Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sequins and spiders

Hello ladies, 

Today my nails are embellished with silver spiders and diaphanous sequins. This Halloween look is a blend of  spookiness and elegance. It would be a festive decoration for a costume ball or carnevale. The base color for this design is Crushed Velvet from the Diamond Cosmetics Winter Collection. I will be showing the other three polishes from the winter release next week. The spiders are found on Konad plate M28. The design was stamped in silver special polish. The funky french with hexagonal glitter was painted with Hard Candy Breakup.

My friend Sarada came by the store today and spirited me away for lunch. We went out for a pot of Earl Grey tea and plates of Thai noodles with steamed vegetables. We walked along the canal path to gaze at leaves. Come, share our view!

This was our view as we dined on Pad Thai in outdoor terrace seating.  The bamboo is lacy in the sunlight.

The canal path is like the yellow brick road, formed of fallen leaves. 

The area above has provided backgrounds for many Thursday manicures. I set up props and polishes on the wooden posts.

Crushed Velvet is a dark purple creme. It could easily be compared to an eggplant in color by someone without food allergies to that baneful vegetable. I am going to classify Crushed Velvet as an inky purple. The polish appears almost black in low light. Crushed Velvet is the perfect shade for vampy lovers. 

My first experience with Diamond Cosmetics began with this bottle of Crushed Velvet. The winter collection was sent to me for review. I am pleased by the application this polish. It was perfectly opaque and even in two coats. The retail price point is $2 USD per bottle. The quality far exceeds the cost. I'm looking forward to exploring the offerings of this brand. 

The thought of Hard Candy Breakup almost makes walking into a Wal-mart a bearable experience. I don't have a single polish quite resembling it in my collection. I was so surprised how much the green, orange and gold undertones were highlighted when the glitter was layered over a dark base. Sarada commented that the glitter has a Nfu-Oh flakie quality. There is an incredible depth and expression to these tiny sequins on my nails, much like looking at autumn leaves. 

Happy painting, ladies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Omnipresent zombies!

Hello ladies,

Today was undeniably grey and filled with zombies! My friend David and I strolled through Lambertville, NJ to appreciate the leaf change and enjoy the Halloween decorations. The townspeople show equal pride and neighborly competitiveness in adorning their front porches with tombstones, skulls, ghosts, bats, cobwebs, rats and skulls . My nails weren't the only location for zombies! 

The zombie girl was stamped in black Konad special polish using plate M13. The base for the design is MAC $$$$$Yes. Hard Candy Sweet P forms the funky french.

How would you like this little miss to greet you at your front door?

The owner of the house calls this doll "the angry teenager".

Orange and gold leaves through a fine mist of rain.

I was complaining about my zombies over dinner with my boyfriend Kyle last night. Konad special polish in black and the smooth, mirror like finish of MAC $$$$$Yes did not couple well. I had to redo two nails because the zombies literally melted once I applied the Konad topcoat. I have to admit it was amusing listening to a big guy trying to reassure me about my manicure skills, melting zombies notwithstanding.

I really love $$$$$Yes. The name entertains me. The color is what I wanted NYC Steele to be. It's a muted and reflective silver. Like most MAC polishes, the application is tricky and required three coats for opacity. I believe the central problem with MAC lacquers are the brushes and not the formula. I find the bristles a little stiff compared to other polishes. A light touch is needed to keep the color on the nail and not dragging towards the tip on the second coat. There are some brushstrokes with $$$$$Yes, but it has more of a striping appearance like brushed steel rather than a frosty polish look. $$$$$Yes has recently been re-promoted by MAC.

Hard Candy Sweet P is lovely despite the missing vowels in the name. I support tiny green glitter particles in the color of legumes. Two coats were required for the funky french. The glitter appears less concentrated in the photo than in life. I think those zombies were being tricky again!

Happy painting, ladies! 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween half moon

Hello ladies,

Today I made my first effort at a half Moon manicure and added on a funky french with China Glaze Fortune Teller. I did both techniques freehand. I also used a Migi nail art pen in black to create an opaque base for the moons. The last photo shows the half Moon look most accurately. Positioning fingers around a bottle can alter the perspective on the cuticle area, making the moons appear more oval. Sephora by OPI in Hi Def is the neon base. I was so taken by the gold leaves of the tree at the park, I had to share it as a background. 

China Glaze Fortune Teller

Sephora by OPI Hi Def

Migi nail art pen in black

I have been wanting to try a half Moon manicure ever since I first saw Dita Von Teese wearing the retro style on her nails. I hesitated attempting the look since my nails are long and square shaped. Adding a curved smile line with the french created symmetry. While I have seen other half Moon manicures done with templates, my small hands didn't cooperate with various circle stickers from office supply stores. I decided to paint the Moons freehand with the help of a nail art pen and a paint brush. I definitely will try this again, but I am pleased with the initial experiment.

I applied three coats of Sephora by OPI Hi Def. This color is a true orange, but rather sedate for a neon. Had I not been aware of the formula or tried to photograph it, I would have thought Hi Def was simply a bright creme. I would recommend the color for those who love orange and are temperate with neon. 

I painted China Glaze Fortune Teller as the funky french.  Fortune Teller has coppery orange glitter pieces and hexagons in a black jelly base. The polish flowed smoothly to form the smile line, but I had to be careful to avoid thin spots where the glitter was sparse. It would be best to work in a brightly lit space to ensure opacity. 

To create the half Moon, I used a Migi nail art pen. I eyed the center of the nail at the cuticle line, then drew a straight line upwards. From the end of the line I drew two arch shapes towards the cuticle. Then I colored in the spaces. Initially, I was going to leave the half Moon black, but it looked stark. I used a sable brush in a size zero from the craft store. I rubbed the bristles against the stem of the polish brush in the Fortune Teller bottle and went over the area I had shaded using the nail art pen. The jelly formula wouldn't be able to form a clean half Moon on it's own.

Migi Nail Art sent me pens to review. While I don't have much experience with nail art pens, I can share my thoughts on the process. Each color comes with a standard polish brush and a pen. It was unusual to see a brush and pen combination that didn't feature a striper style brush. I can appreciate how it would be useful to have a standard brush to create french manicures, as many polish companies are opting to expand their brush width. The size of the brush would be perfect for a beginner to paint a smile line. The application from the pens was different than I had anticipated. For the polish to be released through the metal tip, it's necessary to gently squeeze the bottle. The plastic bottles are pliable, but still sturdy. Squeezing too hard could yield a bumpy line. It's also necessary to draw fluidly so the polish will glide evenly on the nail. I feel comfortable with the Migi nail art pens and will certainly show more looks using them. The black pen was very helpful with the half Moon manicure. I am interested in trying the white for the same purpose.

Happy painting, ladies.   

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Black pumpkins

Hello ladies,

There are not enough days in October to bring all the ideas I have for Halloween manicures to fruition! I chose to stamp black pumpkins from Konad plate M13. Seeing the jack-o-lanterns in black makes me think of old fashioned silhouettes. I'm not certain about the shape of the stem. It appears if you press it down the jack-o-lantern would detonate. 

I am wearing Essie Bright Tights from the Fall Color Collection as the base for this Halloween look. The props you see below were decorations on my sister's dock. There was a contest today where spectators canoe along the creek and vote on their favorite spooky decor. My nails were ready!

Essie Bright Tights is a fiery neon. Cameras tend to minimize the brightness of the neon formula, but this is a highly visible orange! Bright Tights would make a traffic cone look shy. This is my first experience using an Essie neon and I am pleased with the result. It did require some effort to achieve opacity. Fortunately, Bright Tights dries speedily. I used one coat of CND Stickey, two coats of Zoya Get Even, four coats of Bright Tights followed by the Konad design and topcoat. Four coats of Bright Tights is equivalent to two coats of regular polish in terms of dry time. The only extra work is in the painting. As a neon, Bright Tights has a matte finish. The polish did go through some unattractive stages before adding topcoat. A shiny layer awakens the color and creates a juicy sheen. I have been getting compliments on my nails all weekend.

Essie has officially changed my perception of neon polishes. I thought I would be satisfied owning a single neon collection with Zoya La Di Da. I previously thought of neon shades as a novelty. Brights Tights is one of my favorite polishes in the Fall Color Collection. I would wear the color even without decorative pumpkins. It's pleasant seeing the leaf change and realizing I was carrying a bit of that orange with me. 

Happy painting, ladies!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mirrors and masks

Hello ladies,

Today I have Nubar Platinum from the Royal Gems Collection. It's a whitened silver metallic with fine silver glitter pieces and multi hued micro glitter. Although I showed the majority of this collection with rhinestones and sparkle, I thought masks were more befitting of the Halloween season.

With Platinum, I thought it would be lovely to add some gold touches. I'll let the leaves complete the task.

Nubar Platinum was easy to apply. There was some appearance of brushstrokes, but these minimized as the polish dried. I ended up painting three coats. Two would have sufficed, but I used the third to help anchor the fimo masks. I applied two coats of Platinum over Nubar Foundation base coat. I painted the third coat and added a fimo circle, working nail by nail. I sealed the look with Diamont topcoat. Using this method gave the fullest adhesion and didn't require nail glue.  

I was saving Nubar Platinum for a sunlit day. The finish almost appears molten. It makes me think of hot metal swirling in a kettle, like antique silver being melted down. 

Happy painting, ladies.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Follow the Unicorn Contest!

Hello ladies,

Possessed again by the spirit of whimsy, I bring you the Follow the Unicorn Contest! I'll let the unicorn transport you to the giveaway. 

I happened upon four Tracy Reese for Sally Hansen Salon polishes from the Spring 2009 line. These are somewhat mythic in nature. These bottles are brand new and untested. I will be using my own polishes to show looks during the contest period.

Night Hydrangea



Beet Stain

Here is a little reminder that there is always a bit of unexpected magic waiting for you. The winner will receive all four Sally Hansen Salon polishes plus the unicorn figurine. My apologies that I can't include the giant bull frog. You will need to find your own magic frog locally.

I put this little giveaway together in gratitude for my followers and subscribers. At the time of this post, the number of followers to painted Lady fingers is close to 250. I have been having such a wonderful time blogging. I truly enjoy sharing the looks I create, reviewing polishes and treatments as well as reading and answering comments. I will do my best to offer treats when I can. You ladies are wonderful! Thank you. 

The Follow the Unicorn Contest is open internationally for followers and e-mail subscribers. The contest runs through November 3rd. 

Here's how to enter:
1) Become a follower or e-mail subscriber of painted Lady fingers. If you are currently a follower or subscriber, that certainly counts! I appreciate it! Please let me know in the comments which option you choose for keeping up with painted Lady fingers. 1 entry.

Optional extra entries:
2) Tell me about a polish you are coveting. It can be a hard to find color on your wish list. It can even be a color or formula from your imagination. 1 entry.

3) Blog about the contest.  Please provide a link. 2 entries.

4) Tweet about the contest.  Please provide a link. 1 entry. 

5) Have painted Lady fingers on your blogroll or add painted Lady fingers. Please provide a link if I haven't already commented on your blogOtherwise please remind me. 1 entry.

You are welcome to put all your entries in one comment or return to the contest post with comments for each entry. Either way works for me. Your entries don't have to be sequential. Enter in any way you like whenever you like before the end of the day November 3rd. For the ease of your contest host, please include your e-mail with your entry. To qualify, I need to have your e-mail included with one of your entries. Thank you, ladies. I appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to enter! Have fun!

A masquerade and a contest winner!

Hello ladies,

Today I was at the Morris Arboretum enjoying the beginnings of the autumn leaf change. On the sunlit hillside, I happened upon a green and gold vista populated by grazing sheep. 

These are not real sheep, but iron silhouettes masquerading as sheep. 

This lamb is a wee guardian.

Behold, the entries for the Konad Halloween Treat Contest! Perhaps your name is in there. The entries were scattered by the winds. 

Whose name is furthest from the flock?

Glittermillie! Congratulations! You are the winner of the painted Lady fingers Konad Halloween Treat Contest

Thank you to everyone who entered. Please visit Glittermillie,  a wonderful blog that abounds with sparkle. 

I am putting together a little giveaway that will go up later tonight or tomorrow. I am amazed that painted Lady fingers has close to 250 followers. I want to continue to show my appreciation whenever possible and to do so with a bit of whimsy. xoxo!  

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sparkling steel

Hello ladies,

Today I have a layered look with NYC New York Color in Steele and Fantasy Makers Magical. I intended this to be a Halloween theme manicure, but the result bespeaks of steampunk to me. It has the quality of industrial metals sparked with the fantastical.  I imagine those Victorian inspired gowns made with parachute material and accented with clock pieces. 

Evil Angel had requested a picture of my ring. Here you go, lady!
It amazes me how within one step from the bright pink blooms was another bush finished flowering and producing rose hips. Roses have such an extended growing season.

The base of the look is NYC New York Color in Steele. This polish is from a recent holiday display with a red and silver theme. They are still in stock in my local CVS and Rite Aid. While I love the color, the frost formula is undesirable to me when worn alone. Brushstrokes are visible on the nail even with careful application. I would only use this polish for layering or as a base for an all over Konad design. I was able to achieve opacity in two coats.

Fantasy Makers by Wet and Wild is currently available in the Halloween aisle. Magical is a notable glitter top coat. It has a combination of coppery orange glitter, gold glitter as well as gold micro glitter in a clear base. I applied two coats over NYC Steele.  I experimented with this as a funky french but I didn't think it had the concentration of glitter to produce enough flash. It's perfect as a topcoat. Magical would be more befitting of the Halloween season over a black creme polish, but I do love to try new styles.

Happy painting, ladies!   

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apothecary: Madagascar Vanilla Hand Moisturizer

Hello ladies,

For those of us approaching fall weather, it's an auspicious time to consider preparing our skin for the effects of cooler temperatures. I have been using the Madagascar Vanilla Hand Moisturizer from Max Brenner over the the past few weeks. This came to me as part of a sweet birthday present from my friends Lisa and Cassandra. 

This hand moisturizer offers a true vanilla fragrance. It doesn't exude the off putting chemical scent that seems to be pervasive in products claiming to smell like vanilla. It reminds me of spooning pure vanilla extract into a bowl of cake batter created from scratch. It smells decadent and simultaneously wholesome.  

The consistency is like applying a thicker lotion or a lightweight creme. I rubbed a couple of pea sized drops over my hands before typing. The moisturizer absorbs reasonably quick and leaves my hands feeling supple to the touch. After a few minutes, there is softness without residue. I began using this moisturizer at night, but as the temperature cools, I will keep it by my bathroom sink for daytime application. 

The ingredients list includes natural emollients: sunflower oil, olive oil, orange oil, evening primrose oil, peach kernel oil, cocoa butter, aloe gel and calendula oil. The formula also features chamomile extract and ginseng. Methylparaben and propylparaben are used as preservatives. I will be reviewing a natural hand cream from an apiary in a couple weeks for those who prefer paraben free products. 

Max Brenner is a chocolate theme restaurant. I was really delighted with the quality of their Madagascar Vanilla Hand Moisturizer. I am looking forward to returning for brunch. I definitely will be trying more of their Spa Collection. They do sell wondrous chocolate on their website. For those not geographically blessed enough to live within walking or driving distance of a Max Brenner location, there is always the help of the post office to bring treats and spa products to your door.  

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chocolate heavens

Hello ladies,

I am so looking forward to greeting the sun tomorrow after a stretch of overcast days! I went to the garden late this afternoon and photographed the unnamed brown glitter mini polish from the Borghese Serena collection. This color is unique and lovely. A candy brown base holds a starry cosmos of glitter in red, gold and silver. I do wish this shade were available full size.  

I found this tiny trellis charming!

The Borghese brown mini has a jelly formula. I began with CND Stickey base coat and added two coats of Zoya Get Even to promote opacity. Without a quality ridge filling base coat, the brown glitter polish would be sheer on the nail. I wore this for two days. As with most jelly formulas, I experienced tip wear. I added a third coat before taking pictures. I did carefully cap the nail with color when I initially did the manicure and had to repeat the process. Because jelly formulas contain less pigmentation than traditional cremes or shimmers, tip wear is a common issue. The result seemed worth the extra attention. 

I will be doing more Halloween manicures this week. I thought vampy nails for a date might be better than creepy dolls or zombies. 

Happy painting ladies!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween skulls

Hello ladies,

Today my friend David and I went to A.C. Moore so I could stock up on white felt for polish removal and Konad plate cleanup. I love shopping at the craft store with David for his hilarious commentary and endless bafflement over art kits: "Why would I want to color my own purse?". He usually ends up leaving with a ridiculous purchase. He took the opportunity to procure a figurine of a chicken to amuse a friend visiting from California. Currently, he is driving the diminutive chicken around in his BMW. The spirit of whimsy possesses my friends as well. 

Because it has been raining unceasingly for two days, I also purchased a lamp that simulates natural light indoors. I chose the white compact lamp by daylight company. This is my first attempt using it. I plan on experimenting with backgrounds. Tonight I was trying to learn hand positioning to capture the proper light. The lamp provides color accuracy for nail polish, but doesn't seem to capture skin tone perfectly. The glitter particles don't have quite the same flash as when enhanced by sunlight. I do love this manicure and I wanted to share it, even with the conspiratorial weather trying to dissuade me. 

From the Master of Disguise mini kit, I chose Color Club Ghost of a Chance for the base.  I painted Pure Ice Oh Baby! on top to add a fine shimmer layer. Over the moons of my nails I adhered black and white fimo circles with a skull and crossbones pattern. Then I created a funky french with China Glaze Spellbound top coat. 

Above are the three bottles pictured with a Halloween purse Sarada made for me. Owls and cats wearing witch hats belong together. The poem reads:  
Just about now the
ghosts are due.
Beware- I see one
after you.

Color Club Ghost of a Chance is an odd polish. I painted three coats for opacity. Each successive layer made my nails look more like an application of correction fluid than nail polish. It was chalky and streaky simultaneously. One coat of Pure Ice Oh Baby! solved the issue immediately. It made my nails appear smooth, sparkly and snowy. I am not sure if a clear top coat would perform the same magic, but I love the glitter overlay. I can only recommend Ghost of a Chance with the idea of using it as a base for layering. It looked uneven alone. 

Pure Ice Oh Baby! is a wonder. The tiny shimmer particles could beautify almost any look. It has a faint purple and green reflection. China Glaze Spellbound top coat is such a festive polish for the Halloween season. Small orange foil glitter, medium silver hexagons and large orange hexagons mingle in a clear base. I really would like to revisit this polish on a day accompanied by sunlight. 

The fimo pieces were an ebay find. I purchased them precut. I was really surprised how thin they were. Buying the uncut canes would be more cost efficient, but I wanted a baseline of how they should appear before I attempted to slice my own fimo for nail art. Perhaps once I have used the patterns in the design wheel I bought, I will ask David to bring his man hands back to painted Lady fingers for a tutorial. He offered to teach me how to cut fimo, since he is handy. 

To apply the fimo, I would recommend painting the last coat of polish, adding a drop of nail glue and lightly pressing the design into the nail. I tried painting all of my nails and then going back and gluing each piece. I had fuller adhesion when the polish was closer to wet then tacky. Next time, I will go nail by nail. The process would be one coat of CND Stickey base coat and three coats of Color Club Ghost of a Chance on all ten nails. Continue with one coat of Pure Ice Oh Baby! on the first nail and glue on the fimo design, working singly until all ten nails are complete. Next, paint the funky french with China Glaze Spellbound, and finally add one coat of CND Air Dry to seal the design. The look comes together much faster than it sounds! 

Happy painting, ladies!