Go Fly a Kite

Go Fly a Kite Fingers

It was very windy this afternoon – would have been a beautiful day for it. 🙂

And because people nearly always ask, because it is an unexpectedly gorgeous gem of a polish, the blue base lacquer I used for this manicure is Pure Ice’s Celestial.  $1.97 a bottle at Walmart and one of the first polishes I bought when I started quite intensively getting into nail art.  Slightly shimmery – although nothing so tacky as a frost – Celestial is deep and rich and applies like butter (that’s an expression I actually use quite frequently; good thing I am well acquainted with the fact that anything that can be described as buttery is awesome, because butter is the best stuff on earth, FACT.)

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey Xmas Fingers

I’m generally opposed to evoking the holidays any earlier than Thanksgiving, but seeing as I’m Canadian and our Thanksgiving was over a month ago, this merry Mickey mani is fair game.  And it’s even fairer game given that Disney has had the parks decorated for the season since the beginning of the month.  I’ve never visited during the holiday season, but with a non-stop parade of fun, festive activities and attractions – sometimes actual parades! – including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I hear it’s a circus.

For this merry mani, I spruced up two coats of Pure Ice’s gold-tinged green, Lucky Charming, with one light coat of Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in Over the Rainblue, a blue hex and silver bar glitter-stuffed topper, and one slightly heavier coat of Whimsical Ideas by Pam’s All Ears, a red, white and yellow glitter speckled with matte black Mickey heads.  The resulting manicure is like the aftermath of a parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Hopefully one day very soon I’ll get to experience it for myself, and I definitely know the manicure I’ll be sporting when I do. 🙂

Mickey Xmas Bottle

Light It Up

lights Fingers 1

I think these nails look like multi-coloured twinkle lights as seen through squinted eyes. Or possibly the pattern on a tweed jacket from the 1980s. Actually, didn’t James Spader’s Stef wear a black linen suit in Pretty in Pink in this exact pattern? He had such a special wardrobe in that movie.

Anyhow! No matter the inspiration (although I guarantee you it wasn’t Pretty in Pink; I friggin’ hate that movie – too mean) I think these nails are super cute, and actually, in hindsight, a rip-off of a portion of my own design of last Christmas, which you can see here. Oops?

And because it will most likely get asked, the base polish I used here (from which I drew inspiration for the colour of the “lights”) was Pure Ice’s RespecK, a gorgeous polish with a stupid name that I will begrudgingly forgive it for on account of its $1.97 price tag at my local Walmart.

lights Fingers 2

Macramé

Macrame HandFor those not in the textiles know, macramé was – is? – a type of weaving or knotting or crotcheting that was super popular in the 1970s. There certainly seemed to be a lot of throws and wall hangings and rugs born of the unholy union between the home decor sensibilities of the 1970s and a ball of wool. I think it fell out of fashion because it’s ugly and lumpy and smelly (wool goods always sort of smell like wet sheep, no?) These nails, yet another one of those manicures that started in one place and wound up who knows where, really remind me of macramé, just without the ugly, lumpy and smelly part!

For the flowers in these nails, I used nearly all Pure Ice polishes, an inexpensive but great quality brand you can find at Walmart, including blue Celestial, pink Peony and magenta Crazy Love. I also brushed on a few mani-framing leaf fronds in China Glaze’s icy green Four Leaf Clover, to keep this crazy colour combination from veering too far into Insaneo ’70s Polyester Land. Or maybe just veering far enough?

Les Belles Fleurs

Les Fleurs HandOr might that be “Belle fleurs,” as in Belle from Beauty and the Beast, whose entrance-making golden yellow gown I always think of when I use this cheery yellow shade, Pure Ice’s Show Stopper, along with any vibrant pink and green (with just a tiny touch of gold for that little sparkly something.)

Finger Candy Favourites: Showstoppers (Part I)

All in photoIn today’s continuing nail art adventures, we turn an eye to the real reason we’re all here – hardcore nudity! Okay, so that’s a favourite Simpsons joke I couldn’t leave well enough alone, but really, we’re here for the good stuff. And in Nailese, that means nail polish, straight up. To that end, here is a compilation of some of my preferred brands, a few favoured products and one exceptional international stocklist. If you’d like to see a list of my favourite individual polishes of 2014, you can find that post here. And now on with the show!

CANDY LACQUERCandy Lacquer photo

Indie retailer Candy Lacquer is the first polish maker I ever placed an order with. That was a year and a half ago, and I’ve gone back a few times since, always emerging a much satisfied customer. Dealing primarily in glitter-stuffed toppers of the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink variety, Candy Lacquer’s polishes are hyper colourful and stunningly unique. And not for nothing, but for a product that basically amounts to miniature bits of paper suspended in varnish, their formulations are excellent – stuffed to the brim with more glittery goodness than a rainbow unicorn, but never dry. Compared to a lot of indies, Candy Lacquer’s online presence is downright small, and if you’re used to other makers’ flashier websites, you might be a bit disappointed by their less-is-more approach to e-tail. Don’t let this put you off. Sometimes – like this time – basic is best. My favourite Candy Lacquer polish – indeed, a favourite polish, period – is Candy Cane Fiesta, a winter holiday release I’ve managed to incorporate into about six seasonally diverse manis. If you’re likewise drawn to Candy Lacquer’s fun, beautifully made polishes, you can find them here.

I LOVE NAIL POLISH (ILNP)ILNP photo

ILNP is a fairly new-to-me polish maker that walks a delicate line between indie and commercial – their gonzo approach to polish design (bigger! glossier! shinier!) suggests an indie maker, but their rock solid production and customer service belies a more commercial sensibility. And the packaging! True, it’s a well known fact I’m a lifelong paper product lover, but I was just insanely charmed by the rainbow hearts and logo-printed tissue paper my order came bundled in. This is the part where some of you might be saying, “You were wowed by tissue paper?” To which I reply, um, yeah, I was. What about it? It’s a lovely little touch that speaks volumes about the care ILNP takes with its business. Which is the business of putting out stunningly gorgeous holos and eyeball-searing multichromes, like these three favoured beauties, chromatic flakies Electric Carnival and Supernova and ultra chrome Masquerade. You can find ILNP’s products, a constantly updated selection of gorgeous, on-trend polishes, here.

PURE ICEPure Ice photo

On this predominantly indie-centric list, Pure Ice, a brand available at Walmart, is the lone commercial standout. And for good reason; their polishes, a whatever’s-on-the-shelf assortment of cremes, shimmers and glitters, are of a quality not normally found in $2 polishes ($1.97, actually.) I own probably 15 different Pure Ice polishes, and have yet to encounter one that’s anything less than OPI, China Glaze or Essie-level quality for just a fraction of the price. In fact, I exclusively use Pure Ice products for my black and white nail polish needs. Like most nail artists, I go through reams of those two colours alone, and it simply makes the kind of sense that doesn’t to pay $8 or more a bottle for these always-in-use basics. The one caveat here is you really are limited to whatever polishes remain on the shelf. My local Walmart restocks frequently, but Pure Ice’s super favourable price point means their products move FAST. If there’s anything specific you think you might like multiple bottles of (say, their black and white polishes) grab a few and stock up while you can.

KB SHIMMERKB Shimmer photo

KB Shimmer, another indie, is one of those polish makers that just quietly goes about its (excellent) business, producing consistently beautiful and unique polishes (and some bath products) with no fuss, no muss. For that reason alone – well-made consistency – KB has more than earned its spot as one of my preferred purveyors of polish. KB’s most popular polishes seem to be their glitter-stuffed crellies (ugh) and jellies, and to be sure, one of my favourite lacquers, period, is Belle of the Mall, a Hawaiian Punch-hued jelly brimming with silver holographic glitter. But their other formulations – mattes, holos and cremes – are likewise fantastic. Their shimmer-infused holographic polishes are particularly lovely, throwing gorgeous linear rainbows and applying like a dream. My one nit to pick with KB Shimmer is that their products are not available directly from their website to international customers. American customers can purchase KB’s polishes directly from their site here, but if you’re an international customer, you can get your KB fix from international stocklist Harlow & Co. here. Speaking of which…

HARLOW & CO.

Closing out this list of besties is the company that has enabled nearly all of it, Harlow & Co.! Harlow & Co. is an online stocklist that carries over 50 harder-to-find brands, from A England to Wicked Polish, and all of it blessedly, gloriously available to international customers. Which in this incredibly rare instance I’m actually not, as both Harlow and I are Canadian! That means free shipping and – best of all – lightning fast turnaround times for said shipping. I frequently receive orders within two days of purchase, three at the very outside. And in one truly remarkable instance last year, my order arrived in one day. I had gone out of town for a couple of days and my order got home before I did! Really, really outstanding customer service, which is an increasingly rare quality in a business, and one that carries with it a tremendous value. I’ll sing the high praises of Harlow & Co. any day because of it (to say nothing of the fact that they keep me in sweet, sweet crack nail polish.) Fifty brands of nail polish are at your fingertips – and hopefully soon ON your fingertips – here.

I initially thought these five companies were the only ones that had captured my polish-lovin’ heart (and wallet), but a quick peek into my beauty tackle box has revealed a number of other favourites I’d be remiss in not pointing out. Things to deal with another day – don’t want to swamp you with too much goodness or anything. 😉 So – one more time for the cheap seats in the back! – TO BE CONTINUED…

Get Sprunged

Lullaby HandThat would be a directive I’m sending out to yesterday’s first day of Spring: You’ve sprunged. Or you were supposed to have sprung. Yesterday. You know, yesterday when it was crapping icy precipitation all over my city in frighteningly frosty minus temperatures? Yeah, that Spring. The same one that also failed to materialize today (-20?!) So it’d be super swell, Spring, if you could work some magic and just do your thing already, because I’m well and truly done with this winter nonsense.

To hasten along the springing, I came up with this sweet pastel mani that features two of my favourite polishes, Pure Ice’s grape soda-hued Playful Purple and CND’s Vinylux holo shimmer in Dazzling Dance, and a not-so-favourite, Cirque’s pastel glitter topper in Lullaby. I say “not-so-favourite,” because for everything that Lullaby has going for it – a perfectly pale mix of hexes, squares and stars in a fine eggshell finish, and all of it in that flawless Cirque formulation – it somehow looks good next to absolutely NOTHING. I’ve layered Lullaby over quite a few different colours (black, turquoise, cherry pink, lilac, green and now purple), but no matter the pairing, the soft, delicate little bits of glitter almost seem to absorb the base colour, blending into the background in a way that runs at complete cross purposes to its function as a glitter topper. Layered over white it pretty well disappears altogether.

I think Lullaby has fared pretty well here over a mid-toned purple, particularly one boosted by a bit of pink shimmer (Dazzling Dance working its purpley-blue magic, which reads as hot pink when you layer it over purple!) That should buy it a bit of a reprieve from being sent off to a better, more loving (or at least less judgmental) home.Lullaby Bottle