Monday, 30 September 2013

Water Droplets

Nothing to Disclose

Hello lovelies!

Today's manicure took its inspiration from the base polish.

Not terribly colour-accurate; below photos are better. :)

I was moved to use my custom Tryst Lacquer, Aqueous, again. It does take four coats to opacity, but I love it so much. :) Just look at it!! And then I decided to do some one-stroke water droplets. These are deceptively difficult.

In fact, I did them over about three times. Yikes. And they're still not perfect! If you want to see perfect one-stroke water droplets, visit Lucy -- she's got it down pat. And she filmed a tutorial! :)

In the end, the method that was fastest was the one I was most comfortable with. It really was, for me, a question of getting the white down pat. I think I achieved it best on my middle finger.

seriously what are you even doing up there

Polishes used:
Tryst Lacquers - Aqueous (custom)
butter LONDON - Nail Foundation (base coat)
black and white acrylic paint
one-stroke brush
detailing brush

Can you believe it's October tomorrow (read: for me, 40 minutes from now)? Yikes. It's already freezing where I am, I wake up to 0˚C mornings, winter is going to own me.

xo regardless,


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Digit-al Dozen News, and a Second Liebster!

Hello again lovelies! I have two important things I wanted to talk to you about!


Many people have asked me what the Digit-al Dozen is all about, now that I've been invited to join this illustrious group. Until now, I've at most been able to list the members for you. However, we're now working on a very exciting project: establishing a real digital presence for the group! This means that there is a central place to catch round-up posts of the month's challenge, as well as tons of original content-- how to's, tips and tricks, and much more! Please click the banner below to visit our website and follow us, we'd love to have you along. :)


Lovely Victoria has nominated me for a second Liebster Award! Am I lucky, or what? Per my last Liebster post, I don't really know of any up-and-coming blogs, so I could use your help-- if you know of any, let me know in the comments! Here is a link to her lovely nail blog:

In the meantime, here are her questions for me, plus (another) 11 random facts about me! I think you guys will know me better than I know myself, by the end of this. ;)


1. Who or what drowned you in nail blogging? I received a book from my family for Christmas one year when I was very young, it had a bunch of nail art designs to be done with a toothpick. I've been more or less hooked ever since.

2. If you had to choose between neon or pastel to be used for the whole year, what will you choose? Neon. I'm not much one for pastels. I'm about the jewel tones, and then secondarily about the neons.

3. What's your most used nail art technique? Freehand painting; it's the one thing I'm remotely good at! Taping and water marbling and everything else just make me want to throw things about. ;)

4. What was the very first nail polish you bought? I cannot remember, it's been WAY too long! But the first indie polish I ever bought was Gilded Oak by Contrary Polish. I think it was an excellent decision.

5. If you were prohibited to buy more nail polishes and only have one last chance to buy one bottle of nail polish (I know it's hard but yes, just one!), what would it be? I actually don't have any lemmings right now-- isn't that funny? I'm not really hurting for any one polish. It'd probably be an Elevation Polish, though, because I love everything Lulu does.

6. Big city with tall buildings and high-tech life, or small village with farms and green forest? (And both of them have same nail art stores and internet connection LOL) This is really tough for me. Probably the big city, though, because that's what I came from (Montréal). I love smaller towns and nature, though. I love visiting Penticton, British Columbia, which is a city you can walk across in 45 minutes. It's in the middle of wine country, and it's so hot and beautiful.

7. What's your I-can't-resist-even-when-I'm-full food or snack? Chocolate. Preferably mint chocolate.

8. If you had a time machine to travel to the past and future, what year would you like to be in? I wouldn't travel at all. Too much physics involved. I have a healthy fear of mucking around with the world.

9. A movie or series? Neither! I have an overactive empathy reaction, so I respond to movies and TV shows as though they were really happening. As I type this, I'm sitting in the living room with my headphones on, listening to Ellie Goulding really loudly so as to drown out my partner watching the Breaking Bad finale. I just can't do it!

10. If you could have one superpower, what would you choose? The ability to heal.

11. If you're an ice cream, what kind of ice cream are you? Sorbet! Coconut sorbet.

Random Facts:

1. I have freckles, but they only show up when I've been in a lot of sunlight. I miss them during the winter.

2. I'm mama to a cat named Jacob, who you've seen sometimes on the blog or on Instagram. My favourite thing he does is to purr when I nibble his toes.

3. I'm a serial monogamist. I can't be single to save my life.

4. My favourite artistic medium is soft pastels. I cannot paint to save my life, either.

5. I have a major flirtation with kpop girl groups; my favourite right now is D-Unit. I know how to read hangul (well, extremely slowly and poorly) and I've often considered teaching English in Korea.

6. I have a small but noticeable white scar on my ribcage and I have no idea how it got there. In general, I have a lot of scars.

7. I can listen to the same song over and over without getting sick of it. I get songs stuck in my head, but only for a short while, and sometimes the weirdest ones stick around the longest (like Christmas carols).

8. I'm afraid of conflict. I'll sometimes post my opinion to a Facebook conversation thread and then never visit the thread again, in case someone decided to rip me a new one for it. Heh.

9. I am profoundly silly but most people don't see it. Only my partner and my closest friends get to see the true depth of it.

10. I'm the oldest of two siblings; my brother is 2.5 years my junior.

11. I moved out of house when I was 19, which is pretty young, but a lot older than my mother, who was 16 when she moved out! (Runs in the family, I guess!)

As always, thanks so much for reading and keeping my company on this crazy journey! I really appreciate each and every one of you. You brighten my world more than you know.




Nothing to Disclose

Hello lovelies!

Today's look came about because I painted my nails with this gorgeous colour, Rusted Lux, and then had no idea what to do with it.

One of my Instagram lovelies suggested fire, and I kind of ran with it. In the direction of the absurd.

I took a look at my studs and thought, "Hey, these kind of look like exclamation points." And from there I decided on a fire signage kind of idea thing. You know, one of those idea things. Right-o.

Rusted Lux is a weird polish, it's a very sheer base with opaque flakes in it. The coverage of the flakes is what gives the polish opacity. I used three coats, but it could have used a fourth. It is amazing, though. Even my boyfriend grabbed my hand and exclaimed about how pretty it is. Glowy beauty.

Zoom this one in and you can see all the flakes in action!:

Polishes used:
SpaRitual - Rusted Lux
KONAD - Special Stamping Polish in White
butter LONDON - Nail Foundation (base coat)
Rica - Glossy Glam (top coat)
rectangular studs from The Nail Room
round studs from Born Pretty Store
medium detailing brush



Friday, 27 September 2013

Fall Houndstooth

Nothing to Disclose

Hello lovelies!

I hate doing gradients and I hate doing patterns that are finicky, so today's venture was interesting, to say the least.

The ABC Challenge prompt for this week is H for houndstooth. I rather like houndstooth, actually. It's probably my favourite pattern. BUT. When I do it in large quantities, things tend to get out of hand. They go wonky. They're subject to entropy. You get the idea.

In this case, my squares kept getting closer and closer together. Dagnabbit!

I began with a base of a gradient using Coney Island Queen, Martian Sea, and 347. (I hate gradients, I hate cleaning up after them, oh heavens it is The Worst Thing after water marbling clean-up.) I then painted on the houndstooth with the KONAD polish. If you need a questionably useful refresher on how to do houndstooth, please click here. (And while we're revisiting the past, why were my cuticles so much happier then than now? Now they're like overgrown brambles! Augh!)

The claw! Haven't seen that one in a while.

Polishes used:
Inglot - 347
KONAD - Special stamping polish in white
Rica - Glossy Glam (top coat; sort of smudged things in places, boo...)
medium and tiny detailing brushes
make-up sponges
cotton swabs and swear words for clean-up

I have the BEST holiday nail idea. Isn't that frustrating? Useless for the next almost three months... But I can't help it! The season makes me think of being cosy, not creepy/frightening as Hallowe'en deserves. So it gggoooeesss.



Thursday, 26 September 2013

Spice Cake Drippy Nails

Nothing to Disclose

Lovelies, I'm a day late, I hope that's ok! I was working on a secret project. :)

But here is a mani for you:

I've never done drippy nails before! They look a bit messy here, sorry about that, but I actually really like how they look on the hand. 

For this look, I began with three coats of French Roast. It's a lovely microglitter and I love it on the nail even more than I thought I would, but it could stand to be denser. With the size of the glitter, I think a two-coater would be entirely possible without forsaking ease of application. But, at any rate, three generous coats later, I had very sparkly brown nails!

I applied one coat of Glitter Food, one coat of top coat, and then painted on the drips in white acrylic paint first and Coney Island Queen second. I wanted the overall look to be kind of cake-and-frosting-ish. I think I should have left the drips white, though; it was a cleaner look.

I posted a video to Instagram of the sparkle of the base colour in action:

Polishes used:
Nail Pattern Boldness - Glitter A-Peel (base coat), Glitter Food
Rica - Glossy Glam (top coat)
white acrylic paint
medium detail brush

I'm parched for inspiration, but I think I have a plan for my next one. It'll be a gooder.



Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Simple Arabesque

Nothing to Disclose

Hello lovelies!

It was with mixed emotions that I took off my galaxy nails. But I needed to file my pretties down a bit, and I was kind of itching for a change. And so:

I sort of wasn't kidding about the "practice line work until no longer crap at it" thing. These look horrible in macro, but they're cute from arm's length!

This one's the most colour-accurate.

The little arabesque design is white acrylic paint, on a base of Blue is Beautiful, a lovely thermal. It is rather sheer; what you see here is two rather thick coats, and it could have used a third.

Blue is Beautiful has little blue iridescent glitters, and micro-holo glitters. The holo will of course not show up in the light box, but you can see the iridescent ones below:

Here, I dipped my hand into warm water to try and show you more of the colour shift. It goes from a sheer pale grey when hot, to light blue, to dark grey, to dark blue. Phew!

Polishes used:
Duri - Rejuvacote (base coat)
Rice - Glossy Glam (top coat-- I've heard good things, so far I like it!)
white acrylic paint
liner brush

I think that, tomorrow, I will attempt a technique that I haven't yet done, but is very popular. It'll look kind of like cake... that's all the hint you're getting. :)



Sunday, 22 September 2013

Galaxy Nails

Nothing to Disclose

Hello lovelies!

I cannot lie, I'm pretty happy with today's nails. I did them while half-drunk last night, which would usually portend abject failure, or hilarious hijinx, but in this case: success!

Today's ABC Challenge prompt is G for galaxy. Galaxy nails have a long, honourable tradition in the nail art world. They're fun and low-pressure; usually you just sponge on various colours, have at it with a dotting tool and some white polish, and voilà! But noooo, Jolène had to go all realiiiiistic.

Here's my source image: 
Save this photo if you want an awesome galactic background for your computer. Oooh, aaaah!

Obviously, I didn't try to replicate the source photo exactly, but I did try to keep my design sort of in line with the spirit of the thing.

I used so many polishes for this. I've listed them all below, but I can't really get into the process of painting this. It kind of went: black, dark colours, medium colours, lighter colours, turquoises, white. That's as descriptive as I can get. I was really feeling this one through! I'm really pleased with how it turned out, though. :)

And, frankly, I'm also super-pleased that I did it all with nail polishes. Woot woot! Sometimes polish is actually more appropriate a painting medium than acrylic, and galaxies are one of those instances.

This photo can be super-zoomed to see all the detail, including the faintest starts that are a combination of Galinda and black + acetone (the only thing that doesn't come across is the faint holo from Greatest Treasures):

Polishes used:
OPI - Germanicure, Rally Pretty Pink, Funny Bunny
Nfu Oh - JS42
Nubar - Stardust
Modha HD - Ousada
American Apparel - Moon
Deborah Lippmann - Mermaid's Dream
Duri - Rejuvacote (base coat)

Have you ever tried galaxy nails before? (Fun, hey?!)



Friday, 20 September 2013

Liebster Award

Nothing to Disclose

Hello lovelies!

I interrupt our usual programming to bring you the fact that Anastasia, a long-time darling reader whose comments always make me smile, has nominated me for a Liebster award! This award is sort of a pay-it-forward way for you (and I) to discover new blogs.

The rules
1) Link back to the person who nominated you;
2) Put the Liebster Blog image in the sidebar of your blog;
3) Answer 11 questions made up by the person who nominated you;
4) Provide 11 random facts about yourself;
5) Nominate 5 to 11 up-and-coming blogs with fewer than 200 followers;
6) Come up with 11 questions for your nominees to answer;
7) And contact your nominees to let them know, of course!

I'll admit, I'm crap at finding new blogs. I follow mostly well-established bloggers with huge followings, and even then I have a hard time keeping up with all their posts! So, I will do numbers 1 - 4 from the rules above, and then I'll ask for your help: are there any unsung nail art heroes in your blog list? Let's get our heads together and nominate them! If we can come up with 5, I'll brainstorm and put together a list of questions for them.

In the meantime, onto my tasks!

Lovely Anastasia nominated me! Click the image above to visit her blog!

Here are Anastasia's questions for me:

1) What are your hobbies besides nail design? I like to read, though I don't do it nearly as much as I should. Lately I've been reading Shantaram; it's quite the novel!

2) What place in the world do you want to visit most of all? All of the places!! But if I had to choose only one, it would probably be Tahiti. Too bad it's so far from everything. :'(

3) What was the first blog you started following? Chalkboard Nails, because Sarah's Eye of Sauron mani was the precise thing that got me back into nail art.

4) What is your favourite holiday? I don't really have one; I'm very lax when it comes to the holidays (all of them)! I like the promise of renewal and change in New Year's, though.

5) Do you have any fears (snakes or smth like that:))) Death/dying (it comes in phases and is almost a clinical phobia), and spiders. I think snakes are pretty cute. :)

6) What is your favourite design to do on nails? I haven't yet repeated any designs, as far as I know, so I'm really not sure! My favourite type of nails to do are my complicated paintings, but it takes quite a while to do those, so they don't happen as often as I'd like.

7) Describe your typical day. This is going to be shameful, haha. Most of my days are spent puttering about the house. I'm on medical leave right now while awaiting a severance package from my employer, so I'm being paid to sit on my hands. I'm also looking into various business certificate programs, and trying to figure out what to do with my life now that I'm 'free'.

8) What is your favourite type of food? Thai and Indian (it's a tie).

9) Are you an optimist or a pessimist? I'd say that I'm more pessimistic. Which is to say, as the old joke goes, that I'm a realist. ;)

10) Do you prefer cats or dogs (or none:)? I enjoy dogs, but cats are my true love.

11) Show us a photo with the view from your window. This is a photo from the living room because I'm too lazy to go upstairs right now, haha! The view is the same, just tilted higher up. ;)

I like to sit here and read.

Here are my 11 random facts (if you follow me on Instagram, there might be some repeats):

1) My middle name is Leigh (pronounced lee). I think it means 'of the meadow', which I am not, and 'calm and poetic', which I also am not.

2) If I were rich, my house would be filled with paintings. I'm an art-junkie. I could collect art forever.

3) My favourite colours are green and purple (it's a tie) (just like my favourite foods).

4) I studied Ancient Greek and Latin in university, and remember pretty well nothing at all. My memory is nothing to write home about.

5) My arms are too short for my body. I can't reach things on shelves that I should be able to reach. This led to a friend nicknaming me J-Rex.

6) I am the opposite of a green thumb but I once found a floundering petunia plant in a store and nursed it back to health. I was very proud of myself. It was a very pretty shade of purple.

7) I can only cut food with my left hand and fork food with my left hand. My right hand is useless at either. So I end up cutting all of my food, putting down my knife, and then eating all of my food. It's awkward (much like me).

8) I was born with a bunion on my left foot that was operated on when I was 13. I have a pretty impressive scar.

9) I'm the least Scorpio-like Scorpio you'll ever meet. Pretty sure I could disabuse anybody of their belief in astrology.

10) I have one best friend where I live, one best friend where I grew up (other side of the continent), one best friend presently in the UK, and one best friend in Greece. I can be lonely at almost any time of day and find someone to talk to, which is wonderful.

11) I'm a neurotic picker. I pick at my cuticles, ingrown hairs, my skin, you name it. It's one of a number of my "obsessive tendencies" (as my doctor puts it). It's also a good barometer of how stressed or anxious I am.

Whew! That was a lot of stuff! If you made it this far, thanks for reading! And let me know if the comments if you follow any blogs we could give a bump to!!



Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Smudged Lines

Nothing to Disclose

... not to be confused with blurred lines. Very different things.

Hello lovelies! Today's post is an attempt at practicing my line work. It's still SUPER shoddy, but practice makes perfect, right? To do this, I aped this beautiful design by Sammy over at The Nailasaurus.

I began with that polish I told you was the least-me polish I own: two coats of Oui! by Marc Jacobs. I've taken a photo in natural light, at the bottom, to show you what the real colour is like. It's this crazy almost-frosted pink-fuchsia colour. I bought it specifically because I knew I'd own nothing even remotely like it already. :P It's definitely a bit loud for me, but I can see myself pulling it out for flashier occasions!

The silver is all done using a liner brush and Silver Sweep.

It didn't take too long, and the hardest part was keeping the silver from thickening up, since that affected the quality and thickness of the lines I was doing. I kept having to dip my brush into acetone and then into the polish to get a good consistency. AND THEN MY TOPCOAT WENT AND SMUDGED THE LINES (hence the title of this post).

I think next time I'll buy silver acrylic paint. Heh. Oh, and here is a funnily-lit shot of Oui! on its own. My skin looks awful, but it's actually quite colour-accurate for the polish itself:

I cannot pose my cinderella hand to save my life.

Polishes used:
Marc Jacobs - Oui!
Sally Hansen - Silver Sweep
Duri - Rejuvacote (base coat)
liner brush

I have no idea what to do next! The rest of my week may be working on prep for Digit-al Dozen week in October... *wiggles eyebrows* If I disappear until the weekend (when I tackle the G prompt for my ABC Challenge), you'll know what happened!



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Lined French

Nothing to Disclose

Hello again lovelies!

Two posts in one day because I've got something very simple and kind of out of the ordinary for you.

I wanted to take on the challenge of doing a French mani in an interesting way, because they've never held any appeal for me before. This is what I came up with:

Things I learned from this adventure:

1) I am crap at linework;
2) I need to thin my Glitter Food.

For this look, I began with base coat and a coat of Nail Glow. I then freehanded the moons in Gossip Over Gimlets, did the exaggerated French tips in Recycle (using French tip guides, because whoa let's not be over-ambitious here), and the linework in Tempest (which also needs to be thinned). Topped it all in Glitter Food for optimal smoothness, and top coat to finish it off.

Polishes used:
Duri - Rejuvacote (base coat)
Dior Couture - Nail Glow
China Glaze - Gossip Over Gimlets
Rescue Beauty Lounge - Recycle (which is a beautiful dark green, but not as dark as pictured)
liner brush

I could see a better-executed version of this being a really classy look for a cocktail party or other style-forgiving event. It holds up on its own without being too complex. :)

I bought a Marc Jacobs polish today that is literally the least me-like polish I now own, and my next challenge is to incorporate it into a mani! Eep!



Pahlish Polishes! [Pic Heavy]

Press Sample

Hello lovelies!

I have a special post today: Shannon over at Pahlish sent me a couple polishes to review, and they are both absolutely stunning. I'm going to bombard you with pictures and words now. Okay, go!

First up we have Fevers and Mirrors. This is a deep, vampy jelly base that perfectly skirts the burgundy/wine-purple divide, with gold tiny circles, tiny fuchsia holo hex, teeny gold squares, teeny pink holo squares, itty bitty holo hexes, and flake shimmer in gold and (I think) red. Phew!

Lo! A wild cinderella hand appears!

Shown are two generous coats of polish, one thin coat of Glitter Food, and one thin coat of 2013. I would recommend three thinner coats instead of two thicker ones... except... I found that this polish dried super fast. Insanely fast. This is very much a 'get it right in three strokes or move on' kind of polish. Which is excellent for those of us on the run! And sort of iffy for those of us, like me, who are secretly incompetent at painting our nails.

My lightbox would not cooperate with this one. It kept making the base come out way darker than it is. I've taken a flash photo (below) to show you the real colour of the polish: 

And, of course, lightboxes are where holo (and all other sparkliness) goes to die. So you'll have to trust me on the fact that the sparkle comin' off this polish is wonderfully robust, even with the dark jelly base.

Next up we have my favourite of the two, Greenery and Humid Air! This is a beautiful deep teal coloured jelly base with what looks to be glass fleck in blue-purple, green-gold, and pink. But in reality I think this polish is made of magic. You really need to own this one, trust me.

'Greenery' made me think of leaves, so I opted to paint some fall leaves on this one. Because it's so chock full of the shiny goodness, I didn't have to worry about covering up any of its beauty. :)

Again, this is two generous coats, with one thin coat of Glitter Food, and one thin coat of 2013. The Glitter Food was likely unnecessary. As with Fevers and Mirrors, this polish dried wicked fast. You'll need to move quick, but again, it's worth it.

I'm bummed because my photos look solely teal, when I promise promise promise you that there is a whole heck of a lot more going on with this polish. Here is a post over at Pointless Cafe that gives you a slightly better idea.

Here, I took this weirdly-coloured photo under direct light in hopes that it shows the multi-colour goodness a bit better. Please to be zooming in:

Polishes used:
Pahlish - Fevers and Mirrors (I'm told this is available through the Big Cartel store but I don't see it; it may be currently out of stock), Greenery and Humid Air
Nail Pattern Boldness - Glitter A-Peel (base coat), Glitter Food
acrylic paint
detail brush

And there we have it! Both of these shades are standalone shades, and should be available, as mentioned, through Pahlish's BigCartel store. While both are stunning, I really can't say enough good things about Greenery and Humid Air-- it needs to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Pahlish make a ton of beautiful polishes, and I do recommend you check them out. :) 

Working on some nail art today, hope to have it for you tomorrow!