Fireflies

Fireflies 1

Or: When Good Ideas Go Stupid!  So here’s how this mani was supposed to play out.  First, paint on a starry night background.  Then, using a dotting tool, randomly dot on white polish for your “fireflies.”  Once dry, top the white polish with neon yellow polish.  Now your fireflies are glowing!  Then, using a detail brush dipped in acetone, apply a bead to the top of each neon yellow dot.  What’s supposed to happen next is the acetone spreads out, taking a bit of that neon yellow polish with it, depositing it in a sort of glowing corona of light around your dotted-on fireflies.  I’ve seen this technique used multiple times in various tutorials, and they always make it seem like it’s just the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.

But guess what?  It totally wasn’t!  Oh sure, the actual nail art-ing part went fine, but when it came time to drop that little bead of acetone onto my nails, it stayed resolutely put, burning a neat little hole through each of the dotted-on fireflies, straight down to the base polish.  In desperation, I finally began dunking my detail brush into acetone and then into the neon yellow polish in an attempt to create a kind of neon yellow wash to encircle the fireflies.  And that’s where I left it!  I don’t think these nails are great, and the technique as described is not one I’ll be returning to, but hey, the more you know, right?

Fireflies 2

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Where’s Your Head At?

Where's Your Head At Fingers

Both the loose – so loose – inspiration for these nails (the album cover art of the Basement Jaxx’s Where’s Your Head At?) and also a valid question for this blogger and nail artist: Where exactly WAS my head at, because this manicure is pretty terrible!  Bad colours, cruddy brushwork, ugly lighting.  And this was actually my second attempt at this design today; you should(n’t) have seen the first one.  Eh, sometimes these things don’t work out, but a bit of practice never hurt (and I’m sorely out of practice; too much post-vacation reminiscing and not enough nail art-ing.) 😉

Fall Fun Series II: Fashionably Whiffing It

Fall Fun Series II Photo

There’s at least one posting prompt I whiff every year in whatever blogging challenge I’m participating in at the time, and it looks as though 2017’s will be today’s theme of fashion in the Fall Fun Series.  I’m just not a very fashionable person.  Oh, I can turn it on – and out – when the occasion arises, but I’m a real jeans and t-shirt kind of lady, and I’ve got zero problems if those jeans and t-shirts come from Target.  Or Torrid, because I apparently have the fashion sense of a 13-year-old girl.

More than that, though, this year in particular, as I continue down this path of increased exercise, weight loss and general health betterment, I’ve found that I can barely keep a handle on my sizing from week to week, let alone season to season.  On average, I’ve dropped about five sizes in seven months, but there are aggravating outfit outliers (among them the American-made swing dress I purchased for a special Halloween event, only to heartbreakingly discover that I could lose another 50 pounds and still not fit into the damn thing.)  Clothing sizes are a giant crap shoot under the very best of circumstances; when you factor in weight loss that drops your boobs two cup sizes in a month while your tummy resolutely remains the size and shape of the Pillsbury Doughboy’s, you question the utility of trying to maintain a nice wardrobe in the midst of such bodily chaos.

Well, okay, I may have something to show you, an ensemble I sport when I want to take awkward arabesque gym selfies – neon accessories (shoes, iPhone case blocking out my face) and my favourite black and white (and red, and grey, and blue) striped leggings.  I think they look like Tim Burton workout wear (hmm, interesting collaboration possibility there.)  I spend time down in my building’s gym every day, and I at least attempt to look cute while I’m there (admittedly difficult when you’re sweating like some sort of livestock.)

Gym Selfie

Anyhow, for those two reasons, I have no (real) Fall fashion to share with you today.  No fashion for me, so NO FASHION FOR YOU!  But my fellow blogger friends will undoubtedly have some fun looks to show you; please do check out their posts by clicking on the links below. 🙂

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Angela at Angela Kay

Jay at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Michelle at Melting With Michelle

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy (although I clearly have nothing to say on this subject!)

Mega Magpie

Shiny Things Bottle

As in I’m hoping you will make like one and be thoroughly dazzled by the shiny, sparkly things – here Color Club’s mad rainbow-throwing holo wonder, Crystal Baller – so you won’t notice how hopelessly lopsided these chevrons really are.  Yee-ikes!  I don’t know what to tell you, geometry has never been my strong suit, not even in nail art. 😉

Shiny Things Fingers

Just the Two of Us

Peaceful Valentines

Yes, I do wish you a most lovely and peaceful Valentine’s Day, friends, but there’s a far less warm and fuzzy reason for the two-finger V-Day salute – chiefly that the three-year-old nail strips I had intended to use in this manicure, Incoco’s Love is in the Air, were completely dried out and I was lucky to get the two fingers’ worth of mani that I did.  So what’s the lesson we’ve learned this Valentine’s Day, class?  That most beauty products have some wiggle room in terms of their best-by dates, just not years of wiggle.  Use it when you got it, folks – hoarding (or simply forgetting a thing exists) never pays!

Style Over Substance: A MoYou Stamping Plates Review

4MoYouPlates

I purchased these four MoYou London stamping plates from Daily Charme a few months back in a fit of summertime pique – I had been on a tear of complicated, free-handed nail art, and I imagined my first real foray into stamping would lighten the lazy load a bit. I was also looking forward to stretching my stamping legs – it’s a nail art technique I don’t attempt very often. And when the plates are as beautiful as these four, the results are just bound to be gorgeous, right?

Wrong. Allll the wrongs. It began with the Festive Collection plate. It would not transfer any of the designs to two different stampers, with a multitude of polishes. In between frustrated attempts, I tried my gear out with a previously-used stamping plate from another manufacturer and had no problems getting the design to adhere. After taking a closer look at the plate, it appeared as though the engraved design (an absolutely gorgeous allover one, so intricate in its festive detailing) was simply too shallow to allow for proper design transfer.

Festive Plate

I contacted Daily Charme with my concerns, and they were really wonderful – offered me a full refund if I chose, despite the fact that I had already peeled the protective film off two of the plates. But I really didn’t want to choose – I very much wanted to keep the plates, even in a non-functional capacity (I was initially going to frame the Fairytale and Festive Collection plates, a plan it appears I am going to have to once again revisit.) Daily Charme also offered up a number of helpful tips on the technique of stamping itself, which I put into immediate good use, eeking out three whole nails’ worth of designs from three different plates. Already tired of the fuss, that seemed good enough for me.

Earlier this week, though, I got the idea for a kind of decorative tin roof-type manicure, one I thought would be made appreciably easier by stamping on one of the stained glass designs from the Gothic plate. I think you can guess how it went. As in it didn’t. I couldn’t get a single design to adhere to either of my stampers, using four different polishes. It took me half an hour of messy, acetone-splashed frustration to net absolutely nothing. I could have free-handed the design in that amount of time.

Gothic Plate

I don’t know what the ultimate problem is with these MoYou plates – Did Daily Charme receive a terrible, poorly-etched batch? Is that even possible across four different collections? – or even if the problem is indeed the plates. I mean, I suppose it’s possible my stamping skills are completely deficient – other nail artists seem to think MoYou’s offerings are pretty awesome. But at the risk of sounding full of it, I’m not half bad at this nail art stuff, and I’ve had pretty great results with other stamping plates.

And so with Daily Charme’s generously-offered refund surely no longer on the table all these months later, I’m going to have to press these plates into action as decorative items instead. And they’ll look fantastic, of course (gosh, the unicorn-drawn carriage on the Fairytale plate is stupendous) but that’s somewhat besides the point. Ultimately, it’s tremendously irksome to have paid for something that could not carry out its most basic function. I’m lucky in that I’ve found a good secondary use for these plates, but really, why did I need to find a silver lining in the first place? A regrettable experience with style over substance.

Fairytale Plate

Children of the Huh?

Tree Corn Straight

Right, so these nails are…well, I don’t know what these nails are, actually! This manicure started off life as depicting a shrouded path meandering through the woods as the night sky twinkles prettily above – that’s that business going on on my middle two fingers. But owing to my amazingly inexpert tree work, those jagged black silhouettes look more like sinister, broken-off cornstalks, and now we’re back in Stephen King territory again.

Anyhow, I had just finished this wuh? of a manicure and was disappointed that it had turned out nothing like I had intended. And I was actually just about to remove it and start again when I remembered that in one of nail blogging’s weirder little ironies, the manicures I dislike are nearly always the ones that get the biggest, most positive response, so go figure. We’ll see how this one plays out then!

Tree Corn Angled