Seaweed (OMD3)

Seaweed Hand

Under the sea, you say? Well, what about on top of the sea? Does that count? I certainly hope so, as these super glitzy seaweed nails are my entry towards day 23’s theme of under the sea in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge.

I adore the base polish I used here as my sea, Smitten Polish’s Glacial Springs. It has acted as the gorgeous, glittering stand-in for water in more of my designs than I can count, and it works for nearly every type of water at that, from tropical lagoons to the iced turquoise waters of the Arctic. Here I topped Glacial Springs with some very random tangles of lacquered seaweed in a couple of different shades of grass green and gold before topping it off with one coat of shine-enhancing Seche Vite. Quite ritzy for a slimy water plant we all prefer to sidestep (or possibly eat, but in an entirely different context!)

Seaweed Fingers

Friday Night Floral (OMD3)

Friday Night Flowers HandWith these shimmery floral nails satisfying day nine’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, I’m all caught up but for one prompt, yesterday’s call for patterns. I wanted to keep these nails simple, so I went with a tiny, dotted floral design and let the polishes I used here, Mentality’s blue shimmer-infused pink, Bash, and Smitten Polish’s purple (and blue and green and sometimes red) colour-shifter, You Saucy Minx, do all the heavy lifting. I love how the shimmer in both these polishes makes them look as though they glow from within, and depending on the angle of your hand and the quality of the light, like four different polishes at once. Cheers to keeping the rest of your Friday night fun and flowery, fingernail friends. 🙂Friday Night Floral Fingers

Holo Giraffe

Holo Giraffe HandTerrible idea. The poor lopsided dears would just tip over. Oh, wait, we’re not talking about hollow giraffes, but holo giraffes? Okay, that makes a lot more sense now. 😉

My husband’s dearly missed grandmother had a real soft spot for giraffes. One Christmas we made a number of gifts for our friends and family – preserves, candies, soaps and other beauty products – and in her package, we included a veritable herd of vanilla scented soaps shaped like wee little giraffes. She very cutely kept them in her half bathroom long past the point where they either smelled or cleaned, but it always charmed me to see them laying there nonetheless.

These fun animal print nails are in service of a challenge I’m participating in over on Instagram where the theme is a holographic pattern. Giraffe skin counts as a pattern, right? I believe the giraffe would think so! For this manicure, I used three of my favourite holographic polishes, Cirque’s marigold yellow Chyrsopoeia and grass green Panacea, and Smitten Polish’s chocolate brown Seasonal Lattes.Holo Giraffe Fingers

Dancing Butterflies

Butterflies HandHoly cats, did these nails ever put the “challenge” in “nail art challenge.” I haven’t had to fight for (or against) a manicure this hard in forever! These simple white butterfly silhouettes on a beautiful background of Smitten Polish’s glittery Glacial Springs are actually my third run at week two’s theme of butterflies in the May N.A.I.L. Challenge. I initially started out with a much more complicated design before I realized I’m total crap at drawing butterflies, and wisely returned to the drawing board to hammer out a simpler, more streamlined design. This is so much better than my first two pitchy attempts, even if you wouldn’t be mistaken in confusing those dancing butterflies for floating leaves.Butterflies Fingers

Gilded Raspberry-Chocolate

Gilded Raspberry-ChocolateThis 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.

The A-Team

Without getting too nihilistic on you, friends who come here to see nail art but instead get lured into 1,200-word diatribes on my cats and/or The Lost Boys, 2014 was a bad, bad year. To be sure, there were some lovely, wonderful moments – new babies! an unexpectedly fun road trip! the discovery of Misfits! – but for my family at least, and a distressingly large number of my friends and acquaintances, 2014 was a year defined by loss, grief and hardships great and small. I won’t be sorry to see it go.

Okay, so 2014 sucked. But do you know what didn’t? These nail polishes! Which seems like the ultimate in ridiculous non sequiturs, but really, in a year that’s been as unpleasant as the past one, why shouldn’t we take a moment to appreciate the things that gave us a bit of joy, even those as immaterially material as silly old nail polish? No good reason that I can think of! And so I present to you this photo gallery of the polishes that rocked my world this year, a motley assortment of holos and flakies and industrially chunky glitters that prove that good things – and sometimes good, don’t-hate-the-world feelings – truly do come in small packages. 😉

Sitting atop the heap and not included in this gallery is my pick for polish of the year, Candy Lacquer’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink glitter, Candy Cane Fiesta. I’ve expounded on its loveliness – some may say at length! – so I’ll say no more before it develops a swelled head.Blue and Green Christmas

The following nine are presented in no particular order or ranking – they’re across-the-board beautiful and so well made, I’ve found uses for them in multiple manis this year, and will continue to well into the new year. Here’s to the little lacquered things!

1. Polish Me Silly’s pink, white and blue glitter topper, Mr. Bubble.Mr. Bubble

2. Smitten Polish’s red shimmer-infused purple jelly, You Saucy Minx.You Saucy Minx

3. KB Shimmer’s Hawaiian Punch-in-a-bottle, Belle of the Mall.Sparkling Strawberry

4. KB Shimmer’s grass green glitter jelly, Get Clover It.Get Clover It

5. Orly’s silver holo of the year, Mirrorball.Mirrorball

6. Dance Legend’s cobalt blue jelly flakie, Sun Still Sleeps.Sun Still Sleeps

7. Candy Lacquer’s super fruity matte glitter, Citrus Smoothie.Citrus Smoothie

8. KB Shimmer’s Frozen-in-a-bottle, Snow Much Fun.Snow Much Fun

9. Polish Me Silly’s pink-to-gold-to-green chrome flakie, Stop Flaking on Me.Stop Flaking on Me

Polish Me Silly’s polishes are available through their Etsy shop. You can find KB Shimmer’s wares through their own site if you’re an American customer, or through Harlow & Co.’s site if you’re an international customer. Smitten Polish’s goods are available through their Big Cartel site, as are Candy Lacquer‘s. Orly polishes are available at brick and mortar Sally Beauty Supply shops, as well as their website. Finally, Dance Legend polishes are best and most reliably acquired through international stocklist Llarowe’s website.

Smitten With These Mittens

Smitten Mittens Hand OutsideWhen I was a kid I had THE most perfect pair of mittens. They were beautiful – iced turquoise (like the polish I used in this manicure, Smitten Polish’s Glacial Springs) to match my snowsuit, knit through with tiny pink hearts and little white dots. They were part of a matching hat-and-scarf-and-mitts set, and I adored them for the, oh, 36 hours I had them in my possession before I left one of them (as well as the hat and scarf) in the change room at figure skating, after which they disappeared from my life forever. I really loved those mitts (the whole set, actually, but I’ve always been a mitten person), and it’s most vexing that I lost them whilst partaking in an activity I bloody HATED (hey Mom, hey Dad, is this the first you’re learning of how much I despised that one year of figure skating? The things your children neglect to tell you, right?) I was a pretty active kid and took dance classes for the entirety of my childhood and young adulthood, but I just loathed figure skating and it never, ever stuck. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I really would have preferred skipping the stupid bunny hops (also known as “falling on your ass hops”) and keeping the mittens. I hope their thieving new owners gave them a good home (minus one…)

But you may be glad to know in the intervening 30 or so years I’ve pulled my act together quite substantially, and I no longer require my mittens (and purses and wallets and, in one particularly egregious case, my childhood teddy bear) to be stapled to my person in order for me to remember they’re there. It really only took me leaving my purse behind in a Florida chain restaurant in my early 20s for me to snap out of that bit of thoughtless stupidity (fret not, I got it back, as well as the teddy bear many, many years earlier, both instances owing to the kindness of a couple of quick-thinking (and acting) waitresses who I guarantee you we did not tip enough given their ultra good deeds.)

You’re a Chameleon, You Saucy Minx

You Saucy Minx CollageSmitten Polish scored a real hat trick with this third fantastic polish I received in a recent order of nail mail. This is You Saucy Minx, a royal blue/violet/blueberry/periwinkle jelly polish shot through with red-to-green colour shifting shimmer. It’s quite saucy indeed, looking like about six totally different polishes depending on the lighting or the angle of your hand. It’s a multichrome as well, with the shimmer adding gorgeous depth in lower lighting and an almost holo-like rainbow effect in the direct sun. That combined with the colour shifting shimmer makes for a constantly changing nail polish animal that really does look like about four slightly, but clearly, different polishes. More bang for your buck, which you’ll probably just turn around and give right back to Smitten when you learn that You Saucy Minx has a turquoise sister!You Saucy Minx HandYou Saucy Minx Shade Hand

Tropical Ice

Glacial Springs CollageHere’s another beautiful pick from Smitten Polish, Glacial Springs, a lush turquoise jelly stuffed with blue and green and blue-green holographic micro glitter. Its prettiness is undeniable, but I particularly love its name, which is incredibly apt. Having travelled to northern Canada in the ghastly dead of winter, I can tell you through first-hand knowledge that offset against the stark white of the ice and snow, the water that peeks through the cracks in the ice far out in the ocean (plainly visible from the plane, owing to what felt like our super low cruising altitude) is the most gorgeous shade of electric neon turquoise. Most people associate this type of deep, glittery blue with tropical water, but it also works in the other direction, temperature-wise!

Choco-Mocha Espressiato

Seasonal Lattes CollagePretty sure I just made that term up, although I’ve no doubt some Starbucks-obsessed yuppie will make it a caffeine and caramel syrup-laced reality very soon, if they haven’t already. I used to be a member of the Starbucks tribe, but I’ve cooled off in recent years. My wallet and my teeth and my sleeping patterns and my waistline all thank me.

But one thing I have absolutely not cooled off on is my search for the perfect espresso-hued holo, a rare animal in the nail polish world that either doesn’t exist in the first place or gets scooped up by other lacqueristas so quickly, it’s like I hallucinated it into existence. Either way, it’s been a difficult polish to lay my hands on, and so I’m beyond thrilled that a recent shipment of nail mail contained a bottle of the mythical, coffee-coloured beauty, and just in time for my wedding anniversary, too!

This brown beauty from indie brand Smitten Polish is called Seasonal Lattes, and an Instagram photo of its gorgeousness is what touched off my obsession with finding the perfect dark brown holo. A brief, fruitless search of the usual stocklist suspects for something like Seasonal Lattes turned up nada, and in the end I simply placed an order directly with Smitten, a new-to-me indie polish maker, for the holographic lovely and (shhhh!) a few of its friends so it didn’t get lonely on its trip to my home. Because I’m considerate like that.

The verdict? Chocolate-covered espresso bean perfection! Seasonal Lattes is everything I was looking for in a java-hued holo polish – gorgeous, deep colour that shifts from milk chocolate to coffee grounds to rich soil depending on the light, a beautiful linear holo effect and smooth, even application in two coats. It also pleases me to say I had zero issues in dealing with Smitten as well. I placed my order, they filled my order, it was delivered in a safe and timely manner – no problems here!