Eons ago – actually more like just four or five weeks ago, but we’re going for dramatic emphasis here – my blogger friend Julie of The Redolent Mermaid asked me if I’d be kind enough to create a manicure on her behalf. So when Julie, who is really into pottery, posted about a lovely little glazed planter she recently bought, I thought it would make the perfect (partial) inspiration for those long-promised nails.
Full confession: Pottery? Like, hand-thrown bowls and vases and stuff? Not really my thing, although I can – and do – admire the hard work and talent that undoubtedly goes into the creation of every charmingly lumpy piece. I’m just more of a china dishware kind of person.
However, I can always appreciate a gorgeous colour and a beautiful finish, and Julie’s little planter has both of those things in spades – I was particularly taken with the iridescent blue glaze on the inside of the pot and the multi-chromatic plum drips along the rim.
And so I used both colours – Polish Me Silly’s plummy purple multi-chrome, Guilty Pleasure, and A England’s purple-tinged turquoise, Whispering Waves, here alongside A England’s stormy grey Wuthering Heights – in this fun, mermaid-y mani that incorporates some of Julie’s favourite things with my talent for turning total randomness into nail art. Enjoy!
So it struck me today that on the cusp of my *cough*(inaudible)*cough* birthday, I’m about 1,000 times lamer than my 70-year-old parents, who are at this very moment partying at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. That’s WAY advanced party studies right there – they may as well be in Ibiza! I’m chuckling at the imagery, but two of us are nibbling on powder-dusted beignets and roulez-ing le bon temps this evening and one of us is reheating last night’s broccoli mac and cheese and watching the final episode of Crazyhead, so who’s winning at life now? (Possibly me; Crazyhead is wicked awesome.)
At least I’ll always have you, nails, this time a simple, but glittery, mani in some very Mardi Gras shades, Whimsical Ideas by Pam’s There’s No Place Like Home, a green and gold glitter topper, over A England’s purple Crown of Thistles.
Because nine times out of 10 your intended fish scale design will wind up looking more like fishnets. But super cool purple fishnets over a holographic turquoise base, which sounds like just stupendous leg adornment, right?
For these nails that could either be mermaid scales or fishnets, or perhaps even a mermaid IN fishnets, I used two holographic A England polishes, turquoise Whispering Waves and plummy Crown of Thistles, painting the purple scales over the turquoise base on my index and pinkie fingers, before topping my two middle fingers with one coat of Whimsical Ideas by Pam’s Mermaid glitter topper.
It is an absolutely bee-youtiful day in the neighbourhood, complete with sunny skies, melting snow, birds a-tweeting and, to my never-ending delight, a neighbour out walking her two fat cats on the path that runs alongside my building. And I don’t know about you, but I think beautiful days call for beautiful nails, especially ones that evoke all things warm and springy.
Here we have another manicure inspired by a Demeter perfume, this time the sweet and simple fragrance of herbal lavender. I think perhaps the background polish I chose for these nails, A England’s Wuthering Heights, is a tad too dark to really let the delicate little lavender blossoms shine – these nails ultimately remind me of a pair of flannel pyjamas I used to own! Still fitting, though, given the whole lavender-sleep connection.
With apologies to the smattering of kind people who liked this post the first two times I attempted to publish it. I’m actually running a bit of an informal test here to see if the time of posting makes as much of a difference as I seem to believe it does (as in, the sweet spot for my blog, that gap of time that puts my work in front of as many people as possible, is 9:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. EST. Anything outside of that will net me not even one quarter of the interest were it published during the magic hours. If my suspicions are correct, it will be an annoying, but helpful, piece of information on how to more efficiently manage my blog.)
And I have to believe it’s a matter of timing, because the alternative – that this manicure bloody sucks, which I don’t believe it does – is rather unappealing. As an informal nail artist and blogger, I put a lot of thought and effort into my work, and the thought that it’s passing by unnoticed because of an issue of timing is aggravating in the extreme. So we’re going to try this thing one more time, with feeling! for the cheap seats in the back! to see if this mani does indeed blow, or do I just need to get a better handle on my posting schedule?
Details, details. And the details on this particular manicure are as follows: A England’s turquoise Whispering Waves under two coats of Whimsical Ideas by Pam’s stunning holographic glitter, Mermaid. Pretty no matter what time of day, but let’s see if third time’s the charm, shall we?
Here’s a pretty A England polish with a typically florid name, turquoise-to-purple duochrome Whispering Waves. A England is the king (or queen) of the posh naming scheme, christening their lacquers with evocative monikers inspired by British nobility, Arthurian legend and various works of Victorian era literature. The polishes themselves are so beautifully made – every A England polish I own applies exactly the same way, which is to say perfectly – and the colours they select – pale pinks, steely greys, tartan greens and rich roses – are soft and elegant. Whispering Waves, with its lush, oceanic hue and flashy purple shimmer, seems almost off brand in comparison, but hey, I ain’t complain’, because wow, this is one gorgeous polish. I particularly love the way the purple shimmer makes it look like it’s glowing from within.
Whispering Waves was only just recently released as part of A England’s Heavenly Quotes Collection. I suspect it’s going to be popular, and therefore difficult to get your hands on. I purchased my bottle through Nail Polish Canada, although I see that as of this post, they’re unfortunately sold out. Not to fret, though – this is absolutely one they’ll be restocking. Whisper away, waves.
Good grief, this polish is a knockout and a half! This is A England’s Rose Bower, a polish I have thus far neglected to give the full swatching experience for what I can only now conclude are totally bogus reasons, because it’s STUNNING. Like its purple holographic sister, Crown of Thistles, Rose Bower is a shimmer-infused one-coater that positively glows from within. You can really ramp up that lit-from-within effect, too, by adding one more coat of Rose Bower to deepen the colour and a final coat of Seche Vite to pull out the shimmer. But Rose Bower is equally lovely on its own, drying down nicely to a smooth eggshell finish in one easy coat. And not for nothing, but bearing the label “one-coater” is actually something pretty desirable in a red nail polish; they have a tendency to stain the skin around your cuticles and nails if you colour too far outside the lines, so the less monkeying around you have to do with a red polish, the fewer chances you’ll have to dye your mitts indelible pink!
And what of that red colour? Well, it’s fabulous, of course! Variations on tomato red still set the standard for red nail polish, but I actually prefer berry red hues like Rose Bower, which is rich and lush and vampy in all the very best ways. Gorgeous!
I thought I’d kick off the weekend with a porny post of an absolutely stunning polish from my very small untrieds pile, A England’s holographic Crown of Thistles. A England is one of those brands I tend to discount for no good reason whatsoever, because their polishes are always drop dead gorgeous, with flawless formulations and exquisite branding. Yet Crown of Thistles, a polish purchased in a ferocious post-holiday binge, has to date somehow remained undetected, caught up in a storm of glitterier, Springtime upstarts. So I thought I’d give this polish its due and finally let it do its beautiful thing.
And so how did it do? WOWZA. Crown of Thistles is a stunner, a beautiful, rich orchid holo stuffed with a coppery-rose shimmer that gives this polish gorgeous depth and visual interest. Holos always do their best work in direct lighting, but Crown of Thistles positively glows in the sunshine, throwing off tiny, copper-tinged rainbows. Like another favourite A England Polish, Rose Bower, Crown of Thistles is a true one-coater, and dries to a satiny, eggshell-type finish (although in the interest of full disclosure, I used two coats for these photos and one coat of Seche Vite, because I always do.) This polish will make a fantastic background for nail art, but with its one-coat formulation, vibrant, jewel-toned colour and stunning holographic effect, it’s the perfect polish for someone who just wants a perfect polish, no fuss, no muss. And while it’s not quite as pronounced as Cirque’s sweet floral scent, A England’s lacquers smell not altogether horrendous, a minor miracle in the world of nail polish. Lovely – a big recommendation on this under-the-radar beauty.
This manicure, which by the title of this post alone you should be able to guess reminds me of gold-flecked, raspberry cream truffles (when does a manicure not remind me of food?), started out life as a ruffian, a type of mani in which you polish over a rounded strip directly in the middle of your nails, leaving a half moon of base polish up by your cuticles that stretches down both sides of your nails. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not – just imagine your nails sporting one of those ridiculous mustaches that drop straight down off a man’s face and that’s a ruffian.
But over the course of ruffianing it up, I got a little overzealous and accidentally lacquered over the elongated sides (which had nothing to do with the fact that I really hate those mustaches and everything to do with my willy nilly approach to polish application), turning my wee chocolate-raspberry ruffian into a proper reverse French manicure, which, given that it was a giant mistake in the first place, seemed as good a place to stop as any.
Here I topped Smitten Polish’s dark brown holo, Seasonal Lattes, with A England’s raspberry red holo, Rose Bower, and then added a smattering of gold glitter, Ardene’s Golden Child, because no nummy truffle is complete without at least a sprinkling of luxurious golden flakes.
While on an unrelated errand today, my husband ventured – solo! unaccompanied! by his ownself! – into a local beauty supply shop and purchased me a multi-pack of rainbow hued striping tape (and a glittery emery board he spotted up at the cash, because he has the mentality of a six-year-old when it comes to impulse purchases.) Sounds like a strange excursion, but as it turned out, I needed a new emery board, just as I needed some striping tape, a why-didn’t-I-buy-this-sooner purchase. See, folks, this is what nearly 10 years of marriage will get you – someone who can read your mind so well, he’s wandering into predominantly ladies-only locales to buy you beauty products you didn’t even know you needed. Well, that and about 30 extra pounds. 😉
This manicure, a design I’ve been meaning to try but for my lack of striping tape, represents my first go at taped nail art of any description; I typically do all my work, including my stripes, freehanded. But when you want a crisp, clean line that only tape can achieve, I concede there’s no substitute. Like most things related to nail art, it takes a few hand-shaking moments to get the technique down, but it turns out that wrangling little strips of tape is not actually as unpleasant as I was anticipating. So call me converted – Team Striping Tape all the way.
To get this look, I polished my nails with one coat of A England’s holographic Rose Bower and waited 10 or so minutes for them to dry. Once they were no longer sticky to the touch, I laid down my bits of tape in a modified plaid-type design, gently pressing them into place to work out any lumps and bumps. Then I topped the whole works off with one thin, even coat of OPI’s Stay the Night, a black textured polish shot through with hot pink glitter from the Liquid Sand Collection. Finally, after a few moments of dry time, I removed the strips of tape, revealing the clear, sharp lines beneath. Beautiful and so easy!