Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Hiatus


I truly apologize for my recent hiatus.  I have been having health problems for quite a while now (nothing life threatening, just life interrupting) and I started a new job in July, at which I work 50+ hours a week.  So, between my health, my job, and what little time left over I have for my husband, family, and friends I have not been able to wiggle in blogging.  Thankfully, my health insurance will kick in in October and I will be able to beginning exploring possible solutions.  My hope is that once I get my health back under control I will be able to continue my love of spreading nail joy.

I have not, however, stopped doing my nails  :)  So, for now my goal is to keep the galleries (which I have separated into Nail Art and Swatches & Plain Manicures) and collection list updated.  I will also answer any questions concerning these and related topics as quickly as my schedule allows.  I hope that y'all can understand and forgive me.  I do miss y'all and promise that I will be back as soon as possible.

Thanks & Gig 'em!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Think "Biggs"


I know I haven't gotten a post up in awhile, and honestly I don't know when the next one will go up, but this has been heavy on my heart for awhile...

Today's manicure is inspired a wonderful young man that has changed many lives and continues to be an inspiration to others.  On January 22nd of this year, a dear friend of mine lost her youngest brother in a tragic car accident.  The driver of the vehicle was drunk and lost control at high speed.  God's only mercy was that Brice "Biggs" Contreras, a passenger and not driver, was killed instantly and did not suffer.  I have experienced a great deal of death in my life, too much of it alcohol or poor choice related.  But this one was still extremely difficult, just in a different way.  I did not know Brice directly, but I felt like I knew him.  And, I know that he was starting down a very rewarding path when God took him home, but because of a young man's determination to drive under the influence I will never get to meet Brice in this life or see him become a great man that changes the world.  But my difficulties and grief arefor his family.  They have to find a way to make it through each day and he has two newborn nephews that will never feel his warm touch here on Earth.  His older nephew keeps asking when he'll be back from Heaven.  Tragedies such as these CAN and SHOULD be avoided.  If you drink, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not drive.  Nothing may happen, or you may make many people's worlds stop turning.

The base color of this inspired manicure, OPI DS Magic (which by the way applies beautifully and I adore), was actually given to me by Brice's mother and as soon as I saw it I knew that the first manicure I did with it had to honor Brice (and each after would remind me of him).  He loved the Dallas Mavericks and this blue just screams of Mav spirit.  The stamping is done with Orly Luxe faded into Orly Dazzle and Konad Image Plate m83.  I know the Mav's colors do not include gold, but hear me out (besides it's not obvious at all).  The pattern reminded me of both plants and fire.  So I used the gold and silver to be representative of it all.  Why plants and fire you ask?  Well, Brice was showing immense growth at the time of his death and he has caused immense growth in others.  Also, Brice had an inner fire that spread to those around him anytime he was around.  He was warm and caring, a friend to all.  How do I know this if I never actually met him myself, you ask?  Because I know people that knew him and he made a difference in them.

The world needs more people like Brice and fewer people driving drunk.  Please think before you get into a car under the influence or not, you are in control of a weapon that can end lives.  Please pay attention and be mindful.  Think "Biggs", because you're actions are bigger than yourself.  In April, Brice's family and many friends walked with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to raise funds and awareness.  They are in the process of creating a website for a foundation created in his memory, Think "Biggs".  Please check periodically to see how you can help once the website is up and running.

 Thanks & Gig 'em!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's Independence Day, but Everyday is Memorial Day and Veteran's Day


I know today is Independence day (and I am sporting a red, white, and blue mani toady since I can't stand wearing a mani that is chipped :/), so this post seems a little out of place timing-wise, but I truly mean the sentiment in the title.  This day 230+ years ago a group of very brave men put their lives on the line by taking a stand.  Many of them went on to do so on the battlefield as well.  The tradition of proud, strong-willed Americans defending freedom continues today.  So, in my humble opinion, today we should all not only think of and celebrate the men that began that tradition, but the men and women that continue it.  I know the American government isn't the most popular subject or entity around, at home or abroad.  Honestly, I'm not always a fan.  But I am still proud to be an American, and I am more proud of the men and women that have fought, do fight, and will fight for America.  I am always humbled to say thank you to a veteran or soldier.

So, I decided to do some nail art inspired by those wonderful men and women in fatigues in hopes that if someone noticed it I would get to remind that person of the people that inspired them.

I used Essie Mochacino and then painted a side tip with Essie Armed & Ready, then stamped it with Konad Special White and plate m7 across the tip.  The intention was that the bottom of the bow would land where the two colors met.  I didn't quite manage on every nails, but close enough that the general public was impressed lol

Have fun and be safe today.  And, do me a favor if you get the chance, tell a service man or woman thank you.  And not just once, but every chance you get.

Thanks & Gig 'em!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Black Knight


I recently had the opportunity to crush a MAJOR lemming, butter LONDON The Black Knight, from Ashley of Ashley is Polish Addicted on her blog sale.  I must say, it is the most mesmerizing black I have EVER seen.  I knew I would love it from reviews on other blogs, but I had no idea that I would be spellbound by it in person!  The pictures below do NOT even BEGIN to barely capture the beauty of this polish.  It applies without flaw, but did need a couple coats of Seche Vite to get a smooth finish on it (I'm not a fan of feeling the texture when I touch my nails), which only makes it even more gorgeous.  A guy friend of mine likened it to a custom paint job with a heavy metallic flake and super high gloss finish, obviously he liked it lol

If you get the opportunity to obtain this beautiful, sexy lady, DO IT!  You will not regret it!

Thanks & Gig 'em!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Retro Review


I found some old manicure pictures the other and decided that it might benefit some of you for me to do a review on some of the polishes used, namely the Essie Luxeffects Collection, since they're still readily available and you might be wanting some glitters.  I added them to the new NOTD Gallery, as well :)  The Luxeffects collection is a topcoat collection, so it doesn't require anything on top.  With that said, I do use my usual Seche Vite over it for a couple of reasons actually.  First, because I like a smooth finish.  Second, because I CANNOT keep my hands still long enough for the manicure to dry otherwise. lol  (Please excuse the chubby-ish fingers.  These were last year and I was still losing weight.  Also note that this is was before I expanded my horizons past Essie polishes.)

First up, the one that is probably my least favorite of collection (though still a beauty and I love her), As Gold As It Gets.  In this picture she is over Essie Pretty Edge (it was a Christmas manicure).  She is fairly subtle, so the name is a slight misnomer.  But over, a great option for a little glitz.

The next lady is also a subtle one, rather coy actually.  Pure Pearlfection, here over Essie Midnight Cami, makes any polish look star-kissed.  It's glitter is super fine, quite pearly (definitely got this name right :)), and rather dense therefore it doesn't call for a thick layer at all.

Shine of the Times seems to be a favorite of many.  Some call her a flakie.  She definitely comes alive on top of dark underwear, here over Essie Luxedo.  Depending on the light and angle you could be dazzle with a whole spectrum of colors from magentas, fuchsias, yellows, lime greens, blues, and everything in between.

The next two are truly my favorites of the collection the silver glitter is Set in Stones and the rosy glitter is A Cut Above.  Both are a mixture of round and hex glitter in various sizes.  They look like you sequined your finger tips.  I cannot count the number of compliments I received while wearing either glitter.  So many people said it looks like I'm wearing diamonds on nails when I wear Set in Stones, ironic, huh?  Even funnier, I sell diamonds!  I was going to say that both of these wear like iron, but I think wear like a diamond is more fitting ;)  You'll definitely need acetone to get them off.

Do you have any of the Luxeffects?  Or now plan to pick some up?

Thanks & Gig 'em!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tip Top of the Line


As I write this I completely feel like a rockstar...  I was contacted by a wonderful lady named Joan, the Director and Founder of Tip Top Products, about reviewing some of their products.  I was completely shocked and flattered.  Obviously, I said yes.  I was baking cookies Monday when all the sudden my doorbell was ringing and it sounded like the door was about to be broken down.  I rushed to the door and was pleasantly surprised by a mailman asking me to sign for my international package.  Oh, did I mention that Tip Top Products is a South African company!  I could barely contain my excitement when I realized what I was holding.  I tore into the package and started to open the the cello bag before I realized I should take a picture lol  Joan kindly sent me four bottles of polish to review.  From left to right of the bottom line-up in the picture:  Nail Addict by Tip Top Café Café, Love From Above, Dangerous Robot, and Smell the Roses.

To begin with, I ADORE THE BRUSH!  It not the usual thick or thin, but holds the polish in such a way that it evenly disperses it as you pull it across you nail and doesn't drag AT ALL!

First up in the review, my least favorite of the four as far as application/formula is concerned, Love From Above.  Let me qualify that with I adore the brightness and slight silver shimmer (hard to see in the pictures) of this polish.  The picture above is the first coat.  The pictures to the left and right alternative three and two coats from the index finger down to the pinkie with no top coat.  I think a topcoat might bring out the shimmer more, but didn't think to try it until after my sweet dog, Buddy, messed up the swatches.  I polish is on thin side, so I definitely recommend three thinish coats to achieve even opacity.  I am looking forward to future art with this polish.

Next up is a polish that I am completely over the moon about and my mother (who doesn't wear polish on her fingernails hardly EVER) was completely drooling over.  Café Café is a camel tan with a wonderful gold shimmer.  The formula is the perfect consistency.  Thick, but not gloopy, still thin enough to spread easily.  The picture to the right is just one coat in two different lights.  The pictures below are two coats with no top coat, and the shimmer is completely alive.  This is a polish that I, and apparently my mother, will get many a mile out of.  I just wish that the bottle were bigger!

Smell the Roses is right on par with Café Café.  The same perfect consistency, maybe a little better even.  If you look to the right, the picture is only one coat! Someone could totally get away with wearing it this way.  It is such a gorgeous bright and rosy, but deep, reddish pink.  It's actually really hard to completely describe and capture this stunning shimmery polish.  The below pictures are two coats and no top coat.  Again, the shimmer is dancing in the light even without the top coat.

The next polish is actually a jelly based polish, of which I own very few.  Jellies aren't usually my thing honestly.  I prefer polishes that end up opaque and jellies never quite seem to get there, even an extremely pigmented one like this.  But, I was very impressed by this polish.  And even if I weren't, the name is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!  I would love to hear how it came about it's name :)  Above to the right is one coat (ring finger) versus two coats (pinkie).  Below that is two (ring finger) versus three (pinkie).  And finally at the end is three (ring finger) versus four (pinkie).  Interestingly, in the last picture the polish on pinkie seems opaque, but in real life it wasn't quite there.  I considering attempting my first jelly sandwich with Dangerous Robot.  Actually, I'm dying to try a jelly sandwich with Dangerous Robot!  So definitely be on the look out for that NOTD :D

I want to say a BIG, HUGE, Texas-sized "THANK YOU" to Joan and Tip Top Products for choosing me to review their wonderful products.  I am so grateful and still so flattered and surprised.  I look forward to ordering more polishes from from Tip Top one day in the future.  Until then, there will definitely be plenty of NOTD manicures with the ones above. :D  Don't forget to like them on Facebook either!

Thanks & Gig 'em!

**** The products reviewed in this post were provided at no cost to myself by the company for my honest review.  The opinions expressed above are my own, completely honest, and unbiased.  I received no further compensation than the polishes themselves.****

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Teeny Bit of Essie Bikini So Teeny

I recently convinced my husband (man, I love saying that!!!) that I needed some new polish.  Ok, maybe I simply convinced him that I was deserving of a treat. lol.  And since I had coupons for Ulta I decided to get a couple of colors from the new Essie collection.  I debated a bit.  I really liked Bikini So Teeny, but felt that I had a similar blue here at home.  With that in mind and Wade's votes I settled on Off the Shoulder and Mojito Madness.

Mojito Madness is a slightly muted kelly green.  More like the color of actual mint leaf lol  I was really on the fence about this color until it go on my nails, then I loved it!  Which, might I add, is completely out of character for me since I am SO not normally a green person. Not only did I love the color, but the application was a breeze, even with the tiny brush.

Off the Shoulder was equally amazing.  Bright, cheerful, and honestly the closest comparison I can think of is the color of Double Bubble just after you start chewing it (sorry if that was a little too gross for anyone, but it is the closest color comparison I can manage).  Application was wonderful for this polish, as well.  I see myself getting alot of wear out of Off the Shoulder this season.

 I had a little bit of extra time that day and was feeling spunky, so I added a little art, including a rhinestone for the first time ;)  I used Essie Bachelorette Bash off the shoulder to create a diagonal path of various sized polka dots on all but my index fingers.  Then, I use Bachelorette Bash to create a four petal flower on the top, outside (pinky-side) corner as to make sure that it was focal point.  Finally, I added a tiny green rhinestone in the center of each set of the petals to complete the flowers and topcoated.  And, viola!  I got so many compliments on this mani and I truly adore the flower nails!  I will most definitely do another manicure with these flowers as the inspiration.

On a related note...  I had always been nervous about using rhinestones in a design, but I have a tendency to chip my polish, as I am pretty hard on my nails.  But, when I changed this manicure to do my Jubilee Manicure.  I had to WORK to get the rhinestone off!  So, for those of you interested, but timid towards rhinestones, try it!  They apparently stay put... lol!  (please excuse the staining, just part of having fabulously decorated nails ;))

Thanks & Gig 'em!