These nails, inspired by KB Shimmer’s peppermint-hued, re-released holiday polish, Merry Pinkmas, remind me of ribbon candy, that odd, not particularly yummy but truly beautiful Christmastime sweet your gran probably had scalloped-edged bowls of dotted all about the house come the holidays. Not my jam, but I appreciate the artistry that goes into creating a box of the delicate candy – so pretty! But if you’re thinking to yourself that my accent ribbon nail would have looked lovely as a water marble, hey, me too! I’m SO ahead of you! But after redoing that one nail three times, I made the wise choice to preserve what little sanity I had left and went with a free-handed design instead. I don’t think it looks much like ribbon candy (not enough bendy loops), but those sugary colours are really lovely together and offset Merry Pinkmas so beautifully, I ain’t complaining.
He’ll be learning of this for the first time upon reading this post, but I bought this polish, Orly’s aptly named Tinsel, mostly to placate my husband, who declared it awesome and worthy of joining the Finger Candy nail polish stash. I wasn’t totally convinced, though. I like polishes with an overabundance of visual interest, and Tinsel seemed a bit…plain. But on a recent trip to Sally Beauty Supply, the equation worked out something like this: Desire + availability – willpower = bought and sold and coming home with me! My husband would be so pleased at how very little resistance I put up to this one (because, come on, at the end of the day it’s still new nail polish, and that’s rarely, if ever, a bad thing.)
But as it turns out, my reticence was for naught, because Tinsel is actually pretty great (don’t tell Mr. Finger Candy; it’ll just go to his head.) A simple mix of green bar and red hex glitters in a clear base, Tinsel is deceptively pretty and looks exactly like the festive mess of tree needles and Christmas ornament glitter that winds up spread across your home from pillar to post every December. I think I’ll find quite a few uses for it over the holiday mani season (because let’s not fool ourselves too much here – Tinsel is beautiful, but it is a holiday polish through and through.)
When it comes to nail polish, I am not one for metallics. Pale to the point of near see-throughedness, metallics just don’t show against my skin tone very well, particularly those of the sallowing bronze and golden variety. By the by, that’s got to be a new record for me in terms of made-up words. Two in one sentence? You’d never know I have a university degree in journalism. I blame the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Simpsons for allowing me to think that proper English involves putting the suffix “-ey” on the end of things (“Woah, looks like somebody hit the tanning bed HARD; you’re so orangey!”) or that there can be no pop culture stone left unturned. It’s a disease, truly (actually, it’s so not; the etymology of language is fascinating, particularly that derived from popular culture, although I absolutely put my foot down at the thought that whale-fart-donut emojis are a step forward in the history of human communications. Some day archaeologists are going to dig up all our iDevices and have a bloody field day with the stupidity of our reconstructed SnapChats and re-Grams and Tweets.)
Having established that metallics are not my favourite, however, I still went out and bought these two fantastic polishes from Orly’s holiday Sparkle Collection, twinkly gold Bling and holo silver Mirrorball, because they are pure, holidayey (!) perfection. The way the light plays off the sparkles embedded in both reminds me of my mom’s Christmas dinner tables (I suppose they’d be called “tablescapes” now) when she’d set out tons of candles and turn the lights straight off, and we’d dine in an intimate little bubble lit with gently flickering candlelight.
Getting down to brass tacks on these gold and silver polishes, both were easy to apply with great opacity and tons of sparkly shimmer. I’ve seen a few reviews of Bling, a clear polish stuffed with gold holographic microglitter, where the bloggers suggested it’s too sheer to work as anything but a glitter topper, but I had zero problems getting it to full opacity in three light coats. Formula-wise, the eensy weensy glitter in Bling is super dense and dries to an ever so slightly textured finish, but you can always fix that with a coat of Seche Vite (which you should anyways, because it deepens the holo effect and draws out all those pretty golden rainbows.) Here’s Bling throwing sparkles all over the place outdoors in indirect light (pretty impressive given that the day was overcast) and under the shimmer-inducing pot lights in my kitchen.
And while I may have talked up Mirrorball the other day in this post, it bears repeating: It’s a stunning polish and the standout in Orly’s holiday collection, while still remaining appropriate for year-round use. Also, do you know how hard it is to find a great holo in an actual brick and mortar store like Sally Beauty Supply, where I picked up these beauties? Pretty darn hard! So get on that! Meanwhile, let’s take another twirl beneath the Mirrorball.
Fruitcake gets such a bad rap, yeah? I mean, it’s not that I don’t know why. If you were to assume that all fruitcake is related to those 10-pound bricks of goop-covered, peel-infested door stoppers they sell at the grocery store, you’d think ill of fruitcake, too. But real fruitcake, like my family’s recipe that combines super buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cake with sliced almonds, dried fruit you actually want to eat (seriously, you’re eating turnip! PEEL! IS! TURNIP!) and num yummy maraschino cherries? How on earth could that be a bad thing? Only if you eat two loaf pans’ of the stuff over the course of about an hour, which I have absolutely never done only twice in my life. Oh hey, look at that thing behind you! *scampers away in shame, probably to eat more fruitcake.*
But as much as I love my family’s fruitcake recipe, these festive nails – my first mani of the holiday season, actually – are inspired by one of my favourite glitter toppers, Candy Lacquer’s Candy Cane Fiesta. I’ve used Candy Cane Fiesta in a quite a few manicures, and it’s proven to be remarkably versatile (I never thought I’d find a use for a Christmas polish in either berry or beachy nail art, but here we are!) but for these scrumptious looking nails, I went the full fruitcake, embracing the festive flair of Candy Cane Fiesta and emerging the other side with nails that look yummy enough to eat (or certainly yummier and more edible than the stuff they sell at the grocery store!)
It’s all grumpy, cold and overcast in my neck of the world today, and if precipitation were to happen, it’d be snow as opposed to rain, but none of that is going to stop me from brightening up my day and yours with a simple, glittery mani featuring all the cheery colours of the rainbow. The glitter topper I used here is Sally Hansen’s Over the Rainblue, a basic, but deceptively pretty, nail polish stuffed with blue hex glitter and silver iridescent bar glitter. I know not everyone is a fan of bar glitter, but these are wee little baby bars that don’t stick up all over your nails, just waiting to snag on something and destroy your manicure. And as you can see, the iridescent glitter looks fabulous over a wide range of colours, throwing off rainbow prisms (or is that rainblue prisms?) with every shift of your nails. Just lovely!
Do the kids still use that expression, “hot mess”? I’m old now, you see, and prone to muttering about how everyone under the age of, oh, 25 needs to get off my damn lawn and pull up their pants (not necessarily in that order; in fact, if they could take care of the pants thing first, that’d be super.) As such, I have no idea what phrase the hip, young people might utter to express that which is busted beyond all recognition. “Busted” actually seems like a pretty good compromise in this world in which I can’t understand 85 percent of what kids are saying (seriously, can someone please explain to me what a “bae” is why it makes me supremely uncomfortable to hear a 12-year-old boy call someone that?) Harumph! Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ll be over here ironing my support hose and watching taped reruns of 60 Minutes.
This discussion is somewhat moot, however – that’s how you can tell I’m old; I just used the word “moot” – because these nails are not a hot mess, nor are they busted, just messy in concept. Because they’re pretty, sure – all those coral reef-type colours together are gorgeous! – but I have no idea what this manicure is or how it came to be. I just sat down with a bunch of polishes and a detail brush and went to town, and this is what came out the other side. So they’re messy in that regard, even if they’re otherwise pretty tasty looking (literally; I was visiting with a friend today and her baby boy would have liked it very much if I had let him chew on them. I took it as a compliment, because I also like it when my nails look like candy!)
The nail blogging community, myself included, spend a lot of time extolling the virtues of indie nail polishes and polish manufacturers. There’s a lot to like in the indie arena (creativity abounds when a maker isn’t trying to appeal to ALL the polish mavens in the world concurrently), but sometimes it’s nice to take a closer look at some of the easier-to-find – but just as beautiful! – commercial polishes on offer at the local drugstore or big box, fluorescent lit hell hole of your choosing.
Here’s one such polish, Revlon’s glittery, ocean blue (and green and silver) Radiant. Revlon’s one of those venerable brands that’s been beautifying our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and drag queen uncles since the dawn of time (1931, actually), and I’d wager that there’s very, very few makeup-wearing people in the world who haven’t had some variety of Revlon product cross their lighted vanity at least once. In fact, here’s a fun Revlon tidbit: At launch, the company offered but one product, a new type of opaque nail enamel manufactured using pigments rather than standard dyes. Fast forward nine years and Revlon is a multimillion dollar company with a full complement of beauty products. The fascinating things you learn in a day, right? And undoubtedly a great motivator for all those indies out there. Just keep plugging away, because you never, ever know where these things might lead.
But back to the task at polished hand. This is Radiant, a watery-coloured collection of blue, green and silver hex glitter in a clear base stuffed with blue micro glitter. Here I’ve shown one light coat of Radiant over a pale grey holo, Orly’s Mirrorball. One coat provides a nice dusting of mermaid-hued glitter, but you could absolutely get this one opaque in three – maybe even four – coats. Super pretty stuff. And just because I’m never content leaving well enough alone, I topped the whole works off with a matte topcoat, Essie’s Matte About You, which completely obliterates the holo effect of Mirrorball, but really brings out the tiny flecks of blue-green glitter. I think this manicure looks a bit like frosted sea glass. Or a mermaid tail in desperate need of a quality moisturizer.
Swatches of this gorgeous holographic polish, Orly’s Mirrorball from their holiday Sparkle Collection, have been making the rounds over on Instagram for the past couple of weeks, and I’ve only just barely been able to hold myself back from buying it now, now, NOW! But yesterday I was messing around Sally Beauty Supply with my mom when a lone bottle of Mirrorball caught my eye, and when she offered to act as my polished fairy godmother, at least for the day, well, how was I to say no? So I didn’t, and now it’s mine, ALL MINE (insert maniacal laugh here as I press my fingers together like Mr. Burns.) I was so excited, I pretty much had to hold myself back from spiking a nearby loofah into the ground and engaging in an elaborate touchdown dance through the aisles. Strange reaction to a bottle of nail polish? Okay, sure, I’ll give you that, but who among us hasn’t busted out some highly dubious boogie moves right in the store when they’ve actually got that item we just had to have? No one, I’m guessing, and that includes my husband, who shops at Sally more than I do (there are no sweeter words in the world than, “I popped into Sally Beauty Supply on the way home and look at all the fun stuff I bought you!” Sorry, girls (and guys), he’s not available for lease or sale, because you don’t throw back the fish that buys you nail polish and fixes your computer. You just don’t!) Long story short, I seem to have a good number of people lining up to buy me gorgeous nail goodies, and that is absolutely something worth dancing for. Beneath the Mirrorball even. 😉
Here’s a fairly accurate representation of today’s weather around my neck of the woods, as depicted through a handful of snow-themed nail polishes. Over on my thumb we have Serum No. 5’s glow-in-the-dark Blue Blazes, which was the clear, cloudless colour of the sky when I woke up this morning. On my index and middle fingers you’ll find the tiny flurries that began to swirl around the car as I drove to the coffee shop in the form of KB Shimmer’s baby blue and white glitter polish, Snow Way! And finally we have the snowstorm that started pounding down just a few moments after I returned home on my ring and little fingers in the form of KB Shimmer’s next level snow polish, Snow Much Fun. The whole thing lasted maybe 20 minutes, and since then it has been holding steady with banks of ominous-looking clouds and near-zero temperatures. Ah, Canadian winters, you are SUCH a special delight, but you do provide some pretty great inspiration for nail art!
Ah, and as nearly always, lending that extra little touch of verisimilitude is the tiny cat fur stuck to the side of my ring finger in every. single. photo., which is of course something I didn’t notice until after I had destroyed this manicure and long past the point of no return. Just one of them days, I guess.
I broke a nail rather spectacularly this week, and so in lieu of soldiering on as I have in the past, my tinier-than-usual nubs an aggravating reminder not to vigorously shake water off my hands two inches away from a stone clad wall, I’ve decided to mine through some banked posts for a bit of content from The Way We Were files until I’m all healed up. As such, I’ve posted an absolute mess of swatch-type posts and very little nail art as of late, an absence I was sort of surprised to have felt. If you had told me a little over a year ago that I’d feel ever so slightly off after going three days in a row without intricately painting my nails, I’d have dubbed you Lord or Lady Crazy Pants, because nail polish and nail art were just not that important to me. Now I’m trying to find coping mechanisms to get through half a week of holo withdrawal. Strange world.
Having said all that, there’s infinitely worse ways to tide myself over and appease the nail blogging gods than with swatches of gorgeous polishes like this one, Emily de Molly’s Monet’s Garden. This is one of the first international polishes I ever bought, and it remains a favourite in major rotation owing to its lush turquoise jelly base and Impressionist-esque mix of holographic glitter. The great Cher Horowitz once commented that a classmate of hers was a “full-on Monet” – “It’s like a painting, see? From far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big old mess” – but she’d be dead wrong about this nail polish, because it’s sublimely gorgeous just every which way.