Thursday, April 29, 2010

Smooth and Polished Giveaway Winner!

Hello ladies,

Today the winner was chosen for the Smooth and Polished Giveaway with the assistance of our impartial judge, Cybele the ferret.
Witness her expression of sheer resolve!
A tiny bowl containing about 500 hand written entries.

I stashed a little kibble at the bottom in case Cybele wanted a snack.
Cybele was ready!
First, she belly flopped over the entries.
Then she took a minor detour in the grass...
And circled back to give the entries more thorough consideration.
She began mixing them with her nose.
And dove into the pile of papers!
A bit of rolling about helped narrow the selection.
She shook the entries off...except for one!
The winner is cherrycola. However, she spells it like this: ch3rryco1a. Cute!

Cybele waved goodbye or perhaps she was requesting some tiny nail art. Thank you, Cybele!

Many warm congratulations to ch3rryco1a! Please stop by her blog, How Should I Presume? for lovely Konad nail art. Look for the occasional cameo from her kitty, Autumn!

Thanks to Skin MD Natural for offering bottles of their Shielding Lotion in regular and SPF 15 formulas to our lucky winner! I will be mailing the four discontinued polishes this weekend and catching up on all my other mailing as well.

A special thanks to Pixie Rose and her very agreeable boyfriend for helping to wrangle Cybele for the contest proceedings.

Happy painting, ladies!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hard Candy Eye Look

Hello ladies,

I thought I would share a simple eye look created with Hard Candy cosmetics. This is typical of how I make up my eyes every day.

My lashes are tipped in pink!

I love the sheen in this photo. The camera is maximizing the depth of the contour. There is more color blending happening in real life.
Kal-eye-descope Baked Eyeshadow Duo in rock n roll.

The baked duo has an amazing amount of sparkle.
Walk the Line liquid eyeliner in sugar plum.
Lash Call Lengthening Mascara in punk.
I had to take a diffuse light photo to display the brush shape. The pink is indeed as bright as shown in the full product picture. In full sun, all you could see was pink! Fascinating.

These purple flowers were my inspiration.

I began with Hard Candy's primer that comes packaged as a mini with the In the Shadows palette. I was pleased with how it helped my eye shadow adhere and stay in place. I wish they sold this product full size.

The Kal-eye-descope Baked Eyeshadow Duo is incredible. It offers a similar intensity to MAC pigments, but with easier application. You can also use less for a more subtle look. There is so much sparkle and pigmentation that two shadow colors can be blended for a noticeable effect. I felt like the result looked more like several combined shades than a mere pairing. I'm interested in experimenting with more shades from this line and combining colors from various baked duos for greater depth and intensity.

Walk the Line liquid eyeliner is so easy to work with. I was able to go over the line with the brush without making it seem choppy. If you are a novice with liquid liner, check out Walk the Line. It's very user friendly.

Although I wish I had used a little more mascara, I am pleased with the color payoff. I'm really interested in trying the green (Limelight) and the blue (Peacock). Colored mascara makes me so nostalgic. I used to wear blue and purple mascara when I was in my early teens. Have any of you ladies tried mascara in fashion colors?
There was lovely sun and a fair amount of wind today playing a bit with my eyebrows and lashes. I could have used some brow gel, but then, what fun would the wind have had?

What do you think of my eyes today?

The products featured in this post were sent to me for review. You can learn more about the Hard Candy range of cosmetics at To purchase, visit a Walmart retail location or shop on-line at

Happy painting, ladies!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Treasure in a deep sea cave

Hello ladies,

My manicure today reminds me of treasure found in a deep sea cave. What kind of wonders would one encounter? The glinting of diaphanous fish scales, ocean worn coins, deep water plants aglow in the blackened green waters...perhaps the curl of a mermaid's tail?

I began with Hard Candy Envy as the shimmering green base. I used an Art Club striper in Limeade to define a Funky French. Then, I layered the glittering wonderland that is Break Up over two thirds of my nail.

The sun was very playful late this afternoon. In a short period, the lighting ranged from blaring brightness to a diffuse glow. I captured my nails under all the different lights available. I was really intrigued how the hex glitter in Break Up altered under varying conditions. I can't decide which I favor most. Each has it's charm.

I was able to achieve a nicely arched smile line with the Art Club striper. It's easier to see the look in the photo above.
I was so excited to see a yellow, peach tipped rosebud! My favorite flowers are emerging!

I created another look with Envy in January. Some of you may remember my green faery manicure. This polish is versatile and works well as a base for design ideas. It's easy to apply and opaque in two coats. Perfect!

Break Up is a well behaved hex glitter. There is no fishing for glitter pieces with this polish! The formula is packed with tiny silver sparkles and large hexagons that glint orange, gold or green at different angles. It's a fascinating polish!

Envy and Break Up are part of my personal collection. You can view the entire line of Hard Candy cosmetics and nail polish at To purchase, visit a Walmart retail location or shop on-line at For a chance to win all 16 polishes in the Hard Candy Just Nails line, stop by the contest post to enter.

Happy painting, ladies!

Apothecary: essie naturally clean purifying nail polish remover

Hello ladies,

I have recently been using essie naturally clean purifying nail polish remover. It's an effective, salon quality polish remover with a fresh and pleasant scent.
Essie purifying nail polish remover has an acetone based formula. It would be a gentler substitute for a 100% acetone formula. Working with the remover, I could tell there was a high concentration of acetone. It dissolved glitter polish fairly quickly. As with 100% acetone, the remover easily swept standard creme and shimmer polishes from the nail. I still needed a touch up with a freshly saturated piece of felt or cotton to remove all of the color. The first attempt at removal took away the majority of the polish and left a watercolor residue. This was easily cleaned with another swipe of remover.

Let's examine the ingredients list: Acetone, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Eucalyptus Species Leaf Oil, Limonene (Sweet Pea Parfum/Fragrance), Alcohol Denat, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Denatonium Benzoate.

Glycerin is useful as a moisturizing component. Vitamins A and E are present for their skin healing qualities. I found these ingredients to help maintain the moisture levels in my nails, cuticles and surrounding skin while I was removing my polish. Essie purifying nail polish remover doesn't dry my nails and skin the way 100% acetone does.

The scent of this product is quite wonderful. While described as having a sweet pea fragrance, it seemed more like a watery botanical to me. There is a clean and aquatic mix with the floral bouquet. It may be the eucalyptus mingling with the sweet pea blossoms. The scent remained on my nails after removal. I was as entertained by this as with scented polish. When my nails are subtly perfumed, I am delighted.

For anyone questioning why a nail polish remover would be named 'naturally clean', this is part of a line of products grouped under that header. There is a purifying hand wash, hand treatment, refreshing nail cleanser, and vitamin enriched manicure revitalizer. I'm interested in trying more of this line. I do wish I had purchased the 16 oz bottle of the nail polish remover as it it will join my favorites in rotation.

Essie naturally clean purifying nail polish remover is available at There is a 4 oz. bottle for $6.00 and a 16 oz. size for $16.00. I purchased my bottle at an Ulta retail location. The 4 oz. size is also available at

Above are purple pansies in a window box. These were my grandmother's favorite flowers. Seeing them every Spring makes me nostalgic and happy.

Happy painting, ladies!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hard Candy Plumping Serum Volumizing Lip Gloss

Hello ladies,

I recently had the opportunity to try Hard Candy's Plumping Serum Volumizing Lip Gloss. I am wearing a pale, shimmering pink called Girl Next Door. The color is a pretty basic for everyday wear. It offers an enhancement to a natural look. The micro shimmer reflects in the sun and creates a subtle glow.

Girl Next Door is the perfect choice if you want a touch of make up, but not too much. It would be suitable to wear on a walk, to the grocery store or to yoga class.

This shade would also pair well with a smoky eye look. The soft pink would create balance without distracting from darker, bold eye make up. Girl Next Door could easily go from day to evening. I love the versatility of this color.

There is lovely shimmer along the length of the wand leading to the doe foot applicator.

Hard Candy Plumping Serum has a sugary vanilla flavor. There is a light taste, but it's not so strong as to be distracting. When I first apply the gloss, it hums a bit on my lips. There is some sensation, but the formula doesn't sting. It has the same feeling as letting a ricola cough drop dissolve in your mouth. It's noticeable, but not unpleasant.

The formula makes my lips feel moist, but not sticky. The wear time is similar to other glosses I own. I feel like I want a touch up after a few hours.

I'm really curious to try some of the other colors in the line. There are five additional shades: The It Girl (clear), Material Girl (red), All American Girl (nude beige), Girly Girl (pale pink) and Uptown Girl (peach). All of these glosses provide sheer coverage. I think these would be nice for layering as well.

I feel like my lips appear fuller with the gloss than bare. Do they look plump to you? Have you ladies tried any lip plumping products?

Violets in the sun.

Girl Next Door Plumping Serum was sent to me for review. You can find more information about Hard Candy cosmetics and nail products at The Hard Candy line can be found at Walmart retail locations and on-line at If you would like a chance to win all 16 polishes from the Hard Candy Just Nails line, stop by the contest post and enter.

Happy painting, ladies!

Fainting Couch: Lava near the azaleas

Hello ladies,

I am wearing Hard Candy Lava today. The gold shimmer radiates from the bright red base. When taking these photos, I almost swooned over the azalea bushes in rapture. I'm surprised the honey bees didn't faint as well.

Please have your smelling salts ready before viewing the photos. If you can procure a man to stand by with a large, feathered fan to cool any feverish excitement, it may be advisable.

Let us pause and look at some flowers.

Ah, the striped tulips make me think of a carnival. So festive!

I hope you have all regained your senses enough to read about the application. I am wearing three coats of Lava. I probably could have stopped at two, but I was so delighted painting it on, I added an extra coat.

I think I am going hunt down a man with some ostrich feathers to help distract me from the sultry beauty of Lava.

Hard Candy Lava was sent to me for review. You can see more of the Hard Candy range of products at Lava can be purchased at Walmart retail locations or on-line at Would you like a chance to win all 16 polishes in the Hard Candy Just Nails line? Please visit the contest post to enter.

Happy painting, ladies!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Exotic plumes

Hello ladies,

Today my nails remind me of the plumage of tropical birds. I used Hard Candy Frenzy for the base and created a gradient with pink and green glitter. Date Night and Sweet P sparkle from my tips.

I love the silky touch of clematis petals. This flower is the result of my friend David's fine gardening skills.

Hard Candy Frenzy was opaque in two coats. I used three for surety under bright sun and magnification. The creme formula applied well, but was not wholly colorfast with quick dry topcoat. The color became darker and slightly greener after one coat of CND Air Dry. I experimented a bit and found the longer I let Frenzy dry before adding top coat, the less pigment change I experienced.

Using a polish with fine glitter to create a gradient is more challenging than working with larger glitter pieces, but not impossible. I would recommend being comfortable with the gradient technique first. I made some modification to my usual method when applying Date Night and Sweet P. I recommend reading my tutorial first before continuing.

I painted a basic French using Date Night and let the tips dry completely. Then I worked nail by nail to form the gradient. I reinforced the French tip with a second coat and painted a line beneath. I applied the Smudge Fixer to the upper 70% of my nail. I emptied the brush of product and used it to tap the glitter down the nail. Working with smaller glitter is less precise. I ended up lightly dabbing pink glitter to the nail to cover spots that seemed too bare. I applied Sweet P last. I brushed most of the polish on the inner neck of the bottle and carefully dotted the nail randomly to create a mix of color.

This technique was certainly experimental. I'm looking forward to trying it again in a variety of palettes.

Hard Candy Frenzy and Date Night were sent to me for review. Sweet P is part of my personal collection. To learn more about Hard Candy cosmetics and nail color, please visit These polishes are available for purchase at Walmart retail locations and on-line at For a chance to win the entire collection of 16 Hard Candy Just Nails polishes, stop by the contest post to enter.

Happy painting, ladies!