Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Costumes Part I

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Candy, costumes, does it get any better? Unfortunately, I usually flake in the costume department. I never know what to be until two days prior, and then I don't have time to put together the costume that I want.

This year I managed to get ahead of the game by about a week...but I'm not sharing photos until Friday.

What comes from the sky but cannot fly?
Hint: Blink and you'll miss it.

Can you guess what I am?

This is going to be my last Wednesday post until December. I'm doing National Novel Writing Month this year, and I need to free up a little bit of space in my schedule. I'll still be here on Mondays and Fridays, though, so don't go too far!

See you on Friday!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jack O'Lanterns

Just a quickie I did this weekend:

Brash "On Fire" with details done with a nail art pen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Polish & Skully

I've got another Halloween manicure for you today:

Colors used:
Black--Pure Ice "Touch Me Here"
White--Maybelline Color Show "Porcelain Party"
Details--Claire's nail art pen in black
Topcoat--Seche Vite

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Kind of Inspiration

It's been a few months since I did an "Inspiration Shots" post, hasn't it? I started doing those as a way of sharing and remembering awesome nail art that I'd seen while perusing the interwebs, but then I discovered Pinterest and have been saving everything over there. I've got boards for knitting and crochet, home decor, and even food I have no intentions of ever making, since I don't cook (don't ask). And of course, nail art.

Here are a couple of favorites I've found recently:

What are some neat manis you've found lately?

(P.S. You can follow all of my boards here.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mystery Green

The other day at Target I found this mystery E.L.F. polish for $2, and decided to give it a go. I loved the color in the bottle, even though I'm normally not a green fan.

It went on pretty nice. What you see here is only one coat. Two would probably be better for coverage, but you could certainly get away with one in a pinch.

Sadly, as soon as the polish touched my nail, I could tell it wasn't going to work out. The color looks awful on me. It's much more olive than the emerald it appeared in the bottle, so I handed it over to my roommate since olive is her favorite color.

 Target had a whole collection of these, so I might try another color. My only complaint was that the brush length to cap diameter ratio was rather disproportionate, and it made it a little difficult to apply with any accuracy, since the big clunky cap kept blocking my view of the brush. The polish itself, however, is really nice and well worth the $2.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm melllting....

It's time for the first Halloween manicure of the season:

For this I used Brash "Green Machine," and freehanded the conical hats with a Claire's nail art pen.

I love the way it turned out, and Green Machine is the perfect Oz-y witch color.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Little Bit of Lace

I'm a geek. We've established this. Specifically, I'm a textile geek that nerds out of things like thread count and microns.

So it should come as no surprise that all three of the Salon Effects kits I picked up last week involve textiles in some way. 

First up, Fingerlace Gloves:
I've never used these before. It took me about 20 minutes to apply them, including time spent removing my old polish. I imagine I'll get faster next time. 

As most of you know by now, these are real strips of nail polish that you apply like a decal, and like it says on the box, they were quite easy to apply. The hardest part for me was getting a neat edge after filling off the excess, but I managed. I did some of my clean up with the orange stick that came in the box. 

My nails are short enough right now that I was able to get an entire manicure out of one packet (each box has two). 

According to all of the advertising, these are supposed to last up to ten days. I could tell as soon as I put them on that I would need a topcoat, so even though it doesn't say to in the instructions, I put some Seche Vite on top. 


For the most part, it had the desired effect, but the problem with SV is that it shrinks terribly, and pulled up the edges of some of the nail polish strips. Not a big deal, since once they were dry I could trim off the curled bits. 

After three days, however, I can say that there is a little tip wear, and because I'm slightly neurotic I did start picking at the polish--will remove the rest of it later tonight or tomorrow. Overall, though, they did seem to hold up better than regular nail polish--with the addition of the topcoat. Without it, they were very soft and in places didn't want to stick (mostly jsut tiny, unnoticible places, but the kind of places where a small problem was likely to turn into a larger one, like on the edge of the nail.)

Each kit contains two packets of strips (I believe there are 8 in each packet), a mini nail file, and an orange stick along with the instructions. My nails are about 1/2-3/4 of an inch long from cuticle to tip, and since my left hand is half a size smaller than my right, I could apply the narrow end of each strip on my left hand, then use the wider, leftover end on my right. Viola, I now have 2 manis per box instead of one, so if you don't have talons, these are an excellent value, especially when you factor in that I bought them for $3.99 at Marshalls.

I like the lace pattern, and I think I'm going to use the second set for Halloween, since it perfectly matches my masquerade mask. I would like to try combining these with other techniques--like adding rhinestones or stamping subtle patterns over top. I also want to try them with a base coat, even though the instructions say to apply to bare nails. 


Friday, October 12, 2012

Pretty in Pink

Are you getting sick of the PSAs? I promise I'll make this one short, since a picture is worth a thousand words.



P.S. A handful of those thousand words would read something like this: "My great aunt is an amazing woman who has been battling a very rare and aggresive form of breast cancer called Inflamatory Breast Carcenoma, or IBC, since the late 90's. She has a book about her experiences available here." 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reruns for a Cause

It recently came to my attention that October is anti-bullying month. I'm not entirely certain how this tidbit managed to slip by me. Had I known, I would have planned an entire month of blue manicures, since that is not only my favorite color, but the color for the whole anti-bullying movement, and this is a cause quite close to my heart.

On my personal blog, I've talked about this several times, though I don't think I've ever gone into detail.

The first time I remember being bullied, it was in the third grade, at our Thanksgiving party. a group of girls I wanted to be friends with intentionally changed the rules of a game they were playing to leave me out. When I realized what they were doing, I cried. One of them asked what was wrong, and I gave a rather nasty response. I got into trouble while they were the "victims" of my foul language.

Fast forward to middle school, and it expanded. I was made fun of for how I dressed, what I read, my grads--be they good or bad--the way I talked, who my friends were, anything they could think of. I kept a lot of it to myself, because when I went to an adult I was always told either that I should ignore them and they would leave me alone, or I needed to grow a thicker skin. On the few occasions they actually listened, they merely chastised the bullies, which only made things worse.

One guy was particularly bad. Not only did he make fun of me verbally every time he saw me--and we had several classes together--he would knock my books off of my desk, or out of my arms, pull my hair throw wadded paper at me, and leave notes in my locker once or twice a day. he was a known trouble maker, however, so the response from my teachers was usually, "Well, what do you expect us to do?" No amount of detention, suspension, or other punishments had an effect.

Do you remember Willow, from Buffy? Season one Willow, I mean. Shy, awkward, just looking to belong. That was me. Most days I wanted to hide or run away. It was hard to concentrate, and I frequently wound up crying in class--which of course only made the teasing worse.

One day, though, I'd just had it. Instead of feeling hurt, I got angry, just like that day on the playground. That guy had been coming up behind me between every class, putting his arm around me, grabbing my stuff, whispering nasty things in my ear.

And I got mad. I snapped.

I'd never once defended myself. I tried to be good. I either ran away and cried, or I found the nearest adult--just like we were supposed to.

But nothing ever changed.

So that day I said, "Don't touch me. Ever. I mean it."

He bounded off laughing. What could I, smallest girl in the seventh grade, do to him?

A few minutes later, I felt a hand on my shoulder.

"I told you not to touch me!" I drew back my elbow and drove it as hard as I could into his face.

Except it wasn't his face.

It was my homeroom teacher's stomach.

In today's world of zero tolerance, I probably would have been expelled or at least suspended, especially if I'd hit my intended target. Had I not had the rapport I did with my teachers--and that one in particular--I probably still would have been punished.

I am not advocating violence in any way, but in my situation, it had the desired effect. Once he could breathe again, and I'd apologized profusely and explained the mistake (in the process drawing the attention of another teacher) he was understanding. Both teachers were aware not only of the boy's reputation, but that I was his favorite target. They were not aware of the severity, however.

The two of them told me not to worry about him any more, that they would take care of it. Sure enough, later that same day my science teacher caught him putting a note in my locker. He confiscated it. I still don't know what it said, but from that point on he wasn't allowed to so much as look at me, and within a few weeks was expelled, though I believe for an unrelated incident.

I still got bullied. I was still left out. But it was never again as bad as it was in seventh grade. 

Many years later, I met a girl who had bullied me in middle school at a fast food place. Do you know what she did to me? 

She hugged me. 

She acted like we were long lost friends, and that the last time we'd exchanged more than two words she hadn't tried to rearrange my braces. 

While neither of these two are on my Christmas list, the point I am trying to make is that no matter how bad things are, there's always someone who can help you. Maybe it's someone you dismissed before, thinking they wouldn't listen, or someone who hasn't acted yet because they don't realize how bad things really are. 

Second--it will pass. Eventually, they will move, or you will; you'll graduate, or they will lose interest, or you'll find that person or people who can help you. You'll look back, and their blurry faces won't even matter, except as a small stepping stone towards the strong, wonderful person you were meant to be. 

Bullies will always exist in one form or another. They make us stronger. 

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be looking for the door when one walks into your life. 

I've done variations on the blue layered mani before (here and here for those interested), and I really like this look. I decided to go skittles style for this one, because the whole idea behind stopping bullying is that everyone is accepted for who they are.

Colors used: 
Pinky: Sally Hansen Chrome "Aquamarine Chrome"
Ring: Finger Paints "Tiffany Imposter" and China Glaze "Dorothy Who?"
Middle: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure "Calypso Blue" 
Index: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "Blue By" and China Glaze "Dorothy Who?"
Thumb: Revlon "Mysterious"

Don't forget to add some glitter. Never be afraid to shine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Got Distracted

I was going to show you pictures of the Salon Effects I bought last week, but before I even opened the boxes, I came across this at Target:

Sinful Colors Sinfully Magnetic "Captivate Me." 

I love the color. It's a great pinky-purple that fits well with my wardrobe. Between the shimmer and the magnetic effect, this color has so much depth, it's almost holographic, with the image seeming to move in different light or from different angles. 

I'm not really sure why, but my left pinky wouldn't take the pattern. You can see the beginnings of it there near the cuticle, but that's as much as I got. 

The Sinful colors uses a ring magnet, which made it easy to hang on to and I didn't have to mess with setting it down and picking it back up again in between nails. I did notice that the pattern didn't take quite as well on some of my nails. It kind of looks like there's a lense flare or something, just a big blank patch. I assume this has to do with the shape of my nails and that section being too close or too far from the magnet, but I can't be sure. 
On it's own, I love the color and it coves well in only one coat. I can see using it by itself (without the magnet). I also really liked some of the other colors in the collection, and would like to get more of them--and at only $4.99 each (versus $9.99 for the Sally Hansen version, and we all know how I feel about SH) I'll probably end up with at least 3-4 more, if not the whole collection.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Finds

I am utterly exhausted, but I wanted to share a few of the items I've picked up over the past few weeks, since I keep forgetting to do this segment.

First, cosmetics:
Back row:
Sally Hansen Salon Effects in "Fingerlace Gloves," "Zip It," and "Good Genes."  ($3.99/ea, Marshalls)
Front row:
Brash "Blue Dream" and "On Fire." (2 for $5 at Payless on sale)
Wet n Wild Fantasy Makers color hairspray "Shrew Blue" ($1.99, Giant Eagle)
Wet n Wild Glow in the dark polish ($1.99, Giant Eagle)
Cover Girl Lip Perfection pencil in color 205 "Smoky Intense." (Target. I don't remember the price, but probably in the $2-3 range.)

I'll probably play around with the Salon Effects and the hairspray this weekend, and you've already seen Blue Dream once or twice as part of various manicures. The lip pencil is a perfect match for my favorite lipstick.

I talked about the glow in the dark polish earlier this week. Just to say I did, I tried again after taking that photo. One of the lights I use is a desklamp with a daylight bulb in it, and it got the bottle glowing really well after only a minute. So I took it into the bathroom, which was dark, twisted off the top, and....nothing. The polish on the brush itself was completely flat. Not a single spark of light in it. Since it was only $1.99 and I don't have the receipt, I just threw it out. I'm super disapointed. I was really looking forward to having glowy nails, and this is the first time Wet n Wild has let me down. It's not even that the polish itself is crap--it goes on really well and stayed on nicely even without a top coat, it didn't have an unsightly yellow greenish tinge to it, it just didn't work.

And now, the shoes:

Left: Etienne Aigner "Jodell" pumps ($34.99, Marshalls)
I needed another pair of basic black pumps, and while these aren't quite basic, they are pretty tame, can be worn with a lot of different things, have a sensible heel, are comfortable, and can do double duty with my steampunk costumes. Normally I would only spend about $20 and get the simplest pair of shoes I could find, but I fell in love with these and they're quality; should last quite a long time. They're the type of shoes I could see getting repaired, rather than replaced.

Right: G by Guess heels, style VABII-M ($29.99, Marshalls)
These are not a sensible heel. They cannot be worn with every outfit, or even most outfits. I can't walk or even stand in them for long periods of time (...yet), but they're just Everyone who has seen these just kind of nodds like, "Oh yes. It's Sophia. Of course she bought those." The photo really doesn't do them justice, but my camera does not like artificial light in the least. They're really quite a bright blue, and not purple-y at all, but even my photo editing software couldn't fully combat the horror that is my camera indoors (the color quality is much better on macro shots, but still not great).

Dubbed "The Wonder Woman Shoes" I am attempting to build a Halloween costume around them (you know, to justify the purchase. Even though this is really the only completely superfluous thing I've bought in ages. Other than maybe nail polish). Too bad I can't wear them to work. I can't imaging walking on them on tile for eight hours.

What did you buy recently, just for the fun of it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


You're going to laugh at me.

Earlier in the summer, there was a meme going around of different nail artists and polish designers showing their workspace and how they store their polishes. This was interesting, but I did not take part, since my collection wasn't large enough at the time to merit organizing, fitting neatly into a drawer of my jewelry armoire. This week, however, I acquired a few new polishes, and they didn't fit in the drawer, so I had to come up with alternate space.

This is the part where you can laugh. My oversized collection of 34 bottles of every-day use polish (with a couple of topcoats thrown in) fits into a shoebox.

With my stamping supplies.

And doesn't even fill it:

That's a far cry from the 100-200 bottles I've heard some people mention. I like polish, and I try to make sure that I have every color represented, but I avoid anything that might be a duplicate, I don't like most shimmer polishes, and I'm super picky about my glitters, since they harken back to the chipped manicures of middle school students for me. The shoestring is short, so each polish I own occupies a specific place, filling a certain role. I frequently mix polishes to get the desired color or effect. I have to--there's no sense in buying a bottle of grey polish when I'll only use it once in a blue moon, if that. I'm not a fan or orange, so a single bottle of orange polish is all I need. I have one bottle of yellow for doing flower centers and certain effects, and don't wear it otherwise because on the whole, yellow is one of the worst colors for me to wear, along with most shades of green.

One change that I did make was to pick up some sticky labels from the grocery store and swatch each color on it. Most of my bottles have very similar tops, so being able to spot the color right away makes things much easier.

At some point, I will get around to decorating the box, or perhaps switch to a more sturdy, plastic version. Eventually, I imagine that my supplies with necessitate a second box. But for now, a single shoebox that lives under the jewelry armoire is fine by me. I'm pretty easy to please.

Monday, October 1, 2012


 My weekend manicure was a little bit of a change for me. I decided to use the unnamed pinky-purple Color Zone polish. If you remember, this came from a neon kit I acquired some time ago, and quickly decided I didn't like the neon pink or the clear glitter that came with it, so it was several weeks before I even tried this polish.

 Despite how poorly the bright pink preformed, I really like the way this one came out. Next to the pink, I would have called it purple, but as you can see that isn't really the case. It does have some glitter in it, but mostly it shows up as a texture rather than shine. Still, I love the color and I kept looking at it at work.
I was a little disapointed in this manicure, because I wasn't just test driving the Color Zone, but a Wet n Wild polish I picked up at Giant Eagle (more on that this Friday).

I thought, hey, it's $1.99 Wet n Wild. I like them. And I've been wanting a glow in the dark, Plus, cute tombstone bottle. What could go wrong? 

Turns out, it doesn't work. 

First, I did little patterns with this polish--just a stripe here or there to test it out.


I held it in front of a lamp. I held my hand in front of the window. I didn't use a top coat for fear it would keep the polish from working. 


So I tested the bottle--it glows like a nightlight. I put on a second, all-over coat, thinking that maybe it just didn't get shaken up well enough the first time.

STILL nothing. I literally can't get this polish to glow when I am wearing it. Not even a glimmer.

On the bright side (no pun intended), it goes on clear so it didn't distort the color of my polish, just added shine. Even if it didn't work, I can still see potentially using it for a shine-on-matte stamping mani, though it would be a hundred times more awesome of the shiny parts GLOWED. 


Have you ever had this problem?