Friday, March 30, 2012

Hunger Games Comparisons!

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope your morning has been as excellent as mine, I'm in high spirits today. I love good moods. :)  We spent 4+ hours in the shop last night sanding tape joints so we can texture the walls this weekend. Needless to say, I'm a little sore but at least my manicure is going strong! I've got a little tip wear but nothing too noticeable. It should make it through the weekend just fine! It's going to have to actually, I've got a birthday party tonight, company picnic tomorrow, and a bridal shower on Sunday so I'm not sure I'd have time to change it even if I wanted!

Alright, on to the polishes! In yesterday's post I showed you Smoke and Ashes and Fast Track from China Glaze's Hunger Games collection and it was suggested that Fast Track was similar to Classic Camel by Of Life and Lacquer - and I completely agreed. So I figured I would do my first real comparison post today and also show you a Sinful Colors polish that I suspected of being similar to Smoke and Ashes.

The Sinful Colors is a random purchase, I came across What's Your Name (no punctuation on label) during a trip to the drugstore and since I hadn't seen it with the regular stock before I figured I might as well snatch it up. I haven't worn it yet or swatched it before today.

Shimmer Shots:

These photos are bottle shots to show differences in bases and shimmer. I wish I could do a fancy macro shot, but alas, I have only my iPhone to take photos with. Despite my low quality photos you can clearly see that these polishes are all different.

Sinful Colors - What's Your Name

China Glaze  - Smoke and Ashes

The differences between Smoke and Ashes in these shots is clearly the nature of the shimmer. What's Your Name has a duochrome shifting shimmer from blue to purple while Smoke and Ashes' shimmer is predominately green with a slight shift to blue. So far, you can't tell much of a difference in the bases of either of these polishes.

China Glaze - Fast Track

China Glaze - Classic Camel

Wow! Can we say, "Not even close?!" Before I dug out Classic Camel this morning I was convinced they were extremely similar, now I can barely get away with saying that maybe the shimmer is similar. And that is a stretch! Obviously the base of Fast Track is a light, wheat colored nude with a cool golden shimmer while Classic Camel is clearly a warm golden color with a matching warm golden shimmer.  Who'da thunk it!?

One Coat:

This nail wheel side-by-side is one coat of each color and it was in and of itself pretty revealing. What's Your Name and Smoke and Ashes look quite close to one another but there are some big differences. What's Your Name is patchy at one coat and the base is a pure black whereas Smoke and Ashes can completely cover in a single coat and you can see that the base is definitely a blackened blue - as I'd suspected! Also worth noting, the shimmer in What's Your Name is finer but more dense while Smoke and Ashes has larger but less dense shimmer.

One coat of Fast Track and Classic Camel and similarities end at the opacity of the base. The color of the two polishes are no where close to one another and you can see that the shimmer/g-fleck in Fast Track is larger than that found in Classic Camel. CC's shimmer is finer but they seem to have similar density in the two polishes. Pay no mind to the fuzz that got caught on CC.

What's Your Name, Smoke and Ashes, Fast Track, Classic Camel

Two Coats:

Two coats is where all four of these polishes came to life, Smoke and Ashes didn't need one but I added it anyway for congruity. What's Your Name was quickly disappointing me at one coat but the second coat more than made up for it, it covered all the bald spots and added dimension and depth. The same can be said about the three remaining polishes, a second coat made them all the better.

On the nail wheel and swatchsicles too, What's Your Name and Smoke and Ashes are imperceptibly different. Only a polish nerd would see a difference or even care for that matter. But the differences are there. Looking closely you can see the color difference (blue/purple v. green/blue) and finer/smaller texture of the shimmers.  So, is there a dupe? Not quite but you could get away with it I suppose. My vote goes to Smoke and Ashes. I'm on the fence about keeping What's Your Name though, SaA is so much cooler because of the blue base.

I should also add, that before today I had no idea how gold Classic Camel was. I always thought of it before as a really warm beige-y color.

So what do you think about the differences?

Flash.
What's Your Name, Smoke and Ashes, Fast Track, Classic Camel

No Flash.
What's Your Name, Smoke and Ashes, Fast Track, Classic Camel

 As a sort of Post Script, I want to bring up the fact that I referred to yesterday's manicure as a "v-gap" and while reading my subscriptions this morning I realized I was completely wrong! Fishing 4 Beauty posted an awesome tutorial on a really pretty v-gap this morning and I felt like such a doofus! No worries though, all it means is that I'll have to give it a try for realsies.

Have an outstanding weekend, lovelies!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Hunger Games V-Gap, er... Cat's Claws?

Aaahhhhh... Did you hear that, lovelies? That's the sweet, sweet sound of relief. It's Thursday again AND officially my spring break. Spring break, you say? Yes, my break happens to fall just a few short weeks prior to the end of the semester - and I can't pretend that it hasn't aggravated me having to wait so long for a reprieve. But, as of right now, I could care less because I don't have another class until the 9th of April AND it's officially unofficial that I graduate in December. I'll be putting in my grad application soon! Oh, I do love Thursday. <3

Ok, so how about some polish and my current NOTD?! I took off Riveting last night after playing around with some stamping (I took a picture but it's not good enough for the internets) and since it was so bright I wanted something a tad more neutral. Enter Fast Track!

China Glaze: Fast Track:

Fast Track is a slightly sheer wheat colored polish packed with gold glass-fleck, here I'm wearing two decent coats that were easy to apply and dried rather quickly. You can't really see it in the photos because the glass-fleck diffuses the light, but if your coats are thin enough there might be some VNL. I had none though. Also, these photos give me red fingers but in person Fast Track is much closer to my actual skin tone and I can see this being a great nude when if I pick up a tan this summer.

I love nudes because they make my chubby, wrinkly fingers look long and slender! lol

China Glaze - Fast Track

China Glaze - Fast Track

China Glaze - Smoke and Ashes:

I've been wanting to use as many colors as possible from my pile of untrieds so my manicures have been seeing a little more nail art lately (well, a ruffian and my attempts at color blocking). I wasn't sure what to do that would compliment the beautiful nude of Fast Track, but one quick look at the Hunger Games colors I knew Smoke and Ashes would be a perfect compliment. And so, my best v-gap mani was born!

I used scotch tape that I pressed to my skin to remove some the the stickiness, and one easy layer of Smoke and Ashes. It's so opaque! I'm convinced that the base is a blackened blue that perfectly compliments the green, slightly duochrome shimmer within. I'm so glad the shimmer doesn't get lost in the base.

China Glaze - Fast Track and Smoke and Ashes

China Glaze - Fast Track and Smoke and Ashes

Now, how freaking cool do my "claws" look?!? They do shorten my nails a bit but they're so severe and a little scary! I think they look like I've got little claws, or tiny, tiny stiletto nails. OOOOHHH, how about tracker jacker stingers?? I can't help but be in love with this manicure, it makes me feel bad ass.

China Glaze - Fast Track and Smoke and Ashes

China Glaze - Fast Track and Smoke and Ashes

 What do you guys think, do you like Smoke and Ashes or this look? Would you say they remind of cat's claws, stilettos, or stingers?

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hunger Games - Riveting

Hello lovelies! Another sunny Tuesday morning has rolled around and since I had a little time to spare before getting ready for work today (obv. putting off other stuff... lol) I thought I would drop y'all a line and say hi. Hi! Sorry, I'm a dork. Anyway, today I'm showing my current manicure: Riveting, from China Glaze's Hunger Games collection. This is the color I wanted to wear to the movie but didn't have the time to do. Can we all say this together, this manicure is... STUNNING! 

Now, I know that I haven't done any fancy artwork or flames or anything for that matter but who cares! Riveting is the most beautiful and radiant glass-fleck metallic orange that I've ever encountered. My nails look as though they are glowing hot embers, the ones that keep the fire burning long into the night.

These photos are showing two luscious coats and a single coat of SV:

China Glaze - Riveting

China Glaze - Riveting 

China Glaze - Riveting 

In other completely unrelated news, both the boyfriend and I have received some incredibly good and encouraging news as of yesterday. I got a positive response to an application I'd submitted (read: my scores qualified me for an interview) and I couldn't be happier for the opportunity. I don't graduate until December (if everything goes to plan) so I was expecting this to be flat out rejected on that basis as well as the fact that it is a rather technical position and I have no field experience. Who cares now, right?! Happy dance!! The really really good news came a little later in the day yesterday, my boyfriend got the job that that he's been wanting for a long time. It's a game changer/career maker for him and he worked very hard during his evaluation and had to wait two months to find out that he beat out the competition so I am very happy for him. 

Also, I want to show my gratitude and say thank you to the wonderful ladies that follow, read, and comment on this little blog of mine. I truly appreciate your comments and it makes my day when one shows up in my inbox for approval. Honestly, thank you. <3

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Games Matinee Mani!

Hello lovelies, and happy Sunday evening! I don't know about y'all but I'm getting all settled in and ready to watch the season premier of Mad Men tonight and I can't be more excited. This is one of those shows that I've convinced everyone I know to watch and done my best to get them hooked, the bf included. :) 

This whole weekend has been pretty awesome really, other than the windy weather. Saturday my mom and I met for lunch, some window shopping, and an afternoon matinee of The Hunger Games. We I was so excited to see it that I dragged us to the theater 45 minutes before showtime so we could get choice seats. Of course, this was after we stopped for some pound candy and I picked up almost a pound of gummies. Man, I love gummies. <3 The movie was great, I cried several times (so did mom), and I think it was a good adaptation of the book overall. And that can be pretty difficult to manage.

I had been planning all along to wear Riveting, the HG collection's killer orange glass-fleck, to the showing but alas... I simply didn't have time in the morning to change the manicure I had left over from Friday. We went yard sale-ing all morning and picked up some pretty nifty stuff: some antique glass bottles, a few records, and even a back-yard patio swing! Our morning deals more than made up for not being able to wear my manicure of choice.

China Glaze - Stone Cold:

Thursday morning I was anxious to play with my new polishes but didn't have time to do a full manicure so I pulled out Stone Cold, an easy one-coater. It quickly and completely covered my previous mani and wasn't too difficult to apply as long as I remembered to pay attention and get enough polish on the brush. Being a matte, it dries fairly quickly and going back to the bottle for extra polish meant some setting up of the polish but I had no major issues. You can see some shimmer fallout around my cuticles, that's from clean up. 

China Glaze - Stone Cold

China Glaze - Stone Cold 

Essie - Set in Stones:

Aaaaand because I find it almost impossible to wear a full mani without some kind of embellishment or accent, I added one coat of Set in Stones. SiS is (obviously) a silver glitter polish with multi-sized hexagonal glitters. It applied easily but I also did a little placement for better distribution of the larger glitter pieces, they like to work their way to the tips with each brush stroke.

By the way, do these two nails look familiar?? I *swear* they look very similar to OPI Metallic 4 Life from the Nicki Minaj mini collex that came out not too long ago. There's no jellyness to this look, but from a distance you probably couldn't tell a difference if you weren't a nail geek. (I would totally notice!)

Essie - Set in Stones

Essie - Set in Stones 

Mattified:

I mattified SiS to keep the look continuous, I didn't want anything extraordinarily shiny. Plus, I love the look of matte glitter.

CG - Stone Cold, Essie - Set in Stones: Matte

CG - Stone Cold, Essie - Set in Stones: Matte 

So, did you guys see the movie?? Read the book? What did/do you think?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Hunger Games have arrived... and swatches!!

Hello Lovelies! Can you believe it's finally Thursday?? I know it doesn't sound all that exciting but my hump days are the worst and so Thursdays make me just about as happy as the weekends do. I am excited about this weekend too though. I'm going to lunch with my momma and we're going to see the Hunger Games after! I've even purchased the tickets in advance so no lines. She hasn't read the books, but I have and I love 'em. They were a quick and easy read, but they pull you in to the story so well. I'm a sucker for a good love story and the fantasy genre (currently reading Game of Thrones series).

On to the goodies!

I finally received my CG Hunger Games order the night before last but didn't have the time to play with them, unfortunately, because well... school. *hmph* Anyway, last night when I got home I set out to swatch my goodies. I was considering doing swatches on my nails but just don't have time. :( So the nail wheel it is! 

*I apologize for how over exposed these photos look, I only use my phone camera and I'm playing around with lighting. I've found a good light source, but it is much too bright so I think I'll be building myself a cardboard lightbox to diffuse it some.* Oh, and I figured out that Picasa is way easier to use to edit photos than GIMP, yay! Like, waaaaaay easier. Look, I have a watermark and I actually like it!

Bottle shots:

China Glaze - Stone Cold, Smoke and Ashes, & Agro

China Glaze - Smoke and Ashes, Agro, Harvest Moon, & Riveting 

China Glaze - Harvest Moon, Riveting, Electrify, & Fast Track 

Swatches: 

Stone Cold, Smoke and Ashes, and Agro were all one coat! The rest were sufficient with two coats on the nail wheel, but I think Riveting might need a third if you have issues with VNL. Personally, I don't - I actually kind of like seeing my free edge through the polish. Also, the base of Smoke and Ashes is definitely black but blue based. Hell, I could have it the other way around... a blackened blue base? lol I look forward to seeing these translate as my NOTD's.

CG - Stone Cold, Smoke and Ashes, Agro, & Harvest Moon

CG - Agro, Harvest Moon, Riveting, Electrify, & Fast Track 

Stone Cold, Smoke and Ashes, Agro, Harvest Moon,  Riveting, Electrify, & Fast Track  

 I also got my order of swatchsicles so I can swatch and catalog my collection finally! Woo hoo! Soon, that little tab-y thing at the top of my page will have real info in it! (and I'll have an idea as to how many polishes I actually have)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Feelin' Blue with Misa... and CG Prismatics!

Hello lovelies! I hope you are all doing well today, getting over the "hump" is the best part of my week. It's possibly even better than Fridays, if you can believe it. With my schedule, Wednesday is by far the worst day of my week - and usually the day that papers are due or tests are scheduled. Can I just say, I'm tired of school. And why isn't my spring break right now instead of a week and a half away??? Wow, I sound terrible so I'll cut the whining. But seriously, when I got home this afternoon I felt really down and completely overwhelmed with stress. School, job... it's all blah. So I did some venting to the bf and sat down to give myself a treat of a fresh manicure. (I'm really over St. Patrick's Day! lol So I had to take off my watermarble.)

*warning* This post is picture heavy, but I swear it is worth it. 

Below: two coats of Misa - A Sin Worth Committing, (a random purchase from a webshop while mostly ordering Color Club holos). Two coats was more than adequate, with a more steady hand I could have been successful with just one. I was careful though, to not let this get in my cuticles because it is very pigmented and would be a PITA to clean up. I'm going to be extra careful during removal too!

I *love* this color, the blackened edges and glowing sapphire blue is simply divine. It is very dark, more so than these photos let on, and not really "seasonal appropriate." But I don't care. :)

Misa - A Sin Worth Committing

Misa - A Sin Worth Committing 

Because I couldn't leave well enough alone, I applied a layer of CND Effects - Amethyst Sparkle. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to notice how much it changed the look of this manicure. It looks almost like OPI Ink. The blue glow overwhelms the sparkle of AS in my opinion. I liked it but I guess it wasn't what I was exactly going for... or maybe it was. 

Here are a few photos to trying to capture the Amethyst Sparkle.

CND - Amethyst Sparkle over Misa - A Sin Worth Committing

CND - Amethyst Sparkle over Misa - A Sin Worth Committing 

CND - Amethyst Sparkle over Misa - A Sin Worth Committing 

And now, the finishing touch! After an hour or so I was feeling unimpressed with my mani, it was darker than I wanted and I just wasn't feelin' it. I'll chalk that up to just being moody lol. So to jazz things up and lift my spirits I reached for the nearest glitter, a China Glaze Prismatic. Originally, I wasn't planning on purchasing any of the China Glaze Prismatic collection because I don't know really. I wished it didn't have the multi-colored glitters and was just the color shifting base. As luck would have it, I ended up with one anyway.

Full Spectrum has a silver to pinky/purple shift and was free! Yep, it was a freebie tossed in with an order for.... wait for it... a few OMG holos at a killer discount price (unfortunately they are no longer listed on their site or else I'd give y'all the deets). I'll do a post on my recent purchases soon and I swear I'm going to do some swatches!

Below: One thick coat of Full Spectrum on my ring finger and a thinner coat on my pinkie. I applied one coat of Gelous over the glitter to smooth it out and it looks beautiful. This freebie just cost me a few bucks since I pretty much *need* to get a few more. 

Scroll down for more photos with different lighting! (totally worth it)

"Color Blocking" with China Glaze - Full Spectrum

"Color Blocking" with China Glaze - Full Spectrum 

"Color Blocking" with China Glaze - Full Spectrum 

Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrr! Just look at that sparkle! It totally upstages the rest of my fingers. lol I would have done more but I don't have the patience to foil all my fingers right now.

"Color Blocking" with China Glaze - Full Spectrum 

"Color Blocking" with China Glaze - Full Spectrum 

"Color Blocking" with China Glaze - Full Spectrum 

Wow, it is late/early! I should have been doing a qualitative market analysis for my energy econ class, but instead I blogged and searched out Hunger Games showtimes and looked up flight prices for a trip back to Indiana for my little bro's high school graduation. Yay productivity!! No joke, I feel so much better than I did this afternoon... this blog and you guys who stop by to say hi made my night/morning. Thanks guys. <3

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day watermarble!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope everyone is having fun and being safe, drinking green beer and calling a cab! We were in the local Sons of Erin Parade so we had to get up bright and early to set up our float and decorate the truck. It was lots of fun, tons of people came out! Anyway, I did this mani last night so I would be wearing green from sun up to sun down, meaning... NO pinching! lol It didn't help.

This was my first attempt at a water marble and it turned out great! It was so easy too, but that may be because I've scoped out youtube videos for months now just waiting for the moment to use all the tips. I started with two coats of Orly Fresh, a bright spring/grassy green from last year's Happy Go Lucky collection. Application went smoothly but two coats were needed since it was rather sheer. I knew I wanted some killer sparkle too, so I added one generous coat of Here Comes Trouble from Orly's Pin-up collection. It's a beautiful grass green multi-sized glitter in a slightly green/yellow-green base. For the water marble I alternated Fresh and Holly Day from China Glaze's Let It Snow, 2011 holiday collection. I got Holly Day on super sale at Sally's after Christmas for a single dollar. Score.

Righty!
Lefty!

I did my right hand first, two nails at a time, and didn't really land the best parts of my swirls. I'll chalk that up to inexperience. I don't think I added enough rings of alternating color or swirled enough. My left hand, which scored the better designs, I plunged all four nails in the water at the same time. I think that'll be my go-to method from now on. 

I used tape around my nails so cleaning up from the water marble was a breeze, if not a little awkward trying to wrangle the tape off my fingers. I ended up using scissors! I finished everything off with a layer of SV after everything was good and dry. This was so easy I honestly can't believe I've waited so long to try it.   I even got a bunch of compliments on this today, from dudes too!

Orly - Fresh and Here Comes Trouble with China Glaze - Holly Day

Above is a quick bottle shot of the three bottles I used, more for my own memory than for any need to share, but here you go anyway! So there we have it, my first holiday "theme" manicure and my first watermarble too! Also, I submitted this to Nouveau Cheap's St. Patrick's Day Manicure Round Up but I didn't get featured. I was a little bummed out but she got a lot of entries and I sent mine in really late. There's always the next holiday round-up!

Well, that's it for me today I've got to keep an eye on my corned beef (the crock-pot crapped out on me today so it's on the stove) and kick up my feet! Éirinn go Brách!

Friday, March 16, 2012

How about a St. Patty's Day mani I wore in December...

Hello Lovelies! It's Friday and normally I'm very excited for the weekend but for some reason I'm feeling a little down in the dumps this week. Most likely it is stress related and it will pass, I just feel so overwhelmed with everything. Anywho! I'm planning a spectacular watermarble for St. Patrick's Day that I'll be executing this evening. I wanted to do it this morning but didn't have time for more than testing my polish selection. This will be my first attempt at a watermarble so keep your fingers crossed for me!

So, In the spirit of St. Patty's Day (and finishing off my old draft posts before they get lost to blogger oblivion) I'm going to show you guys a layering mani I did around the end of December. I was in Walgreens just window shopping and I saw this amazingly deep green creme sitting all by it's lonesome in a display full of non-holiday colors. SNAG, Last Chance is mine! It looked thin when I opened the bottle so I thought it might be a jelly... and I was excited. I've read some reviews saying it is a creme, but my bottle leans very heavily in the jelly direction. On the same day I also snatched up San Francisco, an emerald green shimmer.

Sinful Colors - Last Chance

Sinful Colors - Last Chance 

Unfortunately, application of Last Chance was a total bear. It was both thin AND thick at the same time, completely unmanageable. It was streaky and left a ton of bald spots. A second generous coat (because I had no choice really) filled in the bald spots but was also a pain to apply. I was super careful around my cuticles too, because cleanup was next to impossible. You can sort of see areas where I couldn't get the green off of my skin. I've heard that the formula on this is supposed to be good so I'm not sure if it was my bottle or the fact that it was quite cold and dry in my house during application.

Last Chance did dry super shiny as you can see, I'm not wearing top coat in these photos. I stand by my original thought that this is a jelly, but it stands to reason that this is possibly a jelly-creme.


Sinful Colors - Last Chance 

Sinful Colors - San Francisco over Last Chance

San Francisco is incredibly sheer so I applied a single coat over Last Chance to give me this shimmering emerald beauty. The formula (besides the severe sheerness) of San Francisco more than made up for the nightmare I endured with Last Chance.

Sinful Colors - San Francisco over Last Chance 

Sinful Colors - San Francisco over Last Chance 

And, finally, because I can't leave well enough alone... I layered a single coat of Flecked over the whole thing. Flecked is a predominantly green with a shift to blue flakie. Like all the rest of the FP flakies, Flecked was pretty sparse in application and could have used another coat. Isn't it purdy??

Finger Paints - Flecked over Sinful Colors - San Francisco over Last Chance


Finger Paints - Flecked over Sinful Colors - San Francisco over Last Chance 

Well, there you have it, my pre-St. Patty's Day draft post mani! Even though the application of Last Chance was terrible, I will give it another chance. It's just too pretty not to. Have a happy and safe celebration this weekend! Did I mention before that I'm Irish? ;)


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