Tutorial Time!

Marbled Dots Pic

This colourful marbled mani I did some weeks ago was so insanely easy, pretty and popular, it seemed a shame not to share my method.  Really, though, there’s nothing more complicated here than a simple dotticure sexed up by – wait for this revelation – dipping your dotting tool into TWO different polishes at once.  Sounds naughty, looks stupendous – like accidental, intricate marbling you actually intended to create!  And if you’ve ever tried to marble anything in nail art, then you know it’s a relentless pain in the arse, so any simplification is more than welcome.

First, begin by rounding up your tools.  For this manicure, I used just three lacquers, Enchanted Polish’s orchid pink Dope Jam, golden yellow House of the Rising Sun and dusty blue September 2015.  Marbled together, these polishes create cool new blended colours – blue and yellow makes green, yellow and pink produces orange, and pink and blue makes purple.  So no need to bust out your entire polish collection for this dotticure; just pink, yellow and blue will get the rainbow job done nicely.

Marbled Dots Bottle Collage

For this manicure, I used a small dotting tool I’ve had forever and these polish palette rings from Daily Charme I was gifted last Christmas.  I particularly like the paw print ring, which is why I’m sporting it in these tutorial pics.  It fits securely, but not snugly, and is well balanced so it doesn’t slide to either side of your finger mid-mani.

Polish Rings Collage

So having assembled your little arsenal, let’s get down to the criminally easy step-by-step.

Marbled Dots Tutorial Collage

Step 1: Paint your nails to opacity with a basic white creme.

Step 2: Once dry, slip on a polish palette ring and fill the tiny divots with your three chosen lacquers.  Should you not possess jewelry that doubles as a beauty tool, simply dot your polish out onto whatever surface you typically use as a palette.

Step 3: Take your dotting tool and dip it into one polish (say, the pink) and then another (this time the blue.)

Step 4: Dot onto your nails.  Two or three dots per nail should do it.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the yellow and blue polishes.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the pink and yellow polishes.

Step 7: Fill in any blank spots or gaps that are irking you for a more cohesive design.

Step 8: Once dry, top with a high gloss, quick dry top coat such as Seche Vite.  Then stand out in the sun and admire all your maybe-not-so-hard work!

Marbled Dots Sunshine

The Secret Bathing Garden: A Haul Post

TBG Main Photo

Or not-so-secret, as here it is, in all its deliciously-scented glory. 🙂

So it would appear that my previous protestations that I am not a beauty product person were weak efforts made in total vain, because you guys, look at all the pretty beauty products!  I bought so much!  Not one demonstrable ounce of willpower on display, not a one.  Birthday mad money very well spent.

This is the part where I’m supposed to scold myself for glorifying capitalism and mindless retail expenditures. Except it wasn’t mindless!  For that you’ll have to check out this fun story of the time I narcotics-shopped my way into a $200 bounty of shimmery unicorn makeup. 😉

But regardless of where you stand on the “My, that was a silly purchase” spectrum, I think we can all agree that these Bathing Garden items, a lovely treat facilitated by one of my sweet online friends, are absolutely beautiful and well-deserving of a SHOWING OF THE STUFF.  So let’s show it!

TBG Scrubs Collage

First up, we have four lovely sugar scrubs in, from left to right, Sugared Pie Crust, Tea Party with Alice, Fried Candy Donut and Parisian Strawberry Fields.  Shannon, the mistress of all things Bathing Garden, makes the most gorgeous scrubs – they’re finely textured, beautifully scented and not too oily, perfect for everyday use.  I tore through the two scrubs I purchased some months ago with great haste – not too surprising given that I used them (and continue to use them) to buff my tired tootsies every day as a nice little post-workout treat.  I’m really the sweetest smelling, most well-exfoliated lass in the land. 🙂  These 8 oz. scrubs were $9.00 US each.

TBG Pie Time

Next up, I spy with my little eye something that is…pie!  Regrettably non-edible, but that may be a blessing in disguise when you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, and also when the items in question smell as delicious as this bundle of Sugared Pie Crust sweets.  Not to get all rapturous on you or anything, but these items – the sugar scrub we saw before, a light lotion, a wax clamshell and that adorable little lattice-topped pie slice – smell like sex on stilts.  Sugared Pie Crust, you incredible bakery beast, where have you been all my life?!

Here’s the part where I killjoy all over your piqued interest by noting that this scent is no longer available. Offered as part of The Bathing Garden’s monthly featured scent bundle, Sugared Pie Crust was a bit of a one-and-done (or a one-and-done…for now; these popular scents tend to make annual reappearances.)  The items in each bundle vary slightly from month to month (May’s featured the most adorable little popsicle-shaped wax tarts and a lush whipped soap) but this particular assortment of goodies retailed for $18.50.

TBG Tea Collage

Then following pie time comes tea time – a playing card-shaped wax tart and a tri-layered sugar scrub in Tea Party with Alice, a honeyed tea, clotted cream and strawberry jam fragrance.  Both items are beautiful (even the scrub, with its sadly melted rosebud embellishment) but I’m quite undecided on the scent.  To my nose, the honeyed cream and tea layers combine to create something unpleasantly sour and astringent – it’s an odd combination somewhat redeemed by the rich strawberry jam scent.  The sugar scrub, which we saw above with its yummy sisters, was $9.00, and the gorgeous tri-layered tart, sprinkled with beautiful eye-catching embellishments, was $3.00.

And since no Bathing Garden order would be complete without at least a few clamshells, I picked up some of those.  Plus, you know, nine or 10 others. 😉  These clamshells were $3.75 each.

TBG Clamshells 1 LabelBare Collage

Representing Team Brown, we have Fried Candy Donut, a favourite wildberry donut scent, Eat Me, a complex, beguiling blend of what I swear is chocolate and wood shavings, and that glorious Sugared Pie Crust fragrance, on whose many delicious-smelling qualities I have already expounded.

TBG Clamshells 2 LabelBare Collage

From the recently-retired Spring Collection, we have Sweet Green, a bracingly strong blend of mint, clover and other grassy things, Pomegranate Lime Sweet Tarte, a delightfully yummy fragrance that smells exactly like all four of those descriptors, and Spring Fling, a mild blend of citrus and cupcakes.

TBG Clamshells 3 LabelBare Collage

Next, we have three delicious new favourites, Cheshire Cat, a fun and fruity combination of lemon, raspberry and vanilla, Happy Un-Birthday, a not-so-basic blend of yellow cake topped with mounds of cotton candy icing, and Parisian Strawberry Fields, a super fresh and sweet-tart blend of strawberries and mangoes. Fantastic, all!

TBG Clamshells 4 LabelBare Collage

Finally, we have my three favourite clamshells of this order, both in terms of fragrance and aesthetics, Clowning Around, an I-shouldn’t-like-this blend of popcorn, candy apples and cotton candy, Knave of Hearts, a candy sweet blend of fresh strawberries and brown sugar coconut cake, and Caterpillar Mischief, a sweet and creamy combination of mild coconut cream and apricot. Mushroom-induced fissure notwithstanding, just look at this gorgeous tart!  It’s stupendously beautiful, even a tiny wee bit roughed-up. Tiny wax works of art.

Caterpillar Mischief

Finally-finally, we come to my favourite part of any Bathing Garden order, the free samples and fun little extras.  I suspect I am not alone in my outright awe of Shannon’s generosity, which is second to none – at least one full size item of her choice comes with any order over $90.00, and that’s in addition to the many, many, many sample size items that routinely come with each order as delightful little enablers. 😉

As this order was a little bit mine and a little bit my friend’s, we split the freebies roughly 50/50.  There were, however, a number of scents that simply didn’t speak to me – that happens when 3/4 of the scents you like have the word “cookie” somewhere in their name.  So I left those in the possession of my friend, who I know will sniff and suss out their hidden depths and glories far better than I.  So this bounty, which includes one of the full size sugar scrubs we saw before, represents just my half of the extras, and then just a fraction of those (wow, seriously, so many unintentional fractions in that last paragraph!)

TBG Freebies

Generously-provided freebies, clockwise from left to right, include a full size sugar scrub in Parisian Strawberry Fields, a small tri-layered bundt in Cheshire Cat, a sample size sugar scrub in Knave of Hearts (ooh, this one is so delicious in a scrub, and that red velvet hue is to die for!), a small blue and purple bundt in Summer Twilight, a calming berry-lavender blend, a small green rosette in Summer Melon and Mint, a nose-tinglingly yummy combination of watery melons and mint, a large yellow coin in Bee Smitten, a light, honeyed floral, a small yellow rosette in Happy Un-Birthday, a small pink star in Guava Berry Gelato, a popular blend of creamy vanillas and sweet berries, a large pink coin in Sweet Madi, which regrettably smells a bit like plastic disposable diapers (which is pretty rank, but I suppose you can’t win ’em all) and a small blue rosette in Mid-Summer Song, which smells like a memory from my past that I can’t quite put my finger on right now, but which will undoubtedly come to me in the dead of night or some other thoroughly inconvenient moment.

So there we have it, another lovely Bathing Garden order that more than tickles my fancy – it also exfoliates, moisturizes and leaves my fancy smelling just divine, thank you! Secret no more. 😉

Frostbite

Frostbite 1

We’re sailing in uncharted (frozen) waters here, friends, as these nails represent the first time in over 1,500 manicures (whaaa?) that I’ve not fully painted my nails to opacity, opting instead to go The Full Nail Monty!  Or The Partial Nail Monty, as there’s some edge-of-the-nail accessorizing at work here in the form of Sally Hansen’s very frosty-looking Gem Crush in Showgirl Chic.  Simple and elegant frozen fabulousness.

Frostbite 2

Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic Palette

Alchemy Palette Collage

For those days when you just feel like twinkling like an opalescent unicorn.

Regular readers may recall that I purchased this stunning makeup palette – the Alchemist Holographic Palette from Kat Von D – whilst under the influence of, in hindsight, an ill-advised quantity of cold medication. Apparently going batcrap loopy on cold meds turned me into some sort of mega magpie, because this twinkly palette went into my shopping cart with great haste, along with a number of its sparkly friends.  I mean, I think it was with great haste, as I actually don’t remember sitting down at the computer and placing this order at all.  Seriously, cold-med responsibly, friends!  It could be so much worse than just an overabundance of unicorn makeup!

But however it came to me, I’m delighted to now own this beautiful, fun and playful little makeup palette. What a charming delight!  First, the palette case itself.  It’s GORGEOUS – an iridescent, opalescent, rainbow-tossing wonder.  I love the packaging, and I’m smitten with the soft opal hues of both the triangular palette AND the box it came in.  There’s a bit on the Sephora website about how Kat Von D herself spent the last X-unreasonable number of months fine-tuning this creation.  And while I certainly can’t speak to her schedule, I’d say it was worth it; this makeup palette features some truly stunning and eye-catching design work.

Alchemist Palette Packaging.png

Palette Opalescent

But one ought not judge a book solely by its attractive, iridescent cover, so let’s take a closer look at the makeup housed within.  There’s four shades contained in the Alchemist Holographic Palette, which looks a bit like a pointy mirrored weapon when it’s fully deployed, green Emerald, ultra-violet Amethyst, pink Opal and blue Saphyre.

Open Palette

Being of very pale Celtic descent, the shades – softly pressed powders flecked with holographic shimmer – all but disappear as against my freckled hide.  For this next photo, I ramped up the contrast whilst editing so you could actually see the colours and not just wonder to yourself, “Huh, I had NO idea a skin tone could be classified as “ultra-violet.”

Alchemist Palette Bare Skin

Next, I ran a test on the opposite end of the spectrum, layering the four shades over a shimmery black creme lipstick, Hard Candy’s Black Diamond.  It was a pretty terrible lipstick (it stained, badly) but the effects created by combining the two were undeniably dope.  I’m looking forward to trying out some fun lipstick stenciling work, and these powders will make nifty cool highlighters.

Alchemist Palette Black Lipstick

The Alchemist Holographic Palette, when it’s in stock (it’s frequently out of stock) is sold through Sephora (online and in-store) and retails for $44 Canadian.  Perfect for all your unicorn cosplay needs or just, you know, ’cause it’s a Tuesday.  Twinkle on, fabulous friends. 🙂

I Carried a Watermelon

I Carried a Watermelon Bottle

Little Dirty Dancing humour for you there on this Victoria Day long weekend.  Which would normally signal the start of summer – hot and hazy temps, fireworks and lots of watermelon – except it’s about 10 degrees above zero today and gloomier than a Tim Burton film.

So I thought I’d liven things up a bit with this watermelon mani featuring one of my favourite polishes, KB Shimmer’s Belle of the Mall.  I’ve rhapsodized about this polish on more than a couple of occasions, and with its lively mix of silver holographic glitter in a fruit punch-hued base, it makes a more than adequate stand-in for summer’s juiciest and most ubiquitous fruit.

Odd little blank spot in my life: I have never consumed an electric (or shall we say alcohol-enhanced) watermelon.  Can anyone tell me if I’m missing out here?  I feel like maybe the time for such conspicuous consumption is beyond my advancing age and liver, but I could *perhaps* be convinced otherwise. 😉

I Carried a Watermelon Fingers

Hello Cuteness!

Hello Cuteness

Classic Hello Kitty nails, featuring a couple of the Kitty-themed gifts I received from my husband this Christmas (there’s delightfully always a few!) – a much-coveted nail art tutorial book to provide the inspiration, and actual Hello Kitty polishes to colour in Kitty’s world.  Tangential, but for reals, my husband is the master of Hello Kitty Christmas gifts; I even have some not-a-joke HK jewelry that completely rocks my polka dotted socks.

The book, one of those hard-to-get-your-hands-on items by Masako Kojima, is chock full of fun and very doable Hello Kitty (and Friends) designs.

HK Book

The detailed and easy-to-follow tutorials that accompany every manicure are clear and well laid out; I’d say based on the results of this manicure, the first I encountered in the book, its approach to instruction is very successful.  But I would, because these are my nails, I did this manicure and I think it turned out so well!  So not super unbiased or anything. 😉  This cute little book also includes a sheet of over 125 nail stickers tucked inside the front cover, for all your Kitty and My Melody and Chococat needs.  Love that saucy black cat.

HK Book Pages

And then just to kill it with the over, I did this manicure using four of the five mini polishes included in the Hello Kitty (by OPI) nail polish set I also received this Christmas. Oh, AND, I painted these nails using the double-ended detail brush/dotting tool that came with the polish set!  So basically a total Hello Kitty overload. Just the way Sanrio and nature intended!

OPI Kitty Collage

I See Your True (Water)colours

Brilliant Blaze Collage

These Incoco nail strips in Brilliant Burst, a “Hey, I didn’t know I had these!” find, look just like a delicate, pastel watercolour.  It’s a very pretty look for what’s shaping up to be a warm Victoria Day long weekend.

But nail strips are a funny animal – a product I was really super into when I first started dabbling about in this nail art business.  Incoco’s nail appliques were a particular favourite – criminally easy to apply, made from real nail polish and available in an absolute ton of fun shades and finishes.  But as I started getting handier with a detail brush, I began phasing out the nail strips.  Why buy that which I can probably create better myself?

But for newbies, hesitant amateurs or anyone else who just doesn’t want to spend two hours on a single nail art design?  You can’t beat ’em.  Nail strips are available from all sorts of companies, but I really like Incoco’s – the quality is excellent (they adhere to your nails very well without pulling up too much at the edges) and the design choices are thoughtful and current without being needlessly trendy.  If you’re interested in a truly no-fuss, set-it-and-forget-it mani, I’d try Incoco’s fun offerings – and you can find them here. 🙂

Brilliant Blaze Angled