a bracelet. 

Above is an Owl butterfly, a nice complement to my owl ring. 

I applied three thin coats of Hue Are You?. I was so fascinated by how much shimmer was appearing on my nails with each swish of the brush, I think I made my first coat too thin. I believe Hue Are You? would be a two coater to the less distracted. 

Hue Are You? is one of my selections for the Ladies Choice of Diamonds contest. Please stop by the contest post and enter if you haven't had a chance. Hue Are You? was sent to me for review. This color is available for purchase at

The metallic appliques are part of the Art Club Pretty Shiny Things kit. These metal gems are a little teaser to the full review to come. The Pretty Shiny Things kit can be purchased at I am using a kit sent to me for review. I still haven't quite worked out the look I want to create to most fully showcase the kit. However, I can't seem to leave the ingredients alone!  

Happy painting, ladies!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Raspberry Ice

Hello ladies,

Today I have another polish from the Color Club Wonderland mini set: Yule Love It. Red and silver glitter shine together in a red jelly base. The color reminds me of the juice from crushed raspberry, red in some lights and hot pink in others. Years ago, I used to read Tarot at a restaurant called the Astral Plane. The interior was filled with antiques, trinkets found at rummage sales and black and white pictures of movie starlets. Guests dined on vintage, mismatched china. Yule Love It makes me think of the color of an iced raspberry drink. If I look at the shade, I can almost see the drinks lined up along the dark wood bar. 

I layered Yule Love It over Christmas in New York from Carolyn New York. The base color I used is unfortunately no longer available since CNY went out of business this year. The same results can easily be attained by using any blue based red. I imagine the majority of you ladies own a few of those! 

Yule Love It is semi-opaque and could easily be worn without layering. However, the nail line would be visible. For this look, I used two coats of Christmas in New York followed by two coats of Yule Love It. The glitter applied evenly and smoothed nicely under one layer of topcoat. Perfect!  

Although Yule Love It is part of a holiday set, it would make a lovely valentine as well. I can easily flash ahead to February and imagine adding white hearts with the Konad.

Yule Love It was sent to me for review. A full size version is available at under the category of Color Club limited edition glitter polishes. At the time of this post, the Wonderland mini set is currently in stock. 

Happy painting, ladies! 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Faery Wonderland

Hello ladies,

Today I am wearing Under the Mistletoe from the Color Club Wonderland mini kit. I am delighted with this polish! The formula is similar to last year's Glitter Vixen collection. Under the Mistletoe features light green and gold glitter in a sheer base. I am impressed that Color Club offered a peridot green instead of a more traditional emerald to help us get festive.

To achieve bottle color, I layered Under the Mistletoe over Sally Hansen X-Treme Wear in Ivy League. Layering is one of my favorite ways to wear Color Club glitter polishes. I try to match the color of the glitter with the base to create an opaque background. My apologies for not having a picture of Ivy League to share. It's a light green with gold shimmer very similar to Zoya Midori.  

A faery aloft!

The faery guards the bottle of Under the Mistletoe. The glitter is quite magical. 

Inside Wonderland: clear topcoat, Wonderland (silver), Yule Love It (red), Under the Mistletoe (green). 

I applied two coats of Under the Mistletoe over two coats of Ivy League. Under the Mistletoe was the perfect consistency for a glitter polish. It spread evenly and was able to be sealed with one layer of CND Air Dry with almost no texture remaining. I love that the formula is sheer. I will be able to use Under the Mistletoe for funky frenches or as a dramatic glitter topping over darker greens. 

I am excited to try the other two glitter polishes in this collection. I do wish the topcoat had been swapped out with a pale blue glitter. I usually end up using mini size top coats exclusively for pedicures. Color Club produces my favorite mini bottles. The square shape feels substantial and the brushes are a decent size to work with comfortably. 

The packaging is adorable. The font for Wonderland is stylish and creates the sense of icy air and a winter fantasy. The snowflakes on the bright red, green, pink and purple background make me think of decorative papers hanging on wooden slats at the local art store. Such attention was put forth to make this set gift worthy. 

I am happy Color Club sent me the Wonderland mini set for review. Color Club is available for purchase at At the time of this post, VNS has the Wonderland kit in stock. They also have full size bottles of Under the Mistletoe with their limited edition Color Club glitter polishes. 

Happy painting, ladies! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow flowers

Hello ladies,

The temperature has been wintry here. Inspired by the wind, I created a snow flower manicure. The base is Oh, Tiff! from Diamond Cosmetics. The glitter overlay is Diamond's Diamonds from the Holiday Collection. I added the flower rhinestones to represent chaenomeles lagenaria, which bloom with five petals in either white or pink. The blue was a bit of whimsy.

I know many of you wondered where I would take winter photos after the garden closed. My camera accompanies me along my errands. If the light rests on the branch of a street tree to my fancy, I will place my hand there. The last three pictures were taken in front of a cathedral. I caught the light before the sun's descent behind a city high rise. While I am certain photography in front of the cathedral is common, I suppose most people don't first consider it as a perfect location to take pictures of their nails!

Oh, Tiff! was trickier to apply than other polishes I have tried from Diamond Cosmetics. It took three coats for opacity and the formula was easily identifiable as big three free. The consistency was thicker than I would have liked. I don't find pastel formulas from any brand to be memorably stellar. I will give Oh, Tiff! the compliments of evening out well after the third coat and not being chalky to apply. While the formula isn't perfect, the color is beautiful. I prefer Oh, Tiff! to China Glaze's For Audrey, but I am happy to own both. Although it reads as a creme polish on the nail, Oh, Tiff! has wisps of white shimmer blended with the pale blue. 

Diamond's Diamonds is an icy layering note. One coat applied flawlessly and added snow to the blue. I would love to try Diamond's Diamonds over darker shades and as a subtle funky french.

Both Oh, Tiff! and Diamond's Diamonds were sent to me for review. These polishes can be purchased at for $2.00 and $2.50 respectively. 

Happy painting, ladies! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cherry Cola

Hello ladies,

Today I am wearing Cherry Tobacco from the Diamond Cosmetics Winter Collection. Many readers listed this among their selections for the Ladies Choice of Diamonds Contest. I wanted to showcase the color on the first day with bright skies.

Years ago, I used to drink cherry flavored cola as a daily pleasure. Looking at my nails, the sense memory is so vivid. I can almost taste the syrupy liquid iced in a glass. I still find the given name of the polish evocative. The scent of cherry tobacco smoke in the air is restorative for me. One of my favorite gardeners where I took photos in the summer and early fall cultivated the land with a pipe in his mouth. I actually never saw him without the pipe! The scent must have comforted his dahlias as well. 

Since the season of flower rings won't be revisited until Spring, how about a fir ring?

Cherry Tobacco is not quite classifiable as almost black. The red shimmer maintains a low fire in every light, but is at it's strongest in full sun. While not a dupe, the color reminds me of OPI Black Cherry Chutney. The primary difference is Cherry Tobacco maintains it's vitality of shimmer under far more lighting conditions. This color is a must have for vampy lovers.

Application was as it should be. Two coats brought perfect opacity. I painted my nails at my boyfriend's apartment today. I didn't have acetone with me for cleanup and I took photos directly after painting. The formula was easy to work with and the color stayed where I placed it. 

Cherry Tobacco was sent to me for review. This color can be purchased at for $2.00 a bottle. 

Happy painting, ladies! 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snowflake Obsidian

Hello ladies,

Today's manicure was an experiment brought on by a quest for understanding.  Viewing swatches of Lippmann's  Funky Chunky over the past several months really compelled me to seek the meaning behind it. I have been very pleased with the application and color palette of other Lippmann polishes. I was genuinely surprised to encounter a release that inspired so much controversy amongst polish lovers. I wondered if there were a way to make this polish work outside the glossy and often extreme stylings of fashion week. 

Judy from Beauty Judy lent me her bottle of Funky Chunky with kindness, a measure of skepticism and wishes for good luck. Let's revisit the swatches of Funky Chunky that heightened my already curious nature:  Scrangie, Polish Mayhem, The Hungry Asian, and Beauty Judy

My goal was to be able to see the black hexagons in the finished manicure and work with the overly opaque formula without dilution or frankening. I decided to do an edgy look that my inner goth girl would appreciate. I thinly layered Funky Chunky over Sweet As Sugar from Diamond Cosmetics. I decided to use China Glaze Matte Magic to freeze the black hexagons, the inky wash of color and the peachy shimmer particles beneath. I added a holographic line up the center of each nail with an Art Club striper called Hologram Glitter. The holographic appears silver in some of the pictures since I was working with a natural lamp and overcast outdoor lighting. 

I found the formula of Funky Chunky highly difficult to apply. The black was so opaque that there was no way to discern where the glitter pieces were resting on the brush. Using traditional brush strokes whisked glitter onto the cuticle area and sides of the nail. I experienced working with a brush almost empty of polish and dabbing it in short strokes distributed the glitter fairly evenly and created a stain of color on the nail. I discovered using the matte topcoat added more depth so the black hexagons became distinct from the base color. 

Layering Funky Chunky over a pale glitter made the look more textural and less messy than applying the polish directly over a base coat. It's a shame the sun didn't appear today to highlight the frozen shimmer particles beneath the grey. I will warn you that two coats of Diamond Sweet As Sugar is so pretty that putting Funky Chunky over it might not be the most instinctive response. I will be doing a review of Sweet As Sugar where the color is wholly visible. 

I tried different layering notes. Foil finishes looked too bright beneath Funky Chunky, drawing the eye to the imperfections brought by base. Similar to the swatch posts I linked to, medium to dark shades of any formula turned one coat of Funky Chunky black. For base colors, nude and sparkly seemed to work best.

Overall, I am happy with the experiment given the ingredients. Many thanks to Judy for lending me her bottle of Funky Chunky and listening to my reports from the field. 

Happy painting, ladies.