A Lannister Always Pays His Debts

10 Feb

With the last couple of posts, you might be wondering if this is still even a nail art blog. Well, that’s just silly of you, of course this is a nail art blog. With my new OPI Base Coat for Peeling and Sensitive Nails, my nails are actually returning to normal. (Do you remember how terrible they were? All peeling… ugh, like nails on a chalkboard (ha)! So annoying!) Anyway, with the new year in full swing, let’s get back to the good stuff, hm?

So, let us return to the manicure series I’m most excited about; the Game of Thrones manicures. If you missed the first in the series, here’s a handy link to the House Baratheon mani. (If you don’t know what Game of Thrones is, please head over to that link to read enough to understand what the hell I’m talking about.) To date, the Baratheon mani is still the most frustrating mani I have ever done. I think that’s why I’ve avoided Game of Thrones’ manicures since; PTSD. You’ll be happy to know that the next one I did was super simple and completely stress-free. Can you guess which house I did from the picture below? (Of course you know, I gave it away in the picture above. It was a rhetorical question, jeez.)

Mmm, bubbly.If you guessed House Lannister, you are correct! The title of this post was kind of a trick since their actual house words are “Hear me roar!” but who cares about that? (No one.) Their unofficial motto is much more bad-ass, especially if you come from a line of bankers. Anyway, their sigil is a golden lion on a field of crimson. With a sigil like that, the nail art design was a cake walk.

To start with, pick out a nice, rich red and a gold polish. Gold polishes are kind of all over the place (shimmer, glitter, hue, etc.) but I think they’d all work really well with this mani, so pick out your favorite. I went with Oi! Another Polish Joke by OPI for the gold because it was the smoothest (mine all have some sort of glitter in it) and wasn’t too dark. For red, I went with OPI’s Tomorrow Never Dies. It was the richest, brightest red I had in my collection. There are so many reds out there in polish land, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that works. (My trouble was deciding which one worked best.) If you happen to have this exact color in your collection, I advice to gently roll the bottle in your hands to mix, instead of shaking, and allow extra time to dry. The gold polish came out perfectly, but the red eventually succumbed to terrible bubbles. (Which is a step up from the peeling nails, which left weird, large bumps in the polish, but still sad.)

Roar I'ma Lion!

I’d like to say I had everything planned out perfectly, but I would never lie to you. I originally wanted to put a design on my thumb and index finger, my norm, but painted the index finger gold without much thought. Only when all my fingertips were painted and dry did I realize my error. My designs, created with stickers, were gold. Gold on gold does not work, so I improvised. Remember, nail art is fun, so don’t let little slips in foresight throw you. Just move onto plan B. (Or C, and then D) My plan B was to simply move the index finger design to the middle finger. Easy peasy. So let’s talk about what I actually did, instead of what I meant to do.

All fingernails get painted with your red, except the index finger which gets your lovely gold polish. Once dry, you can apply the stickers. You can get nail stickers all over the internet, as well in a lot of beauty supply stores such as Sally’s. I suggest thinking of a mani, then seeking out the stickers for it, instead of buying tons of stickers and having no idea what to do with them. I found some gold lion stickers that I knew would work perfectly, and on the same sticker sheet were tons of crowns to choose from. I hadn’t considered crowns, but the Lannisters are sort of running the show in Westeros at the moment, so it seemed to fit. I’ve been hoarding these stickers for when I finally did my Lannister mani.

Hear me Roar!Stickers are so much easier to use than I thought they would be. I used a small pair of tweezers and peeled the sticker up gently. Still using the tweezers, I gently laid the sticker on top of the nail and placed it where I wanted it. When it was in place, I pressed down gently with the pad of my finger, ensuring each edge of the sticker was firmly on the nail. This is quite easy when the nails are completely dry. If they’re not, you can warp or bubble the polish, which I sort of did with my little stone accents. (look closely, see the little bit of polish rising up the edges? I pressed too hard!) Anyway, I placed the lion, since his design was vertical, in the center on my thumbnail, while the crown I placed at the tip. You know, like my fingernail was crowned KING OF ALL FINGERNAILS.

Ahem. Sorry, got a little over-zealous there.

My weird Vulan-like hand postion here...

Speaking of accent stones, I used gold/yellow stones (again, check online for a wide variety) to sort of spice up the stickers. I placed three flaring around the stickers, and a single one on my pinkie. The single stone at the base of the nail seems to be very trendy at the moment, so if you don’t have stickers, you can always consider that idea. (One of the mani’s I’ve seen done that I really enjoy is a shimmer blue, a holographic if you have it, with small white pearls at the base. So classy! So elegant!)

King of All!There’s not much else to say about the mani really. Very simple, with lots of room to experiment with. With a few stripes on the index nail (tape off the gold, then paint on a red coat, remove striping tape and ta da!) you’ve got a Harry Potter Gryffindor mani complete with a necktie accent nail. If you’re creative, this could become an Iron Man mani. Red and gold always work well together, so have fun!

Difficulty? 4/10 This mani wasn’t difficult at all, as long as you have all your supplies and are ready to go. I highly suggest using tweezers to make it easier on you, and your freshly painted nails. Just make sure to put a nice thick layer of top coat on it once your designs are all in place, and you’re good to go.

Final Thoughts? The Lannisters might not get a lot of love aside from Tyrion, but I love them all. Cersei is such an interesting character to watch/read that I really enjoy her chapters. Do I like her? Not in the least. Everyone loves Tyrion (he’s my favorite character) so there’s no need to talk about him. Jamie really changed throughout the books and I grew to really like him. He’s already begun to change in the show, so I don’t consider that a spoiler. Tywin may be a terrible father, but damn, that man is genius. …Any other Lannisters aren’t worth mentioning (*cough*Joffrey*cough*). I hope my mani does them proud, as a lion should be.

Small edit: Fixed title because it was embarrassing me. :)

Tag: The Seven Deadly Sins

29 Jan

The Seven Deadly Sins – minus Brad Pitt, sadly. What the hell is that? It’s a blog tag I was invited to do via gingerlovesmakeup (click the link to check out her blog) and it just sounded like too much fun to pass up.

ImageHere’s Dulce showing us what the sin of Sloth looks like.

Greed: What’s your most expensive beauty item?
That is a really hard question to answer… I don’t tend to buy expensive stuff, just a lot of it! If I had to pick a single item, it would probably be OPI’s Marah Carey Pure. I think it was around $30, which for a single polish is a little nuts!

Wrath: What item do you have a strong love/hate relationship with?
This one is easy. Any glitter polish ever made by anyone. It doesn’t matter brand, color, indie or corporate. They are all so amazing, and  yet so terrible to remove. I hate, hate the feeling of scrapping off glitter polish. The cotton ball gets all caught in it… it’s just bad. (But they’re so shiny!)

Gluttony: What brand takes up most of your collection?
OPI for sure. 85% of my collection is OPI polish, with some other polishes sprinkled in. When I started nail art, I wanted a good variety of nail polish colors to do designs I wanted. OPI is a solid brand that rarely has issues (application, bubbles, etc.) so it made up the majority of my nail polishes. Recently however, I’ve been branching out into indies for the sheer variety. (Thermal nail polish? Yes, please.)

Sloth: What product do you ignore the most due to laziness?
Makeup. Any type of makeup. I love makeup, don’t get me wrong, but I tend to go to work all natural. Do I have the natural beauty to pull this off? No, not at all. Lucky for me, only a few coworkers see me a day, and they’ll just have to deal with my hideous face! :D (Just kidding guys!)

Anyway, if I’m going someplace other than work, I put on makeup. Eyeliner is the product that gets sacrificed if I don’t have the time or energy.

Pride: Which product gives you the most confidence?
Well, do you mean gives me the most confidence, or I have the most confidence in? Well, the answer is sort of both. I love eyeshadow. When applied right, it makes such a dramatic difference, and I like that it brings attention to my eyes. It’s one of the most noticeable makeups too. The product I have the most confidence in is Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. I can sleep (trust me, I know) and my eyeshadow stays on, and not just a little dab on, but the full smokey eye.

Lust: What item is at the top of your list?
Any Deborah Lippmann polish I don’t own! Ugh, they’re all so interesting!

Envy: Which makeup product/look looks great on others but not on you?
Bright lipstick colors. Maybe I just view myself through a different filter than the rest of women, but I think bold, red lips look completely out of place on me!

Phew, that wasn’t too bad, was it? You all know me so well now (even if you didn’t want to)! What are your 7 deadly sins?

Tune in next time, for my next Game of Thrones’ manicure! (Spoiler Alert, the House sigil is a lion. :) )

The Jolly Vox Box!

28 Jan

So I joined this crazy site called Influenster and managed, somehow to nab a Jolly Vox Box, which is a small box of goodies you get sent to test and review. They don’t pay for any of my reviews and I’m not obligated to be nice. While this is a nail art blog and I had hoped to review something along those lines, I was still thrilled to be included. Therefore, I figured I’d do the review on an off-day and hope no one notices.

So anyway, I didn’t really think I was going to get anything great in this box. I am a strict, “if it sounds too good to be true, it is!” girl through and through. Surprisingly though, everything in the box was a hit!

ReviewBox1

This unassuming package came for me over the holidays, but I didn’t want to do a review until I had actually tried all the products. I’m not going to lie to you because I got some freebies. So let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

ReviewBox2Starting from the upper left and going clockwise, Skinny Cow divine chocolates (peanut butter creme!), NYC HD Color in Long Beach Sands (781) eyeshadow, DuckTape, Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer, and Puffs Tissues (Plus Aloe). And these weren’t tiny little samples either, these were full sized products. So, how did they do?

Skinny Cow Divine Chocolates (Peanut Butter Creme): I was really skeptical about these. I’ve tried ‘diet’ chocolate before and they can taste kind of waxy, or have that weird not-quite-sweet flavor. I put off eating these for quite awhile until late one night I had the unsatisfiable desire for candy! I popped open the box and offered one to my fiancé. He saw they were ‘diet’ and passed. I was very, very happy he did.

These, in a word, are amazing. Imagine a peanut butter cup, but instead of fluffy filling, a gooey caramel-like creme of peanut butter. The chocolate was perfect in flavor and it had just the right amount of firmness. There were two in each package, and quite a few packages. As someone watching what they eat, that is a lot of bang for your caloric buck.

Seeing my enjoyment my fiancé changed his mind and tried one himself. He loved them as much as I did and I regretfully had to share. I will be trying out more of these in the future for sure.

NYC Long Beach Sands Eyeshadow: Who can go wrong with eyeshadow? Of all makeup (that doesn’t include nail polish of course), eyeshadow is my all-time favorite. You can go super bold with pops of bright color, or just do a nude color and add a little brightness to your eyes. So many options, so little time.

I tend to use only Sephora/MAC sold name brands when it comes to makeup, such as Urban Decay and Bare Minerals, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of NYC. I have never heard of it before, but it went on smoothly and the color palette was a great nude eye. I can see it working with nearly every skin tone and was the perfect color to wear to work. As with most eyeshadows, it wore off by midday without a proper eyeshadow primer. With a primer it lasted to the end of the day.

Ducktape: I’m going to have to confess that I haven’t gotten the chance to try this out yet, but I plan to! I mean, what isn’t to love about ducktape? You need something taped together, ducktape is there for you. This had an interesting twist by sporting a fun, bright pattern. While it’s a little bright for my personal tastes, I could foresee using this colorful tape to wrap a picture frame, or something similar. I feel like more crafty types than I could find really creative uses for it.

Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer: This was one of my favorite items in the box, but I am guilty of loving lip glosses of all types. This one in particular went on really smoothly, like a gloss would, but had a really nice, rich color. It latest longer than most lip glosses I use, but with the nice color, I have to put it on in front of a mirror! I found it to be no better or worse than most glosses.

Puffs Tissues (With Lotion): These were my favorite item in the box and do you know why? I received this box right before I came down with that terrible cold. These were a godsend. And let me tell you, the lotion tissues were amazing. Have you ever stood in the tissue aisle and debated whether the extra 50 cents or whatnot to get the fancy tissues with lotion is worth it? I have. I know the answer now. It’s yes. Yes it is. When the Puffs lotion tissues were gone and I was back to toilet paper, I was pretty disheartened. I picked up some more of these to keep in my purse. Does that make me a mom? (They always have tissues with them!)

So what do you think? There’s some winners in the bunch. If you started a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, I’d recommend Skinny Cow. Need a natural eyeshadow for the office? NYC Eyeshadow. Got a cold? Just get the Puffs Tissue with Lotion. You deserve it.

Merry Christmas?

13 Jan

Ok, so I’m really late in posting this. Will you forgive me? I’ve been busy; first getting engaged, then getting sick! Ugh, and then of course vacation is over too. That’s the saddest time of year for me! I just need one more week off!

Phew, where were we? Ah yes, my amazing Christmas nails. (Ok, maybe I’m biased, but they do contain a healthy dose of Christmas cheer and sparkles!)

NailPolish12212013 (1 of 3)

Ok, so they’re not the hardest nails to do, but I found them perfect for my holiday needs. This Christmas I went on a cruise with my boyfriend so I needed nails that reminded me it was Christmas even if it was in the sunny Bahamas. I opted for the classic red and green combo and jazzed it up with some amazing glitter nails.

NailPolish12212013 (3 of 3)

My favorite of which was Digital Nails The Red Wedding. Love the multi-sized glitter and it’s nice layering properties. My only complaint is how hard it is to get off! Darn you glitter for being so amazing.

NailPolish12212013 (2 of 3)As you might be able to tell, my nails are in a sorry state again, so I wanted to keep to solid colors to try and hide the peeling. It’s sad, but true. Time to take another mani break…

But for Christmas my boyfriend gave me an engagement ring and I can’t let my nails be nude when I have a ring to show people! Oh well, I’ve gotten side tracked. Back to Christmas….(I wish!)

I chose two ultra-shine, ultra-gloss shades, one in Christmas Red and one in Christmas Green. The high shine really paired well with the shine of the glitter, holding their own despite not being an accent nail. The shine and glitter dressed up my casual jean shorts as I walked down sandy shores with my fiancé (oh-so-weird) on Christmas. It also fit in at the formal dinner nights on the boat so I never felt like my fingertips were out of place.

Difficulty? 1/10 Are you kidding me? This is as easy as they come. Be sure to pick colors that match (jellies with jellies, glossy with glossy, etc.) and have some fun with your glitter. You can afford to spruce them up a bit.

Final Thoughts? They remind me a bit of Christmas ornaments or balls. Even though it wasn’t a difficult mani, it is a festive one with a lot of sparkle on a cold winter night. Next year I may attempt something a little more challenging, but it was a nice start. Until next time!

It’s been a busy month!

6 Jan

Happy New Year, welcome to 2014! Last year was a really unlucky year for me (maybe 13 does carry some weight?) but it ended with a pretty nice surprise.

NailPolish110613 (4 of 5)

I can tell already that 2014 is going to be a great year for me. I have a lot of manis to show you in the coming weeks, though some are a, uh, little late (see the next post, Christmas nails! whoops..). Hehe, I have a good excuse though, I promise!

RingPicture (1 of 3)

Do you see it? Well, if you managed to miss it, that would be my very own shiny engagement ring. My (then) boyfriend proposed to me Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning and I was completely taken by surprise. (Of course I said yes!)

RingPicture (3 of 3)

That lens flare wasn’t put on there with photoshop. My photographer (now fiancé!) got that shine the old fashioned way. Isn’t it lovely?

 

Image

Guess what I got for Christmas~!

5 Jan

NailPolish01052014 (1 of 1)

Birds of a Feather

9 Dec

Hello there nail art fanatics. How have you been? Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Eat lots of food? Good, good. Well, let’s not beat around the bush, let’s get to this week’s manicure – FEATHERS!

I know, it sounds a bit odd. I saw this kit in the mall the other day (long story) and decided to give it a go.

NailPolish1222013 (8 of 8)Having used the kit, I can confidently say that all you really need are feathers. I’d recommend heading to your nearest craft store and picking up some colorful feathers that you think would look nice on some fingertips. :) Stick with feathers that have some sort of contrasting color design (dots, stripes, alternating colors, etc.) for the best effect.

It looks a bit crazy, but it’s actually a very simple technique. First, clean up and shape your nails. Mine are looking a little sickly again, so try to ignore those little bumps in my mani ok? Moving on…

Paint your nails as you would normally; a base coat and two top coats of your choice of color. The kit included a very pretty pale shimmery pink, but I think any color would look good, including neutrals. If you want the feather to really POP, use a dark polish for a light colored feather, and vice versa. How easy is that? RIDICULOUSLY SO.

Ahem. After your nails are completely dry (I say that a lot, don’t I?) it’s time to apply the feathers! Are you excited? I’m excited. Let’s do this.

Apply a thin coat of a fast drying top coat. I used the one provided in the kit, but any fast drying topcoat will do. As soon as you apply a coat, take the feather and place the tip onto the top of the nail. Be sure to leave a gap near the cuticle so that your polish can be seen. Press it down firmly so that it all sticks down. This step is important! I was afraid of messing up my coat of color polish and lightly pressed. The result? The ends of the feather stuck up and drove me batshit crazy. Don’t let your nails drive you batshit crazy; press that feather down!

NailPolish1222013 (5 of 8)

Now you’ll have a super stylish feather sticking off the end of your finger. Not very practical. So, take some very sharp scissors (the smaller the better imo) and snip off the excess feather bit, leaving only the part on your nail behind. Don’t worry about a little bit hanging off, we’ll take care of that next.

Now that all the excess feather bits are taken care of, it’s time to file off the tips. Take a course grit file and file in a downward motion across the top edge of the nail. In other words, you’re using the file to trim off the rest of the feather that’s hanging over the edge of the nail. It make take a few strong strokes of the file to get the hangover feather, but don’t worry, the feather can take it. (You can use a finer nail file, but I think it would be harder.)

NailPolish1222013 (4 of 8)

Now you have a nicely shaped feather stuck on your nail. Here’s the last step, and to me, the most challenging. Apply a layer of topcoat on top of the feather, but brush it towards the cuticle. It feels weird and I didn’t like it, but it had to be done. By doing this, you’re helping to seal in the feather/tip and you’re following the feather’s natural grain. You don’t want to ….ruffle your feathers do you? Eh? Eh? …Sorry, I’ll see myself out.

NailPolish1222013 (1 of 8)So here’s the final result. Aside from my sickly nails, I think it came out rather nicely. I liked that it was a super quick mani, that looks like it took a lot more time than it actually did. I’m eager to try different (ahem, better) feather/nail color combos than the kit came with. Don’t get me wrong, the feathers and the polish are beautiful, but together? Eh, uninspired.

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Difficulty? 5/10 This mani was really simple, it just needs a few more supplies than a normal mani. After the watercolor mani however, I don’t think this one is particularly challenging! Hell, go grab a feather out of one of your pillows for practice!

Final Thoughts? Easy, quick, and trendy. The perfect mani to wear walking down Fifth Avenue. Feathers add a really interesting texture to the nails and texture seems to be very trendy in the nail art world at the moment. The only real negative I really had with this manicure is, well, funnily enough, the texture. Since I didn’t really push that feather down into the topcoat, the ends stuck up and caught on EVERYTHING. Washing my hair became a very painful experience. After wearing the mani for a week however, the ends have softened and I don’t find myself catching on everything I touch. Despite this, the mani has really held up well; the accent nails outlasting the plain ones by far. The feathers protect the underlying polish and you don’t notice tip wear as much either. Crazy, huh?

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