Friday, December 20, 2013

Literary Lacquer review: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Good evening ladies and gents!  I'm so excited to bring you the first of two reviews of Literary Lacquers nail polish.

Amy Milder is the genius behind Literary Lacquers.  I first discovered this indie polish a few months ago and immediately fell in love.  Nail polishes named after books/characters in books?  YES PLEASE!  Books and nail polish, two of my favorite things in the world.

When Literary Lacquers released the Literary Liquors collection, I went nuts over Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.  I absolutely love the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" (it's really five books) and still wonder just what this sci-fi drink would really taste like.  I've been quite tempted to try to make a recipe for it, to be honest.

So when I saw a review photo of this polish, I knew I absolutely HAD to have it.  My favorite colors are blue and green, and PGGB is an amazing blue holo with scattered holo glitter.  I lusted after it until, about two weeks ago, I caved in and bought two LL polishes.  There was a special going on, and I ended up with a mini bottle of the limited edition of A Thousand Christmas Trees, which I may do a review on.  It's a stunning pine green holo polish that is truly worthy of its name.

On to the review.  I'm so pleasantly surprised by how sparkly this polish is.  It's a linear holo that goes on sheer for the first coat, but is opaque in two.  Here I have three coats on, because I needed to see more of that gorgeous blue.

This is an absolutely easy polish to work with.  The formula is excellent, almost comparable to OPI polishes.  Carefully applied, there is little to no streaking on the first coat.  This would make an excellent topper to any blue polish if you want to conserve what's in your bottle.

There's a little bit of visible nail line here, but it's brought on by the flash of the camera.  Since it's going to be warm tomorrow (80 degrees!), and sunny, I plan on taking more photos of this in full sunlight.

I placed my hand right under two lightbulbs in an attempt to get a photo that would mimic sunlight.  I have yet to build a lightbox for better photos, so this will have to do for now.

All in all, I absolutely love Literary Lacquers.  This indie polish maker is now a favorite, and I'll be sure to order more in the future.  Amy, thank you for making such high quality polishes, and indulging both our inner bookworm and polish addict.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Candy Canes and Rudolph and Snowflakes, OH MY!

Thursday night I went with my best friend to see Desolation of Smaug in MIDNIGHT.  It was so much better than I had expected, and was worth the three and a half hours of sleep I had.  The next afternoon I went to a friend's house to do her nails for her birthday and for Christmas.  I had a blast doing these designs!

On her thumbs I used a Limited Edition polish from Literary Lacquers, A Thousand Christmas Trees.  It's a GORGEOUS pine green linear holo.  I did a gradient of blues and white on her index nails and added China Glaze Fairy Dust over for an effect of snow in the background for the snowman.  For the candy canes on her pinky fingers, I did two coats of China Glaze White on White, let it dry, placed striping tape down to pattern the candy cane stripes, and went over it with Zoya Delilah (two coats).  For Rudolph, I used black, white, and brown acrylic paint, using the white for his nose, and went over that with OPI Animal-Istic.  I used a blue Orly polish for the background for snowflakes, and used a striper, detail brush, and white acrylic paint.  For the thumbs, I used Sally Hansen Celeb City and dotted on the "tinsel", used a dotter and white acrylic paing for the base of the ornaments, and different polishes to go over the white.  The snowman's scarf was placed using a detail brush and drier red polish that was a bit stringy, making it easier to place it where I wanted for the scarf.

All in all, it took about two to two and a half hours, including drying time, for this nail art.

I hope you enjoyed this!  As I type this, it's ten days until Christmas.  For those of you who celebrate it, have a wonderful holiday!  I'll be back soon with reviews of three Literary Lacquer soon as the sun decides to come out.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snowman and a TARDIS

Recently I've gotten into Doctor Who.  I admit that, when I first heard about the show, I was skeptical and poked fun at friends who were into it.  Now that I've watched a couple seasons, I can see what the fuss is about!  It's a delightful show that has made me laugh and cry, and I just love it.  I've been slowly but surely getting through it, mostly because other shows have taken up my time (looking at YOU, Supernatural!). 

A few days ago I decided to try my hand at a Christmas-y Doctor Who manicure.  I used China Glaze White on White as a background for four nails, and Literary Lacquers' Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, a GLORIOUS blue linear holo polish with scattered holo glitter in it.  A swatch and review post on that and two others will be coming soon. 

Here's the photo of the manicure (taken with phone's camera, since my digital camera is down):

I used black acrylic paint and a striping brush to paint the wires for the lights, then used a detail brush and polish to paint the lights.  Black, gray, and white acrylic paints were used for the TARDIS and the snowman (isn't he adorably evil?).  I let it all dry, then topped it off with Orly's PoliShield. 

I hope my fellow Whovians have enjoyed this.  More coming soon!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Joe Boxer nail art

I'm sure you've all seen the hilarious K-Mart commercial for the Joe Boxer holiday print boxers, right?  If not, here's the link:

I entered another Facebook nail art competition hosted by Nailshine Journey and Polish Yer Hooves.  The theme is "Favorite Christmas Songs" and can only be done using nail polish.  Jingle Bells is my favorite of all Christmas songs; it's easy to remember, plus there's the Batman parody of it.  I looked up photos of all the Joe Boxer prints used in the commercial and recreated them on my nails.  I took a bit of artistic license and didn't do the "ugly sweater" print.  Choosing only five of six prints was hard, but the following won out.  It's all polish using detail brushes and a dotting tool, and took about two hours. 

Hope you liked them!  I've got a couple more manicures queued up to show you, so stay tuned!*

*I've been busy with my advanced nail classes and work.  I'll be trying to update as often as I can since my classes are all finished.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Nightmare Before Christmas

Hi again!  I had to schedule this post since I'll be working in the morning.  I'm excited to have landed a job at a gorgeous spa, getting to pamper women and do what I love.  I started last week, and everyone there has been very nice so far.  I joke that the only drawback is that I have to wear color (black is what I wear 99% of the time). 

I did these nails for a Halloween nail art contest on Facebook.  If you'll recall, a few months ago I did Jack Skellington nails for a challenge I was in, for "Inspired by a tuturial".  This time, however, I chose to go with two more characters and a jack o' lantern. 

I mixed different polishes to come up with the colors for Sally's patchwork dress, used China Glaze In The Limelight for Oogie Boogie, and Sally Hansen Sun Kissed for the jack o' lantern, as well as China Glaze Liquid Leather for the thumbnail, and China Glaze White on White for Jack Skellington's face.  I put a coat of Pure Ice Free Spirit (a beautiful glow-in-the-dark light green polish with blue shimmer) over In The Limelight, used China Glaze Celtic Sun for the jack o' lantern's eyes, nose, and teeth as well as on the moon behind Jack, and then used China Glaze Ghoulish Glow over Celtic Sun.  The entire manicure took me three hours and some change, mostly to wait for the polish to completely dry before painting on it.  I'm actually a bit pleased with how this came out, so on with the photo!

I had to angle the camera a bit to make sure Zero was included (he's on the thumb).  I used a detail brush that I had flattened, and used the tip to create Jack's outline.  Orly Skinny Dip was used over white acrylic paint for the sides of the hill, and then a dotting tool plus Sun Kissed created the pumpkins on the hill.

I hope you enjoyed this!  It was fun to create and time flew by as I was doing it.  I'll begin posting my manicures for the weekly Rainbow Challenge soon, and will be keeping a spooky theme since it's October.  Have a great day!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Almost four months later, I'm back!

I've had a VERY long absence from this blog, and I want to apologize for that.  In between dealing with a chronic illness, finishing requirements for school, starting classes on becoming an Advanced Nail Technician, AND GETTING A NEW JOB (yay!), things have been hectic.  I've also been sick with strep throat and bronchitis, and now am dealing with pain that's possibly from my gallbladder.  All in all, things have been going well, even with all the ups and downs.
I finished the ABC Challenge sponsored by Erica of Erica's Nails and More, won a nail art contest (woo hoo!), and now am participating in another nail art challenge.  I want to push myself and exceed myself regarding nail art, especially since I've gotten a bit of a reputation at school for being good at what I do.  Please forgive me if that sounds like bragging; I'm not.  To be completely honest, I view my nail art as simplistic and not really that good.  I do love what I do and want to exceed myself every time I do a manicure with nail art.
That said, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for following me.  I'm going to do my best to keep this blog up and running.

Now...I want to share my contest-winning manicure with you.  I did this for Week X of the ABC challenge.  I love comic books and The Uncanny X-Men have always been a big favorite.  I especially love Gambit; who WOULDN'T love a charming, charismatic character with the ability to kinetically charge inanimate objects, throw them, and blow things up?  With this in mind, I had to do X-Men themed nails.  It was an absolute blast!

I used China Glaze Celtic Sun, OPI Animal-istic, an unnamed brown, and an unnamed purple L.A. Colors polish, as well as China Glaze Liquid Leather, a mini red polish, and a gold Nina Pro polish.  Detail brushes and a dotting tool were used to add details to the characters' costumes.  This was quite fun to do, and I wore it for about a week.  Stay tuned; I'll be showing my Nightmare Before Christmas nails tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

MIA Blogger and nail art

I know I've been MIA for over a month now, and I am so sorry for that.  I've been getting busier with work, finishing requirements so I can finally get my State Board exams out of the way, as well as battling severe fatigue.

I've kept on with the ABC Challenge, but haven't done any real nail art up until two days ago.  Sometimes I get creative burnout thanks to fatigue, but this idea was brewing for about a week until I had the chance to do it.

Before I share photos, I want to explain where the fatigue comes from.  Last September I was diagnosed, for the third time, with mononucleosis.  I spoke with my doctor and learned that the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mono, can actually reactivate due to stress or a weakened immune system.  This virus attacks the immune system and has caused me to become more susceptible to the flu, colds, and any other ick that flies through.  The worst symptom of EBV, for me, is severe fatigue.  Some days I feel okay, others I am tired from the moment I wake up.  I'm taking supplements and trying to take better care of myself so that I can get better, but it's not easy.  I work 4-hour shifts at the school/spa, plus another four hours for work study.  I have an awful habit of pushing myself to almost breaking point, because I know if I sit and rest I won't get back up.
The fatigue has affected me creatively, and some more stress has caused more issues, plus my neck has acted up again (last year I had a small bulging disc in my neck, went 3x a week to my chiropractor, and had it fixed without surgery). 

I feel bad that I haven't maintained this blog or my Facebook page, but the weariness has kept me from doing a lot of the things I once loved.  The good thing is that there may be a peak after this valley, so hopefully soon my body will recover and I'll be able to gradually begin my daily walks.

All this said, I want to show you my newest nail art.  I went to AC Moore and grabbed two detail brushes for less than $6, and I love them.  They have made it so much easier for me to really get into putting fine detail into my nail art.  I do use acrylic paints because they are easier to work with and don't end up globbing up my brush, but I do use a combination of acrylic and polish because some of my polishes are just the right colors for what I need.

I was about 9 years old when The Little Mermaid came out.  I LOVE mermaids, always have, and that movie sent me into a tizzy.  I cried like a baby at the end and wondered how she could leave her precious daddy...and then wondered if Triton and his daughters ever got legs sometimes and came to visit Ariel.  I got the movie for my 10th birthday and had it memorized within a month.  I'm surprised the VHS has lasted as long as it has, considering how often I've watched it.  My love for The Little Mermaid and the sea has lasted, and I hope it always will.

As I browsed through my nail art inspiration folder, I happened upon a gorgeous mani that got my creative gears going.  A few fish photos later, I had the groundwork for the mani laid.  I searched for photos of Ariel and settled for a silhouette.  I settled on four saltwater fish to paint, and got to work.  One hour, 27 minutes later (yes, I timed it!), I had this:

My camera's batteries had been used up when we had a nasty storm last week and needed our weather radio, so I took this with my phone, uploaded it onto my Facebook page, and then downloaded it so I can have it on my laptop.  It's not perfect, but I'm so happy with how it turned out and I hope you like it.

I'll try to keep up with this blog as it deserves and try not to take another monthlong hiatus.  Thank you all for sticking with me.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ABC Challenge Week Six: F

Welcome back!  Today I hope Blogger is nice to me...last week I attempted three or four times to upload my "E" manicure for Week Five of the ABC challenge, but I couldn't get a photo to upload.  I also had an out of this world mani to share that didn't get posted due to the same photo upload issue.

This week I chose to do a flower manicure.  I was browsing my nail inspiration folder when I came across this adorable dress, and inspiration hit!

Sometimes I wish I was a little girl so I could wear all the adorable clothes I see!  When I was a kid, it was just boring solid colors or polka dots, and those HIDEOUS flowered dresses from the early 90's.  Nowadays the kids get the cutest clothes and shoes, and adults get the boring stuff.  If I'd known it would be like THIS to be grown up, I'd have kept my Kiddie Card and said to heck with growing up, ha. 

I used China Glaze White on White, Liquid Leather, and Fairy Dust for the white background, black tips, and zebra stripes, and OPI Animal-istic for the red flowers.  I placed a dot of Liquid Leather for the flower's center, with a bit of Fairy Dust for additional shimmer and sparkle.

Here are the results:

I hope you enjoyed these!  See you next week :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

26-week-challenge Week Four: D

Welcome again!  This week I have my "D" manicure ready for you, as well as a swatch/review.

Last week I decided on Zoya "Delilah" for the Week Four manicure.  This polish is a GORGEOUS shimmery cherry red.  I've had difficulty with most red shimmer/glitter polishes not translating well on the nails, thus looking better in the bottle.  Not so with Delilah!  This polish is just as, if not more, beautiful on the nails than in the bottle.  The subtle shimmer of this polish can be seen even in low lighting, which speaks volumes for this brand.  I've not had such luck with other shimmery polishes (brand names will be withheld), but Zoya surpasses expectations.  Application was very easy, the polish is thin, but not too thin, and is opaque in two coats. 

I was thrilled with this polish, and I'm not really a red polish kind of gal.  I was not disappointed with this at all, and in all honesty, the swatches I've seen of Delilah do not do it justice.  It's a gorgeous and perfect red polish for special occasions, with the shimmer adding just the right touch without being overwhelmingly sparkly.

On to the photos! 

I added a top coat of Gelous to this manicure, and as you can see, it really enhances this polish.  I highly recommend Zoya polishes; they're all gorgeous, have the most delightful names, and the application is so easy.

Thank you for stopping by, see you next week for the "E" manicure!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ABC Challenge Week Three

Hello again!  Today I have the third manicure for the ABC challenge hosted by Erica of Erica's Nails and More.

I had a bit of a hard time figuring out what I would do for today's "C" manicure.  I almost, ALMOST settled for using a China Glaze crackle polish in Candy Crush, but after browsing for cute vintage clothes, settled on cherry nail art!

I used China Glaze Liquid Leather, China Glaze White on White, China Glaze Fairy Dust, Zoya Delilah, and a green striping polish for the cherry stems.

I haven't been feeling well lately thanks to a chronic virus, so being able to do these nails was a bit of an accomplishment.  I took photos before putting on top coat as I want the art to be completely dry first.  The worst thing is to work on gorgeous nail art only to have it streak when top coat is placed on!

On with the photos, enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!  Next week I'll have my "D" nails up and a review of the polish that will be used.  Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ABC Challenge Week Two

Good evening everyone!  Today I share with you my Week Two "B" mani.  This didn't stay on long because I had used Elmer's School Glue as a base, and it peeled off fairly quickly.  Using glue as a base for glitter polish is a terrific idea, because that way you can just peel it all off when you're done, without worrying about soaking your nails with acetone-filled cotton balls and waiting forever, with the added bonus of glitter getting EVERYWHERE. 

This week I chose to use Lush Lacquers' Birthday Cake.  I LOVE THIS POLISH.  Lush Lacquers is a favorite indie brand of mine, because their polishes are just so cute and unique.  I got this polish last year as a birthday gift to myself.  It's a beautiful milky-white base with tons of small hex, bar, and medium holographic hex glitters.  I love how the glitter colors are muted enough without being completely hidden.  In the bottle, this definitely looks like the most delicious cake batter ever! 

Here's a shot with the bottle:

The application is just a dream.  As with any glitter-loaded polish, however, some glitter will invade the cuticle area, but that can be taken care of with a bit of cleanup.  In these photos, I did no cleanup at all, as evinced by a rogue cotton fiber hanging from my index finger's free edge.  Two coats accomplished complete opacity, but I really believe one coat could do the trick.  The formula is thick, but not too thick as to be gloppy.  It's loaded with glitter, and I believe it's got a perfect glitter-to-base ratio going on here.  Unfortunately, I don't think this polish is offered any longer, but I do highly recommend Lush Lacquers' polishes.  Once I am able, I think I'll buy one of all their polishes so I can offer them to my clients. 

This was the best closeup I could get of the polish without my camera freaking out and going out of focus.  LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUSNESS!  These ladies certainly made a fantastic polish here.

Birthday Cake gets an A++ from me.  It's rare that I go head over heels for such a polish, but this is one I've used many, many times.  It's versatile and is so cute on its own or used for an accent nail.  I used this polish in my Pinkie Pie manicure last July, and I believe Pinky herself would approve of this!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 1, 2013

26-week ABC Challenge

It's been way too long since I've done a post!  I've been busy with work and being sick (THANK YOU FLU) and just didn't feel up to doing much nail-art wise.  I think I'm going to begin putting up swatches and reviews as well as doing nail art, so I don't burn out.  Yesterday I was running a stupid fever and feeling really run down, so I didn't get to start on the day I wanted to.  Bummer.

Erica from Erica's Nails and More has brought yet another fun challenge!  This one is going to be a weekly challenge, with each week corresponding with a letter of the alphabet.  The first week is A, second B, and so on.  Here is a link to her rules: ABC challenge rules.  Now this should be fun!

For this week's letter, I almost did animal print; however, with being sick and burned out from nail art, I decided to see if I had a polish that begins with "A".  I looked through my box and sure enough, there was an Orly polish begging to be used!  I bought Orly "Androgynie" a couple of years ago, enchanted by all the sparkly goodness I saw in the bottle.  This being before I came back into doing nail art, and definitely before I started learning about polish formulas and polishing techniques, I quickly became disenchanted.  Not long ago, though, I gave her another try and I'm so glad I did!

The brush is really good for application, especially on toes.  I like the thinner brushes because they are easier to use in doing a French tip.  The formula isn't too thick or too runny, it's right in between.  This took three coats; you can achieve complete coverage in two, but I went with an extra because hey, who doesn't love sparkle?

So here is Androgynie, first with a matte top coat:

On a quick note, I got a matte top coat from Five Below, the brand is Fresh Paint and it was only two dollars!  I'm so happy I got a matte top coat after lemming for one this past year.  It works quickly for such an affordable price.

So I decided that the sparkly goodness didn't translate well when mattified, so I threw on a quick shiny top coat from OPI and LOOK AT THIS GORGEOUSNESS.  You can see the beautiful gold shimmer, the scattered holo, and the iridescent small hex glitters.  Total love with this polish now!

I really wish I had a better camera with macro, because I'd love to see all the sparkles in this polish.  Overall, I give Androgynie a 9 out of 10 on the polish scale.

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon for the next letter of the challenge!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Keep Fighting Manicures

Sandra Bickel of Nails Love Polish and I have teamed up together with some fellow bloggers to bring you awareness manis.  Today, March 1st 2013, we all want to show our love, support, and encouragement to the many teenagers who self-harm.  One in six teens self-harms, which can easily lead to suicide.  Before I share my manicure with you, I want to share my own story of struggle with self-harm.

My mother died on my 14th birthday.  This caused a lot of difficulty for me.  As a kid, I was labeled "weird" because I didn't have any real friends, and preferred to read over watching TV.  I wasn't into all the things the other kids were into, and I was extremely shy and had social anxiety (I still do!).  Because of this shyness, I was bullied.  Kids called me names like "Smelly Kelli" and would hit me or blame stupid things on me.  I took it, going home to bury my sadness in my books. 
I loved to draw and in second grade, my art teacher begged me to let her enter a drawing of mine into the school's art competition.  I won, and went to the regional competition, where I didn't place.  The teacher loved the drawing and asked to keep it.  Because of this, the other kids amped up the bullying.  My love of creating still goes strong.
Even at home there wasn't much peace.  I couldn't seem to do anything right, my klutziness and accident-prone nature was an irritant.  The only solace I had was in visiting my grandparents for the weekend, where I could read to my heart's content, go fishing with my grandfather in the quiet dawn hours, or spend Friday nights watching my grandparents and their friends dance.
Around sixth grade the bullying really got bad.  I had developed depression around third grade but kept it hidden.  I went to a total of four different schools, two different elementary, two different middle.  Seventh grade was absolute hell; I was in a brand new school where not only the kids were mean, but the teachers too.  The only teachers who were ever nice to me were the art and gym teachers.  I hated the school I went to and, thankfully, Mom decided to homeschool me for eighth grade.
I passed eighth grade with A's and B's.  No, Mom didn't cheat for me, she made me study HARD.  I loved it though, because my introvert nature was satisfied with plenty of reading time and a lack of peer bullying.
Seeing Mom die wasn't easy.  I'll never forget the events that happened, or seeing her stagger down the hallway and collapse into a chair.  She spent three days in a coma, and right after my small 14th birthday party I was asked to let Mom go.  She wasn't getting any better, and it was best to take her off life support.  I finally agreed, but just two hours later, she died.  I resented not being there with her to say my final farewell.  After the worst of the pain dulled into that horrible nagging ache, I started cutting myself.  I wanted to die, but I didn't want my grandparents to lose someone else they loved.  I hid my pain behind cussing and extreme rebellion.  In my junior year of high school, the cutting got really bad.  My forearms and wrists were covered in cuts where I used a filet knife or just my own fingernails.  I was bullied right from the start in my new high school, and just couldn't deal with the pain of Mom's death AND the bullying.  To me, the physical pain was an outlet, a way to release the inner pain I felt.  My grandparents got worried and almost ended up placing me in a mental hospital.  I would go into screaming fits because it seemed that absolutely no one understood how I felt. 
I was an outcast, I didn't fit in anywhere.  I didn't know how to talk to people, how to act, how to dress, how to be.  Well-meaning family would try to tell me what to do, but I always failed at it.  I hated my difference.
You see, I'm almost a textbook introvert.  I love to read, I love to be creative, I hate crowds and having to make small talk.  I'd prefer a discussion about Austen or Poe over talking about who wore what to the Oscars.  That kind of stuff just doesn't interest me at all.  Because of this, I developed social anxiety and would quake at the thought of talking to even one person. 
I struggled with self-harm up until my early twenties.  It's been many years since I took a knife to my skin, and in that time I've been through a very hurtful situation in a place that should have offered acceptance and love.  I left that place three years ago, and things have improved.  I have been going through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and things have improved.  I've learned to not fuse with negative thoughts, I've learned defusion techniques, how to expand and make room for thoughts, feelings, and sensations in my body caused by these thoughts and feelings.  It's helped me tremendously.
My scars have faded but still show in the right light.  The ones that are visible I count as battle wounds.  I fought with depression and the desire to, if not die, cause harm to myself.  I'm 32 now, approaching my forties not caring if I act my age or not.  I've been learning to accept ME, especially when others don't.  I'm learning to love myself, to love how different and unique I am, and it's not without its discomfort.  I accept that discomfort, because there are people and goals that I value far above this discomfort.  I hope to one day be that purple-haired old lady with bright pink lipstick, leopard-print EVERYTHING, that doesn't care if others think she should act her age.  Oh, and plays a mean bass guitar (a goal I'm hoping to start on soon!).

I hope that sharing this with you has given you encouragement.  Whether you're reading this today, or years on down the road, I hope you are encouraged.  You are not alone.  You are not the only one like you.  We're all different and it's so hard to find kindred spirits when so many are putting on masks.  Take the mask off.  Be YOU, because you are beautiful and wonderfully and fearfully made.  you are a masterpiece, no matter what the art critics say.

I leave you with a "poem" that I love, written by Poe.  I'll only say this: The demon in his view is what I interpret as those who desire us to be a cookie-cutter image.  We're not supposed to be like that.  We're supposed to be unique, daring individuals who defy convention and dance to the music we make in our hearts.

Be yourself, but you are NOT alone!

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view. 

Without further ado, here is my Keep Fighting manicure:

 The purple ribbon is for suicide prevention, the green is for depression awareness.  We have to be more than just "aware", we have to ACT and do all we can to help those we love who suffer from depression.  I used Essence Gray-t To Be Here and Lush Lacquers' Salt 'N Peppa on my pinky to show that not everything is black and white, not everything comes in absolutes.  There is room to maneuver.  On my middle finger I used Essence Cafe Ole and Lush Lacquers' Lite Brite to show that there is absolute beauty in diversity.  Together, we all make up the colors of the rainbow.  The name of the glitter is fitting, because there IS light no matter how dark things may seem.

I combined the green and purple colors for my HOPE thumb design.  This happened a bit by accident, as I was painting the "O", I suddenly saw a ribbon.  There is hope, no matter how bleak things may seem.  As long as there is hope, there is victory!  You can do it!

As long as we keep fighting and don't give up, the defeat of depression and suicide will come. You are a masterpiece, and those who insult you insult the Artist who created you.  You are so much more valuable and beautiful than you think.  I don't know you personally and may never meet you, but I know that you are an amazing and wonderful being, full of possibilities, talents, gifts, and love.

With love and support,

The Nail Nerd

Saturday, February 23, 2013

9-Day Challenge Day Nine

I can't believe this is the last day of the challenge!  It's flown by so fast, and I've had a blast doing this challenge.  Once again, it's caused me to go outside my nail art comfort zone and do manis I normally wouldn't wear.

So for today, the last day, the theme is: Recreate Your Favorite.  I tell you, I had a heck of a time with this one!  I went through all my creations and just couldn't settle on one, so I took a break and tried again.  I finally picked one out and just got done with it.  Normally I'll have these posts scheduled, but I've been really busy with working at the spa and doing work study and getting my requirements in, so I'm sorry for this delay!

For my Day 9 nails, I chose to recreate my Day 6 nails.  I LOVE leopard print and this was so fun to do!  I used the same technique as I did for Day 6, except this time got better coverage near the cuticle by using an eyeshadow applicator sponge to dab on Orly Goth.  Because I used up my Finger Paints Black Expressionism, I used Goth to outline the dots on the print.

I've had two very long days in a row (hair/makeup/photoshoot yesterday, spa work today), so I'll keep this short and simple and ON WITH THE PICTURES ALREADY!

Polishes used:  China Glaze White on White, Orly Goth, Essence Gray-t To Be Here, Pure Ice Velvet.  I think I did a little better this go round.

This challenge has been so much fun!  I can't wait for Erica's next one (HINT HINT) so I can exercise my creative muscles.

I've loved seeing all the manicures the participants have come up with.  I can't wait to see what they all have for the final day!  Ladies, it has been a pleasure to participate in this challenge with you.  Happy polishing!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

9-Day Challenge Day Eight: Polka Dots

Welcome back!  Today is Day Eight of the 9-day nail art challenge.  I can't believe it's gone by so fast!  I've had so much fun with this challenge.  It's really helped me grow in my nail art and do things I normally wouldn't do.

Today's theme is polka dots.  Now I'll admit, I whined about this one.  When I think of polka dots, I think of frilly, girly clothes and manis which are NOT me.  I just can't be comfortable in frills and girliness, so off to Pinterest I went.  I browsed and browsed and browsed and finally found something to inspire me...but I put my own twist on it, as usual.

I wasn't prepared for how this turned out.  I LOVE IT!  I'd wear it all day tomorrow if I could...actually, I probably will.  I know I've explained this before, but because I'm right-handed, when I do services and remove polish, of course I use my right hand.  It ruins any manicure I've done, so I've taken to leaving the nails on my right hand nekkid and keeping my manicure only on my left hand.  The way I see it, it may look strange, but it certainly shows my clients what I can do!

So enough of that...on with the polka dots!

It's so bright and pretty and shiny and, most importantly, it's RAINBOW.  I think I have a rainbow addiction...

So for this, I wanted a cute accent nail.  I was inspired to do it when I was looking through all my tools and found some disc-shaped charms.  A light bulb went off in my head, and I went to work.  I used China Glaze White on White on my thumb, ring and index fingers, and Finger Paints Black Expressionism on my pinky and middle fingers.  I then used White on White to place the dots on the black nails, and went over them with the rainbow colors.  I used a toothpick, a dotting tool, and the end of a nail art brush to make various-sized dots.  On each nail, except thumb, I placed two rhinestones for a nice little accent.  On the thumb, I placed a line of polish onto a makeup sponge and sponged the rainbow onto my finger.  I made sure to tape it up REALLY well so I wouldn't have a ton of cleanup to do.  I then went over it with a coat of Gelous, dipped a toothpick into the top coat, and placed the charms and rhinestones over the nail.  I added a coat of Gelous to finish it off.

Isn't it so pretty?!?

Here's a closeup of the thumb:

And a closeup of the rest of the nails:

Now go on over to check out what the other participants have done!  I can't wait to see...they've all done such OUTSTANDING work!  I feel like such an amateur compared to them, but that's okay!  I love to see such gorgeous work from all these ladies.
I want to make a quick shoutout to Sandra Bickel of Nails Love Polish:  CONGRATS ON WINNING THE NAIL ART CONTEST!  Her anti-Valentine manicure was so GORGEOUS!  I'm so glad she won <3

Until next time!

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 9-Day Challenge Day Seven

Hello everybody and welcome back!  Today is Day Seven of the wonderful February 9-Day challenge.  Today's theme is....Inspired By A Tutorial!

I went through my YouTube subscriptions and settled on CutePolish.  This gal has some cute ideas and her tutorials are so easy to follow!  As I browsed, I spied a Nightmare Before Christmas tutorial...and immediately thought of my best I watched the tutorial and then browsed Google for some images.  I didn't want to follow this to a T, so I changed it a wee bit.

Here's her tutorial:
Cute Polish Nightmare Before Christmas tutorial

I did Jack's bow tie on my thumb...and then had an idea.  Here's how it came out!

ISN'T HE SO CUTE!  I'm way pleased with how this turned out.  Now check out the middle and thumb together:

And here's a closeup!

Here's what I used:
Orly "Goth" - pointer, ring, and pinky fingers
China Glaze "White on White" - Middle and thumb fingers
White on White and a striping brush was used for the pinstripes and middle of Jack's got a bit glumpy though :(
Goth and a striping brush to create the bow tie, and Jack's eyes and mouth.
Gelous top coat sealed the deal!

Now go check out what the other participants have done for Day 7!  I hope you've enjoyed this so far ^-^.

Friday, February 15, 2013

9-Day Challenge Day 6: Gradient

Howdy y'all!  I hope you had a cool Valentine's Day if you celebrate it, and if not, well, I hope you at least got some chocolate on sale!  Because this is a scheduled post, being written on the 13th, I can't say how my V-day was.  I know I've got two services to do, which makes me so EXCITED.  I love doing nails and just did a service on one of our massage therapists today.  Her nails turned out so cute, I was so happy.  It does me good to hear happy squeals from my clients!

So today's theme is gradient nails.  I was going to do some pretty rainbow gradient nails...but then I saw THIS:

I'm an avid visual kei fan.  This guy is Shou, from Alice Nine.  The moment I saw his jacket I thought "That would make a neat mani!".  So today, as I browsed through my nail inspiration folder for ideas for my client, I saw this and a light bulb went off.  Instead of doing my rainbow gradient, I decided to put this jacket on my nails.  If I could find this and buy it, I'd wear it all the time.  I just love leopard print, mainly if it's on black and white or if it's on rainbow.  As soon as I got home, I got some food, watched "Adrift in Tokyo" (a VERY thought-provoking movie), and got started on these nails.  I have to give myself time in between the moment inspiration hits and when I do it; otherwise, I'll end up being overly critical of the finished product.

And now...on to the nails!  I used China Glaze White on White as the base, sponged Orly Goth at the half-moon and free edge, then sponged Essence Gray-t To Be Here, then sponged more White on White in the middle.  I took an OLD Pure Ice brown polish in Frosted Ice Velvet and dotted random areas in the white, then took Finger Paints Black Expressionism and outlined the dots.  Topped it all with Gelous and here we are:

I love it!  It came out so much better than I expected!  This is the first time I've done a manicure that's come even CLOSE to what I envisioned.  I don't want to take this off, not at all!  I wish I had a gel top coat and LED lamp so I could protect my manicures.  They always come off when I'm doing services because we use acetone, and that stuff RUINS my manicures.  Boo!

The background is my leopard-print skirt that a classmate tried to steal...while I was wearing it!

I hope you've enjoyed this manicure!  I can't wait to see what the other participants have come up with for the gradients!  Be sure to stop by and check them out, and leave a lovely comment :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 9-Day Challenge Day Five

Happy Valentine's Day y'all!  Today's theme is, of course, Valentine's nails. 

I'm going to admit...I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day.  I've only ever gotten roses twice in my life on V-day, and I spent many a year without a Valentine, envying all the girls with romantic significant others.  I'm really a very low-maintenance girl...all I ever ask for is geeky stuff to do with Dr. Who, anime, comics, and Hello Kitty.  So, being the rebel that I am, I decided to do a manicure with my own cynical twist!

It took four tries to get what I wanted to do.  When I'm hashing out ideas, I'll paint each nail on my left hand with an idea until I land on something I like.  I was looking through my nail inspirations folder and saw a cute mani someone had done.  It was in pink, and the thumb nail was covered in opalescent pink hearts.  I thought "Why not?" and did the same...only the hearts I used are green and blue iridescent.  I covered my ring finger in them, and out of boredom and not knowing what to do, I did a black French tip on my pinky finger...the designs on the other three nails came right off, and this is what I ended up with!

I didn't notice the reflection of the hearts on my middle finger until I was looking through the photos.  I LOVE this manicure, so much so that I did it on my right hand and hope to keep it for a few days.


See that flashy reflection again?  I love it!

And it took me about ten tries to get this closeup of the hearts, because I wanted you all to see just how pretty they are!  My camera hates me, I need a new one with a macro setting!


I used: Kiss French base, Orly Goth for the black tips, and China Glaze White cap over the Kiss base before adding the French tip.    On the ring finger, I used two coats of Goth, a generous coat of White on White, and while that was still wet, I added the hearts.  I'm really pleased with this manicure!

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to check out the rest of the participants' pages!  I so can't wait to see what they do!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Memorial Manicure

Hi y'all!  I have a very special manicure to show you today, because tomorrow will mark five years since my grandfather's passing.  He and I were extremely close, closer than even my mother and I were.  While the rest of my family was extroverted, Peepaw and I were introverted.  He understood me better than anyone else did, and we had a blast together.

My favorite memories are of Fridays; school ended, I went home, packed up, and impatiently waited for Peepaw to come pick me up and take me to my grandparents' house.  Every other Friday night was Dallas and Knight Rider, with me and my grandmother popping tons of popcorn and stuffing our faces as we watched our favorite shows.  At bedtime, Peepaw would read to me and then we'd sing our favorite songs until I conked out.  Saturday mornings meant me waking up at 4:00 ready and raring to go fishing with my favorite person.  We'd leave the house at 5, and by 10:00 I was begging him to stay just a "little longer".  I still love to go fish just as much now as I did then.  He said I was the most patient fisherman he'd ever seen!  On the other Friday nights, we three would head out to go square dancing!  I couldn't dance, but I sat and watched my grandparents and their friends dance.  It was so much fun, except for the time I got sick and ended up throwing up into their friends' sweater.  Poor Hazel, I'm sorry I ruined it!

This is my favorite picture of my grandparents.  I have my grandfather's old collar points, the ones he was wearing in this:

The fact that they're both wearing my favorite color may or may not contribute to this being my favorite picture of them ;-).

The best memory, the one that will always warm me up and make me smile, is of mine and Peepaw's pansy bed.  He made a flower bed on the side of their front yard, and every spring we would go pick out new pansies to plant, and plant them together.  I loved this time, and even as a teenager would pester him until he agreed to go do it.  He thought I would be too old for it.  No way!  I loved the time we got to spend together doing "little" things.  Peepaw brought a lot of joy to my life.

Not many of you know...actually, none of you do.  My mother died when I was 14, and my grandparents took me in.  I bonded with them even more strongly during this time, and to see both of them become ill broke my heart.  I was there with Meemaw when she passed, but I didn't have the strength to be with Peepaw.  I didn't want his last moments with me to be filled with tears.  I did sing our favorite Peter, Paul, and Mary song: Puff the Magic Dragon, when I knew he was about to leave.

I'm sorry this is so depressing, but it makes this manicure more significant.  I loved my grandfather dearly, and five years after his passing, I still can't talk (or write) about him without crying.  I miss him every day.  Spring lost its brilliancy, because it was in spring that we planted the pansies.

Peepaw, these are for you.

I chose blue because it was Peepaw's favorite color, and the butterflies represent his freedom.  He's no longer in a world of pain, but he's in a place where there is no death and sadness.  I'm thankful that he and I were so close, and that he sacrificed a lot for me.  I can only hope that I've made him, Meemaw, and Mom proud.

Thank you for stopping by, and don't forget to come back on Valentine's Day for Day Five of the 9-Day Nail Art Challenge!